Get all your news in one place
100’s of premium titles. One news app. Zero ads. Just $10 per month.
Daily Mirror

Steven Gerrard's honest thoughts on West Ham fans after iconic FA Cup final goal

It was one of his greatest ever goals, and Steven Gerrard could barely have picked a better time to score it.

Just as the stadium announcer decreed that there was to be four minutes of added time in

the 2006 FA Cup final in Cardiff

, the ball dropped to the right foot of the Liverpool captain and he smashed in a frankly remarkable effort from over 30 yards out.

It took the score from 3-2 to 3-3, but in the years that have passed it is a goal that has almost felt like the winner.

Prior to this Saturday's final at least it remains the most recent of Liverpool's seven FA Cup victories, and it is forever known as the Gerrard final.

Gerrard stunned West Ham with his late equaliser (Action Images)

But the man himself has retained a fondness for the beaten opponents that day, and the way that the West Ham fans reacted to seeing their shot at glory slip away.

“Everyone associated with West Ham behaved with real dignity in Cardiff, just like the way I try to be in defeat,” Gerrard wrote in his autobiography.

“If they had won, Liverpool could not have complained. Too many of our players were too disappointing.

West Ham were desperately unfortunate to lose.

“Having played so well, it must have been gut-wrenching to go home without the FA Cup, yet they were all gracious.

“It really moved me that in their hour of utter desolation, West Ham fans stayed behind to applaud as I lifted the FA Cup. I’ll never forget that sporting gesture.

“I’m Liverpool through and through, head to toe, but I have a place in my heart for West Ham supporters after Cardiff.

“Fans like West Ham United’s make football special.

“Usually when we do a lap of honour with a cup, the opponents’ section is empty. The fans have disappeared, dragging their heartache with them. Not in Cardiff on 13 May 2006.

“The West Ham fans were tremendous, clapping us as we paraded the cup.”

West Ham's fans stayed to applaud Gerrard and Liverpool (Getty Images Sport)

Gerrard has never forgotten that gesture from the Hammers fans, or indeed the performance of their side on the day.

Speaking earlier this year, the current Aston Villa boss was asked to pick out a favourite goal from his career, and Cardiff came up again.

“Probably the FA Cup one in 2006 against West Ham,” he told Sky Sports.

“Just because of the time and because of how I felt and obviously the importance of the goal.

“That was probably the nicest one that I enjoy seeing back the most.

"The way I felt I didn’t have much left, it was a really hot day, West Ham were fantastic on the day they really ran us.

"I think the majority of our players were cramped up, we were tired and the distance where I was, looking at it now, normally you’d probably start an attack off rather than take that on.

“So I tried my luck, thankfully the connection was good and very relieved to see it fly in the back of the goal.”