Belfast Telegraph

Steven Beacom: If Portsmouth win the cup, it’ll be an even bigger shock than the Crazy Gang

Chelsea 7-0 Stoke. Chelsea 8-0 Wigan. The last two results at Stamford Bridge.

Given that Wembley has become like a second home for the Blues in recent years, you have to fear for Portsmouth in tomorrow’s FA Cup final.

For the record the biggest hammering ever in a decider came back in 1903 when Bury defeated Derby 6-0!

If Chelsea score early against Pompey, that may be eclipsed!

I’d like to see Avram Grant’s men compete with Carlo Ancelotti’s champions.

Better still I’d love to see the underdogs win, but there is more chance of David Cameron and Nick Clegg becoming best buddies to form a government. There you go then, miracles do happen. Rarely at Wembley though.

I guess just getting to this stage is a miracle for Pompey. After all, when you consider the financial mess they got themselves into the south coast outfit are fortunate to still be in existence.

Overcoming a Chelsea team oozing with confidence on the back of a league title success, however, would be an even greater achievement.

Many of the Chelsea players are about as likeable as Phil Mitchell in Eastenders, but you can’t knock the quality of Ashley Cole, John Terry and Didier Drogba.

Add in Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka and you see a side littered with proven ability. They can even afford to leave Joe Cole on the bench.

Think of Portsmouth‘s top players and you realise they all joined their old boss Harry Redknapp at Tottenham.

Word has it that David James will do the same after Saturday.

He’ll want to go out on a high then, but he has previous in FA Cup finals which does not bode well.

In 1996, not only was he responsible for those appaling cream suits that Liverpool wore, but he also made the mistake that gifted Eric Cantona the winner for Manchester United.

Four years later in the last final at the old Wembley he was at it again, this time for Aston Villa, blundering about in his box to present Chelsea with FA Cup glory.

Maybe he’s due for a sensational afternoon.

He’ll need one if Pompey are to have any chance.

Calamity’s team-mates, most of whom you wouldn‘t know if they called at your house with a Portsmouth shirt on, will also have to play the game of their lives to produce what I believe would be an even bigger FA Cup final shock than in 1988 when the last great Liverpool side lost to Wimbledon.

The Crazy Gang carried a bit of luck all those years ago, but won it because they got in the faces of their opponents in the tunnel before the match and continued in that vein for 90 minutes, scored first which was vital, defended with the determination of Geoffrey Boycott at the crease and had an inspired goalkeeper in Dave Beasant (pictured).

In contrast to the Liverpool now, the Liverpool then was the most enterprising, entertaining and exciting team in English football history until Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal Invincibles came along, so for Lawrie Sanchez, Dennis Wise, Vinny Jones, John Fashanu and co to beat them truly was remarkable.

It will pale in comparison though to a Portsmouth triumph tomorrow.

That would go down as the most stunning FA Cup final result in history.

More chance of John Terry being named husband of the year!

Belfast Telegraph


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