In the last Fulham programme for the visit of Manchester United we read Brede Hangeland embodies the transformation of the club in recent seasons. It’s that type of Pravdaesque doublespeak that make fanzines popular. Since 2009 when Fulham reached the Europa League Final beating Juventus and Shaktar Donetsk, powerhouses in the Champions League our club has been in decline. Neither Mark Hughes nor Martin Jol achieved such success as Roy Hodgson and now relegation threatens. One wonders who or why such a obvious falsehood was ever published.
Over the 50 years I have followed he Cottagers the programme has changed quite dramatically. The first Fulham programmes were edited by Merula who prided himself on his independence. A programme is now an official organ though the modern one is more of sales brochure than a compendium of club news and views. It suffers that because of the Internet and the proliferation of any news on the Premier League its hard to come up with fresh copy. Ours tend to reprise recent games, provide information on the opposition, bland interviews with players contain such earth shattering revelations as their favourite cheese and best of all well written nostalgic pieces. At £3.50 its far more expensive than most magazines. I would be interested to know what the take up is.
Fulham are blessed with an articulate historian Dennis Turner who became a director and knows more about Fulham than anyone on the planet. Dennis is a distinguished lecturer on economics with a witty delivery. He was editor of the programme for many years. Once he printed the team prior to being informed of it. Then manager Malcolm MacDonald called with the team but Dennis read his first. ” good enough for me” said Malcolm. Nowadays there is list of players and the team is announced prior to kick off. The programme is an important element of the match day experience but it should also reflect he club’s values and in time be a useful historical document. It just saddens me it cannot have more cutting edge and reflect the passions and anxieties of us supporters.