Fulham is in the Europa League final. Let me write that again, Fulham is in the Europa League final!!! It took a gritty second half comeback for the Whites to claim victory and head back to Hamburg for the final on May 12th, but our beloved Cottagers have made it through to the final in what is has to be the most historic run in Fulham's long history.
Things looked shaky in the first half on Thursday against Hamburg as opened the scoring with a well taken free kick by Mladen Petric from about 30 yards out. However, as we have seen throughout this competition Fulham is not an easy team to put away and in the second half the Cottagers showed the heart of champions. First it was Simon Davies who found the back of the net in the 69th minute and then Zoltan Gera put the champagne on ice in the 76th with the winner that sends the Cottagers to Hamburg for the final against what looks to be Liverpool, who is leading in extra time as I write this.
Regardless of the opponent, the transformation of Fulham Football Club from a team on the brink of relegation into potential Europa League champions in the span of two years is nothing short of miraculous. Roy Hodgson and his side have given the fans a lot to cheer about in that time. For a group of supporters that has not had much to cheer about before Hodgson took over, it has been a fun and eventful ride since Hodgson took the reigns from Lawrie Sanchez in December of 2007.
Nobody in their right mind would have pegged this team to achieve what they have achieved in the span of two years. Avoiding relegation the last few years would have been suffice for most of us, but Hodgson had other ideas starting with last season's club record 7th place finish which gave the club it's birth into the Europa League.
Despite starting in the qualifying rounds in July, Fulham persevered in both the league and in the Europa League. There was not a time during the season where relegation was a serious matter for the Cottagers and for a squad as small as Fulham that is quite commendable that the team was able to wage battle on two fronts and be successful in both.
First there was the must win in Basel to get into the knockout stage. That was special. At that point I figured anything else was icing on the cake. Well, there has been a lot of icing as the Cottagers then knocked out defending champions Shakhtar Donetsk before the miraculous comeback in the second leg at Craven Cottage that sent Juventus packing out of the competition. Then the Cottagers ended Wolfsburg's European dreams before finally storming back against Hamburg on Thursday to reach the final. That my friends is a nice run. Those are some solid teams Fulham dispatched on their way to the final on May 12th.
Like the previous European victories, I am virtually left speechless at what has happened. For anyone who has been supporting this club for a long time this is one to savour for a long, long time. And the best is that the Cottagers will get their chance to Europa League champions against either Liverpool or Atletico Madrid on May 12th.
What are your thoughts and feelings after this match? Were you worried when Fulham trailed 1-0 at half? Can you believe Fulham is in a European final? Let me know your thoughts.
Great day for Fulham yet again in Europe!! One more to go on May 12th for all the gusto!! Let's go Fulham!!