Like many football supporters I have my superstitious match day rituals. I always have 2 fried eggs and fried bread. If the yolks do not break in the pan that means Fulham will win, if one does a draw, two a loss. Ominously two broke. Bob Tickler asked me to take his godson Jamie to the game, his mother believing aged 8 he can start doing blokey things. I was slightly apprehensive as we we are in a large and sometimes unruly crowd but passing the baton of support to the next generation is one of the better features of the tribalism of football. This feeling was enhanced as joining us for lunch was the school friend who took me to my first game, ironically against Bristol City in 1968, and his two boys, both Fulham supporters. One aspect of Fulham supporters I have always liked is their intelligence. There are some supporters, notably those of Arsenal, that only want to talk about their club but with Fulham supporters the conversation is more wide ranging. It turned to Brexit and the eldest son said he voted leave for reasons no one he knew shared. These were that he believed in a open door immigration policy from all over the world not just the EU.
We were soon back on the central issue of Fulham. That golden night in August when we trounced Newcastle seemed a long way off as we are without a win now in 5 games only scoring two goals. The new signings, far from improving the team, have yet to integrate. Neeskens Kebano seems too similar to Sone Aluko, pacy and skillful but as the game draws on his impact is less. Crucially we are not a difficult side to beat. The opposition can sit back, wait for a mistake, exploit it and then defend. Thus us it was yesterday that a ball given away by Scott Parker of all people in midfield went to the wing and Tammy Abraham converted the cross. Three more were added in the second half, Kevin Macdonald was red-carded for a dangerous foul and the defeat was comprehensive. We now lie thirteenth with a poor goal average.
It’s difficult to see where we go from here. Doubtless there will be yet more changes for Tuesday’s gane away at Nottingham Forest. One consequence of these signings is that some of the Academy players who were so impressive against Middlesbrough – Ademiran and Edun – are further from a first team place and other academy players who impressed pre-Jokatonic are out of favour – Bettinelli and Christensen.
Aside from our lunch the most pleasing feature of the afternoon was that Jamie enjoyed himself. He showed no signs of boredom, read the programme and banged his clapperboard. He was duly delivered back to his mother safe and sound and said he would like to come again … a view not shared by many at Craven Cottage yesterday.