Just reading Simon Kuiper’s excellent “The Football Men

You would never want Bergkamp playing for your life. To achieve his great moments he appears to enter a trance, shutting out the match. “People really have no idea what goes into the making of goals like that.”

The point being that Bergkamp is not consistent, drifting out of whole games at a time, but he can create moments of joy that nobody else could even imagine.   And those moments are what makes him (made him) special and, indeed, an occasional match-winner.

I don’t know how many games Bryan Ruiz has started for Fulham but it isn’t many.  He will get better, of course he will, but already we’ve seen enough to realise that we have the nearest thing to Bergkamp we’re ever to have in a white shirt.

That alone is enough for me.  If Bryan Ruiz ran around like a mad thing he’d presumably have a few more Fulham fans onside at the moment, but I’m inclined to think that just as Ruiz needs to learn to fit into the team, the team needs to learn how to get the best out of Ruiz – and the latter is probably more important than the former.

It’s been another ordinary season (has Hamburg ruined day-to-day Premier League existence?) and in five years time we probably won’t remember much about it. Bryan Ruiz’s two sensational moments will stick in our minds though.





23 thoughts on “Ruiz

  1. I think the Hamburg point is very important Rich. I don’t want to sound defeatist but have Fulham fans become delusional? There was a time pre Europe when we were hoping for mid table mediocrity as this would mean a certain level of achievement and peace of mind. Now every away loss is met with a chorus of disbelief, if any team dares to take something from us at home there is a burst of near hysteria with everything from tactics, training ground gossip, player baiting (actually that’s been going on for a very long time..I reckon one bad performance from Ruiz and he will be claiming the Baird award for 2011/12) being flung at the situation. I am worried this will be the biggest contributing factor for our potential long term failure of premiership survival. Lest not forget that we qualified for Europe by committing less fouls than any other team, I am sure it’s a bit more complicated than that but you get the jist of it.

    There was something similar happening at Charlton just before the club went into meltdown. I remember Curbishley being under pressure from the fans for not delivering the team into a European spot, he left, the club slowly fell apart under a cloud of indignity and journeyman manager after manager took the club towards oblivion. Is this what’s happening to us?

    1. To add to Bruno’s point, which is excellent, is there also the fact that this team has simply reached it’s sell by date? People are always talking about Ferguson building 3-4 teams during his reign at Man Utd. The key is that new players have been brought in and new styles implemented (1999 Man Utd was a very different beast to the 2008 Man Utd).

      Could it be that after 3 years with Roy, then a year of the same under Hughes, we have reached the point where a rebuild was not only neccessary but urgent? People expect Fulham to play well because we have over the last 4 seasons been pretty consistent. The problem is there are changes afoot and we look like a team with no identity, caught between a defensive side and a free flowing attacking side. I know the squad looks strong on paper, but we know the game is not played on paper, otherwise we would never have gotten to a European final.

      As long as we steer clear of relegation I think the complaints should be held back. It is frustrating, but we are still ahead of where we were before Hodgson saved us.

      1. Identity problems right now as you say. Hard to know what we are rallying around beyond habitual club allegiance — style’s all over the place, as is morale (judging by appearances), stalwarts appear poised to leave, youngsters have hoved into view only to flit away again. As you also say, this had to be a transitional season, however.

  2. I agree, but does fit in here?

    Points in the bag say we’ll manage OK for this season, with or without him as a starter. However, a whole load of issues need to be sorted in time for the next campaign, and he is one of them.

    If, as is more than likely, the offensive half of the team will need substantial rebuilding over the summer, will he have convinced sufficiently to have that rebuilding planned around him — i.e. with him as a settled key component? Following a year to bed into the prem, this would surely have been anticipated from a star buy, but it’s a stage not yet reached; rather, there are questions over his credentials as starter.

    The next three months are therefore important, not just for him personally, but for the wider context. Let’s hope for more special moments from him, but also that he becomes more integral to a winning team. If, come May, he hasn’t, then the transfer window (which will in any event be the most challenging for good while) complicates further.

  3. “Has Hamburg ruined day-to-day Premier League existence?” Only if your frame of reference does not extend back to a time when money – or lack of it – almost ruined Fulham’s existence.

    1. That’s of course well said and, as those of us who lived through Clay, Bulstrode and the aftermath ought by rights to agree with every fibre of our being. For me it’s, however, in danger of becoming an intellectual assent that I don’t entirely follow through emotionally. Blame it on age, ennoui, complacency, a misplaced sense of staleness…..or blame it on Hamburg!

    2. I think that’s too simplistic. You could say that, and taking a step back of course ‘we’ve never had it so good’, but equally it’d be hard to deny that the supporter base (many long-standing) is growing increasingly frustrated with a middle of the table premier league team. Maybe there are different ways to be middle of the table and this way is simply too inconsistent to allow people to relax, but I think Hamburg gave us too much excitement (everything seems dull in comparison; we’ve forgotten – with the help of SKY that football is mainly dull) and now people *expect* things that before they might not have expected.

      1. Not to hijack the thread/post, but I wonder, when you write “it’d be hard to deny that the supporter base (many long-standing) is growing increasingly frustrated with a middle of the table premier league team”, if the same would not apply for fans of about 75% of the other teams in the league. Not just us and Villa and Everton; I’m talking Spurs, Newcastle, Sunderland, Liverpool and, yes, even Arsenal: teams with *lots* of fans and whose clubs will NEVER win the title or qualify for the CL, unless there is a sea change in club finances and/or league structure.

        The EPL is a caste society with glass ceiling upon glass ceiling. And with the continual rise in prices for tickets and TV fees, the 24hr social media cycle where we consume so much more info than any generation prior, it’s probably no coincidence that anger is rising in the stands. Look how mutinous Arsenal fans are–and they make the CL every year!

        Expect calls for a closed league and playoffs and all that jazz to continue to escalate each year. I just don’t see another way this anger quells.

        1. Well you’ve got the European super league to happen, then when that kicks in we’ll have a bit more fun. But yes, it’s hard to know where everything’s going really.

          I sometimes think it’d be a good idea to never read anything about Fulham online and just go to the games every two weeks.

              1. Hah, I meant that not following the team in any capacity but showing up every two weeks (or, whenever there’s a *big* game) is what United fans do.

                Even here in tiny Baltimore, where we have Chelsea, City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle, and yes, even a Fulham supporters group; there is no organized United supporters group. I think that says it all.

                1. Ah, I see. I think it’s the other way around here – people follow the big teams in massive detail but don’t actually watch the games, certainly not in person.

        2. Interesting comment. Not sure if anyone has the means (or cares to watch) the CBS show 60 Minutes, but last night they ran a segment about the NFL and how that league operates. It made very interesting viewing. Did you know that each team is forced to reinvest (I think it was) 80% of the profits back into the league, which is then shared between the teams. With the draft on top of that (which favours the lower ranked team) it means that in any given year any team has a fair chance of finishing in the play-offs. Of course there is still a certain amount of dominance over decade-long timeframes by “big” teams, but this “rebalancing” seems to work very well for the NFL. Would be interested in know your collective thoughts on this (not that it’s ever likely to happen for the prem…)
          You can watch the segment here:;cbsCarousel

          1. I missed that, but it doesn’t surprise me. The NFL is king in this nation for a lot of reasons, most of which include the immense parity from generous revenue sharing, tight salary cap, massive TV deal, and the lack of guaranteed contracts.

            All of which would probably violate EU law. And actually violate US law too (hooray anti-trust exceptions!)

      2. You’ve hit on it for me. If middle of the table obscurity and the occasional cup run (and hopefully success) is the reasonable limit to our ambitions — and save some U.S.-style sports socialism I believe that it is — the “different way[] to be middle of the table” is to play attractive, exciting football, ideally played by exciting young talent. Watching Dembele come into his own, Ruiz showing sparks of brilliance, Frei jinking down the wing with such great promise, Senderos bringing the ball out of the back with such determination, and Stockdale slowly growing into a role that might lead him to be England’s first choice keeper some day, has made this season so much more enjoyable to me than last.

        For me, the run to Hamburg has not made everything seem dull in comparison. It just shows how excitement is just around the corner these days for Fulham. In the last 15 years we’ve had Micky Adams’ Promotion Season, Kevin Keegan and the Manchester United of the South, Tigana’s Sexiest Football I’d Ever Seen, the Great Escape, the Run to Hamburg. I make that one incredible, exciting, memory-setting season every 3 years or so, punctuated by loads of exciting little matches in the best league in the world against the best teams in the world, and lots of new exciting players to give hope and excitement of even better days.

        Before 1996 what did we really have? 20 years of slow painful decline, punctuated by loads of exciting little matches against poor opposition, played by generally no-name players who — nonetheless — still gave hope and excitement that good days were around the corner, except then they actually never were! And I enjoyed Fulham then. Found it exciting to watch matches. And yet in those days, hope of success and good times was even further remote than it is now. At worst, mid-table in the 4th Division and us not going bust was pretty much the limit of my reasonable ambition for the club.

        So with that perspective in mind, I find it very difficult to understand how anyone can find things now unexciting, just because we had an unexpected cup run a couple of seasons ago. From the clubs’ experience in the last 15 years, something similar could be just over the horizon. And until then, it’s enough to dream about the new young team we appears *this* close to forming and watch the occasional barnstorming match.

        Having said all that, why anyone would go to an away game these days is beyond me . . .

  4. Well written fellas, I haven’t been here before and it’s a revelation – a football forum dominated by people with something intelligent to say.

  5. I honestly wouldn’t mind mid-table mediocrity and the occasional cup run if we preserved more of a (our?) on field identity. Why aren’t we further up the fair play table? Why aren’t we playing a consistent style of play? Why isn’t that MJ statue going for a swim in the Thames?

    There are certain teams you can look at in the EPL and admire them for who they are: Man U wins; Man City pays, Arsenal passes, Blackpool plays, Wigan lose, and Ebbsfleet United is a true community.

    We used to be the nice guys with a plan. What happened to that?

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