Posted: 3/9/2008


     The night before Barnsley's 1-0 triumph over Chelsea at Oakwell in the F.A. Cup 6th Round the fans had a big celebration in the FULL HOUSE PUB, in Monk Bretton, Barnsley, where they gathered in anticipation of a cup upset, with 'The Ballad of Harry Tufnell's Ghost'.

    Ninety six years ago Harry scored the only goal of the match in the F.A. Cup Final replay on Wednesday afternoon 24th April 1912 at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. They beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 after a 0-0 tie at Crystal Palace in London. There was a 'gate' of 38,555 with receipts of 2,612 pounds, and the only final ever in Sheffield. The team paraded around Barnsley and were given a reception at the Clarence Hotel, and they gave the match ball to Rev.Tiverton Preedy, the founder of the club. In 1910, in their only other F.A. Cup Final they had lost to Newcastle United in a replay at Goodison Park, Everton, after a tie at Crystal Palace. There was to be no more F.A. Cup Final replays for 58 years until Chelsea beat Leeds United 3-2 at Old Trafford after a 2-2 tie at Wembley in 1970.

   I was at this season's 3rd Round tie at Oakwell when the Tykes had looked a beaten team to visitors Blackpool, but they came from behind to win 2-1. In the 4th Round they beat Southend United away 1-0, and in the 5th Round won at Anfield, 2-1 over Liverpool.  Hero of the hour this afternoon was Nigerian player Kayode Odejayi, a 200,000 buy from Cheltenham, who hadn't scored a goal in 28 matches.  It was a typical Yorkshire guttsy performance from the whole team and in particular Jamal Campbell-Ryce, a Jamaican born player. Chelsea rested a number of players after an easy mid week win at White Hart Lane over Olympiacos in the UEFA Cup, but had the talent if not the heart for the task.  Mascot Toby Tyke and lots of fans swamped the field at full-time but were in a friendly and joyous mood. Half a dozen players were hoisted on eager shoulders and the team celebrated in the dressing room in front of the live TV cameras.  For Welsh manager Simon Davey it was another boost to his fine reputation, although they are perilously low in The Championship table.

   No worry about the F.A. being annoyed about the fans on the pitch and a home ban for the semi-final. Both semi-finals are due to be played at Wembley Stadium.

   An hour away across the Pennines at Old Trafford, The Theatre of Dreams was reduced to nighmares for  Sir Alex Ferguson and his team, who were dreaming of the treble once again.  Portsmouth hadn't won there for 51 years and were definitely underdogs.  In the 7th minute Cristiano Ronaldo was unceremoniously barged off the ball in the penalty area by Sylvian Distin and referee Martin Anderson waved play on. The Portugues star and his boss were incenced, quite rightly in my opinion. Wave after wave of United attacks were foiled at the last second and it came down to a penalty 12 minutes from time that sent Pompey to Wembley.

   Edwin Van der Saar was replaced at  half-time due to a groin injury and on came the Pole, Tomasz Kusczak.  Milas Baros and Nico Kranjcar found only Anderson and Rooney to beat on a break away and the goalie brought down Baros in the area. Kusczak was rightly shown the red card and on came Rio Ferdinand to face the penalty shooter Sulley Muntani. The England defender dove the right way but the ball was hit perfectly into the bottom corner.  The Pompey Chimes were sung again. 'Play Up Pompey, Pompey Play On'. This has been sung at Fratton Park since it was adapted from the nearby Royal Artillery club in the 1890's after they were disbanded.   Pompey is the nickname of both the club and the city.

   Portsmouth have the distinction of holding onto the F.A. Cup for the longest period of time. They won the 1939 version by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 at Wembley and during World War II the F.A. Cup was not contested again until the 1946 Final.