Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Cup Final

In England, one of the great sporting events is the Football Association Cup. The FA Cup competition begins in winter and the final is played in mid May. Every footballer and fan dreams of being in and winning the FA Cup Final. It is watched live by millions of football fans throughout the world.
I have been a fan of Portsmouth Football Club - known as Pompey, since I was a boy of 5 in 1948. They won the league that year and the year after. They won the FA Cup in 1939. Things drifted after the 1950s. They spent many years in lower Divisions, had a brief resergence in the 80's but it was only a few seasons ago that they returned to the top flight Premier Division.
This year they hit the jackpot. They stumbled through the early rounds then came up against mighty Manchester United in the last eight. Pompey had luck on their side that day and won 1-0. They went on to to final by beating West Bromich and played Cardiff in the Final on May 17 2008. Another 1-0 win and the cup was won. Pompey fans were ecstatic - this old one in particular.
A few photos give some idea of what it meant to some of us.

An idea?

Being a bell enthusiast I thought how I could have a personal celebration of Pompey's cup win by having a bell made to commemorate it. Whitechapel Bell Foundry received a visit from me the week following the final and I met Steve McEwan to discuss details. I gave him an indication of what I wanted, engraving requirements etc. But I asked him to come up with something original for the handle.
Early in July the bell was ready and I collected it from the foundry.
I was delighted. Steve came up with a special handle all right! A bronze FA Cup lookalike! It now sits in my collection in a prominent spot as a constant reminder of a special day.

The Pompey Bell

The bell is made of bronze. A light hard wood handle and plinth were made in the foundry. The diameter is 8 inches and the the height of the bell is 18 inches. It truly is a monster handled bell - the biggest practical size. Having said that the bell will be rarely rung. I'm not expecting too many more cup successes.

What a delightful irony that to win the FA Cup in 2008 Pompey had to beat Manchester United on the way. They are my second favourite team. They went on to win the Premier League title and the European Champions League Cup - the most prestigious Club competition in the world. And Pompey beat them!!!!!

Here are some photos of the bell. It really is of superb quality. An example of what is still being made by the oldest and best (?) bell foundry in the world.

And finally

The bell is engraved:

FA CUP  2008