Fortune, hiding no more. As it happens, it turned up in the Fortuna Arena of all places, in the Vrsovice district of Prague, where Jarrod Bowen ended the 43-year wait for a major trophy with a goal fully ensconced into West Ham folklore before the sun came up.
With one touch to a gather a sublime pass from Lucas Paqueta and enough power in his legs to summon another burst of speed, Bowen powered into the penalty area and squeezed a low shot beyond goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano as he dashed from his line.
The ball clipped Terracciano’s legs but bounced on, into the net, in the 90th minute. Bowen wheeled away and a night of tension, irritation and aggravation transformed into sheer jubilation.
It had been a test of nerve and temperament as much as anything against Fiorentina, who ran through the full repertoire of Italian dark arts. Moyes claimed on the eve of the game that West Ham were more mature than last year, when they reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, and his players proved him right.
They passed their tests and Paqueta and Bowen combined for a flash of quality, just as the final seemed destined for extra time. It was the second time they had led. Said Benrahma put them ahead from with a penalty in the 62nd minute, but the Italians were level within five minutes.
West Ham have won their first European trophy in 58 years after seeing off an aggressive Fiorentina side in Prague
Captain Declan Rice helped the Hammers write themselves into the history books in potentially his last match for the club
The Hammers had a difficult time fending off Fiorentina but a greater clinical edge and strong game management handed them victory in Prague
This time, West Ham protected the lead through eight nervy minutes of stoppage time to become Europa Conference League champions, their first trophy since the FA Cup in 1980, their first in Europe since 1965. The first won abroad in their history.
It was a first for boss Moyes, who could not have looked any prouder as he gripped his gold medal and shook it towards the battery of photographers, and it was the perfect way to go out for captain Declan Rice, who fought back the tears as he went through his TV interviews and fans sang his name.
Thousands of West Ham supporters had poured into Prague and the lucky 5,000 with tickets will never forget they were there for the occasion because the occasion was far better than the match itself, which was, for the first hour, a terribly disjointed affair devoid of fluency.
Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano admitted his team would deploy cynical tactics, pressing high and making smart fouls to stop the counterattack, but this contest was littered with his players rolling around and exaggerating injuries.
It cannot have been easy for Spanish referee Carlos del Cerro Grande but he did not handle any of this well, allowing it rumble on while failing to protect Michail Antonio as he tried to stay on his feet. Moyes, exasperated, applauded sarcastically hands above head when his centre-forward won a free-kick, hauled down on the turn on halfway.
David Moyes was believed to be on his way out of east London but the manager has delivered the club a historic trophy
Jarrod Bowen’s 90th-minute strike sealed the side’s triumph after much of the match was spent out of possession
The England international’s carefully-considered run and composure in front of goal saw him named Man of the Match
Michail Antonio was another player who helped frustrate West Ham’s Serie A opponents during his strong showing in the final
When Benrahma joined the diving extravaganza he was shown a yellow card, a correct decision among many poor ones. Patience was tested and tempers frayed in the stands. Some West Ham supporters became enraged and started throwing plastic pint pots down onto the pitch.
Fiorentina striker Nico Gonazalez, having won a corner, caught one and pretended to take a swig from it. Seconds later, the mood turned when another missile flew down and struck Cristiano Biraghi on the back of his head.
Blood ran down his neck and he required treatment before he continued with a purple bandage wrapped around his head. The flying cups ceased but there will be a UEFA fine heading to the London Stadium.
West Ham’s only efforts of note in the first half came from Antonio, who drew a routine save in the first minute, and Rice, who flashed an effort wide when a long throw by Vladimir Coufal spilled his way on the edge of the penalty box.
Fiorentina created little either, until the fourth minute of added time at the end of the first half when they had a goal ruled out for offside.
The first half was brought to halt after a number of cups were thrown onto the pitch as Cristiano Biraghi attempted a corner
The Fiorentina captain was struck on the head by what looked like a cup as West Ham players sought to calm their supporters
Biraghi was able to continue playing after receiving medical attention on the pitch, but the pause marked a stop-start half
Christian Kouame climbed above Coufal to head against a post and Luka Jovic was first to the rebound, nodding it over the line as he took a boot in the face from Tomas Soucek. The flag went up, backed by VAR but Italiano complained about Soucek’s high boot as the teams funnelled in at half-time.
Jovic did not return for the second half. Arthur Cabral replaced him although the nature of the game did not change until Benrahma’s penalty jolted it into life. It was given for a handball against Biraghi and there were similarities to the one awarded against Jack Grealish in the FA Cup final.
As Bowen controlled a pass on his chest, Biraghi tried to get his body across the front of him and inadvertently pushed the ball with his right hand. It was in no way deliberate but that is only half the argument these days.
Fiorentina looked to have drawn first blood before half-time but Luka Jovic’s close-range attempt was deemed offside
Said Benrahma stepped up to the spot after Biraghi’s handball in the box and was cold as ice in bypassing Pietro Terracciano
But just five minutes later, Fiorentina clawed their way back into the game with a sweet strike from Giacomo Bonaventura
Cerro Grande checked on the monitor, did the square-in-the-air mime, pointed to the spot and Benrahma held his nerve from the spot to send Terracciano the wrong way.
The Italians hit back quickly, however, and produced their best spell of the final. Gonzalez headed a high ball down into the penalty area and Giacomo Bonaventura produced a high quality finish on the move, arrowed low into the far corner from an angle.
Suddenly the final was uncorked. Chances came and went at both ends but Bowen made his count. He is the hero of Prague, West Ham are winners once again and heading into the Europa League next season.
One goal and for the Hammers an ordinary season becomes one of the best in living memory.
FIORENTINA 1-2 WEST HAM: MATCH FACTS
Fiorentina (4-3-3): Terracciano (GK), Dodo, Milenkovic, Ranieri (Julio 84′), Biraghi, Bonaventura, Amrabat, Mandragora (Barak 90+3′), Gonzalez, Jovic (Cabral 45′), Kouama (Saponara 62′)
Substitutes not used: Cerofolini, Martinez Quarta, Terzic, Venuti, Ikone, Duncan, Bianco, Brekalo
Goals: Bonaventura (67′)
Booked: Mandragora, Milenkovic, Amrabat
Manager: Vincenzo Italiano
West Ham (4-3-3): Areola (GK), Coufal, Zouma (Kehrer 61′), Aguerd, Palmieri, Soucek, Rice, Paqueta, Bowen, Benrahma (Fornals 76′), Antonio (Ogbonna 90+4′)
Substitutes not used: Fabianski, Johnson, Cresswell, Downes, Lanzini, Potts, Ings, Mubama, Cornet
Goals: Benrahma (62′), Bowen (90′)
Booked: Benrahma, Aguerd, Bowen
Manager: David Moyes
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grander
Bowen’s winner has been etched in the annals of West Ham’s history after he sealed his club’s fate in the final minute
Winning the Europa Conference League marks the first major trophy that West Ham have won in 43 years
The players stayed on the pitch for some time after the final whistle and presentation celebrating with the travelling fans