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Fulham F.C.

Year 1996/1997   (Phespirit cheered Fulham F.C. from the terraces of the Hammersmith End)

Saturday 17 August 1996


Phespirit misses this, the opening match of the 1996/97 season, being in Geneva at the time. The result and (Phespirit hopes) the performance are better than those of the corresponding fixture last year.

Mick Conroy - erstwhile 'lazy' target of much abuse from the fans - gets the only goal of the game.

Tuesday 1 October 1996


We're two months into the season, and "Micky Adams' Black And White Army" are riding high at the top of the table, banishing all the unhappy memories of the last campaign.

Now we're up against Torquay, a team stuck in middle of the table, yet to notch an away win, and whom we have never previously in our history lost to at home. So being one-nil up with only twelve minutes to play, we're laughing, right?

Wrong. Two late Gulls goals cost us the match and our position at the top of the table. Surely we're not going to slide away again?

Saturday 14 December 1996


The Micky Adams version of Fulham proves more resourceful than last year's Branfoot flavour - we are six points clear at the top of the table and looking good. Attendances are up and the fans are happy.

Despite Fulham's return to glory, we are upstaged today by Orient's goalkeeper - the 47 year old Peter Shilton, making his 999th career league appearance. Not just a novelty turn either; he plays well and keeps his team in the match. Accordingly, he is treated with respect by the Fulham faithful.

Although this is a "London derby", Orient are too far away in the opposite corner of the city for the rivalry to be charged with the same passion or hatred as Phespirit had seen in last year's Brentford game. Or indeed, would be expected in - God forbid - a game against Chelsea (who can, of course, stick their blue flag up their arse).

Saturday 22 March 1997


In Phespirit's school days, 'Hartlepool' was a by-word for barrel-scrapingly bad football; they seemed to be forever the worst team in the league. Now, at last, Phespirit will see them first hand.

And, of course, they are really no worse than anyone else in this, the third division, where strength, aerial power, putting in good early crosses and fighting for every ball are the important qualities and tactics. Teams who attempt the beautiful game, playing all their football on the ground, are duly flattened by the Northamptons and Lincolns of this world.

Perhaps this Fulham team has room for a little more knuckle-down fighting spirit, but Darren Freeman's goal keeps us well placed for straight promotion, and possibly even the league title.

Monday 31 March 1997


How have we not won this match?

Despite us being assured promotion, Phespirit and/or his friends have managed attend every single home match at which points have been dropped, but only a handful which we've actually won.

Phespirit must be a jinx.

Saturday 26 April 1997


The penultimate game of a season and by far the best performance, with loads of effort, loads of chances, over ten and a half thousand in the stands, and two Simon Morgan goals to provide the glory. A fantastic match and fantastic atmosphere.

Friends visiting from New Zealand, Tom King and Kirsten Connor, decide to come along for a taste of the beautiful game. Our auld English terrace melodies seem particularly pleasing. For example, that timeless favourite directed at singing away fans:
"It's nice to know you're here, it's nice to know you're here, it's nice to know you're here - FUCK OFF!!"

Despite going on to win the final game of the season 1 - 0 at Cambridge, we miss out on becoming Champions by goals scored alone. Still, through the magic of Micky Adams we are out of the third division and marching towards the top flight.