Can things get any better for Fulham?
A sour taste was left in the mouth of every Fulham fan when they lost to Italian giants Roma at the Stadium Olimpico last month.
But let’s put things into perspective. How often has a Fulham fan seen the words Fulham, Roma and unlucky in the same sentence? Not a lot.
“I want to sleep with Roy Hodgson.” Not my words, but those of international heart throb, Hugh Grant.
And as each week concludes, every point secured, it is difficult not to feel the same way. To put it simply, the man is magician.
In the space of just two years, he has transformed Fulham from a relegation battling side into a solid mid table outfit that are once again knocking on the door of Europe.
He has converted mediocre fringe players such as Bobby Zamora and Clint Dempsey into first team regulars.
He has not only brought in players of star quality such as Damien Duff and Brede Hangeland, but has managed to keep them at the club. More importantly, they want to stay there – Hangeland only recently signed a new contract that will keep him at the Cottage until 2013.
Fulham are on the up.
They comprehensively beat Liverpool 3-1 in the Premier League last month, whilst taking points on the road off teams such as Man City, West Ham and Pompey.
As of late Fulham’s home record has been pretty strong- during the 2005-06 season, their home form was the best outside the top six, with 12 wins from 18 games.
However, away from home they had struggled – during the same season of 2005-06 their away record was the worst in the entire league.
But they have a determination to them now, which wasn’t there before Hodgson.
No longer are they are walk over. No longer are they a liability at the back. No longer are they a liability at the front.
They have a belief, a self assured confidence about them.
Okay, they’re not going to be pushing for the title any time soon, but a regular spot in Europe is now a genuine reality.
And it’s all down to one man.
People were sceptical when Hodgson first joined the club. Some English bloke who did something with Malmo, wasn’t he?
He didn’t have exactly big shoes to fill, but to most, he was a relative unknown.
Having been out of English football for nearly 10 years he was last seen on British shores sinking to the deep depths of the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers – It was hardly thrilling news when his name was announced.
But how wrong we were.
Not only did he manage to save the club from the brink of Championship football, securing survival on the last day of the season, he then managed to guide the Cottagers to seventh position in the league the following season.
The club’s highest ever placing, which granted them qualification to the newly named Europa League.
For some Ã¢â‚¬Ëœsmaller clubs’, European football is a distraction. More games, more injuries, more losses, right?
But Europe seems to have helped them.
They’ve toughened up, and in turn have managed to bring a bit of glamour to the club who seem to forever live in the shadows of highflying neighbours Chelsea.
And with further wins surely a formality, we may see a few more people sharing the strangely perverse thoughts of Hugh Grant.