I was surprised at the mass turnout at Craven Cottage last night - nearly 24,000 - considering it was a 'midweek' televised game, although looking back last year's encounter was similarly attended on a Wednesday night. Of course some of this is down to the £5 additional ticket(s) offer for season ticket holders and the somewhat sudden 130 year anniversary 'celebration' being held on the evening. Cynical marketing ploy? Who knows?
Being chosen as the Monday night game, especially with a Thursday Europa League match, seems particularly Fulham-ish but I think the fact that both Fulham and Hull have American players means a later kick off time would garner more interest in the states. At least for those without 9-5 jobs over there.
Still I availed myself of the £5 ticket offer and took my sister and father to the game as they happened to be visiting me that week. They became the typical football tourists too (see picture). It did mean a seat shift though and we ended up in H4, seven rows from the front in apparently 'covered' seats but I doubt the roof would have kept us dry had it rained. The front of the Hammy End is very odd as the stand dips below pitch level. This means that those sat in the front seats are literally watching it at pitch level. Of course that far down the front makes it nigh on impossible to gauge the game properly, which was particularly irksome in the first half as all the action (bar one important Johnny Paintsil improvised overhead clearance) was down the Hull End. The goal eventually came, although it didn't exactly register that Bobby Z's header had looped in, and the first half ended on a high. I thought the first 45 had dragged, but the family enjoyed the experience.
Second half we had more of the same, only this time we could actually see what was going on. Jimmy Bullard's introduction to the game was greeted with a chorus of boos which continued with his every touch, a response which has drawn a mixed reaction from some quarters. As far as I'm concerned the fans had every right to boo a player who had threatened to go on strike, despite being looked after for 18 injured months, but at the same time you can see why Bullard took Hull's coin. I think he will regret how he did it at when he looks back at his career though.
Fortunately for anxious Fulham fans, Kamara made it two soon after the substitutions after good work from Zamora and that allowed the fans to have a bit more fun singing songs at Bullard's expense. Hull barely improved though and Mark Schwarzer had nothing to do but collect a few high balls played into the box. Hull were abject, but they were particularly bad last year at the Cottage and still somehow managed to waltz away with 3 points.
Performances of note in the Fulham team were Duff's and Baird's and Zamora did more right than wrong, although you'd hope so given that he was up against Kevin Kilbane at centre half despite being, as far as I remember, a left winger. When Nevland came on for Kamara he seemed to be making the same runs into the same space as Bobby Z, so perhaps Woy should keep them apart. But it was hard to judge the team given the opposition were so bad. Roma on Thursday should be of sterner stuff.
Attendance: Me +2, and 2 of Jarrod's mates. No Ish or Jarrod.