Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The night before a big game

I'm off to Hamburg at 3am so I'll make this quick. The parallels with Fulham and the Boro team that reached the UEFA Cup final in 2005 are numerous. Unfashionable club, bankrolled by one rich enthusiastic fan, defies the odds to get to the final in only their second ever foray into European competition. Both had managers mooted to take the England job.
Both teams mounted unlikely comebacks in the knock out stages (although Middlesbrough tended to leave it until the last minute), both played Roma and Basle and met a Spanish side in the final. Christ - they both had the same goalkeeper! But hopefully that's where the parallels end. Boro got spanked in the final 4-0 by Sevilla and in four short years were relegated when the owner was forced to turn off the money tap. It could very easily happen to Fulham.
This is why it's important to make this final count. And count hard. Athletico's season isn't over. They have another league game and the Copa Del Ray final next Wednesday. Let them concentrate on those ties. Fulham have got to be as focused and disciplined as their manager and not have some of the bizarre play that we saw in Turin that allowed Juventus to come away with three goals.
And hopefully Schwarzer's wobbles have all gone. After a great season it would be a tragedy if he 'dropped the ball' for the last three games, especially will a World Cup to play in. My head says that it will be 0-0 but you get the inkling that Fulham might sneak it 2-1. It's a brave new world - hopefully the players will be able to embrace it. They've done themselves proud getting this far. Just one more push and they can become legends.

1 comment:

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