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May 12, 2011

The FA Cup Final 2008: Portsmouth vs Cardiff City

by huw15

On the eve of the 2011 Cup Final, here is a memory of Huw’s day out at Wembley to see Cardiff City play in the 2008 FA Cup Final.  Huw and Nick had been to Middlesborough to see Cardiff win the quarter-final, then they had the privilege of seeing their team play at Wembley in the semi final where they beat Barnsley and then the final at Wembley where City were eventually overcome by a strong Portsmouth side.

It always struck Huw and I how tolerant people in Yorkshire are of Huw’s favourite team.  Huw was a vocal supporter of the Bluebirds and enjoyed the football banter with fans of other clubs such as Leeds United and Newcastle.  The banter was always taken in a spirit by Huw and his and my friends despite us living in a hotbed of Huddersfield Town fans.

After years of following City in League 1, the big time seemed closer for Cardiff in 2008 as they reached an FA Cup final for the first time since 1927.  The day out at Middlesborough where City won 2-0 (away to a Premiership side) was as memorable as it was unexpected.  The semi final was a much closer affair, with City edging out Barnsley courtesy of a magical Joe Ledley goal.  Those were happy moments, but the final was much more sombre  – largely because we had just found out that Huw’s Uncle Mark (who had watched him win the League Cup for Hepworth Under 11s the previous year) was terminally ill.  The defeat against Portsmouth added to the gloom.

The family bounced back from losing Mark at the age of 48, and we have fond memories of a unique and treasured Uncle and brother. 

The 2008 Cup final was not particularly memorable from a footballing point of view but noteworthy moments included Peter Enkleman’s error that gifted Portsmouth the winner, proof of Harry Redknap’s credentials as a superb manager, and the emergence of Aron Ramsey who was subsequently sold by Cardiff for £5m and now plays for Arsenal. 

Huw and I enjoyed the banter with the Pompey fans at the cup final that day and continued to follow the Bluebirds including a number of away games that we could get to easily from Holmfirth.  Carys has caught the bug and the 3 of us often went to away games, the last one being away to Nottingham Forest in February this year.  Carys and I have since been to 3 games recently and we enjoy connecting with Huw at the matches, as well as watching Huw’s heroes such as Joy Bothroyd and Peter Whittingham continue to fight for promotion to the Premiership.  Here is a slide show of pictures from the Cup Final in 2008.  Wembley will always have poignant memories for many reasons.

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