Fulham have been drawn in Group E of the Europa Cup, along with AS Roma, FC Basel and CSKA Sofia.
The possible schedule of games (based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009%E2%80%9310_UEFA_Europa_League_group_stage) is:
17 Sep CSKA Sofia v Fulham
1 Oct Fulham v FC Basel
22 Oct Fulham v Roma
5 Nov Roma v Fulham
3 Dec Fulham v CSKA Sofia
16 Dec FC Basel v Fulham
This is quite tough for Fulham. Roma are a good Italian team and are likely to be favourites. Basel have made it through the group stages of European competition before, and are easily capable of getting wins against top opposition. CSKA Sofia are dark horses who have been recently let back into European football after a ban over financial problems, but as the last game away could be in the Bulgarian capital, they could be a major block to Fulham hopes of getting into the knock-out phase.
As for travelling… Basel is easy to get to, but as it may be the first game might be a bit tight to organise. Rome is also fairly cheap and easy, but I’m not sure that the Roma fans have the best reputation in the world when it comes to welcoming their English guests (ie: they can get a bit ‘stabby’). Sofia in December for a Thursday night?
Update on September 1, 2009 at 19:40 – That’s what I get for believing Wikipedia! They originally had the CSKA Sofia and Basel games the other way around, and I thought that was the final position. It seems that games were moved to avoid clashes with other teams in the same city / country.
So now I have the choice between a hastily arranged trip to Bulgaria, or a jaunt out to Switzerland just before Christmas. The second option seems to be better – it could either be the swansong of Fulham’s campaign, or the glorious night that we celebrate them reaching the knockout rounds…