GK: Shaka Hislop
The laidback shot-stopper had returned to West Ham on a 12-month deal the previous July following a three-year spell at Portsmouth. Roy Carroll, a fellow summer signing, was the preferred choice in goal for the first half of the season – but a back injury for the Northern Irishman early in 2006 thrust Shaka back into the frame and he was between the sticks for the final.
By now something of a veteran at the age of 37, Shaka - first name Neil - could do nothing about any of Liverpool’s goals in normal time, and saved Sami Hyypia’s spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out.
The game proved to be his last in a West Ham shirt and the former Reading and Newcastle man was released at the end of his contract. He played for Trinidad & Tobago in their first-ever World Cup that summer and joined MLS side FC Dallas in July. Retired in August 2007 and now works for ESPN as a pundit.
RB: Lionel Scaloni
The departure of Tomas Repka to Sparta Prague in January had left a right-back-sized hole in the West Ham squad until Lionel Scaloni arrived on loan from Deportivo La Coruna in February. Got the nod to start in Cardiff, mainly because there was no other option. It would prove a day of highs and lows for the Argentine.
His cross was turned home by Jamie Carragher to put the Hammers in front, but Scaloni then lost Djibril Cisse for the Liverpool man to pull it back to 2-1 on the half-hour mark. The Argentine will forever be remembered by Irons fans for his part in Steven Gerrard’s equaliser in the dying embers of normal time. With Cisse stricken and West Ham leading 3-2, Scaloni put the ball out deep in his own half for the Liverpool forward to be treated, rather than thumping it forward.
When Liverpool threw it back to him, Scaloni just had to put it somewhere safe and the game was won. Instead, he hoofed it into the middle of the park and straight to a red shirt. The ball was worked to Gerrard and he scored from 35 yards to take the tie to extra-time. Scaloni played once for Argentina at that summer’s World Cup. Released by Deportivo upon his return, he joined Racing Santander and is now an assistant coach with the Argentina national team.
CB: Anton Ferdinand
A regular for West Ham in the Championship for two seasons prior, the academy graduate made the step up to Premiership football with ease. Ferdinand formed a fine centre-back partnership with Danny Gabbidon and scored two memorable goals in 2005/06 against Fulham and Spurs. He made an excellent covering tackle on Fernando Morientes late in extra-time against Liverpool, but missed the decisive spot-kick in the shoot-out.
In March 2007, Ferdinand was fined two weeks’ wages for telling West Ham that he needed to go to the Isle of Wight to visit his grandmother, when he actually went to South Carolina to celebrate his 22nd birthday.
Always in brother Rio’s shadow, Anton left West Ham in 2008 for Roy Keane’s Sunderland in an £8m switch. He later played for QPR, where he was embroiled in the John Terry racism scandal, before stints in Turkey with Bursaspor and Antalyaspor, and then back in England at Reading. Now on the books of Southend.
CB: Danny Gabbidon
Arrived at Upton Park in the summer of 2005 from Cardiff in a joint deal with James Collins. Gabbidon immediately took to life in the top flight, landing West Ham’s Player of the Year award at the end of the 2005/06 campaign.
The softly spoken Welshman played every match en route to the FA Cup final and took his fine form into the Millennium Stadium, making several key tackles, winning a host of headers and marking Peter Crouch out of the game.
A series of injuries lessened his impact in claret and blue over the next five seasons and he was released by the club following relegation in 2011. He later played for QPR and Crystal Palace, before a brief stint back at Cardiff as player-coach, which included a spell as caretaker boss. Now works in the media.
LB: Paul Konchesky
The boyhood West Ham fan was a near ever-present in his first season at Upton Park following his £1.5m switch from Charlton, earning himself a second England cap in the process.
Looked nervous early on in Cardiff, clattering into Steven Gerrard in the first minute, but grew into the game as it wore on. Indeed, 10 minutes after Gerrard’s first equaliser, ‘Konch’ put the Hammers 3-2 up when his cross from the left looped over the head of Jose Reina and in – but he was one of three Irons to miss from the spot when his weak effort was saved by the Liverpool keeper.
The arrival of Alan Curbishley as West Ham boss the following season limited Konchesky’s first-team chances in east London - the pair had famously fallen out during their time at Charlton - and he left for Fulham in 2007, later playing in a Europa League final where he was also on the losing side.
Konchesky was a Liverpool player for a season in 2010/11 but now plies his trade at non-League Billericay. He bought a pie and mash shop in Brentwood for his mum two years ago.
MF: Yossi Benayoun
The fleet-footed Israeli was another 2005 summer signing following West Ham’s promotion, joining from Spain’s Racing Santander for a fee of £2.5m. The tricky midfielder shone in his first term with the Hammers, scoring five goals – including a memorable winner against a lasagne-stricken Spurs on the final day of the Premiership campaign.
Outstanding in Cardiff, he played a part in two of West Ham’s goals and saw an effort saved by Reina just after the break, but was unable to close down for Gerrard’s second.
Like the majority of the West Ham squad, Benayoun’s performances dropped the following term and he left for Liverpool in the summer of 2007. Moved to Chelsea in 2010, taking in loan spells at Arsenal and back at West Ham, before another capital stint at QPR. Now 37, he is still playing and is currently on the books of Beitar Jerusalem.
MF: Nigel Reo-Coker
This was a time when Reo-Coker looked destined for the top. However, the 2005/06 season proved to be his zenith. Despite being just 21, the midfielder was named West Ham skipper the previous summer and his driving runs and box-to-box displays were a key part of the club’s successful first season back in the Premiership.
The former Wimbledon man would have been the youngest-ever skipper to lift the FA Cup and he almost won it for the Hammers two minutes from the end of extra time, when his header was tipped onto the post by Reina.
Moves to one of the top-four clubs were rumoured that summer but nothing materialised, and an unhappy Reo-Coker lost focus and form the following season. He became a target for the Upton Park boo boys in the wake of suggestions from manager Alan Curbishley about a “Baby Bentley” brigade.
When Reo-Coker famously cupped his ears to the home fans in the Bobby Moore Lower after scoring the winner against Manchester United, the writing was on the wall and he left for Aston Villa in 2007. Most recently, the 33-year-old was playing with IK Start in the Norwegian league.
MF: Carl Fletcher
Started the season on loan in the Championship at Watford and ended it with an FA Cup final appearance. With Hayden Mullins suspended after being sent off against Liverpool in the league, Alan Pardew’s options in the middle of the park were stretched to say the least.
Fletcher got a chance in the last two games of the season, scoring the opener against Spurs on the last day to secure a starting spot for the clash with Liverpool.
He sat deep in Cardiff and kept things simple. With West Ham leading 3-2 and Liverpool pressing, Fletcher was replaced after 77 minutes by Christian Dailly. It was to be the Welshman’s last game for the club and he joined Crystal Palace that summer.
Fletcher was Plymouth manager from September 2011 to January 2013, and is now U18s boss at Bournemouth.
MF: Matthew Etherington
Alan Pardew admitted before the game that he didn’t expect Etherington to play the full 90 minutes in Cardiff – and so it proved. The winger had been sidelined since late April with an ankle injury, but such was his importance to the team that he was rushed back for the final showdown.
Clearly not 100%, he nonetheless had an impact on the game and when his shot was spilled by Reina, Dean Ashton scrambled home the rebound to make it 2-0 to the Hammers. Etherington was substituted with five minutes left of normal time.
He spent three more seasons at Upton Park but struggled off the pitch with a crippling gambling habit and wasn’t the same player on it. Etherington left for Stoke in 2008 and recaptured his earlier form for the Irons.
Retired in December 2014 at the age of 33 due to an ongoing back problem, and now occasionally appears in the media.
FW: Marlon Harewood
As frustrating as he could be brilliant, Harewood had booked West Ham’s spot in Cardiff with the semi-final winner against Middlesbrough at Villa Park – his 16th goal of the season.
His pace and power caused Liverpool all sorts of problems in the final but his shooting was wayward. Struggling with a foot injury when all of West Ham’s substitutes had been used, the hobbling Harewood could have won it late on in extra-time, only to send a close-range effort wide after Reo-Coker’s header had been tipped onto the post.
Another whose form dipped the following season, he scored just three league goals as West Ham battled relegation. Harewood was set to join Wigan in the summer of 2007, but instead moved to Aston Villa when Martin O’Neill came in for him. He never hit double figures in a season again, retiring in 2015.
Now runs his own company modifying footballers' luxury sports cars.
FW: Dean Ashton
Nowhere near fit for the final having suffered a hamstring problem at West Brom two weeks prior, but his performance in Cardiff only highlights what a loss Ashton was to the game when he was forced to retire in January 2009 through injury, aged only 26.
His sublime pass against Liverpool sent Lionel Scaloni down the right after 21 minutes, and led to Jamie Carragher steering the ball into his own net. Ashton, who had joined West Ham from Norwich for £7.25m that January, then made it 2-0 when he exploited a Pepe Reina fumble. Went close again before the break.
Booked for a foul on Steve Finnan, he unsurprisingly faded as the match wore on and was substituted for Bobby Zamora in the 71st minute.
Ashton broke his left ankle while training with England a couple of months after the final, and missed the whole of the 2006/07 season. He returned to play 35 games in 2007/08 and later made his England debut. But he sprained his ankle in training in September 2008 and never played competitively again.
The former Crewe youngster is now an occasional pundit.
Sub: Bobby Zamora
Had the final taken place a few months earlier, Zamora would have been a shoo-in to start. As it was, he hadn’t found the net since scoring his 10th goal of the season in a 3-2 win at Arsenal in February, and had to be content with a place on the bench.
A hero at the Millennium Stadium 12 months previously when he bagged the winner against Preston in the Championship play-off final, Zamora took West Ham’s first penalty in the shoot-out against Liverpool – but his low effort was palmed away by Reina.
He played a key role in West Ham’s great escape against relegation the following term, scoring five times in the final 10 games, but notched just once the next season and was sold to Fulham in 2008, where he played in a Europa League final and was capped twice by England. Retired in 2016 after a spell back at first club Brighton and is now involved in a social housing scheme with Rio Ferdinand and former West Ham team-mate Mark Noble.
Sub: Christian Dailly
Overcame a shaky start to his West Ham career to achieve cult hero status at Upton Park. By the time of the cup final, the Scot had been mainly used off the bench that season, helping out across the defence and also in midfield. He replaced Carl Fletcher in Cardiff as the Hammers tried to hold on to their 3-2 lead.
His first-team chances were further limited in 2006/07 and he spent part of the following term on loan at Southampton. Dailly left for Rangers in the summer of 2007, winning a Premier League title, two Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup. Was also an unused substitute in the UEFA Cup final defeat to Zenit Saint Petersburg.
The ex-stopper ended his career at Southend in 2012 at the age of 38, and has since coached athletics and gained first-class honours in Sports Science at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Sub: Teddy Sheringham
The arrival of Dean Ashton in January 2006 had left Sheringham playing something of a bit-part role at Upton Park, but the veteran striker was a great option to bring off the bench and had finished the season with seven goals to his name.
The former Spurs and Manchester United man replaced Matthew Etherington in the 85th minute, playing in midfield as West Ham clung onto their lead. He scored West Ham’s only goal in the penalty shoot-out when he took their second spot-kick.
Sheringham featured intermittently in the first half of the following season and didn’t play again from January onwards, joining Colchester at the end of the campaign. He returned to West Ham as an attacking coach under Sam Allardyce in May 2014, leaving a year later for the manager’s job at Stevenage – a role he departed the following February.
A notable figure on the world poker scene, Sheringham took the role of head coach at Indian Super League club Atletico de Kolkata this summer.
Manager: Alan Pardew
A man who knows all about the pain of losing FA Cup finals, having done so as a player at Crystal Palace and as a manager with West Ham and the Eagles.
Appointed Hammers boss in October 2003, suffering play-off final defeat in his first season in charge. Under pressure the following campaign, this time West Ham won at the Millennium Stadium, beating Preston in the play-off final to return to the top flight.
The fine first term back in the Premiership ended with this trip to Cardiff. Once tipped as a future England manager, Pardew was guilty of believing his own hype and by the following December had been sacked by new West Ham owner Eggert Magnusson with the club 18th in the table.
He went on to manage Charlton, Southampton, Newcastle and, most recently, Palace, but left Selhurst Park last December – again, seven months after he'd led a team to the FA Cup final.
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