Fulham FC – Craven Cottage

PHOTOS WILL BE UPLOADED SHORTLY!

I went down to London to watch Manchester United v Chelsea in The Community Shield. However, being the obsessive football fan that I am… I decided to go to another match. It was a toss-up between Crystal Palace v Leicester City, or Fulham v Werder Bremen. With Werder Bremen boasting players such as Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker I chose this fixture.

I was staying at my Auntie Gerry’s (My favourite Auntie in the whole entire universe, even if she is a bit whacky) over the weekend, so I dragged her along to the match with me. Before we set off to The Cottage we visited Crystal Palace so I could have my photo outside and get a taste of what it’s like on a matchday.

The journey to Putney Bridge wasn’t too bad… I even got treated to a Greggs pastie. Yes! They have Greggs down south! I know, even I was shocked.

Programmes at Fulham cost £3.50. Although it costs more than most clubs, it is well presented and a good read.

We entered through the turnstiles, and did not have a clue where to go. We ended up going into the wrong stand, and a steward treated us as if we should know where we were meant to be going.

So after that, I decided to check out Craven Cottages vast and imaginative catering menu. I couldn’t find anything which resembled a pie. However, I did find a disgusting addition to my most hated foods list… ‘A Yorkshire Wrap”. Now you may be asking yourself, what is a Yorkshire wrap? Well unfortunately, I don’t know either. However I will add a photo to the bottom and you can decide for yourselves.

After walking around Craven Cottage, we finally found where we were seated. I had chosen very good seats! We were sat in the Riverside Stand, and it offered a great view of the playing field.

To my right was the Putney End. This is usually where the visiting supporters sit. Interestingly, The Putney End is the only stand in the football league which The FA have designated as a neutral stand. This means there is no segregation, and home and away fans can mix.

On the left was The Hammersmith End. Despite it only being a pre-season friendly, the Fulham supporters still tried to get an atmosphere going.

Opposite was one of the most iconic stands in English football. The Johnny Haynes Stand. The oldest stand in the English Football League, it is a Grade II listed building. The Cottage Pavilion is situated in between The Putney End and The Johnny Haynes Stand, and houses the players changing rooms.

Just before the players came out, the groundsman turned on the sprinklers. Not only did this soak us, but it also disturbed a resident fox. It darted across the pitch, straight into where the away supporters were, and scrambled up the seats. We were also lucky enough to have a visit from Mohammed Al Fayed.

After the fox and Al Fayed had been dealt with, it was time for the players to come out, and of course for the heavens to open. I thought the weather was meant to be nice down south? I had never seen rain like it in my life!

Bremen started off very well, and former Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro finished smartly past Mark Schwarzer early on.

I noticed that the majority of Fulham fans sat around us were American. With players like Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride and Eddie Johnson playing for Fulham in recent years they have obviously attracted quite a big fan base. Another thing that struck me with the crowd at Fulham was just how family friendly it was, and there weren’t that many chavs.

Mesut Ozil started as a substitute for Werder Bremen, but soon came on the pitch. Just a month earlier he was in South Africa tearing Englands’ defence to shreds. He didn’t do a lot at all, and I was fairly disappointed.

Half time came, and the rain stopped.

The second half was brilliant. Mark Hughes brought on Zoltan Gera, and he turned the match around. Bobby Zamora equalised for Fulham on the 53rd minute, before Zoltan Gera scored a quick hatrick to make the score 4-1. No Fulham match would be complete without an American scoring, so Eddie Johnson joined in the act and the game finished 5-1.

After the match we enjoyed the very long, but thoroughly enjoyable walk back to Putney Bridge Tube Station. The walk leads you through Bishops Park, which lies on the banks of The River Thames. It certainly beats my walk through the Reebok Stadium car park!

I really enjoyed my trip to Craven Cottage, and it’s one I will be making again sometime in the near future.

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