When you captain your team to the FA Cup title and save a spot-kick in one of the most iconic finals in the world’s oldest competition, people just won’t let you forget!
That’s what happened 30 years ago for Dave Beasant, who skippered the Crazy Gang of Wimbledon to a win against Liverpool – that was 11 years before Jaap Stam lifted the cup as a Manchester United player!
Of course, those are the moments that you play for. And the Royals coach hopes that as a member of the backroom staff, he can be part of many more moments like that.
“It gets dragged out every year in the FA Cup – especially at this round when a lot of the underdogs meet the bigger sides!” Beasant reflected on that day in 1988, when Lawrie Sanchez’s goal and his save from John Aldridge’s penalty won the cup for the Dons.
“At that time, we were in the top flight, but when you look at the contrast between the two sides, there was a massive gulf between finances and establishment.
“You have the romance of the cup and these early stages are what the romance are about. But it’s also a chance for some of the bigger clubs to win their only silverware of the season. It gets important when it gets to the latter stages of the competition.
“It’s a thing that lives with you for the rest of your life – it’s something I don’t mind being reminded about! But it was 30 years ago and I’ve gone through different experiences in the cup since then, and hopefully there’s a lot more good things to look back on in the future.”
Stevenage, who provide our third-round opposition on Saturday, are a club that Beasant knows well – he spent a year at Broadhall Way as a coach.
And he knows that the Boro – who have had a formidable home record lately – will be up for the game and a dangerous opponent.
“I went over there on a part-time basis because my son was a goalkeeper there – it was as much to help him as to help the club,” he continued. “It was a season that got us through to the League 2 play-offs, which was no mean feat at the time.
“They have got great training facilities, but if you look at their pitch as we have done, we know it’ll be a difficult surface to play on. We have to respect that and understand that.
“It’s important for us at the present because we need to get back on a winning streak – there’s no better place than the next game, which is in the cup. We need to start winning, which makes it an important game for us.
“It’s a game where there’s no pressure on them and they can relax – that’s sometimes when teams are dangerous. We know that they’ll look at us and our recent form and think they’ve got a chance. One thing we definitely won’t do when we go there is underestimate them – we know we’ve got to battle to get through to the next round.
“Professionalism has to be there all the way, and the respect has to be there. We can say man for man we are better than them and that’s why we’re in the Championship and they’re in League 2. But on the day, they can raise their game and we expect them to do so. We have to make sure we don’t let our game dip.”