A Night to Remember
The word “epic” is used a lot these days with many different meanings. When it’s used to describe Fulham’s achievements in European football this season its meaning is that of the scale of their achievement. You need only look back to where Fulham were in 1996 to understand just where this club as come from and where they are going to.
At the end of the 1995-96 season Fulham were in England’s lowest tier of league football and finished the season 17th out of 24. It was during this season that Fulham hired Mikey Adams and the following season he guided them to second in the league (on goal scored) and therefore promotion. It was during the summer between the 1996-97 and 1997-98 season that millionaire and Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed bought the club and the rest, they say is history. Under the guidance of two very talented managers (Kevin Keegan and then Jean Tigana) Fulham rose through the leagues eventually gaining promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2000-01 season. Up until last season Fulham had yo-yo from mid-table mediocrity to relegation battlers however it was last seasons seventh place then landed them a spot in this years inaugural UEFA Europa League.
Their epic trip to the final started last July against FK Vetra of Lithuania and has seen them beat last years winners Shakhtar Donetsk as well as favourites Juventus. Fulham’s exploits in Europe are nothing short of amazing with Roy Hodgson, Fulham’s manager, deservedly taking the plaudits. He has guided Fulham from near relegation to the Championship to a realistic chance of lifting a European trophy. It is also the measure of the man when he talks more about the players and the team effort than his work on and off the pitch. When I watched the match last night I was cheering them on as if it was my team (Man United) playing; hoping, praying that Fulham would get the goals they needed to win. So when Gera put home Fulham’s second goal I cheered and clapped then watched hopefully as the time ticked away and when the final whistle blew I thought to myself that if any team deserved success this season then it is Fulham and Roy Hodgson.