A Fulham supporter whose photos have graced these pages was all lined up, then went AWOL. Just when we thought we’d have to run the spoof Lily Allen interview all over again, Sean Collins popped up – courtesy of the Fulhamfc site, to which huge thanks for indulging a Mackem in despair – with these instant, and therefore all the more appreciated, responses. We could, however, have done without his score forecast …
Salut! Sunderland: You drew against one relegation struggler at the weekend, we finally won against another struggler and you had a great result last night. A good time or bad time for us to have you up at the Stadium of Light?
A bad time in my opinion for Sunderland, due to a mixture of your unfortunate injuries and our players that have come back from injury looking sharper, the likes of Zamora, and especially Simon Davies who was exceptional last night.
What, then, is the legacy of Roy Hodgson, the Fulham view of him now and the verdict on Mark Hughes so far?
The legacy of Roy will always stay as it was, a stand-out period in the club’s history and done with honest hard work and genuine team spirit. Mark Hughes took a while to grow into the job, a task made harder by injuries to key players, but he now seems to be stamping his own authority on the side and a top 10 finish would be respectable.
What were your minimum and maximum expectations when the season began and how do you feel about the way things have gone, with the season just a few games away from being over?
The expectation was obviously raised after last season’s brilliant achievements and it was a bitter pill to swallow when Roy decided to jump ship, so some of the expectations were mixed but a top 10 finish and a cup run were, as in any season really, the expectations, and after beating Spurs 4-0 it looked possible but we never seemed to kick on from that result. So in the end staying up was the priority and re-grouping for next season.
What is your assessment of the money, commitment and impact of Mohamed al Fayed? And what did you make of the Michael Jackson tribute and the challenge thrown down to any supporters who might disapprove?
The commitment of AL Fayed is second to none and the man is a legend at the Cottage and always will be. We the fans are forever indebted to him and the challenge thrown down should be taken tongue in cheek; a few fans have voiced their discontent but I stress a few – and I dare say the statue may grow on the fans and also bring along new fans.
Sunderland/Fulham links abound: Lee Clark, Paul Bracewell, Steed Malbranque, Andy Melville … the brain is tired but I know there are plenty I’ve overlooked. Any special memories of, or thoughts on, any of them?
Lee Clark and Steed both influential midfielders in their time at the club, Clarky the first goal in our famous 3-1 at Old Trafford, and Steed was a fans’ favourite for numerous moments, just a shame he never really fulfilled his potential since leaving. Melville or Mellvino as he was affectionately known was a solid Championship player who made a decent transition to Premier defender for our first few years in the top flight. Bracewell was a better player than manager is what I will say on him.
And what about past SAFC v Fulham encounters, home or away. Do any stick especially in the mind and were you there for the game abandoned in the snow?
I was not there for the abandoned game. Game that sticks in the mind is the April 08 game at the cottage which we lost 3-1 – I thought that dampened the great escape but it gave the players the kick in the butt they needed!
What was the European cup competition experience like for you and how much of it were you able to follow?
I went to Juventus away, Hamburg away and all the homes games from group and final stages. All I will say is: amazing experience and the final was the best day in my life and was so proud of the team and the fantastic support we gave and the Lemon Chello shots in Juventus made it!
Maybe that was one of the highs of your history as a supporter but describe any others, and the lows.
Other highs are breaking several records in winning the championship highlight being Sean Davis goal against then 2nd placed Blackburn, in 4th minute of injury time especially as Souness had created a bit of needle between the two clubs, so extra satisfaction there. The lows there has been a few… but has to be losing at home to Scunthorpe 2-1 and being 91st in the football league, but sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to come back up!
Who are the best players you’ve seen in Fulham colours and who should have been allowed nowhere near them?
Best Players I have seen are- Louis Saha, Chris Coleman, Brian Mcbride and Edwin Van der sar. Players that should not have been allowed near the team- Hameur Bouazza, and Dejan Stefanovic.
Is there anyone in the Sunderland squad you’d like at Craven Cottage?
And do you have any thoughts on SAFC, the club, the fans, the city, the region?
A good well run club and an established Premier team with a great chairman who is a football man. The city is a fun place and a pleasure to visit for an away day.
Is Chelsea as fierce a rivalry for you as Newcastle is for us?
For us Fulham fans every bit.
Name this season’s top four in order and also the bottom three. Where will Fulham and Sunderland finish?
Manchester United, Chelski, Man City, Arsenal.
Wolves, Blackburn, Wigan.
Fulham 9th , Sunderland 12th.
It was the Eduardo question, is now the Walcott question. What did you make of Theo’s admission and apology about diving in hope of winning a penalty: brave or foolish? And has cheating of all kinds – diving, feigning injury, sly tugs, trying to get opponents booked or sent off – become so prevalent that we should simply accept it as apart of the modern game?
Unfortunately it is part of the game and we can only hope the referees are given all the help and extra vision available to mediate this in our game.
How disappointed were you with the Fifa decision on the 2018 World Cup venue?
It was a big shame as it was us, the current fans and our younger generation a chance to experience the unique vibrants that the tournament brings and the passion so many fans can offer from the greatest league in the world.
Will you be at our game? If not how will you keep tabs, and what will be the score?
I hope to be at the game and think that Fulham will win 2-0. Davies and Gudjohnsen.
* Sean Collins – also pictured in Hamburg – on Sean Collins:
Fulham supporter of 20 years and to give you an insight into what to expect, my dad took me to my first game against Brentford and told me not expect goals galore… Fulham being Fulham conceded after 30 secs, I was hooked somehow!! Hamburg will always live in the memory as was the journey, a life experience also!!
Interview: Colin Randall