Jamie’s report on our defeat at Blackburn is well worth a read. I was particularly interested in his concluding paragraph:
A shame. Roy Hodgson is rightly talked of as one of our greatest managers and has presided over a period of unprecedented success. But, like pretty much every side we’ve produced since promotion in 2001, Roy’s Fulham are generally only able to win at one ground. We’ve now failed to beat all of Wolves, West Ham, Wigan, Birmingham, Burnley, Stoke and Blackburn on the road this year. And sadly, it’s spoiling what could have been another marvellous season.
He’s pretty much right. But it set my mind racing. Rich has been busy looking at our away stats, but I’m interested in the breakdown of our away league wins.
Things weren’t much better under Jean Tigana, footballing genius that he was. We won just four out of 35 league games under the Frenchman and all bar one came in our first season back:
West Ham 2-0
4 out of 35 gave Tigana a success rate of just 11%.
Chris Coleman got a single win when he was in temporary charge (thanks to a Louis Saha strike at Charlton – 1-0). Things got a little better the following season when we astonished everyone by finishing ninth:
Man Utd 3-1
We had to wait until 2006 for our next victory on the road, secured by Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra, a 2-1 win at Newcastle, made bittersweet by Jimmy Bullard’s horrible injury. It was Coleman’s last away success, leaving him with 11 wins from 66 league games – a strike rate of 16%.
Poor old Lawrie Sanchez didn’t muster an away win.
Roy Hodgson’s was a long time in coming, but once Erik Nevland secured success at Reading we didn’t seem to look back:
Man City 3-2
We had a bit of success the following season too, once we opened up a bit away from home:
Man City 3-1
That leaves our single success this term on the opening day at Fratton Park (thanks to Bobby Zamora’s backside), to give Roy seven away wins from 41 league games (17%). Chuck in the win in Basel, which I ignored for methodological reasons (Tigana’s team beat a host of lower league opponents on our way to the Cup semi-finals in 2002) and the record’s more impressive. Hodgson’s teams have amassed more away points on average than Tigana’s, Coleman’s, Sanchez’s and – yes, of course – Lewington’s. That last one’s not hard.
It’s all rather predictable. We haven’t won enough away from home. How do you sort it? That’s an entirely different question.