Before I get into match details and such I want to make it clear that despite my recent rants about not feeling the Cottagers had it in them to pull off the upset over Manchester United, I like the rest of you was hoping and praying that I was wrong. Just because I write something, does not mean I really want it to happen. I bleed the White and Black of Fulham and I am a loyal supporter of the club that takes us on a rollercoaster ride every season. However, all too often I have gotten my hopes up only to be heartbroken by the Whites.
On the other hand, this team has also surprised me with results like Saturday's and that is what makes supporting this club so great. You honestly never know what is going to happen. And I for one like it that way.
As for the match on Saturday, not only did Fulham win 2-0, they really dominated the Red Devils for large chunks of the match. Fulham took advantage of a blatant over the head handball on Paul Scholes which set up perennial United killer Danny Murphy to slot home his kick from the spot to give Fulham the 1-0 lead. Scholes was also given a red card and sent to the dressing room early leaving Sir Alex Ferguson with just 10 men for the remainder of the match.
The second half saw much of the same for Fulham in terms of crisp passes, attacking chances and solid defense at the back. With the match still in question, Zoltan Gera put an exclamation point on it as he scored deep into the second half to give the Cottagers their first win over Manchester United at their home ground in over 50 years.
What is most shocking about this win is that it was expected that after being stuffed by Liverpool at home the previous week, that Manchester United would take out all of their pent up frustration on the Cottagers in similar fashion to a pair of lopsided defeats Fulham suffered to the Red Devils in the last month. Fortunately it was a different Cottager team on Saturday and credit has to go to the players, the coaching staff and the supporters who sounded great as I watched the match on TV here in Chicago.
Fulham is definitely back on track after a rough patch that included home losses to Hull City and Blackburn in the last two weeks. But after on Saturday's win, their is no doubting this team. In fact, the Cottagers have raised the bar for themselves and shown that on a given day this club can beat any team in the league when they play this way. Whether it be Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton or Aston Villa, all teams the Cottagers have to play before the season ends, Fulham has a chance to get positive results and remain in the top ten.
Additionally, it is hard not to think about the possibility of a UEFA Cup birth which will go to the 5th-7th place finishers in the Premier League. While 6th place is out of the question, Fulham only trails West Ham by one point in the race for that final spot. Can you imagine the Cottagers battling it out in the UEFA Cup next season? If things continue in a positive fashion, it is a definite possibility.
Overall it was a great day to be a Fulham supporter. I was wrong in my previous comments and I have no problem in admitting it. I love this team and along with the Chelsea win in 2006 and the famed win at Old Trafford in October 2003, this match is one I will remember for many years to come. I even went against my wife's wishes and grabbed my 16-week old son to watch the final few minutes of this glorious match. It is not often one sees Fulham beating Manchester United. I hope for my son's sake that it happens sooner rather than later.
Onwards and upwards my fellow Fulham supporters. Enjoy the win and let's get that UEFA Cup spot!
Feel free to post comments and tear me up for my earlier posts. I deserve it. I also want to ask this question to all of you: Would you have rather seen Fulham win Saturday's match or the FA Cup match two weeks ago? I am curious what you all think.