In his last appearance against Portsmouth, Paul Parry was part of a worldwide media frenzy and was introduced to a footballing legend.
And, while Shrewsbury Town’s first trip to Fratton Park in 23 years is unlikely to have quite the same glamour tomorrow, the will to win of the former Welsh international won’t diminish one iota.
The meeting with Portsmouth offers Parry a chance to reflect an a career highlight and fulfilment of a boyhood dream.
It was on May 17, 2008 that the 32-year-old was part of a Cardiff team edged out 1-0 by a Pompey side then managed by Harry Redknapp.
Nothing unusual there, except the game was the FA Cup final, played out in front of a huge television global audience.
“It was a tremendous experience for us players,” reflects Parry. “It’s a dream for any boy when they are growing up to play in an FA Cup final.
“I got to 28 at the time and you think the chance is never going to come along.
“You watch it year in and year out hoping and wishing one year you will get there.
“Fortunately, it happened. Bobby Robson was guest of honour and to meet a legend like that, who was a well-respected character of the game right through his career, was great. It was nice to meet somebody who had done so much for the game.”
Parry’s fond memories are tinged with disappointment at the end result. But the Town ace knows it could have been a very different story.
“It was a tight game throughout. I think it was a bit of an error that cost us the game and Kanu had a tap-in,” he added.
“We had a goal disallowed and I could have scored one or two but we lost the game, which was really disappointing.”
The celebrations, however, quickly turned sour for Portsmouth who have seen their precarious financial problems prove the catalyst for a slide down the English footballing ladder.
“Fortunes for Portsmouth have changed since then,” added Parry. “They’ve come down a few notches but I’m sure they will be looking to rebuild and climb back up to where they were at the time.
“You had been reading for a long time they were struggling financially but four years ago they were a big team and got into Europe on the back of winning the Cup.
“You didn’t expect them to fall as quickly as they did. It’s sad to see because they are a big club and hopefully for their sake they can start rebuilding things again.
“I wouldn’t imagine there will be anybody from the Cup final playing on Saturday.
“Players are down there on month-to-month contracts and they have got a long way to go to get back to where they were.
“But I’m sure if they can get the financial backing to build it back up they will certainly aim to do so.”
Parry makes the trip to the south coast buoyed by popping up with the winner in last Sunday’s edgy televised victory over Walsall.
The winger-cum-forward, currently operating as a striker alongside Marvin Morgan, acknowledges it was a vital win in Town’s campaign after a run of just one success in the previous 10 games.
And it also saw him continue to be one of the principal goal threats in blue-and-amber, registering his fourth goal of the season but striking the woodwork the same number of times.
“I should have scored a second on Sunday,” said Parry, of a 12-yard second-half chance which struck the bar.
“I caught it well, probably too well. I’ve also hit the woodwork against Sheffield United, Stevenage and Hartlepool so hopefully they will start turning into goals before long.
“At the start of the season, I was getting myself into a number of goalscoring positions and having a number of shots.
“The last few games it dried up a bit so I had to have a look why. But I had two chances last Sunday and scored one so hopefully those goalscoring opportunities will start again.”