Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew believes he can serve as the perfect inspiration for his players ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Watford.
The Premier League counterparts meet at Wembley on Sunday to contest for a place in the season-ending showpiece and it is a stage of the competition to provoke fond memories for both Pardew and Palace.
During his playing days with the Selhurst Park club, Pardew scored an extra-time winner against Liverpool in 1990 to take Palace to their first and only FA Cup final.
“One of them could end up like I was as a player,” said the former Newcastle United boss at a pre-match news conference.
“As a manager you are never going to be the hero. The real hero is going to be the one who scores the winning goal or has a great game. That is who the fans remember.
“And I want it to be James McArthur or Yohan Cabaye or Wilfried Zaha or Yannick Bolasie. I want it to be one of my players.
“They have that opportunity and I really hope it comes to one of our players.”
A once promising season in the Premier League for Palace has fallen away dramatically, with Pardew’s men claiming a solitary top-flight win in 2016.
But their manager has first-hand experience of the galvanising effect that reaching a cup final can have across the club and beyond.
“When I look back to 1990 I remember our fanbase for that game and it was completely different after,” he explained.
“We had grabbed the community a little bit. And I hope we do that again this time. I think we need to win the semi-final to really grab it.
“So it is a great opportunity for us. And on the playing side we have an opportunity to win a trophy that does not come around very often.
“We have to understand that this is special in the history of this club.”
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