Pedro Mendes’ pride at double Pompey folklore entry

0
Have your say

Those FA Cup heroes forever reside in Fratton folklore.

Then again, Pedro Mendes’ iconic presence had been secured long before that Wembley triumph.

Pedro Mendes scores his winner against Manchester City during the Great Escape

Pedro Mendes scores his winner against Manchester City during the Great Escape

The Portuguese midfielder lined up alongside Sulley Muntari and Lassana Diarra for that 1-0 victory over Cardiff secured 10 years ago tomorrow.

Of course, his stunning last-gasp strike which sparked the Great Escape is also entrenched in Pompey legend.

Mendes’ second of the match inspired the Blues to a 2-1 win over Manchester City in March 2006, kickstarting a remarkable fight against relegation.

Ultimately, an improbable 20 points from a possible 27 ensured their Premier League presence with a game to spare.

It was a great shot and it’s one of the top goals of my career, there’s no doubt about that

Pedro Mendes

And little more than two years later, Mendes added FA Cup winner to his list of Pompey accomplishments.

In a rare interview, he told The News: ‘I am proud, we belong to Pompey history, no-one can take that away from us.

‘When you look back at your career, you look back at the challenges. Whether it be for titles or a relegation battle, every season is a challenge.

‘Sometimes it is mid-table with nothing to fight for, so fighting to avoid relegation with Pompey was one of the most challenging things of my career.

‘Everyone thought there was no chance Pompey would survive – but we managed it.

‘We played very well against Manchester City and were 1-0 up, then they equalised and the players knew at the time those points would be crucial for the rest of the season.

‘When we got that winner, and the time it happened, the hope it suddenly gave to everyone was what you could pick out.

‘There was a relief – but the most important thing was hope.

‘I scored some nice goals in my career and that is up there. It was a great shot and it’s one of the top goals of my career, there’s no doubt about that.

‘For the team, though, it was important. It gave us hope to keep fighting, now staying in the Premier league was possible.

‘We had a run of results and achieved what no-one thought was possible at the time.

‘We finished safe with one game to go.

‘That was impossible to think about in January, impossible.

‘I am very proud of that, very proud of my part in Pompey history.

‘And I only have positive things to say about my time at Pompey, including everyone who worked with me, the staff, people from the board and those outside football.’

Mendes made 68 Pompey appearances and scored five times before being sold to Rangers in August 2008.