Former West Ham manager Alan Pardew has praised Steven Gerrard's classy gesture after the 2006 FA Cup final.
Since then, the Reds have only reached the final of the competition on one other occasion before Jurgen Klopp's men walk out at Wembley this afternoon. West Ham were holding onto a 3-2 lead going into the final stages of the game.
The former Liverpool skipper then put his laces through the ball, with his outrageous strike arrowing into the bottom corner. That screamer, along with Gerrard's other goal in the final, gave the Reds the platform to eventually go on and win the game on penalties.
Alan Pardew, who was the Hammers boss at the time, has said he still has "what if" moments about the final, but revealed a classy gesture from Gerrard which still stays with his today, as The Sun reports. Speaking on what happened after the final whistle, Pardew said: "He was very humble to me after the game.
"He knew we had come so close. He came up to me and he wasn’t full of beans, jumping around. Nothing like that. He just said ‘it was our day and sorry for you guys’. I have always respected him for that. It takes a special person to do that after they have beaten you in a Cup final.
"He made a point of coming to me on the pitch, he walked over and said that to me and those moments, even in defeat, remain. There were only two words I could say — ‘thank you’. Then I added ‘go and enjoy your celebrations’.
"It was still in the back of my mind when he got the manager’s job at Rangers and now at Villa. What he did speaks volumes for him. Hearing him talk in interviews proves he has all the tools to be a top manager. You have to be humble. You don’t win all the time. More often than not you lose unless you are at a big club."
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The 2006 final was actually held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium due to construction of the new Wembley Stadium taking place at the time. The Reds have appeared under the arch in the final in 2012, but lost to today's opponents Chelsea.
Pardew is currently boss of Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia, and will be taking part in a cup final of his own against city rivals Levski. Speaking on the occasion, he added: "It’s going to be wild. I’m told the city will be half red and half blue. This game is like Liverpool v Everton, Man City v Man United and West Ham v Millwall rolled into one.
"In terms of the rivalry it is massive. The expectation is not lost on me. It would be painful to lose this game."
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