If there's one thing thirty three years as a Fulham supporter provides you with it's how to cope with failure. Maybe this is true of other teams as well (in fact it surely must be unless you support one of the Big Four). I'm sure I'm not in a minority when I say that I expect us to lose those games that to the neutral observer would appear to be our easiest. If we're set up for a prat fall then we'll take it head over heels.
As I alluded to last week we couldn't have faced Hull City at a more unfortunate time and I felt a certain inevitability that we'd come out of it badly. Thus it proved. Match of the Day must have suspected this as well, making us the first game of the new season. Those highlights are all I've seen but based on good reports from Jamie and Rich at CCN it sounds like we at least started brightly. In the end we were undone by an uncharacteristic mistake from Paul Konchesky. Maybe if he hadn't slipped we'd have held on for the point. A point would have been great. I think we'd all have settled for that, not the end of the world and something to build on. Now we go into Saturday's late kick off against Arsenal starting to worry where our first points might come from. The Man Utd game is postponed (not that we'd stand much chance up there) and with an International break just after it will be the 13th September before we play again.
The key area of concern is the lack of a ball winner in midfield. Yet this isn't anything new. Roy brought in Andreasen last season and he looked good in the few games he played, but following his sending off against West Ham he rarely featured for more than a few minutes from the bench. It's difficult to work out where Bullard stands in Hodgson's plans but it seems whilst he's with us, and with Murphy Club Captain, it's unlikely we'll see their partnership dissolved. Having spent big money on two new strikers as well I'm not convinced we're going to see a switch to a five man midfield either. For the time being I think we have to accept that we'll be sticking with a possibly lightweight midfield. That aside, I'm determined not to get caught up with panic about how well we're doing. Roy has earned my trust for a while to come and I am happy to leave things in his capable hands in the knowledge that he won't be panicking either.
Saturday sees the visit of Arsenal. This is normally one of my favourite fixtures though coming on the back of the opening defeat and with an annoyingly late kick off thanks to Setanta's miserable TV schedule it could have come at a better time. Before that several of our players will have to survive the midweek Internationals but that has to be a far greater hazard for the Gunners who are supposedly already missing some nine first teamers from their squad. We can only hope.
I may be out selling copies of The Fulham Review before kick-off. Should be fairly easy to spot (unless it's lashing it down) in my new home kit with Chopper and 40 on the back so pop over, say hi and pick up a copy of TFR.
Ipswich Town say they have had a bid accepted (alleged to be around £500K) for Moritz Volz.
Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers finally seem to have scrapped enough money together to fund a £3Million bid for Steven Davis. Or then again, maybe not.
There's also talk that we are considering a swap deal with Sunderland which would see David Healy heading up North and Dickson Etuhu coming South where he might add a bit of bulk to our defensive midfield options. While we're there we may also be taking a look at Dean Whitehead the Black Cat's incumbent skipper (the only link I could find to that story was on Tribal Football so I didn't bother, it seems to have originated from The Sun or The Daily Mail). There's still a few twists and turns to be made before this transfer window is out.
Finally Fulham Football Club have authorised the Johnny Haynes statue action group to begin raising funds towards raising the statue in honour of The Maestro. There will be volunteers with buckets at the game this weekend asking for cash donations. Please give what you can afford. If you want further information or can offer your help, contact them via this e-mail account or check the website at http://johnnyhaynesstatue.com/.
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