Fulham has done it again. For the second season in a row, they’ve escaped relegation by the slimmest of margins. This time it was on goal difference as they squeezed a victory against Portsmouth at Fratton Park, while the teams below them — Reading and Birmingham both had emphatic victories on the last day (4-0 against Derby, and 4-1 against Blackburn, respectively).
Just a few weeks ago, practically everyone thought Fulham was buried especially after they had poor results against the Premier League bottom feeders such as Newcastle (lost 2-0), Sunderland (lost 3-1) and Derby (drew 2-2). But the turning point was their convincing 2-0 away victory against Reading which was followed two weeks later with an unbelievable comeback against Manchester City (winning 3-2) after being down 2-0.
In hindsight, you have to wonder whether Fox Soccer Channel should have convinced Setanta Sports why Fox should show the Portsmouth against Fulham match instead of Chelsea versus Bolton. Sure, Fox would have been kicking themselves if Chelsea had won the Premier League at Stamford Bridge, but the more thrilling story was at Fratton Park where FulhAm(erica) played a starring role in The Great Escape — which had plenty of American connections. Plus the whole concept of relegation is so foreign to American sport fans, which adds a whole extra level of suspense and intrigue.
Congratulations to Fulham on avoiding the drop. Reading, meanwhile, deserved to go down based on their performances during the past few weeks. If a team can’t show the passion needed to turn up when it really matters, the club doesn’t deserve to survive in the Premier League. The perfect example of this was in the match against Tottenham last week. The fans were in a boisterous mood as they typically are but the most important element failed to turn up that day… the players.