Come back Jimmy Dunne

Thursday 20 December 2001

We've all heard him. Every club has at least one. Now in a light hearted look at life on the terraces we see the game through the eyes of the biggest whinger in history as he writes his own regular column exclusively for FFC...

Crushed 4-0 at Spurs. Marvellous. At last a chance to really sink my teeth into the club and have a top-notch moan. As any fellow whingers will know, there has been precious little to carp on about in recent seasons and at times I despaired of anything ever going wrong again. Now I can, at least temporarily, fill my boots while hoping that this poor run will continue well into the New Year.

I come from a long line of moaners and it brought a tear to my eye on Saturday when my 10 year old had his first proper whinge. Totally unprompted, he rolled his eyes, tutted and then, in a perfect nasal twang, intoned those precious words: "Come on, Fulham. Get it forward!" Magic.

Sadly, the lad got a bit carried away and let forth a hideous volley of abuse aimed at the referee and I had to summon a steward and have him ejected from the ground. But it's still early days and he'll learn. You simply can't achieve consistent, high-level, relentless moaning overnight. It takes years of practice.

I learned from a master. As a youngster I stood next to a colossus of the complaining world. Game after game his savagely bitter ramblings would light up my day. Other fans would gradually edge away and we'd soon have our own 'grumbling space' on the terrace where we could harp on and on about whatever took our fancy. I remember him once groaning for a solid hour that the moon was in the wrong place. The man was a genius and I was proud to call him grandfather. When we buried him I laughed out loud at the thought of him bemoaning the grave for being too shallow or the coffin too cramped. Great days.

Back to the farce on Saturday and I'd like to make a quick snide comment about the entire team. We were very leaden legged out there. I think we need some serious reinforcements. I don't know what the scouting department is up to these days but has anyone checked out if Gary Cobb is still playing? Couldn't Leo Donnellan still do a job for us? Now we are in freefall it is vital to restore some thoughtless grit to the side. A midfield quartet of Cobb, Donnellan, Hoddy and maybe Peter Baah might show some of our new recruits how to strangle a game. Surely it's worth a try.

Obviously I'm also going to single out the strike force for some stinging criticism. Did you leave your shooting boots on the bus, lads? Crikey! I'm not sure if Sean Farrell is available on a free but I'm sure he'd be willing to help out and why not coax Chrissy Pike down for some one to one coaching. Am I the only one coming up with any ideas? I can't continue to carry this club on my own. Be warned, my incessant moaning will only take us so far. We clearly need a concerted effort from all the moaners if we've any chance of being able to complain about the same fixture next year.

I must also harangue all concerned over the transport issue. It took me nearly seven hours to travel the thirty odd miles home on Saturday night. Admittedly I spent nearly two hours whining to a hot dog salesman and a further three hours delivering an 'on the spot' lecture to my son but there is simply no excuse for my car to break down like that. It's the unacceptable face of British motoring that too often rears its ugly head at away games in winter. Furthermore didn't anyone else think it was far too cold on Saturday? Why oh why can't clubs do something about this?

I must insist on one final dig. I couldn't believe those fans who carried on encouraging the team right to the end of game. Worryingly, they were in the majority. What kind of madness is this? Hello? Being on the end of a 4-0 drubbing is clearly not the time to get behind the team and yet so many of our 'alleged' fans still saw fit to stick up for the club.

As I left the ground I even heard one clown mildly assert: " Let's put it in perspective. It's an off day. Nobody said it was going to be easy but we are going in the right direction." Oh brother! Spare me. That kind of reasoned argument is a slow death to a whinger. How could he and so many others spurn such a gilt edged chance for cynical backbiting and smug sniping? For me that was the biggest and saddest loss of the day.

Now on to Middlesbrough, and I for one, will be ready to pounce on the first misplaced pass or wayward shot. Here's hoping. Happy moaning.

Terry Spratt