Campbell: Pompey’s Old Trafford triumph made me cry

Sol Campbell, left, lifts the FA Cup with David James, centre, and  Sylvain Distain after Pompey's 1-0 victory against Cardiff City in 2008.
Sol Campbell, left, lifts the FA Cup with David James, centre, and Sylvain Distain after Pompey's 1-0 victory against Cardiff City in 2008.
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MANCHESTER UNITED conquered Europe and the Premier League in 2008 to be crowned title winners and Champions League victors.

Yet in March of that silverware-laden campaign, Pompey demolished aspirations of a remarkable treble.

Sol Campbell celebrates after the win at Old Trafford.  Picture: Steve Reid

Sol Campbell celebrates after the win at Old Trafford. Picture: Steve Reid

And it was a moment Sol Campbell admits left him crying in the Old Trafford dressing room.

In the 76th minute of that FA Cup quarter-final clash, Tomasz Kuszczak brought down Milan Baros as the Blues striker attempted to take the ball around him.

The Polish goalkeeper had entered at half-time for the injured Edwin van der Sar, but had now been red carded.

It prompted Rio Ferdinand to deputise in the net, yet he couldn’t prevent Sulley Muntari’s successful penalty conversion.

Honestly, I was crying, full of emotion, because I knew how big that day was for us. You just don’t expect to beat Manchester United at home

Sol Campbell

That was enough to deliver a 1-0 victory for Harry Redknapp’s side.

And two months later, Campbell was hoisting aloft the FA Cup at Wembley.

He told The News: ‘Old Trafford was the turning point and afterwards I was crying.

‘Not that United were arrogant, but two months earlier we’d lost 2-0 there and I was thinking “This could be the same result”.

‘That’s the special thing about the cup. Our win wasn’t a giant killing but I bet the bookies got that wrong all day long.

‘We were playing amazing players – but we all had an amazing game. Everybody was putting a shift in, there were some amazing performances and we got the victory. That’s the beautiful thing about football.

‘It was special for all of us.

‘Honestly, I was crying, full of emotion, because I knew how big that day was for us. You just don’t expect to beat Manchester United at home. Even though we had a good team, we weren’t expecting it.

‘That’s the way luck is sometimes, big performances come out and there are some really good decisions by individuals.

‘It hit me emotionally. That’s the passion I have for football and the FA Cup. We did it against the odds.

‘I am cool and collected, but football really gets me going, especially with results, when people don’t expect you to win and you do.

‘That match was Roy of the Rovers stuff, it really was.

‘You can’t be too cool, there’s a passion running deep inside me. I want to win, I’ll do everything to win, sometimes it doesn’t go your way, but I am willing to do it again.’

On May 17, 2008, Pompey claimed the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Cardiff, courtesy of Kanu’s goal.

To this day, the attendance of 89,874 remains a record at the new Wembley.

Campbell added: ‘The FA Cup is a special cup. Some people never get to an FA Cup final, some guys get to the final and don’t win.

‘There are some teams with big budgets who have not been to an FA Cup for 10, 15, 20 years – and that is the special thing for me. We got to the final and won.

‘Obviously being captain was a great honour, seeing 250,000 fans along the parade was a special time, you don’t usually see that.

‘It is a special moment for me, I will never forget it.’