Well, I’ve managed to work myself up into a frenzy over this year’s FA Cup final, and we’re doing it live. Live commentary from the comfort of my living room will start at about 2.45 with a raucous rendition of “Abide With Me” – they still do that, right? The teams will line up as follows:
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Diarra, Muntari, Diop, Kranjcar, Utaka, Kanu.
Cardiff: Enckelman, McNaughton, Loovens, Johnson, Capaldi, Whittingham, Rae, McPhail, Ledley, Parry, Hasselbaink.
No place for Robbie Fowler, by the way. He must still be crocked. Portsmouth, meanwhile have chosen to only play one up front (with Jermaine Defoe cup-tied – bet he’s delighted that he played in the Third Round for Spurs, now). I’m supporting Cardiff this afternoon, by the way (though I think that I’ll cope if Portsmouth win). More to follow later.
14.45: Over to John Motson. Wembley is absolutely jumping this afternoon. This is so much better than having two sets of supporters. Lesley Garrett, singing “Abide With Me”, has got extraordinary cleavage. There’ll be a welcome in the valleys, indeed.
14.50: First camera shot of the afternoon of Mr Portsmouth Football Club (see above), too, and he’s blubbing during “Abide With Me”. Bless.
14.53: The teams are out on the pitch, and are being introduced to Bobby Robson (who, I have to say – and mention with some regret – doesn’t look terribly well).
14.58: The national anthems. When I think of “Land Of My Fathers”, I always think of “Son Of My Father”, by Chicory Tip. Perhaps England should adopt that as their nation anthem. Answers on a postcard for what the words should be.
15.00: Kick-off. In a similar vein, I now have a verbal tic that makes me suggest that Tony Capaldi is the son of the former Traffic drummer, Jim Capaldi, whenever I hear his name mentioned. Dotmund is my able right hand man this afternoon, and is keeping count of the number of times that the 1927 and 1939 Cup Finals are mentioned by John Motson – 3-0 to 1927, so far.
15.05: They’re using a special FA Cup final ball this afternoon – quite a nice design, too (I’ll see if I can find a picture of it if I get the time). A good, bright start by both teams, by the way. Congratulations, by the way, to the person that found this commentary by searching Google for “lesley garrett cleavage”.
15.10: We’re listening to “Feelin’ Alright” by Traffic, here, out of deference to Tony Capaldi’s dad. The Cardiff number two, Kevin McNaughton, is really, really grey – a quick check of Google reveals his date of birth to be the 28th of August, 1982. He’s almost exactly 10 years younger than me, and looks almost exactly ten years older.
15.15: Parry suddenly gets through on goal, and David James blocks well. Less than a minute later, Whittingham’s shot hits his own player and loops just wide of the goal. Cardiff have been the better of the two teams so far.
15.17: Enckleman makes a dogs breakfast of a cross, and Cardiff bundle the ball clear with Kanu stretching to try and get the ball over the line. Peter Enckleman is completely grey haired, too.
15.23: It’s all gone a bit quiet after that, which gave me a moment to dig out the 2008 FA Cup Final ball.
15.24: As if by magic, Kanu gets through and rounds Enckleman, but the angle is too narrow and he hits the post.
15.26: Great chance for Cardiff at the other end, almost straight away – Portsmouth fail to pick up Parry, who has a free shot from twelve yards, but he mishits it and Portsmouth clear.
15.29: Roger Johnson comes up for a free-kick and heads just over for Cardiff. Dotmund, meanwhile, is looking up comedy Dutch footballers’ names on Wikipedia. A round of applause, ladies and gentlemen, for Dick Bond and Ron de Roode of Stormvogels Telstar.
15.34: Not a great deal of quality from Portsmouth, except when they’re going forward, which hasn’t been that often. Hasselbaink crosses low into the penalty area but Portsmouth clear.
15.38: As noted in the comments, Cardiff’s biggest problem at the moment is Enckleman, who looks rusty every time the ball goes into their penalty area. Portsmouth are on top at the moment.
15.39: GOAL! Cardiff 0-1 Portsmouth – Muntari crosses low into the six yard box, Enckleman fumbles again and Kanu pushes the ball over the line. There are a few seconds’ hesitation because of a suspicion that, well, something might have happened, but it’s a perfectly good goal. “Enckleman is making David James look like Gordon Banks at the moment”, says Dotmund.
15.45: Coming towards half-time, a quick break for the summary. Cardiff have looked pretty good apart from every time the ball goes anywhere near their goal, although Portsmouth have settled since they scored. As for Peter Enckleman, well… at least he won’t be remembered for that goal that he conceded in a Birmingham derby for Aston Villa straight from a throw in any more.
15.47: Cardiff have a goal disallowed for handball – a corner is Encklemanned by David James, and the ball is lobbed in. A fair enough call. Half-time, Cardiff City 0-1 Portsmouth.
16.05: Right, the second half is under way. It’s now 3-2 to Cardiff in the “Mentions Of The Last Time they Won The Cup” mini competition going on here, by the way.
16.11: First decent chance of the second half, as Roger Johnson heads into the side netting, though the reverse angle shows a massive deflection, but no corner given.
16.14: At the other end, Krancjar’s tidy back-heel releases Muntari, who pulls the ball back, but Kanu’s shot is blocked. Krancjar is then booked for booting Whittingham about twelve feet up in the air.
16.18: Muntari shoots over from distance, but Enckleman has it covered. I mean, to the extent to which he can, anyway.
16.22: Ramsey on for Whittingham, for Cardiff. The youngest ever FA Cup finallist, according to Motson, but I will be seeking independent confirmation of this, since every other “fact” that Motson has managed to get every other thing that he has said wrong so far this afternoon.
16.30: Nugent on for Utaka, for Portsmouth. Cardiff are starting to get back into the match, but the second half has been pretty poor, so far.
16.32: Only a couple minutes on the pitch, and Nugent has a shot from a very tight angle which Enckleman pushes wide. I don’t think he’s caught anything yet this afternoon.
16.36: It looks as if the most likely route to a goal for Cardiff is going to be a set-piece, finished off with a header by Richard Johnson, who has been everywhere this afternoon.
16.39: Papa Bouba Diop comes on for Pedro Mendes, for Portsmouth. Cardiff are raising their game, and the truth is that Portsmouth aren’t playing very well. Loovens gets up well from a corner for Cardiff, but the header is down into the ground, and bounces up and over.
16.45: Sylvain Distain carries the ball from the half way line, but is tackled by Johnson at the last minute. Milan Baros (remember him?) comes on for the goal-scorer, Kanu.
16.50: An almighty scramble in the Portsmouth penalty area, but Ramsey can’t quite dig the ball out from under his own feet and the ball is eventually blocked. Roger Johnson has taken his shinpads off. How tough.
16.53: Johnson’s shot for Cardiff is blocked, and Portsmouth win the FA Cup. A last minute equalizer for 1939 means that the score finishes 3-3 in the battle of the Cup Final Mentions.
FULL TIME: Cardiff City 0-1 Portsmouth – Portsmouth just about shaded this, but it was a disappointing second half performance after they played well in the first half. In the end, they just about had too much, but ultimately Enckleman’s mistake is probably what this match will be remembered for. Harry Redknapp, being interviewed after the match, is looking a bit flushed. It is possible that he has an erection. Fair play, I guess, to players like David James, who has been in the game for not far short of 20 years and has won a trophy right at the tail end of the season.
17.05: A late winner for Portsmouth – as the team goes up to get the trophy, Motson mentions that they’re doing this for the first time since 1939. 4-3 to Portsmouth. Well done to worthy winners, and good luck in next year’s UEFA Cup.