Oh yes, and don't forget the 50 plus points on the way. We'd all have settled for that late flourish when nestling alongside Villa in the table early March, having been given a real chasing around the park by a dreadfully average side. Martin arrived last summer with suggestions this team could be aiming for the top six. That doesn't seem so laughable now after our recent form of one loss in seven. In fact I'm almost prepared to go out on a limb right at the top of this piece and suggest 'Fulham are the new Arsenal.'
You achieve little in life without ambition, drive and being open to risk. That sentence could serve as a metaphor for Clint Dempsey's career in football. Apart from this blog I open up my computer each Monday morning and evaluate what balls are still in the air to keep the wolf from the door and turn up the heating in in my old age. Currently, I'm sweating on a big documentary proposal, still pitching a major drama for the stage I wrote in 2010, hoping on a book deal, dreaming of selling my songs in Nashville, negotiating a complicated rights issue with Eurosport, trying to sell my house...You get the drift. Life ebbs and flows like the tides. If it did not, it becomes stagnant.
Enough of the philosophy. What we really want to hear is more points for Fulham this weekend from our final game. Spurs are running scared I read, while we are going there unburdened of worries to decimate them with our free-flowing football. Yeh, right. You think Jol's prepared the team with that mind-set? This is a massive game for 'Arry's boys. We all know you-know-who says he's keen to play in the Champions League. Do you imagine the Spurs camp thinks any different? Their budgets over the summer will be determined by admission to UEFA's charmed circle of elite clubs again next autumn. Qualification will to a degree determine transfers in and out of WHL. Not to mention the hopes of their support. Having looked so fluent and tidy at Christmas, Redknapp will be giving Sandra hell all summer on the sunlounger (while she sorts out his tax returns) should the Spuds season of so much promise end with a sackful of ashes (and no top job with England either, Boo!).
As for Fulham. I doubt results will go in our favour for us to secure 7th, or manage 55 points. And no Clint of course to sprinkle his fairy dust. I can see it ending in a draw though, especially if Spurs get impatient and try to force the issue. We have the ability to frustrate them and play on the break, assuming Frei slots in for the missing Deuce. No Parker for Spurs is a major plus and van der Vaart has tailed off. Golly, I hope the Spuds are as insipid as they were at Loftus Road. Let's all focus our blame on them should Rangers dodge the noose! And while we're on the subject, don't we want with all our heart for Blackpool to come back up in the play-off with West Ham? YES WE DO!
I'm not going to add to the transfer speculation that's dominated all FFC themes since last Sunday's walkabout after the game. Conspiracy theories over Clint's injury niggle? Hmm, that holds water if indeed Spurs think they have a deal on the table and want him both protected and not appearing for us when they need a win. But the season's not over yet. Clint says he'll think over his future in the summer, Jol tells the press Friday there have been no firm offers for either Dembele or Dempsey. He sees them as Fulham players for the future. Mind you, he was saying the same thing about Bobby Zamora all through January...
My guess is the Deuce will walk back into camp early July for pre-season still under contract and see who has been added to the ranks. He'll hear Jol's vision for turning Fulham into a top six side and maybe 'doing a Newcastle.' He may well evaluate the situation and feel yes, this is now a London club that really is on the verge of bigger things, and better the devil you know. I turned in that survey of points thrown away last week to show realistically how much closer we could have come this season. Our Spurs game in November is a perfect case in point. 17 shots on target from us, while Spurs score three from four efforts on goal. Their first was an oggie and we had strong shouts for a penalty ignored as we battered them all 2nd half.
Here's hoping for a spirited display Sunday to end a fine first full season under Martin. Just as Tigana imported what he knew best - talented Frenchies - expect Fulham to seek more reinforcements from Holland. That usually is no bad thing in football. The ship's in good shape and now I'm off to check on our Academy boys and have a chat with Kit and Ray about the next wave of Fulham starlets. I'll be reporting back next week and surveying the season as a whole before watching some cricket. Been to Lord's once already for the Surrey game but it was hard going...forgot to bring my thermal blanket and a hot water bottle.
Thanks again for many kind comments in recent days to the blog, now approaching its 2nd birthday. Keep the faith and be proud to follow such a unique club. COYW!!!