There have been several teams in Premier League history who have dropped further after being relegated. Both Southampton and Leeds United went further down into League One and the same happened to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Few relegation stories have been quite as disastrous as Portsmouth's, who, just four years after their last top-flight season, remain in a battle to avoid dropping out of the Football League entirely.
On this day in 2010, however, they enjoyed a final moment of joy in the season that started their dramatic plummet through the leagues. Players and staff had started to not get paid as early as October in this season and the same happened again the next month despite a takeover. The financial problems racked up until they were docked nine points in March, with relegation confirmed just a day before their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
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The very next day the club's fans had to gee themselves up for what should have been one of the most exciting days of their season. Instead, after the shambolic running of their team that they had witnessed to this point, it was just a way to take their minds off what was to come. They were also up against their former manager Harry Redknapp, who had splashed the cash during his time in charge of the South Coast club.
In charge of the Fratton Park outfit for the remainder of the season was Avram Grant, who had been brought in earlier as director of football. They had won the trophy in 2008 under Redknapp, which was the highlight of their expensive Premier League journey, but by no means did it make up for the cost it took to win the trophy. The pitch at Wembley was atrocious and was partly to blame for a match that did not live up to the suggestion that these were two of the four best teams left in the competition.
If Portsmouth only held out hope that something may go their way that season then Spurs were expectant, as the favourites, to book their second Wembley date in the final. In a first half full of untimely slips and stumbles, Spurs had by far the better openings but were unable to break the deadlock. Peter Crouch should have done better with a header that he put over the bar and David James saved very well from a Tom Huddlestone strike from distance.
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Pompey came into the came a bit more in the second half, with Frederic Piquionne guilty of squandering an excellent opening 55 minutes in. Aruna Dindane did well to cross for his strike partner, but Piquionne could only guide his header straight at Heurelho Gomes when unmarked. It spurred the Londoners back into life and Crouch again missed a chance with a header with just over 20 minutes to play.
Crouch continued to be the dangerman and came closest 15 minutes from time when he headed against the outside of the post. Spurs were unable to score the goal that perhaps they deserved and it was Pompey who were strongest in extra time. Piquionne guided a low finish under Gomes and then, after a Crouch disallowed goal, Dindane was brought down in the box by Wilson Palacios, with Kevin-Prince Boateng slamming in from the spot against his old club.
It set Pompey up with a final date against Chelsea. In the end they lost which meant that there was no silver lining to their disastrous season. They were rock-bottom in the league, beaten FA Cup finalists and were about to start their slide down the leagues.