It was so nearly the perfect day. A point at Craven Cottage isn’t the worst result in the world – we’d certainly have taken that over the past two seasons – but it could and should have been so much better.
I’ve been trying to convince myself that rather than be too disappointed at not picking up the victory, I should be happy that I saw such a barnstorming see-saw Premier League game that neutrals must have loved. Trouble is, I’m not a neutral. Frankly, I would rather have seen a non-event of a match with three points for United.
To be honest, you couldn’t deny that Fulham deserved their point. The boss admitted to me afterwards that a win would have flattered United. But he was also disappointed to drop what he described as “silly points.” With Chelsea firing from the off, wins are really the order of the day. But I don’t think you can judge Chelsea properly until they actually face a team that contains at least the semblance of a defence. So don’t be too downhearted.
I must admit to having a huge soft spot for Fulham. For me, a visit to Craven Cottage is the best away trip of the whole season. There is surely no more civilized ground in the Premier League. A delightful stroll along the Thames Path to get there, the people at the club fall over themselves to help you and you get quirkiness galore. There’s the Cottage itself where the players get changed, the bizarre pre-match ritual of Mohammed Al Fayed shuffling around the pitch on a lap of honour with ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton as the stadium MC.
The other great thing about Fulham away is the vast amount of tickets given over to United fans. There was a wall of noise coming from the Putney End for the whole 90 minutes, the support was quite outstanding. But football does have a habit of kicking you where it hurts and it was a rather downcast journey home.
As ever though, when you’re travelling with Paddy Crerand it’s never dull. Lively debate ensued on the train journey back to the North West and you