Come back Jimmy Dunne

Tuesday 22 January 2002

So, Fulham are now well established in the Premier League and have a side studded with internationals, a magnificent manager, excellent backroom staff, superb training facilities, a brilliant youth policy and now the green light for a state of the art stadium on the existing historic site. Where did it all go wrong?

Will I never read again the phrase 'cash-strapped Fulham'? Are we to be 'relegation haunted' no more? Can I really never expect to even hear us described as 'languishing'? No, I fear the magical days of 'lowly Fulham' have gone forever. From a moaner's perspective we are now officially a 'crisis club' and as a whinger I am without doubt 'in freefall.'

It seems like only yesterday I was barking out abuse to Gary Barnett, whining witlessly about Clive Walker or churlishly giving stick to Kenny Achampong. I thought those days would go on forever. Having had any level-headedness knocked out of me as a child in the '60s I embarked on a successful moaning career at the club which I fully expected to continue right up to my retirement from the griping game.

By rights, I should now be moaning at some ground share scheme with Walton and Hersham while we tumble down the Conference and beyond under the guidance of player-manager Gary Elkins. But no, the club has to knife me in the back by heaping success upon success leaving this loyal moaner of many years service gasping for air.

However you can't keep a good moaner down and I must be ready to fight back. Although I will no longer be able to bleat on and on about the existing shoddy ground, I'm quietly confident there will be all manner of things to complain about once the new stadium is built. In fact, I should look upon this whole new era as a fantastic opportunity to increase and build my bitterness rather than lose it altogether.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before. It really could be the start of something. Just imagine if we get into Europe. I'll be able to carp at some of the finest grounds in the world. When you look at it like that, the future doesn't seem so bleak. I can nit-pick at the Nou Camp, rant and rave in Rome and even perhaps grumble and groan in Ghent. I can whinge all over the world. Marvellous. Bring it on.

Happy moaning

TERRY SPRATT