I know it’s been a while since I penned a ‘View from the away end’ article. In truth it’s been hard finding fans for the last few teams in the series. I have been searching ‘blogs, fan sites and Facebook groups trying to find the last few teams to interview.
Fulham is one of the teams I struggled with being honest. I don’t know any fans personally and so I went on a bit of a search to find a willing supporter to take part. It was a little random how I found the man for the job to be honest. I was browsing a website, some of you may be familiar with it, www.cultzeros.co.uk. For those of you not aware it’s a website that sells football T shirts, including some Newcastle ones.
It’s a great site and the lads running it seemed to be decent, genuine down to earth guys who love their football. Whilst browsing the website I noticed that one of the chaps – Paul that runs the place – is a big Fulham fan. I immediately emailed Paul and asked if he would take part in the Fulham edition of view and he kindly agreed to do so.
Fulham are a club that made a slow start to their Premier League campaign. With the distraction of European evenings, the London club have maybe been a little jaded during the early stages of the season. However Martin Jol’s men appear to be ready to make up for lost time following their impressive 6-0 thumping of QPR on Sunday afternoon. Here’s what Paul had to say:
How do you rate Newcastle fans?
Have always known a few Southern fans that are sound, but only through Cult Zeros have I integrated with proper Geordies. I’ve met a couple that are involved with the True Faith fanzine and they seem decent folk. On a broader scale they are always well supported and loud.
If you could have any one Newcastle player at Fulham who would it be and why?
I rate Cheik Tioté. Exciting to watch, works hard, high skill level.
Who is your favourite Newcastle player of all time and why?
There have been a few. Super Mac, being Fulham born and bred and a player and manager with us. However I got into football just as he was winding down at Arsenal. Philippe Albert was great to watch and did a good job on loan to us. Gazza of course. Though without doubt it would have to be Peter Beardsley. What a player both for his clubs and internationally. Seems a decent bloke too. I was very proud when he wore the white of Fulham and he was excellent despite being in the twilight of his career.
Certainly some legendary names came up there, good shouts indeed. Next question What do you think of St James’ Park?
A decent stadium, but the away end is a bit too up in the gods to enjoy the game.
What do you think of Mike Ashley?
I’m a football fan. So if the Newcastle faithful don’t like him, then I would have to agree. Renaming the stadium was odd, but it was never going to stick, well apart from in Sunderland perhaps. Though as I type, Newcastle are undefeated, so on the pitch things look good for you.
Fulham have brought in a top experienced manager in Martin Jol, but what do you think of Newcastle manager Alan Pardew?
Hmmm… not sure. He was touted around as potentially being our manager a few years ago. I wasn’t excited by the news I have to admit. Steady, perhaps a bit smug, however is doing a great job so far considering he lost some key players.
How do you think we did in the transfer window?
Time will tell I guess. Yohan Cabaye has had a lot of experience at Lille and is in the international frame. Davide Santon is young, Gabriel Obertan had some experience at Manchester United.
Bryan Ruiz – a player who Newcastle allegedly made a last ditch attempt to sign on deadline day – ended up at Fulham. How do you rate him?
Yes it was a bit Hollywoody – very Sky hyped, that a helicopter was awaiting to take him up to Newcastle! Maybe he hates flying? Jol played him from the off against Blackburn. It wasn’t a good idea and he looked overwhelmed. I’m sure he’ll come good, but he will need to adapt to the pace of the Premier League.
Who will finish higher in the league?
I’ll say Fulham on goal difference!
I normally ask fans for score predictions. Of course we have already played the fixture at St James- Newcastle won the game 2-1. What is your analysis of the game. Fair result?
An awful game played by two poor sides on the day. I think if we both could’ve lost we would have.
What’s your score prediction for the return fixture this season?
Let’s say a reverse for parity. 2-1 Fulham.
How do you think we did last season in our first season back in the Premier League?
With all the off-field problems I thought you did very well. (Hope that doesn’t sound too patronising!)
Which Fulham player should we fear when we meet again at your place?
Duff seems a man possessed when he plays Newcastle, but think he might spend a bit more time on the bench this season. Dembélé is an exciting prospect. Writing this after the 6-0 defeat of QPR I have rose-tinted glasses on. Players tend to come back and haunt us, so, although he didn’t play for Newcastle, perhaps a goal or two from Ruiz?
Finally I like to end these interviews by discussing a player that has represented both clubs. There has been a few to play for both (as mentioned earlier) but two come to mind. Firstly can I get your opinion on a player that was well liked at Newcastle – Aaron Hughes?
An unsung hero. Possibly one of our best value signings, certainly in recent years. Goes about his business very professionally. Off the field he seems articulate and a model pro. Has formed possibly Fulham’s best ever centre-half pairing with Hangeland. This has been most of our fans gripe with Jol as he tinkered with this by playing Senderos in the middle and moving Aaron out to the right. He’s injured at the moment, which is rare. Love to see him return but I am a great fan of Baird, so perhaps his place isn’t guaranteed. Nothing but praise for Aaron.
And one that isn’t remembered so fondly at St James’ (for the manner he left) Damien Duff?
I can appreciate the Newcastle fans gripe, though remember he did sin before by playing for Chelsea. As a Fulham player he has had some great games. I like him, that’s of course my own opinion.
Who could forget Duff’s infamous quote following Newcastle’s relegation – ‘I’m as loyal as they come’. This is what the Irishman said after promising Newcastle fans he intended to stay with the club. He will not be remembered fondly at all.
I must admit I forgot to speak with Paul about Clarky. Lee of course made himself an even bigger hero with the Newcastle faithful after wearing a certain T shirt whilst playing for a certain Micky Mouse outfit down the road.
I would like to thank Paul for his time and his feedback. It was nice to hear him mention certain legends he has admiration for. He clearly knows his football, although as always some of his answers will cause a bit of debate. Please do check out the Cult Zeros website, I’m certainly going to order the Coloccini shirt. Please stayed tuned for the remaining view from the away end pieces.
Here’s the website along with the Facebook and Twitter sites for Cult Zeros: