When my Dad first started taking me to Fulham regularly we’d stand more or less in the same place every week. Back then the Hammersmith End was terracing and there was plenty of space to pick where you wanted to be. Having watched my first ever game from the very middle of the terrace the old man clearly decided things were a little too “vocal” for my seven year old ears and we flirted with the posh seats in the Riverside for a couple of games. I didn’t like it there though. I wanted to be in the end where all the singing happened. I wanted to stand and shout and feel more a part of what was happening.
We returned to the Hammy End but moved to the side of the terrace nearest the river. There was a large black fence that separated that third of the terrace from the rest of the end. It must have been something to do with segregation but it only ever housed home fans during the time I attended. We’d walk past the bulk of the home fans who clustered behind the goal around the large green girder that held the roof up, and moved on towards slightly quieter climes. The spot my Dad had chosen was roughly where he had stood with my Grandad in the 30s and 40s. It’s also not far from where our season tickets are now and where I’ve already taken my eldest son. That continuity is part of what makes following Fulham, and Craven Cottage in particular, very special to me. I feel a connection with the past at the Cottage that I don’t think exists anywhere else in the world.
All this was a precursor to me explaining that I didn’t really have a lot to say. The video below is a song called “Sold My Soul” by Emergency Bitter. They’re a punk band formed by a bunch of Fulham supporters who recently released an E.P. of songs inspired by and about football. “Sold My Soul” name checks the greenpole, the same girder that held the roof up when I first came to the Cottage. The same girder that still holds the roof up. It’s had a coat of paint but, rather pleasingly, the club kept it green.
History. It’s small things like this that keep me happy.
Emergency Bitter play the Fighting Cocks in Kingston this coming Wednesday. If all goes to plan I’ll be there. Might see you down the front? There’s a bit of swearing at the start of the video, for those who might be offended by such things you might want to skip on 30 seconds, otherwise it’s straight down the middle punk rock.