Saturday May 15 is the FA Cup final in England, a traditional highlight of the season. This year, “Uncle” Avram Grant, the former manager of the Israeli national team will be leading out the underdog Portsmouth team he’s been coaching for most of a dramatically turbulent year.
When he took over about a third of the way through the season he inherited a team that had performed well but failed to win the points necessary to avoid relegation. In fact, despite outplaying many of the teams they had faced, they had only registered two wins in their opening thirteen games. But the on-field problems were to be dwarfed by the off-field problems at Portsmouth.
The club was bought and sold by owners who may or may not have had the funds to effect the purchase or sale and, eventually, with debts totaling well in excess of $200m the club went into administration. With the club docked an automatic 10 points they were effectively relegated: players were not being paid, fans were disgruntled and defections of playing and coaching staff were expected.
But that didn’t happen.