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LONDON - Portsmouth meet Cardiff City at Wembley tomorrow in a final the FA Cup has been crying out for, even if the absence of familiar names may prove the competition's lack of appeal for the big clubs.
It is the first time since 1991 that none of the current "big four" have contested the final (add Everton and Tottenham Hotspur and you have to go back to 1975) and for both combatants it has been a long time coming.
Cardiff manager Dave Jones said he hoped the achievement of his Championship (second division) side in reaching the final would "stop people going on and on about 1927".
That was the year Cardiff became the only non-English club to win the cup in what was their last appearance in the final until this season.
"We want to make our own history," said Jones. "Maybe, over the last few years, the FA Cup has lost that little bit of magic because it has been the same teams (in the final).
"Portsmouth and ourselves have broken the mould this season and I don't think that will happen again for a long, long time."
Portsmouth must go back to 1939 for their only success and for manager Harry Redknapp, who has been trying to get to a Wembley final as a coach and player for more than 40 years, it is an overdue reward for a lifetime's dedication to the game.
"It's great for everyone at the club," he said. "I look at where we were two years ago (almost relegated from the Premier League), or five years ago when we were near the bottom of the Championship and now we are in the Cup final." - Reuters