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By Jonathan Stevenson
1740: That, my FA Cup fanatical friends, is that for the top-flight English domestic football season. A week today,
will be here to lead you through the drama of the Championship play-off final and the Champions League final. I expect I'll see you soon enough - I mean there is a World Cup just around the corner. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
From Ed in Leicester, via text to 81111: "Congratulations to Chelsea on a great Double win but so much credit needs to go to Portsmouth for making that one of the most enjoyable games of football I've ever ever seen."
BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle: "We saw an unbelievable first half and Chelsea created the better chances by far, they could have wrapped it up by half-time. Portsmouth had one chance and missed it and when David James gambled his position on that free-kick, Drogba scored. Chelsea were very worthy winners in the end."
Portsmouth's Jamie O'Hara: "We rode our luck in the first half and David James pulled off some great saves. If the penalty had gone in then we would have to defend for our lives, but it wasn't meant to be this time. We're gutted we couldn't get a result. It would have been lovely to go out with a big win. We're a massive club with great fans and we'll be back."
From Keith on 606:
"The Wembley pitch is an absolute disgrace. Please move the final back to the Millennium Stadium."
1725: Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last 29 matches against Portsmouth, but I wonder when these two clubs are going to meet again? To be fair, even if they never play again, they've given us an absolute humdinger to go out on.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti: "For the club it is very important to win the Double and for me also. But what an unbelievable game. We were unlucky in the first half, but it can happen in football - though hitting the woodwork five times in one half has never happened to me before. Their missed penalty was the key moment I think."
1720: The Chelsea players are still singing and dancing on the Wembley pitch, doesn't look like they ever want to leave. They're going to have one hell of a party tonight, for sure.
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole on his record sixth FA Cup winners medal: "To be the out-and-out record holder is a great achievement for me, I'm really happy. To do the Double here is fantastic and although this wasn't the greatest of games we got the job done in the end. We did think it might be one of those games, but we've got great characters here and we pulled through."
Portsmouth boss Avram Grant: "It's a day when I'm both very proud and very sad. We had a chance to win the game but we didn't do it. It has been an unbelievable season and I won't forget it. We win as a team and lose as a team. Unfortunately this has happened to me in two finals at Wembley now [referring to the defeat to Tottenham in the League Cup in 2008 when he was at Chelsea]."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Portsmouth will point to Kevin-Prince Boateng's missed penalty, but Chelsea thoroughly deserved this victory. And what a personal triumph for Carlo Ancelotti to win the Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season. The rise of the Champions League has overshadowed the domestic competitions in recent years, but no-one should under-estimate the scale of his, and Chelsea's, achievement. For Pompey, the fairytale had no happy ending and it is back to grim reality."
1707: John Terry leads the Chelsea players up the steps at Wembley and, together with his best mate Frank Lampard, he holds the FA Cup aloft. They've become quite adept at lifting trophies over the years, these two. Let's hope they get their hands on another before the summer's out.
1705: Avram Grant hugs his son, dons a Pompey scarf and then gets an almighty ovation from both sets of supporters as he collects his medal. What a tremendous achievement, getting this club to the FA Cup final.
Chelsea match-winner Didier Drogba: "This is fantastic - we've achieved the Double. It was difficult to remain focused for the FA Cup after winning the title last weekend. I saw a little gap for the free-kick and although I hit the post again it went in this time."
1703: David James leads the Portsmouth players up the steps at Wembley to collect their runner-up medals. Many of these footballers will never play for Pompey again.
Chelsea captain John Terry: "It feels incredible to win the Double. We hit the woodwork so many times but got a great goal from Didier in the end. But that's why we won the league, because we never gave up. The playing surface wasn't good enough for a Wembley pitch. It's the worst pitch I've played on all year, it's simply not good enough - terrible."
BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor: "Quite honestly, what does the future hold for Portsmouth? I mean they will be in the Championship next season, possibly with a 17-point penalty? It's a fingers crossed scenario for this football club, we'll just have to wait and see. But you cannot get better supporters than theirs."
1659: What is it about Avram Grant and penalties? Two years on from losing the Champions League final in a shootout to Manchester United when he was Chelsea boss, he sees another penalty prove decisive in a Cup final. The likeable Israeli must never want to see another spot-kick for as long as he lives.
Chelsea keeper Petr Cech: "During the game there were a lot of emotions. We wanted to be the first team in this club's history to win the Double and we have done, as well as defending the FA Cup. We kept missing and missing and missing, but to make two crucial saves, I'm really happy with that."
1655: The Chelsea players get together immediately for a group huddle - they have won the club's first ever Double, a magnificent achievement. The Pompey players slump to the turf, many of them already with tears in their eyes. Wembley really is no place for losers.
CHELSEA HAVE WON THE FA CUP
1653: Full-time Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
1653: Kanu's cross falls perfectly for Petr Cech.
1652: Chelsea try to keep the ball in the corner and Michael Brown goes in hard on Daniel Sturridge. Quite a few of the Chelsea players are angry with Brown, it seems. Never saw that coming...
1651: Two minutes left. Chelsea have got the ball. That's no good for Portsmouth.
1650: Into injury time at Wembley and we'll have three minutes of the stuff. Chelsea take Nicolas Anelka off and send on Daniel Sturridge.
1648: Amazing. Frank Lampard surges into the Pompey box and is brought down by Michael Brown. Lampard himself steps up and drags his penalty wide of David James' right-hand post as the keeper went the right way. This is a truly remarkable final.
1648: MISSED PENALTY
1647: PENALTY TO CHELSEA
1645: Five minutes left. It's Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth. Nadir Belhadj's cross from the left is missed by the head of John Utaka and at the back post Aruna Dindane cannot get his shot on target. Frankly Utaka's "effort" to head the ball was pathetic with four minutes left of a Cup final.
1643: Aruna Dindane slides in on Ashley Cole and catches the left-back on his left ankle. It's a naughty challenge and Cole is lucky that he's not got a World Cup-threatening injury.
1642: My, my, my. Steve Finnan plays a fine diagonal ball out to the left to Nadir Balhadj and his first touch is a left-foot volleyed cross right across the six-yard box that Alex misses and just as Aruna Dindane prepares to pull the trigger, John Terry deflects it wide. Fabulous defending from the England man.
1640: Portsmouth enjoy a little more possession, but their build-up play is so slow and deliberate that Chelsea can get all their men behind the ball. Kanu comes on for Papa Bouba Diop, while Nadir Belhadj comes on for Hayden Mullins.
From Shai, via text to +44 7786200666: "Heartening for SA fans to see Mokoena's fighting spirit and we're hopeful he can infuse it in the rest of his troops against Mexico, France and Uruguay."
1637: Frank Lampard swings wildly left-footed over from about the penalty spot as Chelsea try to get that killer second goal. Pompey are struggling - and on their bench, Kevin Prince-Boateng looks absolutely distraught.
1635: Nicolas Anelka is allowed to run at the heart of the Pompey defence and the Frenchman slams a right-foot shot just past the angle of David James' left-hand post and crossbar.
1633: Pompey take a disconsolate Kevin Prince-Boateng off for the speed merchant John Utaka.
1631: Chance for Chelsea to wrap it up as Didier Drogba races between two tackles, but David James makes a decent save with his legs and then Joe Cole's effort on the rebound is blocked and then cleared.
1630: About 20 minutes left at Wembley and in the sunshine it remains Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth. The Blues bring on Joe Cole to huge cheers for Salomon Kalou.
1628: The camera pans to (Nwankwo) Kanu, the man who scored Portsmouth's FA Cup final winner in 2008. Can the Nigerian have a telling impact on this final too? Will he even get on?
From Jason, Watford, via text to 81111: "Is KPB the only German who is a useless penalty taker? If only he were playing for Germany in the WC and not Ghana."
1625: Aruna Dindane plays a one-two and tries to latch on to the give-and-go, only to be unceremoniously barged to the floor by John Terry. Ridiculous that the Chelsea captain escapes a booking.
1625: Our friends at Infostrada Sports have this to say about goal machine Didier Drogba. The Ivorian has scored in each of his six cup matches at Wembley Stadium - adding today's goal to two previous FA Cup finals, the last two FA Cup semi-finals and one League Cup final. His tally for this season is now 37, the joint-second best for a Chelsea forward - only Jimmy Greaves has scored more in a single season (1960-61).
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "All that was missing from this wonderful FA Cup final was a goal - and perhaps a missed penalty - and now we have had both. Didier Drogba's free-kick struck the post again, but so low down and with such perfect placement that it remained just out of the reach of David James. Pompey will point to Boateng's shocking penalty miss, but this lead is no more than Chelsea deserve."
1622: Branislav Ivanovic and Salomon Kalou combine down the Chelsea right and it ends with the Serb teeing up the Ivorian to slide wide from 14 yards. Some of the Pompey players are starting to flag.
1620: Half-chance for Portsmouth there. A ball into the Chelsea box falls to Aruna Dindane, but the control is difficult and his heavy touch takes it straight to Petr Cech.
Chelsea goal: Cruel, cruel game, this football. The Blues go down up the other end and win a free-kick 25 yards out, left of centre. Didier Drogba steps up and slams it in-off David James' left-hand post, beyond the 39-year-old's flailing dive. The wall was a mess, and frankly James probably should have saved it.
1618: GOAL Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
1618: Dave Beasant it wasn't, but was that penalty save Portsmouth's best chance of winning this match gone?
1616: Oh you just cannot make any of this up. Aruna Dindane skins Juliano Belletti down the Pompey right and gets into the box, the Chelsea sub bringing him down inside the area for a stonewall penalty. Kevin Prince-Boateng steps up and even though Petr Cech goes to his right early, the penalty is poor and central and the Czech keeper's legs get in the way. Oh my.
1616: PENALTY SAVED
1615: PENALTY TO PORTSMOUTH
1614: Branislav Ivanovic fouls Frederic Piquionne and Pompey are causing some real problems for the Premier League champions at the moment.
1613: Pompey are the better team in the second half and Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard clap their hands to try and get their Chelsea team-mates going.
1611: Pompey are seeing a bit of the ball, but there aren't many options for them and they are playing the game at walking pace mostly. A free-kick into the Chelsea box finds Kevin Prince-Boateng on the left-hand edge of the Blues six-yard box, but his well-struck left-foot shot sizzles past the far angle of Petr Cech's goal.
1608: Didier Drogba accidentally heads the back of Kevin Prince-Boateng's head and the groggy Pompey forward needs a little bit of treatment. He'll be fine to continue, though. No woodwork in the second half, yet.
From optajoe on Twitter:
"Chelsea have already hit the woodwork as many times today (5) as Portsmouth did in the entire 2009/10 PL season. Cursed?"
1605: Back under way at Wembley. More of the same in the drama stakes, please.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Chelsea must be wondering how they are not ahead after striking the woodwork five times in the first 45 minutes. A Wembley record? Common sense and logic suggests Portsmouth's luck cannot hold, but since when have common sense and logic applied to anything connected with Fratton Park this season?"
1600: Do you think 'The Woodwork Final' will catch on? Oooh I do hope so, it's got a lovely ring to it. Maybe Portsmouth have created some sort of forcefield to put around their goal and they're going to nick it 1-0. Or maybe Chelsea will win 2-0 and this obsession with the post/bar combo will all be forgotten. Who knows?
From ShotsPaauul on 606:
"Mokoena has been incredible so far, he's throwing himself into absolutely everything. Play up Pompey!"
From Andy, north Wales, via text to 81111: "Best 0-0 half of football ever, Stevo?" I'm struggling to think of a better one, honestly
BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle: "They can take a bit of belief from that half into the dressing-room, Portsmouth. I don't know how it's 0-0, but they've looked dangerous on the diagonal ball and somehow they are still right in this game."
1549: Half-time Chelsea 0-0 Portsmouth It's not often that the goal frame is the major talking point in a Cup final, but boy has Pompey's goal led a charmed life. We've had an incredible miss, an incredible save - five times the Premier League champions have hit the post or bar, but it remains goalless. I'm almost lost for words.
1547: We're into first-half injury time. How? Just... how?
1546: Chelsea hit the post again - but this time it wouldn't have counted anyway because Branislav Ivanovic was off the pitch when he headed against the woodwork. The Serb initially did well to get into the box down the right, but Aaron Mokoena headed his cross away from inside the six-yard box to avert the danger. How on earth is this still 0-0?
1544: Michael Ballack has tried to carry on, but the injury to his right ankle eventually forces him off. This might be his last appearance in a Chelsea shirt and Juliano Belletti comes on to replace the German, who wistfully shakes his head.
1543: Didier Drogba slaps the woodwork - I probably don't even need to tell you what's happened there. He collects a cross inside the Pompey box on the left and beats David James with his Romario-esque toe-poked finish, only to see it smack against the bottom of the post and roll behind for a corner. Five times, in case you've lost count. Incredible.
1540: It's either another massive stroke of luck for Pompey, or one of the greatest FA Cup final saves of all time - Didier Drogba's 25-yard free-kick is flying towards David James's top right-hand corner, but the 39-year-old arcs his back and sticks out his right hand, tipping it on to the underside of the bar and down on to the line. At first glance it looks in, but the assistant referee says no. After a replay, it looks like a magnificent decision. What a game this is.
1538: Michael Ballack needs some treatment on the pitch - that was heavy from the Pompey player. Nervous times for the Germans and their manager Joachim Low ahead of the World Cup.
1537: Frederic Piquionne is played into space down the Pompey left and he turns the ball inside the Chelsea area for Aruna Dindane, but his left-foot shot is totally mis-hit and Chelsea survive. Moments later, Kevin Prince-Boateng is booked for a poor challenge on Michael Ballack.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Lively stuff this despite a very dubious Wembley surface - again. It certainly cannot be blamed for the two big moments of the game so far, namely Frederic Piquionne's miss from inside the six-yard box, although credit Petr Cech's reflexes, and Salomon Kalou hitting the bar in front of an open goal. Chelsea in the ascendancy but Pompey full of heart."
1534: Michael Ballack and Aruna Dindane are involved in a few handbags and then Kevin Prince-Boateng gets involved with the German. There's nothing much doing and referee Chris Foy has a quiet word, keeping his cards in his pocket all the while.
From DBennellick on Twitter:
"Stevo, why are Chelski sporting red collars? And can you give Claire, Daisy, Poppy and I a shout out." Apparently, it's in tribute to the London borough's famous OAPs, the Chelsea pensioners.
1531: Dictionary definition: towering header. John Terry climbs high at the far post to power a header goalwards from Florent Malouda's free-kick, but to Chelsea's horror once more, the ball again strikes David James' crossbar. This is remarkable. It's the Woodwork Final so far.
1528: That's the most astonishing miss in FA Cup final history. Ashley Cole catches up with the ball on the left byeline inside the Pompey box and fires a cross that finds Salomon Kalou four yards out. He must score, but somehow the Ivorian's shinned shot hits the crossbar and David James collects the rebound. It's incredible.
1523: This is turning into a classic already. Aruna Dindane gets to the byeline on the Pompey right and fires over a cross that Kevin Prince-Boateng volleys goalwards - it's deflected goalwards four yards out by Frederic Piquionne and somehow Petr Cech sticks out his left hand and makes a stunning reflex save. Wow.
1522: Unbelievable. It's a bit like the Alamo already. Chelsea move in inside the Pompey box from right to left and twice Didier Drogba seems certain to score, but twice Aaron Mokoena gets in fabulous blocks to keep the scores level. Phenomenal last-ditch defending.
1521: Every time Pompey get the ball Chelsea are seriously harrying them, not giving them any time to pass the ball around. Jamie O'Hara slides in on Michael Ballack and is a bit lucky perhaps not to be shown a yellow for that.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Michael Brown's main purpose early on appears to be the role of niggling Frank Lampard - it is a job he usually accepts with relish. Not sure it's working so far though as Lampard has twice shrugged off his close attentions to almost give Chelsea the lead. Worth keeping an eye on that one."
1517: By the way, it's a landmark occasion for venerable Pompey goalkeeper David James - our friends at Infostrada Sports tell us he's become the oldest goalkeeper to play in an FA Cup final at 39 years and 287 days old - beating David Seaman's 2003 mark by 47 days.
1516: Nicolas Anelka cuts in from the Chelsea left and fires a shot in at the near post that David James gets down well to save. The Premier League champions are turning up the heat inside Wembley.
1515: Can't help but think Michael Brown shouldn't be trying to get Frank Lampard angry. The England man hammers a glorious 30-yard right-footer that screams past David James and clatters against the outside of the post.
1514: Who had 13 minutes for Michael Brown's first foul? He puts his arm across Frank Lampard and then seems to go through the back of the Chelsea midfielder. Carlo Ancelotti and Ray Wilkins are furious, but Chris Foy has a word with Brown and doesn't get his card out.
1513: Frank Lampard's effort is low and bobbling and poor and suddenly Pompey are breaking with the pace of Aruna Dindane, but his touch is a bit heavy and Ashley Cole thwacks the ball away.
1512: Nicolas Anelka is chopped to the floor by Papa Bouba Diop and Chelsea have a free-kick in a very dangerous position, 25 yards out and about 10 yards left of centre.
From Dan, Manchester, via text to 81111: "The anthem had me in tears and dreaming of a summer we'll never forget. But for now, PLAY UP POMPEY."
1509: Pompey enjoy some possession in the Chelsea half, but Jamie O'Hara shanks a cross behind Petr Cech's goal. Avram Grant's side aren't committing too many men forward, but they look fairly comfortable.
1509: It's a scrappy start so far, the only sign of quality that Frank Lampard flick that almost led to a goal. Think Pompey will be the happier of the two teams right now.
From GraymeadYNWA on 606:
"Pitch is definitely in Pompey's favour. It will suit their long ball game, and not Chelsea's passing game."
1505: Thought that was in. One neat touch from Frank Lampard puts Nicolas Anelka into miles of space and after his shot is blocked by Aaron Mokoena, Lampard slams the rebound inches wide from the edge of the box.
1504: Jamie O'Hara pings a 40-yard pass from right to left to Frederic Piquionne, but the Pompey man is flagged offside. The glare the striker gives the assistant referee is brutal.
1502: We've had 26 seconds, so no new fastest goalscoring record today.
1501: The 129th FA Cup final kicks off at Wembley, with Chelsea taking on Portsmouth.
1500: Captains David James and John Terry swap pennants in the centre circle and we're just seconds away from getting under way.
1457: Thanks. Thanks very much. The players shake hands and they're about to go through their final warm-ups.
1456: National anthem time. Quiet please.
From curly_jack on Twitter:
"Watching in Melbourne, 12am KO, not the same as being in the pub at 3pm. Pompey for a Cup upset... 3-2 after extra time?!?!"
1454: The players emerge from the tunnel, just behind referee Chris Foy from Merseyside. It's a sea of blue at the home of English football, the flag helping make the stadium a magnificent spectacle as we prepare for the FA Cup final.
1453: John Terry, Frank Lampard and some of the other players shake hands with His Royal Highness Prince William in the tunnel at Wembley. The Chelsea boys look very focussed. David James has got that pink goalie top on again. I'm suddenly even more excited.
1451: Big day for Ashley Cole - the England left-back can become the FA Cup's most successful player of all time today if he collects his sixth winner's medal. He's currently level on five with The Wanderers' pair Charles Wollaston and Arthur Kinnaird and Blackburn's James Forrest. Cole has won it three times with Arsenal and so far twice with the Blues.
1449: It's 'Abide With Me'. Genius.
1445: The teams will be out soon at Wembley, which means the traditional singing of Henry Lyte's famous hymn 'Abide With Me' will soon be blaring out. It's an FA Cup final day ritual that goes all the way back to 1927, when Cardiff City beat Arsenal 1-0 - the first final to be broadcast on BBC Radio.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti: "There is a great opportunity to win the Double for the first time for Chelsea. It is a fantastic motivation for me. The only thing to look at is controlling the pressure on the players. If the players feel too much pressure, you have to change this and maintain control. You have to have courage and personality. In a final, fear is the worst thing."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Portsmouth fans are fostering the "us against the world" spirit with their banners around Wembley. They have defied the odds throughout this FA Cup run, but today is their biggest challenge against a Chelsea side with sights set on making history by winning the double for the first time."
From Rob, Derby, via text to 81111: "Stevo, earlier this season I was praying Pompey would break our lowest ever Premier League total. Don't dangle the carrot of losing another worst team in history tag in front of us Rams." Oh come on. Allow me a little joy this week.
1434: And Pompey fans, bear this in mind: Going into the 2002 World Cup's opening game, Senegal were 10-1 against beating holders and Euro 2000 champions France, only for a certain Papa Bouba Diop to score as the west Africans stunned the planet with a 1-0 win. What odds on 'The Wardrobe' coming up with the goods once more today? Eh?
1432: The camera pans around Wembley to the Portsmouth fans and two of their banners read "You'll never break our spirit" and "Against all odds". It has been an astonishing route to the FA Cup final this season, and it would arguably be one of the competition's great shocks if Pompey beat Chelsea today.
From MCFC_TID on 606:
"Most of Britain will be hoping for Pompey to take a cup down with them to the Championship, but I just can't see it. Chelsea will be buoyed after winning the league with their thrashing of Wigan. 4-0 to the Blues for a historic Double."
1427: Chelsea v Portsmouth team news: Carlo Ancelotti goes for the same Chelsea team that started in the demolition of Wigan in their final league game of the season. Branislav Ivanovic has overcome a knee problem and Joe Cole is still on the bench. Portsmouth struggled with the fitness of eight players this week but Jamie O'Hara gets the nod, Kevin-Prince Boateng has recovered from an ankle injury and starts alongside Papa Bouba Diop in midfield with Frederic Piquionne playing up front.
1422: The Chelsea players, to warm applause, jog out on to the Wembley pitch to go through their warm-up routine in the bright sunshine. I wonder what's going through their minds, the 1-6 favourites to lift the FA Cup this afternoon.
From Anon, via text to 81111: "Stevo, are you off your trolley? There's more chance of Drogba playing for England in the World Cup than that scoreline."
Football League Danny: "League One play-off semi-final first leg result - Huddersfield 0-0 Millwall. So, not a classic by any means, but it's going to be super-tense at the New Den on Tuesday when they meet for the deciding leg. Winners play Charlton or Swindon."
1414: Nothing comes easy to Portsmouth this season, does it? Not only were delays caused on the rail network in parts of Hampshire this morning after a wheelie bin became stuck under a train in the Liphook area, but there were two separate reports of disruption on the M3 too. Send us your travel stories (if you've got a good one).
1411: If anyone's interested, the record score in an FA Cup final occurred in April 1903 when Bury demolished a Steve Bloomer-less Derby County 6-0 at Crystal Palace in front of 63,000.
From optajoe on Twitter:
"If Portsmouth win today, they will become the 1st side to be relegated from the top-flight & win the FA Cup in the same season. Cupset?"
1405: News just in: Jamie O'Hara, despite a double stress fracture of the spine, plays for Portsmouth today. I hope they've painkillered him right up, cos that sounds painful.
1403:Chelsea v Portsmouth:
The stats tell us there is only one winner at Wembley today. Chelsea are unbeaten in 28 league and cup meetings with Pompey, who last beat the Blues in a fourth round League Cup tie on 14 December 1960. In March,
Chelsea crashed in five goals in a thumping win at Fratton Park
and they have won their last three games, scoring 18 goals and conceding none. In the FA Cup, Chelsea have won 11 straight ties and lost only one out of the last 23.
1400: Stevo's Predo: Chelsea 2-1 Portsmouth (After extra-time)
1352: Great to hear the eternally positive Ray Wilkins talk about the pitch in positive terms, but it does look awfully sandy in places. Reminds me a bit of
Bloomfield Road last weekend,
he said with a lingering bitterness that simply will not disappear.
1349: I think Carlo Ancelotti just said Chelsea would field the same starting XI as they did against Wigan last Sunday. And we all know how that turned out.
From Maigona, Nairobi, Kenya, via text to +44 7786200666: "Chelsea shouldn't forget the talismanic Kanu, Africa's most decorated footballer and cup specialist (Dutch Cup, Champions League, Uefa Cup, Italian Cup, FA Cup with two teams...). He may still have one more in him!!"
Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins (before giving Luca Vialli a massive hug and kiss on the Wembley pitch): "It's a great period for football. We've got a fantastic, competitive Premier League, the best in the world by a mile and we've got the chance of winning a Double against a highly-motivated Portsmouth. The lads have trained brilliantly all week and I've tried to put into Carlo's mind how important this occasion is. As for the pitch, it looks superb."
1342: You certainly don't need me to tell you all about Portsmouth's frankly ridiculous season, do you? But if you are interested in all things Pompey and you can click on this link web users, why not read
Bevo's cracking blog on the Fratton Park outfit?
I went down to the Portsmouth training ground myself a couple of weeks ago and there are some lovely people working at the club, people who deserve much better than they've had this season. (In the interests of BBC impartiality, I should point out there are almost certainly some lovely people working at the Chelsea training ground these days too)
Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli: "Yes, I can see Chelsea losing. But if both teams play to their best, it's a foregone conclusion. Portsmouth must produce a super performance and hope their opponents don't and then Pompey can take it. I don't get nervous watching Chelsea because they're in very good hands."
From LiverBirdMate on 606:
"Head calls for Pompey, heart says Chelsea. Chelsea too formidable to let this pass on, they have the pedigree for the FA Cup and they have the players too. As spirited as Pompey have been in the competition, they won't have the firepower capable of singeing Chelsea, much less blasting them."
From Jez from Nottingham, via text to 81111: "Re: 1300 - Can Pompey really afford made to fit suits?! Primark?"
Legendary Sunderland keeper Jim Montgomery, on their 1-0 1973 win over Leeds: "I should have caught the first shot, but if I had I wouldn't be standing here today. Somehow I got my hand to the second one and pushed it against the bar and that was when we knew we were going to hang on."
1315: Bert Trautmann, Stanley Matthews, Roy Dwight, Charlie George, Jim Montgomery, Alan Sunderland, Ricky Villa, Keith Houchen, Lawrie Sanchez, Ian Rush, Steven Gerrard - FA Cup final day is when legends can be born and lives can be changed forever. I wonder who's about to write their name in English footballing folklore...
Football League Danny: "Strangely, it's not just about the FA Cup final today. The League One play-off semi-final first leg between Huddersfield and Millwall is underway at the Galpharm Stadium. Just got to half-time in that one - the Terriers have been the better side but it's 0-0. Later, it's Aldershot v Rotherham in the League Two play-off semi-final first leg (or LTPOSFFL for short)."
BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan: "Peter Storrie told me last night after Portsmouth trained on the pitch that it is 'uneven, concerning and only marginally better than in the semis'."
1300: It's a gorgeous May day as the sun hints at the promise of a sizzling summer. Football fans have arisen from their slumbers excited; it's a different feeling to that of a normal Saturday, akin to Christmas morning. Television cameras have been trained on hotels and coaches all day, but now they await the first glimpse of the players taking a stroll around Wembley in their made-to-fit suits. It can only be one date in the calendar, so a very, very warm welcome to FA Cup final day.
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