Most of the media attention on Fulham today has focused on John Paintsil. So let’s get that out of the way first. Yes, it was foolish and no Fulham fan should condone the attempt by one of our players to get another player sent off. But some of the reaction from our own fans has been quite extraordinary. Many threads on TIFF today have demanded that Painstil be dropped because he’s brought such shame on the club.
Let us consider, first of all, that Painstil is hardly alone in throwing himself to the ground to exaggerate the contact made by a fellow professional. If I was to list even the most regular offenders in the top flight, I’d be here all night. He’s not even the first Fulham player in recent memory to commit such an offence. Luis Boa Morte used to go to ground rather theatrically and nobody seemed to bat an eyelid. I remembering seeing the legendary Simon Morgan diving to win a penalty so let’s not pretend it is something new. Yes, Painstil was foolish and I’m sure Roy Hodgson will have had a word with him today – saying that this is something that he doesn’t wish to see repeated. But drop him? Do me a favour. He’s had a fine start to his Fulham career and is a significant improvement on the likes of Baird, Rosenior and Volz. Keep him exactly where he is.
I’ll never tire of hearing quotes like this from Brede Hangeland.
I see myself at Fulham for many years. The club is the right size and has a perfect location in South West London.
That allows us to live in a family-friendly and quiet area which is close to both the stadium and training.
That means a tremendous amount to me.
Of course, it is too much to expect the papers to be running these quotes with the same gusto that saw them print fabrications of Roy’s comments last week. Hangeland might have been instructed to say things like this to drive up his market price but only the extremely cynical would doubt his commitment to the club and – perhaps more so – his manager, with whom he obviously has a close bond. Here’s hoping we can keep him for many years to come.
Oh, and another contender for most ridiculous rumour of the silly season: Hangeland to Real Madrid. No disrespect to our much loved Norweigan but I think Real could afford to look to players of a slightly higher calibre to partner Fabio Cannavaro. Even if they were interested in Brede, which I very much doubt, would the Real board really sanction a big money outlay by Juande Ramos when the former Spurs coach is reported to be on a six month contract? Something tells me he won’t end up at the Bernabeu.