Day: April 4, 2008

It Was Forty Years Ago Today

Well, it wasn’t exactly forty years ago today, but it was forty years ago West Bromwich Albion, the last of our four FA Cup survivors, last won the Cup. They stand alone amongst the four clubs left in this year’s competition as being the only club to have won the competition more than once, but you’d have to be considerably older than I am in order to be able to remember it. In fact, Albion have won the FA Cup five times – twice in the nineteenth century and then again in 1931 and 1954, but it is their last win, in 1968, that their supporters regard as the iconic one. It was a run that nearly ended before it started. They needed a penalty to earn a draw against Colchester United in the Third Round, and another replay in the Fourth Round against Southampton. They then knocked Portsmouth out in the Fifth Round (meaning that both Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion have beaten each other on the way to winning the FA Cup), and then finally saw Liverpool off after two replays in the quarter-finals. The semi-final was a proper internecine affair against Birmingham City at Villa Park. Albion started the match as favourites and won 2-0. Their opponents at Wembley were Everton, and there wasn’t much on paper between the two sides. Everton had finished the season...

Read More

Pompey Play Up

There are a couple of clubs for whom 2007/08 could turn out to to be the perfect season. For supporters of, say, Hull City, promotion to the Premier League coupled with a failure on the part of Leeds United to get back into League One could be regarded as everything that their supporters have ever dreamed of. If there is one club, however, that is looking at having a once in a lifetime, best ever season, it’s Portsmouth, whose supporters could be celebrating an unprecedented double, come the end of May – winning the FA Cup for the first time in almost seventy years, coupled with their bitter rivals Southampton being relegated from the Championship. The prospect of European football coming to Fratton Park for the first time whilst Southampton have to spend at least one season playing against the likes of Cheltenham Town and Peterborough United must cause a small bead of drool to form in the corner of their mouths. Portsmouth’s involvement in this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals adds to the “retro” air hanging over this year’s competition. Although they have managed to establish themselves as a Premier League club that looks capable of booking a European place on league position alone under what has turned out to be the surprisingly astute managership of Harry Redknapp, their cup record over the last fifty years or so has...

Read More