A day to remember & never forget...
I cannot quite believe that so many days have passed since our Wembley day out, but although the game itself might be somewhat of a blur and something that I might want to forget in all honesty - as it was awful - the whole day is something I will remember and treasure for ever!
Basically this is a rough account of my day, 'the day', Saturday 5th April 2008 when we went to Wembley to fulfil the dream of seeing the boys play at the national stadium.
I could hardly sleep the Friday before, I had also had trouble the night before that so in the end just got up at a ridiculous time as I was fed up with just lying there… I am not sure if it was the tiredness, anticipation of what lay ahead, worry that we could lose or the fact that I knew I had to try and meet another 3 others in London to pass on the tickets but the journey up saw me very subdued - well that is the feeling that I felt about myself.
I travelled up to the game with pompey4me, his wife and his 2 kids, who had kindly put me up the night before - although I repaid this kindness with a monstrous curry that I cooked - so we left at 6.30ish, to our surprise we encountered no problems at all and were at Wembley car par by a little after 8am!
When at Wembley I got my first incoming phone call of the day from UKTony so he joined us then we just wondered around trying to find our way to JJ Moons… we eventually found that only to find that the rumours I had been told of the night before were true - the Baggies had commandeered that one, so we were not having that and just wondered off again…
Text and phone calls came in from the likes of Chix, jbaker, pompey pessimist, Ken - one of my long term travel companions, Richie - another travel companion from this season, also one of the fellas I had to pass a ticket too and my cousin Paul, probably among others - so sorry if I have forgotten you - with plenty outgoing to these and others too.
A pub called The Greyhound was spotted and this had been recommended by Chix so we strolled over and the crowds began to grow, the Baggies at the pub across the road and the banter began. This was absolutely amazing and often made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, the coaches that went by were either greeted with great cheers and roars or boos. Depending on who was on the coaches we received varying hand gestures, which I can imagine you can imagine yourself!
Eventually eastneydave contacted me but deciding that I could not hear a word he was saying nor he me I just texted him our location and he found us, staying for a bit before he and the others headed off to Wembley. Eventually I was left on my own but I was happy to say that I saw the Pompey team coach go by and that was incredible, the atmosphere was electric at that point and gave me such a buzz.
The worry that the fellas I was passing tickets onto started to grow slightly as it got to 10.30 and gone, Richie called me saying that he was lost - but luckily soon turned up, so I was only left on my own for a couple of minutes, if that. The other 2 tickets more challenging though as I had no contact details for them and with Ken on the underground it was a bloody nightmare trying to get hold of him, eventually he was able to get some numbers out and one of the fellas called me, typical really as it turns out they were literally round the corner from me for the best part of 2 hours or more! Anyway, no harm no foul, tickets were passed off and Wembley bound we were.
Getting into Wembley was easy as I was sat in Club Wembley seats, treated like a king and called Sir! It was not ideal and not what I would have really wanted, but by taking this it meant someone else could have my original ticket, which helped a deserving person. At the end of the day though the main thing was being there so these seats were not unwelcome at all. The view was out of this world, I was around the half way line and could see everything. The atmosphere obviously was not the same, which was a shame but we still had plenty of Pompey fans in this section, and it was literally just to the right of the Pompey fans.
As for the game, nothing to do with drink at all as I only had the one can, but it is pretty much a blur to me, it was a shocking game though I know that much but we won, and that is the main thing. I was totally unaware of any Milan Baros handball, I was just too ecstatic at Kanu scoring. Even on the replays I could not detect this handball so I was shocked when I was later told that it had been a handball, and Baros had even admitted it - I still have not yet seen a replay of the goal either! Again the main thing was though we won and we were in the FA cup final, yes the FA CUP FINAL!
It was a strange feeling that I felt after the game, initially I was over the moon at the full time whistle, I was jumping around but then I felt a bit deflated, I do no think that it had properly sank in at that point, and the disappointment of the game itself, our performance for most of the game was weighing on my mind to much, so I was not enjoying it as I should have. I tried to write a match report on the way home, but as pompey4me can testify I struggled, I really did….
What to do that evening was next on the agenda and eventually it was agreed that my cousin Paul, his girlfriend Lynne and their friends Saunders and Adrian would pick me up from Cosham on their way back from London and we would go out in Portsmouth - so we did.
By the time I got home, before going out, I was shattered but I was really glad that I did go out with Paul, Lynne, Saunders and Adrian as it was a really good evening and I think that this enabled things to fully sink in and I appreciated what we had done - as you know its not everyday that you make the FA cup final is it!
The plan was to go to this pub in Portsmouth have a pint and then move onto a curry, but you know how these things work out a pint becomes two and so on so we stayed there for a while then moved onto the curry house, by this time I think we were all out on our feet, tiredness and a few beers are a lethal combination. The curry was good, as was the company so it rounded off a fantastic day, and wonderful experience brilliantly. As it happens the curry house we were eating in was also be eaten in by Sam Matterface and guests - it's a small world is all I can say…
By the time I did finally get home and made it into bed a long day had become quite literally almost become that a full 24 hour day, pushing on for a full 22 hours by he time my head hit the pillow, and when it did I was gone! What a day, and I can say that I was there, able to share it with some great friends and family, what more could you ask for eh?
And now we have to do it all again in May, well hopefully anyway…
PLAY UP POMPEY!