Jim Pavlou on why it’s really time Fulham did something other than disappoint at Everton
Back in the 50’s Friends of Fulham meant the other 30,000 people at the cottage and Hammy End described the mound behind the goal. This was a time that pre-dated the Berlin wall, the Cuban missile crisis, and man walking on the moon. This was when men wore hats and our most senior current supporters wore short trousers and were knee high to a grasshopper . If your memory goes this far back then you may remember 05 September 1959 when a healthy crowd of 31,850 witnessed us take our last league point from Goodison in a 0-0 draw.
We fare a little better in the cups -most of you should recall our cup draw in 2004 (the replay was held at the Loftodrome) and a few of you may remember our only recorded win at Goodison (1975 FA Cup) but asides these glimmers of hope we have not taken a single league point in 53 years of trying. What’s even more shocking though is that we have never, I repeat, never, won a league match at Goodison since records began.
So what is it exactly that turns our usual bout of travel sickness into a terminal illness.
It can’t be Merseyside itself as we have had our fair share of points of their red neighbours. It’s not the North West either – after all we’ve had results at Accrington, Blackpool, Carlisle and Wigan over the years.
How can it be that we’ve given the opposition nightmares at the “theatre of dreams” and had so many away points at Man city that it’s practically our second home but pale into insignificance when playing a team much more closely matched to our own ability?
Goodison always comes across as quite hostile but again we’ve played and won in tougher stadiums against far more partisan crowds. Our win at the Britannia and feisty derby games are testament to this.
Since our return to the top flight we’ve given Everton a run for their money away. Five of our ten PL fixtures at Goodison being lost by just one goal. The losing doesn’t bother me so much but the circumstances do. For example two seasons ago we lost 2-1 but Smalling scored one of their goals for them.
Worse still was our 08/09 fixture. I sat on the edge of my seat next to my Everton supporting brother as we went spent the match peppering their goal. After a tense 87 minutes we were moments from a memorable point- the scoreline remaining 0-0. Yet who should pop up and score his debut goal in those dying moments – yes that’s right Louis Saha. It felt as if it was our destiny to concede that goal – had Schwarzer pulled off a save or Saha fluffed his lines I’m sure that the ref would have not blown his whistle until we conceded. Had we of secured a point the sky would have turned black and the horsemen of the apocalypse would have unleashed hell upon us. I’m sure that when the arc is found there will be actually be an 11th commandment – thou shall not allow Fulham to win points at Goodison.
I didn’t mind when Everton faced the same hoodo when playing at the Cottage as 3 points each at home seemed to be a very fair gentleman’s agreement.
You could be assured of a result without having to worry about wearing your threadbare lucky pants, queuing longer to enter via your special turnstile or having to squeeze into that old 01-02 Pizza Hut kit that looked great 11 years ago but should have been consigned to the back of your wardrobe in 02-03.
Our home fixtures may not have always been pretty or entertaining but they were a nailed on win. You could almost say routine. Like a normal match day but without the nerves. Even when Everton were in 4th place and heading for the Champions league we defied the odds and cleaned up. Better still when Cahill scored first and did his funny little corner flag celebration you could be sure of us making an ever so rare come back.
Not the last few seasons though- no, the Toffee men have got greedy. They’ve decided to have their cake and eat it – taking 7 points from their last three trips to the Cottage. Someone needs to have a quiet word with Moyes and point out that well you know – its just not within the spirit of things.
So in a plea to Martin Jol – the pact has been broken, the gloves are off. Please go forth and avenge years of hurt, write your name in Fulham folk law and be the first manager to lift the Goodison curse.