TERRY CONROY believes that Stoke City's current squad can draw inspiration from their part in the Club's 150th Anniversary celebrations this week . . . as they prepare for the crucial run-in to the end of the Barclays Premier League campaign.
City's 1972 League Cup hero accompanied manager Tony Pulis and his squad when they were guests at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster for a special 150th Anniversary reception which was hosted by Lord Grocott on Tuesday afternoon.
The Potters now face a vital return to the capital on Saturday for a meeting with fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League.
"I think this will have made the players more aware of what Stoke City means in terms of being the second oldest club and the oldest one in the Premier League," commented the popular Irishman in looking ahead to the final five games of the season.
"They will understand more now about its rich heritage, and that's the most important thing. People may have assumed that Stoke City were a small club in the past, but it's actually a huge club. The gathering at this reception is certainly proof of that.
"We're still alive and going strong 150 years on and there are a lot of clubs who would love to be in the position we're in, playing in the Premier League."
Conroy, scorer of the opening goal in the famous 1972 League Cup Final triumph over Chelsea, was joined by team-mates from that memorable day, Denis Smith and Gordon Banks, the latter now being, of course, the President of the Club.
"This is very special," he added. "I'm very honoured and privileged to be a part of this reception which has been attended by people from all walks of life; obviously the football side, but also the MPs and celebrities we've met as well.
"It just shows you the important part Stoke City have played in people's lives and it's wonderful to think that I'm a part of that history and able to share in an occasion like this.
"It was fantastic that we had David Bernstein join us, but we're also very lucky that we have Peter Coates as our Chairman because he understands the historical value of this particular landmark to both ourselves and, of course, to the Football Association as well.
"It was significant that the FA were here with us to see what we have achieved in that time and to appreciate the tremendously close link we have with Stoke-on-Trent."