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Fulham F.C.

Year 1998/1999   (Phespirit cheered Fulham F.C. from the terraces of the Hammersmith End)

Friday 14 August 1998


Match Ticket

Having opened the season by becoming the first team ever to win a league fixture at Macclesfield, the Whites follow up with a superb Friday night trashing of the pre-season Division 2 favourites.

The atmosphere at the ground, with 14,284 fans packed in, is more bouyant and noisy than any Phespirit can recall. Having a City supporting friend come along only added to the enjoyment.

Saturday 29 August 1998


Last season this lot put in the performance of their lives and went away with all the points. This time around we press and press and should have counted ourselves good value for a 3 - 0 home win, but again we are disappointed.

First dropped points of the season, with Paul Moody's second half 'effort' highlighting our weakness up front.

Nonetheless, the Keegan brand of attacking football still leaves us with much cause for optimism this season.

Tuesday 8 September 1998


Another big evening at the Cottage, this time scalping 'played six won six' Stoke. Not quite the same atmosphere as the Friday night tanking of Manchester City but probably a bigger result.

This was just the tonic after two successive draws, and now we're the only unbeaten team in the division, but there's still a feeling that we could do with two or three new strikers (an off-form Rufus Brevett was required to pop up and bury an unlikely winner in this match.)

Tuesday 15 September 1998


A first leg League Cup tie against Premiership opposition, which we should have won comfortably. Only the usual problem of ineffective finishing denied us.

Southampton themselves were very poor, only deciding to play football for a quarter of an hour after we scored, and in that time getting a scarcely deserved equaliser.

Tuesday 29 September 1998


A Tuesday night stroll against the division's bottom team. Steve Hayward has developed into a consistently accurate corner taker and duly delivered inch-perfect for Coleman to power-head the opener. Bracewell got us the second.

Saturday 3 October 1998


What was this supposed to be? Anyone would think Ian Branfoot had been put in charge for the day. Phespirit hasn't seen the Whites play this badly in over two years; not one shot was made within six yards of the target, not one passing movement lasted more than three touches before the ball was given to the opposition.

Phespirit ponders the extent to which Keegan's pre-occupation with midweek European football cost us in terms of preparation for this game.

By contrast Luton put on an outstanding show of passing, off the ball running, and team-working as a unit - especially in attack. All credit to Lennie Lawrence and his players.

Saturday 7 November 1998


In the month since Phespirit's last visit to the Cottage, the Whites have put together a string of magnificent results and performances. In this match against Rovers we should have ran out winners by at least four or five goals, based on chances and possession alone.

Competition for positions up-front is at last improving the performances of our strikers. This was without doubt Dirk Lehmann's best showing since the home game against Manchester City.

Tuesday 23 February 1999


Phespirit returns for a Tuesday night at the Cottage after his winter hibernation during which time the Whites have made the top of the division their own and enjoyed a nice little cup run to boot.

After a dodgy first quarter of an hour against the Royals this match was all about one team only. A text book second half of pure Fulham mastery secured a comfortable win.

Two goals by the Horse ensured his name was the one set into song, but Steve Hayward was the real hero of the game, dominating all midfield play and set pieces. Steve Finnan was another star out on the right wing, whilst Barry Hayles looked the best striker on show with his all-round football, his dribbling at opposition defenders and his ability to keep possession with his back to goal. Good stuff.

Saturday 10 April 1999


Weird things continue to happen at the Cottage: before kick-off Chairman Mo, on his regular lap of honour, is accompanied by the Michael Jackson. A risky thing, Phespirit considered, in front of twelve thousand English football fans. However, with an overwhelming air of incredulity muting any potentially embarrassing chants, lame hypocritical applause is all that we deliver.

[ When Mo and Jackson are spotted leaving the ground after the match, at least one fan manages to raise the cry of: "Sex Case! Sex Case! 'ang 'im! 'ang 'im! 'ang 'im!" ]

The crowd remain fairly muted throughout most of this tame match - it's just another easy three points in the bag.
We're all but confirmed Champions now.

Saturday 8 May 1999


It's the final game of the season, we win comfortably against good opposition, we finish the season on 101 points, we're promoted and officially crowned Division II champions, but what should have been a day of unbridled celebrations is tempered by Keegan's decision this week to renege on his earlier pledges and jump ship to manage England full-time.

No-one can condemn Keegan for putting country before club, and indeed the majority of fans give him a warm send off, it's just unfortunate he tarnished his reputation in the process by repeatedly asserting his commitment to Fulham before doing an exact about-face and walking away. But the man's only human, so Phespirit wishes him well.

Now, in three months time the club he leaves behind will start all over again in Division I. It wouldn't be Fulham if the future wasn't uncertain, but we've still got the man from Cairo and the big dream is still alive.


Championship Trophy Division Two