Ancient tales of an Eldorado caused many an old buccaneer to run his ship up onto the rocks, while landlubbers hacked a furious and fruitless path through fetid jungles before falling victim to disease, native spears or madness. At 82 years of age most of us will be more than happy to settle for the simple life. Not so Rupert Murdoch. The serial entrepreneur shows no signs of laying down his cutlass anytime yet. The 'Dirty Digger' has seen his business empire take a severe pounding in recent months.
In the annals of tabloid journalism the above was an early banner headline that captured the public's imagination. It related to an unremarkable Northern factory worker back in the sixties who found she’d hit the jackpot on her pool's coupon. In those pre-lottery days, the nation's accepted route to claiming millionaire status by dint of staking a few shillings each week hoping to correctly forecast a spread of results across the Saturday fixtures. Viv Nicholson was the lady's name. Splashed across the front pages with her peroxide bleached bee-hive and clutching the million-pound cheque to her heaving bosom, Viv shrieked she was going to live the high life and spend it as fast as she could.
Forgive me for sounding somewhat underwhelmed by Maarten Stekelenburg’s arrival. The deal for AS Roma's number one has been so 'protracted', one wondered if communication was being conducted via carrier pigeon. But Martin Jol has finally got the man he wanted. Of course, the Dutch international was all set to step off the plane and sign in January, but right at the death Roma failed to line up a replacement and the deal went on ice. Perversely, from that point on in the season Fulham looked to tighten up defensively, with custodian Mark Schwarzer turning in a series of near-flawless performances.
Last week saw me heading along the North Circular orbital road en route to a gig. Before the much delayed M25 'beltway' around Greater London finally got built, driving through the grey industrial wasteland of NW London 30 years ago was a truly ghastly experience. While traffic flow management has improved somewhat, the landscape remains dispiritingly grim. The North Circular's capacity to cast a pall of despair on the poor motorist still reigns supreme. Along its route we pass by England's national stadium.
A 12th successive season among England's elite for modest Fulham and a finishing position of 12th in the table should have been enough to send the Whites' supporters off on holiday with a smile on their face. Maintaining status during a transitional period when transfer funds were strictly limited would suggest the board met their objectives -- and although Fulham never quite got sucked into relegation peril, when you consider how clubs with major followings and powerful owners such as Sunderland, Newcastle United and Aston Villa performed, well, what have we got to complain about?
The season is over. The on-pitch drama is done. We can all breathe deeply and bring our pulse rate back down to normal. In truth, it's been a rather harrowing campaign, but now 'tis the season for reflection and taking stock. We bid farewell to some familiar faces -- but please don't overstay your welcome chaps because the newcomers are already trundling their cases through the arrivals hall at Heathrow. - Fulham bring in Amorebieta - Fulham confirm Boateng capture Don't worry, be happy! Why fret over what tomorrow will bring?
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.