Wasn’t that a phrase that got bandied about during the big drive to promote soccer back in the early 90’s when the U.S. got given a World Cup? I either read it or remembered the phrase being a criticism of a contest that ended as a tied game. Not getting to a resolution over the stretch, sending both sets of fans away from the bleachers disappointed, was akin to dating your own sister. It wasn’t the American way, and this was not how we wanted our soccer games to end. Well we tried to tinker with the rules along the way, but Fifa had been around too long by then.
So we came to accept that a soccer game can end in honours even, and with time I have accepted the nuances that can give light and shade to a match ending in a tie.
Fulham started badly Sunday, give up an early goal, get lucky, go close to grabbing a 2nd away win of the season, then throw it away. A draw, which I had forecast, but a game that could have given up any of three results.
We’ve been on red alert all week in the office for reasons that are too boring to mention, and any chance of sneaking a blog past the IT thought police got stymied, while I have been off-limits at home from sneaking off with the laptop. Just as well I’ve had a week to cool off from Sunday’s trip to Southampton, ‘cos the boys turned in a sub-par performance that was not pretty to watch. And just when we thought luck was on our side with a cheap own goal and Richardson’s late strike, the defence fails to protect the three points we thought were coming our way.
There was much debate at half-time and on the way home as to how the high flyers of the first month of the season seem to have hit the skids, although the loss of two big strikers had a critical impact on Fulham’s composure. As always, I watch the midfield with a keen eye, this being my own playing position, and here we look to be a man light currently.
Some big questions are being asked about Danny’s successor as captain. Is he the right man for the job? Insider talk suggests Brede Hangeland, our ‘Norwegian Rock of the North,’ has a handshake agreement granting him a transfer out of Fulham next year. The word on the street is that he could be the next big money mover out of the club, like Dembele and Clint, headed maybe for Manchester United and one deserved shot at the big time after four years dedicated service.
Probably from a neutral point of view neither side really deserved to win Sunday. I might have expected the Southampton big target man Lambert to burn us with two headers, but not the little guy who actually scored two. I expected more from our offence but I guess Jol is handicapped by his limited options at present. Thankfully there was cheery news by mid-week, as the boss says he hopes to be spreading some big bucks around in the next transfer window (happens in January). We also have this break now for the internationals to get some guys back from the rehab list, so a win at home on resumption of the programme Saturday 20th is very much on the cards. It’s another sell-out at the Cottage against a Villa side who struggled badly last season and could be the ‘dead men walking’ again this. More on my expectations for this one next time.
A word to finish on from our ‘big day out’ Sunday. The wives maybe got the best of it after their trip through the New Forest which they thought was pretty awesome, while we were suffering at the ground. As me and my FFC supporting buddy from work both donned our replica shirts to enter the ground, the girls were confused by the fact that the ‘whites’ were facing the ‘reds’ while some of our supporters were sporting black with a kind of drum majorette slash. “That’s our team strip for the game. It’s because of the colour clash,” we explained as they dropped us at the stadium. Yeh, too much information, we saw their puzzled expressions as they drove off. It took us a while to come round from the result after, but we lightened up enough to enjoy a fine fish dinner post game before driving back to London.
“Was there any fighting?” the wife asked me in the car. She has a one-eyed view of football I’m afraid. Catch you next week.