Fulham in the final

It’s taken me a week to get round to posting about last week’s events in Hamburg. A few days to get over it and then a few more to get my act together. Anyway we had a great time, went out there with Mum, Dad (doubt they ever thought they’d see Fulham in a European final), Martin over from Australia and my mate Geoff, from slightly closer to home. We met up with Ken, Andy & Paul in town (more pics & videos), so it was quite a family affair. The wider Fulham family were in fine fettle before the match, meeting up in the ‘fan zone’ just off the Reeperbahn.

And then we headed to the ground, via our ‘own’ train, on which we met the Atletico fans, who we subjected to ‘are you Brentford in disguise?’ chants, which they took in good, if slightly bemused spirits.

We walked the last bit to the ground through a park, and under a tunnel, where we attempted to turn the Atletico’s Y Viva Espana chant into our own Y Viva El Fulham (the song from our 1975 FA Cup Final appearance, in case you didn’t know):

Geoff and I were optimistic of a the greatest victory in Fulham’s history before the match, but it wasn’t to be.

The boys held out for the whole match and then 26 minutes of the 30 minutes extra time, hoping to make it to a penalty shoot out at the end but we couldn’t quite make it. They looked tired after a long season that began at the end of July in Lithuania and as this map shows, it was quite a journey.

I made it to all the home games and the away legs at Juventus and of course the final. As you can probably tell it’s almost as much to do with the experience of going to these games as it is with the result. It would have been nice to win, as quite frankly we haven’t won much in 131 years.

But hopefully it won’t bee too long before we’re all going on a European tour once more.

One thought on “Fulham in the final”

  1. Hi Nick, Thought you’d find the following interesting, written by another die-hard FFC fan, Ralph McTell:

    As Fulham F.C. Progressed through the stages of the Europa Cup, I jokingly said to my son and dedicated Fulham supporter that if they made it to the final, I would treat him and grandson Louis to the trip.

    Well Fulham made it to the final and my youngest son Billy has bought a standby ticket from South africa to be there so we are off to the match against Atletico Madrid in Hamburg.
    Tom’s partner Anna and her dad have decided to come too and so that means little Isabelle will be with us as well.

    Out of the blue I get a call from friends in Austria who want to be there too. When my youngest sons were at Nursery school they became friendly with two little Austrian boys. We met their parents and on Saturdays went together to support Fulham in their darkest days. It must have been a good thing to do because even after being away from England for at least twenty years they are still fans and for their dad Rhienfried’s 65th birthday the two boys are treating him to a trip to Hamburg. Unfortunately only Georg will be with his dad as Martin is now a surgeon and cannot get away.

    All seats are booked and all planes are full so we must travel to Hamburg via Zurich, a mere trifle.

    Billy arrives in London and it is wonderful to see him again. We all head off to the local for a welcome home drink and already the journey is getting shorter.

    I will not go into the travel bore mode. We all know how horrendous it is so believe me when I just award points from 1 to 20 to describe our outward journey as a 5. We are well tired by the time we get to the hotel and jollities begin as we meet our Austrian friends at the massive stadium. Beer and sausages later we take up our seats which we never use for the whole game is spent on our feet.

    What a valiant effort we made. 63 games this season with a small squad but a proper team. Poor Bobby Zamora’s injury meant he was substituted and we feared the worst but we evened up the score by half time through Sean Davies. The Fulham fans were magnificent keeping up their songs and chants to the very end.

    When Forlan scored in the dying minutes of extra time I experienced the numbness of disbelief that seeps into your very bones. Fulham FC supporters are not used to these occasions still less the scale of these disappointments. At the presentation of the cup to Madrid many had left in a state of shock and I watched the celebrations at the other end in a sort of daze.

    The whole experience was amazing. The manager,Roy Hodgson (we found out recently that Roy was at the same school as me although three years younger and of course we did not meet there) has lead his team to this final. We have experienced joy and exhilaration that the club has not felt since our cup final run of more than thirty years ago. We have beaten the top clubs of Europe and made it to the final where we lost by one goal. Not bad eh?

    We console each other with manly hugs and talk of the irony of our great young Norwegian defender Hangeland’s almost own goal credited to Forlan. Anna is crying. Little Louis takes it in his stride, my Tom and Billy are in shock. We are all gutted.

    I cannot help wondering if the Fulham faithful contributed by their constant singing of FULHAM! FULHAM! to the tune of Amazing grace. Perhaps Forlan thought they were singing HIS name FORLAN! FORLAN!.

    I am so tired I just want a few beers and bed but our dear Austrian friends will have none of it and insist we go to the Reeperbahn for beers and they proceed very undiplomatically to dissect the game to tell us where we went wrong. However the buckets of beer soon warm up the conversation until Billy actually falls asleep whist we are talking. It is 4.30 am when we get back to the hotel and we have to be out of the Hotel tomorrow.

    We are awakened at 9 and pack and leave like dishevelled refugees dragging our bags through Hamburg looking for food for the kids. It is Ascension day and everything is closed except the sausage stands. So we eat sausage and chips and take coffee and cake. Today deserves a 3 out of 10 and we arrive in Zurich at 10.30. There were knots of sad and hung over FFC supporters everywhere and there are even some here too.
    Our flight tomorrow means we have to be up at 4am

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