WHATEVER the result in Hamburg last night, Fulham’s achievement in reaching the Europa League final should never be underestimated.
Let’s be honest here. It wasn’t Manchester United or Chelsea we were watching in a major European final in the middle of May, it was little Fulham, a club who were on the brink of extinction not 15 years ago.
I’ve been to Fulham a few times this season and it’s not just the transformation on the pitch where credit is due. Behind the scenes they are a professional as I have seen and I put a lot of that down to manager Roy Hodgson, inset, who has performed miracles at Craven Cottage since taking over two-and-a-half years ago.
Roy has guided his side through no fewer than 63 league and cup games, including 18 in this competition alone, knocking out big clubs such as Juventus, Roma and Hamburg along the way. Although they were underdogs again last night, it was a tag they thrived upon throughout the competition and until Diego Forlan poached that extra time winner, you wouldn’t have bet against Hodgson’s men beating the odds again on the biggest stage of them all.
In truth, Fulham suffered a little bit a stage fright on the night and, despite their efforts, fell just that little bit short in belief when it mattered most. But they have done themselves and the rest of the Premier League proud and given hope to many others.