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[Archived] Fulham 1 Rovers 1


gbax

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Fulham F.C. versus Blackburn Rovers F.C.

@ Craven Cottage, Saturday 21st April, 2007, Kick-off 3.00pm

Where do I start? There’s been some great previews this year. This is my first and I feel I’m walking in very large footprints. I don't have Bob's wit and I don't have Pleasure's insider knowledge, so here goes...

I wrote a rough outline of this preview several weeks ago when all was fine in the Ewood garden and there was a spring in my step. Europe was in our hands on two fronts, via the cup and the league. But as I edit and add the Q and A to the preview (which eventually arrived last week - I was starting to sweat), as proud as I am of the team, my mood is somewhat dulled this morning. It’s Monday morning, the day after! The season feels over (it is over), bar an 18 point hall from our last 6 games (including the Watford game), our last chance for Europe is all but gone. In the long run this might be a blessing for next season, hopefully strengthen our small squad, keep them fit and aim for that top six and the cups.

So, does this mean it will be a training ground game on Saturday? - Not on your life! Rovers have got fighting spirit and will fight for that sixth (or seventh spot) till it is no longer mathematically possible (I’m hoping that we’ve all ready picked up 3 points from the Watford game) and add to that, the small fact that Fulham are fighting for their Premiership survival!

Together, Rovers and Fulham battled for promotion and returned to the Premier League. Both clubs are similar size and are often classed as unfashionable to those who just focus on the 'big four', but both are ‘real’ football teams, with ‘real’ supporters, with dreams that are often bigger than our gates. Whereas Rovers seemed to have found their feet second time around in the Premiership (and won a cup along the way), Fulham have struggled to establish themselves. Gone are the glory days of promotion under Jean Tigana, and Al Fayed hasn't really put his money where his rather large mouth is. For a capital city club Fulham always seem to have a 'town' club feel about them and judging from their website are trying to create a 'family friendly' club. Most Fulham fans I've met seem a sound bunch, although I recently met a (very cocky cockney) Fulham fan in Germany with work. He over heard my accent and asked where I was from and who I supported. I told him Blackburn, to which he replied ‘Ave it! and garlic bread’, to which I explained that Peter Kay was from Bolton, to which he looked at me blankly and stated that “It’s all the same up there!”

I’ve picked out two away games against Fulham that stand out in my memory. Please indulge my ramblings (while I’m typing I’m not thinking of Sunday’s defeat at Old Trafford!) My most recent memories of playing Fulham tend to be ones of ‘Thank God’ - because an away win against Fulham always seems to signal the upsurge in our season (usually resulting in Premiership safety).

2003-04

We had lost 3 in a row. Been beaten at home by Portsmouth. Had a drubbing away at Liverpool (4-0) and then a week later been beaten at home 1-2 by fellow stragglers Leeds (Andy Todd through his dummy out of the dug out - well he would of if he’d not refused to go in it).

Monday, 12 April, 2004, kick-off 8.00pm - Fulham 3 (John 26, 45, Boa Morte 60) v Blackburn 4 (Cole 23, Douglas 48, Amoruso 51, Stead 75)

We’d taken the lead, but found ourselves 2-1 down. The game was like a Rocky movie, plenty of attack and no defence. Amoruso was God for a night. My fingernails and voice where gone. Our fortunes in the league changed after this and we went on to beat Leicester 1-0 (OG), Everton 0-1 (Stead), Manure 1-0 (Stead) - finally clinching safety and a finishing a credible 15th place with 44pts.

2004-05

Rovers had gone eight games without a goal and were on our our worst Premiership run since 1996. The omens where not good, Fulham’s captain Andy Cole led the attack against his old club!

Saturday, 27th November, 2004,kick-off 12.45pm - Fulham 0 (Sent off - Knight 76) Blackburn 2 (Gallagher 10, Dickov 77 - pen)

The game was on Sky, but I was stuck at the Good Food Live Show at the NEC, Birmingham (am I really admitting this), with my wife, listening to the game via an earpiece on the my radio/mobile phone. Again my nails were gone and I had no interest in whether Jamie Oliver was giving out autographs or not (much to my wife's’ annoyance). As the game went into the second half, I found myself sat in the audience of a recording of Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook (or something like that), when Dickov stroked home his penalty, I forgot where I was and I shouted out startling Gary Rhodes, causing his souffle to collapse. He was not happy (nor was my wife, nor were the people sat near us), oh well, he is a Manure fan.

The game itself was never in doubt. Rovers dominated a rather poor Fulham (great goal by Gallagher). The win gave us a kick up the backside and we went on to finish in 15th place with 42 pts.

Questions and Answers

When I offered to do this preview, I jumped into the task of writing it with two feet and headed straight to the top for my Q and A and contacted Fulham’s owner who runs an small corner shop in London. He even has his own website!!! (www.alfayed.com). I emailed a few questions and a polite message (taking care not to mention Diana or UK passports) and waited... and waited! Imagine my surprise when I never heard back! Oh well, it was a long shot, and I needed a big scoop to follow some excellent previews this season. Luckily, one of my London suppliers for work is a (hot and cold) Fulham fan and was able to assist me (all questions were before Chris Coleman was sacked), so read on...

If possible could you answer a few questions?

Paul - Yes, if you up your order!

What do you think of Fulham’s season so far?

Paul - Poor, but did not expect great things at the start of the season. Did not expect to be fighting relegation, but knew we would not be in top half.

Is your league place a fair reflection?

Paul - Yes, we seem to have lost all direction on and off the pitch. Played some OK football at times, but only ourselves to blame for being in the bottom half. Poor at the back. Lack heart at the moment and cave in too easily.

Which Fulham players will Mark Hughes be wary of? (I was always gutted you got McBride)

Paul - I’ve not been on as much as I would have liked this season, but definitely no-body from defence. Helguson and McBride are a handful.

What do you think to Rovers this season?

Paul - Slow start, you’ve had some bad injuries. Good run since Christmas in league and cup. Wembley? (Not now!)

Which Rovers players will Chris Coleman (edit - Sanchez) be wary of?

Paul - Bentley has been getting a lot of good press down here and Pedersen is good from from set pieces. McCarthy has scored a few and is always dangerous.

What's your prediction regarding the score?

Paul - 2-0 to us. Our luck has got to change and we need to win our home games to avoid being sucked into the scrap! Get behind the whites!

Many thanks to Paul for his time (and Mr. Fayed - not!) I personally think we will win this (having already beaten Watford - hopefully), we’re due a win in the city. And at least Fulham have played their first game with a new manager (usually it happens against Rovers, and we get beat).

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Nice preview Gbax.

A win on Wednesday against Watford would tee this up to be an important game as I still believe that we can finish in the top eight. Personally I think that we will murder Watford on Wednesday night which means that a win in this game could take us to 3 points behind 7th place with a game in hand.

This will be a tough game with Fulham scrapping away at the bottom of the table but I think our class will come through and we will win 2-0.

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Nice preview. Well we face have a horrible weak ahead of us. A team bottom of the premiership and a side fighting against relegation who have just changed their manager; the kind of games that we should win, but the kind of games that we usually lose. Hopefully we'll bounce back from the semi-final in fine style but I'm not feeling very confident.

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Just seen this on the Fulham site here

So we'll be paying £30 and people sat in the same stand will be paying £10!

Surely that cant be right.

Classic. I've just paid £30 for one.... I should've got my Fulham mates to get me one for a tenner! I understand their need to reduce the cost to attract home fans but surely we should be charged the same?

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Classic. I've just paid £30 for one.... I should've got my Fulham mates to get me one for a tenner! I understand their need to reduce the cost to attract home fans but surely we should be charged the same?

To be fair, they're even shafting their own fans who have already bought tickets -

There will be no refunds for those who have already bought additional tickets for the Blackburn game.

Can you imagine if Rovers tried that initiative? There'd be an uproar, with thousands of disgruntled die hard fans pledging never to darken the doors of Ewood Park again!!

:ph34r:

(Just like all the "lifelong Rovers fans" dotted around the pubs which the LET interviewed on Sunday).

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Classic. I've just paid £30 for one.... I should've got my Fulham mates to get me one for a tenner! I understand their need to reduce the cost to attract home fans but surely we should be charged the same?

We dont offer the same discounts when we do extra offers for ST holders, so why should other clubs?

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Just seen this on the Fulham site here

So we'll be paying £30 and people sat in the same stand will be paying £10!

Surely that cant be right.

Plus there is no segregation at Fulham between the 'neutrals' and the away fans.

What an absolute joke.

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Listening to Chris Coleman in the Sky Studio tonight and they see Saturday's game as a must win.

They are going to be really up for it (obviously), I just think our boys will be too shattered!

Going to the match but not looking forward to it for some reason..... hope the weather is nice so I can get as de-hydrated as possible.

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Great preview- they just keep getting better!

Rovers have a habit of getting results at the Cottage when it really matters and losing run of the mill games there. will it matter enough on Saturday and will Sparky get the lads up for it?

Must say the fact that Charlton are playing Sheff U meaning it is impossible for Fulham to drop into the bottom 3 if we beat them makes me feel a bit more confident about this one.

That league draw is long overdue though and would be the result neither club needs at this stage. So an underwhelming 0-0 is very much on the cards.

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Our side is looking very fit at the moment and we could name an unchanged team for the third match in a week here.

The key for me is Roberts. If he plays well again it gives the Fulham back four 2 huge problems- someone who can hold off defenders while keeping the ball with his back to goal and raw muscular pace. Ultimately they will have to drop deeper to contain him. This in turn will allow bentley and Ped to get in more crosses, Dunn can get in the final third and McCarthy (or Derbs if he is on) can get on the shoulder of the back line and cause damage with his excellent finishing.

Roberts on form massively improves our game imo. He can lose the ball from time to time but just offers a whole new dimension to our attack. He is the only person in our side with genuine pace on the ball.

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Sounds like there are more posts on this topic than tickets sold for Sat, Just wondered where rovers fans will be drinking before the match??

We normally go to the eight bells which is about a minutes walk from Putney Bridge tube station. Its a nice little pub which does decent food. Also if it is a nice day there are tables outside.

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Any side in the top ten should beat Fulham the way they are playing at the moment, as all of you know very well Rovers always mess up with the teams near the bottom of the league and who are on a bad run but i reckon we'll just scrape a victory. We always do it the hard way!

Fulham 1 Helguson

Rovers 2 Pedersen Double.

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