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Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 13:05 UK

Pompey hope for more luck in Cup

By Chris Bevan

Portsmouth skipper Jimmy Guthrie lifts the FA Cup

A lot has changed in football since Portsmouth lifted the FA Cup for the first and only time in 1939.

But one tradition that has survived the massive transition in the game over the years is the belief you need a bit of luck to end up winning the famous old trophy.

Science usually wins over superstition but fans, players, managers and chairmen alike are happy to believe otherwise when it comes to preparing for a big match.

And they were proved right when Pompey won the last final before the Second World War.

Their opponents, Wolves, were managed by the flamboyant and forward-thinking Major Frank Buckley, who thought a special diet featuring monkey gland supplements would see his side home.


Pompey boss Jack Tinn, meanwhile, put his faith in his lucky spats - fabric shoe covers that were popular at the time and which he wore for every Cup tie, keeping them in a safe between games.

Wolves were hot favourites but the shoes beat the monkeys hands down.

Now, 69 years later, Portsmouth's chief executive Peter Storrie thinks the club playing in an all-blue strip, rather than their usual blue-white-red shirt-shorts-socks combo will bring success against Cardiff at Wembley on Saturday

1939 FACTS
World War II is declared
Everton are League champions
George VI is on the throne
Neville Chamberlain (Conservative) is Prime Minister
Record transfer: Bryn Jones Wolves-Arsenal 14,500

Storrie gave the go-ahead for the colour change because it was a one-off kit used for the semi-final against West Brom, which of course Pompey won.

The Premier League club have also gone for the same east dressing room and chosen the same end for their fans that they had against the Baggies.

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is no stranger to superstition himself.

He wore the same shirt, tie, pants and jacket during a 20-match unbeaten run while in charge at Bournemouth, and repeated the trick during his first spell as manager of Pompey.

Redknapp has also forbidden any of his squad, or his assistant Tony Adams, from touching the FA Cup during promotional appearances in the run-up to the final.

So, of all people, Redknapp will identify with Portsmouth's 1939 winger Freddie Worrall, who never travelled without his mascots and took all five of them on the field at Wembley.

He carried a small horseshoe in his pocket, pushed a sprig of white heather down each sock, tied a small white elephant to one of his garters and put a lucky sixpence in his boot.

Freddie Worrall puts on Jack Tinn's lucky spats
Freddie Worrall puts on Jack Tinn's lucky spats

Worrall, possibly the most superstitious player who ever lived, was also the man that Tinn entrusted to put on his spats before every game.

All that effort paid off on the day though, with Pompey roaring into an early lead against Wolves.

Bert Barlow opened the scoring when he latched on to a Jock Anderson pass and fired home with a rising shot.

And just before half-time Worrall, surprisingly able to run despite the number of lucky charms he was carrying, set up Anderson to make it 2-0.

Cliff Parker added a third goal a minute after the break, following up to slide home after Barlow's shot was saved by Alec Scott, and then taunted the keeper by shouting: "That's my first Scotty. I'm coming back for another."

2008 FACTS
Space Shuttle Atlantis delivers the European Columbus science laboratory to the International Space Station
Man Utd are League champions
Elizabeth II is on the throne
Gordon Brown (Labour) is Prime Minister
Record transfer: Jose Bosingwa Porto-Chelsea 16.2m

Dicky Dorsett replied from eight yards for Wolves but Parker kept his promise by heading home his second goal from Worrall's cross to complete a 4-1 victory.

Not so lucky was the amount of money Pompey made from their triumph - they got 20 a player - less than the band who played before the game.

"We would have been better off playing the cornet," said skipper Jimmy Guthrie.

The lack of money was not the only worry for the players - within months, World War II would begin and, with the football programme suspended, all of Pompey's players had their contracts terminated.

They all survived the conflict but sadly none have lived long enough to see the club return to Wembley.

BBC Sport profiles the Pompey heroes that Redknapp's side will try to emulate on Saturday.

MANAGER - Jack Tinn In charge when Pompey lost the 1929 and 1934 finals, he put this success down to his lucky spats and had always said his side would win it in 1939. Tinn was manager between 1927 and 1947 and is credited with building the foundations of the side that won back to back league titles in 1949 and 1950. Died in 1971.

Harry Walker Goalkeeper who worked as a motor mechanic before becoming a part-time pro with Darlington, then joined Pompey where he was known as 'The Cat' or 'The Gobbler'. Played for Nottingham Forest after the war then retired aged 38 and became a Methodist preacher. Died in 1976.

Portsmouth skipper Jimmy Guthrie with the FA Cup
Jimmy Guthrie The captain almost died in a car crash during Air Raid Precautions training the following summer. Recovered to play for the club in war-time matches and became Crystal Palace's player-coach after the war. He later helped to set up the PFA and worked to abolish the maximum wage. Died aged 69 in 1981.

Lew Morgan Scottish right-back who was given a free transfer after the war and went on to play for Watford and Chelmsford City.

Bill Rochford Left-back who England's World Cup winning-manager Sir Alf Ramsey described as one of the best tacticians he ever saw. Captained Southampton after the war, then returned to his native north-east to become a farmer. Died in 1984.

Tommy Wroe
Tommy Rowe An imposing centre-back, at 6ft 1in, Rowe was the tallest man on the pitch during the final. When war began he volunteered for the Portsmouth City Police then became a bomber pilot before going on to be a squadron leader and winning the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for his service. Rowe was shot down while on his 40th mission over Germany and spent the last two years of the war in a prisoner of war camp. He was the longest surviving member of the Cup-winning team, he died aged 83 in 2006.

Round 3 4-0 Lincoln (h)
Round 4 2-0 WBA (h)
Round 5 2-0 West Ham (h)
Round 6 1-0 Preston (h)
SF 2-1 Huddersfield (at Highbury)

Fred Worrall England international who scored in the first minute of his debut against Holland and also found the net against Northern Ireland in his only other appearance for his country. Worrall, who played in the 1934 final, later played for Stockport County, was coach at Warrington Rugby League Club and managed Stockton Heath FC. Died aged 68 in 1979

Guy Wharton
Guy Wharton A former Wolves player, right-half Wharton returned to Pompey after the war and later played for Wellington and Darlington. Died in 1990.

Bert Barlow Only joined Pompey from Wolves two months before the final. The inside-left helped the south-coast club win the League title 10 years later before leaving for Leicester in 1950. Died in 2004 aged 87.

John 'Jock' Anderson Striker who left Pompey to play for Aldershot but later ran a pub near Fratton Park when he retired. Died in 1987.

Round 3 1-0 Ipswich (a)
Round 4 2-1 Plymouth (h)
Round 5 1-0 Preston (a)
Round 6 1-0 Man Utd (a)
SF 1-0 West Brom (at Wembley)

Jimmy McAlinden Pacy inside-right who made his name with Belfast Celtic - a team he rejoined at the outbreak of war. Also played for Shamrock Rovers before rejoining Pompey in 1947 and later played for Stoke and Southend. 'Jimmy Mac' managed Glenavon, Distillery and Drogheda.

Jock Anderson
Cliff Parker Left-winger who played for Pompey's first team for 20 years, making his final senior appearance in 1951 and ending his career in their reserves. Parker also played alongside Southampton legend Ted Bates for the Folland Aircraft Factory team at Hamble during the war years.

see also
Portsmouth v Cardiff
13 May 08 |  FA Cup
Fit-again James relishing final
14 May 08 |  Portsmouth
Pompey's 1939 FA glory remembered
02 May 08 |  Hampshire
Pompey deny Redknapp exit claims
15 May 08 |  Portsmouth
Hundreds queue for FA Cup tickets
13 May 08 |  Hampshire
Ten to Tackle - FA Cup final special
14 May 08 |  Fun and Games

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