Fulham Comes Up Short

May 13, 2010 at 5:15 am | Posted in General Football | 7 Comments

One of the most remarkable stories of world football in recent years was the incredible run of Fulham in this year’s Europa League, the rebranded successor to the UEFA cup.  This bloated competition, which seems to go on interminably and involve what seems like thousands of teams who can enter through any number of crazy criteria (of which the main one seems to be mediocrity), has never really turned me on.

Fulham’s incredible progress, defeating such mighty teams as Juventus and Hamburg, has, however,  made me take an interest.  I admit, I am biased when it comes to world football.  I love English football above all others, and, no matter what the merits of other countries teams, I almost always will stump for an English team over the teams of other countries.   This is because English football is played with a direct, honest approach, which lacks the cheating and histrionics of football played in other countries.  Players do not go down clutching their face  in England unless they are actually hurt, for instance.

Case in point was Athletico Madrid’s goalkeeper today who made  big fuss over the fact he was grazed by the boot of a Fulham striker.  Contrast this with  Peter Cech playing on for a period for Chelsea with a fractured skull some years back.

Athletico Madrid had the edge in quality today, no doubt.  Fulham’s quality players, Zamora and Duff, were playing hurt.   Fulham played manfully  but looked tired towards the end of the game and in extra time.  They nearly hung on for penalties but Athletico’s quality could not be held back forever.  Fulham lost 2-1 in extra time.

Fulham’s progress in the Europa League was a fairlytale, and perhaps it was too much to ask for a fairytale ending. The final in Hamburg was a bridge too far.  One thing is for sure, however: the performance of Roy Hodgson and Fulham in the Europa League have given England and English football a reason to be very proud indeed.



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  1. This is because English football is played with a direct, honest approach, which lacks the cheating and histrionics of football played in other countries. Players do not go down clutching their face in England unless they are actually hurt, for instance.

    Sorry, but this is so much bulls@#t. Players in the Premier League dive and roll around. English players in the Premier League dive and roll around. Steven Gerrard dives fairly often, and everyone outside of Liverpool knows it. Ther emay be varying degrees of it in the different leagues, but to say that English football is “honest” is ridiculous. I seem to remember a certain Cristiano Ronaldo playing in England just recently, rolling around clutching various parts of his body. And don’t get me started on Drogba. And yes, they’re part of “English football” as much as precious Stevie Gerrard or Rooney, who both dive when it suits them.

  2. Brenton, I beg to differ! Christiano Ronaldo was crucified in the English press and the refs stopped calling fouls on him. Drogba’s histrionics did not succeed either, and he has improved since last season. If you will remember Drogba’s antics were mostly in the champions league with non-English refs. The press, the referees, even the Managers disapprove of this kind of behaviour in England. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but players who do it actually get punished because the refs just stop calling fouls on them.

    Thanks for your comments Brenton, you have a keen eye for the game, even if I disagree with you on this point!

    • The press, the referees, even the managers disapprove of this behaviour when it’s done by opposing continental players, never their own. I haven’t heard one peep out of Ferguson when Rooney dives, nor have I seen anything negative in the English press when Gerrard slides to the ground for no apparent reason.

      • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1250236/Steven-Gerrard-Liverpool-captain-England-international–serial-diver.html

        This article does indeed show that calling Gerrard a diver is not hush-hush in England, I’ve read that in many places.

        Now, the darn daily mail is the one that had the expose and tapes I think on Lord Treisman and his fling and I don’t know, that’s kind of a last straw to me as far as press goes. I don’t see why that is a big story, a lot of us might have an offhand conversation and say, “I think that referee was bribed” or something like that. So basically, the daily mail is off limits to me but I did find that story. Too bad, they do have some good stories but Gary Lineker resigned from his column writing job there.

        It’s not like the BBC and more respected news sources have called Cristiano or Gerrard or Drogba divers in their stories but there are still stories to be found on this.

        Drogba was a bit better this year and we do have to realise, these guys get the high salaries and among other things, they do do things like this from time to time.

        Last World Cup, Ivory Coast played well, to Argentina and to Netherlands, losing. They defeated Serbia. Drogba did not do this but I have a feeling if Ivory Coast had gone to the elimination rounds, they may well have pulled out this trick. I do believe basically he did dive in ’06 against lowly Libya in the group stage to pull out a win.

        Drogba is a big personality, I think I even saw Time or Newsweek has him in their 100 most influential people.

        I think Drogba is a little better behaved and too, how would one feel if a stadium disaster happened because everyone came to see the star and there was a crowd crush and I believe 18 or 19 people killed? http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/mar/29/ivory-coast-stadium-disaster-world-cup-qualifying Got off topic a bit but if you are talking about diving, I guess it is not.

  3. Unfortunately, the International Game is heavily tainted. Now there is a scandal with this Lord Treisman fellow and he may be wrong but it is very clear that there has been a lot of corruption in the game in various countries with gambling scandals, match fixing, it goes with the territory. Even with the World Cup upon us, I hate to know that there are always very bad calls. It’s not a level playing ground, there is a lot of diving, gamesmanship etc. in International play and then, some of the teams and countries who do it the most are held up as being great teams….NOT. The whole sport is a bit poisoned and it encourages other teams that to win, you’ve got to play dirty.

    Take France, historically a clean team I’d think and then this game with Ireland and Thierry Henry with his handball. Very bad stuff but I’m not all that critical of France because they’ve probably been on the bad end of a lot of unsporting play in the past. Not that I cheer for them, I’m disillusioned with them but we’ll have to see how it all shakes out. They would have to do something to make them a “darling” for this upcoming tournament.

    • Uruguay in group A at the World Cup, that is the group with South Africa, France and Mexico. Uruguay has actually climbed up to about #15 in the Fifa rankings, rather good.

      As I said before, for Spain, Atletico Madrid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atl%C3%A9tico_Madrid and the historically all-Basque team Athletic (yes, historic roots to an English coach thus Athletic) Bilbao.

      Atletico, maybe you’d call them Madrid’s second team play in the Vicente Calderon stadium. The magazine fourfourtwo had an article telling a lot about Atletico and Calderon, former Atletico President, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicente_Calder%C3%B3n article is a bit friendly towards him, the magazine inferred he was a bit of a heavy type and called him the “Don”, all that says is when he started out in business early, he may have been unscrupulous some in business practices but not to the point I’d think to where organised crime or things of that nature are involved. A colourful character and I’m sure his image is still largely on that team and after all, he competes with Real and largely ran the club during the Franco Era. The red stripes are catchy jerseys and it’s Torres’ old team. He has avowed he’d never play for that other team in Madrid.

      So, congrats to Atletico, Fulham loses but still, another honourable club won it.

      • Part one of the message:

        “For the record, Diego Forlan, ex-Man Utd. some would say Man U reject, scored the late goal, apparently in the added extra time around the 116th minute…. wait a minute, didn’t he score in extra time against Liverpool? 103rd minute! http://www.soccerway.com/matches/2010/04/29/europe/uefa-cup/liverpool-football-club/club-atletico-de-madrid/927730/ When something like that happens, it is kind of destiny you have to think. Diego Forlan will be playing for Uruguay in group A at the World Cup, that is the group with South Africa, France and Mexico….”

        Forgive me the longwindedness here, but I think that was important and Atletico deserves a lot of credit for their win as well. Forlan’s goals sunk both ‘Pool and Fulham but they are a likeable team as far as that goes…personally, I have some questions about how things are run in Spain but at least on a superficial level, I like them.

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