Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The days of heavy balls

The bizarre and almost certainly suspect circumstances that have made Portsmouth the favourites to win this year's FA Cup have spurred me into a little research. (Or to be more precise, aimless wafting through Wikipedia.)

Trivia hounds will know that the only time Pompey have got their salty paws on the trophy was in 1939, and since competitive football essentially closed down for the duration of the war, they claim quite rightly that they have held the FA Cup longer than any other team. Some nerds may also be aware that manager Jack Tinn ascribed the team's triumph to his "lucky spats". What's not remembered so well is that Pompey's opening goal was scored by one Bert Barlow.

I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that if more footballers were called Bert Barlow (and more managers wore spats, rather than unpleasant branded cagoules), the sport and the world would be a better place.

And it's equally intriguing that in the first FA Cup of which I have a coherent memory (1975), not only were all the players, officials and managers English, but five members of the losing Fulham team were called John.


Jun Okumura said...

But no Tims? That must have been traumatic.

Me? There were at least four highly popular entertainers of my generation named Jun. They were all girls, but who's complaining?

Christopher said...

Yes, and when they beat Wolves 4-1 Pompey were accused of cheating because they fielded two Scots players, Morgan and Anderson. There were raised eyebrows in the crowd when Wolves supporters chanted 'Hoots, mon' and 'It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht' etc., etc. whenever Morgan or Anderson got the ball. Happy days.

Geoff said...

You'll remember Alan Taylor's bumfluff moustache then.

Could this be Harry's first major trophy as a manager? What's his record like against Barnsley?

Unknown said...

I think you'll find that Glasgow Celtic is a team full of Tims...

(or at least it used to be).

My father-in-law follows Portsmouth. I suppose I'd better prepare for a barrage of 'interesting' statistics

Tim F said...

Jun: The only footballing Tim I can think of is the Tourette-afflicted Everton goalie Tim Howard. And no Juns.

I'm sure the Pompey boys responded admirably, Christopher, whirling their wooden rattles in a defiant manner.

Must check the Redknapp/Barnsley stats, Geoff, going all the way back to the Bournemouth days. It's not as if I have a life, is it?

Ah, Marsha, the punchline to my favourite football joke:

"Sometimes I think you love Celtic more than you love me."

"Hen, I love Rangers more than I love you."

Mapeel said...

When I was at Southampton University I had a boyfriend who followed Pompey. Which is why I recognized the bright blue of the spray paint on Stonehenge when we did the obligatory pilgrimage. This was the mideighties--you could still walk right up to the stones, and the lads felt they were calling out for "Pompey Rules." What's a little sand-blasting when you've been around for millenia?

Tim F said...

That was in the bad old days of mullets and hooligans, Mrs Peel. Things are more civilised now. Fratton Park has a sommelier for the half-time Bovril.