Where Are They Now? #19 – 2008 FA Cup Final (Portsmouth)

The final edition of FA Cup Week from Where Are They Now? looks at the 2008 final. A lone Nwankwo Kanu goal saw Premier League Portsmouth reach their highest point as they saw off the challenge of Championship side Cardiff. Here are the victorious side – Portsmouth…

1. David James (Goalkeeper)


The experienced stopper James was experiencing a renaissance at Portsmouth and had performed so well that he put himself back into England contention. He remained with the club up until the end of his contract in 2010 after helping them to the FA Cup final that year. With mounting financial problems and a desire to be closer to his family, James joined Bristol City following his appearances for England at the World Cup in South Africa. James was the regular number one for City but the team never rose above mediocrity. He left at the end of his contract in 2012 and joined Bournemouth but left after just 19 games in March 2013. He moved to Icelandic side IBV in April 2013 in a player/coach capacity linking up with former team mate Hermann Hreidarsson (manager of IBV). He played 23 times for the club before retiring and leaving in October 2013. James currently works as a coach for Luton Town.

5. Glen Johnson (Right Back)

Glen Johnson

English international Johnson played the entire game but, along with substitute Jamie Ashdown, had his medal stolen after the final which forced the FA to remake them for the players. Johnson’s form the following season saw him named to the PFA Team of the Year and drew interest from former club Chelsea and Liverpool. He joined his current employers in Merseyside in the summer of 2009 and helped them to the League Cup in 2012 as well as cementing a place in the England national team.

6. Lassana Diarra (Defensive Midfield)


A mid-season signing, Diarra was booked in stoppage time in the final. He only remained on the south coast for a few more months before he was sold to Spanish giants Real Madrid in January 2009. His promising early performances meant nothing as he was quickly put on the sidelines by big money signings and regime changes. Diarra stayed with the club until the summer of 2012 when he moved to big spending Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala. His time with Anzhi was short as the following summer they sold on all of their big earners and Diarra moved to fellow Russian and current side Lokomotiv Moscow. He has been one of the key men behind their title challenge this season.

7. Hermann Hreidarsson (Left Back)


The joint most relegated player in Premier League history, Hreidarsson was booked on the stroke of half time in the final. He was a consistent performer for Portsmouth as the club began to struggle over the next couple of seasons but he was forced to miss the FA Cup final in 2010 because of injury. He stayed with the club following relegation before eventually leaving for Coventry in January 2012. His time at Coventry was destroyed by injury and he only played two games before being released in the summer of 2012. He returned home to Iceland to become player-manager of IBV for the 2013 season and brought James along with him but left at the end of the season.

11. Sulley Muntari (Left Midfield)

Soccer - Sulley Muntari Filer

Ghanaian international Muntari played the entire game against Cardiff and it proved to be his final game for Portsmouth as he left that summer to join Italian giants Internazionale. He was a regular in the Inter side in his first two seasons and helped them to Serie A titles in both as well as a Coppa Italia and Champions League. However, by January 2011 he had fallen out of favour and was sent out on loan to the Premier League with Sunderland. He returned to Inter in the summer of 2011 but, after little playing time, he joined current club AC Milan in January 2012. The deal was initially a loan deal but was made permanent in the summer of 2012.

15. Sylvain Distin (Centre Back)


The big French centre back Distin was a summer signing for Portsmouth and stayed with the club for another season before he left for current employers Everton in the summer of 2009. Distin established himself as one of Everton’s key men in defence and has made well over 160 appearances in all competitions for the club.

17. John Utaka (Right Midfield)


Another summer signing, Utaka provided the cross for Kanu’s goal and was replaced after 69 minutes by David Nugent. Utaka was a major disappointment for Portsmouth as he failed to deliver on a number of occasions for the club. He stayed with Portsmouth through their relegation in 2010 but in January 2011 he left to join French side Montpellier. He scored the two goals that secured the Ligue 1 crown for unfancied Montpellier in 2012 before leaving in the summer of 2013 to join current side Sivasspor of Turkey.

19. Niko Kranjcar (Centre Midfield)

Soccer - Community Shield - Portsmouth v Manchester United - Wembley Stadium

Croatian international Kranjcar was slowly developing into one of Portsmouth’s key men and was booked after 54 minutes of the final. His form picked up the following season despite Pompey struggling in the league. He attracted the attention of teams like Arsenal and Monaco before eventually moving to Tottenham in 2009 to reunite with Harry Redknapp. After starting well, Kranjcar lost his place in the side due to the emergence of Gareth Bale and by 2012 he was out of the door as he joined Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kiev. His time in Kiev has been hampered by injury and he was sent out on loan in the summer of 2013 to QPR whom he has helped into the play-offs this season.

23. Sol Campbell (Centre Back/Captain)


Pompey’s captain, Campbell played the whole game in the final. It was Campbell’s third FA Cup and he stayed with the club the following season but left at the end of his contract in 2009. He shockingly joined League 2 side Notts County that summer but the whole scenario was a debacle and he left after just one game. He rejoined Arsenal in January 2010 and, despite good performances, was released in the summer of that year. He joined Newcastle for the 2010/11 season but after little playing time, he was released and he subsequently retired in 2012.

27. Nwankwo Kanu (Striker)


Another man enjoying something of a renaissance, Kanu scored the decisive winning goal in the first half and was replaced late on by Milan Baros. His form in the following seasons however was poor and he could not stop Pompey being relegated in 2010. He stayed with the club in the Championship but his playing time drastically reduced due to financial constraints and by the summer of 2012, Kanu had left Pompey but was planning on suing them for unpaid wages. He retired in 2012.

30. Pedro Mendes (Centre Midfield)


Famous for scoring spectacular goals to keep the club up the previous season, Mendes was replaced Papa Bouba Diop after 78 minutes. It proved to be one of Mendes’ final games for the club as he moved north to join Scottish giants Rangers that summer. His excellent performances helped Rangers to the SPL title in 2009 but he left in January 2010 for a return to him homeland Portugal with Sporting Lisbon. His early performances were promising but a change in manager saw Mendes play less and he was released in the summer of 2011. He joined hometown team Vitoria Guimaraes that summer but after an injury ravaged season, Mendes retired in the summer of 2012.


21. Jamie Ashdown (Goalkeeper)


An unused substitute, Ashdown was the other player to have his medal stolen. He remained a loyal backup to James and was initially released in the summer of 2010 following relegation. However, he was quickly re-signed that summer and was a regular as Pompey battled relegation from the Championship. He was with the club as they were relegated to League 1 in 2012. Ashdown was among a number of players released in the summer of 2012 and ended up joining current club Leeds that summer as a backup.

8. Papa Bouba Diop (Midfielder)


Another summer signing, Diop was brought on for Mendes late on. A big, tough midfielder, Diop was never a true starter for Pompey and left the club following their relegation in 2010. He joined Greek side AEK Athens that summer and helped to a Greek Cup win in 2011. He returned to England with West Ham in the summer of 2011 and helped the Hammers to promotion through the play-offs in 2012. He left the club that summer and joined Birmingham in October of that year. His spell with the club lasted until January 2013 and he has been a free agent ever since.

9. Milan Baros (Striker)


A late substitute for Kanu, on loan Lyon striker Baros played his final game for Pompey in the Cup final. He left Lyon permanently in the summer of 2008 for Turkish giants Galatasaray to a Super Lig and Super Kupa in 2012 as well as being top scorer in 2009. He left Turkey to return to first club Banik Ostrava in the Czech Republic in February 2013. His return was a successful one and he returned to Turkey with Antalyaspor in the summer of 2013. However, his time with the club was ruined by a serious injury and he was released earlier in 2014. Baros is currently a free agent.

10. David Nugent (Striker)


One time England international and perhaps the least wanted summer signing in history, Nugent came on for Utaka after 69 minutes. His time at Pompey was characterised by a clear lack of goals and he spent the 2009/10 season out on loan with newly promoted Burnley. After failing to keep Burnley in the top flight or get a permanent move there, Nugent returned to Pompey and finished as top scorer to keep them in the Championship. He left on a free in 2011 for current club Leicester and his goals have helped the Foxes to the 2014 Championship title and promotion to the Premier League.

16. Noe Pamarot (Defender)


The other unused substitute, Pamarot was a bit part player for the FA Cup run. He only stayed at Pompey for one more season and was released in the summer of 2009. He moved to newly promoted Spanish side Hercules but he was unable to keep them in La Liga. He joined fellow Spanish side Granada in 2011 but he only played twice and returned to current club Hercules in 2013.

Harry Redknapp (Manager)


The last English manager to win a major English trophy, Redknapp left Pompey to take on the vacant Tottenham job in October 2008. Redknapp led Spurs to two top four finishes, the League Cup final and the quarter finals of the Champions League during his time in charge before he was sacked in June 2012 after failing to agree a new contract. He became QPR manager in November 2012 but failed to keep them in the Premier League. He has since guided them into this season’s Championship play-offs.

That concludes FA Cup Week. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this week of looking back at past FA Cup finals and will enjoy tomorrows final regardless of your allegiances. Stay tuned for more content on The Long Ball in the coming days, weeks and months.



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