Steve Bruce welcomes Jermaine Pennant back to St Andrew's with particular pleasure tonight knowing that it was his expensive summer sale that effectively paid for his bubbling new Birmingham City team.
Little more than a fortnight on from the biggest crisis of his Blues career, Bruce has taken great pride at the way his rebuilt side have suddenly clicked, turning their season round at a time of off-field turmoil with five successive wins.
Although it has been 'old' heads such as Stephen Clemence and Martin Taylor who have proved the mainstays, he is also starting to obtain decent contributions from summer signings such as Neil Danns, Cameron Jerome, Radhi Jaidi, Stephen Kelly and especially Gary McShef-frey.
As Bruce is the first to admit, it was the £7 million Blues received for Pennant, coupled with the astonishing £5 million they also banked for Emile Heskey, which has funded his latest St Andrew's revolution.
Clemence, Taylor and goal-keeper Maik Taylor lined up in the same team as Pennant at St Andrew's that horrendous night of March 21 - only eight months ago - when Blues were sandbagged by two goals in the first five minutes before tamely surrendering to a club record 7-0 home defeat.
But Bruce is quick to point out that, if Blues can exact revenge for that FA Cup quarter-final humiliation tonight, then it will be Pennant who has unwittingly helped pay for it.
"The money we raised from Pennant bought all the play-ers we brought in," Bruce said. "It funded the likes of Jerome, Jaidi, Kelly and Danns.
"When you get relegated, you have to balance the books and we dismantled the team. Fifteen players went out and ten were brought in. That's a big difference in personnel to what we had last time - a new, fresh, young team who are all bursting to play against Liverpool in a big cup-tie live on the television."
It's a game Pennant remembers well. Although he will be pleased simply to start, given how under-used he has been by Rafael Benitez, he is not expecting a repeat from the Reds - who did at least partially ease the pain by going on to win the Cup.
"The 7-0 was a one-off," Pennant said, "a bad night for the players and a sad
night for the fans but I can't see there being a repeat of that result. Steve Bruce won't let it happen.
"We have to be on our guard because Steve has got a different team out there now and he will tell them they cannot afford to be embarrassed again."
Pennant still has the sort of respect for Bruce that is only to be expected for the man who took such a big
gamble on him when they paid Arsenal £3 million for his services in January 2005 - knowing, as indeed did happen, that his off-field lifestyle had caught up with him again and he was probably on his way to receiving a custodial sentence.
"If Steve Bruce hadn't signed me when he did, I don't know where I'd have ended up," Pennant said. "Arsenal weren't interested and it was Birmingham that took a chance on me.
"When I left, it was all a bit of a rush and I never had the chance to thank Steve so a few weeks ago I just sent him a text message to let him know I was grateful for all he'd done for me.
"It was just a 'thank you' but I really wanted to say it.
"Obviously, if the chance comes along to play in the Champions' League, you have to take it. That's what I wanted but there's a chance none of that would have happened if Birmingham hadn't signed me when they did."
Bruce agrees that his star winger simply had to move on, saying: "The money for Jermaine was too good to turn down. How could I deny him the opportunity? How could I deny him a chance at one of the biggest clubs in Europe?
"If I had turned him down, I'd have struggled to get the best out of him. That's life. When I was leaving Norwich to go to Manchester United, if I had been denied, I wouldn't have been a happy chap.
"The club did great for him and helped him.
"We turned him into a player who plays for Liverpool and gives you a sense of 'we've done OK there' but I still wish he was playing for us."