Who Are These Jobbers?
When the fixture list was produced back in June I had already envisioned our final away fixture of the campaign. As the spring sunshine beamed down on west London I would be bowling down Stevenage Road dressed as a banana ready to toast Sunderland’s glorious return to the Premier League.
It may have seemed fanciful, deluded even, but you can’t begrudge this downtrodden soul for having a dream in those hazy days of summer 2017. Alas, here we are, bottom of the Championship, already condemned to League One and facing a Fulham side unbeaten since our last meeting in December (weird league this, innit?) and on the brink of promotion themselves.
I could ramble on about the jobber-ness that the Cottagers clearly possess but I shall refrain on this occasion as because a) I quite like them b) we’ll most likely get a good old shellacking off them and c) I feel it is only right to salute the thousands of you that have followed Sunderland during this traumatic season.
For you see, we are the jobbers. Those spineless balloons that occupy a red and white shirt week after week have made us the jobbers. We are the losers that cling on to the hope that maybe for this game they won’t totally embarrass us. And we have been wrong so, so many times this campaign.
However, we are hardened bunch and we’ll be here no matter whatever outpost these bunch of losers take us in the coming years. No matter if you’ve followed The Lads to every hobikit stadium this season or just went to that one you managed to get off work, give yourself a pat on the back.
We are the lifeblood of this shambolic football club and every single one of you is a credit to it and the proud city of Sunderland. Also, Mitrovic sells Avon.
How Do I Get There?
Come on, there’s only one left to go. I promise that after tonight, you don’t have to think about Sunderland Association Football Club for a whole two months (or you don’t to have think about them ever again, if you like). One last heave down to the capital and watch the Lads get a good leathering off a bunch of much happier footballers.
Anyway, come on, let’s do this. Take that sweet half day off from work and take to the homely asphalt of the A1 (M), M1, M40 and M4 down to west London. Exit for the A219 near Hammersmith and this will take close to the ground. I’ve been reliably informed that parking can be an absolute nightmare close to Craven Cottage (just what we like), so try and park a little further away if possible.
Ah, the final train journey down south of the season. Crack those cans with a tear in your eye knowing next year that the likes of Fulham and Brentford will be replaced with Oxford and Scunthorpe. The nearest Tube station to Craven Cottage is Putney Bridge so from King’s Cross, take the Piccadilly line to Earl’s Court and change for the District line heading towards Wimbledon. The station is around a 15-minute walk to the ground.
A Love Supreme coaches leave the Stadium of Light at 11am with fares priced at £40 return. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
If there is one silver lining to the final away game of the season being put on a Friday night it is that Fulham is an absolutely place for a few jars. Don’t get me wrong, you will spend half your monthly wage getting well oiled in the fashionable night spots of Putney and Parsons Green but who cares? I heard it’s cheap in Scunthorpe.
Hey, do you like a pub that is a) a Wetherspoons b) on the banks of a river c) under the flight path of Heathrow Airport giving you time to watch the procession of planes fly overhead? If all of those answers are ‘yes’ then you are going to love The Rocket on Putney Wharf Tower or the very much not Wetherspoons The Boathouse on nearby Brewhouse Lane.
There are a number of pubs along the Putney-side of the River Thames such as The Star and Garter on Lower Richmond Road, The Bricklayer’s Arms on Waterman Street and The Half Moon are all excellent shouts for you ale lovers. There is, of course, the go-to away pub of The Eight Bells next to Putney Bridge Underground station.
If you fancy going a little bit upmarket then hop off at Parson Green and slink into The White Horse. The Sloaney Pony, as it affectionately known to the regulars, has had a number of high profile patrons, none more so than our overlord and “number one Sunderland supporter” Ellis Short. Yes, our beloved benefactor is known to have been spotted in this venue during our glorious 2012/13 campaign. I’d wager he won’t be there this time.
However, if like me, you yearn for the refreshing hit of a German lager on a warm Friday evening then set a course for the Octoberfest Pub on Fulham Road and fill yourself up on a lovely stein and a git big pretzel.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
You’re in London on a weekend, I’m sure you’ll find something to do.
What’s The Ground Like?
Have you ever Google Map-ed Craven Cottage? If you have (as I do during the extensive research that goes into every delectable Cans & Megabus column) you will notice that Fulham have plastered a very large ‘Visit Florida’ logos on the top of each of the end stands.
Given its proximity to Heathrow Airport and the Fulham bigwigs’ connection to the Sunshine State, it is probably seen as a good marketing ploy. So as weary travellers returning home will peer out the window, gaze upon the football ground and turn to their partner and say “oh honey, we must go to Florida, that stadium told me”.
What I find incredibly cute about this whole strategy is on the Riverside Stand there is a delightful painting of a dolphin, palm trees and a rollercoaster. It’s as if to say “look at how mint Florida looks, it’s got dolphins and that. You could be going there but instead you’re in shitty London. Go to Florida, you mug”.
While I won’t be booking a holiday to Florida anytime soon, I absolutely adore Craven Cottage. It is that slice of cake next to the cup of tea that your grandma has made for you when you pop round. It is one of the good guys of the Football League with an actual cottage at one end and a statue of Michael Jackson at the other.
I don’t have a bad word to say about you Fulham, I love you. Oh, wait, I do. £35 a ticket is absolutely disgraceful and I’m glad we’re getting relegated out of this bourgeoise league.