I wasn’t going to go. I had made other plans. About 9am yesterday morning I had a wave of optimism, cancelled my plans and decided to go. Hmmmmm. In fairness, we were on the verge of seeing history in the making – Fulham haven’t won four Premier League matches on the bounce (largely, I’d imagine because our away form is so poor) but we were seemingly flying and Villa…. er…. less so.
Thing is, I’m not keen on the Midlands clubs. The fans are…. odd. And in the case of some, more than a little abusive. So I’d kinda said to myself that I wouldn’t bother going to any of those grounds again. But as I drove along the M6 and caught a glimpse of Villa Park I did start getting excited. And not just because QPR had just had a perfectly legitimate goal disallowed. Villa Park is an impressive ground. Not necessarily in size or snazziness but how beautiful is the Holte End? If you’ve never seen it, go. The picture above simply doesn’t do it justice.
Anyway, architecture aside, it’s not the most away-fan-friendly ground. There are loads of stairs up to a narrow rabbit run barely large enough to take the 1,000+ fans that made the trip. But they do have tellies which everyone was glued to, willing Bolton to score again. At times I thought people were more interested in the result of that game than of ours. Bolton scored, cue lots of singing about Mark Hughes and then the rush to the seats.
The atmosphere wasn’t great but pockets of the travelling fans were in fine voice, baiting the home fans and making me chuckle. Something needed to.
You know what happened next. I don’t need to dwell on it. Lork will probably do his player ratings later and, for once, I won’t be begging him to give Stephen Kelly 1,000,000 out of 10 because, frankly, he doesn’t deserve it. Unfortunately, neither do any of the other players. It seemed as though none of them were at their best. A team can normally cover one player having an off-day but what happens when they all are? We were lucky to only lose 1-0 to be perfectly honest, it just feels so much worse because it was conceded in the dying seconds. I’d have walked away happy with a point. That late goal was a kick in the stomach.
*sighs* Onwards and upwards. It wasn’t a must-win game. We’re still in the top half of the table. There will be lessons that we can learn and we’ll come back from this. It’s the Fulham way, innit.