Alan Pardew scores a semi-final winner for Crystal Palace

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

As a player and a manager, Alan Pardew has a long love affair with the FA Cup but admits he is still waiting for the romance of the competition to strike at Newcastle United.

He scored an extra-time semi-final winner against Liverpool for Crystal Palace in 1990 and played in that year's final against Manchester United, before leading West Ham to the 2006 final which they lost to Liverpool on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Before that, he had only dreamed of such occasions when playing in the early rounds for the likes Dulwich Hamlet, Yeovil and Whyteleaf but has so far suffered disappointment in the cup since becoming Magpies manager in December 2010.

In one of his first games in charge, his side were dumped out at the third round stage by Stevenage and last season, having beaten Blackburn, United lost 1-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion in the fourth round.

Pardew takes his side back to Sussex to meet the same opponents in this year's competition on Saturday and he is determined to enjoy a longer run this time around - and maybe even reach another final.

"Only when you get to the really late stages do you really understand it as a football club," he said. "They certainly understand it in the club shop when shirt sales go through the roof and everybody wants to follow your team!

"You gain fans - I remember at Crystal Palace, when we got the final we must have gained 4,000 fans for the next year. You take that forward and it's massive for a football club.

"For every club in the country, whatever level - and I played at all the levels and know all the levels - it is a fantastic competition for those players to get the opportunity to play the likes of us, Man United, Arsenal etcetera.

"It's a glamourous, fantastic competition. You've only got to look at my history with the FA Cup to know how I feel about it. I was brought up on it so it's very part of the fabric of the football person that I am. Unfortunately I've had bad luck in this competition so far and I want that to change at Brighton."

Last season, Mike Williamson deflected Will Buckley's shot into his own net as the Seagulls progressed and Pardew is expecting a similarly tough test against Gus Poyet's side this weekend.

He said: "I thought it was a good game last year, a tactical game, but we just got caught on a breakaway. Perhaps we should have scored with the possession that we had but they've got some good players, they're having a terrific season and they're a club that, if they break into the Premiership would be like Southampton.

"They've got a great ground, great fans and it's an up-and-coming club and a difficult game."