West Ham United’s last season at the Boleyn Ground could go down as one of the greatest in their 112 year stay.
In the hunt for a Champions League place and an FA Cup replay away from Wembley, this season has surpassed even the most optimistic Hammers fans expectations.
One player in particular has particularly shone in the claret and blue this season, Frenchman Dimitri Payet.
One of Slaven Bilic’s first signings last summer, Payet has been integral in everything positive about West Ham so far this campaign and has won many admirers along the way.
Despite signing a five year contract when he signed, he has shone so brightly in East London that he signed a bumper new deal back in February.
His last season in French football saw him record 17 assists in 36 games for Marseille, with nobody in Europe’s top five leagues creating more chances than he did.
Obviously questions were asked about whether he would be able to adapt to the more physically demanding Premier League.
And boy, has he answered them.
Eight goals and as many assists so far has seen calls for him to be named in the Team of the Season, and even named Best Player.
If it wasn’t for the exploits of Leicester City and individually Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, Payet would be very much in with a shout for the award.
Technically there aren’t many better in the Premier League. Comfortable on both feet, with an eye for a pass, he plays the ‘West Ham way’, something the fans have been crying out for.
From dead-ball situations he is the best in the league, and one of the best in the world. His free-kick technique is outstanding and his goal against Manchester United in the FA Cup was just outrageous.
It’s not fair to say that he is carrying West Ham, but after suffering an injury against Everton, the whole team suddenly seemed to get injured with him.
It took them nearly two months to win a game following the injury and that poor run without him towards the end of last year could cost them dear in the end of season fight for that all important Champions League spot.
But regardless of whether they achieve it or not, this year has been one of tremendous triumph for both West Ham and Payet.
Such has been his form, he has gone from a maybe to a definite for the French squad for their home Euros. He marked his first international call-up this season with two assists and a trademark free-kick in wins over the Netherlands and Russia.
Whilst he is no spring chicken at 29, his best days are certainly not behind him and if he can continue his fine form into next season, West Ham’s first season in the Olympic Stadium could be one to live in the memory.