Michael Flynn is dreaming of a trip to Anfield in the fourth round of the FA Cup after Newport County stunned Leeds.
Gaetano Berardi’s deflected opener put Leeds ahead, but Shawn McCoulsky’s 89th minute header and Conor Shaughnessy’s own goal put Newport into round four for the first time since 1978-79.
Newport boss Flynn, a lifelong Liverpool fan, is now dreaming of a visit to Anfield for a bumper pay day.
“I hope we get a bit of luck now in the draw,” he told BBC Sport Wales.
Newport’s victory on Saturday, watched by 6,887 fans at a raucous Rodney Parade, capped an incredible few months for the Exiles, who only stayed in the Football League last season with a winner in the closing stages of their final match of the campaign.
Flynn, a former Newport player and coach, has been the catalyst for improvement at his hometown club and says the city of Newport is proof that the FA Cup has lost none of its lustre.
It has been a different story elsewhere in south Wales, with a crowd of only 6,378 at the 33,000-capacity Cardiff City Stadium for the Bluebirds’ 0-0 draw with Mansfield while Swansea City and Wolverhampton Wanderers are now set for a replay that is less than helpful for sides battling relegation and promotion, respectively.
‘It is huge for the city’
However, with dreams of a visit to Liverpool, Manchester United or one of the other Premier League giants still very much alive for the Exiles, Flynn says the FA Cup could be transformative for the League Two side, with a dream draw providing the funds to build a new training ground.
“I would love Liverpool at Anfield; that would be the dream for me being a Liverpool fan, but whatever makes the club the most money,” Flynn said about possible opponents in round four.
“It’s huge for the city, it is huge, we have had a lot of tough times, but hopefully we are heading in the right direction.
“I knew we would put a performance in, the players never let me down.
“Days like today, the FA Cup is still the best club cup competition, by far.
“Especially for me, as a manager of a lower league club, for the bigger clubs, maybe, you can see why it’s not as important as the Champions League, they are under pressure from their chairman and things like that, but the FA Cup, for the smaller clubs, is absolutely huge.
“It is my proudest moment as a manager. It was great, staying up on the last day of last season, but I don’t want relegation battles, I want the big days.”
From supermarket trolleys to FA Cup star in six months
One of the key performers for Newport in a tremendous team display was winger Robbie Willmott, a summer signing and former team-mate at Rodney Parade of Flynn’s who had slipped into non-league football.
Willmott, 27, returned to the Exiles having been part of the side promoted to the Football League in 2013, but had not played in the Football League since his release from County in 2014.
He gave up on ever returning to the sport and had taken up a job as a maintenance man with a supermarket during spells with Ebbsfleet, Bishop’s Stortford and Chelmsford, a job he only left when he re-joined the Exiles.
“Robbie is outstanding and that’s why I brought him to the club,” Flynn said.
“Every one of the players gives their all, Robbie was outstanding for us.
“I thought we deserved it, we played well in the first half as well, we created a lot of chances, I thought we were outstanding.
“We worked the ball well and got a lot of crosses into the box.
“I always thought we had a chance, but these are Championship players we were up against who get paid good money.
“It was always going to be tough. They have good quality.
“I have a great group of players and a great staff. I hope we get a bit of luck now in the draw.”