Inside West Ham’s dressing room celebrations after Lyon triumph: Cotton Eye Joe, James Corden and Noble tears


ot even the most pragmatic of managers could stop the West Ham players enjoying this moment.

After booking their first European semi-final since 1976, the Hammers squad celebrated with the travelling fans in the away end at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon before making their way back into the dressing room, where Moyes delivered his verdict.

The Scot, usually able to keep his cool, told his players how proud they had made him. He then reflected on their remarkable rise in a brief but emotional speech – which still managed to include a reminder of Sunday’s meeting with Burnley – before all hell broke loose.

An old favourite, Rednex’s Cotton Eye Joe, blared out in the away dressing room and even Moyes could not resist joining in the rendition.

Players and staff alike joined to toast this remarkable moment, bouncing along to the tune which has marked so many wins during last season.

Aaron Cresswell, suspended for this second leg, and Angelo Ogbonna, who has been injured since November, where there to enjoy the moment they deserved to be a part of too.

Vladimir Coufal, who had danced with a flag in front of the away end at full-time, was the unfortunate one to be hooked aside by UEFA for the usual doping control tests but he was joined by compatriot Tomas Soucek for their own mini celebration.

As Pablo Fornals tried to gather his thoughts to speak to the media, his team-mates were wandering the corridors of the Groupma Stadium telling anyone who would listen that “West Ham are massive”.

“I don’t know where I am right now, everyone in the dressing room is the same,” said Fornals.

“Everyone is screaming and jumping [in the changing room], the emotions are high. It was a really lovely moment for everyone.”

All the while the West Ham fans, for more than an hour, had been kept in the away end as the home fans were cleared out.

Hearing their chants still echoing, the players began to make their way back out to salute them once more before Moyes walked back out to soak up their praise.

Mark Noble and Declan Rice, the father and son duo of this squad, headed out to pose for pictures with West Ham fan James Corden, who had flown in from Los Angeles for this moment.

Moyes has never reached this stage of a European competition in his career and this milestone was watched from the stands by his brother, Kenny, and father, David Snr.

With the squad not returning to London until Friday morning, Moyes was ready to allow himself a moment of celebration over a glass of wine back at their hotel.

After the raucous celebrations, captain Noble, who appeared as a second half substitute and was in tears following the game, found the time to video call his wife and children back home before, as he always does, sweeping the dressing room clean.

Thanks to his efforts there may be no sign of the scenes moments before, but they are memories which will last a lifetime.

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