Portsmouth can look forward to a much-needed cash boost after a stunning 2-0 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Sunday.
Victory for the south coast strugglers, achieved a day after they were relegated from the Premier League, set up an improbable FA Cup Final against holders Chelsea at Wembley on May 15. The match will pit a 'bust' club in Portsmouth, a team with debts of some £76 million (Dh431m), against cash-rich Chelsea, a team Pompey boss Avram Grant managed when they lost the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United.
But while the £900,000 in prize money for reaching the final, with an another one million coming from television money and gate receipts, will be a welcome addition to the Fratton Park coffers, Portsmouth's victory was not down to the allure of money. Goals in extra-time from French striker Frederic Piquionne and former Tottenham midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, from the penalty spot, took Portsmouth to their second FA Cup final in three years.
'You can break many things but you can't break our spirit,' said a banner, quoting Grant, displayed by Portsmouth's loyal and vocal fans. Their support was matched by the industry of a Portsmouth team that harried Spurs throughout and were always a threat on the break thanks to the pace of Piquionne and fellow striker Aruna Dindane.
Meanwhile Pompey's Portuguese man-of-the match Ricardo Rocha, one of several players on both sides appearing against their former club, and South Africa's Aaron Mokoena each made several timely tackles.
"The way we did it after what has happened all this season and to see players give everything and not take the easy solution and not give up and to be in final, it is a crazy day," said Grant.