JOHN MARQUIS did an online lockdown family quiz night where a great question came up.
The Portsmouth striker was asked: “Which club held the FA Cup the longest?” It was Pompey, who lifted the trophy in 1939 at Wembley after beating Wolves 4-1 with the competition then suspended until the 1945-46 season because of the Second World War.
There will be another question that will certainly crop up at a future pub quiz once life gets back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who were the shortest holders of a domestic British football cup competition after winning that year’s final?
If Portsmouth beat Salford on Saturday at Wembley in the Papa John’s Trophy final, they will also own that honour too – as on Sunday, exactly 24 hours later, either Sunderland or Tranmere will win the same competition.
That is because Saturday’s clash is the postponed final from LAST YEAR while Sunday is this season’s final.
And Marquis, 28, told SunSport: “The question came up during the first lockdown and fortunately I knew the answer because imagine how embarrassing that would have been as a Portsmouth player if I didn’t!.
“And if I ever get asked in future who were the shortest holders of a domestic cup I’ll know the answer and hopefully I’ll be able to say ‘Portsmouth.’”
Ironically though the club were unable to keep the FA Cup at Fratton Park for that entire seven-year period.
Portsmouth – as a frontline coastal naval town – was a target for German bombing.
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To keep the trophy safe the cup was kept 10 miles north in the village of Lovedean in a thatched-roof country pub called The Bird in Hand.
The EFL has told SunSport that because of the uniqueness of this weekend today’s winners will be allowed to borrow a replica of the trophy when they leave Wembley on Saturday evening to enable them to celebrate their achievement – rather than having to return it the next morning.
Marquis said: “It’s great that we’re being given this opportunity to play the final because for a while there were fears it would never go ahead.
“It’s the only professional English football trophy that was not played last season so it’s great we haven’t been denied our chance to try to win it.”
Another quirk is Pompey are the longest holders of the EFL Trophy – having won the last competition in 2019 against Sunderland.
And victory today against their League Two opponents will see them become the first club to successfully retain the trophy – albeit for one day.
But Marquis is looking forward to playing at Wembley for the first time – after having his heart broken previously by current Pompey boss Kenny Jackett.
Jackett left the striker out of the Millwall squad that played against Wigan in the 2013 FA Cup semi-final.
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And Marquis said: “I didn’t even make the bench. I was only 20 at the time but had played in all but one of the earlier rounds, including the quarter-finals, and even scored the winner against Aston Villa.
“So I was expecting to at least be a sub but we had a couple of senior players who had been out on loan that had come back.
“I was gutted because you’re not sure when you might get that opportunity again.
“There are no hard feelings with Kenny although I might have to wind him up about it ahead of the game.
“Hopefully I’ll get my chance this weekend.”
Pompey have been in terrible league form. Having hit top spot after beating Hull 2-0 in December, they have lost their way.
Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat by promotion rivals Sunderland was their fifth in seven games. They now sit sixth in the table – a whopping 10 points behind the second automatic promotion spot.
And they have two massive league games coming up after the final, against promotion rivals Peterborough and Ipswich.
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Marquis said: “We’re getting punished for making mistakes and are not getting the rub of the green with referee decisions either.
“So we see this game not only as a chance to win some silverware and play at Wembley but also to get some confidence and momentum going into those two big league games.
“We’re not saying we can’t reach the top two but we’ll pretty much need to win every game and hope results go our way to get there.
“But if we end up in the play-offs, this squad has the ability and quality to get promoted.”