• Portuguese scored winner in Championship play-off final
• Sam Allardyce paid relatively small fee for the forward
Sam Allardyce hailed Ricardo Vaz Tê as one of his best ever signings after the player he bought from Barnsley in January scored the goal that earned West Ham promotion at the first attempt.
Allardyce paid an undisclosed sum, believed to be in the region of £500,000, to rescue the career of a young forward he first brought to Bolton as a 16-year-old from Portugal. Since then Vaz Tê has played in Greece and Scotland, as well as Barnsley, and a player whose career appeared to be on a downward trajectory until his former manager came calling can now look forward to returning to the Premier League as the second highest goalscorer in the Championship behind Rickie Lambert, with 24 goals.
"When you take into account the number of goals he has scored and the relatively small fee we got him for, he is possibly my best ever signing," Allardyce said. "And I've signed some good players in my time. He's been great for us all season but I have got to be pleased with his winning goal here, because this is my first time as a Wembley winner. I haven't been here all that often, but even so. This is an outstanding achievement, to get back at the first attempt, because it means we don't have to face the devastation of the financial fair play rules in the Championship next season.
"As I understand it, from what the directors have told me, if we had stayed down we would have had to slash the wage bill, offload a lot players, and that would have made it hard not just to get out of the division but to play football in the manner the West Ham fans expect. My reading of the situation is that financial fair play will have a devastating effect on investment in football, and I don't agree with it. We are supposed to be part of the entertainment industry, and the reason people put money into football is because they love it."
Ian Holloway revealed that his Blackpool players had missed out on a £5m bonus to get back into the Premier League. "That amount was going to be divided up pro rata and I'm really disappointed they can't have the money," the Blackpool manager said.
"Our wages aren't as big as West Ham's but we can play just as well. The players deserve more money; they certainly played way above their wage level today. Both teams created good chances, and both teams missed a few. It was like the game was decided on the spin of a coin and it came down West Ham's way."
Holloway, who revealed the striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher had to withdraw late through an ankle injury sustained in training, refused to discuss speculation about the vacant Aston Villa job. "I'm not here to talk about that," he said. "Today I want to pay tribute to a wonderful game of football, and two clubs who did the Championship proud."