Monday, 7 September 2009

European tour

Not Fulham's though. Mine. I'm off to Cyprus for a wedding and then I've got to skeddadle to Copenhagen for work, so the next two weeks are a write off for me. It also means I miss the Everton match on Saturday and probably won't be back in time to watch Fulham in Bulgaria live on ITV4 a week on Thursday.
The derby with Arsenal will be my next match and, worringly again, tickets for that game have gone on open sale. The attendance at Chelsea this season was only negligibly lower than last year's in the end, but the fact that tickets were on general sale reflects the poor economy rather than the travails of the team in my opinion.
Anyway last week I went to Brentford. I didn't realise how close I lived to Griffin Park as well as all the other grounds. I've said before I live inside an unholy football triangle between Loftus Road, Stamford Bridge and (thankfully) Craven Cottage. But it seems during all this time I was actually living in an unholy rhombus.
There were three reasons for visiting the Bees. 1) They were playing Oldham Athletic, a team I occasionally watched at Boundary Park when I was wee. 2) Griffin Park still has terracing, at either side of the ground and I'm a sucker for terracing. 3) I got a free ticket.
Despite the terracing, I was underwhelmed by the lack of original songs from the fans. They were all identikit chants with Brentford or the names of Brentford players inserted at the appropriate moment. At least Fulham have some unique songs. However because of the size of the ground there was a lot more banter with the players and the officials, which was particularly amusing. The branding of Oldham's keeper Dean Brill as a giant Wotsit because of his horrid orange kit was perhaps the highlight. One linesman appeared to be continually barking at the players, although it later transpired that he was communicating with the ref via the little microphone thingy on his head. Anyway it wasn't long before the fans were telling him to get off his mobile.
The match itself was pretty dull, the first half in particular showing very little what you would call 'football'. Brentford won a penalty (although it was down the other end so we couldn't see what it was for) just before half time and duly converted it. This encouraged them to to out in the second half and actually start playing. They should have won had it not been for an audacious bit of skill by Blackman on Oldham's left wing. He brought down a long ball with one touch and put in a shot, at least I think it was a shot, that drifted into the far top corner. It was a piece of skill that had no place in this match and enough to earn Oldham a point.
What going to the match did highlight was the value for money we get at Craven Cottage. It would have cost £20 to go and watch the League 1 game and that was for standing on the terracing. If you wanted a seat then it would cost even more. A bit of investigation when I got home found that a season ticket for the Ealing Road terrace was £330 - the same price as my Fulham ticket. - albeit for 4 more matches.


Dan said...

Forgive me, but I absolutely loathe Brentford. They were our 'big' rivals when I was growing up and one of my first games was a bitter defeat (1-0 and Fulham missed a penalty - I spent the entire journey home demanding of my poor Dad just how you could miss a penalty). They don't like us either. They'd spent most of our games goading the away fans rather than watching the game and their sickening glee at the plight of Craven Cottage ('Flats on the Cottage') plus their delusions of grandeur mean that my dislike of them remains as strong as ever. The only time it diminshed was with Micky Adams in charge.

I do miss lower league football, though, particularly for the reasons you outlined. I spent my four years at university standing on the terraces at Exeter (not every day you understand!) and so am glad to see them doing really well back in the League now.

Enjoy Europe and hopefully we'll have more excellent observations to enjoy when you return.

Bad Andy said...

Hey Dan. Cheers for the comments!

I figured there would be some residual animosity. You don't get four clubs in such a small area without there being friction. Of course the difference for Fulham is that they have played all three relatively recently as they've been in all the divisions. In fact I was in two minds whether to put it up on here, but thought it might still be interesting to some.

I probably will go again, but only to go and laugh at Leeds United when they visit. I'm starting to miss Leeds. God knows why.

Rich Text