Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Dean Ashton has told of his delight at reaching the FA Cup final in a diary entry on the website icons.com.
"It's an absolutely unbelievable feeling to be going to Cardiff. There aren't many guys who don't dream when they're a young lad of playing in an FA Cup final, so to have that opportunity is something special. With Liverpool already having qualified for the Champions League, we're guaranteed a UEFA Cup spot now, which is also a fantastic achievement. I have to pinch myself to think that only 18 months ago I was at Crewe and still wondering whether I was going to make it into the big league. I owe a lot to West Ham for signing me.
"Hopefully this will be the start of something for this West Ham team. We have to try to keep these players together and build for next season, and if that can be done there's no reason why this team can't really go on to achieve things.
"It was a tough game against Middlesbrough and there weren't many chances created. But it was nice to play a part in the goal, nodding it on to Marlon Harewood, and the way he finished it was fantastic. Marlon has his critics, but he pulled off a fantastic strike with his weaker foot in a crucial game, and that says it all.
"I saw Alan Pardew's little dance routine after the goal, and I thought it was funny, but when your team scores you're bound to do things that are out of the ordinary.
"Liverpool will start as favourites in the final, and other than a few West Ham fans there aren't many people who will back us to win in Cardiff. But the main thing was to get there, and now we're in the final anything can happen. We certainly feel that we've got a good chance.
"We play them on Wednesday in the league in what will be a dress rehearsal of the final. But with the amount of games that both clubs have been playing, I think you'll see very different sides to the ones you see at Cardiff.
Our FA Cup run meant that our league form suffered a bit, so with European football in the bag for next season, it takes a lot of pressure off us in the last few games and means we can just go out and enjoy them."