The Tony Gale Column

Tuesday 15 April 2014 16:30

What a difference a couple of wins can make! Starting with Aston Villa; what a great game of football, it was end-to-end stuff. I couldn’t go up to Villa but when I watched the game in full on Saturday night I thought the Fulham fans were incredible away from home. We had about 3,000 that travelled up there and they were really noisy.

We missed a couple of chances; obviously the one that was cleared off the line stands out. It was incredible that somehow the ball stayed out when Lewis Holtby went round the keeper and tried to put it in. Then you thought the game might be dead, but no. It was a good ball in from Holtby and Hugo Rodallega was there to head in. That was a great result away from home which set us up nicely the next game.

I was commentating on the Norwich City match on Saturday and I thought that was the best atmosphere we’ve had at the Cottage for a long, long time – and it does make a difference. If the fans think they don’t make a difference then they’re wrong because they really spurred the team on. In the first 25 minutes it was all Norwich and it was Stockdale who saved us – particularly when he made a great stop from Ricky van Wolfswinkel and then another save from the resulting corner as well.

Of course, after having that little bit of luck we scored just before half-time through Hugo again. He’s turning out to be a cult hero! I remember last time when Fulham just about stayed up under Roy Hodgson in 2008, the hero was Diomansy Kamara – who hadn’t had the best of seasons but obviously got the goals that mattered in that Manchester City game – and hopefully Hugo’s going to be our man this time around.

The atmosphere just seemed to keep the adrenaline up for the boys and that adrenaline is kept fuelled by the excitement and the eagerness of the crowd to get involved, because they sensed that we were under the cosh, and they really got behind us – they were great. I can’t emphasise enough to the fans what a big part you played in that win. I thought that was a terrific atmosphere. People who say that we’re a nice, friendly club, but that we haven’t got any atmosphere at our place, should have been there on Saturday, because that was terrific.

Next up is a trip to Tottenham Hotspur and I think it could be a good game for us because they’ve been conceding goals. Against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, for example, they conceded three goals, so they’re there to get at. I know they came back in that game and they’re good going forward, but if we can get at least a point then that would set us up because once we’ve got this little bit of momentum going, and that little bit of luck on our side, we have to keep it going and make the most of it. Spurs is a game where we could easily get a point because they’re not playing at their best at the moment.

We’ll be going into the game at White Hart Lane with no fear and we’ll be going with a little bit of optimism, and we’ll be going with a crowd that are firmly back on side and with the team. When you’ve won a couple of games then it makes a big, big difference. It’s four cup finals we’ve got left and the fans have got such a massive part to play. They’ll be there in their droves at Spurs, and at Stoke. Don’t underestimate the power of the fans.

Of course, we’re in a better position now than we were a fortnight ago, but I don’t want to be over-confident because it can go the other way, too. Norwich have got two games at home, and although they’ve got four difficult sides to play, they could turn it around as well with their fans getting on side. Plus we’ve also got to remember that Cardiff had a good win at the weekend and they’ve come back into the equation. All we have to do is concentrate on our own results, and I think 37 points will be enough. I think we need two wins and a draw, but if we can get three wins then great.

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