Throwback Thursday: When Pompey won the FA Cup

Credit: “File:The FA Cup Trophy in 2008.jpg” by Unisouth is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The 2007/08 campaign had already been an extremely successful one for Portsmouth. Captained by Sol Campbell, Pompey would go on to finish 8th in the Premier League.

Manager Harry Redknapp had constructed an incredibly strong squad and the football on show was extremely pleasing for the Pompey fans.

Portsmouth invested millions of pounds into the squad, splashing out on players such as Glen Johnson, Lassana Diarra and Sulley Muntari.

Although this sort of investment would inevitably send the club into administration and play a huge factor in the club’s fall down the leagues, the success will always remain firmly in the mind of the fans.

“File:Cardiff vs Portsmouth 2008-05-17.svg” byPeeJay is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

On 17th May 2008, Wembley recorded a new highest attendance as fans filled the stadium to watch Cardiff City and Portsmouth battle it out in the FA Cup Final.

The game got off to an explosive start with both goalkeepers being tested within the first minute.

This continued right through an extremely fiery first half with both teams trying to assert their dominance.

With 22 minutes on the clock, a low cross was sent into the box by Sulley Munturi, right to the feet of man of the match Nwankwo Kanu, who showed some beautiful footwork to escape the grasp of Glenn Loovens and round the keeper. However, his left footed shot bounced of the post in what looked like an opportunity that was easier to score than miss.

In the 37th minute Portsmouth took the lead. A cross from John Utaka was parried by Peter Enckelman right into the path of Kanu, who was not going to let another opportunity pass him by.

In the final play of the first half, a Cardiff corner saw David James stuck in no man’s land as Glenn Loovens volleyed the ball over the sea of players and into the back of the Pompey net. Unfortunately, for the Bluebirds the referee’s whistle had already gone, and play was pulled back for a Portsmouth free kick.

The second half saw Cardiff really push for the equaliser, with a couple of chances in the first ten minutes.

With 20 minutes left to play, substitute David Nugent struck a lovely right footed volley from the edge of the area, forcing a good save from Enckelman.

With few chances between the two teams in the second half the scored remained 1-0 for the 90 minutes.

Kanu’s strike would be all that separated the two teams, earning Portsmouth only their second FA Cup win in their history.

“Portsmouth FC’s FA Cup Victory Parade – Harry Redknapp” by Sir Pix-A-Lot is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Where are they now?

David James

James went on to have spells at: Bristol City, Bournemouth, ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar and Kerala Blasters. The latter being in a player/manager role originally.

James has appeared as a pundit on BT Sport’s football coverage several times. He also recently took part in BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing. James was the fourth celebrity eliminated from the competition.

Glen Johnson

Johnson went on to have spells at: Liverpool and Stoke City.

In 2012 Johnson would add to his footballing medals with a League Cup win. He and his Liverpool teammates would also finish runners up to Chelsea in the FA Cup that year.

His Stoke career would be stagnated by injuries and in 2019 he announced his retirement.

He is currently founder and owner of Bed of Honey Portfolio, an investment company which spans collectibles to real estate.

Sol Campbell ©

Campbell went on to have spells at: Notts County, Arsenal and Newcastle.

The centre half signed a five-year deal with Notts County. He made his debut in a 2-1 defeat to Morecombe and walked out on the club three days later.

After extremely brief spells at Arsenal and Newcastle, Campbell retired.

He has since moved into management. Having spells at both Macclesfield Town and Southend United.

Campbell has also expressed his intentions to join the Conservative party, stating that he would like to run for the party’s nomination for London Mayor.

Sylvain Distin

Distin went on to have spells at: Everton and Bournemouth.

The Frenchman went on to form a fantastic partnership with Phil Jagielka and the two would play in the centre of Everton’s defence for years.

In 2015, Distin signed for newly promoted Bournemouth. The centre half would play twelve games for the Cherries before retiring at the end of the season.

Distin played in over 450 Premier League games, which is more than any other foreign outfield player.

Since retiring he has teamed up with Olympic trainer Russell Jolley to create Aventus 15, where they offer a ten-day intense training programme to get players back to peak fitness before the start of their pre-season.

Hermann Hreiðarsson

Hreiðarsson went on to have brief spells at: Coventry City and the previously mentioned ÍBV.

Injuries meant that the left back would only appear twice for Coventry and four times for ÍBV.

In 2019 he teamed up with Campbell at Southend as the central defender’s assistant manager.

Hreiðarsson also owns the Stracta Hotel in Southern Iceland with his father.

Pedro Mendes

Mendes went on to have spells at: Rangers, Sporting CP and Vitória de Guimarães.

The Portuguese midfielder won the Scottish Premier League in his first season at Rangers.

Mendes is currently working for MNM Sports Management as a football agent.

John Utaka

Utaka went on to have spells at: Montpellier, Sivasspor, Aswan and Sedan.

In May 2012, on the final day of the season, the Nigerian scored a brace in Montpellier’s 2-1 over Auxerre to take his side three points clear of PSG, to win the league for the first time in the club’s history.

Utaka now works as a youth coach at Montpellier. And has set up a John Utaka football academy to help develop players in his home country.

Lassana Diarra

Diarra went on to have spells at: Real Madrid, Anzhi Makhachkala, Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Al Jazira and PSG.

The Frenchman certainly picked up a few trophies on his travels, including La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Ligue 1.

Since retiring, Diarra has not continued a career in football.

He is now the founder of Heroic Life, a company specialising in healthy non-alcoholic beverages.

Niko Kranjčar

Kranjčar went on to have spells at: Tottenham, Dinamo Kyiv, QPR, New York Cosmos and Rangers.

The Croatian has played under Redknapp on a further two occasions, linking up at Spurs and QPR.

The end of his career was tortured by a knee injury that meant playing a game would mean missing the next couple to recover.

Kranjčar retired in 2018 and seems to be enjoying life taking time out the limelight.

Sulley Muntari

Muntari went on to have spells at: Inter Milan, Sunderland, AC Milan, Ittihad, Pescara, Deportivo, and Albacete.

The midfielder had an extremely successful spell at Inter, winning two league titles, four cup wins and the greatest achievement of them all, the Champions League.

Muntari now owns 4FK Motorsport a luxury car garage known for their outstanding artwork. Many of his fellow teammates have been known to send their cars there.

Nwankwo Kanu

The Nigerian striker saw out his career at Pompey.

Since retiring Kanu contributed a lot to charity.

The striker also set up the Kanu Heart Foundation, helping over 500 under privileged children receive open heart surgeries across the world.

The former internationalist is now the Ambassador for the Nigerian team. And owner of Kanu Sports TV.

Papa Bouba Diop

Diop went on to have spells at: AEK Athens, West Ham and Birmingham City.

Nicknamed “the wardrobe” because of his physique, standing six feet, five inches tall.

Paul Scholes once said: “You get involved physically with him and you’re wasting your time”.

In November 2020, Diop sadly passed away, following a long illness.

Milan Baroš

Baroš went on to have spells at: Galatasaray, Banik Ostrava, Antalyaspor, Mlada Boleslav and Slovan Liberec.

The striker added the Süper Lig title and the Czech Cup to his trophy room.

The Czech striker is currently playing at amateur club FK Vigantice in his home nation.

David Nugent

Nugent went on to have spells at: Burnley, Leicester City, Middlesbrough, Derby and Preston North End.

The Englishman is the only player that played in the cup final who is still currently playing at a professional level, having just recently joined Tranmere Rovers on a loan until the end of the season.

Nugent has only made one appearance coming off the bench in the club’s 2-2 draw at home to Oldham.

Harry Redknapp

Redknapp went on to have spells at: Tottenham, QPR, Jordan and Birmingham.

In Redknapp’s first full season in charge of Spurs, he was awarded the Premier League Manager of the Year, following their Champions League qualification.

In 2018, the Londoner took part in I am a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Redknapp was crowned King of the Jungle at the end of the series.

This Portsmouth team will forever be remembered. The squad was a perfect example of Redknapp’s exceptional recruitment.

“Portsmouth FC’s FA Cup Victory Parade” by Sir Pix-A-Lot is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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