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
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
peopleLynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance moves audience to tears
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

News
news

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

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

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London