Mullins grateful for his shot at final redemption

The Pompey defender can atone for Cup suspension with West Ham four years ago

The list of those who have been sent off in an FA Cup final is short, and all the more memorable for it – Kevin Moran of Manchester United was the first, in 1985, and Jose Antonio Reyes of Arsenal, the second and so far last, five years ago. The list, however, of those who have missed a Cup final through suspension is longer but less easy to recall. But one of those who has suffered exactly that fate, Hayden Mullins, has a shot at redemption this weekend against Chelsea when he thought his hopes had long gone.

Mullins, the Portsmouth left-back who could be up against Nicolas Anelka on Saturday, was playing in midfield when the red mist came down in a league game in April 2006 that meant he could not play for West Ham United against Liverpool in the final the following month.

By coincidence, his sending off came against Liverpool, and Luis Garcia, the Reds' midfielder, suffered the exact same punishment. Mullins says: "I don't know why I did it, it was one of those stupid things. I didn't really hit him as such, I just sort of tried to push him away and he sort of knocked my arm up and I caught him in the face. But it was a red card and it was a stupid thing to do, to react like that."

Mullins, 31, admits he felt crushed. "I was just devastated, having played the whole season and the semi-final. I knew I would have played. You can't really put into words how stupid you feel and how bad it is after, but it's gone now. It's cushioned the blow but it's always in the back of your mind. It was a great final [West Ham lost on penalties] and it still hurts to this day but it's gone now. It's a stupid error by me and there's nothing I can do about it."

Mullins, nicknamed Roberto Carlos by his manager Avram Grant, to try to make him feel more at ease in his position, has not been one of the game's most fortunate players. To be at one club that has gone into administration could be called unlucky, to have been at two could be considered careless. Crystal Palace, his first team, called in the men in suits in 1998, while Pompey have, of course, done the same this season. But there is no comparison, he says. Portsmouth have won that particular battle of the paupers, past and present, with their £136m debts.

He recalls: "Palace were in and out of administration but this has been unbelievable. You think it couldn't get any worse: nine points [deducted], then administration, no money, then the debt is getting bigger every week. You have to have a sense of humour to get through it, you have to look at it and laugh because it's such a bad situation that the club finds itself in. Hopefully this is the end of it and we can build next year and get promotion. Then the club may be more stable than it is now. That is the only thing we can hope for." That, and for Mullins, a final appearance at last.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future