Alan Pardew has detailed how an exchange with Steven Gerrard after the 2006 FA Cup final convinced him the Liverpool legend was “a special person”.
Pardew captained West Ham United when they faced the Reds 16 years ago at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in a showpiece event that will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.
The Hammers took a shocking 2-0 lead that afternoon, before the game was leveled at 2-2 with Gerrard scoring the goal.
West Ham then retook the lead through Paul Konchesky, before Gerrard took the game once more with a magnificent long-range volley past Shaka Hislop in the Irons goal.
With the scores level at 3-3, the match ended in a penalty shootout, with Liverpool emerging victorious and West Ham emerging from the thriller feeling depressed and dejected.
As Rafa Benitez’s side celebrated their victory, Pardew reflected on what had just happened when he was approached by Gerrard in a moment that showed the class of the now Aston Villa boss.
Speaking to The Sun, Pardew said: “He was very humble with me after the game. He knew we were so close. He came up to me and he wasn’t full of beans, jumping all over the place. Nothing similar to this.
“He just said ‘it was our day and sorry for you guys’. I always respected him for that. It takes a special person to do that after beating you in the Cup final.
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“He insisted on coming to me on the pitch, he approached and told me that and those moments, even in defeat, remain.
“There were only two words I could say – ‘thank you’. Then I added ‘go and enjoy your parties’.
“It was still on my mind when he got the managerial job at Rangers and now at Villa.
“What he’s done says a lot about him. Hearing him speak 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.
“It was painful because we lost but not because of our performance.
“We did a great job, we were about 30 seconds away. It would have been a game-changer for West Ham and me personally. I’m still proud of the team that played that day.
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