Ahead of our retro FA Cup Final replay, The Times' Henry Winter on 2006's epic clash

As we look ahead to Sunday's classic FA Cup Final replay of the clash between Liverpool and West Ham United, The Times' chief football writer Henry Winter explains why it still remains his favourite...

Friday 03 Apr 2020
Henry Winter of The Times says the 2006 FA Cup Final is his favourite

My favourite FA Cup Final? It’d have to be the 2006 Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff – Liverpool-West Ham United.

It had everything: comebacks, great goals, rubbish goals, two passionate sets of supporters, drama aplenty and that rare honour for a player of having a Final named after him. This was the Gerrard final.

It was the day Steven Gerrard picked himself up off the floor, forgot the cramp seeping into his legs, and scored to rescue Liverpool’s FA Cup dream – the night he and his team-mates ended up back on Merseyside in the Alma de Cuba, a spectacular bar inside an old church, with the FA Cup taking pride of place in the middle of the dance-floor.

After a Jamie Carragher own goal and a Pepe Reina fumble that gifted Dean Ashton a goal, Gerrard took over, imposing his will on the game, setting up Djibril Cisse, then equalising himself.

Steven Gerrard strikes home his FA Cup Final classic against West Ham

Paul Konchesky’s cross drifted in over Reina and some of the Liverpool players, including Gerrard, were cramping up. His mobility restricted, Gerrard couldn’t run forward when the ball fell to him 35 yards out, so he just whacked it, producing one of the greatest goals in FA Cup history and forcing extra time.

Inevitably, he then converted his penalty as Liverpool won the shootout, with Reina making three saves.

The way Liverpool fought, and the heartache West Ham suffered, highlighted how much the Cup means. No wonder Liverpool partied hard that night.

You can watch a replay of that memorable 2006 FA Cup Final at 12.30pm on Sunday 5 April, exclusively on the Emirates FA Cup Facebook channel.

By Henry Winter Chief Football Writer, The Times