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Thank goodness for Fulham

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Dan Walker | 17:45 UK time, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Is it possible to keep fans happy at a big club? When I say happy, I mean feeling part of it. "Disenfranchisement" is a very long word - and a very American one - that makes me feel slightly nauseous, but it does sum up how a lot of football fans seem to feel. They love their club but fear alienation.

I don't know whether this is down to foreign ownership, football clubs being run like businesses, TV money, or whether it's a combination of all three.

But surely the end result of "disenfranchisement" is apathy. There is only so much you can love something without being loved in return (my English teacher used to say that all the time).

It's not a disease that hits every club. I am still delighted that my boys, Crawley Town, signed David Speedie back in the 1990s. That was enough ambition to keep me going until 2015, even though he left soon afterwards because referees kept sending him off for waist-high hacks.

speedie595.jpgDavid Speedie in action for Leicester. He also played for Chelsea, Coventry, Liverpool and Blackburn.

On Saturday, Focus came live from a club that seems to be doing things the right way.

Step forward Fulham. In some ways, they are just like so many other Premier League clubs. They have a foreign owner, big wage bill, and a worrying level of debt. Yet down on the banks of the River Thames, they are so community friendly and inclusive that they have somehow managed to keep a family feel to the place, albeit a rather posh family that wear a lot of Barbour jackets. How do they do it?

Maybe it's just because their stadium is so different from the concrete bowls that are popping up all over the place. The cottage, the balcony, the river, the great players of the past, the ancient stand and seats where even six-year-olds struggle for leg room. There is a rich history and romance that soaks the place and makes everyone inside feel like they are part of something.

It helps to have the right manager, of course. Roy Hodgson not only gets his tactics right 9 times out of 10, he also warms up for a game by reading a novel and going for a walk with his wife. Maybe that's the secret!

It was during Saturday's fantastic 3-1 win over Liverpool that I realised why he's so fond of Bobby Zamora. All season, Hodgson has said the former West Ham striker doesn't need to score goals to stay in the side because he does so much work for everyone else.

Against Liverpool, Zamora chased everyone down, bullied Jamie Carragher, should have won a penalty, brought the Fulham midfield into the game, ran the line and scored the first of his sides three goals.

I am not saying we should be reserving him a seat on the plane to South Africa, but he seems to be one of the most underrated strikers out there. It probably doesn't help that he missed that sitter against Manchester City.

The other incredible thing about Fulham is the owner's dress sense. There aren't many people who get up in the morning and put check trousers on, ally them with a gingham shirt and then set it all off with a tartan jacket and yellow cravat. Maybe they've sold out of mirrors at Harrods! That said, I'm sure Mr Al Fayed's socks cost more than my car.

The other thing I enjoyed at the weekend was the fact that I can now claim to be the first person to score a goal with the new Premier League ball. If you don't believe me, watch this...

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I know what you're thinking, "there was a massive badger in the goal and you hit it straight at him". It's true that Billy the Badger had to be led onto the pitch by his minder because he cannot see his feet, but let's not allow those facts to get in the way of my claim to fame.

I acknowledge I didn't quite strike the ball as intended, I acknowledge I didn't quite place the ball as I intended, and I also acknowledge it wasn't exactly travelling at the speed I envisaged. Yet, despite all that, the net did ripple (well at least there was a small bulge).

Mark Lawrenson's strike was impressively crisp, clipping the inside of the post before going in, but Lee Dixon is still gutted that his scoopy-loopy-chippy thing came back off the crossbar. He tried to imply that his was the best strike of the three, but I pointed out to him that crossbars don't win you World Cup finals and he needs to work on his mis-hits from the edge of the area that go in off a giant badger.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Yes, thank goodness for dear old Fulham, and thank goodness for Mohamed Al Fayed too, without whom Fulham would be a nice, homely League One club. They're only a Premier League club because of their frightening £190 million debt, £150 million of which is owed to Mr Al Fayed. Sorry to be a cynic, but those are the facts.

  • Comment number 2.

    Excellent blog. Spot on. Hodgson is a true 'football man', a master tactician and a gentleman. One of the all round good guys of football.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nice article but please stop pushing the cliche that we are all posh & wear Barbour jackets. I'm old enough to remember when Fulham was a working class area & most of us fans still come from that background. It's the new snobby ones who've changed the area & they would love to see the ground go by the way, not us!

  • Comment number 4.

    You're right Rocky57... it was quite a broad stereotypical brush stroke but you must admit there is probably a larger proportion of Barbour wearers at Craven Cottage than most other football grounds. I take your point though.

    Aries22 the debt is scary and it wasn't my intention to gloss over that. They are very friendly down at Fulham but their finances are just as wobbly as many other clubs.

    See you soon.

  • Comment number 5.

    take it your a qpr fan aries22! this article is just meant to be a nice statement about fulham, if you want an arguement or to criticise join a forum!

  • Comment number 6.

    My old local was the Fulham pre-match pub (The Golden Lion anyone) and the atmosphere was always great before, and most of the time after, the game.

    I have my suspicions about how well Fulham will do this season - I think it could be difficult for them to get out of a bad run of form if it coincides with Europa league matches. I might just be a bit pessimistic because of the rose tinted specs following a great season to get Fulham in Europe.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 7.

    There are a worrying number of clubs, both in the lower leagues and the Premiership, that are operating right at the limit of their ability to service their debt. Fulham, Hull and (until recently) Portsmouth are those that I fear for most - living, as they are, almost in the image of Leeds United pre-fall-from-grace. If reports about Hull's wage bill (the seventh-highest in the Premiership) and conditions imposed upon them to continue as a going concern are accurate, I see every chance that their fall will be as sudden as their rise.

    The solution, as Dan has touched upon above, is for clubs to build upon a sustainable business plan rather than chasing the dream of Premiership riches and fleeting glory. For 80+ of the 92 clubs, the only option is to fully engage with their community - to once again make the local club THE focus of the local area. Sheffield Wednesday's dynamic young chairman Lee Strafford is a year into his vision of making Hillsborough not only a destination for 40,000+ people for 23 or 19 days of the year, but for it to be a vital and much-used part of the local community and economy, with the biggest classroom in Europe the centrepiece of a teaching and enterprise centre to be used by local schools, the city's two universities and startup businesses. By engaging with the local community, clubs can rebuild their links with fans who have long been disillusioned or priced out of the post-Sky game to reap the rewards - and not only financially. Wednesday's donating of their shirt sponsorship to Sheffield Childrens' Hospital has raised funds and awareness for a good cause, helped heal wounds opened by the previous incumbents at SWFC, and has seen shirt sales at their highest level in history.

    There is always a need for money - a lot of money - to compete at the top level. But unless you have an Arab on speed dial, the only sensible way to get it is by growing your customer base as broadly as possible. The days of Premiership clubs existing on ruinous debt levels and 15,000 gates is about to end - and as always those who lose the most will be the loyal fans.

  • Comment number 8.

    sauseagearms is so right I regret to say. I'm always dismayed by Fulham fans on the 606 boards who complain that Fulham need to spend more money (usually on players' wages) - it always seems so unaware, childish even when we know what the situation is. Especially when any informed supporter will be aware that many of the club staff we will meet & depend upon on match days is on a minimum wage - this is of course not only an issue at Fulham - and how can anyone say that a player on £50k a week is entitled to ask for more given what we fans earn & others at the club are on?

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Hodgson is a good but not great manager. Fulham's old-fashioned ground as pointed out by #1 cannot disguise their "modern" debt-ridden, owned by mega-rich 'sugar daddy' circumstance. One bad season, and League 1 will soon follow...at best.

  • Comment number 11.

    Roy Hodgson is a credit to his trade. He has sound judgement, good man management skills, is a master tactician and, above all, is a down-to-earth gentleman.

  • Comment number 12.

    Just so you know what a Poseur he really is...
    Born ...Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed, He arrived in Britain in 1974 and added the "Al" to his name.
    For years, Fayed unsuccessfully sought British citizenship. Both Labour and Conservative Home Secretaries repeatedly rejected his applications on the grounds that..."he was not of good character".
    What a nice, unassuming "gent".

    [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Al-Fayed%5D

  • Comment number 13.

    Hodgson is a breath of fresh air in an age where managers constantly berate officials - he is true gent. And yes, the dress senseof some at The Cottage leaves a lot to be desired. But hey, dont judge a book...

    Kind regards,
    T-shirt and jeans

  • Comment number 14.

    oh and check this out if you feel anything for Fulham. Made the hair stand up on the back of my neck:

    https://cravencottagenewsround.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/best-fulham-video/

  • Comment number 15.

    Dan, great blog. Thanks for giving Fulham some positive correspondence after the 'Liverpool Losing!'. The clubs debt is a worry but we do have a sensible wage structure in place that probably prices us out of making some bigger signings. But in a way I am glad we do have the wage limit in place (Bullard leaving). It's meant that the squad we have at the moment is a very tight knot group of players that play well together as a unit.
    Roy Hodgson has done very well, I can't believe someone said he is just a good manager. He has done brilliantly for us and long may it continue. I hope he gets an extension to his current contract?
    I can't honestly see us having a really bad season and ending up in League 1, the difference with Hodgson over some other managers is he looks for players whose natural position is the position he wants to fill.
    Anyway, nice one Dan from a fellow Hazelwick pupil who remembers Mr Avery telling me to 'pass the ball, pass the ball!'

  • Comment number 16.

    7. At 08:16am on 05 Nov 2009, sausagearms wrote:
    .....
    The solution, as Dan has touched upon above, is for clubs to build upon a sustainable business plan rather than chasing the dream of Premiership riches and fleeting glory.
    -----
    That's not really the solution though, if you're successfull some rich american will just come along and buy, then load you with the debt.

    Manchester United were one of the best run clubs, only spent what they had already earned and along came the Glazers who bought the club and then saddled the club with the debt it had cost to buy club in the first place. How that's legal is beyond me.

  • Comment number 17.

    Another nice effort Dan.
    Enjoyed FF last week, don't get to see it that often, and your goal was great, don't let anyone belittle your achievement, I've seen far worse than that badger between the sticks. (certain scottish keepers in the 70's anyone?)
    What did surprise me was how small the dressing rooms at CC are, it's hard to imagine a team of 11 in there, let alone a squad of 18 which is how many there are nowadays.

    PS, saw your blog was up, than I saw the headline "My rehab with the biscuit tin" in the Football Blog section, imagine my surprise when I realised this was from someone else.

  • Comment number 18.

    HollowaytoHolland,

    'worse than that badger between the sticks.'

    Foster, Clemence, Robinson to name but a few - and all English!

  • Comment number 19.

    18. At 2:13pm on 05 Nov 2009, groovyGoalmachine wrote:
    HollowaytoHolland,

    'worse than that badger between the sticks.'

    Foster, Clemence, Robinson to name but a few - and all English
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I like the "to" bit, touche.
    I used the "certain scottish keepers in the 70's" analogy to protect the names of the guilty.

  • Comment number 20.

    Poor old Scottish goalkeepers...

    Sausagearms I love your description of Lee Strafford as 'dynamic young chairman'. I take it you are a Wednesday fan who likes the boss? He seems like a nice bloke actually.

    Cravingawin - a fellow Mr Avery student... magical! I do like Roy Hodgson but the bottom of his face does shake a bit when he gets agitated.

    Hollaway2Holland - thanks for pointing out that someone else has stolen my biscuit themed blogs. I'll get on to it.

  • Comment number 21.

    Another fantastic blog! And I couldn't agree more about Fulham and Big Bobby Zamora. With fantastic peices like scoring past the Badger, I do wonder why I can't get Football Focus on the iPlayer.

  • Comment number 22.

    16. At 1:40pm on 05 Nov 2009, Tony wrote:

    --
    That's not really the solution though, if you're successfull some rich american will just come along and buy, then load you with the debt.

    Manchester United were one of the best run clubs, only spent what they had already earned and along came the Glazers who bought the club and then saddled the club with the debt it had cost to buy club in the first place. How that's legal is beyond me.
    --

    While I absolutely agree with the final sentiment, the difference with many clubs is that the shareholding is extremely diverse, making it near-impossible for a prospective strip-miner to tap up a few key shareholders and get to 90%. The utopian idea would be for each club to be owned by the fans (at least in part), with any 'big money' investment brought in because the returns will be great rather than to control the club's assets. This is even more viable when a supporters' trust or the like controls 10% or more of the shares, and can therefore prevent the club ever being bought from underneath them.

    --

    Dan, I'm sure by now you've gathered that I'm a Wednesdayite. But the admiration for Lee Strafford comes from how he's approached the job at hand at Hillsborough rather than simply because he's 'ours'. I have a similar admiration for Randy Lerner at Villa - two chairman who are doing it the 'right' way.

    While I've got your attention, how about a couple of requests for features on the show? We've had plenty of Nigel Clough already this season, so why not head across the East Midlands and talk to Nigel Pearson - not only was he the John Terry of his era, but he's doing a cracking job at Leicester City and a profile is well overdue. And what about some coverage of domestic football in Europe - we're seeing a changing of the guard in France with Bordeaux riding high on all fronts, and I for one have lost touch with Serie 'A' since the days of James Richardson on Channel 4. GOALACCIO!

  • Comment number 23.

    impressive stuff from Lawro there!

  • Comment number 24.

    Very nice article...

    I would not worry so much about the debt as our ground probably is valued to much more than that!

  • Comment number 25.

    I think we can all agree that Fulham is a team everyone can love

  • Comment number 26.

    Its nice to see a blog on fulham, we don't get much attention or praise for that matter.

    Al Fayed was one of the first to take a small club and heavily invest to get them into the premier league and along the way i think he has learned a lot of things least of all what Fulham means. At first he said we would be the manchester united of the south which he has now realised that that is pretty dumb. I think he is one of few who are trying to run a football club as a business hence the wage bill limit, the amount of money he has spent since realising his mistakes after the Tigana era and as pointed out in this blog, in the community. I take my hat off to Al Fayed

    Al Fayed may not be the true gent but you don't get to be a billionaire without getting your hands dirty, unless you are J K Rowling

  • Comment number 27.

    Al Fayed is probably one of the greatest owners in the history of the game. He has steered the club amazingly well, who would have thought we would be a premiership regular team. Sure we have debt but most of it is owed to MAF and is interest free so it's not a burden to the club, which itself is profitable.

    He has bought some terrific managers to the club (Keegan, Tigana, Hodgson) and repayed those loyal to the club (Coleman). Probably his only blip was Sanchez.

    Most importantly he has listened to the fans. He could have easily shipped Fulham off to some other ground in the middle of nowhere and sold off the land that Craven Cottage stands on, but when the fans protested he bought us back to out home.

  • Comment number 28.

    The phrase "rose tinted specs" springs to mind.

    Craven Cottage is certainly quaint and a refreshing change from some of the characterless grounds but any idea that this was a nod to the past or a deliberate attempt by the board to preserve part of the heritage of the club is at best wishful thinking.
    I seem to recall Fulham left Craven Cottage and played at Loftus Road whilst they searched for an area and /or funds to build a "concrete bowl", I guess if you are shoe horned in behind a stanchion in the middle of winter, sitting in an antiquated stadium may not have quite the same appeal.

    I also recall Fulham Sugar Daddied there way through the divisions and faced the abyss eighteen months ago before an unexpected revival under Roy Hodgson and isnt there a bit of fuss being kicked up because he hasnt signed a new contract?

    Anyway this story could have been spun for a dozen other clubs, it just so happens Fulham are in London.

  • Comment number 29.

    Dan,
    I'm not sure you're in a position to say much about the dress sense of others based on some of the shirts you've inflicted upon us!! Although, in fairness there has been an improvement of late.

    Enjoyed the blog as always. Big focus on Cardiff City this weekend please.

  • Comment number 30.

    Sausagearms - you are bringing back some serious memories there with your GOALACCIO! I always used to wonder what happened to those enormous coffee / hot chocolate things that James Richardson used to have on his table during the paper review.

    It seems that there is a split down the middle on Mr Al Fayed. Some feel he is a man amongst men (zaxscd) while others aren't convinced he is quite the benevolent dude he appears on occasions (bluedefence).

    Ben Christofides - good to see the shirts are coming under fire again... it's been at least a fortnight without some form of criticism. Make sure you watch this Saturday - your boys are on the programme.

  • Comment number 31.

    Surely there is room in the Focus filming schedule for you to sit outside a cafe in, say, Grimsby surrounded by foreign papers and a mountain of pastries so big that it obscures the sun?

    "And the Gazetta dello Sport leads with 'Che Bastardo Berlusconi Spaghetti Alla Marinara', which I believe is saying that Juventus are on the verge of signing Carlton Cole..."

    -------------------

    27. At 5:27pm on 05 Nov 2009, zaxscd wrote:
    --
    Sure we have debt but most of it is owed to MAF and is interest free so it's not a burden to the club, which itself is profitable.
    --

    Might be worth picking up a copy of this week's Private Eye and boning up on exactly WHAT the situation with Fulham's debts is, old buddy...

  • Comment number 32.

    Sausagearms - I see where you are coming from with the pasties plan. Not quite as culturally evocative as pastries in Rome but it could be a winner.

    I forgot to answer you earlier FN about Focus and the iPlayer. It is a permanent frustration that we are not on there. Sadly it's a football rights issue which we can't get round. If you do need a bit of extra action you could always watch Friday Focus with me and Lawro that goes on the web on - guess what - a Friday.

    Someone in the office suggested 'Focus Nights' the other day with Lawro as a moustachioed bar tender, Lee Dixon as a scruffy waiter and Martin Keown and Steve Claridge as permanently angry regulars. I think it could catch on.

  • Comment number 33.

    "Craven Cottage is certainly quaint and a refreshing change from some of the characterless grounds but any idea that this was a nod to the past or a deliberate attempt by the board to preserve part of the heritage of the club is at best wishful thinking."

    Hang on a minute - Fulham fans protested while we were at Loftus Road, organising a march back to The Cottage. The board listened, & here we are, back in one of England's historic grounds, keeping the Archibald Leitch stand. Surely this completely refutes your point. The use of the word 'quaint' indicates from where you're coming bluedefence.

    "in the middle of winter, sitting in an antiquated stadium " Never had a problem with it, although the wind can blow sharply down the river. You seem to have an anti-London bias - surely you're not from the hardy north?

    "Fulham Sugar Daddied there (sic) way through the divisions"
    Another interesting choice of words indicating envy. As my earlier comments would indicate, I'm no lover of the fact that money buys success in football, but it clearly is so often the case. All sensible FFC fans are thankful to Mo Al Fayed (so he changed his name - wasn't Sting originally Gordon), & the fact is in strict financial purchasing power Hodgson has got us punching above our weight.

  • Comment number 34.

    Complaining that Fulham's success is due to Al Fayed's money is at best an outdated point of view, and at worst mentally difficient.

    Yes, Fulham are owned by a foreigner. So are Manchester United, Livpool, Portsmouth, Manchester City, Notts County, West Ham, Chelsea and so on, so what's your point? The nationality of the owner is as irrelevent as the colour of his car.

    Yes Fulham are in debt... so is every club at every level of the Football League. So again, what's your point?

    Fulham's success can't be attributed to Al Fayed's investment in players either. The Fulham squad is one of the cheapest in the league. The combined sum spent on the first choice 11 is a touch of £30m. Most teams achieving what Fulham are achieving can match that with a single player.

    The very fact that the club's transfer record is £12m and club record wages of £45k/week couldn't keep Jimmy Bullard from going to Hull or Steed Malbranque from going to Sunderland (trading up? I don't think so) tells you that Fulham are achieving more on their finances than the clubs achieving more than them.

    Even when down in the lower leagues, yes money helped, but fortunes were hardly spent. Fulham's squad when they won promotion to the Premiership was hardly already a Premiership quality outfit. Barry Hayles? Premiership rejects Luis Boa Morte and Rufus Brevett? Fulham won promotion to the Premiership because they spent wisely and the team played fantastic football. Of that team only four players are still in the Premiership. Saha, Boa Morte (just), Sean Davis and Steve Finnan. The most expensive of those was Saha at £2.1m. Hardly earth shattering. Davis and Finnan were bought for thousands, not millions. Boa Morte was on loan and wasn't bought until after the promotion season, and even then only for £1.7m.

    That Fulham bought their way to where they are is an outdated and inaccurate perception.

  • Comment number 35.

    How Liverpool and Everton must wish they had someone of the calibre and character of Roy Hodgson managing them!

  • Comment number 36.

    Damien Duff - what a super signing for Fulham. They haven't seen a winger like him since Georgie Best

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 37.

    Thanks alot Dan, It's a shame it's not on there but I suppose there's no getting round football rights. I look forward to reading next weeks blog.

  • Comment number 38.


    33. At 09:46am on 06 Nov 2009, Rocky57 wrote
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    My beef was not with Fulham or their fans, when Chelsea are just up the road and now the obvious choice for the floating fan its to Fulham's enormous credit that they get 24,000 on a regular basis.

    No my beef was the dewy eyed way the BBC spun this cliché ridden piece and the impression that if all clubs were run like Fulham then football wouldnt be in the financial mess it is now.

    I also love these media types who nail there colours to a mast then disappear without trace when the going gets tough, David Mellor anyone?

    Anyway good luck to Fulham for the rest of the season.

    Right I'm off to watch the King of the Sugar Daddied teams, step forward .......................Manchester City!

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Sausagearms - I see where you are coming from with the pasties plan. Not quite as culturally evocative as pastries in Rome but it could be a winner."

    Mighty fine fish & chips to be found in Cleethorpes though, hearty food.

  • Comment number 40.

    What amazes me more than anything is that when you consider the plums who currently manage Liverpool, Everton, Man City, Hull, Bolton and Portsmouth, why are the boards of these mismanaged clubs not beating a path to Hodgson's door?

  • Comment number 41.

    You can be a 'cynic' all you like - the realistic fact is that all Premiership clubs are in millions of debt, if Ken Bates had sold Chelsea to Al Fayed they'd only be in £150 million debt, and still feel like a football club, not a travelling circus with somewhere between £400 - £500 million in debt and a transfer embargo.
    The Cottage has a certain indescribable magic, from the riverside walk to the stadium through the park, the new Haynes statue, the tastefully renovated Stevenage stand (now the Haynes stand), passionate and loyal fans (made up of real football followers, not people from Canterbury that support Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Liverpool, because they were top of the premiership and their star players had a trendy haircuts and a pop star girlfriends).
    Not to mention the fact the cottagers consistently win awards for fair play, it seems that even with astronomical wage packets, some people just can't behave themselves, cough-rooney-cough.

    Fulham are great, after a record breaking season for the club last year I can only see things getting better, that is if the board have the good judgement to keep Hodgson (probably the best manager in the Premiership - certainly in London - at the moment) as long as possible, with more high profile signings of players such as Johnson and Duff things are definitely on the up and up - even old Crouchy considered a move to the mighty whites!

  • Comment number 42.

    For the record I would like to point out that Barbour jackets are infact a working class fashion - it is the latest in a long line of 'upper-classs' brands which has been adorned by lower classes, it is done so because of a very powerful cycle of financial peversion, lower classes wear items such as Barbour jackets (aswell as burberry for instance) because they are brands that say 'money' they are statements of wealth, and people that come from relatively poor backgrounds are rather determined to convey an image of high stature and wealth - it is for the sam reasons that people leave the labels in their clothes (to show they are new) and so on.
    And of course the cycle wouldn't be complete without the fact that upper classes dress down to seem more "street."
    To paraphrase from the work of a brilliant woman, Naomi Klein, "working class kids are jealous of upper class wealth, and upper class kids are jealous of working class style." I believe the lyrics of a famous song by The Libertines go - "Poor kids dressing like they're rich (MODS) Rich kids dressing like they're poor (OH MY GOD)"

  • Comment number 43.

    Not really sure who this Dan Walker is, but by the sounds of it, he’s some wanna be journo whose trying to make a name for himself by being the 'joker of the classroom' and becoming popular by the one who makes people laugh! Did you even sit within the crowd at the Liverpool game? Or where you too busy getting your first taste of the media 'life style' by watching it from behind the safety of your mini laptop that you 'on the run reporters' love so much, drinking tea from the Harrods crockery, trying to discuss the game with fellow but much more professional journalists!! Craven cottage is the best and worst stadium in the premier league. Unfortunately for you it’s the worst for reporters but best for traditionalists and sentimental. Who cares if it’s not 50,000 plus, we still make more noise than Stanford Bridge. For example our 2000 away fans who out sang the Stadio Olimpico last Thursday, didn’t see many 'Barbour jackets' in the eternal city, did you? Also if we are the richer supports like you suggested surely the 2000 who travelled to Rome could also afford the following away trip to Wigan, which only 198 made! I agree on your comments on what a great manager Roy is, but wait, you couldn’t give out a compliment without making a laughing stock of him either. If you actually listened to some of his interviews you would have picked up on the fact that he can’t stand his wife and she can’t stand him during the season as they both have different opinions on football, do you need me to tell you which one likes football?? So saying he warms up for a game but reading a novel or walks with his wife, just shows that your reporting/blogging skills (if you can call them that) are just as bad as your striking of the ball. I’m sure this won’t make it onto the blog responses, but just thought I’d write my own little blog to you. Actually rephrase that to ‘my own little blog to Dan walker’, as I’m still not really sure who you actually are. All I know is your the reporter who has taken up valuable space on the loved ‘Fulham: My Club’ page on the BBC website with you un-witty jargon! Cheers

  • Comment number 44.

    Well Mr Lacey (# 43)... great rage. Thanks for the comments. Allow me to respond to some of your more ill-researched fury. I happen to think that Fulham are a great club and yes, I did watch the match from the press box - because I am a member of the press and not a Fulham or Liverpool fan.

    I idea of the piece was to be very positive about a club who are trying to do things differently. My personal opinion is that Fulham supporters are among the most knowledgable around. The quip about Barbour jackets is based on facts. Of the 10 or so fans I spoke to when the great Johnny Haynes statue was unveiled last season... 5 were wearing the aforementioned item of clothing. Whatever you think of the jackets - and I accept that was probably a cheap shot - your club has a higher percentage of well-off supporters than most. That is down to simple geography.

    And as for your rant about Roy Hogdson - he said he reads novels and takes his wife for walks in his pre-match interview for Focus. I wrote...

    "Roy Hodgson not only gets his tactics right 9 times out of 10, he also warms up for a game by reading a novel and going for a walk with his wife. Maybe that's the secret!"

    That is not a slur on the good name of Mr Hodgson but rather a sign that he has his the game in perspective and knows how to get himself away from football so it doesn't become all consuming. If you watched the 4 minute interview that went out during the programme you would see that he saw the funny side of it all.

    Just 3 more things for you... I don't own a mini-laptop, I have never touched any Harrods crockery and Fulham were delighted with both the programme and this blog. That is my rant over. I hope you enjoy the rest of the season and - whatever you think of me - I truly hope that your club can repeat their great performance of 2008-09. Dan Walker, on the run reporter, BBC.

  • Comment number 45.

    @ 43. Anthony Lacey:

    There's a lot of anger in your post there, little guy. You gotta rise above it. You've got to harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Anthony. Feel it. It's circular. It's like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow...all good things.

  • Comment number 46.

    Good luck to Hodgson. Fulham must be the envy of other fans around the EPL.
    As for the Barbour jackets, doesn't Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed give those out free at the turnstiles?
    Moreover, his GBP150m debt will be eventually returned with a nice little divvy when:-
    1. he gets planning permission for another Chelsea Village type development at The Cottage and
    2. The digital age finally fully arrives, broadcast TV is kicked into touch and InternetTV revenues will dwarf the miserable GBP20m per annum currently received for a product that goes to the four corners of the globe.

 

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