I hope the Fulham team bus slipped safely across the Welsh border under cover of darkness after the side pulled off an outrageous 0-3 last day win over League Cup winners Swansea. Plundering all three points at the aptly named Liberty Stadium saw Fulham claim their first win in eight, hoisting the Cottagers to a final league position of 12th and leaving Mohammed al Fayed's club laughing all the way to the bank. - Report: Swansea 0-3 Fulham The difference between winning or losing game 38 of our EPL season, and dropping four places had we lost to end up 16th, amounted to a disparity of GBP;3 million pounds in performance pay-out.
Our long descent into darkness comes to an end at the Liberty Stadium. A season that seemed to endure forever is one that will not live long in the memory, with Fulham hoping to avoid a sixth straight defeat at the hands of Swansea. So flat have performance levels been since the Whites hit the 40 point mark, it's hard to see where our next win is coming from. I am not predicting one in South Wales either, Swansea having won all three games against us since being promoted. - Jol: Davies must get fit or leave Thankfully, come August we will still be playing in the Premiership -- but surely with a much-changed team.
The message board has gone into overdrive. No calm counting down to the end of another season for Fulham. In the week marking the third anniversary of our monumental achievement in playing the inaugural Europa League Final -- and congratulations to Chelsea for going one better than us -- long-suffering Fulham fans are cast into a frenzy of doubt, worry and trepidation. We are going to need a posting wall of Chinese magnitude if postings and strong opinions continue to bubble up at the current tempo.
On the other side of the borough, Harry Redknapp ruled out any lap of honour from his relegated troops as QPR prepare for life back in the Championship. Rock bottom Rangers, after a season of woe for their long-suffering supporters, served up nine home defeats at Loftus Road. After the Whites were soundly beaten 3-1 by Liverpool in their last home appearance, our fans too have now suffered the same number of nine losses at Craven Cottage - or as we used to call it, "Fortress Fulham". What a difficult season this has been to endure.
Anything consistent with the dreadful run of form we've witnessed since Rangers were seen off on April 1st and Liverpool will be taking three points back up the M6 Sunday. Even without arch villain Luis Suarez and injured duo Stevie Gerrard and Daniel Agger, Brendan Rodgers has enough in his arsenal to suggest a comfortable away win for the Reds. Unless, that is, toothless Fulham decide to confound us all by doing something quite outrageous to upset the odds and send us off for the summer with a smile on our faces again.
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.
Martin Jol's chickens came home to roost as Premier League also-rans Reading delivered a damning reminder of how far Fulham have sunk under the current management regime. A 4-2 home loss to the already relegated Royals threw into sharp contrast the crippling inadequacies all Fulham fans had to endure in stoic resignation. Taking motorsport as your metaphor, the flashy local petrol heads have organised a 20 lap go kart junket. At the back of the grid, a bluff Dutchman in flat cap puffs on his pipe atop the Fulham entry, a wheezing clapped-out old tractor.
One would hardly classify London temperatures as tropical this week, but the sun has been shining from a clear blue sky and let's hope it lifts the mood on Saturday for our penultimate home game with Championship bound Reading. The Whites are badly in need of a win, if only to lift morale after a difficult run following the QPR game a month ago. Reading will simply hope to get back up the M4 with dignity intact after their relegation was confirmed last week following a turgid game with Rangers. Their current run is even more miserable than our own.
The culmination of that giddy run to the Europa League final with the euphoria and pride attached to being a Fulham supporter now seems something from another world. Three seasons down the line and the faithful this May-time are fretting over do Fulham have what it takes to defeat already-relegated Reading on their own patch -- not are we good enough to go toe-to-toe with Atletico Madrid. Much can happen to a club in three seasons. Just ask Wolves. Closer to home, how have Newcastle gone from a top-six EPL side to hovering outside the bottom three in 12 months?
Entirely predictable. Everton full value for their 1-0 win Saturday. Nothing positive whatsoever to be taken from yet another spluttering, limp away performance by a wheezing, broken unit that is so clearly dysfunctional it seems bordering on madness to keep persisting with it. Even the manager's post-match ramblings are as predictable as the play. How much more of this must we take? This blog comes in two parts. I shall dispense with the match facts, then get on to the longer-term implications for the Fulham board going forward.
It's just a patch of grass in a decaying inner-city district of Liverpool brick and litter. The Goodison Park architecture itself is not that dissimilar from Fulham's own Stevenage Road ground. The dimensions of the pitch are the same, and both teams of 11 adhere to the standard FA rules of the game. Yet Fulham always contrive to lose at Everton. Nineteen trips here since the last win by any Fulham side, while in their Premiership years -- regardless of the manager, the Whites have lost all eleven attempts.
When you build up to matchday at Craven Cottage, battle through the traffic, get into your over-priced seat and sense that tingle of anticipation in the moments before kick-off - especially for a capacity crowd London derby - you lose yourself in the big occasion. On a bright sunny day, the setting is picture perfect and no matter how many games you've seen before at the ground, the excitement still kicks in just as it did when we were kids. So it was for our 0-1 loss to Arsenal. Against our North London rivals, it took just 12 minutes before one moment of lunacy delivered a collective kick in the guts to 25,000 long suffering diehard home supporters.