Carry on regardless

Posted by Phil Mison

Lloyd Dyer goal v FulhamPA PhotosLloyd Dyer slides home Leicester's winning goal against Fulham.

It’s official. “There is no problem at Fulham.” Those words from manager Martin Jol after the Whites exited this season’s Capital One Cup with a 4-3 defeat at Leicester City Tuesday. Thank heavens for that. Now the fans can just get on with life and stop tormenting ourselves with groundless fears the Whites are sinking like a stone.

After all, Fulham only shipped four goals to some upstarts from the Championship. But good to know everything in the Craven Cottage garden is rosy.

My title for this blog, for those of tender years and others not familiar with British film history, refers to a long series of successful knockabout comedies made at Pinewood Studios. The cream of British comedy character actors would bash them out in six weeks before summer season. The scripts were flimsy, the jokes broad, vulgar and for the most part re-treads. Failure to change with the times and find a fresh audience saw the franchise wither and die.

All in all, the perfect metaphor for Fulham FC at present. We know the current first team will sweat to stay alive in the Premiership. Now we also know the ‘B’ team fares no better when given a shot. Did I really witness senior players heading to the World Cup gift-wrapping goals to the opposition in a manner seen mostly on the parks of a Sunday?

This time last year I sometimes referred to those colleagues who blogged the travails of QPR under Mark Hughes. Rangers as we know could not find a win for love nor money -- that was until generous Fulham turned up in December. Despite frequent reassurances from owner Tony Fernandes the board had sympathy for what Sparky was attempting to build, the fans knew better. Their patience had long been exhausted and their despair was pitiful to behold.

I used to read the “View from the Loft” and wonder how the poor sap kept going. Now I know what it feels like! There are no more tunes to play on this broken old Dutch banjo. Tuesday night’s result was almost expected. So Fulham of a sudden have 20-25 professional footballers who collectively have all forgotten how to play at this level? Of course not. A fish rots from the head . . . .

When supporters reach the breaking point, their frustrations start turning to anger. Every club will have a number in their ranks you might not want to sit down over a glass of sherry with for a polite game of Scrabble.

Fulham are no different. They have a few Muppets who fuel up with booze on away days and then berate those around them for not lustily bawling obscenities through the 90 minutes. I had some of that in my face both in Hamburg and Kracow during Fulham's Europa League adventures.

Maybe it was the frustration of getting up the M1 Tuesday night, or the fact that Fulham quickly managed to turn an early lead into a 3-1 deficit shortly after half-time that caused tempers to run hot at the King Power stadium? If Fulham's loss to yet another late late goal wasn’t enough to boil the blood, then the hour-long struggle to get out of town would surely have done the trick.

The venom being directed towards the manager, fans with alternative viewpoints and certain players is now turning vicious. This is not normally the Fulham way. All in all, added to the nightmare car journey, here was yet another away-day horror show from the Whites. Exasperation and resignation are now the common themes across the Fulham fan forums. Comments such as we hear from Jol post match do not help.

The board will do well to take heed before things start turning really ugly. 24,000 voices can’t all be wrong. The players may yet be cut some slack for the upcoming games with Manchester United and Liverpool. After that, further excuses simply will not wash.



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