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Fulham's Fabulous European Dream Continues

Fulham’s amazing transformation under Roy Hodgson just keeps reaching new heights and sending their fans in to raptures. I know I’ve written about Roy Hodgson and the fact that the British press have virtually ignored his career until he took over at Fulham, but no-one could have expected this level of improvement from the Cottagers.

2 years ago they were all but relegated from the Premiership and when they went 2-0 down in a league game against Manchester City, they were technically down. Amazingly though they recovered and won that game 3-2, going on a run that saw them survive on the last day of the season. Now here we are in April 2010 and they have a Europa Cup Final to look forward to in 13 days time.

I’ve been sick and tired of people doing the Europa League down, for Fulham and their fans it is a monumental achievement and they deserve to celebrate long in to the night. The achievements of Roy Hodgson can no longer be ignored by the British media who will no doubt be jumping on the bandwagon as we speak, propelling the Fulham manager to demi-god status. They’re about 10 years behind but they’ll never let on just how much they’ve underestimated the like-able Londoner.

As much as Fulham’s European success has been a revelation for the club, it has cemented the managerial abilities of Hodgson. He has taken London’s smallest Premier League club to their first ever continental final and achieved something that some more celebrated English managers have not achieved. I’m truly delighted for them, for him and the Fulham fans.

After the game, Hodgson said “After going a goal down against the run of play I think we made a major piece of history here tonight in a very special atmosphere. We have beaten a very good team and I’m drained after the emotional roller-coaster. I think lots of teams would have lost their discipline and shape, but we stayed strong.”

They’ve seen off more famous and illustrious opponents throughout this cup run and just when you thought they’d come a cropper, they found hidden reserves of mental strength and fortitude to fight back in every knock out tie. Shaktar Donetsk, Roma, Juventus, Wolfsburg and now Hamburg have fallen when all common sense told you that Fulham couldn’t or wouldn’t beat them. They did and with such lovely football too.

Of course, they’ll now face Athletico Madrid who have put Liverpool out tonight, which I’m delighted with. Not disrespecting Liverpool, but now all the build up in the UK will focus on Fulham, which is what they deserve. If Liverpool had made it, we would have had constant coverage of Benitez’s miserable and moronic press conferences which I’ve seen more than I deserve to over the last 5 years. Now Fulham and their fans can bask in the next two weeks as the excitement builds towards Hamburg.

They must be in shock, stunned as they’ve seen the transformation of their team in such a short space of time. Enjoy it Fulham fans and I truly, really want you to win the cup. Congratulations to all of you. Now get drunk!

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  1. LI Matt

    April 30, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Geek notes:

    Fulham could become the seventh English club to win this tournament in its various incarnations. Leeds (2x), Newcastle, and Arsenal won the Fairs Cup; Liverpool (3x), Spurs (2x), and Ipswich won the UEFA Cup.

    If Clint Dempsey plays on the 12th, he will be the first US-qualified player (but not the first US citizen) to appear in a European final.

    • CTBlues

      April 30, 2010 at 8:45 am

      You forgot Chelsea my friend. They won it twice as well in ’71 and ’98.

      • LI Matt

        April 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm

        Chelsea won the Cup-Winners’ Cup, which merged with the UEFA Cup in 2000. Other English winners of the CWC include Spurs again, West Ham, Man City, Everton, and Arsenal again.

  2. ovalball

    April 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    So happy to be a Cottager! Thanks, Paul, for the great write-up.

    And I’m half way there…….(to being drunk). 😀

    Miles to go before I sleep……..

  3. Jason Gatties

    April 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    This season was my 10th anniversary since I “fell in love” Fulham FC via my wife (girlfriend at the time). What an anniversary present this has been for both of us. I cried for a good 10 minutes after the final whistle. If we can win the Cup, I can’t even begin to imagine what that will feel like.


  4. Cricketlover

    April 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Fulham deserve the praise they have been getting since booking their place in the finals. Crongatulations to Hodgson for guiding the team to the finals especially given the resources at his disposal. Just goes to show that there are English managers who can do well in European matches. Maybe if Hodgson was Liverpool’s manager ……. 🙂

  5. Raatzie

    April 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Attaboy Fulham. Can’t wait to face you guys.

    Oh, wait . . .

  6. Sparky

    April 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Come on Fulham, you deserve to win the cup after some great performances !
    Bring the cup home and i hope you win it for Yourselves, London and England…….

    Good luck from the Gooners…….

  7. CTBlues

    April 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Congrats fellow West Londoners.

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