Wednesday, July 20, 2011

And the triumphal Second Division run continued: Fulham reached the FA Cup final! Three Second Division clubs played at the cups finals! Fulham, once upon a time one of the strongest clubs in London, was long forgotten by now – relegated from First Division in 1968, they had no chance of returning, becoming mid-table Second Division staple, after visiting Third Division as well. They were 9th in the 1974-75 season, but there was ambition – in 1974 Fulham got Allan Mullery and Bobby Moore. Both aging, it was true, but still: Bobby Moore! He was still considered a national team player, not to mention his aura and reputation. Fulham was not able to compete for promotion, but with the old stars they reached the FA Cup final.
Ironically, Fulham met West Ham United at Wembley – and lost 0-2. Bobby Moore lost to his former teammates. If he stayed, he was to collect a Cup… if he stayed with the Hammers, he was to captain winners, not losers. His former teammates sympathetically hugged him after the match, but the Cup was theirs, not his. Anyway, it was big success for Fulham to play at the final.
And it was not to stop at that, at least it was not intended to stop at that: in the summer of 1975 Fulham signed Rodney Marsh and George Best. Clearly, the aim was First Division – the team was getting heavy.
Alas… heavy in entirely different sense: in the pub. George Best and Bobby Moore went right there, good drinking buddies as they were. Drinking or not, Moore was professional to boot; erratic and moody Best and Marsh were the opposite… the big names did not propel Fulham to greatness. Best did not last at all. Marsh lasted a little longer. Even Moore did not last… all moved to greener pastures in the USA; Fulham stayed in Second Division. A momentary spark in 1974-75 and nothing else.