The memories of Cup glory which remain suspended in time

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey aiming for place where normal business rules don’t apply

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It’s a good job Sir Isaac Newton died nearly three centuries before it took place.

Because when it comes to science, Pompey’s glory breaks all the laws of space and physics.

The FA Cup heroes of 2008

The FA Cup heroes of 2008

Ten years on the hair is greyer, the waist is wider and the legs are slower as the body faithfully follows the ageing process.

But May 17, 2008. Well, the day of reckoning hangs suspended in time. Normal rules no longer apply.

A decade may have passed, but the memories of what unfolded at the home of football that halcyon afternoon have not aged a second.

The senses remain awash with the dizzying, intoxicating kaleidoscope of events which unfolded before our blinking eyes.

Pompey Expects. The march to the arch. Our heroes on the hallowed turf. The sea of blue. Abide With Me. Kanu’s goal. The dance. The nerves. Mike Dean’s whistle. The explosion of

unbridled joy. And, just beautifully, Sol going up to lift the FA Cup.

We’ll all have our personal magic moments to cherish. From an embrace with a loved one to a riotous bundle with your beery pals, those feel-good, emotion-inducing stop-off points all

remain vivid.

Perceived wisdom says the 127th FA Cup final wasn’t a classic. It wasn’t. Do we care? Not a jot.

What consensus does inform us, though, is this was an English showpiece event which returned the famous, old competition to the people.

A crowd of 89,874 remains a record for a footballing event at the high temple of the game.

The portents for the favourites were not promising when Kanu served up one of the big final misses 23 minutes in.

The Nigerian magician took defender Glenn Loovens and keeper Peter Enckelman out of the game with a typical piece of lazy genius, but managed to roll the ball wide of an unguarded

net. Albeit from an acute angle.

The national writers were sensing the story they’d came looking for, as a game Cardiff side held their own against an opponent of relative wealth.

But then the moment arrived. At 3.37pm John Utaka, the much-maligned one-time record signing, was the architect of the defining move from the right byline.

Enckelman’s fumble created the opening for the man they call the King to complete his ascent to the royal-blue throne, and spark his own coronation.

And so the Chimes rolled down from the East Stand and washed over us, leaving the Pompey folk to dab covertly at the tears as they welled.

Loovens had tested our nerves before the break with a hooked finish, which was chalked off after a well-spotted hand by ref Dean.

As the game restarted after the break, that galling sight of empty seats – so prevalent at the modern Wembley thanks to corporate hospitality – was, for once, avoided.

That’s because Pompey fans missing the action for their half-time prawn sandwiches and Chablis in Club Wembley, was about as likely as clappers being needed at Fratton Park.

There were other sniffs for the game’s underdogs, but the stats reminded us Harry Redknapp’s side were too smart, too strong and too streetwise to let an advantage slip.

The road to the final assured us these heroes were not for breaking.

Five 1-0 victories imprinted a steel hallmark on the men to bring football’s biggest club knockout trophy back to PO4 for the first time in 69 years.

But logic doesn’t apply in the world of Pompey fans when they can remember four-goal leads beings sacrificed, promotion lost on goals scored and an unraised offside flag and late

heartache wrecking play-off dreams.

So the clock-watching commenced. And those jangling nerves are as palpable now as counting down the minutes was frazzling then.

The blood pumped and the heart raced, but the neutral eye could tell us then as a more objective review does now – it was never in doubt.

So when the moment came the masses were exultant, as captain Campbell traversed the 107 steps to make it all a reality: Portsmouth Football Club – 2008 FA Cup winners.

Those with royal blue in their blood rejoiced.

From the folk fortunate enough to be in the midst of victory, to the expats dotted across the four corners of the earth to the 200,000 who made it the party to end all parties on Southsea

common 24 hours later.

In Pompey’s modern history there’s been more dramatic victories.

There’s been more seismic shocks and bigger star and crescent underdog stories – on and off the pitch.

But our beloved Blues as FA Cup winners is anchored in time. The victory and memories eternal.