Date:Friday May 23 2008
The joy of what winning the FA cup to all Pompey fans, players and management was plain for all to see, but what it meant to Sacha Gaydamak was also obvious, with the delight emanating from him as he paraded around Wembley with the cup in hand.
He then joined the squad and all to take part in the victory parade and the sheer volume of people that turned up amazed him, now Peter Storrie has told The News that if there were any doubts that Sacha really was 'one of us' before the cup final these have been put to bed with his love affair with Pompey moving to the next level: 'Sacha loves the club, he really does.
'The bug has really got to him. You should have seen how nervous he was on the day of the final.
'He came over for the Fulham game and stayed the whole week and every day he was getting more and more and more nervous.
'On the night before the final he came over to the hotel to have dinner with us and just couldn't sit still. He felt proud - really, really proud.
'It was lovely to see Sacha running down the pitch with the Cup afterwards, waving at some friends in one of the boxes.
'He was just over the moon, acting like the fan he is.
'As for the parade on Sunday, he had never, ever seen anything like that - ever. He kept saying, "Can you believe this?"
'Every time we turned a corner there was another big crowd. He was just speechless at it all.
'I think he suddenly realised how many people support this club and the shear pleasure on people's faces. I think that got to him.
'That meant an awful lot to him. He talks about it all the time. When he went home to Israel he watched it again.'
There are always 'rumours' that Sacha will sell up and move on, but the in-depth interview he gave the BBC prior to the cup final and the thoughts shared by Storrie after seem to suggest otherwise. The reports that he would sell up seem to have come about with comments taken out of context back along: 'there were stories that Sacha was prepared to sell but there's nothing in it at all.
'I think where it came from was someone said to him that if someone offered him an awful lot of money would he sell and - being a businessman - he said "of course I would".
'It's like someone giving you double what your car's worth - that's all it was.
'He loves this football club and he is here to stay.'
We do owe Sacha a great deal of thanks, he had put money in to help strengthen the club on and off the pitch with the new training facility now looking like being a near certainty to happen, and the hopes of finally getting a brand spanking new stadium closer than ever.
Storrie believes that Sacha deserves much praise, and our FA cup win, which will now see us embark on our first ever European tour is just rewards for our owner: 'he's deserved it. He's put a lot of finance into the club and a lot of effort - without him none of this could ever have happened.
'Harry's achieved it on the field but without Sacha's backing it couldn't have happened and both Harry and I are the first to say thank you to Sacha for his incredible support and backing.
'It's great working with him. Harry and I have enjoyed working with him tremendously.'
Taking part in the uefa cup will clearly mean we need to strengthen the squad yet further, we all know this as do the club. New arrivals are required simply to stay at the level we are currently at, let alone moving further forward but I believe we will do this.
However Harry Redknapp has issued a warning - also in The News - that the added pressure of playing in Europe will make things even more difficult, with this increasing his need for new arrivals: 'getting into Europe is great, but winning the Cup was more important to me.
'The UEFA Cup puts you in a very, very difficult situation. The problem is it can have a big effect on your league form, no doubt about that.
'There are a lot of extra games and that can take it out of the players unless you have a big squad to cope.
'You think about it, you play Saturday, Thursday and Sunday - that's a lot of games and it takes it out of you.'
We will get more players, and it will not just be quantity it will also be quality, I have absolutely no doubt about it...
Redknapp has also stressed that Pedro Mendes does have a future with the club and he intends to keep him: 'I want Pedro to stay, no doubt about that. He's a good player and you want good players.
'He can get the ball down and pass it. He's got fantastic ability, he can spray it around, he works hard - the lad's got everything.
'I like him. I don't want Pedro to go anywhere, I honestly don't.'
I have made my thoughts on wanting to keep him perfectly clear, hopefully these thoughts from his boss have done enough to convince him that staying with Pompey is the way to go...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Friday May 23 2008
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