A jubilant Michail Antonio believes West Ham will only get bigger and better after winning their first major trophy in 43 years.
The Jamaican forward joked his own celebrations could last for three weeks as he lifted the title with Southampton for the second time of his career after winning the 2010 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Tens of thousands of Hammers fans traveled to the Czech Republic and even more fans lined the streets for the home parade in east London last night.
Despite finishing 14th in the Premier League after battling relegation, the club are preparing for next season’s Europa League as they go straight into pot one of the group stage.
Antonio said: “How big is this club? It’s huge. As you can see from the stadium, we hold more than 60,000 spectators.
“But I feel like we could easily sell out the stadium itself three or four times.
“In the future we will not stop here.
“We’ll see if we can keep going and keep trying and do better.
“Last year we reached the semi-finals of the Europa League. This year we won the Europa Conference League.
“You can see we have a good group of guys here. We have a lot of confidence and we hope to build on that.”
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Kicked by Fiorentina’s defenders, Antonio was bleary-eyed when he finally emerged from the dressing room in the bowels of Fortuna Arena at 2am.
When asked what the celebrations were like, some of which were streamed live on Instagram by the players, he joked: “There was a little bit of everything.
“A little dance, a little drink, a little of something I can’t say! It was obviously a pleasure.
“For 58 years, West Ham have been waiting for this moment in Europe.
“It’s been incredible, a great experience, probably the best season I’ve had since I’ve been at West Ham.”
It took Antonio a lot to win the first major trophy of his career, from starting in a non-league at Tooting and Mitcham to a series of loan spells – including stints in the EFL at Cheltenham, Colchester and Sheffield Wednesday.
The 33-year-old added: “One of the things I said to the lads before the game was that people don’t get many opportunities like this.
“Many footballers play football and never win a single game in their entire career.
“There are some good players who have done that too.
“It’s a great opportunity. We had to make sure we didn’t miss them – and we didn’t!”