I've had plenty to distract me from thinking about football this week. It's annual appraisal time at work and that inevitably seems to coincide with my busiest time of the year. I've spent a lot of time on the phone explaining problems to people and how I intend to go about fixing them and hardly any time at all actually fixing them. It's also been a typically hectic week at home, school drop offs to do, greek costumes to sort out, collections from cubs and beavers, school plays to attend (or not), better halves to look after (Mrs C being poorly this week) and in between all this just enough time to knock out another Top 5.
Back to back away games mean I've not had a lot to say on here about Fulham. I don't get to go to many away games as family life means I have to catch up on all those tasks I don't get done on weekends when I'm attending home games. I miss going, away games are often more fun whatever the result, but there's not much I can do about it. Today's match at Pride Park is as big as it gets. We've sold out our allocation and there'll be a good few thousand Fulham supporters there to cheer on the Whites. We desperately need a win but anyone who witnessed the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage will realise that Derby aren't going to be a push over. They've only won one game at home all season (against Reading) and they'll certainly see us as their best chance of winning a second. They may already be down, but they'll really be up for this game and their recent performances have suggested there's still a bit of fight left in them.
My last trip to Derby was for that infamous game in '83. A season when we were 12 points clear at the top of the table and looking certainties for promotion. By the time of our trip to the Baseball Ground, for our final game of the season, our lead had been totally whittled away. It was a horrible game, the team had lost their self believe and the home crowd spent as much time throwing things at us as they did watching the game. A pitch invasion in the final minutes of the game caused an agonising delay and led to the final stages being played with Derby fans lining the edge of the pitch. When Robert Wilson was tripped by a fan as he attempted to run down the wing we knew it was all over. We were chased back to our car by marauding home fans and then sat in glum silence as we listened to the other results come in on the way back home. We felt cheated but It was our own fault that we hadn't held on to our lead that season. That said, I'd love us to sneak a win today and be partly responsible for confirming Derby's relegation, however brief that satisfaction might be.