Thursday, 30 December 2010

Meet the 'fans' - Andy

A weedy capitulation to one of the country's worst teams live on TV only to then wrest three points from the Britannia Stadium a few days later is one of the more puzzling aspects of this Fulham side. But they still sit in the relegation zone so this next week will be very, very important.
Anyway here's another exciting profile:

Name: Andy
Season tickets held: 2007/8, 2008/9, 2009/10, 2010/11
Hometown: Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester
Football team supported: Manchester United (with affiliations to Preston North End and Oldham Athletic)
Why did you get a Fulham Season Ticket? I wanted to create a regular social occurrence with some of my friends. We all liked football and the £299 season ticket was too good value to turn down.
Favourite Game: Last season's home game against Juventus has absolutely mental, but for sheer emotion the Hamburg semi-final home leg  was something else. From my mad dash back from Madrid, to the 'stand up if you still believe' chant, to the Simon Davies goal, to the 2-1 victory and grown men crying in the stands, to the victory and my first pint in a pub for nine months which lasted approximately 9 seconds.
Favourite Goal: Again trying to avoid the Juve game - Diomansy Kamara's last minute overhead kick that made it 3-3 against Tottenham Hotspur in September 2007. I think that's when I got the bug.
Favourite Player: As much as I love Johnny Paintsil, I think Clint Dempsey has to take this accolade. He has a lot of attributes that I like in a player.
Least favourite player: Sol Ki-Hyeon - what an absolute waste of space
What do Fulham now mean to you? I honestly don't know. I'm an enthusiastic spectator but does the mania go beyond that? They won't replace United as my first love, despite how lukewarm I am about the current administration there, but will they elbow Preston from the number 2 slot? They should but there is a finite capacity for football supportage than many believe I have already transcended by having more than one team.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Meet the fans - Nicky

As we didn't make it to Sunderland and none of us will be around for the West Ham game either, I thought I'd do the odd profile piece on the people who have had a season ticket with us. These could be representative of the influx of season ticket holders over the last couple of years - people like us who have adopted Fulham as a 'second team' while living in London.

Name: Nicky
Season tickets held: 2008/9, 2009/10, 2010/11
Hometown: Twickenham
Football team supported: Manchester United
Why did you get a Fulham Season Ticket? Cheap, nearby and the side were likable
Favourite Game: Fulham 4 - 1 Juventus last season
Favourite Goal: Clint Dempsey's goal v Juventus
Favourite Player: Bobby Zamora (I always love the underdog)
Least favourite player: Dickson Etuhu
What do Fulham now mean to you? I like to see them do well and enjoy going to watch them.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The Nearly Men - ARS 2 - 1 FUL

Fulham gave a good account of themselves at The Emirates, but don't seem to be able to get that bit of luck to take them to the next level. Nasri gave Arsenal all the points with a couple of instances of dancing in the box, but it could so nearly have gone the other way. Not that you would have thought that from the first 20 minutes. Fulham were filth with no discernable game plan and Arsenal were just gliding  past the mainly static white shirts. Even when Nasri scored, the writing had been on the wall for some time, and most of the Fulham fans were anticipating another drubbing.
However, for some reason, it just didn't happen. The first proper bit of football that Fulham played in the first half culminated in Kamara's well taken equaliser from Dempsey's deft flick and then, suddenly, Arsenal were rocking and uneasy. There were still no obvious tactics, but Fulham started making more chances and were probably unhappy that the half-time whistle came when it did.
Half time came, allowing us to be sold stuff through the big screens. Surprisingly Arsene Wenger read out the 'lucky number' winner on what i assume to be a pre-record VT - which raises some questions as to when the draw was actually made. Fulham fans weren't that noisy today, but crikey the Emirates is a quiet place at times. What you get from north London is the perfect distillation of modern football, with all its good and bad points.
Arsenal had played some good stuff in the game, but you could sense a soft underbelly of uncertainty within the team, and when the second half started Fulham tried to press the advantage. The game actually became quite good - one of those strange end to end game without many shots on goal.
The major tactical revolution for Fulham was playing a right winger on the right wing. Davies was tasked with sticking on the byline and suddenly Fulham had an 'out' ball and any crosses could be aimed at the trio of Kamara, Gera and Dempsey. Unfortunately Arsenal's centre halves managed to cope with that aerial threat, but other teams are likely to struggle a bit more. Davies was actually a bit of a revelation on the right and was possibly Fulham's best player in the second half.
Even Etuhu upped his game and started making some crunching tackles that have disappeared from his game recently. Suddenly Fulham were up for it, but were undone by a great bit of skill when Nasri ran into the box unhindered and scored a goal straight off Strictly Come Dancing. It was a bit of rough justice really though. Andy Johnson was busy without being dangerous, and Dempsey hit the deck in injury time in the penalty area which was definitely worth another look (not that MOTD has bothered showing it), but in the end the team had given themselves too much to do.
While the way the team played was very promising (most of the Fulham fans clapped the team off the pitch) shouldn't we be expecting more that 'promising'  with almost half the season gone? A win against Sunderland next week would be very, very welcome.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Return of the King - FUL 1-1 BHM

It's a strange old game when the highlight is the return of a right back. Carlos Salcido, clearly not fit, was hauled off after a very, very poor 20 minutes in which he was pretty culpable for the away team's breakaway goal after unnecessarily lunging in at Hleb near the halfway line. His replacement? None other than Johnny P who had hitherto been frozen out of Hughes' plans after a shoddy start to the season.
In truth it was a surprise to see Paintsil get the nod ahead of Kelly, but I've seen reports that Johnny was ready to go on the pitch and Stephen wasn't so Hughes shoved our favourite Ghanaian into action. It was a rousing ovation for Paintsil, with his every touch cheered. The Birmingham fans must have thought we were going mad. Surprisingly he took the right back berth with Baird moving to left back - considering JP has played LB at international level. Still Paintsil actually had a really solid game, which was good to see. Baird didn't play bad either at left back, although in an attacking sense he constantly had to cut back onto his right, which unfortunately slowed the team's momentum. The one time Baird did try and whip one over with his left, it was fairly dangerous.
This was a better outing for Fulham than in recent times, although Dickson Etuhu was mainly anonymous for the match, playing around half as many passes as most of the other players. And while they looked in control for most of the game, Ben Foster just wasn't tested at all. Any shots on target ended going straight at him and it was just Dempsey's desire to reach the ball that plundered the equaliser (once Davies and Baird decide to actually cross the ball into the box rather than fanny around with it).
In all the game had a more relaxed atmosphere about it - almost a tacit acceptance amongst the fans that after a couple of years of unprecedented success Fulham are shit again and the fans should try and enjoy themselves despite what is going off on the pitch. We even found ourselves cheering Eddie Johnson when he came on - he even managed a shot on target that Foster was semi-lucky to turn away with his feet. If he'd had scored the winner than all bets were off for the remainder of the season. It would have almost been enough to convince FIFA that magical football moments happen in England.

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