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Why this Welshman will be Supporting Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final

cardiff city Why this Welshman will be Supporting Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final

Allegiances can be tricky things at times. For example, at this summer’s Euro 2008 tournament, what team will you root for? With England not qualifying, I’ll likely root for the team that plays the most attractive football.

But it isn’t always so easy.

I was born in Wales and grew up there until I was 14. I’ll always be Welsh in my heart, but the last time Wales qualified for a major tournament was the 1958 World Cup. During the 1978 World Cup, I remember supporting Scotland. But in the 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, I supported England (and also rooted for the United States in ’90, ’94, ’98, ’02 and ’06). Supporting England could be considered blasphemy in Wales, but my father and his ancestors are English, so I don’t feel so guilty.

Now comes the difficult decision.

With Cardiff City qualifying for the FA Cup Final after beating Barnsley, this is the first time since 1927 that a Welsh side has made to the final (when they won the cup). You would presume the decision to support Cardiff in the final would be an easy one, but far from it.

That’s because the team I support is Swansea City, arch-enemy of Cardiff City and the side we despite most in the world (even more than the English clubs we face). The fierce rivalry can be compared to the Old Firm derby (between Celtic and Rangers) and the Merseyside derby (between Everton and Liverpool). The hooligan element between both Welsh clubs is notably infamous.

So despite Cardiff being from Wales, I’ll be supporting Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final. I’d rather see any club other than Cardiff lift the trophy such is the hatred that Swansea fans have for Cardiff City. That said, when the fixture list for the Championship League is revealed this summer, the first opponent I’ll look up to see who Swansea plays will be Cardiff.

When have you been forced to change allegiances and support another team or country in a league or tournament? And how did it make you feel? Share your stories below by clicking the comments link.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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27 Responses to Why this Welshman will be Supporting Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final

  1. TT says:

    At home watching on tv Japan play Australia in their key game of Germany 2006 Finals, the missus is really getting into the possibility of Japan hanging on for narrow win – then sub Timmie Cahill of Everton pops up with two quick goals to sink ‘em. Never had so much trouble trying to keep a straight face!

  2. Pork Romeo says:

    In general, I dont have very strong allegiances. Usually I support the underdog, so I will be cheering for Cardiff. (sorry Gaffer)

    And sometimes, I take pleasure in certain clubs getting clobbered, ManU is on that list.

    As for Jpn-Aus at Germany 2006, the last 15 minutes was probably the most enjoyable football I have watched!!

  3. kat kid says:

    I’m an American and the MLS came in to existence just as I was getting in to soccer. I chose Celtic to support because I was sick of everyone supporting the enormous clubs like Man U, Real Madrid, Inter, etc. and I absolutely fell in love with Henrik Larsson. It was pretty much impossible to watch games except for the odd European match on ESPN2 or fox sports but I would follow along.

    Internationally I obviously cheer for the U.S., but in recent times the fans of the U.S. that I’ve seen are so annoying, arrogant and misinformed that I am not sure I’ll ever go to a World Cup. The lionizing of Landon Donovan is just infuriating. I hope Jozy Altidore, DeMarcus Beasley and Gooch can drown out the glow of the suburban heartthrob soon.

  4. porkchop says:

    Seasons not over yet , Cardiff has a good shot at making the play offs .

    I hope they Win the cup and get promoted .

    howsa bout that , you jack bastard

  5. Kartik says:

    Oh man Chris, I am somewhat disappointed in you. History could happen at Wembley next month! I am pulling for the Welsh boys in this one. To each his own though, I respect your decision and understand it.

    Kat Kid, Landon Donovan is about a hundred times the footballer that Altidore and Gooch is. The real problem I have is with US fans who assume he’s trash because of what they have heard on certain radio shows. Without Donovan the US would struggle to qualify for the US. Want to test that theory? If he gets hurt playing for the Galaxy I am willing to bet the US DOES NOT get out of the first group of qualifying with tough road dates at Guatemala, T&T and Cuba. Part of the Donovan lore is unlike our other players he speaks comfortable and fluent Espanol and thus unlike the vast majority of national team players he can connect with the majority of football fans in this country on another level. Unlike the suburban hummer driving soccer mom elite he can speak comfortably with the latino press corp and does about as many interviews in spanish as he does in English and even translates his team mates words into Spanish for reporters.

    Your point about suburbia is well taken. Take out your anger on Bobby Convey, the ultimate poster child for the suburban/ white upper class culture of entitlement in US Soccer, not Donovan the most skilled player in US history.

  6. kat kid says:

    donovan is the most skilled player in U.S. history?

    I have no way to really verify that statement, but I find it shocking. Whatever metric you are using is really bizarre. Donovan plays against pathetic competition in MLS. go look at the “goals of the week for MLS” on footytube and then the goals of the week for a major league in Europe.

    The level of competition is staggering. One thing we do know about Landon Donovan is that he is positively terrified of playing in Europe. Whether that is for some personal reason, a tactical reason or whatever, it doesn’t really matter. Donovan has not sought out anywhere near the best competition available and has instead sought to stay in a market that lionizes him and strokes his undeserved ego.

    I don’t even find it a compelling argument that Donovan is the best player on THIS U.S. team, let alone in U.S. history, but that is fine for you to think. I’ve heard Donovan speak in Spanish on univision, that is fine but it really has no bearing on his appeal to U.S. latinos. The U.S., for a variety of reasons, has by far the largest population that roots against the country’s team.

  7. Kartik says:

    Kat Kid,

    You sound like Hugo Sanchez who trashed his own Mexican League and wanted all the guys playing in Europe- where has that landed Mexico: out of Olympic qualifying and losing to the US in the Gold Cup and Sanchez out of a job.

    You cannot generalize and say “a guy should play in Europe.” It is a provable fact that American players that go to Europe at a young age generally have not developed as well for the national team as Americans who stayed in MLS. I suggest you read any one of the number of columns that I have written or real serious football writers like Greg Lalas about the subject.

    Secondly, MLS is what it is. WE have to have a successful domestic league for Football to ever be popular here. Do you seriously think a sport that exists in a total vacuum here with virtually no mainstream coverage in the media is going to get any attention financially or PR wise without a strong domestic league. Comparing goals is no standard. Surely, MLS isn’t as good as most European leagues but subjective standards like that are foolish. I could compare all the bad giveaways by midfielders in the Premier League to the technical skill in the Mexican and Argentine League and determine both of the those leagues are better than the PL, but they are not.

    Also, since you are so convinced Donovan isn’t the best American player, who is? Do you have a name? What exactly is the skill set of the player you name and how does that compare favorably to Donovan’s other than that he presumably plays in Europe?

  8. AtlantaPompey says:

    I thought this was about Cardiff and the FA Cup Final?

    Anyway…

    Gaffer, it’s real simple: PLAY UP POMPEY!!! POMPEY PLAY UP!!!

    Repeat ad nauseum, then repeat some more!!!

  9. kat kid says:

    Do you think that MLS is on the same standing as Mexico’s league?

    Listen, MLS is NEVER going to be even 1/5th as big as even Mexico’s domestic league in terms of national interest because Mexico doesn’t have 3 other national sports THAT THEY INVENTED.

    I love soccer. I love watching it, I love playing it, I’m just beginning to apprentice at coaching it. The truth, as difficult as it is for many to accept, is that the best athletes in the U.S. have absolutely no interest in playing soccer. As long as soccer gets the runts of the litter it will never develop to a level that will be truly a reflection of the size and scope of the population of the U.S.

    As for better players? I’d start with Tim Howard (or Guzan or Friedel), but to compare outfield to outfield I would say previously that Beasley has proven himself very capable in the Champions League and on current form, Bradley’s kid.

    To be fair, I have not studied Landon much (just the U.S./Mexico game and some random MLS highlights) I will try to stomach watching some MLS and watch your boy. Who knows, maybe I will come away as impressed as you.

  10. Kartik says:

    You should read some of what I’ve written elsewhere. 1/5th is generous. MLS currently is worse than the Costa Rican, Honduran and Panamanian leagues! (Costa Rica and Honduras would finish ahead of the US in World Cup qualifying without Donovan in the mix) That’s a provable fact also. I have the data to back that up. The listeners to my show complain I am anti-MLS. People like you claim I am biased towards MLS. Just shows I am objective.

    However my point is for player development specifically for Americans MLS is better than any European league. I don’t care what guys do in the Champions League or MLS when I evaluate them as National Team players. I am saying for the National Team not for clubs and for the international game not domestic oriented leagues Donovan is substantially better. Don’t waste your time watching MLS to evaluate Donovan. Watch the US national team more a few times and find me someone with a greater overall impact on the team goalkeepers excluded. (You are right about Howard and Guzan though, should have said field players so technically you did get me there :))

  11. lewis1976 says:

    1 team in wales, 1 team to take the cup out of England, 1 choice, its easy C’mon the bluebirds. Watch out on 17th of May we’re going to take the cup away.

  12. Steve Evans says:

    Hey fat Swansea Piggy……are you jealous of the Mighty Bluebirds??
    HAVE IT!!!!!

  13. Huw Elfyn says:

    So much bitterness and jealousy!! I am a Cardiff City fan and if Swansea ever made it to the cup final (not bloody likely) I would definately support them. But then I am Welsh and take joy in seeing my fellow Welsh sides succeed. You are just small minded.

  14. blue says:

    fat swansea cunt

  15. Jeff Wagstaff says:

    If Swansea ever got to any cup final, unlikely apart from the FA of Wales Premier Cup, I’d hope that they took the lead in the first minute, defended pluckily only to concede an undeserved penalty in the last minute of injury time, and go on to be stuffed 6-0 in extra time. And have most of their team sent off, and their fans arrested for talking like divs and having no fixed abode.

  16. Wayne S says:

    “When have you been forced to change allegiances and support another team or country in a league or tournament?”

    That statement should NEVER enter anyone’s thought process when supporting a team or nation.

    You have shown yourself to NOT be a proper football fan. You are like many who purely seek success as they do not have the backbone to take failure.

    “Support the team that plays the best” you’re having a laugh. This means you want to support the winners again. Most honest football fans support the underdog.

    As for not supporting Cardiff City, your sort of support is not welcome anyway. Any decent Welshman would support the team from their nation.

    Well done Swansea on your promotion. Looking forward to our games next season.

  17. Millsy says:

    Let me get this straight you’ve supported Scotland, England, Swansea & Wales? Dear me you are truly confused my jack ass friend. Stick to Portsmouth matey your support isn’t welcome anyway. Is that all you jacks do is talk about Cardiff?

  18. paul hill says:

    We don’t need or want your support you sad jack tw@t!

  19. Cwmbran Bluebird says:

    You are such a knob

  20. Neath C.C.F.C. says:

    One sad individual.

  21. Pingback: FA Cup Final: Portsmouth vs Cardiff On U.S. TV | EPL Talk

  22. Welsh Mafia says:

    Look boy-o, we need all the help we can muster, there’s not so many of us you know.

    Cardiff might be a repugnant rathole of single mums packing blades but, really, what’s not to love about the place?

  23. mike says:

    the jack(swansea fan) who left the first comment above…….
    cant wait to see ya next season………

    bring it on…..you may as well be singing god save the queen

  24. Pingback: Why The FA Cup Final Fever Is Missing This Week | EPL Talk

  25. JenniP says:

    Most Welsh people I know will be supporting Pompey they just dont want Cardiff raising the English FA Cup. Personally I welcome the Swansea fans supporting us.

    So echoing AtlantaPompey, PLAY UP POMPEY POMPEY PLAY UP with few choruses of BLUE ARMY as Harry Redknapp’s Blue and White army are on the march.

  26. Chris says:

    It’s pretty sad when someone wouldn’t support a local team in such a big competition…but then, it’s fun to think that just by being the only city in Wales, Cardiff riles people so much. But surely it’s possible to like, or even love, both Swansea and the ‘Diff? I know plenty of people who do (even if they wouldn’t always admit it in certain company).

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