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Heroes of 1990: Where Are They Now?

20 May 2016


26 years ago the last all-English side in FA Cup final history walked out at Wembley to take on Manchester United in the Eagles’ only appearance in the glamour game to date. 

That will all change on Saturday when Alan Pardew – who played in that thrilling 3-3 draw – follows in Steve Coppell’s footsteps in leading Palace out at Wembley, but what are the rest of his teammates up to now? Find out here.

1. Nigel Martyn

The first £1 million goalkeeper in English football history, the 23-time capped goalkeeper was a member of the Eagles side that finished third in the First Division, won the Zenith Data Systems Cup and played in the Premier League, but also loyal following relegation to help Palace win the Division One title in 1994. He later played for Leeds United and Everton before retiring with an ankle injury in 2006, becoming a goalkeeping coach at Bradford City but now enjoys playing cricket back in Yorkshire as well as coaching children at his daughter’s school.

2. John Pemberton

The FA Cup final replay proved to be the right-back’s final game for the Eagles as he moved on to Sheffield United the following summer. He later spent time at Leeds United and Crewe Alexandra before embarking into coaching where he spent a decade at Nottingham Forest and had a spell as caretaker manager in 2008, but returned to Palace as part of Paul Hart’s backroom team. He is currently assistant manager at Bristol City, having reprised a caretaker role back in January. 

3. Richard Shaw

Like Martyn, Shaw remained at the Eagles through a couple of relegations but left for Coventry City in the 1995/96 season for £1 million. He would go on to spend 11 seasons in the Midlands with the Sky Blues and received a call-up to the England squad in 1995 but didn’t win a cap. He would later move to Millwall, where he won the Player of the Year at his third successive club, and that’s where he first moved into coaching. He later became assistant manager at Coventry and is now coach of Palace’s under-16 side.

4. Andy Gray

The speedy winger spent two years at Palace following the cup final, and was rewarded with his solitary England cap in November 1991 when the Three Lions took on Poland in a Euro 92 qualifier. He joined Tottenham Hotspur the following year but his career would peter out with spells in Spain and Scotland before hanging up his boots at Millwall in 1998. Since retiring he has been a football agent, managed Sierra Leone, run an oil importation business and is now a scout.

5. Gary O’Reilly

The scorer of the opening goal of the final back in May 1990, the centre-half had a short spell on loan at Birmingham City the following year before departing Selhurst Park for Brighton and Hove Albion where he called time on his playing days in 1992. He then moved into media and is a regular on BBC 5Live’s Fighting Talk show, and has acted as a pundit for a number of television companies around the world as well as Sky Sports.

6. Andy Thorn

Thorn was a cult hero at Palace for his no-nonsense displays at the heart of their defence over five seasons, but in 1994 he upped sticks and re-joined Wimbledon whom he’d won the 1988 FA Cup with. His playing days continued at Selhurst Park for two more years before a short stint with Hearts, and hung up his boots at Tranmere Rovers in 1998. He later spent 18 months as manager of Coventry City where Richard Shaw was his assistant, and after two months as Kidderminster Harries manager in 2014 he is now a scout at West Bromwich Albion.

7. Phil Barber

After one further year at the Eagles, Barber ended his seven-season association with the club by joining Millwall, and he spent four years at The Den before embarking on a nomadic journey which saw him play for Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City, Fulham and Mansfield Town before featuring for a number of non-league clubs. His final appearances came for St Leonards in 2003 and he now works as a gardener in the south London area.

8. Geoff Thomas

Captain of the side that won the Zenith Data Systems Cup a year after the final, Thomas remained at Selhurst Park until 1993 by which time he had played for England nine times. Four years at Wolves were followed by stints at Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Notts County and Crewe Alexandra before he retired in 2002, scoring on his final ever appearance. A year later he revealed he had been diagnosed with leukaemia which he recovered from, and has now dedicated his life to raising money for relevant charities and the Geoff Thomas Foundation through a series of cycling challenges.

9. Mark Bright

One of Palace’s best ever strikers, Bright remained at Palace until 1992 when he joined Sheffield Wednesday and was their top scorer for three seasons at a row. He completed a hat-trick of south London clubs when he played for Millwall and Charlton Athletic later in his career, as well as a stint in Switzerland. Upon retirement he moved into broadcasting, most notably with the BBC, and then joined Palace’s academy where he coached kids before moving into his current role overseeing the club’s loanees in the Football League.

10. John Salako

The five-time capped England winger ended his nine year stint with the Eagles in 1995 when he joined Coventry City and continued to feature regularly in the top-flight before stints at Fulham, Charlton Athletic, Reading and Brentford. In 2005 he moved into the media, becoming a notable broadcaster for Sky Sports reporting on live matches. He was handed a role with the Eagles academy alongside Bright, and last summer saw Alan Pardew promote him to first-team coach.

11. Alan Pardew

Just over a year after the cup final, Pardew moved across south London to Charlton Athletic where he remained for five years, and after a few weeks on loan at Tottenham Hotspur as part of their Intertoto Cup campaign, he also played for Barnet and Reading. It was at the latter when he first got into management, winning promotion to the second tier in 2002 and then later guided West Ham United into the Premier League and to the 2006 FA Cup final. Stints at Charlton, Southampton and Newcastle United followed before he returned to SE25 in January 2015.

12. Ian Wright

The Eagles’ two-goal hero of the final moved to Arsenal in 1991 for £2.5 million and became a legend at Highbury as he broke the club’s all-time goalscoring record during his seven years in north London.  One of the most lethal strikers of his generation, the England hitman had brief spells at West Ham United, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley before moving into television, presenting numerous shows on primetime TV and on the radio, and is currently a pundit for the BBC and BT Sport.

13. Dave Madden

Coming on in the final after Wright, Madden finished his playing career with Maidstone United in 1991 having undergone a number of knee operations. He left Palace after a short loan at Birmingham City during his time with the Eagles, but once his career ended he became assistant manager at Maidstone. Around this time he began to develop a property business which he still works for today, and currently manage over 500 buildings.

CLICK HERE for full details of the match being shown live at Selhurst Park Stadium.

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