Fulham 0 – 2 Chelsea
Good win for us today! Another beauty from Drogba, and Anelka scored his first goal of the season. Also, it was our first clean sheet, which is something we need every match if we are to win the Prem this year. That, plus LOTS more goals, and for Joe Cole to be fit and on the pitch doing what he does best… Patience. It’s early days yet.
Confession: I have a soft spot for Fulham and tend to think of them as a dear but pesky younger brother, competitive, but fairly innocuous. But, being that both teams hail from the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, it’s a derby when our sides meet. To Fulham’s credit, they always play their hearts out against us; in March ’06 they beat us for the first time in 27 years, 1-0 at Craven Cottage. I was at Stamford Bridge the following December, when Carlos Bocanegra equalized late in the match for a 2-2 draw. That was my first match at The Bridge, one I will never forget… Before the match, I met Ron “Chopper” Harris, a true Chelsea legend, who asked me about Texas and then predicted rain by matchtime (it was mostly sunny at that moment). Sure enough, right after kick-off, the rain came, swirling around The Bridge with a vengeance. Despite wearing a rain coat and my Texas ball cap, I was drenched, but I didn’t care. I was in Heaven!!! I was in the Matthew Harding Lower, 6 rows up and just to the right of the goal, and sang/chanted/screamed the entire match. The guy next to me probably thinks everyone from Texas is crazy.
I was also at the home match this past May, when we beat them 3-1. This time I was way up in the Shed Upper (“we’re the middle, we’re the middle, we’re the middle of the Shed”). Fulham’s away supporters were to our right, and they got lots of stick, of course! “One team in Fulham, there’s only one team in Fulham!” and “You’re not singing, you’re not singing anymore!” were among the songs du jour. I shared my sweets with the 12 year old boy seated next to me and had a good laugh when he sang along with some of the more colorful chants. (Apparently British children are taught that there’s language appropriate only at football matches.) After the match I was standing outside the hotel at The Bridge, and Fulham’s Paul Konchesky was standing just a few feet away. He looked scared, which isn’t surprising since there were hundreds of Chelsea supporters milling around though no one else seemed to notice him. I can’t help it, I felt badly for him — Fulham had given it their all ’til the very end and lost. As he got into his car, I said “good match today” and smiled. It’s alright, Little Brother. Better luck next time. He smiled back and waved as his driver sped away.
My Chelsea friend Chris, who took my to my first 3 matches back in 2006, says that Craven Cottage is a lovely old stadium. Guess I’ll have to wait until the 2010-11 season to visit.