Anglo-Spanish relations were restored at Upton Park just
minutes after referee Howard Webb blew the final whistle. And Alan
Pardew is desperately hoping that will help a joint-appeal for
dismissed duo Hayden Mullins and Luis Garcia to play in next
month's FA Cup final.
"Along with Rafael Benitez, Luis, Hayden and myself have all just been into the referee's room together," revealed Pards following Hammers' 2-1 defeat against Liverpool in the Upton Park dress rehearsal.
"We've got a situation where, under the letter of the
law, they should both have been sent off but we are all in
agreement that the FA should now show some clemency.
"Hayden got the ball, lost it and tried to win it again, while Luis threw an elbow which saw Hayden turn back and raise his arms - he certainly didn't throw a punch - and it looked far worse than it was.
"Hayden is a proper guy and it would be galling for all the players and staff at this club if he misses out. He's a straight up and down professional who is having the best season of his life and it will be as much of a loss for West Ham as Luis Garcia will be for Liverpool.
"We're both playing each other in the final and, hopefully, the FA will show some sympathy by perhaps giving them a two-match suspension this year and one at the start of next season?
"If we had just decided to appeal we wouldn't have got any joy, so Rafael and myself have got the same opinion here. Ironically, we're playing each other in the final and we're not going to be affecting anyone," continued Pards, as he contemplates the loss of his marauding midfielder via a three-match ban.
"It's a shame because it was a tiny, little incident in a terrific game that has cost them both a very, very special day.
"The whole game was played in a good spirit and I was very disappointed that we didn't get anything out of this game because we produced some terrific stuff in the second half. Sure, if someone had got injured in the incident or if it had sparked something nasty in the crowd, then I'd have no sympathy.
"When it happened, though, I was thinking that an older referee like, say, Roger Milford, would have only given them a yellow card each but as it stands today, perhaps the referee had no option.
"I could sense what was going to happen, though, and I went onto the pitch to try and get to the referee before he got those cards out.
"Howard said that under guidelines he had no option to send them off otherwise he would have been punished but I suggested that maybe he could've taken it on the chin!
"Seriously, both the players may have had a vested interest to shake hands afterwards, but there was no animosity between them and the fact that we all had a civil conversation in the referee's room speaks volumes.
"It's going to be a fantastic final with two sets of passionate supporters trying to out-sing each other and we've now got to appeal, so that we can give Hayden Mullins and Luis Garcia the chance of a great day out.
"As it stands at the moment, they're both going to lose out and that's a big, big shame."