Jack and Loz at the Cottage and Out of Another Cup - Blog 271

Date: 27th January 2024

Competition: FA Cup 4th round

Opposition: Newcastle United

Score: 0-2

Weather: chilly

Atmosphere: the second best atmosphere in a Cup game this week….

MOTM: Not Applicable strikes (or rather doesn’t) again

Drinks: Riverside Studios

Dinner: the Blue Boat

To lose one Cup match in a week may be regarded as misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.

But looks can be deceiving. Fulham didn’t lose to Newcastle because of carelessness or for want of trying. The match came too soon after the draining defeat to Liverpool for our depleted squad to cope with.

Nevertheless, the much-changed side, with Rodak in goal and Muniz leading the line, dominated for a lot of the game. The Fulham press was impressive, Harry Wilson started where he’d left off on Wednesday and, whilst the defence had a tendency to give the ball away too much, at least they were better at winning it back than usual.

Muniz himself had an excellent first half. Had the Newcastle keeper not been wearing extra large gloves Rodrigo would have scored once and, had he been a bit luckier, he would have scored twice. Newcastle meanwhile did get lucky when the defence conceded a goal in Some Moments of chaos in the box involving multiple body parts.

Shortly after this Harry Wilson was subbed off and Willian came on. This was inconvenient for Willian who had been using his warm-up to watch the match rather than…. warming up and so he had to have his own special warm-up during half time.

The second half was much of the same - some good football with no end product. Andreas has ended his affair with the woodwork (temporarily at least) but that meant he didn’t have any shots at all, Diop played well but couldn’t make it two in two, Bobby looked tired and Lukic looked rusty. Antonee reverted to the mode where he’s a great athlete but not a great footballer and when Joao appeared he was unusually anonymous.

After Raúl came on we started flinging high balls into the box but that was never going to work when the Newcastle defence are all even taller than the people standing in front of us in Wednesday night. When Newcastle scored their second from a dubious corner it felt like game over and so it proved; Tom Cairney’s 95th minute miss summed up the performance - not quite good enough.

Random musings:-

- The association with the Alzheimer’s Society was a nice touch although we couldn’t help noticing that one the symptoms is losing interest in your hobbies….

- Despite Muniz’s good performance he’s not a Premier League level striker and we doubt he ever will be

- We hope Harry gets well soon. The squad is thread bare already

- On that subject, it’s great to see Bassey and Iwobi playing well for Nigeria but we wish they were back in the UK playing well for us!

- One positive was that Tim Ream looked as assured and in control as ever - it was like he’d never been away

- Another positive is that Raúl didn’t get a red card this time….

- From a Fulham perspective, the main takeaway from Saturday night isn’t another Cup defeat but the escalation in the dispute between the Club hierarchy and fans over ticket pricing. The Club said they were “satisfied” with the 18,000 plus turnout. This figure feels about right to us (more people than the Rotherham match but that’s because there were far more away fans) and it was always going to be a struggle to fill the Cottage for a game on TV on a Saturday night, especially when it’s one of 3 home games in a week. Would more people have attended had tickets been cheaper? Maybe. But this isn’t about one match; it’s about an increasingly out-of-touch board failing to appreciate loyal fans and imposing an oppressive pricing structure during a Cost of Living Crisis

- And it’s not just the fans who are angry. Marco says he felt the difference between the atmospheres on Wednesday and Saturday and that he needs the crowd behind the team every game. Marco Silva is the best thing to happen to Fulham since Roy Hodgson and the Club need to listen to him and back him

- Although if Marco can bring about the agreement he mentioned between the board and the fans we will shortly lose him to the UN.

So after one amazing Cup run and one disappointing one, we’re left to concentrate on the league which isn’t a bad thing. We need our Super Eagles and our super subs back, we need reinforcements in the last days of the window and we need to continue wholeheartedly supporting Marco and the players.

And we need to remember that owners and directors are temporary. All that’s permanent is Fulham.