RAMBLE| Fulham 0-1 Wednesday

RAMBLE| Fulham 0-1 Wednesday

Another day and another much needed footy away day, this time to that London…and we all love a good London away day don’t we?

Normally when we go down there it’s a later start. We usually get there for about 1pm and then head straight to the ground…I say ‘straight’ to the ground but what I mean is ‘straight’ for us. We do like a detour as regular ramble readers will know.

Today though, the alarm was set for 6.30am. I didn’t even know that was an actual time. Is this something to do with chuffin’ Brexit? I wasn’t happy. Already I had messages from the Young Un waiting, so at least she was up and ready to go.  I had sorted the match tickets and she had sorted train tickets and before long we were standing on the platform looking for the ticket machine to collect our tickets.

This is how she describes what happened at the train station……

On the email for the tickets it says in nice big letters…


Hmm… No option for delivery. But it’s the Trainline so should be fine.

The TRAIN line.


*THE* train line.
They must know. Those guys know what they’re on about.
Trains and that….it’s their business.



When we get to the station, a quick look around and

No B@s!rd ticket machine!

We noticed one of them ‘transport assistance machines where you talk to someone for help when you press the button.

We press ready to request assistance from the platform assistance thing…

Hello assistance chap, we require some assistance.
We were due to collect our tickets as indicated on our purchase options and confirmed in our email but there appears to be a lack of ticket machines at this fine station of yours.

The guy says ‘Yeah that’s not our problem, you need to get back in touch with your vendor’

‘How does that help us now mate? The train is due in 10 minutes’

‘Sorry. Not our problem, get in touch with your vendor’

‘We have the email on our phone though’

‘Sorry. Get in touch with your vendor’

‘This is supposed to be a HELP point’

‘Sorry. You need……’ TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR VENDOR We all chime together.

Can we get on the train and show the email?

‘I cannot guarantee that, you should really get in-‘


Just to ease the tension the Tannoy pipes up with…

The NEXT to arrive at platform 2 in approximately 5 minutes is the 8.30 train to Kings Cross Train aaaargh not long enough to get to next nearest station and back.

Thanks a f^£!ng lot trainline you set of twatbags

After the crap week we’ve had and now the ticket machine must’ve MIRACULOUSLY disappeared. It must have jumped behind a tree to hide. Because surely THE TRAIN LINE wouldn’t be wrong about TRAINS!!!!

We were hastily considering our options as last time we missed our train we had to pay £150 EACH to get home.

We could sack it off and go back home…we ruled that out for now

We could get off at Donny and buy new Non-grand central tickets for a different train and hope they’re cheaper…definitely an option…

We could get off and Donny and leg it to the ticket machine at 100mph and try and get back on before it to sets off..

We could try our bestest pantomime “Oh no! Whatever has happened!” faces once the train is on the move and the conductor comes round for tickets

The train arrived….

In me best orphan Oliver voice….

Pleeease sir

Pleeeeease Sir

“..erm…erm….excuse me….Please sir…We thought there was a….a…a…ticket machine…on the station but-there-isn’t-and-we-have-an-email-but-the-trainline-tricked-us-and-the-ticket-machine-vanished-and-now-we-don’t-have-tickets-but-we-need-to-get-to-Fulham-and-please-help-us…Sir. .”

And as he looked up we had our Puss In Boots eyes on.


And he let us on!
“Go on you rapscallions, go and find your seats”

Thanks mister! Woooo…’Gawd Bless us everyone’

It was a bloomin’ miracle…a bloomin’ away day miracle and no mistake about it.
I think she’s summed it up well there…

Once we get on the choochoo we settle in to getting rid of the Special Oasis before Kings Cross, as is the law and we are now looking forward to a great day with a poor result as is usually the case when we go to London. Yeah there’s been the odd moment but generally speaking whenever we go down there it’s a fantastic day out but the footy is the spoiler.

When we arrive in that London the Young Un decides she wants to go to London Bridge, a regular meet up place for a few of us when in London and even though we weren’t planning any meet ups and London Bridge wasn’t on our plan for the day we headed over there to Borough Market for a bit of food. That place is incredible. If you haven’t been and you love street food and different cultures and what have you, and a vibrant market, you really need to visit.

Before we went there the Young Un needed a chemist, she’d had a small op and her stitches had come out so needed a large plaster. In the chemist we asked what they recommended and bought it and set out to The George to stick on the open wound. When we tried to stick it to the wound we found they’d given us a small square of padding and no sticky stuff so we could actually attach it. She stormed off back to the chemist very unhappy and complained….whilst I sat and drank my beer…

When she returned she had one of her angry faces on.

He said he can’t refund me as I’ve opened it…


He sold me some chuffing tape!
To stick the wrong thing over my wound.

She does get mardy ya know…takes after her mother

We attach the padding, finish our drinks and head over for food at the market….

I’m rubbish when it comes to take away food…I dive straight in and buy the first thing that looks ace then round the corner is something better that I want but I can’t eat because I’m full…the curry I had was mintola but there was more further on and some fantastic stuff on offer…oh lordy. Almost as good as Donny market.

Fed and watered we decided to head towards the ground and walk to the tube station and this time with no Joe London to guide us wrongly we ask one of the blokes who works at the underground…this will be pukka info this will…no mistakes here…

What’s the best way to get to Fulham mate?

‘To see Chehwsea?’

A huge question mark appears above our heads

No mate…Fulham..that’s why we said Fulham

‘Yeah yeah, where Chehwsea play. You garna see Chehwsea play’

No mate. Where Fulham play…We’re going to see Fulham play.

Am I talking in tongues here?

WTF is going on? Why was this difficult to understand?

‘Oh royt…yew want the piccalilli loin, change at Ehws Coat then head foh Paaaaaatneh Bwidge’

And with that off he goes into the distance doing the cockney dance in his Cor blimey trarsers, thumbs behind his invisible braces…obviously…and clicking his heels…obviously…singing the Old Bamboo…obviously.

Having watched Mary Poppins and The Sweeny (That’s not a fillum by the way….though it should be) I worked out what he meant though was surprised he didn’t end his sentences with ‘you slaaag’

Anyroad up we set off and whilst on route Tommo messages me and I tell him our plan…

Change at Edgeware Road not Earls Court…basics is that Tommo says.

Ok. That’s what we’ll do then…it always goes wrong when I change the plan

We get on the chooch and off we go…we get off at Edgeware Road and jump on the next chooch…things are going well.

It must have been around 3 minutes into the journey when we both looked up at the tube map on the train and you could hear the IDIOT CLAXON sounding as we both turned at the same time to say ‘We’re on the wrong train’

We get off the train at the next stop and stand on the platform sussing our what to do when we hear this friendly voice beside us say…

‘I’m going to Fulham, just follow me.’

Aye, Aye…another Joe London, this could end badly…

It didn’t and he actually was a bona fide Joe London, someone who lived here and knew it well…unlike the other Joe London wannabe that has got us lost so many times down here.

We end up chatting away to a guy who turns out to be called Abdul, very friendly indeed and a really nice bloke to boot. He tells us that however bad we’ve been playing this is the game that will change it and we will win today…

I like that about opposition fans and it’s the same for all footy fans I suppose…we always think we are going to lose and always tell other fans, whenever we meet them, that they will win…it must be the hope that it eases the pain if we do lose…win and it’s a bonus, lose and we can say ‘I knew it’ or ‘toldya so’

We told him that Fulham are the media darlings, the full package, a Premier League club in all but position and it was just a matter of time for them…he said ‘yeah but what do they know?’

‘We aren’t playing well and in the 2 seasons before last, which took us all by surprise, we conceded over 80 goals…EIGHTY GOALS!’

But you play good footy and things have changed now so surely this is the season?

‘Naaah, you’ll win today. Trust me.’

Even though we usually don’t see a Wednesday London win it was difficult not to believe him, such was his conviction…

When we got off the chooch we thanked Abdul and wished him well…if he hadn’t been with us we would definitely have got off the chooch at Fulham Broadway which is apparently the stop for Chelsea…who knew?? What a great guy. and a genuine pleasure to meet him and chat about footy with him

Our new Fulham mate told us it was only a 10 minute walk from here to the ground so we’d be fine. Last time it seemed like we were walking for days so this was even better news. This is what happens when you engage with an ACTUAL Joe London and not some wannabe Joe.

Speaking of wannabe Joe Londons, I get a phone call from our previous poor advisor telling me where he is drinking and we make our way over to him.

After following his poor instructions once again I phone him back….

Hang on…we are heading to where you said but all of the fans are going in the opposite direction…

‘They are going to the ground but this is where the fun is’

I must admit I was dubious about his claim…

2 Fra paaaarnd

‘Where are you?’ He asks

I’m near some Apples and Pears I tell him.

‘Which stairs?’

No…actual Apples and pears, near a fruit shop on the bridge…I must admit, it tickled me.

As we walked against the crowd and over the bridge he says ‘is that you on the bridge? Look down and the bloke in purple…waving at you…that’s me’

Not sure I’d own up to wearing purple if I’m honest. I could see from this distance it wasn’t his colour. Not many of us can carry it off….he wasn’t one of them.

I hang up and off we go to meet him at the pub below…over the bridge we start to turn left and another friendly voice says…

‘Was that your mate in the purple down at the pub?’ (He had a look on his face that suggested he felt the same as I did about purple not being Baldy’s colour)

‘You don’t want to go down that way…follow us, it’s round here’

Once again another PROPER Joe London who knows the area well….this time they were Australian though. Close enough.

Thanks fellas…great local accent you’ve got there tweakle…

We eventually find our way to meet Baldy and the rest and the Young Un is desperate to get more drinks down our necks as the earlier Oasis is wearing off now…

A couple of double vodkas sorts her out…or I thought it did…by the time we’d finished them and done with nattering with everyone she was on about ordering more and taking them with us…at £13 a chuck that’s some session I can tell you.

A 10 minute walk

We head off to the game and the 10 minute walk as promised….turned out to be a day and a half…admittedly shorter than last time we came here but only by a further day and half…sweet baby jeebers…how is this a 10 minute walk?

People were falling by the wayside because they hadn’t packed enough snap…they were being helped along the way because they hadn’t thought it through, or been told it was a 10 minute walk…fortunately, despite a lot of moaning, which we like to do, we were fuelled by 13 quid vodkas so made it easily…but I felt for those we’d left by the roadside…heroes the lot of ‘em.

I like this ground, it’s one of my favourites…great buildings and a ground built right into the fabric of it all. OK the locals will have changed a bit over the years and this looks a very affluent area nowadays but there’s plenty to like about this ground and this club….including the walk if I’m honest.

It’s hardly the worst thing in the world walking along the banks of the Thames in the sunshine amongst trees and parks. I know it’s not the ‘salt of the earth’ working class background you normally associate with football grounds and that I love so much but still….I do like it here.

We get inside and make our way to our seats, which are a bit high up for our liking but still good enough and a decent view of the pitch with the river to our left on display between the stands and the wonderful cottage to our right.

They also have one of those trendy balcony affairs going on….I’m not keen on this at footy if I’m honest and we’ve seen this creeping in all over the place. It can be good fun, as it was at Orient but there’s something not right about it…especially when they all sit on chairs with blankets over them against the cold….and this was a warm day…

God knows how many blankets they’ll need in the winter.


Well I enjoyed this game and I thought we played very well indeed.
That doesn’t mean this was a perfect performance and that Fulham didn’t create chances, they DID….and plenty of them, however, overall I thought we did well and stuck to what looked like a good well thought out match plan.

In the first half they had some very good chances to take the lead and truth be told some of them I’d be disappointed if we’d missed them. One in particular where the ball looked for all the world as though it was going inside the post and out of Westwood’s reach…it didn’t though, he collected it with ease. Some fans will say we rode our luck at times in that first half but I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t remember Westwood having much to do so the chances they did create weren’t on target and we can debate that stuff all day long…if you don’t test the keeper you can’t whinge about chances.

Whatever was happening on the pitch the Wednesday fans were in fine voice and really giving it some throughout most of this first half, trying our best to lift the team

I know it’s the same at most home grounds, including ours, that the fans don’t make much noise, until they score at least and it was the same here, not much going on. They did have some fans though…I mean the sort of fan you waft to keep cool…in the club colours of black and white and they were like snapping them to make some kind of clicking noise…it was all a bit embarrassing to be honest and the Wednesday fans chanted


Even some of the Fulham fans seemed embarrassed by it…the rogue Wednesday fan in their stand sat as close to us as possible, definitely thought that as he shrugged at the clicking noise and revelled in the noise as the Wednesday fans lifted the roof again.

Whilst they did have the best of the chances it certainly wasn’t one way traffic and there was plenty to like about us too and we did create our own chances…and like Fulham, we couldn’t put them away….and like Fulham they were GOOD chances…and also just like Fulham, we couldn’t test their keeper.

Some of the passing we did in that first half was excellent as was the defending, not just across the back but high up the pitch, forcing them back, making them play it across their back, not giving them time on the ball and it was great to see all over the pitch.

You expect good defending from Tom Lees, we all do, he’s that good but he’s another that seems to be growing in confidence and the number of times he picks the ball off an opponent and strolls forward with it is amazing…if I have a fault with him it’s that sometimes his passing is a little suspect but his defending is incredible…


That can be said for Bannan too…we know what he’s capable of in the middle and going forward at the moment he is the epitome of all we are getting right and he showed that in this half…when we need bodies back to defend he’s always there in the mix and we seemed well drilled at the back with players taking up positions instantly when we lost the ball but Bannan was usually first in there, chasing, harrying or tackling to get the ball back and then immediately turning and running forward to get us on the front foot….a pleasure to see.

All our players were trying things, they were making runs for each other, they were creating space and all the time feeling their way into the game

When we got to half time most Wednesday fans were happy with the performance. We’d contained a decent side at their place and given as good as we got, defended well and moved the ball forward well at times too….I also thought we’d finished the half stronger too and were gaining in confidence as the game wore on, we were just missing the final bite…that little bit of spark to see us through. Maybe we needed a change in the second half, bring on a sub to mix it up a bit….

We didn’t bring on a sub but we did build on that gain in confidence and as we have done in the last couple of games we showed improvement in the second…I don’t know what it is exactly, whether we need to have a bit more belief in our own ability but we definitely upped the tempo and the tempo wasn’t that bad to start with.

Once again Bannan and Hooper were the architects of most of the good stuff but once again pretty much every player on the pitch was putting in a good performance…

Bannan continued being incredible…DEMANDING the ball at every opportunity and we fed it to him too, he couldn’t get enough and he was starting to get a good grip of the midfield as the game wore on.

I feel I have to mention Dave Jones too. I know a lot fans have issues with him because they don’t know what he brings to the team but he’s one of those players you don’t notice throughout the game…rarely doing anything flash but he just gets on with his role…winning the ball back, getting it to players who can do something with it, usually Bannan or Hooper…several times he went into a challenge and came out with the ball when he had no right to do so really and immediately feeds Bannan and we are off again…add that to some great cross field passing and he’s making a great contribution. Fans need to watch all the stuff he does and not just the odd mistake or three. They all make mistakes at times, they aren’t perfect.

The Wednesday fans by now had felt the confidence surge and buoyed by that good first half were making some real noise now and bouncing well…they were filming us from the other stands so it must have looked good.

When Bannan let one go from distance, a proper Bannanball, only for the shot to be parried down to the waiting Fletcher who calmly wellied it home, the Wednesday fans really did go nuts….fortunately I’d seen the flag go up very early for offside so tapped the Young Un and told her to calm down…the flag was up…


That sort of things always seems to spur the fans on and the noise went up a notch…

We didn’t have to wait long for another go though…

Again Bannan involved from the outset, this time picking up a loose ball after Fulham had been harried into submission…Bannan plays it forward, Reach knocks it into the Fletcher zone and Fletch buries it again, on the volley this time…and this time the flag stays down!

Cue the Wednesday fans going absolutely nuts but best of all was the revamp of an old Wednesday song…the Da-Da-Da-Da…Deon Burton song…this time it was…


The noise was incredible… it sounded so chuffing brilliant and rattled the away stand with volume. What a moment…we were going nuts as Fletcher stood there below us, arms out, looking up, at the mass of bodies flying all over the place and hearing his name chanted like that…what a moment.

The noise wasn’t stopping now as we ran through a whole load of Wednesday songs and at the top of our voices.

We thought we’d got another not long after as well…I forget who it was, either Foxy or Jones who tried to hit one from a fair old distance but didn’t get hold of it right but it didn’t stop Fletcher thinking it was his ball and he lunged forward, got a foot to it and as we prepared to celebrate again the keeper blocked it.


Well deserved

I must admit, from the moment the ball hit the back of the net I spent a lot of the time not watching the game. I couldn’t bear it. The tension, especially in those final minutes was unbearable. We didn’t even need to be under the cosh, I just could stand it.

I mean literally counting down too as I watched the clock on my phone and those agonising extra minutes ticked slowly by.

The nerves were eased in the end when the 6th minute of the 4 minutes injury time ended and the ref finally blew his whistle for a belting Wednesday away day victory.

The players, every single one of em deserved our praise today at a job well done and another cracking performance

We made our way back to the station and onto the chooch…where, every time the train stopped and the announcer said ‘MIND THE GAP’

All along the train you could hear Wednesday fans break into the song

‘Mind the gap, Mind the gap Sheff United…
Mind the gap, mind the gap they say…
Mind the gap, Mind the gap Sheff United.
We’ve been laughing since Boxing Day’

Without fail…every single time…and I loved it…every single time

Then this little guy with 4 huge suitcases gets on…I kid ya not every single one of them is bigger than he is…almost bigger than me …He puts them on the train one at a time then dashes out of the doors for the next…every single person watching him was hoping the doors would shut and leave one behind …he doesn’t though and eventually gets them all on board and settles them into one manageable heap… he looks at me and the Young Un in our seats…he stands and he waits…

Then he looks straight past me and at the Young Un and says ‘Can you sit over there so I can sit there?’
He points to a seat on the other side between two lads who are chatting…

He looks at me…dunno if he wanted some  support, he wasn’t getting any…the Young Un simply narrows her eyes…I thought oh chuff…I’ve seen this fillum before…This is where she gets up, slaughters the entire train and sits back down again in a puddle of blood… but she didn’t…this was a different fillum, it was some kind of Jedi move…

‘These are not the seats you are looking for’

‘Oh…it doesn’t matter…never mind’ he says and he turns away from us…

I daren’t look at the Young Un now…

We got to Kings Cross and headed for food before the final train back home and in the pub everyone was chatting excitedly about the game. Any negative vibes were gone, only good stuff and love for how well we’d played.

When we got on the train we were absolutely shattered…a long, tiring but ultimately cracking away day…and we won!

Owls Alive
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