Saturday April 29, 1939 - Pompey’s FA Cup triumph

112724_REMEMBER_WHEN_03/08/11''Saturday 29th April 1939. Portsmouth Football Club win FA Cup. ''Articles from The News for Remember When.' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112724-002)
112724_REMEMBER_WHEN_03/08/11''Saturday 29th April 1939. Portsmouth Football Club win FA Cup. ''Articles from The News for Remember When.' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112724-002)
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Portsmouth – a spring Saturday evening less than five months before the start of the Second World War.

But no-one in the city that night could have been worrying about the dark clouds of despair building over Europe.

Instead, you can only imagine the hordes of people clamouring to get their hands on this prized copy of the Football Mail, the forerunner of Sports Mail.

For this was the night when Pompey brought the then most famous trophy in football back to a hair-down, knees-up city. At last.

In the previous decade they had twice been beaten in the final, but this time the cup was theirs with a 4-1 demolition of Wolves.

And, of course, as every schoolboy knows, they were to keep their hands on that FA Cup for a record number of years thanks to the intervention of the war.

As you can see from this historic front page (on the streets then, as now, shortly after 5pm) there would be no hanging about for 24 hours for that glory parade.

Pompey, the underdogs, were 2-0 up at half-time with goals from Bert Barlow (31 mins) and John Anderson (44). All this against, supposedly, the meanest defence in the country.

Cliff Parker got another two in the second half, before Wolves pulled one back.

So, within minutes of the final whistle at the old Wembley The Evening News’s sister sports paper was proudly announcing: ‘Tonight’s reception. Where you can see the victors.’

Fans were told the victorious team would pull into Fratton station (where else) at 9.20pm.

‘They will then leave the station on the booking office side and enter motor-coaches for a triumphal ride to the Guildhall.’

Details of the route to the Guildhall were given and announced that the lord mayor, Alderman LN Blake, would ‘entertain’ the players, officials and their friends.

By then fans must have devoured every word in this report by Ranger.

He wrote: ‘The whole football world must stand up and salute Portsmouth on their magnificent triumph.

‘They started the match with the odds against them, but they rose to the occasion magnificently and won on their merits.’

And in the quaint language of the day, he added: ‘Portsmouth’s two goals in the first half were really perfect efforts and the result of excellent team work and understanding, finished off in the coolest of fashions. During the first 45 minutes Portsmouth made the Wolves look a second-rate team.’