A certain Dave and Kerry were in the UK this weekend, so I hopped the
Fung Wah! Oxford Tube to meet them in London. They were keen to see a football game, and I had totally ignored the Fulham FC since picking them as a team to root for, so we decided to check out the FFC taking on the Tottenham Hotspur at the Cottage in Fulham, West London.
I had stupidly thought we could just grab lunch in a pub in Fulham, but of course it was like trying to roll into the Cask & Flagon an hour before a Sox game. We instead got some daecent grub from a fish & chip stand that we ate while walking to Craven Cottage, where FFC plays. After slamming back a pregame Foster's (no booze in view of the pitch) we headed to our 100 year old wooden seats.
Turns out there were a couple of interesting subplots to this game:
- One of Tottenham's players, Steed Malbranque (no joke), had just joined their club after bailing out of Fulham despite their having made a huge contract offer to him. Throughout the entire 90 minute match the entire crowd booed whenever Steed had the ball. Without fail. It was actually pretty impressive -- every time he'd gain possession there'd be an immediate "Boooooooooo!" until he passed at which they'd stop. Awesome.
- Fulham just signed rising American star Clint Dempsey and yesterday was his first appearance in the UK. The fans seemed pretty fired up for him, which was cool.
The game itself was pretty good; no score in the first half, but then an exciting finish. Fulham's Heidar Helguson was sent off early in the second half after two yellow card offences. Fulham kept the game nil-nil with only ten men, and then Brian McBride broke into the box, where a Tottenham player touched the ball with his hand, leading to a penalty kick. Things looked good for Fulham, who made the penalty and went up 1-0 in the 84th minute. Unfortunately they couldn't hold the lead for those last few minutes, and yielded an equaliser to the Spurs' Pascal Chimbonda.
So unfortunately a draw for Fulham, but a pretty decent day in the big smoke regardless.