Who would have seen this one coming? After producing a brave, skilled and resilient performance to upturn FC Basle on their home turf on Wednesday, Fulham faced English champions Manchester United this afternoon. Undoubtedly physically and mentally tired from their European exploits, the Fulham team were outstanding, producing a 3-0 victory, thoroughly deserving the win and dominating the game in the process.
Surely it all has to come down to the manager Roy Hodgson? Keeping the little West London club up by the skin of their teeth in the most dramatic fashion possible at Portsmouth two seasons ago, Hodgson has signed some very useful players, getting the club into the Europa League and progressing into the last 32. Being drawn against the champions Shakhtar Dontesk is one of the hardest draws Fulham could have hoped for, but after the win against Manchester United today, anything is possible.
We live in an age of monotonous football players and senile managers where personality seems to be almost defunct, but manager Roy Hodgson is refreshingly eloquent, contemplative, and just occasionally irate. Before an interview this season he cited books including the Philip Roth novel “Indignation” – surely a common emotion for a Premier League football manager! Referring to Sebastian Faulks “Birdsong” as “one of the best books I’ve ever read.” Hodgson seems to gain great calmness and intellectual gratification from literature.
Nestled between Bishops Park and the banks of the Thames, Craven Cottage is a little haven, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of London. A stadium steeped in tradition and it has given Fulham their foundation and their spiritual home. If you go to one football game a year, make sure it’s Craven Cottage.
At the age of sixty two, Hodgson has still got years left in him, and surely if his exploits can continue like they have so far this season, then the England managerial position will come calling. Experience, dedication, expertise and an English name is really what the FA wants.
He’d be a dream choice.