Guts. To listen to the first wave of reaction to Fulham’s loss (gutless capitulation) to Liverpool (there for the taking!), what this team needs isn’t an infusion of skill, or talent, but simply good old fashion willpower.

After all, Liverpool might be one of the top eight football clubs on the planet, but surely if the team had simply tried harder, or if Roy had simply inspired them, then well! Three points in the bag! I mean, sure Javier Mascherano is much, much, much better at football than anyone on Fulham’s books, but, if Danny Murphy had just cared a little more, and, you know, got stuck in a few times, then that would have canceled out all that talent. And Liverpool didn’t even start their best 11! Sure, Peter Crouch is a dead cert to be starting for some Europe-chasing squad next year, but, but, but, he’s so tall! And if Kasey Keller had just wanted to not make mistakes… well you see how this goes.

I’m perfectly willing to believe that money changes a person. And I accept that professional footballers don’t care about their clubs in exactly the same way that football supporters do. But I refuse to believe that they don’t care, full stop. And I refuse to believe that the money they are paid has sapped every ounce of their collective ambition, contrary to all established laws of human nature.

People who get rich want to get richer. People who taste success want more. And you simply can not tell me that Fulham’s players who obviously were thrilled by the reception they got at the Reading game said to themselves, “Well, that was nice. But you know what? It wasn’t that much better than getting slagged off and being called a useless wanker.”

I mean, even if the player’s weren’t affected by the fact that they will be tarred with the relegation brush the rest of their lives, surely cold hard unemotional logic would get to them.


Kasey Keller is older than the sun. If Fulham go down he will never play in the premiership again. He has had a long and successful career, and he might stay with Fulham in the Championship, or he might head to the fields of MLS, but, if relegated, he will never play in the Premiership again. Fulham offered him a lifeline this year, but what are the chances of that happening two years in a row? But he wouldn’t care, right?

David Healy is a punchline. If Fulham go down, he may well eternally be labeled the mystery man who scored a zillion for Northern Ireland but was completely useless in the Premiership. Unfair? Sure. But you don’t think that that thought haunts him at night? This is his chance, it might be his only one, and it is slipping away from him. But he wouldn’t care, right?

Jimmy Bullard spent most of his career working his way into the top flight, and then had a year robbed from him by injury. He’s now on the wrong side of 30, and if he ever wants to get a shot at International football, it’s got to happen now. Relegation leaves him with the unsavory options of returning to the Championship or becoming a Lion Judas (again, unfairly, because he’s never said that he’s stay, but perception is reality). But he wouldn’t care, right?

Brian McBride’s situation is very close to Kasey Keller’s. If Fulham are relegated, then these are the last games he will ever play in the premiership. But he wouldn’t care, right?

Brede Hangeland has grabbed his place in the Premiership, which would appear to be a defining career goal for Scandanavian footballers. Success here could lead him to the upper echelons of world football (see Olof Mellberg). But no, he’d rather spend a year, slogging it out in the Championship, because failure is so much fun, right?

I could go through every player, but the fact is I don’t know the players any better than the ones who say that they are gutless do. But what seems more likely: that these players, who have carved out careers for themselves in one of the most competitive industries in the world through discipline and a lifetime of training don’t care about failure, or that they are trying as hard as they can, but were, on Saturday, beaten by a much better team.


One Response to “Guts”

  1. weltmeisterclaude Says:

    you’ve stirred up a bit of emotion on this one! (see TiFF)

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