Where Are They Now? Pompey’s FA Cup semi-finalists 1992
by Neil Fissler
WARREN NEILL admits that nothing comes close to the feeling of being three minutes and 25 seconds away from Wembley and having it snatched away from you.
Neill was part of the Pompey side cruelly beaten on penalties by Liverpool in an FA Cup semi-final after coming so close to reaching the Twin Towers.
Pompey had seen off Exeter City, Orient, Middlesbrough and then Nottingham Forest in the quarter-finals to earn a place in the last four against Liverpool.
Neill says his lasting memory of the run was Jim Smith taking them on a golfing break before every round because he didn’t want to break the habit they had got into before beating Exeter.
Neill says it was after beating Forest, who were one of the leading sides at the time, that they started to dream about a trip to Wembley.
“Forest had a very good side,” he said. “When you look at the players they had – Stuart Pearce, Des Walker, Roy Keane – you think ‘blimey’.
“We got an early goal through Alan McLoughlin and then we were hanging on a bit, but we were playing well.
“And you obviously think that, if you can beat them, you can beat most teams. I remember thinking: ‘We’ve got a real chance now’.
The draw handed them a clash with Liverpool at Highbury and everything appeared to be going to plan when Darren Anderton opened the scoring in the 110th minute.
But then, seven minutes later, Ronnie Whelan levelled for Liverpool to take the tie to a replay and break thousands of hearts from the South Coast.
Neill went on to miss a penalty in the shoot-out after the replay at Villa Park had ended goal-less after extra time.
“I put a pass through for Darren Anderton to go through and slot it into the corner,” he said.
“Then, I remember looking at the clock and there was only about three minutes and 25 seconds left.
“Andy Awford gave away a free kick away. He was a bit tired and they scored from it.
“That was the worst feeling in the world, I have got to say. It’s the worst I’ve felt in a game.
“We were playing Liverpool and you don’t get too many chances to beat them. Even though we hadn’t lost, it felt like we had.
“Then, in the replay, we should have won the game; we hit the bar in the last ten minutes. Then, when it went to penalties, I wasn’t down to take one.
“But a couple didn’t want to take one and Jim (Smith) looked at me and I said I’ll take one, but we had missed two before it got to me.
“It increased the pressure and that was it. Even if we had scored them all it wouldn’t have mattered.”
- Mark Chamberlain: England winger and father of Arsenal’s Alex has managed Fareham Town and coached at Portsmouth’s academy.
- Lee Russell: An electrician running an electrical inspection company, RSL, in Paignton, Devon.
- Guy Whittingham: Striker who has managed Pompey. Now an FA coach educator.
- Colin Clarke: Northern Ireland international who has settled in the United States where he has been in charge of Carolina RailHawks for four years.
- Alan Gough: Republic of Ireland U21 keeper who has managed Longford Town, as well as Ballina Town, and is a goalkeeping coach.
- Shaun Gale: Full-back who managed Havant & Waterlooville, where he now runs the community programme and is assistant manager, as well as acting as a sportswear agent.
- Darryl Powell: Jamaican international midfielder who runs Paramount Sport Management, which he formed when he finished playing in 2006.
- Warren Aspinall: Striker who works for Sainsbury in their distribution centre in Basingstoke. He also scouts for Brighton and works as a summariser for BBC Radio Sussex.
- Ray Daniel: Defender who has settled in the Hull area, where he has coached in schools and is a sports therapist.
- Gordon Neave: Former Pompey player who spent 40 years behind the scenes as coach, physio, trainer and kit man. He died in August 2003, aged 78.
- Darren Anderton: England winger who has worked as a television pundit and analyst. Also, director of a nursery and has property interests.
- Chris Burns: Defender who is working as a bricklayer and is managing Brockworth Albion.
- Graeme Hogg: Scottish central defender who is a HGV driver in Scotland.
- Alan Knight: Goalkeeper at Portsmouth, FC Dallas, Bournemouth, Aldershot and Dorchester Town who is a ground worker near Heathrow Airport.
- Andy Gosney: Goalkeeper who is now living in Torquay, where he works in the building industry.
- Guy Butters: Defender who is a coach and mentor for Brighton’s community scheme and is a lounge host at the Amex Stadium.
- Kit Symons: Welsh international defender who went into coaching with Crystal Palace, Colchester and Fulham, where he was manager until earlier this month.
- Gary Stevens: England defender who went into insurance. He also worked for media outlets and has been head coach of Port FC in Thailand since June.
- Neil Sillett: Physio who is the son of former Coventry boss John and is now a players agent and also technical director of Puerto Rico FC.
- Warren Neill: Right-back who coached at QPR and then Luton Town. Now a London taxi driver.
- Steve Wigley: Winger who has managed Aldershot and Southampton. Currently Fulham’s U18 manager.
- Kenny Black: Midfielder who has managed Airdrie United and been assistant manager to Stuart McCall at Motherwell and Rangers.
- Andy Awford: Defender who managed Portsmouth until April this ear and is now working for Luton Town as Youth Academy and Development Manager.
- Gavin Maguire: Defender who became a personal trainer and is now running his own hair, skin and beauty business in Somerset.
- Graham Paddon: Went on to become assistant manager at Stoke and scouted for Derby, Liverpool and Leicester. Died in Norfolk in November 2007.
- Jim Smith: Later returned to Portsmouth as Harry Redknapp’s assistant and is now retired after sitting on Oxford’s board.
- Martin Kuhl: Midfielder who joined the coaching staff at Aldershot and Wycombe and is currently professional phase coach at Reading.
- John Beresford: Left-back whose father John played for Chesterfield. This John won a Division One title with Newcastle United and has since worked as a television pundit.
- Stuart Doling: Midfielder who is now the manager of Lymington Town, a place where he is also the owner of a fruit and veg shop
- Mickey Ross: Forward who has worked in the sales industry.
- Shaun Murray: Midfielder who is now living in Bingham, Nottingham, where he is working as a driving instructor.
Tagged League Two, Pompey, Portsmouth, Warren Neill