HEREFORD’S squad have tried to recreate Ronnie Radford’s iconic FA Cup goal in training this week.
And Bulls boss Josh Gowling reckons he was the best at it . . .
Now he now wants his troops to put on a performance their most famous player would be proud of tonight.
His incredible strike helped the non-leaguers topple top-flight Newcastle 2-1 in a third-round replay in 1972 at Edgar Street in one of the greatest upsets in the competition’s 150-year history.
He was even in the current squad’s thoughts before news broke of his passing — as they tried hit their own Ronnie rockets into the top corner ahead of the first-round tie.
Gowling, 38, said: “Ronnie put this club on the football map. Whenever anyone thinks of Hereford, they just immediately think of Ronnie Radford.
“I’m so sad to hear about his passing. He was much loved at Edgar Street.
“All the time that I’ve been here, both as a player and now the manager, not much time passes before Ronnie’s name is brought up.
“We’re going to pay our respects before the Portsmouth game and do our best to put on a performance that Ronnie would be proud of.”
It might not be on the level of Newcastle but beating Pompey this evening would be a big upset.
And in amongst the hard work in training, their efforts to recreate Ronnie’s goal were also filmed — with Gowling boasting that his attempt was the best effort of the lot.
He said: “All the lads were trying to have a go at copying it in training — but I had to end up showing them how it was properly done!”
So if someone was to come up with their own Ronnie Radford moment against League One Pompey, who would Gowling put his money on?
He said: “Luke Haines has scored a couple of screamers and Tyrone Barnett too. In fact, he’s averaging a goal every two games right now.
“But, to be honest with you, any sort of goal would be nice.
“It just feels as though this is a changing of the guard moment.
“And as we remember Ronnie Radford, we also have a chance to make our own bit of history. What a fitting tribute that would be.”
Portsmouth are a team managed by brothers who will also forever be remembered for their Cup exploits.
Danny Cowley and his brother Nicky famously led then-non-league Lincoln to the QUARTER-FINALS five years ago.
The plucky Imps beat Ipswich, Brighton and Burnley — then a Premier League team — before losing to Arsenal at the Emirates. It was the first time that a non-league side had reached the last eight since QPR did so in 1914.
And Gowling knows the Cowley brothers well from playing against their teams outside the EFL.
He explained: “I first came across them when they were managing Braintree and I was playing for Grimsby.
“We knocked them out of the play-offs but then faced their Lincoln team, too.
“They are real students of the game, want to play football the right way and do everything right.”
Tonight’s winners receive £41,000 in prize money, with £67,000 up for grabs in the second round and £105,000 in the third round.
That is before you even count the TV revenue and extra sponsorship cash that games like these generate.
And Gowling, whose side sit a lowly 14th in the table, admitted: “The FA Cup is just massive for a football club our size.
“We’re desperate to regain our EFL status one day and want to return to being a full-time team again.
“To do that, we need a bigger budget and FA Cup prize money can only help us on our way to achieving that.”