Ricardo Vaz Te scores an 87th minute winner against Blackpool in the Football League Championship Play Off Final at Wembley on 19th May 2012 to secure promotion to the Premier League.
During the build up to the 2012 London Olympics, where the Olympic Stadium was to eventually become the home ground for the Hammers, West Ham United guided by Sam Allardyce, had overcome Cardiff City in the two legged play offs to secure their place in the final after ending the season in 3rd place, just 2 points behind Southampton in 2nd place and 3 points behind Champions Reading.
Allardyce signed a 2 year contract on 1st June 2011 on the back of West Ham’s relegation from the Premier League, and he vowed to play attractive football in the traditions of West Ham, denying claims that his teams played dull, long ball football.
Sam certainly made some key signings bringing in Nolan, Diop, O’Brien, McCartney, Baldock and Carew but it wasn’t until the Winter transfer window that Allardyce secured Vaz Te, along with Ravel Morrison. Over the course of the season, 25 players left the club and 19 new players were signed.
Born on 1st October 1986, Portuguese Vaz Te went on to score 19 goals in 61 appearances for West Ham, including a hat trick on 21st February 2012 in a 4-1 win against Blackpool. Vaz Te transferred to Turkish side Akhisar Belediyespor during the Winter transfer window of 2015, after making only 5 first team appearances under Allardyce.
Blackpool came in to the final on the back of a good run of results in the league, but Carlton Cole put the Hammers in front on 35 minute to see the team go into half time with the advantage. Then in 48th minute, Thomas Ince, son of former Hammers midfielder Paul, equalised and set up an exciting end to the second half with both teams stretched in an end to end match as they trying to secure the winner.
Both teams had wasted good opportunities to score the winner with Blackpool’s Dobbie missing a brilliant chance from 14 yards when completely unmarked and Hammers skipper Kevin Nolan’s excellent volley crashing against the woodwork.
It looked as if the game would go to extra time until the 87th minute when the unmarked Ricardo drilled the ball into the net from 12 yards after it had slipped out of Blackpool keeper Gilks’ hands with Vaz Te in the right place to break the Seasiders hearts and secure £50m promotion back into the Premier League. The first team since Leicester in 1996 to bounce straight back into the Premier League through the play off finals.