Dazzling sun and entertainment at Craven Cottage

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Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli. PICTURE: FULHAM FC


Morgan Phillips

By Morgan Phillips

On Saturday Craven Cottage was dazzled both by the sun and by the entertainment on display. After some disappointing results. Fulham rediscovered their attractive style of football in a convincing 3-1 victory over Ipswich Town.

The visitors had their moments as in the 10th minute when the lively Dave McColdrick almost embarrassed goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli. Thereafter Marcus, restored to the first team, made sure that his clearances were strong and productive. He also carried out a series of spectacular saves.

The Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski was less fortunate. He blocked Chis Martin’s shot only for Floyd Ayite to pounce on the rebound. Later in the half when Malone cut in from the left the Ipswich defenders must have expected a centre for they gave him ample space to direct the ball past Bialkowski.

The visitors were sent out early for the second half, and the ploy seemed to invigorate them but Bettinelli and Madl stood firm. One of the keeper’s clearances led to the rejuvenated Stefan Johansen adding a third goal. Fulham were clear winners though Christophe Berra headed a last-minute consolation.

Home supporters felt a little easier about the forthcoming Easter fixtures, even if their team’s next opponents Norwich City had just scored seven goals. Worse, in the early evening match Sheffield Wednesday defeated Newcastle and kept Fulham in 7th place. As the temperature dropped the tension rose once more.

An added treat on Saturday was the appearance of the latest ‘There is only one F in Fulham’ or TOOFIF (still only £3). Most of the text relates to the present, with conflicting predictions of how the season will end.

This issue also contains an interview with Leroy Rosenior and tributes to long-time supporters now passed away. Fans of all ages will relish the nostalgic contributions of David Pearce, Paul Steele and others. Paul offers a six-page study of the great but now almost forgotten striker Ronnie Rooke. Ronnie was before my time but I knew people who never forgave Fulham for letting him go to the Arsenal.

Since writing his 2014 definitive history of the club’s genesis ‘Fulham FC The Early Years’ Alex White has made further important discoveries in the pages of ‘Sporting Life’. He outlines four of them in the TOOFIF article ‘Early History, New Finds’. For the first time we know the precise date on which Fulham FC turned professional (the 3rd December 1898).

Alex bravely recounts the club’s worst ever defeat (by Millwall Reserves!) and explains why defender Jimmy Taylor received such a lengthy suspension. After being sent off for fighting he resumed the scrap when he encountered his opponent at the Crown Hotel later that evening.

Generously Alex credits me with helping his research but I only assisted in the fourth section of his article describing the amateur centre forward Ted (50 goals a season) Freeman, about whom I wrote in my h&f news blog last summer. ‘Sporting Life’ also had an interesting report of a Brentford-Fulham match. I will tell you more at the end of April.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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