It’s been a bizarre season that has season unlikely title-chasers emerge, fierce relegation fights initiate and certain individuals light up the Premier League like never before.
But in a campaign where so much has happened on the pitch, certain sides have been somewhat brushed aside when it comes to media and press attention.
One team that are finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve is West Ham United, and they grabbed a solid result in the FA Cup on Sunday against Manchester United by getting a 1-1 draw to take the tie to a replay.
When Dimitri Payet put the Hammers 1-0 up in the second half with a sumptuous free-kick, it seemed like the brilliance of the Frenchman had won the game for the Hammers yet again. But, United hit back through a dubious-looking strike from Antony Martial and the game will now go back to London.
And with that, they have the chance to make history and piece together a cup run in their final season at Upton Park.
Next season the Hammers embark on a momentous new journey at the Olympic stadium as they attempt to turn themselves into the Premier League’s next ‘big club’.
It’s proven that the Irons have genuine depth in their squad, with players like Mark Noble, Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate and Alex Song – they would probably walk into most Premier League sides. In a season where fighting against relegation was more expected than a push towards the Champions League places, potential is now the key ingredient in the West Ham tale.
They’re only three points better off after 27 games than last season, but Slaven Bilic has added excitement and ambition to the West Ham squad, whereas Sam Allardyce could only battle against disgruntled supporters.
When Payet fell to an injury in November, Bilic could call on an array of other talented players that came in and filled the void – something other squads often struggle with. Enner Valencia, Victor Moses and Andy Carroll are all fringe players, but came in and did jobs when needed.
And they are making huge strides without the stadium, sitting in fifth place in the league and still going in the FA Cup. It’s testament to West Ham’s quality on the pitch that they’ve been able to progress so well just at the right time.
So when the second leg of the Premier League tie roles around, West Ham have a massive chance to create a bit of history and get through to the next round in FA Cup football’s final ever appearance at the Boleyn Ground. What a send off it would be to get the win.
The feel-good factor around the club is at an all-time high and as West Ham bid farewell to their inaugural home they could overcome Manchester United at Upton Park and leave the stadium on a high. It won’t be easy but Bilic’s side are high on confidence and still chasing Europe.
What an end to the season it would be for the Hammers. An FA Cup success would be the perfect climax to a strong season and would give the Boleyn Ground a send-off it so richly deserves.