Should we complain about Fulham?
Hull City stole a march on both West Ham and Burnley on Saturday in their battle to avoid relegation after beating a weakened Fulham side 2-0 at the KC Stadium. West Ham lost 1-0 at home to Stoke City and of course we all know what happened to the Clarets on Sunday.
Fulham rested key players including captain, Danny Murphy and the influential,Damien Duff. Bobby Zamora was also absent although in this case it was announced he had stomach cramps and couldn't play. Guess you have to take them at their word!
Fulham gaffer, Roy Hodgson also confirmed on Match of the Day that the players were rested because the club had one eye on the Europa League Quarter Final match against Wolfsburg on Thursday night plus had a busy schedule coming up. Aw bless, try playing 61 games in a season like we did in 2008-9 with one of the smallest squad sizes in the Championship!
This may not be on the scale of Wolves fielding a virtual reserve team at Old Trafford but should not the same principle apply? Mick McCarthy picked up a suspended £25,000 fine for his actions hardly a punishment to fit the crime but could Fulham expect the same or worse?
West Ham think they might have grounds to complain.
Vital West Ham state that the internet is rife suggesting the Hammers could be looking to lodge a complaint relating to their West London neighbours, Fulham.
They also quote a West Ham source as follows:
'We are checking the rules.'
'Roy Hodgson said on Match of the Day he rested players as they had a lot of games coming up starting with Wolfsburg this week. Hull got very lucky with Fulham fielding a very weak side as they play Wolfsburg on Thursday.'
'Let`s hope they beat Wolfsburg and stay in the competition and do the same for us when we play them!'
This sort of thing,fielding weakened sides is clearly not within the spirit of the game and also not within the rules as Mick McCarthy found out to his cost.
The problem is though, the punishment handed out is minimal and it seems pointless to complain if there is no chance that the game would be declared null and void and have to be replayed. Fining the club,suspended or otherwise will hardly improve our promotion chances.
However if West Ham do complain, should we not back them up? This sort of behaviour surely has to be stamped out. Clubs are just making a mockery out of the situation. The Premier League Board on fining McCarthy also issued the following statement:
'In coming to this decision the board also wants to put clubs on notice that any future rule breach of this nature would be subject to a disciplinary commission that would have available a full range of sanctions.'
Perhaps it's time to once more test how much guts the PL Board actually have and see whether they would be prepared to come down stronger than they have in the recent past.
I suppose our fate is in our own hands and if we cant beat Pompey, Wolves and Blackburn at home we have little grounds to complain but even so this sort of thing still stinks in my opinion and is yet another case of 'Premier League? You are Having a Laff!'