Almost a year ago to the day, Fulham were in the Europa League Final to face Atletico Madrid in Hamburg, Germany. Fulham ended up losing 2-1 on a late goal by Diego Forlan. However, this tournament will always have special meaning to the club. Many media members and fans of other teams don’t respect this tournament. Ask Fulham fans what they think about this league. One year later the Europa League still matters to Fulham and their fans.
This year Fulham did not have any European football, and it felt like something was missing. Last season was an incredible journey that culminated one year ago yesterday. The final didn’t end up the way that fans hoped for, but the ride to get there left memories that could last a lifetime.
When I hear fans of other clubs not thinking much about the Europa League, it disappoints me. The football I watched last season was excellent against great competition. Of course it is not the Champions League, but the games mattered tremendously to a club that works hard to maintain its place every season in the English Premier League.
Think about the teams Fulham had to beat to get to the Final on May 12th, 2010. They took down in order: Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg. These victories led up to a final against Atletico Madrid. Diego Forlan was the difference scoring two goals in a 2-1 loss.
Looking back one year later, it could be easy to focus on the loss. But, the journey to get there was very fulfilling to fans that follow Fulham. In fact many of these fans want them back there next season.
Fulham currently sit 10th in the English Premier League, and it is unlikely they will get into the Europa League with their place in the league. Their only chance is with the Fair Play League. Last month England was in second and so was Fulham. There is still a chance that Fulham can sneak into the Europa League. We should find out in the coming weeks if the club makes it back to the Europa League.
Fans of other teams might rather they didn’t play in the Europa League, if they could not get into the Champions League. On the flip side, if you check the messageboards and Twitter, you will see Fulham fans are hoping they can make it back to a tournament they almost won one year ago. The Europa League still matters to Fulham and their fans.