It is starting to matter too much

Like the character in the excellent ‘Fever Pitch’, I have come to the conclusion that football means too much to me now. My own happiness is far too intertwined with the results on a Saturday afternoon (or Sunday, Tuesday evening, as it is now…) and I am struggling to cope with the highs and lows.

Now I appreciate how absurd this sounds. We are nowhere near the depths of where we have been in the not-too-distant past but the simple fact is I’m just not enjoying life as a football fan at the moment. It’s not the fact we can’t win to save our lives (although that might, of course, help) it’s more the air of gloom and misery hanging over our season.

I crave – and have always done so – mid-table mediocrity. You know, the position where Aston Villa normally end the season. I would be delighted with having a fair share of wins and maybe taking a scalp or two among the big four now and again. But what we have now is absolutely soul destroying and I cannot wait until the end of the season.

Fulham v West Ham: Player Rankings

Here’s how I rated the lads against West Ham. These are based purely on the game itself – I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch any highlights yet.

Niemi – 6/10
The usual solid, dependable display. Not sure what to make of the goal when it came or where to apportion blame.

Stalteri – 6/10
A good display – especially for his home debut. Nice to have a ‘specialist’ in the right back role which has been filled by too many ‘Jacks of all Trades’ in recent years.

Hughes – 6/10
Good, solid display.

Hangeland – 6/10
Okay but looked very nervous and flustered for some reason today. Hope he regains his confidence before next weekend otherwise he will be ripped apart.

Konchesky – 7/10
Very good performance from our first choice left back. One of the very few good things that Sanchez did for this club was sign him.

Murphy – 5/10
A few decent touches but still too many balls going astray. We need a younger version of Murphy in this role because he simply isn’t cutting it.

Andreason – 6/10
I like this lad. Played well in the middle and made some surging runs but sadly found no strikers to pass to. Ruined his performance by getting sent off. He must learn to keep his mouth shut.

Bullard – 6/10
Covered every blade of grass in the first half but died completely in the second. He looked absolutely shattered which I can’t understand given the time since the last match.

Dempsey – 5/10
An okay performance but not one of his best. Had one of the best chances of the game but tried to lift it over Robert Green’s head when a thunderbolt was needed.

Kamara – 5/10
Looks more menacing on the wing and cut in well but still holds the ball far too long before (reluctantly) looking for someone to whom he can pass.

McBride – 5/10
I never thought I’d say this but Brian was dreadful today. Maybe it was a lack of service but he just wasn’t in the game at all. I can’t even recall him winning a header.

Substitutes

Johnson – 6/10
Could not judge him properly on the little time he was given. Had a chance to make himself an instant hero but fluffed his lines and blazed over.

Man of the match: Paul Konchesky. Constantly tidied up at the back and supported our attacks.

Any hope gets a Hammering

On the miserable walk back alongside the Thames I heard a commentator on some fan’s radio saying: “Fulham were very unlucky…but how often can you keep saying that?” I thought it summed up our season perfectly.

Yes we were unlucky; No we didn’t deserve to lose (although we didn’t do enough to earn a victory either); but we have said that after the vast majority of games this season. The simple fact is that we’re not good enough – at the moment at least – to compete at this level.

We have the makings of a decent side but we need more time and that, sadly, is a commodity that is in rather short supply. After letting myself dream the impossible dream after the Villa game that we could avoid relegation, reality has finally dawned. We’re going down.

Hopeful for the Hammers

I am ridiculously excited about today for some reason. Maybe it’s the fact we haven’t played for a couple of weeks but I really can’t wait to get to the Cottage. The result? Well my heart says a 2-1 win to us; my head says it might be a draw.

There’s no doubt about it we need those three points badly today. No news yet on team selection but i’d like to see Eddie Johnson given a berth on the bench and then a good half an hour at least to show us what he can do.

Come on you whites!

A competition with a difference

Here is something a bit different. Setanta are ranking the Premier League players who have taken the most shots without scoring. Guess who tops the list?

Sanchez stakes his claim

With utter disbelief i read this story in the Belfast Telegraph. The sheer neck of Lawrie Sanchez is absolutely breathtaking. He informs the readers that he believes he’s a Premier League manager but admits he hasn’t received any offers yet (is he really surprised?). He also makes the rather exaggerated claim that he was brought in to keep Fulham in the Premier League and succeeded. Yeah, okay, let’s remind ourselves of the facts. Of the five games he was in charge at the end of last term we lost all three away games, drew at home against Blackburn and scraped a victory over Liverpool courtesy of Clint. That’s four points out of 15. I’m pretty sure even I could have done that. Sorry to harp on about Sanchez but his self belief winds me right up.

Reality bites

After the euphoria of last weekend I’m finding the landing back down to earth today even bumpier than usual. Of course I knew it would be a tough ask to get all three points at the Riverside but I was hoping we’d come away with at least one. Things are not looking good – and you don’t need me to tell you that. Three points against the Hammers in a fortnight’s time are essential. I’m not holding out a lot of hope though.