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Steven Gerrard has more kind words for West Ham after naming the favourite goal of his career

Aston Villa boss and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has more kind words for West Ham after naming the favourite goal of his career.

Ask any West Ham fan to name their most painful moment in the modern history of the club and most will point to the 2006 FA Cup final.

Unfortunately for West Ham, that game became known as ‘the Gerrard final’, much to the frustration of Hammers fans who had their hearts broken that day in Cardiff.

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Gerrard’s thunderbolt strike rescued a 3-3 draw in the dying moments that day before Rafa Benitez’s side held on to win on penalties.

Gerrard was a class act on the pitch. But he proved a class act off it too following that game as the man himself explained why West Ham supporters will forever have his respect.

Speaking in his autobiography, Gerrard said Hammers supporters are the kind that ‘make football special’ after the way they conducted themselves despite watching their side agonisingly miss out on what would have been their first major trophy for 26 years – now 41.

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

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“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.”

Sixteen years on and Gerrard is quickly earning a reputation for himself as a manager at Rangers and now Aston Villa.

And he has more kind words for West Ham after naming his FA Cup final equaliser as the favourite goal of a legendary career.

“Probably the FA Cup one in 2006 against West Ham,” Gerrard said when asked to name his favourite ever goal in an interview with Sky Sports’s Saturday Social.

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“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 (cramping up) 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.”

It is quite some compliment given the goals Gerrard scored throughout his career. Although it does not make the memories any less painful.

Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images

In the aftermath of the final Gerrard’s goal sparked a big debate among fans over whether the agile Jimmy Walker would have saved it had he been given the nod for the game ahead of the ageing Shaka Hislop.

As you will see from my bio, I’m very much in the ‘Walker would have saved it’ camp.

West Ham’s trophyless 16 years since prove you have to take your chances to lift silverware when they come along.

Let’s hope West Ham can end over four decades without tasting glory this season.

More West Ham news:

West Ham get major boost as seven Man United stars ruled out of clash.

Moyes gives reporter short shrift over Liverpool question in presser.

Uncomfortable truth about West Ham’s stance on £28.5m striker.

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