Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew admits he feels the FA Cup “owes” him a taste of success after coming agonisingly close to glory in the past.
Pardew was a midfielder in the Palace team which lead Manchester United 3-2 in the 1990 final until the final nine minutes of extra-time, when a second Mark Hughes goal secured a 3-3 draw and replay which United ultimately won.
Ten years ago, the promising West Ham team he managed then led Liverpool by the same scoreline in perhaps the greatest cup final in history when Steven Gerrard scored an extraordinary equalising goal in the final minute of normal time before Liverpool won on penalties.
Twice Pardew has been close to what would be the finest moment of his career in winning the cup, and twice victory has eluded him. His Palace team last won in the Premier League on December 19, but they have impressively eliminated Southampton and Stoke in the cup’s third and fourth rounds since then, building a familiar sense of momentum.
“I still have the goal to win this competition,” Pardew said. “I was nine minutes away from winning it with Palace at 3-2, and we ended up drawing. Then a replay. Bloody replays!
“West Ham, 90 minutes and the game almost won apart from one magical moment. So I have been very, very close, perhaps even should have won it in extra-time. So I do think it owes me a little bit. I am going to go back and win it one day, hopefully.
“The draw can be important and does play a role and we were hoping for a better draw than we got against Spurs; it wasn’t what we wanted. (But) we didn’t like the Southampton draw or the Stoke draw and we won them.”
Dean Ashton was particularly impressive for West Ham in 2006 against Liverpool, but had Pardew succeeded in signing Emmanuel Adebayor that January Ashton would never have arrived.
Adebayor finally joined Pardew at Palace last month, and the manager knows that – particularly against Spurs given the way his relationship with his former club became so bitter – inspiring the striker’s finest form could be his biggest priority.
“As a manager you get different kinds of mavericks,” said the 54-year-old. “You get a rebellious maverick, a maverick who can produce a moment like Yala Bolasie. And you get characters who are mavericks. They are all different.
“They all come with different ingredients and you have to make sure you hit the right buttons with them. I like to think I am old and wise enough to try and get Ade in a position where I am getting the best out of him.
“Some mavericks you can lose, sometimes it gets away from you and becomes problematic. (Hatem) Ben Arfa up at Newcastle became impossible.
“It hasn’t happened many times in my career and I don’t think it will happen with Ade. He doesn’t strike me as that type, he strikes me as a player that needs to have faith. I am expressing that to him at this time because I do believe in him.
“I like big players, big characters. They don’t scare me, they don’t frighten me. He doesn’t scare me. I really like him. I think he is a good guy. (And) he does some good things that don’t get talked about.”