This landed in my inbox this afternoon from an old Italian friend, whose acquantance I made when he was living in London. It might restore your faith in football, but then that might be overstating its qualities.
I felt I had to write to you after watching the match at the Olimpico last night, especially after you were so kind as to take me to see Fulham a few times when I was in London and Fulham were starting their ‘Great Escape’ under Roy Hodgson.
Roma have been very fortunate twice against your team this season. They could have been beaten very easily at Craven Cottage and last night were given a ‘helping hand’ by the referee. Some Italian journalists have been saying in their reports that Nevland was sent off for a professional foul. For me, it was just the tackle of a centre forward trying to defend for his team. It was a yellow card, not a red. Konchesky also should not have got a red card.
What I wanted to say also about Fulham was the way they played football. They did not hit the ball high and long to the striker like Roma did many times in the first half. It was lovely, passing football that was good to watch. If Dempsey and Kamara were a little cooler in front of goal, the game could have been over by half time.
You will know that Hodgson is highly respected in Italy. He is a great coach who is doing very well at Fulham. I hope he continues to have great success. I would much rather have him than Ranieri. I must say as well that Fulham’s fans were great last night. Very friendly in the days before the game and they sung their songs all the way through the match.
The words don’t make up for the disappointment, but it does tell me something about our European adventure. Everywhere we go, we are winning friends. From our fans to playing our football, it’s all putting Fulham on the map.