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.

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam