Grant applauds ‘great’ Pompey fans

Frenchman Frederic Piquionne and former Tottenham midfielder Kevin

Prince Boateng, from the penalty spot, scored the goals to take

Portsmouth back to the cup final for the second time in three years

on the weekend they were consigned to the Championship. England

goalkeeper David James also produced the save of the match to deny

Peter Crouch at the end of normal time. Grant said: “We had a

belief and the courage to win this game, we knew we could do it.

“They are a good team with a great manager, but tactically we

played very well. The players gave their hearts. It was not easy.

“Five players were not 100% and some players did not play in their

right position and we did not even have one defender on the bench.

In spite of this we played football, scored two goals and I could

not ask for more.” It was a good day, too, for Portsmouth

administrator Andrew Andronikou, with the club guaranteed

£900,000 in prize money for reaching the final, with another

£1million coming from television money and gate receipts. For

Grant, however, it was a fairytale after a season of turmoil in

which the club was docked nine points for entering administration

with debts of more than £70million. Grant said: “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. “We could write a book about the

many things against us this season.” Grant will now lead out his

side against his former club Chelsea next month. “Blues against

blues,” said Grant. “I’m very happy. I want to celebrate.” He did

not forget the Pompey fans who sang themselves hoarse and stayed

celebrating for an hour after the match had finished. “This

achievement belongs to the fans and the players,” said Grant. “The

players didn’t give up. The fans showed how fans need to behave.

They were behind the club despite everything. They are so great

they deserve it. This club, this year, I will not forget it all my

life.” Grant wore an armband to mark Holocaust Day and was due to

travel to Poland tomorrow to honour members of his family who died

in the holocaust. It made the victory all the more poignant. He

added: “We played like a team, defended like a team and attacked

like a team. For this moment you work all your life. “Every day

since I came to this club I needed to answer so many questions

about the future, contracts, points deducted, administration. For

one day I want to speak only about football. “I am personally very

happy. It has happened again to me to come to a final on Holocaust

Day. For me it is important.” He refused, however, to confirm

whether he would be unable to select some of his squad for the

final because of clauses in their contracts which would cost the

club payments. And he also appeared unaware that Portsmouth do not

possess the necessary UEFA licence to play in Europe next season.

Asked if they might apply for it retrospectively he said: “We can

do it now? I don’t know.”