Time to turn the page

Posted by Phil Mison

Hal Robson-Kanu fires Reading into the lead from the penalty spotPA PhotosPhil Mison believes it's time Fulham fans moved on from the 4-2 defeat against Reading.

We have been running riot since the Reading defeat. The fans I'm talking about - and I include myself in that. At least it shows we have passion. When you care too much for something it's easy to lose objectivity. Our pain and frustration has naturally been finding an outlet across this and every other Fulham forum since last Saturday. We've all been chalking on the wall of anger.

But the nature of that defeat against a side who, for most of the season, suggested they were heading straight back down again, demanded - and got - a strong response. Nine months ago if you recall, promoted Reading were aiming simply to finish above 17th. They had not furnished the side with star names or gone mad with money. Fulham meanwhile, after putting five past Norwich and running United mighty close, fancied their chances of making the top eight.

That dream has long since turned to dust. But being whipped 4-2 on home soil by the Royals almost felt like a betrayal of the faith. It was a salutary lesson in how far our standards have dropped, and thus the humbling, after a solid month of setbacks proved a catalyst for supporter's anger.

Relegated Reading have put seven goals past us this season, a side who not so long ago went toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in Europe. Unfortunately, in the days since last Saturday, I've heard nothing from our manager that suggests he has the answer to putting things right.

This writer however has decided it's time to cease whingeing and dispense with the hand-wringing. Who wants to hear more moaning? As a plucky minority have bravely posted, it's time to stand behind the club and move forward.

This stance of course is a little easier to adopt since the result on Tuesday at the DW. I wrote at the start of March I felt Wigan might be the third side to slip through the trap door. They simply don't win enough points at home, and their defending for Swansea's last two goals was lamentable. They will not gain six points from their last two games so we can all put our worries aside, look forward to the summer, and with an effort to show magnanimity, congratulate the club on preserving our Premiership status for a 12th season. It has been a tough campaign to endure, no doubt for the players and staff as well as us fans.

While applause for the team might be a tad on the faint side, we can certainly be loud and proud in saluting a third successive title in their Elite group for our U-18 side. I've had a chance to see the 'new Dembele' in action and I shall be amazed if this boy doesn't make it to the very top. Emerson Hyndman impresses me too, the American scoring in our 2-0 win over Everton last Saturday.

It would also be remiss not to comment on the monumental impact Sir Alex Ferguson has made on the modern game. His achievements will never be bettered. Everything he did was designed only to make his United teams untouchable.

The mind games before big matches, the persistent hounding of officials, his hostility to media or anyone who dared question his methods. It's not all about just attracting the best players to your club either. He had no qualms in laying down the law, whoever you were. He astutely rebuilt title-winning sides time and again yet still managed to accommodate all the big egos, while cleverly injecting fresh talent even before others sensed United might be in need of it.

He did it by commanding total respect from his staff. In return he gave the club 100% dedication and an unflagging drive to be the best. He always backed his players to the hilt and leaves an immense void. The only thing you might say, is maybe United should have won more European Cups. Sir Alex, enjoy your retirement, it won't be the same without you.

Meanwhile, it's back to the mundane. Give me a day or so to conjure up some fresh karma for the lads and we'll try to build some positivity for the sell out crowd awaiting Liverpool (minus Suarez and Stevie of course) on Sunday.



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