How Will The Story End?

Last updated : 11 May 2010 By Jim Bonner
It's come to that point now where thoughts of the FA Cup Final are starting to dominate my mind and I'm starting to run every single scenario in my head.

All I've heard from virtually everyone I've spoken to is that Chelsea are too good for us and that we're in for a humiliating thrashing of epic proportions. That may well be the case but just like two years ago, there seems to be a sense of destiny about this cup run.

After all, we were moments away from being knocked out by Coventry until an own goal out of nothing in stoppage time spared Pompey defeat and then Aaron Mokoena (of all people) headed in a 120th minute winner.

Then there's the fact that we were drawn against our arch rivals and thrashed them, only to eventually face our former manager in the semi-final and dump him and his deserters out, with a couple of slices of luck to boot.

This entire cup run has been played in the background of protests, administration and relegation. It has been a wretched season but there might well be an unbelievable ending in store.

Here are some of the endings to this incredible story that I have imagined, and not all of them are good.

The "Middlesbrough European Anti-Climax" Ending

Who remembers Middlesbrough's amazing UEFA Cup run of 2005/2006? They had slain Italian giants AS Roma and produced an amazing comeback in the quarter-finals against FC Basel as Massimo Maccarone's goal completed a comeback from 3-0 down to win 4-3 on aggregate.

If that wasn't enough, they produced another Herculean effort to repeat that feat again as Maccarone grabbed another late winner to turn a 3-0 deficit against Steaua Bucharest into a 4-3 win.

It seemed like Boro's name was on the cup as they met Sevilla in the final. Instead, they were torn apart by Juande Ramos' side and ended up being hammered 4-0 in a majorly disappointing occasion for the Smoggies who had fought so hard for nothing in the end.

I fear the same could happen to us. After all we have been through, it would be a nightmare to see Chelsea score first, take complete control of the game and end up putting four or five past us. It's on the cards, but I pray that just about everyone will be proved wrong.

The "Cool Runnings" Ending

Firstly, if you haven't seen Cool Runnings then get out from under the rock you have been living under and watch it! For the rest of us that have seen it, you should know the story by now.

An unfancied Jamaican bobsled team, led by a coach who was formerly with the strong USA team back in the past, end up rising from ridiculed no-hopers into genuine contenders for the gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

Just as it looks like the Jamaicans are going to shock the world, their bobsled breaks down just meters from the finish line. They carry the remains of the sled over the finish line and win many admirers around the world, although they never win the gold.

So how can this film's events be transferred into what may happen to Pompey at Wembley? Why, a penalty shootout defeat of course!

Could you imagine the heartbreak felt from our half of Wembley if our lads did us proud and held the champions for 120 minutes, only for one unlucky soul to mishit his spot kick and hand Chelsea the FA Cup?

I've thought about it and to be honest I'd rather we'd be put out of our misery if we were to lose this final. Losing on penalties is just too heartbreaking...

The "You'll Never Live It Down" Ending

How many of you have considered a scenario where Pompey win by cheating? I'm not talking about a dodgy refereeing decision; I'm talking about a blatant dive to win a penalty or a "Maradona-esque" handball into the net that ends up winning the cup for Pompey.

Would you condone it? We would have won the cup against all odds after all, but it would always be marred by the incident that "never should have happened". People will argue that "Drogba dives all the time" and any act of cheating on behalf would simply be levelling the playing field a bit.

However, I'd rather win cleanly and would hope our players wouldn't take a dive to win a penalty in the last minute of the game if Pompey are level or trailing by one goal...

The "Hollywood Blockbuster" Ending

The game begins with Chelsea taking an early lead and looking like they're going to win the final comfortably. However, Pompey hold on with David James making some crucial saves to keep the score at 1-0 and remarkably equalise when Jamie O'Hara curls in a free kick after being elbowed by Malouda.

More brave Pompey defending from the "Rochoena" connection at the back sees the game go into extra time where Drogba dives in the box and Chris Foy gives Chelsea a penalty. Lampard steps up to take it and slips, tamely striking the ball into the gloves of David James.

Just as the game looks like going to penalties, Hayden Mullins strikes a thunderbolt of a shot that flies past Petr Cech and into the top corner of the net. Foy blows the final whistle to scenes of incredible Pompey jubilation as Jamo leads the team up to lift the FA Cup.

The "Unbelieveable Jeff!" Ending

Pompey stun the entire world by beating Chelsea 5-0, after Avram Grant sneaks laxative into the pre-match drinks of every one of Carlo Ancelotti's men.

OK, I know I'm being silly with this but the odds are 500/1 on a 5-0 Pompey win if you fancy it! For the record, the best odds you can get for a Chelsea 5-0 win is 25/1. The odds on a Chelsea 4-0 win are shorter than the odds for any sort of Pompey win at all!

Finally, for those of you thinking that a 2-0 or 3-0 stroll for Chelsea where Pompey manage to keep it semi-respectable is the most likely result seem to be forgetting that this season has been utterly ridiculous and so will have a ridiculous ending one way or another.

Let's just hope it is the ending we all want!