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Fulham Need To Avoid The Fairytale Turning Into A Nightmare

To some, there’s nothing more condescending than when their team are described as plucky, punching above there weight or a battling side. Each of the terms generally means the same thing when used towards a football club. You’ve punched above your weight and sooner rather than later, you’re going to get brought down to earth. Fulham have got used to running the whole gambit of these cliche ridden back handed complements this season during their run to the Europa League Final.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve seen a few articles around stating it’s the biggest game in Fulham’s history. Sorry to deflate the collective bubbles, but that simply isn’t true at all. It’s possibly the craziest day in an average Fulham fans lifetime but it’s not even close to biggest match in the clubs history. I doubt even the most ardent Cottage regular would have even considered getting to the final when you look at the teams they were up against. It’s a brilliant day and they will want to win it, but I’ll look at the clubs biggest game in the modern era further down.

Of course, I will be rooting for Fulham on Wednesday night in the final as if it’s my own team. I like Fulham, I like the way they play the game, I like Roy Hodgson, so I naturally want the best for them. I’d love it if they won the game, but do not underestimate Athletico Madrid. Despite the fact that they are clearly the most disaster prone side in European football and have somehow got to the game by only winning 2 matches, they still have some quality in the team.

If any team can implode and throw any situation away, then Athletico are the team to put your money on. For example, they won the Spanish double in 1996 with Raddy Antic as manager and then four years later they dropped out of the Primera League. Their greatest era as a club coincided with Real Madrid being the greatest club side in the world for about 15 years. The fans burnt the club shop down in 2005 when the new Nike kit was discovered to have scrapped the red and white stripes. This is a club that make Tottenham look the model of consistency.

Despite all that, Fulham stand on the threshold of an amazing achievement. Don’t patronise them by assuming by being in the final being good enough. Hodgson and his players will want to win the trophy. By falling at the final fence, everything will have been in vain. All the sweat, the comebacks, the fighting spirit will have come to nothing if they fail to come home without that trophy. Being there doesn’t count unless you win the damn thing. Ask the Middlesbrough faithful.

Now, as for the biggest game in Fulhams modern history, the day they played Torquay United in a battle between the two lowest placed league sides in 1996 has to be up there. Only 14 years ago, Fulham faced relegation out of the league and financial implosion. Crowds were little better than 4,000 a game and they had less than a 1,000 season ticket holders. They lost the match and faced ruin and that was just 14 years ago. The same season, Hodgson was leading Inter Milan to a 7th place finish in Serie A and Fulham managed to survive by bringing Mickey Adams in as manager.

That’s how far this club has come in such a short time and for all the hype and posturing, the Fulham fans will always look back to the day they were facing oblivion in the face. Football is indeed a funny old game, but for Fulham and Roy Hodgson, only a win at the HSH Nordbank Arena will suffice in bringing a smile to their faces.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. FredZ

    May 12, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Well it looks like the tv coverage of this match in the US has turned into a nightmare since no live coverage is available for the majority of viewers. Oh well. Just more proof that the Europa league is a 2nd rate tournament of little interest outside of the clubs left in it.

    • The Gaffer

      May 12, 2010 at 3:21 am

      Fred, the game will be shown live on DirecTV. If you don’t have access to DirecTV, try a local pub. Or try watching the game online via UEFA.com, which should offer an online broadcast of the game for a nominal fee.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  2. Jim

    May 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    All the best to Roy and the boys in the final. Really hope you win it, you deserve it for the season you have had. That would be the icing on the cake, with a massive cherry on top. JimLFC

  3. Eious

    May 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Fulham has been rather unimpressive the last few months

    They got some luck along with some good play and made a 2nd rate title run

    Props to them but wont lead to anything great

    • KEvin_Amold

      May 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm

      They’ve been unimpressive in LEAGUE play over the last few months. They’ve been QUITE impressive in pretty much every game they’ve needed to win.

      I’m a little tired of this denigrating of the Europa league. No one would be denigrating the Whites if they were in the final of the FA Cup. A trophy is a trophy, and a trophy from a tournament featuring so many quality sides.

      More peeing off a balcony onto our celebration. Enough already.

  4. Kevin_Amold

    May 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I love that picture of Hodgson. It’s probably an image that haunts Sir Alex’s nightmares.

  5. Lol in H7

    May 10, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Biggest? Most important?

    What happened games that were but we lost? Losing to Leicester waaaaay back then, was Ivor offside? The Cup Final was the biggest, then.

    I dont know, but it certainly can be the best IF we win.

  6. David

    May 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    It’s the most impressive match in the clubs history without question, and a chance to put them on the map to man. But the biggest? Hell, I’d say even the match against Pompey two years and 1 day ago was more important because it kept us in the top-flight and gave us the improbable chance of making the Europa league after beating the drop on the final day.

    Amazing when you think about just how much of a fairytale this entire time under Hodgson has been. I will be proud regardless, but it sure would be a damn shame to go home with nothing else but a cool story.

  7. Paul Bestall

    May 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Well the 3 Fulham fans I know say it’s not, they believe it’s a fantastic day but nowhere near the game against Torquay or the FA Cup Final of 1975.

  8. Jason Gatties

    May 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Wrong, Wrong & Wrong

    This is the biggest match in the club’s history.

    Go back to school junior.

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