I am absolutely determined I’m not missing this game at Fulham
Living in London, Newcastle games are at a premium.
I try to get to as many games as possible but like my friends, end up going to games of teams I do not support.
When London games do come up, I am raring to go. Fulham away last game of the season 2019 and it’s the club that’s just down the road from where I live. Alright, so it’s a few stops on the train from Vauxhall but Putney is not that far (closer than Millwall, just).
So looking forward to it as we are safe from relegation. Benitez has got the team ticking and Perez is in great form.
I have been up for a lot of games at home as well as a good few away games with my young son this (2018/19) season. Spirits are high with Benitez at the helm and even though we have Ashley still in charge, the atmosphere is positive and we are feeling good.
Tickets are posted in good time by my mate’s Mam and she’s paid for recorded delivery to make sure me and the young lad get our tickets. Saturday morning arrives and there are still no tickets. Turns out that no one in my block of fifty flats has had any mail all week!
So, me and my son accept the disappointment of the tickets not arriving and the fact we will not be at the last game of the season (I blame the capitalist system and privatisation of state utilities – my usual postie Billy is off sick).
I phone a friend who is a Fulham season ticket holder and explain we won’t be meeting him and his son for a pre match drink in Putney.
I’ve been to Fulham many times over the years and always thought the setting for Craven Cottage was great, even with the cold wind coming directly off the river Thames. Back in the 1990s me and a few northern friends would go down to Putney High Street for a few beers on a Saturday afternoon and then if we fancied it, walk across Bishops Park, pay in to Craven Cottage to stand on the open, sparsely populated terracing behind the goal, just to get our football fix of lower league football and hang out with like-minded folk willing to watch old Fourth Division football.
The amusing thing for me was watching washed up old pros still peddling their trade, even though they were well past their best.
The last time we just rocked up to Craven Cottage was in 1999. A friend and crew of mates had come down for a weekend in London. A 40th birthday bender for a lad from Coxlodge. Fulham v Birmingham City is the entertainment for the afternoon.
Fulham had already got plans for moving out of the lower divisions and were looking upwards. Paul Bracewell was the manager (Arthur Cox in the background). Some names from that Fulham team playing that day – Chris Coleman the captain, Paul Peschisolido, Danny Cademarteri, and our very own Lee Clark in midfield. I have no idea of the score that day, but the event was about being with mates, socialising and taking in some football (I think we ended up at a rave in Shoreditch that night after suffering a dodgy night club on the Old Kent Road).
Being a neutral at a game allows you to look at the game differently. When you have no emotional investment in a club you can pass a far more nuanced look at the game.
This year on the 1st October we are away at Fulham in the Premier League. A chance to see Mitrovic again (always liked him but hope he has a stinker against us) and I am hoping to get tickets from my good friends in Newcastle.
If that fails, I might be looking to get tickets in the neutral end at Craven Cottage, having seen Newcastle from that part of the ground previously. What I am certain of though, I am absolutely determined I am not missing this game at Fulham after missing that four nil win in the last game of the 2018/19 season, even if it means going in the Fulham end.
PS Thank you Margaret, you were absolutely gutted when you heard that we didn’t get the tickets. An octogenarian who is a life-long supporter, an away day fan, who understands how it feels to miss out on an away game.
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