THE FA Cup has given Alan Pardew some of his greatest moments in football, from scoring the goal which saw Crystal Palace knock Liverpool out of a famous last-four meeting to final appearances with the Eagles and as West Ham United manager.
However, his reasons for wanting to win the Cup this season have nothing to do with romance – it is the best trophy he thinks Newcastle United can get their hands on.
Sixth in the Premier League, the Magpies are punching above their weight as it is. The resources available to seventh-placed Liverpool could scarcely illustrate that more graphically.
However, five wins, starting with one at Brighton and Hove Albion this evening, would not only give Newcastle their first trophy in 43 years, but also book their place in the Europa League.
Pardew said: “I just think it is the second biggest competition we can win.
“The biggest is the league and the chances of us winning that with the funds we have against some of the top clubs makes if very, very difficult.
“I would not say impossible, but very, very difficult.
“The Cup levels the playing field and gives us an opportunity of winning a trophy and also getting into Europe.
“If players from whatever country cannot grasp that, it is my job they do. I will stress the importance of this competition.”
Danny Simpson is expecting cultured Championship side Brighton to prove an extremely difficult obstacle on their own ground tonight. The right-back said: “They are a good footballing team.
“I have seen clips of them and they try to play a bit like Swansea, that is probably the best way to say.
“They defend quite deep and play it out from the back and have two wide men wide.
“They are a good footballing team. Whether they are losing or winning, they try to play the same way.
“It is going to be a good game of football for the neutral.
“We are expecting their crowd to get behind them and they will be quite vocal.
“It’s not going to be easy, it is a cup match and we cannot take it lightly, we have to go there and perform and be prepared for the game.”