Fulham’s defeat to a Spurs goal in the 94th minute was gut-wrenching and makes the task of avoiding relegation decidedly arduous. Before the game I analysed the fixtures. At home we entertain Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea so we will be looking for points against Brighton, Everton, Cardiff and Newcastle. The away games are less exacting but we need at least 2 wins and draws from Southampton, Watford, West Ham, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Wolves.
We have survived from worst positions but when the spirit was better in the group. Reading between the lines in a Radio 5 interview with Denis Odoi, one of the main culprits of defensive slackness, he was blaming the forwards for insufficient defensive work. The problem is that when you replace a squad which has spirit with a collection of loanees and expensive imports on high wages it’s not the right alchemy for a spirited rearguard action such as Fulham were famous for in their top flight past.
Suffering from a heavy cold and cough and confined to barracks by the missus I watched the generally good SKY coverage of the match.
In the past you would think football had not been invented before SKY and the Premier League but, prior to the the Huddersfield v Man City match, a touching interview and tribute was paid to sixties legend Denis Law, who played for Huddersfield under Bill Shankly and both Manchester clubs.
He and Ron Davies were the best headers I ever saw but in the Lawman’s case he had the spindliest of frames.
The coverage of Fulham v Spurs was satisfactory. I don’t care for Graeme Souness as a pundit. Inexcusably, he had to be prompted on the name of a Fulham defender. An analyst at very least should know the team and I thought, for a know-all pundit, you were a relatively unsuccessful Premier League manager. He came over as sour and combative. Alex Scott knows her football and brings a different perspective, whilst Jamie Redknapp speaks sense.
Ranieri’s subbing baffled us. Ryan Babel was causing problems with his pace and power, only to be subbed after an hour. On came two fringe players of last season – Cisse and Kebano – who contributed little but no Tom Cairney.
Gary Cahill is rumoured to be on the way from Chelsea to bolster up a shaky defence, but I fear before too long players will be more interested for whom they will be playing next season than where for Fulham and I just hope that Tom Cairney, Stefan Johansen and above all Kevin MacDonald, who gave their all for the boys last season, will be retained to do the same next time.