It’s good to talk, right? Well it is sometimes and no better when it’s a bit of pre-match, pie related chatter with the opposition, which we regularly tried to do on This Northern Soul. As good an idea as it is, I’d not put that much effort into continuing that feature into The Pie at Night, until the phone rang last night. I didn’t recognize the number, but fancying the opportunity to fall out over whether I’ve ever had PPI or when my last car accident was, I answered, with my usual “who are yer?”
Hello, my name is Andrew Beck, and I’m the manager of the website Cottagers Confidential. I’m an American Fulham fan who’s been following the team from abroad (and occasional trips to London) for about 10 years. You can find us on twitter (@CottagersC) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CottagersConfidential). If you’d like my non football takes, you can find me on twitter (@arbeck).
1) It’s been a couple of years since we’ve played each other, what have Fulham been up to?
Fulham have spent the last few years burning through managers and players. We now seem to have a guy in charge who knows what he’s doing, and a transfer policy that makes sense (even if some of our fans are really against modern analytics). Even if you had seen our team last year, you wouldn’t much recognize this one. It’s very possible that the team that takes the field Saturday only has one starter who was in the squad at the end of last year.
2) Have you settled into life post-Fayed, yet? Are you missing the Jacko statue?
I’m finally comfortable with Shahid Khan, but as an American he had a lower bar to clear for me than he did for many other Fulham fans. I’m also a numbers guy, so his push to get analytics installed at the club was welcome for me. Al-Fayed is always going to have a special place in the hearts of fans, but more people need to accept that it was his leadership that allowed the rot to grow inside the club.
It is kind of humorous how the downfall of Fulham coincided with the removal of the statue. When it was removed most fans were happy. Now most fans would beg to have that thing back.
I’m not much of a believer in luck charms, or curses, but it certainly couldn’t hurt could it?
3) How much would it cost for you to take Dan Burn back?
Oh Dan Burn. He was one of the first of what has become a pretty decent pipeline of young players. He seemed to have success while on loan in the Championship while Fulham were still in the Premier League. He had one great game against Manchester United. Of course in that game David Moyes somehow thought it would be a great idea to just send 81 crosses when Fulham had a 6’7″ center back roaming the middle. So, if you’re going to face 81 crosses, you can have no better centerback than Dan Burn.
People might say it was coaching and not really his fault, but if you’re part of a defence that in consecutive years gave up 85, 83, and 79 goals; how good can you be? He struggled with pace. He wasn’t great at positioning, and he never got better than he was on loan at Birmingham. He was a fan favorite, but he simply wasn’t good enough for a team trying to get promoted.
4) I once did one of these with that Richard Osman. What’s the most pointless fact you know about a Fulham player, past or present?
He’s not a player, but our owner Shahid Khan also owns an NFL franchise and has an amazing mustache. He recently did an NFL Commercial, and well, you just need to see it.
As for players, did you know that former Fulham player Clint Dempsey also is a rapper named Deuce? If you look very closely at that video you might also notice former Fulham bust Eddie Johnson dancing in the background.
5) Oh, yes, there’s a game to talk about. How do you reckon it will go tomorrow? Anyone you think we should look out for? Who are you unnecessarily worried about from our team?
Fulham have struggled a bit in their last few games. Slavisa Jokanovic has got the team playing a very possession heavy style. In the last few games the opponent has just decided to do away with trying to have the ball much at all. Fulham have managed over 70% possession, but have struggled to finish their chances. Some of that is just luck (they dominated Burton Albion in every meaningful metric), but some of that is not knowing how to break down a side when they can’t quickly get behind them.
I’m not sure Wigan have the kind of squad who can just sit ten men behind the ball and hope Fulham don’t finish though. I haven’t seen anything from their defense that makes me think they will stop Fulham from scoring, and Fulham’s defense is one of the top ones in the division this year.
As for who to watch for, that’s really hard to say. Slavisa is running a 4-2-3-1. The striker is likely to be Chris Martin. But the midfield is up in the air. Fulham have so many attacking midfield options it’s hard to say who will play. I would guess you’d see Sone Aluko, Tom Cairney, and Neeskans Kebano; but there are a lot of other high quality options. Denis Odoi has been a revelation at right back, even though he was really brought in to play on the left. Scott Malone was the backup left back and he’s done nothing wrong, but sixteen year old Ryan Sessegnon is doing everything you could ask for and more when he’s playing. If he starts, watch out, because he has a chance to be an England National for a long long time.
6) Most importantly, we have pies. I was in London the other week for a few days and couldn’t find a decent pie shop, do you have any recommendations? Whilst we’re on the subject, what is your favourite pie filling and how do you about eating them?
Well, since I live in the United States, I’m not sure I’m the one to ask about London Pies. Last time I visited I had a pie at White Hart Lane, and it was bad. Is all the food at English Stadiums bad? Because I don’t think I had a good beer or good food at any of them.
I did have a great pie as a special at Dinner by Heston when I went for a lunch. And my wife had a magnificent pie at the Harwood Arms in Fulham. But you really can’t call either of those a pie shop.
As for my favorite pie, I love a good curry pie, but bad curry pies are so bad I rarely take the plunge. A pork pie is always pretty safe bet, but can be kind of boring. My all time favorite pie is probably not one you see a lot there (to be honest I don’t see them often in my part of the country either). It’s a crawfish pie. It’s basically a veloute sauce with crawfish tails stirred in, wrapped in a pastry shell, and then deep fried. It might not be healthy, but is sure is tasty.
A deep fried, fish soup pie? I’ll probably stick to a meat an potato if you don’t mind, but thanks for getting in touch Andrew and enjoy the rest of your season, just so long as it’s not at our expense.