A familiar problem descended this week: a game just days away and no one to do the Who are You? No sooner had I started wondering how to fill the gap than not one but two came forward with a Monty-style double save. Roger Meloy, a visitor here last season, came up trumps again with answers from actross the Atlantic, including a memory long enough to recall a canny bet on Sunderland in 1973 …
Salut! Sunderland: Fulham have had a real up and down season, great results punctuated by heavy defeats, resulting in mid-table safety but a disappointing end to the season. More changes needed?
I think to stay in the Premier you need to make some changes every year. Fulham have invested heavily in youth and we’ve seen some of those players emerging off the bench. I think we are just a couple of players away from a very good team. Fulham will never compete with the mega transfer fees and wages so they need to have good scouts picking up top young talent from the lower leagues and overseas.
Roy Hodgson for England; Do you wish you still had him and, either way, why is that your view?
Everyone was sorry that Roy left for Liverpool but most could see that was a disaster waiting to happen. Roy’s style has been the same every where he’s been. Defend from the front, with two banks of four. It made us hard to beat and that’s why we got to the Europa final. That was the pinnacle under Roy and I don’t think we would have reach those heights again. Probably, mid-table mediocrity. Unfortunately, I don’t think Roy will be a success as England manager, for the same reasons he failed at Liverpool. But good luck to him.
What is your honets view of the best a Fulham supporter can hope for given the current hierarchy in football?
I believe most Fulham fans are realistic, based on where we’ve come from. The best we can hope for is 6th place and a cup final
And do you welcome or – notwithstanding the impact of your own benefactor on Fulham’s fortunes – condemn the money-fuelled resurgence of Man City?
Obviously without Al Fayed Fulham wouldn’t be in the position they are in today, but I think the money spent by ChelSki and Man City is getting ridiculous. It’s way out of proportion to the revenue the clubs earn from gate receipts, TV, sponsorship etc. There needs to be some financial cap in place.
Is it likely thyat Mohamed Fayed willl ever dig deeply into his pockets again?
Al Fayed has always said that Fulham has to be self sufficient. They are pretty close to that and the club is very well run. I don’t think Al Fayed will invest heavily in Fulham again. We have to survive on the revenue generated by the club. Sensible transfer fees, wages and look for value is the way forward. We have a 98 per cent occupancy for games and Fulham have plans for a new Riverside stand that will increase capacity to 30,000.
So who is going to win the title race, and who comes third and fourth?
Still think it will be United. City will bottle it. Arsenal 3rd, Spurs 4th
And who is going down with Wolves?
Wish it was QPR but it will be Bolton & Blackburn.
See also: Matty Deller’s view ….. https://safc.blog/2012/05/fulham-safc-who-are-you-a-little-in-love-with-lily-allen/
Where will our two clubs finish?
I think the two clubs will finish in the same spots as they are now 9th and 11th.
Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Hill, Tommy Trinder, George Best, Rodney Marsh, Alan Mullery, Lily Allen. Do they all have places in the hearts of Fulham fans and which names ring out most clearly for you?
Really Rodney Marsh was just a youngster at Fulham and made his name at QPR. I do remember the old Division 2 games with Best and Marsh, but realistically they weren’t here very long. I didn’t like Tommy Trinder and thought he was a bad chairman and really held Fulham back in the 1960s. Alan Mullery was better known as a Spurs player, but remembered at Fulham as the captain that led the 1975 FA Cup Final team. Out of that group it has to be Johnny Haynes. A true legend at Fulham and one of the all-time greats.
How does your present crop of players compare with the best you’ve seen – or wish you’d seen?
Talent wise, this is the best Fulham squad I’ve ever seen. In the past there has been some great individuals that have worn Fulham colours, but they have been few and far between. Today’s team has a lot more flair players, it’s going to depend on a) whether we can keep them and b) if Jol can find the right balance.
How have you managed to keep tabs with Fulham this season?
That has been very easy in the USA. We now have three channels showing Premier League games, so I get to see virtually every Fulham game.
Is there any Sunderland player, past or present or both, that you’d welcome in Fulham colours?
I must admit I don’t know much about the current Sunderland team. I really thought Bendtner would do well, but he’s been disappointing. I do have Sessegnon in my Barclays fantasy team. In the past we’ve both had Steed, Paul Bracewell, Andy Melville, Vic Halom, all favourites at Fulham. I guess I would pick Kevin Phillips. But the one that I really remember is Jimmy Montgomery. I backed Sunderland at 5/1 in the 1973 FA Cup Final against the mighty Leeds.
Which game do you most regret having missed?
The Europa League final in Hamburg. I went to the semi at Craven Cottage, but couldn’t get to the final. A group of us exiles met up in New Orleans to watch the final so at least I had some company.
Which form of cheating most annoys you and who is/are the worst culprit/s?
Without a doubt diving. Players such as Ashley Young and Adam Johnson are a disgrace. They problem is everyone does it (even some Fulham players). My answer is to have a review panel, with one ex-footballer and two refs look at video of every Premier game. Offenders would get a one match ban and fined a week’s wages. That would stop it dead. At the moment the rewards for cheating far exceed the punishment.
And will you be more interested in the Olympics or Euro 2012 this summer?
Give me Sunday’s scoreline!
2-1 to Fulham. I think this will be a classic end-of-season bore.
* Roger Meloy on Roger Meloy:
Supporting Fulham since the mid-1960s, I left England in 1993 and currently reside in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the summer and Sarasota, Florida, in the winter. Luckily, I missed some of Fulham’s worst seasons in the lower divisions and became reinvigorated during the Mickey Adams promotion season, followed by the takeover by Al Fayed. I’m one of the early members of the Fulham Exiles. As the name suggests we’re a group of Fulham fans that for one reason or another now live aboard. The largest concentration is in the USA, although we have reasonable contingent down under. Most of our communication is through the Exiles message board or chat room, but for the past 11 years we’ve met in Las Vegas for a couple of beers and a curry!
Interview: Colin Randall