Mark Noble insists he cannot wait to take on the big boys in the Premier League after helping West Ham to promotion.
Ricardo Vaz Te turned out to be the Hammers' hero after his goal with three minutes remaining ensured a 2-1 victory over Blackpool in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
The Portuguese winger, a bargain £500,000 January signing from Barnsley, earned the club an estimated £90million windfall.
And, after a stuttering campaign in which the Upton Park side set a club record with 13 away wins while dropping 28 points at home, Noble admitted there was no better way to go up than through the play-offs.
"It's a very special day to be a West Ham player," Noble told Sky Sports 1 HD. "It's been a long, hard season and I think everybody knows that.
"We put the fans through it and we put ourselves through it, but I mean it's all worth it. I'm loving every minute of it."
The Hammers star, who missed only one match all season, dealt with the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League last year and, when asked what it meant to be back, he said: "We wanted to do it automatically but it isn't as good as this is it?
"Some people write the play-offs off because they're horrible if you don't win, but we won it and it was probably one of the best days of our lives."
And Eastender Noble, the club's longest-serving player, is already looking forward to next season, saying: "You play against the best players every week and you play at the best stadiums and it's the best place to play.
"I played 90 per cent of my football there and I was gagging to get back and finally I can call myself a Premier League footballer again."
Meanwhile, the club's captain Kevin Nolan believes the side's young players will light up the top flight next season.
"I'm absolutely delighted," he said.
"It's been special. Jack Collison and those boys are going to bless the Premier League.
"We were favourites from day one. We said we wanted to win the league and go up automatically. This was plan B. Thankfully we did it and I think we deserved it.
"It was a lot of relief more than anything. It's been a tough day today. Blackpool didn't make it easy."