19 April ~ Football fans and logic aren't often the closest of acquaintances. This explains why beating Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley last Sunday has somehow compensated for supporting Portsmouth all season. The FA Cup has been a welcome distraction from the league because – Coventry City games aside – the results have matched our performances. This is in stark contrast to the 2008 Cup-winning campaign in which we just about limped over the finishing line.
The team we had then, the supposed superstars that have allegedly caused all our current financial woes, managed to take the trophy playing deeply unattractive football. We had narrow victories against Ipswich and Plymouth; a last minute own goal helped against Preston; and sticking 10 men behind the ball saw us through at Old Trafford. A mate texted me during the semi-final against West Brom saying: "if you win the Cup playing like this it'll be a disgrace." He was right.
Our current team may be a motley crew but in an era where we question whether players care as much as supporters, the way our team celebrated against Southampton in round five is evidence that they do. We've had more than our share of luck in this year's competition: a last minute winner at the Ricoh Arena; home ties throughout the competition; and match officials getting key decisions wrong in both the quarter-final and semi-final. But the overall effort shown by the players against Sunderland, Birmingham City, and Spurs has made just getting to the final more fulfilling than winning it last time around.
The support from fans of other clubs and the media is also making this year's Cup run more enjoyable. Come the 2008 semi-finals we were expected to win in style, and unless you were a Pompey fan you were hoping for a Championship team to emerge victorious. In 2010 we are the epitome of "the magic of the Cup", and while the odds will be against us in the final, I am sure the majority of neutral observers will be behind Pompey as underdogs. I say 'majority' because there is an element determined to upset the party. Journalists and rival supporters have questioned why there aren't sanctions in the Cup equivalent to being docked points in the league for clubs that go into administration. This argument ignores the fact that measures of this kind only hurt the people that really count: the fans.
But then following Pompey this season has exposed me to just how spiteful the footballing world can be. When Birmingham City's banking dispute was revealed last week, I couldn't help thinking of the delight their fans took in mocking our plight during the quarter-final. Schadenfreude? No. But as supporters will never know what the custodians of their club are really up to, I'd advise fans of all colours to be careful what they wish for. Leon Tricker