Last night Fulham defied the odds with a sensational comeback victory against Italian giants Juventus as their fabulous revival under Roy Hodgson continues.
On the 28th of December 2007 the forgotten man of English management returned to the Premier League, and what a difference he has made.
The twice former manager of Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, and the Swiss national side, took up his role as Fulham boss with his side facing a certain relegation and years of struggle trying to get back up into the top tier.
He came into Craven Cottage determined that the club would stay up and was proven right on the final day of the season when club captain Danny Murphy’s goal in a 1-0 away win at Portsmouth ensured they would stay up.
And after only two minutes the found themselves 4-1 down on aggregate and staring defeat in the face but a performance led by the outstanding Bobby Zamora and defensive rock Brede Hangeland ensured the most famous victory of the club’s history to date.
Their European and FA Cup runs as well as a solid league season has been nothing short of remarkable considering Hodgson had been on record at the end of last season saying they needed to be realistic in terms of what his team could achieve in the future.
This season the whole of Europe has been forced to stand up and take notice as they little known Londoners sent the two time European Champions packing. This season they turned league champions Manchester United over 3-0 at the Cottage and Sir Alex Ferguson who regards him as one of his closest friends in the game as well one of the best managers he has ever faced was tactically outwitted for the second season in a row.
Next Wednesday they go to Tottenham in a cup replay knowing they are one step away from a trip to Wembley, and they will hold no fears against whoever they are drawn against the Europa League draw on Friday morning.
The returning Clint Dempsey adds another dimension to the Fulham forward line who along with Zamora can rely on the endever and skill of Zoltan Gera, Damien Duff and Simon Davies, captain Murphy’s last minute red card in Ukraine meant he missed the Juventus triumph and he will be back to lead his side in the last 8. Dempsey’s sublime winner will have all England fans taking note come June the 12th.
Whatever Fulham achieve in the remainder of the season it will go down on record as the most momentous in their history and under the leadership of Hodgson anything is possible, and after saving the club from relegation to the Championship only two years ago Fulham fans are in dreamland mixing it up with the giants of football.
A genuine footballing man gets the best out of his team week in week out on a shoe string budget is a dying breed in our game and a trophy come the end of the season for Fulham would revitalise our money mad game as Hodgson proves money cannot buy you spirit and belief.