Alan Pardew: 'That was just fantastic. It was my best day in football'

Pardew, who scored Crystal Palace's winning goal at the same venue in an epic 4-3 victory over Liverpool 17 years ago, said the defeat of Steve McClaren's Uefa Cup semi-finalists, and the place in next season's Uefa Cup which it guaranteed, added up to "my best day in football".

And he dedicated West Ham's triumph to the memory of two former managers of the club who have passed away this year. "I put one word at the flip chart today, and that was 'destiny'," Pardew said. "So for the families who have lost Ron Greenwood and John Lyall - that was for you. The two of them would probably have been grimacing at our first-half performance! But we turned it around."

Pardew has known the thrill of performing in a Wembley final - although Palace's 1989 meeting with Manchester United brought a loser's medal - but he has also sampled the grass-roots stage of the competition. "As somebody who has played in the first qualifying round, for Whyteleafe, and possibly Banstead, I know what this Cup is all about - 20 people on the sidelines and dodgy referees. So today was just fantastic. It was my best in football, that's for sure."

Less than a year ago, West Ham scraped into the Championship play-offs and squeezed past Preston in the final in Cardiff, Bobby Zamora striking to deliver the same scoreline as Marlon Harewood's late goal produced. Since gaining promotion, Pardew has established them in the top half of the Premiership, a feat that has finally allayed the bitter, personal criticism that followed his arrival as manager from Reading.

Asked about this turnaround, he resisted the temptation to declare a sense of vindication, preferring to assess West Ham's progress as a club. "To get in a position where we've got European football back at Upton Park is a fantastic achievement for a promoted side. We showed what we're about in the second half. We upped the tempo and got our reward."

Pardew added: "It was a great goal. I was particularly delighted for Marlon because he really has improved. To hit a shot like that - on his wrong side - was a terrific finish."

The goal prompted a touchline jig from Pardew which later caused him to squirm with embarrassment. "I'm not the dancer. That's my brother," he explained. "I'm usually the one who is stood at the bar."

Wisely in view of that shortcoming, he left the knees-up to his players afterwards, departing quickly and quietly for the dressing-rooms after shaking hands with McClaren. In doing so, Pardew explained, he was following the dignified precedent set by his manager at Palace, Steve Coppell, when they overcame Liverpool against the odds.

Pardew's players were somewhat less circumspect, milking the occasion until the last pretty bubble died in the air. "We play Liverpool at home in the League on Wednesday, and judging by the boys' celebrations, it's going to be a bit tricky," he quipped. "But we'll be ready for them in the FA Cup final - don't you worry about that.

"We'll be up against a blue-riband side, one who were European champions last year. But we've earned the right to be there."

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits