It’s fitting a team with so many Americans would want to have a Hollywood ending to an otherwise ugly season, and that is exactly what Fulham conjured up in its final game of the season on Sunday.
Due to Reading’s expected thrashing of Derby and Birmingham’s surprising stomping of Blackburn, Fulham needed a win yesterday to stay in England’s top division. Anything less than three points would mean relegation for a majority of the Americans playing in the EPL.
But Fulham delivered the win, in dramatic fashion no less, and now has survived another tumultuous season in the Prem. Bocanegra, Dempsey, Keller, Johnson and McBride will all likely be back at Craven Cottage in ’08, which is a very good thing for American fans of English soccer.
It only took one goal to keep Fulham afloat, and once again young star Jimmy Bullard delivered the clinching assist. Bullard looked like Fulham’s best player down the stretch, and the only down side to his rapid growth is he is now a transfer target of several of the top teams.
That’s Fulham’s lot in the EPL though. They’re always just good enough to scrape by, but if any of their players get too good, they get sold for more greenbacks. It’s a vicious cycle that may keep the Cottagers in the Premiership, but never far from its bottom.
But today is not a time to complain about lack of parity. On the contrary, today is a time to celebrate Fulham’s historic run. After winning only 4 in 34, Fulham rebounded to win 4 of its last 5, including away wins at Reading, Manchester City and Portsmouth.
If Fulham can carry this momentum into next season, they could make the leap from relegation rival to mid-level meddler. Losing players like Jimmy Bullard would greatly hamper their chances at future success though.