As we get closer to the Europa League Final I keep going back to how incredible this journey has been for Fulham. They are a mid - table club right now in the EPL. I think in the future they could possibly be a top half of the table club consistently most years. In comparison to the "big four" they are a small club. The fact that they are a small club makes this story even better.
The game of football is dominated by the teams who have the most money. They can spend more money on players than a team like Fulham. The Cottagers have to be smart on who they sign and spend their money wisely. They have succeeded in building their club against the difficult financial advantage that bigger clubs have.
Fulham cannot win the Barclays Premier League the way the league is currently structured. However, they have proven to be very competitive in the league and Europe. The credit goes to the manager, the owner, and the players. Everyone that is associated with Fulham should be very proud of getting to the Final of the Europa League.
There is one more step in their quest and that is trying to win the Final on Wednesday. To win this match would be incredible not just for Fulham, but I think for all the small clubs in the EPL. I think a win for Fulham could help clubs like Blackburn, Stoke City, Sunderland, and Wigan. These clubs and their fans would know that maybe they can win Europe someday just like Fulham accomplished it . The odds are stacked against all of these clubs including Fulham. It comes down to money.
Middlesborough almost accomplished winning the UEFA Cup in the 2005/ 2006 season. They got to the Final and lost. It is a great accomplishment getting there, but winning it is a completely different story. After Middlesborough lost this match their manager took the England job. Three years later the club was relegated to the Championship.
If fulham win how can this help the other smaller clubs in the EPL? As I stated before maybe the mentality of these clubs change. They now see a club just like them win a European Championship. The next time a larger club comes knocking on the door to "cherry pick" one of their best players away, maybe this time the smaller club says "no". They hold on to the players they have and try to build on the structure already in place. The transfer money offers makes it difficult, but if you are building a team you believe in I think you need to hold on to your "key Players".
The money in football makes it very hard for smaller clubs. I just would like them to see what can be accomplished. I think a win for Fulham could be beneficial for the EPL.
All of this talk brings me back to my favorite movie of all time. It is Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman. It is a story about a small Indiana high school basketball team that defies the odds and wins the State Championship. The coach asks his players if they have anything to say before they play the biggest game of their lives. In the movie Hoosiers, one player says " let's win this one for all the small schools who never had a chance to get here."
Don't get me wrong. I do want Fulham to win this match for themselves and their fans. But, I also hope it could be beneficial for other clubs just like Fulham. I also want Fulham to win the Europa League Final for all the small clubs in the EPL.