Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fulham 3 Celtic 1 (friendly)

In Bishop's Park there is a monument to the men and women from Hammersmith and Fulham who voluntarily went to Spain in 1936 and died in the fight against fascism. I took my son to read the inscription the first time I took him to a Fulham game, but it is usually ignored by home and away fans alike as they stroll to and from matches. So it made a pleasant change today to see a group of Celtic fans pay their homage by standing at the monument after the match and singing some freedom songs from the Irish folk tradition. It made me think how nice it would be to have a friendly against Barcelona (or a Champions League tie, whatever).

Most of Fulham's new signings played at least a half: Bobby Zamora scored with a volley, Zoltan Gera played out on the right wing and showed some subtle touches, John Pantsil played at right back and impressed my daughter with his pink football boots. David Stockdale played in goal and did OK apart from a bizarre moment when he carried the ball out of the penalty area and the referee Steve Bennett kindly waived play on. Tony Kallio came on at left back in the second half and looked tall, lanky, awkward, rangy and difficult to play against - I liked him.

There were patches when Celtic played the ball about well but Fulham were comfortable. Jimmy Bullard looked sunburned and his famous shaggy hair has received some serious attention from a hairdresser with a peroxide look. He was his typical positive, creative but imprecise self. His passing was all awry today but he still seemed to be at the heart of our best stuff in the first half. The Celtic fans jeered him when he fell over the ball in their box and when he put a free kick into orbit over their goal. I'm not used to him getting that sort of treatment - he's one of those rare players even opposition supporters normally like (apart from Bolton fans who don't like his old club Wigan).

Danny Murphy came on with his precise passing, a cut above anyone else's. The best moment of the match was when he chipped a corner direct to Leon Andraeson, unmarked at the edge of the box who smashed a volley into the net.

The Celtic fans were the star of the show, there must have been 12 or 13 thousand of them, they had three quarters of the ground, they made a fearsome noise, and were very friendly.

On the way back I got chatting with a guy who lives in Dover, and belongs to the Folkestone branch of the Celtic Supporters club . He told me they wanted to paint green hoops across the white cliffs of Dover but they couldn't do it because of health and safety considerations.


Liam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liam said...

Fabulous post. Come On You Whites!

Here's a photo I took of the
International Brigade Memorial in Bishops Park.

James said...

Thanks very much for the link to the picture Liam, would you mind if I copied it and put it in the main post?

Do you think you'll make it to any Fulham games this year?