Campbell: Pompey helped me prove a point to football

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Sol Campbell arrived at Fratton Park bristling with something to prove.

He departed with a major trophy during the twilight of a distinguished playing career.

Sol Campbell celebrated his fourth and final FA Cup win with Pompey

Sol Campbell celebrated his fourth and final FA Cup win with Pompey

In the summer of 2006, the powerful defender quit Arsenal by mutual consent having weeks earlier netted against Barcelona in the Champions League.

The desire for a fresh challenge signified a shock Gunners exit, alerting clubs across Europe.

Yet in August 2006 – a month before his 32nd birthday – Campbell arrived at Fratton Park.

Over the next three seasons he made 111 Pompey appearances, scoring twice and regaining his England spot in the process.

Portsmouth was the back end of my career, I was approaching 32. It’s a beautiful thing to be at the back end of your career and win the FA Cup

Sol Campbell

In addition, there was an FA Cup triumph 10 years today, representing the fourth of his career and first as skipper.

For Campbell, it was point emphatically proved.

He said: ‘I came to Portsmouth with something to prove but I’m always like that.

‘I was like that when aged 10, probably, that never goes away, that is me pushing myself, continuing to push myself and that is what I always do.

Sol Campbell surveys his new team-mates on his first day of Pompey training. Picture: Steve Reid

Sol Campbell surveys his new team-mates on his first day of Pompey training. Picture: Steve Reid

‘I love pushing myself, seeing how far I can go, give it a whirl, go for it. I have always been like that.

‘That maybe fades away but then it comes back again in different ways. It’s inside me, it’s never going to go away.

‘Portsmouth was the back end of my career, I was approaching 32. It’s a beautiful thing to be at the back end of your career and win the FA Cup.

‘You know you haven’t got many years left, you have to be honest about that and three years later I was retired.

‘That is why 2008 is so special for me because it is the last trophy I won.

‘At Spurs I lifted the League Cup as a young captain, in my first season at Arsenal we won the double, all those things were special.

‘But because this cup came so late in my career – and usually unless you are at a big team it doesn’t happen – that day against Cardiff was fantastic.

‘People thought I was winding down going to Portsmouth but I was actually winding up. When you look at that time and see how many went off to huge clubs, it did wonders for a lot of players.

‘For me, I want to be successful, I’m a winner so will always try.

‘That FA Cup came along and was great for us.’

Campbell became the first Pompey player since Jimmy Guthrie in 1939 to lift the famous old trophy.

And one thing was occupying his mind.

He added: ‘I take being captain very seriously. I grew into the job and it is a job within a job. It’s an honour to captain your country and club.

‘Going up those Wembley steps that all those captains have negotiated before is such a special thing, you are never going to forget that.

‘You are thinking “don’t drop it!” when it’s handed over and there is a way of picking it up and lifting it up in the air without the top falling off.

‘If you get it wrong the top flies off. However, there’s a way of doing it and keeping the top rocking a little bit and it not flying off!’