Roll up, roll up to watch Fulham.
It’s Tuesday night and we return to Villa Park to await the arrival of plucky little Fulham. Does anyone know why we changed from Wednesday to Tuesday for our midweeks?* Anyway, Fulham. While the opposition are usually met with a mixture of scorn, derision and not a small amount of loathing, Fulham are a bit different. Not only is laughing at Fulham like picking on your asthmatic little brother, we owe them a couple of favours. Never has a defeat been so fortuitous as when they beat us in the play-off finals, although the one at Craven Cottage earlier this season came close. Win and you keep Tony Xia and Steve Gerrard, lose and you get Wes, Naz and Unai Emery. There’s a dilemma and a half.
So, thanks Fulham and we promise not to beat you by too many tonight. I daresay they’ll be backed by their usual numerous and vociferous away following, which if they’re lucky might stretch into three figures. They’ve come up, gone straight down, come back up again and they look like they’re staying up, which is good going by their standards. All the reasons why they were a bit well-known have gone. Muhammed Fayed doesn’t own them anymore, they haven’t got a vaguely high-profile manager and their players are as anonymous as it’s possible to be in the Premier League. This from the first club to pay a player £100 a week and who had George Best and Rodney Marsh in the same team. Now their manager’s Portugese and so are all his backroom staff except Stuart Gray, so no doubt they’ve got a hotline to Molineux. We’ve got the usual collection of injuries who show no sign of getting better and Emiliano Martinez is recovering from illness. Please let him be better; the alternative doesn’t bear much thinking about.
They’re mid-table but still capable of getting results. We’re heading higher with every passing match and capable of beating anyone. And we’ll do that tonight, no problem.
*Alex McLeish preferred Tuesday and when he got binned we couldn’t be arsed to change back. Every day’s a school day.