Date:Sunday April 18 2010
This has certainly been a good week to be a Pompey fan and there have not been many of those recently. Floating around on Cloud Nine, reliving the events of last Sunday afternoon in the national Stadium and being asked 'did you go?', 'were you there?`
Note on the door
The 1939 Cup Final will always be remembered for the famous story of Jack Tinn's lucky spats. Well it now seems the 2010 Semi Final will go down in history as Avram Grant's note game.
Avram pinned a note to the dressing room door last Sunday that simply said 'The difference between good and great is extra effort' - with the final two words underlined. Those are apparently the words of the late Duffy Daugherty, US College football coach known for his inspirational quotes.
It certainly had the desired effect of driving Avram's group of players, the ones Harry did not want, on to greater efforts. With a number of the team just back from injury, those of us in the stands were worried that the 'bog' of a pitch would sap the energy from their limbs and Pompey would be run to a standstill well before the ninety minutes were up.
But is was not to be, the entire team ran and worked for one hundred and twenty minutes and out fought their more illustrious opponents who eventually had to submit to that effort.
Of course the role of the fanatical support they received cannot be underplayed. The stadium was a cauldron of noise but only coming from one end. It inspired the men in their smart new blue kit and had the opposite effect of their opponents, some of who (the ex Pompey contingent) were booed or worse every time they touched the ball.
Whatever AG will know have to find a new message to pin to the wall for the final and perhaps Toasters you may have some ideas. However to close on the semi let's use another of Daugherty's quotes 'My only feeling about superstition is that it's unlucky to be behind at the end of the game`. Hard luck then Harry!!
David James gave an interview in the week and it contained a couple of interesting points
'I actually got a heads-up from (Aston Villa`s) Richard Dunne who had played against Chelsea the previous day and he mentioned the surface and said that a longer stud would be better. So I had the right footwear on and didn`t have too many problems so for me it has been a bit of a debate nothing really. There were a few players slipping at one stage in extra-time though'. DJ - why not tell the rest of the team?
On the disallowed Crough goal,'To be perfectly honest, at that moment I wasn't exactly sure why the goal had been chalked off. But, on reflection, after watching it a number of times on video, Niko did catch me with his arm and it prevented me from making a comfortable catch so it was a foul. There was a bit of relief at the time but in hindsight the referee was in a good position and he made a perfect decision - so I`ve got no reason to feel lucky.'
I thought the referee Alan Wiley had a good game apart from the bookings. We deserved a few borderline decisions to go our way after the season we have had. Finally on Jamo - thanks for the tip last week about shaving your hair off for the Semi-Final but at least you kept your promise to my wife of a clean sheet!!
After a truly awful season how do you mark relegation from the world`s supposed best league?
Answer - Book a huge stadium in London, ask thirty thousand friends and hold a huge party. Then proceed to drink the capital dry!! Now trust Pompey to do things differently.
Was it me or did anybody else not sleep on Sunday night with the sound of the crowd ringing in their ears? I have been to many games in over fifty years of watching football and that without doubt was the noisiest crowd I have ever known.
On leaving Wembley I felt like visiting the ticket office and ask whether we could book season tickets on the East stand. After all five visits in twenty five months should be worth something and it would stop the farce of the seat lottery through Ticketmaster when you get through early and are offered seats in the back row.
The Premier League are planning to toughen up on their 'Fit and Proper Person test' to include a form of means testing to ensure the owner has the resources to support a club at that level.
This is something I have been pushing for all season and have been quoted as saying it needs to be a Fit and Capable Peron test. Problem is of course the stable door slammed shut some time ago for Pompey.
Amid all the euphoria of the semi final victory I feel it should not be forgotten the part played by Paul Hart in the fairytale end to the season. He gave the squad the spirit at the start of the season and he signed most of the current squad of players; but AG has the tactical nous.
Time to spare
Interesting that Liverpool appointed British Airways boss Martin Broughton to oversee the sale of the club which of course has debts that make Pompey look profitable. Reds fans will be glad to see the back of Tom Hicks and George Gillett the American who have run the club for three years and let's hope they have a smoother future.
It is not true that Broughton was appointed only because he had no business to run on Friday with all planes grounded due to the fallout from the party Hermann threw in his native Iceland to celebrate reaching the FA Cup Final. It was nice to see him on the Wembley pitch after the game though.
Talking of Hermann's parties don`t forget 10th July at the Eastney Tavern for the annual get together and watch the World Cup 3rd place match too.
It was nice to see amidst all the hoo ha of too many foreign players on the game that on Wednesday two local boys pulled on a Pompey shirt for the first time. Matt Ritchie is of course from Gosport and Joel Ward from Emsworth. Who was the last Portsmouth born player to play for the club?
Cup Final Tickets
The Vital Pompey editorial team have made a decision regarding the sale of Cup Final Tickets on the site. Members are welcome to offer tickets for sale in the Forum but only at face value. Any attempt to sell tickets at a profit will lead to the thread being deleted by a moderator. You have been warned!
We would also recommend that no money changes hands without the ticket being seen and remember tickets will not be sent out until Friday 7th May.
As we prepare to wave farewell to the Premier League with arm outstretched and middle finger extended, if any of you want to offer me any thoughts on whether you will miss it or not I would welcome them. By strange coincidence our final live Sky game is a repeat of the first with Villa at home just a mere 253 games ago.
I also have it on good authority that we should hear a announcement this week on next years season ticket prices. Expect reductions but nothing too radical.
Date:Sunday April 18 2010
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