Season Review 07/08: May
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Wednesday, 23rd July 2008
When Sol went up...The FA Cup Final wasn't far away but before that we had a league campaign to finish although the players seemed to forget that as it came to a disappointing end.
First up was a trip to the Riverside where Pompey were previously unbeaten but that was about to change.
03/05/08: Premier League Matchday #37: Middlesbrough 2 Pompey 0
Milan Baros wasted two excellent chances as Pompey started the game well and put Boro under pressure but they would soon come into the game. Chris Riggott headed in from a corner thanks to some non-existent marking as the home side took the lead.
Pompey made the same mistake early in the second half as Tuncay scored from a corner and then couldn't find a way back which meant a third straight defeat.
The club unveiled a new crest and the new away kit ahead of the final league game at home to Fulham, who were looking to finish their own great escape from relegation having looked doomed in April.
11/05/08: Premier League Matchday #38: Pompey 0 Fulham 1
Portsmouth donned the new away kit for the 08/09 season but that didn't change fortunes on the pitch against a nervous looking Fulham.
Niko Kranjcar came close in the first half whilst Jamie Ashdown was also forced to make a good save. The second half was a different story as Danny Murphy headed in Jimmy Bullard's free kick and despite some late pressure, Roy Hodgson's side held on to complete the escape and send Reading and Birmingham down.
Fulham fans sparked wild celebrations in the Milton End and Pompey fans also applauded the team for our best league finish since the 1950's. However, there were now serious concerns over our form heading into the FA Cup Final.
And so after a month of anticipation, nerves, banter with the Welsh and cheesy FA Cup songs, the big day had finally arrived.
17/05/08: FA Cup Final: Cardiff City 0 Pompey 1
Fans of both teams created a superb atmosphere ahead of the game as Katherine Jenkins and Lesley Garrett sung the Welsh and English national anthems respectively. The teams had entered the arena and were introduced to Sir Bobby Robson as the formalities ended and the game begun.
Cardiff started brighter as Paul Parry forced David James into a good block but Kanu missed a great opportunity after dancing is way past the Bluebirds' defence but hitting the post with his shot when he had an open goal to aim at.
The Nigerian did make amends after Peter Enckelman couldn't handle John Utaka's cross and he was there to tap in the rebound and send the blue half of Wembley into raptures.
Dave Jones' side did have opportunities before the break though as Kevin McNaughton headed wide and Glenn Loovens' volley into the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
Pompey did take control of the second half and were close to adding a second goal but Kanu's effort was blocked. Substitute David Nugent stung the palms of Enckelman with a powerful angled drive whilst Sylvain Distin's marauding run was stopped by Roger Johnson.
Cardiff desperately pushed forward for an equaliser and caused nervy moments in the box but there was a massive cheer when David James took a cross in the last minute of stoppage time. Seconds later Mike Dean blew the whistle and our end of Wembley erupted as Pompey had won the FA Cup!
The team climbed the steps and were presented with the famous old trophy as one by one each player of the squad lifted the cup triumphantly. There was an extra loud cheer when Harry Redknapp held the silverware and the man will surely go down as a Portsmouth legend.
Both sets of supporters streamed out of Wembley as Pompey fans continued the glorious celebrations and applauded the City fans as they left which was great to see. They played their part in a final that brought the FA Cup back to the fans after so long of being dominated by the "big four".
The parade the day after was something to behold as more than 200,000 people turned up on Southsea common to see the team. Redknapp and his side are to be awarded the freedom of the city after bringing glory back to Portsmouth.
Who knows where we can go from here? One big name signing has already arrived in Peter Crouch and there should be more to follow. Then of course we have our first ever venture in Europe to look forward to so it really is great to be a Pompey fan right now.
Here's hoping the 2008/2009 season can be even better than the one just gone!
Final Premier League Table
6th: Aston Villa - 60pts
7th: Blackburn - 58pts
8th: Portsmouth - 57pts
9th: Manchester City - 55pts
10th: West Ham - 49pts
FA Cup Winners: Portsmouth Football Club