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Articles - The 1939 FA Cup FInal

The 1939 Final

An article on the most famous cup final in Pompey fans memories
Wolves had entered the game as clear favourites, having scored 19 goals in their five FA Cup games and lying second in the league table. By contrast, Pompey were struggling in the relegation zone.

Despite that Bert Barlow, who started the season as a Wolves player, put Pompey ahead. Jock Anderson and Cliff Parker scored either side of half-time, and although Dicky Dorsett pulled one back, Parker's second wrapped things up. Wolves found that being everyone`s favourites counts for nothing in the FA Cup final as their young side crumbled under the pressure.

So Pompey triumphed 4-1 and became the biggest outsiders to win a Wembley Final. This was to be the last Final before the competition was suspended for seven years because of World War Two. All Pompey fans rightly claim that they held The Cup for longer than any other team.

The Pompey manager, Jack Tinn was colourful after the match. Tinn had brought a celebrity friend of his in to the dressing room prior the start of the final to keep his players confident and relaxed. Wonder whether Harry will follow that example?

Captain Jimmy Guthrie was presented with the cup by King George VI. Manager Jack Tinn said afterwards that his side won thanks to the help of his "lucky spats" which he had worn to every round of the competition. Talk about superstition though, man of the match Fred Worrall had a lucky sixpence in his boot too.

Records show that Pompey players received £25 each for their triumph. It transpired that the band received more. "We'd have been better off playing the cornet," grumbled Pompey skipper Jimmy Guthrie.

Apparently the referee, Tommy Thompson from Northumberland, had the rare experience of going through the match without having a single decision questioned by the crowd or players. Now those were the days eh?

I was there

The mother of former Pompey Director Gordon Gauntlett was 19 when she attended the 1939 Final. Alice told the BBC "It was a lovely day - a day I shall never forget, I was wearing a blue dress and a blue and white scarf."

Now 88 years old, she remembers the 29 April 1939 as if it was yesterday. She also remembers being given a box to stand on to get a better view and her husband had a rattle he spun in his hand while they cheered Pompey on.

"I was hoarse, my voice had gone," Mrs Gauntlett said laughing while describing the all-night-long celebration that followed.

"There was no trouble - just singing and dancing."

After the game finished many Pompey supporters, including Mr and Mrs Gauntlett, gathered in the Elephant and Castle public house, where they celebrated until late. When they arrived in Portsmouth in the early hours people were still out in the streets celebrating.

Her son, Gordon Junior, inherited his parents love for the football club. He was one of the brains behind Portsmouth FC's SOS campaign in the 1970s - an action group trying to raise about £100,000 to get the club out of debt - and later became one of the directors of the club.

Toast clearly remembers the SOS campaign and the meeting in the Guildhall when a collection raised over £900.

Media Coverage


There was no Television coverage in those days; in fact there were very few televisions. Because of this a full programme of league games was played that day. You could listen to the game on the radio but in order to get pictures in the local paper that evening the film was flown over the city and dropped into the sea off of Clarence Pier. It was fished out rushed to the Stanhope Road offices of the Evening News and the pictures appeared in that nights Football Mail. Technology has changed in 69 years hasn't it, most will have camera phones to record the moment.

 

 

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