Portsmouth Fans Prepare For FA Cup Final
Pompey fans are hoping their side can achieve a repeat of their 2008 success, and lift the FA Cup again.
But Avram Grant's side need to beat Premier League champions Chelsea - after a season which has seen Portsmouth go through four owners, plunge into administration - and get relegated from the Premier League.
Meanwhile city officials are preparing for a huge bus parade through Portsmouth on Sunday - in case they do manage a giantkilling.
The parade of open-top buses will give Pompey’s legions of fans the chance to cheer their heroes through the city, and to catch a glimpse of the FA Cup.
The parade is planned for Sunday, 16 May 2010 – but will only take place if the team win.
Portsmouth City Council Chief Executive, David Williams, said;
“Pompey reaching the FA Cup final again is a fantastic achievement, and something the whole city can come together to celebrate.
“The city council has been working hard with the Police and the football club to make sure that, if Pompey win, everyone has the chance to cheer the team home in a victory parade.”
Lucius Peart, Portsmouth FC head of operations said:
"To be in another FA Cup final is nothing short of incredible.
“Whatever the outcome of the day itself, the achievement of reaching the final is something we are extremely proud of and we hope to be able to celebrate bringing the FA Cup back to where it belongs with the fans whose support this season has been phenomenal.”
Chief Superintendent David Peacock said:
"Who would have thought that just two years on from the amazing achievement in 2008, that Portsmouth once again is on the brink of winning the most prestigious national trophy in football.
"In 2008, the celebration parade was acknowledged as a significant achievement in terms of planning and we will ensure that this experience is repeated next Sunday if Portsmouth is able to defeat the current premier league champions.
"We all wish the Pompey team every success on Saturday."
A parade of three buses, carrying the players, the media, and the players’ families and officials from the club, will set-off from Goldsmith Avenue (junction near Fratton Way) at 3pm and follow a route along Winston Churchill Avenue, Lord Montgomery Way, down Hampshire Terrace, Landport Terrace, Kings Terrace, Jubilee Terrace, Pier Road, and onto Clarence Esplanade (the seafront).
The procession of buses will be led and followed by police vehicles, and stewards from Portsmouth FC will escort the buses. The buses are expected to take around an hour to complete the route through the city, and should arrive at the enclosure behind the big screen on Southsea common at about 4pm. Roads will be closed from 3pm to approx 5pm.
A stage will be erected next to the big screen that's being used to show Saturday’s live FA Cup final, and the club’s manager, Avram Grant, and the players will appear at around 4.05pm and remain on stage until around 5pm. Avram Grant and the players will then leave on coaches.
A programme of entertainment will be running on the stage from 3.00pm until 5.30pm, with music from Quay Radio, highlights from the FA Cup and the football season, and plenty of football songs to get the crowd celebrating.
Using its powers under the 1984 Traffic Regulation Act Town, the city council has put a traffic regulation order in place covering the roads affected by the parade.
As the parade will be making its way along main roads through the city, drivers are advised to avoid these routes altogether between 3pm and 5.00pm. Anyone attempting to drive into Portsmouth down the M275 between these times is also likely to experience significant delays and drivers are advised to use alternative routes into and out of the city.
Limited parking will be available in seafront car parks and on the common but those wishing to come to the seafront or to watch the parade are advised to walk or use public transport as the whole area is likely to be extremely busy.
Stalls selling light refreshments will be on the common, and additional toilet facilities and First Aid will be in place.
If the team do not win, the parade will not go ahead and Avram Grant and the players will not appear at Southsea Common.
Lucius Peart said: “We’re sure people will understand and sympathise with the decision for the squad not to attend the event at the common in the event of a defeat at Wembley.
“Only a reduced squad would have been available, as those with involvement in the World Cup only have dispensation to attend Sunday’s parade should Pompey beat Chelsea.”