Today was a nerve-wracking day. A lovely sunny afternoon wandering around Horsham was overshadowed by an ominous threat.
On the last day of the Premiership season, Fulham started just outside the relegation zone, only on goal difference over Reading and with a single point more than Birmingham. This mean that at Portsmouth, Fulham had to win to guarantee another season in the top division, or at least to do as well as Reading (playing at already relegated Derby City) and Birmingham City (home to mid-table and nothing to play for Blackburn).
I managed to drag the gf into a pub, but unfortunately it had no tv, and she wasn’t in the mood to move. So I was forced to tangle with my phones’ WAP in a low signal and a low battery to keep up with events.
It went a bit like this:
3:00pm. In the Crown, with a pint of IPA, breaking the news to Jas that I might be a little preoccupied for the next couple of hours.
3:15. See that Reading have scored against Derby. Oh. Still, it’s early on.
3:35. See that Birmingham have scored against Blackburn. Damn. We really need to score a goal here. More beer required.
3:45 to 3:50. Keep checking to see if we’ve managed to take the lead going into half time. We haven’t.
4:15. Blackburn have equalised at St Andrews. Come on Derby, you can get one back too
4:20. Derby 0-2 Reading. Come on Derby, you can get two back.
4:30. Derby 0-3 Reading. Ok, Derby, three goals in fifteen minutes, should be doable…
4:35. Birmingham get another goal. So we need more than a hugely unlikely recovery at Pride Park. We need someone to actually score for the whites
4.36. YESssss!! (three people in virtually empty pub stare at the odd man waving a phone about) Danny Murphy, who I have rated since he was playing at Liverpool, scores – on checking it was a header from a Jimmy Bullard free kick. Ten minutes to not throw away the lead…
4.45. No change in the scores, but no sign of games ending. Some signs of nervous drinking.
4.50. Reading and Birmingham have both scored again. Please let it be meaningless.
4.53. No whistles at all? Come on. According to Vodaphone, no games have ended yet? Are they trying to give me an ulcer?
4.54. Text from my dad, simply saying “yes”, suggests that there have been some whistles going.
4.55. Call dad – turns out Birmingham scored again to make it 4-1, but the game at Fratton Park is definitely over.
4.56. Text from dad, simply saying “yes” (hmm, he really needs to learn not to keep hitting the ‘send’ button.
4.57. Phone dies. More beer. I rejoin whatever conversation I was supposed to be having with the gf. All is right with the world (and as Brum were relegated, the gf is happy, coming from the ‘other’ side of Birmingham, but only to the extent of disliking the Bluenoses rather than supporting Villa).
Now, I’m eagerly awaiting the update of the Fair Play table. Why? Well, England topped the European Fair Play league, and so get an extra UEFA Cup place. Which goes to the team at the top of the domestic Fair Play table who haven’t already qualified for Europe.
Fulham were lying in 7th place last week, which sounds bad, but the top four are Spurs (in UEFA for winning the League Cup), Man Utd (in the Champions League for winning the Premiership), Liverpool and Arsenal (both through for their league positions). Everton were in 6th, and clinched a UEFA Cup spot today. So the only team ahead of Fulham for the Fair Play qualification were Man City, by 8 points (1199 to 1191)
And Man City had a player sent off as they lost 8-1 (Eight! ha ha ha) to Middlesbrough. They only lose three points for that, but it’s entirely possible that the players were a bit ‘robust’ and showed their frustration as they were being taken apart.
So, we go from desperately fighting relegation (in every game for the last three weeks) to possibly qualifying for Europe.