I would like to start by saying thank you, on behalf of my team-mates, the staff, and everyone at West Ham United.
Thank you for your loyalty, dedication and commitment as a Season Ticket holder. Thank you for your constant backing and support of the team through thick and thin. And thank you for the part you have played in helping London Stadium to feel more and more like home this year.
I believe the 2018/19 season has been a significant and notable turning point for this Club. There is no doubt that huge strides have been made, both on and off the pitch, and that we have moved forward in a positive direction.
The arrival of Manuel Pellegrini and several new signings last summer gave us all a big lift, and helped us to get things right on the field. We have seen some tremendous results and performances, especially at home, where things have gone from strength to strength. Indeed, as I write this, we are still unbeaten at London Stadium in 2019, and have genuine belief that we can stay that way until the end of the season.
The emergence of more young talent from our Academy this year – led by the phenomenal Declan Rice – is something that makes us all feel fantastic, and the squad has looked really strong in recent weeks even with a number of injured still to come back in to the squad… the recent return of Manu Lanzini has felt like having a new signing in the team!
Off the field, the increase in matchday capacity to 60,000 has added another dimension to the atmosphere, while the naming of the Billy Bonds Stand – what a great day that was! - and the new pitch surround in our club colours, which will be in place soon, are all things that have helped to grow the affection we feel here.
But still the biggest strength we hold is the sight and sound of our supporters roaring us on for 90 minutes. I have said many times before that our fans are the heart and soul of the football club and that will never change. To have 54,000 Season Ticket holders is a sign of how great this football club is, and as players we are desperate to reward you.
For me personally, it was a great honour to sign a contract extension just before Christmas that will take my first team career here to a total of 17 years. There have been many ups and downs during that time but I can honestly say that I am as enthusiastic and excited about playing for West Ham United now as I was at the age of 17.
There is a genuine feeling around the place that we are now building something very special. With everyone pulling in the same direction, there is no doubt we have the potential to be a force in the Premier League.
I have to say, I have really enjoyed this season, and I believe we can enjoy next season even more.