I think the way Fulham got to the first Europa League final pretty much set up last gasp misery as the likely outcome. And so it turned out.
The fairy tale was getting past Hamburg, Wolfsburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, beating Juventus 4-1, to get to the final.
And doing so with a ragbag bunch of cast offs, misfits, good buys and the useless. Who all needed to perform at their best when it mattered and well they didn’t really. Were Madrid the best team on the night or the least worst team?
Zamora has had an amazing season, especially when you consider it’s Bobby Zamora, but the injury pretty much neutered him as did a lot of the service. I was thinking earlier that Danny Murphy should have been in with a shout of a place in Fabio’s 30, what with what he did pick and the dearth of central players. His pass for Davies’ goal against Hamburg in the semi-final was better than anything Gerrard has done all season. But Gerrard’s ex-team-mate was off it last night, can’t remember him giving the ball away so much and when the guy that makes it all tick is so off.
He wasn’t really helped by those around him though. Etuhu, does what’s asked of him reasonably well, when what is asked of him is very little and amounts to no more than “stop those other lot playing”. The problem lies when after stopping an opponent he himself is left with the ball at his feet. I don’t know if I’ve seen anyone have less ability in knowing what the weight of pass should be in a given situation. Admittedly he didn’t over hit many, no most of them were woefully short of their intended target, playing others into trouble more often than not.
And then on the right was one of my pet hates. I do remember stating my dislike of Damien Duff back when Newcastle swiped him from our clutches back in ’06 and being told by a hairy little Toonite it was “sour grapes”. That couldn’t be further from the truth, it was more like champagne cork popping. He is another Celt who was hyped up because England didn’t have a left sided player but he’s even worse than the other one. He is a poor man’s Ryan Giggs.
I despise Damien Duff and everything I despise about him was on show last night. I despise the way he’s knackered after 2 minutes on the pitch. I despise the way he holds his arms when he jogs with his fists under his chin. I despise the way he slows up what should be a quick counter attack. I despise the fact he has the turning circle of the QEII and he always has to come back on his left foot so is left facing back to his own goal, which doesn’t just slow down attacks but stops them dead in their tracks, something he did with great frustrating regularity last night.
If we had got him at Spurs four years back I would have seriously struggled to watch him and Jenas in the same side. Something would have given in a short space of time, I don’t know what, a blood vessel or the people on the end of the shooting spree – this is an internet joke for those government officials out there, yes that means you Mr Jobsworth Hitler.
But anyway they shouldn’t cry over a lost final, OK it might not come around again for a while but at least they were there, something that wouldn’t have crossed their minds when they were down the division or on the verge of heading back there in Roy’s first season in charge.
He is the only one I feel sorry for, finally getting in this country the recognition he deserves. Only 35 years to be an overnight success.