Although Fulham have had their moments in the FA Cup they have been few and far between. The pinnacle was in 1975 when a side led by Bobby Moore lost to West Ham 2-0.
It was a surreal campaign with veterans like Moore and Mullery enjoying what was to amount to a last hooray. Fulham needed some good fortune from the draw, three replays and timely goals to make it all the way to Wembley.
However, there was to be no fairy tale ending (despite what you hear the FA Cup and fairy tale endings do not always go together!) and Fulham succumbed to goals from Alan Taylor.(Taylor may be remembered by followers of the NASL Vancouver Whitecaps having spend 1980 and from 1981 to 1984 with the west coast club.
There had been losing appearance at the semi final stage before (08, 36, 58 and 62) and since (2002, 1-0 to eventual runners up Chelsea) but 1975 remains the closest the Cottagers have got to lifting the FA Cup.
The last two seasons have ended at the quarter finals stage with Manchester United hammering Fulham 4-0 in 2009 and this weekend’s opponents Spurs winning 3-1 after a replay last year.
In fact forcing two replays is the best that Fulham have ever got out of Spurs in the FA Cup. They first faced Spurs in this competition in 1909 and lost 1-0 and the next four meetings have all gone Spurs way.
Fulham’s most recent results against Spurs in any competition provides very little encouragement. In their last seven meetings Spurs have won four and there have been three draws – Fulham have only scored twice.
The last meeting was on New Year’s Day when a spectacular redirected header from Spurs’ Gareth Bale just before half time was all that separated the sides.
However, since that meeting Spurs are winless with a defeat and two draws in league play while Fulham have won two, drawn one and lost to Liverpool at Anfield even though their play was deserving of some reward.
Unfortunately both sides will likely approach this game with what they would consider to be more pressing matters on their minds. Fulham sits 15th in the Premier League and are still to close to the relegation zone for their comfort. Four points is all that separates the Cottagers from a spot in the bottom three.
Spurs have slipped to fifth in the Premier League. With 4th place Chelsea playing with renewed vigour and Arsenal and Manchester City even further ahead there must be an uncomfortable feeling that Spurs may not have their Champions League ticket punched for next season.
Although Spurs enjoy a game in hand and a 12 point lead on Fulham the goals for and against are a good indication of how slim the margins are of win, lose or draw. Fulham and Spurs have conceded the same number of goals (26) but Spurs have scored seven more. More goals and at the right time can make a very big difference.
Year Ending In One
If Spurs are playing in a FA Cup match in a year ending in a one you are sure to hear this one ad nauseum. Spurs have won the FA Cup eight times and five of them have been in 1901, 1921, 1961, 1981 and 1991.
But it is 2011 and someone might want to point out that it has not happened this century.
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