Farewell to whingeing?

Thursday 25 April 2002

Done it! All by myself! I don't know where I got the will power from but I stuck it out and cheered on the lads to Premiership safety. I just hope the club, supporters and British football in general are aware of the massive debt they owe me. Let's be honest, £62 million is letting you all off lightly. However, I've never been one to bang my own trumpet or blow my own drum as you well know. I'm too clever for that.

As my regular readers both know, I vowed to give up a lifelong obsession with whingeing at all things Fulham until we were sure of top level football next season. The notion of nagging in the Nationwide again was too much to bear. Against all odds I've picked up points against the Saints and the Magpies and then secured victories against Leeds and now Bolton.

These results were about as likely as a good word for the opposition from Sam Allardyce but strange things can happen in football. Look at Paul Durkin. Thankfully a selfless regime of encouragement and positive thought from yours truly has finally pulled us through. I have to admit that Bjarne's daring and innovative 'shooting' policy, which seemed to spread to the forwards, may have also helped a little on Tuesday.



Having whined and bleated for nearly forty years I did find it difficult initially to master the new language of heartfelt enthusiasm. However with the aid of my already converted ten year-old I was soon in full flow. Against Bolton I even managed to join in with the 'green pole' lot for a burst of 'Conroy from the halfway line' despite having given him merry hell for his entire stay with the club.

Sadly the night was to end on rather a sour note. Carried away by the result my ten year-old and me embarked on a two-man conga down Fulham Palace Road until we got too near a particularly aggressive police horse. With a spin worthy of Malbranque I managed to avoid the bucking mare but my lad turned more like Chris Pike and took a hoof to the skull. But he's young and he'll learn.

Waiting in casualty that night the full horror of the situation finally hit me - no, not my lad, he'll be fine once the swelling has gone down and the stitches have been removed apparently. No, the horror was one all my own. I realised now I couldn't go back to whingeing. (I'd tried it briefly again at the semi-final but it hadn't felt right. I had more fun griping in that unfeasibly long alleyway at Aston station waiting for the train for an hour and a half.) I realised after beating Bolton that I was actually enjoying being a supporter and felt sick to the stomach and passed out.

Fortunately I was in the right place at the right time and the medical staff were grudgingly able to revive me. Trudging out of that hospital with my dazed and unstable son I suddenly knew what I had to do. I looked into his puffy and distorted eyes and said: "The whingeing is over. Let's go home...mind that lamppost..." Whether it was the pain, the weepy eyes or the emotion I don't know, but tears were rolling down his face and I was sure I'd made the right decision.

At least for now. There's always next season.

Enjoy the Leicester game. Come on Fulham!!!!!


TERRY SPRATT