Football: Sidelines: Heroes on mission to blast the past

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The Independent Online
Ian Wright and Andy Linighan, who may be in direct opposition when Arsenal receive Crystal Palace tomorrow, are linked by something altogether more curious than the fact that each will be striving to knock out the club whose last great FA Cup memory they provided.

The year is 1993. Wright, who had struck twice in Palace's 3-3 draw with Manchester United at Wembley three years earlier, repeated the feat in Arsenal's final against Sheffield Wednesday, making light of a broken toe to score in the first game and the replay. Then, in stoppage time of extra time of the second game, Linighan ignored the pain of a broken nose to head the Gunners' winner.

George Graham, who also played for both clubs, promptly brought Eddie McGoldrick from Selhurst Park to Highbury. Arsenal had previously prised Kenny Sansom and Peter Nicholas from the Eagles' would-be "Team of the Eighties", the former in exchange for Clive Allen and Paul Barron. Allen, newly signed for pounds 1m from QPR, had not kicked a ball in anger for the north London club.

David Price and George Wood exchanged N5 for SE25 around the same time, following a path well worn by a succession of Arsenal stalwarts dabbling in management. Between 1947 and '54, Jack Butler, Ronnie Rooke and Laurie Scott all found that myriad medals and caps were no guarantee of success at Palace. Indeed, Scott's reign included a plea for re-election to the Third Division (South) as well as Cup defeats by Finchley and Great Yarmouth.