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Hodgson eyes another miracle

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Phil McNulty | 20:04 UK time, Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Hamburg

Fulham captain Danny Murphy flew in the face of conventional wisdom when he revealed Roy Hodgson "does not sprinkle magic dust" on Fulham before they embark on their European adventures.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson described Hodgson's transformation of Fulham into a serious European force as "miraculous" - the same sentiment echoed by League Managers' Association chairman Howard Wilkinson after the 62-year-old was named manager of the year on Monday.

Murphy's version of the secret of Hodgson's success in guiding Fulham to their first major European final was more conventional and removed all romantic notions. Hard work, meticulous planning and attention to detail in the transfer market are the key elements at Craven Cottage.

Fulham's story has created a stir that stretches way beyond the banks of the Thames, as was proved when Hodgson addressed the media high inside Hamburg's Nordbank Arena ahead of the Europa League final against Atletico Madrid.

hodgson_blog_getty.jpgHodgson lost a Uefa Cup final when he was Inter Milan coach - photo: Getty

Hodgson can crown his cosmopolitan career if Fulham add Atletico to a list of European victims that includes Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg.

And the scale of interest in the remarkable feats of Fulham and their manager came in the shape of an inquisition that brought questions from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Italy - all countries that have benefitted from Hodgson's managerial expertise.

If Fulham have every neutral in England behind them, as they should, in Germany then it appears the nomadic Hodgson can also count on support from around the globe.

As Fulham's fans arrived in Hamburg, or dreamland as it will be known for at least the
next 24 hours, Hodgson admitted victory here would eclipse leading Inter Milan to the final of this competition in its previous guise of the Uefa Cup in 1997, which ended in defeat on penalties to Schalke 04.

It is a career has encompassed 12 clubs in six countries and spells with three national sides, and as Murphy - a Uefa Cup winner with Liverpool in 2001 - sat alongside his manager, he delivered the lesson according to Hodgson.

He said: "The manager and his staff work damn hard to make sure the lads know their jobs. He does his research on players and the mentality of players who come into the club. He is a manager who organises his team well."

Hodgson is fond of using a phrase he heard during his time in Sweden about "the self-playing piano" - a term applied to his Malmo team that won the title five seasons in succession. It was so well-drilled that ultimately few words of guidance were required from their English coach.

It is hard to see this current Fulham team functioning without Hodgson's influence, but they are finely tuned enough to have their thousands of fans descending on Hamburg with genuine hope of claiming the biggest victory in their history.

The slogan for this game, emblazoned behind Hodgson as he spoke, is "The Final Challenge". And Fulham's followers will hope these are not ominous words as victory here is certain to attract even more attention to their coveted manager.

Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores swept aside the opportunity to praise his Fulham counterpart, insisting only players can influence games at this level, but he should beware of taking Hodgson and his team lightly.

murphy_blog_getty.jpgDanny Murphy played for Liverpool in their thrilling Uefa Cup win over Alves - photo: Getty

Hodgson, the epitome of the calm common sense that has characterised his Craven Cottage tenure even amid the expectation building here, refuses to believe simply reaching the Europa League final is far enough for Fulham, aware of the realities that await in Hamburg on Wednesday.

"You work hard to get to finals and play a lot of important games, " he said. "And when the big day arrives it is down to two teams. One will go off smiling at the end and one will go with tears in their eyes."

Such is the obvious sense of anticipation, bordering on disbelief, among the ranks of Fulham fans as they prepare to watch their team in a showpiece European occasion, that there will almost certainly be tears from them in victory if Hodgson can fashion another triumph.

As well as Murphy, the experienced and intelligent voice of his manager on the field, Hodgson was joined at the Nordbank Arena by veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. He was in the Middlesbrough side thrashed 4-0 by Sevilla in the 2006 final - memories he hopes to erase at the expense of Atletico on Wednesday.

Schwarzer has proved another Hodgson masterstroke in the transfer market, and he is also a devoted disciple of his manager's approach, saying: "He has brought his experience back to the English game after working abroad, and what it shows is that at times English managers are underestimated, along with the qualities they possess.

"He was the reason I came to Fulham and it has been justified by the performances and the results we have had in the last two years."

This Hamburg experience is also the reward for Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed, whose investment in Hodgson's experience at a time when his club was destined for the Championship has reaped dividends beyond his wildest dreams.

In a season of turmoil when reviled owners at Liverpool and Manchester United have felt the full force of the fury of their own supporters, Al Fayed is guaranteed a rapturous reception from Fulham's fans if he takes one of his familiar pre-match walks.

After selling Harrods for £1.5bn, Al Fayed might just be tempted to regard Hodgson as the most precious commodity in his business empire.

And victory in Germany on Wednesday will make him even harder to prize from Al Fayed's grasp than the legendary London store.

You can follow me at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Roy Hodgson an absolute legend, wish him all the best tomorrow. remember going to his first game in charge when they drew with the mighty bristol rovers ;)

  • Comment number 2.

    Hope Fulham do it. Hodgson is an excellent coach: always produces good sides and handles himself well in the mnedia. One of the good guys.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great piece Phil and boy doesn't Hodgson deserve every column inch he's getting now!

    Spurs breaking into the top 4, I 'might' have believed that in August but Fulham to reach the UEFA cup final, anyone would have laughed! He has rejuvinated Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora and signings such as Hangeland, Duff, Gera, Schwarzer and Smalling (10million profit!!) have been fantastic.
    It has to be remembered too that he qualified Fulham for this competition only one season after arriving at a club that was in the relegation zone. The fact that Harry Redknapp is not manager of the year after breaking into the top 4 shows clearly how highly Hodgson's feats have been regarded by his fellow managers and I don't think anyone (even Harry) will begrudge him the Managers award for boss of the season.

    I wonder now will a top club (maybe even a premiership club) give him a chance at the helm because he seems tailor made for a big job in my eyes. Its a bit easy to say this but what might he have achieved with the Liverpool squad and players with the calibre of Reina, Carragher, Gerrard, Torres, etc......

    What are your thoughts on this, will Villa, Liverpool or even Man City come calling??

    Regardless of the outcome tomorrow night he is rightly regarded a hero by all at Fulham and like everyone else in the country, I wish them all the luck in the world against Atletico.

  • Comment number 4.

    'And victory in Germany on Wednesday will make him even harder to prize from Al Fayed's grasp'. It's 'prise'. On football matters, I hope Fulham win the final but I can picture them heartbreakingly falling at the very last hurdle. They will need to play the game of their lives.

  • Comment number 5.

    Phil, what questions did you ask in the press conference?

    Well done Woy, good luck Fulham, what a run. The last time I went for Fulham was in the 1975 FA Cup Final when they were in the second division. They had a good keeper in those days too, Peter Mellor, and of course Bobby Moore playing against his old team.

  • Comment number 6.

    ...plus every game George Best played for them of course

  • Comment number 7.

    I didn't realise he had so much success abroad before now, this is the pedigree of a really good coach/manager.
    He is a natural successor to Capello - and he has the time to anticipate that position...

  • Comment number 8.

    It really was under reported in the UK the success he was having in his various jobs around Europe. I must correct something that seems to be slightly misrepresentation though. While Hodgson's Malmo finished top of the league five years in a row , the champion was determined by a playoff which they won twice.

    http://engfootyabroad.wordpress.com/index/

    Above is a list of all the English Footballers that are abroad (players & managers). While everyone will know about McClaren and his move to Wolfsburg there are so many Englishmen doing great things that aren't being reported. For example English right back Scott Sutter is on the verge of winning the Swiss League with BSC Young Boys for the first time in 25 years for the club.

    How many people even know that Tony Adams was appointed the manager of Qabala FC in Azerbaijan yesterday? If he does a good job it could lead to a move to Russia or Ukraine. If anyone wants to know more about that the link is below.

    http://engfootyabroad.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/tony-adams-takes-charge-of-qabala-fc/

    If more English coaches did go abroad then maybe they would come back in the way that Roy has and more clubs like Fulham could benefit from a manager who has learned their trade in foreign lands.

  • Comment number 9.

    Looking forward to this game, everyone I talk to seems to think ATL Madrid will walk this, I am not so sure, I think Fulham can win this, keep the front two quiet and see where they go from there.

    Happy Liverpool missed the final as I would genuinely like to see Hodgson win this, he's had far less to work with all season than Benitez, and what he has achieved with what he does have, shows he is a better manager and organised, had Liverpool beat ATL Madrid, I am sure they would have won the final against Fulham. Not anti-Liverpool, just don't think they deserved to win anything this season with how they played and were managed.

    Enjoy the game all ;) and good Blog as usual Phil.

  • Comment number 10.

    Everyone is entitled to Phil's opinion. I am happy you have not used phrases like "defining moment". The blog is a good article on Roy and I hope he finally wins a european trophy. Just for comparison Phil had said that Redknap had joined the elite. Comparing the achievements of Roy to 'Ary may be a wee bit unjustified but IMHO I prefer what Roy has achieved in many countries acreoss Europe to what 'Ary is trying to achieve. By the way even if Fulham do not win in Hamburg I dont see Roy's star being any less brighter. Conratulations, though pre-mature are well deserved.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    You have to wonder how serious the competition were about the second-tier Europa Cup ...

  • Comment number 13.

    Good luck to Fulham tonight.
    I just hope it doesn't end up like it did for 'Boro a few years back.

    :-(

  • Comment number 14.

    It will be a very tough one for Fulham tonight, but good luck to the cottagers!

    Winning would be more than a dream come true and once you`ve reached a final, you just want to do that. But whatever happens in Hamburg tonight, going that far and being in the final is a huge and completely unexpected achievement in itself.

    The PL has declined a bit last season after some top players have moved abroad, failure to replace them, Man U and Chelsea aging, Liverpool having a terrible season, Wenger again refusing to spend money but against all the odds Fulham went all the way.

  • Comment number 15.

    Morning from an overcast Hamburg. Fulham fans out in force yesterday and more to come today.

    Love to hear from Fulham fans about how they feel about their chances tonight. Where are the key areas they can beat Atletico? Let me know your thoughts about your key players and the part your manager Roy Hodgson will play.

    And not trying to put a dampener on things, but will the speculation about other clubs taking an interest in Hodgson increase if Fulham lift the Europa League trophy tonight?

    Danny Murphy suggested the whole nation will be united behind Fulham tonight. Is he right? I certainly hope he is.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm a Fulham fan for the night tonight.

    Hope Roy and his boy's tonk Atletico!!

    Good Luck

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm really excited about tonight, this Fulham team (under Hodgson) know how to give any team a game so it should be a really exciting match!

    I think the whole country will be behind them tonight, I don't know anyone who isn't

  • Comment number 18.

    Spurs fan here wishing Fulham all the best for tonight.
    Bobby Z to grab the winner!

  • Comment number 19.

    I will certainly be hoping to see Woy and his Mighty Cottagers succeed this evening.This season has seen some tremendous success for "unsung" managers.McLeish at B'ham,Mad Mick at Wolves,Coyle at Bolton.I hope Woy shows younger English managers that working abroad is a fantastic opportunity.I'd also like to offer my congratulations to Schteve McClaren at FC Twente(a club fondly remembered by fellow Ipswich fans.Muhren and Thyssen came from there).

  • Comment number 20.

    I think I will be a bag of nerves come Kick off tonight, what Roy has done in his 2 and a half years in charge for us is quite remarkable given the money he has laid out.

    I hope that the players do not freeze due to the nature of the occassion but knowing the way they have gone about the competition this season, I can't see Roy not having them prepared. The first half will probably be tight and cagey but hopefully open up a bit more in the second half and if Duff and Zamora are fully fit we can cause them problems.

    Hoping for a win tonight, but please don't go to penalties, I don't think I could bear it.

    Also a big thank you to all the fans of other clubs that have sent Good Luck messgaes in the last couple of weeks, lets hope tonight is just the start of success for English teams this Summer!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Although I'm an Arsenal fan by trade, I'm definitely gunning for the Cottagers tonight. It's a brilliant achievement to get to any Final in any competition, and I take my hat off to both Hodgson and his team for getting this far given where they were before.

    I really hope that they win, as it would be credit to everyone involved, but even if not, they can still come back from Hamburg with their heads held high, as they really have gone beyond most people's expectations. The journey in itself is remarkable, and I really hope it continues with a thoroughly deserved win tonight.

    Bring it on!

  • Comment number 22.

    I live in Perth , Western Australia ,and have supported Fulham all my life.
    When I read all the blogs and articles devoted to Fulham and Roy Hodgson in these last few weeks, it nearly brings me to cry with joy. We, as a club,have deserved all the accolades that have come our way this season.
    I went to see Fulham play the local team here in Perth, Perth Glory , last July who they thrashed 5-0. Little did I imagine that a week after that game they were embarking on this long Europa League journey. Now we have reached the Final. All I can say is Well Done Fulham.
    I , along with the whole nation,are behind you win or lose.I know that you will give it your all and do the club and country proud.

  • Comment number 23.

    What are the chances of Duff and Zamora playing tonight?

  • Comment number 24.

    I will be firmly behind Fulham tonight as I am convinced every other person in the country will be. Maybe even the rest of Europe?

    I do have a horrible feeling this may be one step too far for Fulham but I think I have thought that at each stage of the competition, I just hope they prove me wrong yet again!

    Regardless of the outcome this will still be a massive achievment by Hodgson and Fulham. I hope all the fans thoroughly enjoy the occasion.

  • Comment number 25.

    good luck FULHAM all of GREAT BRITAIN is behind you

  • Comment number 26.

    Interesting to note that little is said of Roy's time in Switzerland (1990-95)...and yet, after 2 years managing Neuchatel Xamax, he was appointed manager of the national team and went on to become Switzerland's most successful (quarter finalaists at World Cup USA) and most loved and respected manager of all time. It was on the strength of this that Roy went on to manage Inter Milan. But Roy has always known success and respect at smaller, less-fancied clubs and countries, leading them to significant "over achievement" and glory. He has tended to stumble at more fancied clubs (remember his time ar Blackburn) though his treatment at Inter Milan was shocking and undeserved. I wish "unfashionable", un-fancied Fulham all the best in the final. I really hope they do it, but even if the don't carry off the trophy, this will another ostrich feather in the cap of a remarkable, modest, talented and intelligent football manager (and human being!).

  • Comment number 27.

    Hodgson confident Duff and Zamora will play tonight. Big players for Fulham so he will be happy with that.

    How will Hangeland and Hughes cope with Forlan and Aguero? They have been vital for Fulham in this run.

  • Comment number 28.

    Spurs fan, absolutely behind Fulham, will be rushing home from playing footy tonight to catch as much as possible. Hodgson, a total gentleman, throughly deserves manager of the year regardless of the result (and from Harry's praise I don't think he begrudges him it a bit) and Fulham should consider this a triumph now no matter what.

    Breath of fresh air in light of inflated transfer fees, salary's and ego's - how much would City have paid to win the Europa league this season...

  • Comment number 29.

    Sad to say, at last a couple of Scousers I know will be cheering on Madrid tonight as they can then say 'we were beaten by the winners'.

    Most REAL football fans want Fulham to lift the cup.
    Never mind the upcoming media circus in South Africs.
    This is the game of the season.

  • Comment number 30.

    We are all behind Roy and his boys tonight. Lets all hope for a great night for Fulham. It will be well deserved!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Have to take issue with Fat bloke (comment 5) Peter Mellor was the man who won the '75 Cup Final for WHU - he was awful that day.

    To the present Day however - I am so proud of our whole team and the way Roy has them drilled. Sadly can't be there, but will be wearing my Fulham shirt in the pub.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have been to every Fulham home game this season and witnessed their greatest ever season (for olny £150!) and the only game i will miss will be the biggest one!!

    COMON FULHAAAAAAAM!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    After hearing some of the arrogant comments of Sergio Aguero about Atletico's so called 'illustrious' European past and Fulham's 'inferiority', I'd have to say the Spanish outfit deserves a good karma-flavored smack in the face on Wednesday. Clearly, Fulham did not cut through a pile of 192 quality clubs based solely on luck. Hearts out to all the Fulham fans, players and Roy Hodgson in the hope you get a long awaited and well deserved trophy.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'll be rushing back from footy training tonight to watch this one. Come on Fulham just one more scalp to take and you get the greatest prize in your club's history.

    And Roy Hodgson Manager of the Year, most deserving recipient the honour's ever had.

  • Comment number 35.

    With regards to Richard's comment (29), what a load of tosh.
    I am a Liverpool fan (scouser too) and I couldn't be more behind Fulham tonight, I think they've done absolutely brilliant and I just pray we witness Danny Murphy hoisting the cup up at the end !
    My only regret is that I'm not strolling around Hamburg enjoying a beer with the Fulham fans right now......Good Luck boys !!

  • Comment number 36.

    Who would have thought, at the beginning of the season, that Fulham would end up in a final and not the likes of Man U and Chelsea. If I had betted a fiver on Fulham being in the final and not man U, liverpool or chelsea in the CL-final I'd be rich. anyway, good luck Fulham

  • Comment number 37.

    Best of luck to Fulham tonight, if they can shackle Forlan and Aguero they might just do it.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am a Fulham fanatic tonight! Never wanted an English team that wasn't United to win so badly!

    What Roy has done for the careers of Murphy, Hangeland, Duff and Baird is amazing. In fact, I cant think of a Fulham player that hasn't improved under Roy....maybe AJ...buts thats about it.

    The Cottage and Goodison are the 2 grounds I cringe at going too about from the obvious top4 as we always get a very tough game.

    Good Luck!!

  • Comment number 39.

    This match is also an interesting test of the depth of la liga vs the premiership.
    Two mid-table teams slugging it out for the 2nd biggest cup in Europe.
    Atletico did well to get there, too, don't forget, so no real reason to make them favourites. It's even, I reckon.

  • Comment number 40.

    I hereby object to the term 'miracle'.
    As I said in a previous post, two mid-table teams slugging it out, so no need to call for 'another miracle', Phil.

  • Comment number 41.

    Why do people think the final will be a step too far for Fulham?

    It is not like Atletico Madrid have done well this season. It should be a great game.

  • Comment number 42.

    Lions fan here ... I normally play (indoor) 5-a-side every Wednesday between 8:30 and 9:30 even if this means missing an England game on the box ... but such is my excitement over Fulham tonight, that I've pulled out. This is COMPLETELY unheard of! Will be watching, nay, SUPPORTING Fulham tonight. I must confess, I have got a bit of a thing for the club after their incredible collection of results in getting to the final. Come on Fulham, you can do it!

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm an Arsenal fan. But the Gunners haven't done anything substantial this season to make me smile. And now when the season is almost over, there is a great Fulham side which can make all the world once again speak of the English football in rapturous epithets. I wish the lads, the fans and Roy all the best in the final and keep my fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 45.

    #4 Torresque,
    wasn't the game of their lives the comeback against Juve at craven cottage?

    Granted Juve haven't had a great season, but being 3-1 down then an early away goal from trezeguet to make it 4-1 on aggregate.
    If they were able to manage that i'm sure they can beat Atletico, who haven't had a great season themselves.

    Mon roy and the cottagers for the night!

  • Comment number 46.


    Hey, doesn't anyone else find those pictures of Fulham fans in Hamburg on Sky Sports absolutely disgraceful?

    Every single one of them with a pint in their hands all day long.

    Once more guys you do a damn good job at exporting Britain's culture and your sole purpose and use in life, which is to drink and then drink some more. Any age, any place, any time.

    No wonder British fans are the least wanted in the world (the same cannot be said for their cash for cheap booze of course), as everywhere they go they always manage to spoil the occasion with their primitive uncultured and distasteful behaviour.




  • Comment number 47.

    I really hope Zamora and Duff make it tonight. It'll give Fulham the best possible opportunity to win. Hopefully, they can avoid the same result as Middlesborough from a few years back.
    Good Luck Fulham.

    www.football-journo.com

  • Comment number 48.

    My question is why would it be a 'miracle' if Fulham win?

    We are constantly fed the line that the Premier League Is the best in the world. So surely if a mid table Premier League team plays a mid table Spanish team then it shouldn't be a 'miracle' if they won!!!!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Bristol Rovers fan here, I'll be cheering for Fulham tonight, I think Danny Murphy is right, most of the nation will be behind them tonight. The fact they've even got there and passed the opposition they've faced is amazing and a great achievement in itself.

  • Comment number 50.

    Best of luck to the Fulham and all their fans, everyone should be right behind them, and shame on those sayings its a rubbish competion, sounds like sour grapes to me.

    Fulham for the Cup!

  • Comment number 51.

    for those who think atletico madrid who will walk this erm 2 things. watch that tie against liverpool again up till forlan scored in the second leg they were average and not as half as good as any side fulham have already beaten. even in the round before against valencia they were poor in fact they may not have even got this far had valencia not had a clear stonewall penalty turned down at the end.

    go on roy and fulham do england proud!!! from an arsenal fan you deserve it. atletico are not to be feared even forlan and especially aguero and simao are over rated

  • Comment number 52.

    Who do I support? I am in a fix here. Roy is a gentleman, Athletico are in Spain though they are based in Madrid. Phil any suggestions?

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm a Yank here supporting Fullham. I just returned to the states after studying in London for 4 months, during which time I went to a few Fullham matches including the home fixture against Shaktar. Best of luck to the whites today, lets hope Zamora and Duff are fit. Come On You Whites!

  • Comment number 54.

    I wonder if old Jimmy Hill will be at the match tonight. I have not seen him since the men with the straight jacket took him away from the Sunday supplement on SKY Sports. Here is a few of his Famous quotes (nicked from Wiki !)


    Hill is also well known for his ability to make ‘Colemanballs’ statements such as:

    “I would undoubtedly pick him in the next England squad if I was the England manager and he wasn't actually Bermudan.”

    “We're not used to weather in June in this country.”

    “They're still in the game, and they're trying to get back into it.”

    "That's a wise substitution by Terry Venables: three fresh men, three fresh legs."

    "If England are going to win this match, they're going to have to score a goal."

  • Comment number 55.

    " Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg"

    That is some European scalp there!

  • Comment number 56.

    As a West Ham fan , I went to Wembley in 1975 and whilst glad we won ,the fact that Fulham were the better team somewhat took the shine off the day . I hoped that if we couldnt retain the FA Cup in 76 that Fulham would return and win it the next year because they deserved to win something . So 35 years later, I wish Fulham all the best in landing their first major trophy -

  • Comment number 57.

    It's funny so many people have apparently adopted Fulham as their second team because their respective first teams have failed to produce the goods this season, or just because it's an English team in the final!

    Well done to the Cottagers, hope it's a good match, but can't see them winning it. On their day, Atletico are a brilliant side who can beat the world's best (as they've shown this season), and if they're on form tonight, I fear it'll be a drubbing.

  • Comment number 58.

    Roy Hodgson is an absolute fantastic Manager. Considering the money and players he's had & how far he's gone on with them, he's been fantastic. No wonder he's been linked with Liverpool & England for Managerial duties. For the last 2 years however, I think he's been underrated.

    But anyways, i'll be supporting them (Fulham). Atletico aren't doing well domestically, and to be fair, it is a miracle that they're even here, considering that in the quarters & semis they only went through via the away goals rule.

    Come on Fulham!

  • Comment number 59.

    You know, I have always liked Fulham, but all this excessive fawning over them is starting to make me cheer for Atletico.

    Can't we just have a game of football without the xenophobic, nationalistic nonsense? May the best side on the day (today) win and all remember this was just a game and has nothing to do with which country, league, manager etc.. is better.

    cheers,

    Go Fulham (for now).

  • Comment number 60.

    Come on fulham! thats all i can say! I hope Aguero and Forland have a quiet night!

    which football fan in there right mind walking around the beatiful hamburg wouldnt be taking it all in with a nice German beer, i dont care what anyone would be thinking i would be celebrating the occasion and meeting some fellow fans.

  • Comment number 61.

    Kudos to Fulham and Hodgson . Great achievement . Even if they lose they are winners in my eyes . getting into the final is in itself something amazing for a team like Fulham . I think atletico's attacking prowess is better than Fulham's so we will have too see how it goes tonight . I just feel Fulhams name is written on the Europa League trophy ..

  • Comment number 62.

    I am so exicted for the match. I am in costa rica but luckily its on tv here so i will be able to watch it. I truely beleive that fulham have what it takes...althletico's frontmen are very good(although my opinon of aguero has plummeted since his comments about fulham) but i feel they are as good as the wolfsburg fornt two and we handled them so why not these two.

    Btw nibs or comment 46 or whatever what is your problem man i mean every time i see a comment by you its always negative and either criticising the blog or who the blog is about...i dont get it if you hate bbc blogs and the british so much why come on the bbc website....

  • Comment number 63.

    “... veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. He was in the Middlesbrough side thrashed 4-0 by Sevilla in the 2006 final - memories he hopes to erase...”

    And yet throughout Fulham’s great run the media has certainly erased the memory of Middlesbrough reaching the final in 2006. Apart from the 0-4 defeat which you probably use as a stick with which to beat Steve McLaren.

    I hope Fulham win for a number of reasons – a club dwarfed by giant local rivals, a level-headed manager, and the redemption that Mark Schwarzer deserves are a few. But the excessive use of words such as ‘miracle’ and ‘fairytale’ has bordered on nausea. Call it bitterness if you will, but the ‘small town in Europe’ never got this amount of praise for reaching the final, never mind the style in which they achieved it.

  • Comment number 64.

    nibs
    =============================

    bitter, bitter fool.

  • Comment number 65.

    Number 46 - get a grip man....what year did Fulham last qualify for Europe?? (never, in case you didn't know) Those Fulham fans are ABSOLUTELY entitled and justified in going on the lash before watching their team participate in a major European final.
    And does anyone out there have any instances crowd trouble down at Craven Cottage??? The silence is deafening!!
    I suspect that you are the type of person who would probably perpetuate the negative image of English people abroad, constantly moaning and finding very little joy in anything if it is contrary to your opinion.
    Get a life!! PS Come on Fulham!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    As an Inter fan, I have great appreciation for Hodgson. Best of luck today!

  • Comment number 67.

    As a life-long Fulham fan I've learned to be pessimistic, that way I'm not disappointed when my worse fears are realised.

    Therefore, in true Danny Baker spirit I proclaim....... "NOTHING can go wrong now!" Except:

    Al Fayed will sell up, Uncle Woy will go to Liverpool, we'll be relegated next season and Atletico will triumph tonight.

    There you go, I hope I'm wrong on all counts but at least I'm prepared.........

 

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