Saturday, 29 March 2008

A different perspective

I managed to score tickets to Man United v Liverpool at Old Trafford on Easter Sunday, so was obviously made up with the result. It's the first time I've made it to the 'Theatre of Dreams' (bleugh) this season and the first time I remember being sat in the South Stand.
I think I am overly critical of Old Trafford as I remember it when it was terracing and therefore brilliant (Nostalgia Rule 3.4), but I expected the whole ground to be up for a match against Liverpool. This will be more like how it used to be!
Indeed the Stretford End were in great voice and there was even some noise in the East Stand. The South Stand, however, was deathly quiet. I would much rather have been in the Hammersmith End (as it was against Everton) watching Fulham. The only good thing about the seats was that Mascheano combusted right in front of us, which was rather amusing. The guy was harassing the referee all through the first half and no-one in the stands was surprised to see him get a red. What a lunatic.
Getting a tea at half time (it had snowed that day) was also a nightmare. The guy who was serving was slower than a glacier. We'd have got our order quicker if I had trained myself in telekinesis while in the queue and used my brainwaves to pass the carton cups over the counter.

As for Fulham. They so need to win today it's not funny. If they don't, I really can't see how they will stay up. If they do win, then there is that horrible affliction called hope that will nag away until the end of the season.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Fulham 1 - 0 Everton

Now this is more like it! (strange sense of Deja Vu).
I was amazed to hear before the match that Everton have not taken even a point from Craven Cottage since 1966. That's 42 years! Granted Fulham have yoyoed through the divisions during that time, but that is some record. Surely their luck would change at some point?
Maybe, but not this season. Possibly knackered from going out of the UEFA Cup on penalties during the week, the Toffeemen didn't get off to a good start when speedy slaphead Andy Johnson pulled up with a groin injury and they didn't have the personnel to fulfil a plan B.
Despite this, Fulham really didn't get going in the first half. In fact I don't think I've ever seen so many misplaced passes by one team during a 45 minute period. It would have been understandable if the Fulham fans had wished it was their own Johnson, American Eddie, that had got injured and carted off, so ineffective and headless was he. I never thought I'd hear the Hammersmith End calling for the introduction of Diomansy Kamara!
Still at half time Woy appears to have actually managed to make the players communicate with one another and Fulham played better stuff in the second half. The goal, when it came, was functional and, tellingly, Fulham's only attempt on target. It's about time the Cottager's luck took a turn for the better. How Simon Davies missed with an open goal later on is one of those enigmas wrapped in riddles that I've been reading so much about recently.
Personally I thought Everton had a strong shout for a penalty just before half-time when I think Pienaar was brought down, but I have seen no other mention of the incident elsewhere so I guess I was wrong.
A mention must be made of the cracking atmosphere at the Cottage. It's been recorded elsewhere, but being part of a crowd shouting, singing and generally having a laugh is what I signed up for in the first place. More please!
Of course the worst thing about this result is the hope that it brings that Fulham will stay up. Eight games left and most are against eminently beatable teams, however only three of these are at home and the away form is worse than useless. We'll see how Fulham do at St James' Park this weekend before making any judgement on whether they can stay up, but I reckon the survival mark will be at a record low point level. Here's hoping.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

A bunch of CLINTS

Before Christmas I noticed that the official match day programme had a tendency to use Clint Dempsey's first name in headlines above stories regarding the American striker. I initially thought that it was simply because it's shorter than his surname, no-one else has got the same name making it instantly recognisable and, finally, that its quite a cool name.
However, there might be a more nefarious reason.
Adam, before he buggered off to Singapore, was reading a programme at the match and my eye briefly ran over the page. I had to look again to make sure it DIDN'T say what I initially thought it said.
Try it. Just look at the headline of this post with slightly closed eyes. With the right font, it could be very, very rude. And therefore very, very funny for the compilers of the programme.
Unfortunately Clint hasn't had so many stories about him since the start of the year as the influx of new talent has given the writers some fresh victims to write about.
Personally I am looking forward to more headlines about Clint, who has impressed me with his endeavour this year, with another winner against Liverpool who might be resting players for a semi-final tie in the Champions League, depending on whether they get passed Arsenal.
On a separate note I have managed to score tickets for Man United verses Liverpool next week, which is pleasing as I have missed/will miss the Craven Cottage games with these two teams. If things continue as anticipated, the only team I will have missed this year will be Reading, which is no great loss. Unfortunately I have had the misfortune of watching Wigan twice.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Fulham 0 -1 West Ham United

I've not posted in a while and I only logged in to delete this whole thing. I'm that apathetic about things at the moment. However this may be down to some of the football I've been watching recently.
The West Ham match was a bit of a joke. Fulham had by far the better chances to score. West Ham's goal looked a bit dodgy from the other end of the stadium, but on TV it seemed incredible that it had been allowed. A boot in the goalkeeper's face, followed by by Nobby Solano putting the ball in with his elbow? When you don't have the luck, you do not have the luck.
It didn't help that referee Howard Webb seemed to be booking Fulham players left right and centre for infringements yet letting the Spammers off for exactly the same fouls. I was shocked to see him officiating a Champions League match last night.
The last four times I've seen West Ham they've been unbeaten, with three wins against teams I've been supporting and one draw. Bastards. I really don't like them, especially as they then roll over against Chelsea and Lolerpool.
I didn't attend the Fulham v Man United game for two reasons. One , as a Man United fan myself, I didn't think it would be right to sit with the fans I've been sitting with all season and support the away team. Two - I was in Manchester watching the travesty of a game that was City verses Wigan. Thank god the tickets were freebies.
I've seen some poor matches at Craven Cottage this season, but nothing to rival the souless, goaless draw that, had I been at home, would have had me cancelling my Setanta subscription mid-match.

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