s Jarrod Bowen ran clear, David Moyes was already edging down the touchline, preparing for a sprint that had been a quarter of a century and more than 1,000 games in the making.
For Moyes, who began as a manager with Preston in the Auto Windscreens Shield, leading West Ham to the Europa Conference League was the crowning moment of his career, earning him a first piece of silverware aged 60 and completing a remarkable redemption arc.
For a decade, Moyes has threatened to be principally defined by his failure at Manchester United, but now he has joined Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as the likes of Jock Stein, Sir Matt Busby and Bill Shankly, in a select group of Scots to have tasted European glory.
His wild surge down the line after Bowen’s 90th-minute winner and jig on the Eden Arena pitch will go down in West Ham folklore, and as Moyes celebrated, draping his winners’ medal around the neck of his 87-year-old father, David Snr, thoughts of his future were surely a long way off.
Moyes deserves to enjoy the hours and days ahead. In time, however, he will be able to pause to consider what comes next.
Throughout a difficult domestic campaign, Moyes has been under intense pressure, with the West Ham board at various times close to dismissing him for a second time in favour of a younger, supposedly more progressive head coach.
Now, there is no longer any possibility he could be sacked, but walking away in a blaze of glory a year before the end of his contract may appeal, particularly if Celtic, the club where he made his professional debut as a player, come calling. Now Moyes has tasted silverware, the appeal of almost guaranteed trophies at Parkhead might be difficult to turn down.
His status among West Ham fans is secure, last night ensuring he will always be one of the club’s favourite sons, up there with Ron Greenwood and John Lyall as the only managers to deliver silverware.
The relationship between Moyes and the terraces has often been uneasy, though, and just two months ago supporters at Craven Cottage unveiled a ‘Moyes Out’ banner during a 1-0 win over Fulham, which probably saved his job. Moyes was “hurt” and “drained” by the criticism, and there would be something to be said for bowing out when his stock has never been higher. After all, it will be hard to top this. Moyes also has concerns about the club’s plans to recruit a director of football this summer, which would alter the balance of power.
If he walked away now, he would leave West Ham in a strong position, preparing for a third consecutive campaign in Europe for the first time and with a squad brimming with quality, notwithstanding the expected departure of Declan Rice. The bond between club and fans, so often fractured, has never been stronger.
Moyes, though, has always had a steadfast belief in himself, and he has not made it through 25 years in the dugout and 1,097 matches without a constant conviction that the best is still to come. Why not target winning the Europa League next season or believe that this victory can propel West Ham back to the top end of the League?
“There are too many good things about what we have done, what we should still try and do, to stop now,” Moyes told Standard Sport before last night’s win.
Whatever his decision, Moyes has earned the right to decide his own future, his place in history forever secure in one corner of London.