Vital victory

Saturday 9 February 2002

Poor old Graeme Souness must be sick and tired of the Fulham!

After today's match I thought 'Souey' was actually quite graceful in defeat. No real moans or groans, although he was upset (and understandably so) for Craig Short who now misses the Worthington Cup Final after being sent off.

Rightly or wrongly, and I thought Short unintentionally elbowed Marlet, you have to feel a little bit sorry for a player who, according to the Rovers Boss has never appeared in a final.

It's a shame for the lad who looked absolutely distraught after the game. Perhaps there could be a change to the laws of the game. Maybe a player's Club could be given the option of a three-match league ban - or the one Final appearance?

Knowing Jean Tigana he won't have been totally satisfied with today's first half performance. But as we all accept, at times, it's more about results. And today's was vital in more ways than one.

Firstly, I believe that our win over Blackburn virtually guarantee's Premiership football for Fulham next season. Of course, mathematically we're still short. But realistically, another 5 points should see us totally safe.

That'd mean Blackburn (now the team in 18th spot) would have to win at least another five games before the end of the season, and that's if we lost the lot, even our game in hand.

I reckon' that 40 / 42 points will be more than enough so another couple of wins and we can safely say that we're there. Once this has been achieved then we can really start to look up.

I was hugely impressed with three Fulham players in particular today. Barry Hayles worked his socks of for the cause and despite his critics, remains our top goalscorer. Alain Goma for yet another rock solid display in defence and Steve Marlet who set up both goals and came close to adding one himself.

It was also great to see young Calum Willock getting his Premiership debut. After the game I caught up with Calum and that interview will appear on the site tomorrow (Sunday) evening.

He's my tip for the top from our current crop of exciting youngsters. He's strong (like Bazza) quick (like Louis) and has an eye for goal that money cannot buy.

Obviously the Manager feels the same way and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Cals hasn't forced his way into the starting eleven by the end of the season. Certainly next year will be a big one for him. Remember the name...

Next week we're back in Cup action. All along I've said that real success this year would be for us to retain our Premiership status and to win a trophy of some kind. Like most, I guessed the Worthington Cup seemed our most realistic option. But with the FA Cup quarter final's just one game away, we're starting to dream on that front as well.

Walsall cannot be taken lightly of course and every respect must be paid. Despite losing their first home league game of the season today, they'll prove stiff opposition.

As far as the Cup and the League is concerned, the players believe we have a big part to play in the season's run in. Talking to some of the lads last week, they've noticed that the volume at the Cottage has been turned up just recently and I can tell you they very much approve.

Let's all get behind the lads like never before for the rest of this term. And you never know, there might be a cracking finale to a successful first season in the Premier League...