Jamo: Pompey FA Cup triumph tops my career

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FOR David James, Fratton Park was never earmarked serving as a rest home to stage a career’s winding down.

Indeed, the 2008 Wembley triumph proudly tops his playing achievements – and a moment he credits for resurrecting his England ambition.

David James lifts the FA Cup following the Blues' victory over Cardiff in 2008

David James lifts the FA Cup following the Blues' victory over Cardiff in 2008

Having joined in August 2006 from Manchester City, James established himself among the finest goalkeepers in Pompey history.

The 1-0 triumph over Cardiff represented a second FA Cup victory for the ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa keeper.

It also enabled him to force his way back into England contention, culminating in 16 more caps and a place at the 2010 World Cup finals.

There’s plenty for the twice-crowned Blues player of the season to be thankful for during a south-coast career producing 158 appearances.

Sol had joined before me so I rang him up and said ‘Are you taking this seriously?’

David James

In particular, that moment 10 years ago on Thursday.

He told The News: ‘I would put winning the FA Cup at the top of my career. It is a major, major part.

‘When I signed for Portsmouth, I signed for a club who were regularly fighting relegation battles and the main focus for us was just staying up.

‘Sol had joined before me so I rang him up and said “Are you taking this seriously?”

‘After all, he had played for top teams in England, was a seasoned international and Champions League finalist.

‘I had played with Manchester City and liked the idea of signing for Portsmouth, but didn’t want to be at a club recruiting players who weren’t genuinely trying to do something.

‘With all due respect, quite a lot of older players will sign for smaller clubs and use it as a last pay day, but Sol wasn’t like that and you could tell that how he was around the club.

‘As for me, different things have different values, even if they are all great, and one event changes people’s lives. Winning the FA Cup was that.

‘I got myself an opportunity to get back into the England team and make my first appearance in the World Cup finals, that one event had positive ramifications in different ways.

‘Looking back at Harry Redknapp, I wonder how much pressure he was under to win his first trophy?

‘When he read that team sheet out at Old Trafford he wasn’t happy, I think he was hoping they’d put some youngsters in to give us a chance.

‘Then we reached the cup final and win it – suddenly Harry becomes a successful manager in terms of trophy count.’

And as a self-confessed hoarder, James’ FA Cup memories are never far away.

He added: ‘I have my medal and the Freedom of the City document, in fact I still have The News’ poster of the lads depicted on HMS Victory.

‘My mum went to the game and came back with a giant foam hand and scarf, so I have those as well. I’m a bit of a hoarder!’

Our interview with Harry David James is part of our build-up to the 10th anniversary of Pompey’s FA Cup triumph.

Keep checking portsmouth.co.uk throughout the week to read more stories, while there will be a 16-page supplement in Thursday’s News.