Book Review: A Fulhamish Coming of Age (Fulham in Europe 1973–2003) by Alex Ferguson – The Traveller

Alex Ferguson started watching Fulham in the 1950s and did so through the many ‘ups and downs’ the club endured, until his untimely death in 2006. Alex became one of the most recognised, if not the most renowned fan of the club, following the ‘Lilywhites’ wherever and whoever they played. No matter if it was the first-team, the reserves, the youth team, Fulham Ladies – league, cup, testimonial, friendly; Alex was there. He also watched England at all levels with the same enthusiasm and fanaticism and his journeys with both club and country earned him the moniker of ‘The Traveller’.

Alex recorded the details of his years watching his footballing loves and these gave rise to two books published by Ashwater Press. The first in 2003 titled, ‘Pandora’s Fulhamish Box’ and the second in 2006 called, ‘A Fulhamish Coming of Age – Fulham in Europe 1973–2003’ which is reviewed here.

The book begins with an introduction from ‘The Traveller’ which tells the reader that this volume, “…chronicles thirty years spent watching Fulham Football Club competing in recognised UEFA competitions in Europe…comprising Anglo-Italian Tournament, Intertoto, UEFA Cup and Women’s UEFA Cup fixtures…” This equates to twenty three games, with each having their own chapter in the book.

In terms of style, the writing has the intimacy of a diary and therefore a language that is personal and in Alex’s case, a wit and quirkiness that requires the reader to think on their feet as they read. Each game is captured in terms of the facts of time, date, venue, line-ups, substitutions and goals. However, this book is not about page after page of match reports, instead the chapters are more anecdotal, as Alex shares details of the travel, the location, the atmosphere and his observations. The intuitive writing is complemented by a range of pictures, which show programme covers, tickets, posters, press cuttings and team sheets, giving a ‘scrapbook’ feel alongside the diary content. It is an immensely enjoyable read, with the contrast of the first European games in the early 70s and those thirty years later an interesting point of comparison. If I have a criticism and it is entirely a personal view, it is that I would have preferred a chronological lay-out of the chapters, so offering the flow of time and progression through the respective tournaments.

It is interesting to reflect on how the Intertoto fixtures in 2002/03 were written about by Alex as Fulham left the Cottage for their spell at Loftus Road. Thankfully by the time the book was published in 2005, ‘The Traveller’ was still around to see his beloved ‘Lilywhites’ return to the ancestral home by The Thames. Sadly just a year later, Alex died and it begs the question as to what he would have made of the European adventure that lead to the Europa League Cup Final in 2009/2010 and the disappointment of the campaign in 2011/12? Unfortunately we will never know…luckily though, we will always have this book as part of the legacy of ‘The Traveller’ who was there when it all began in 1973.


This book and other Ashwater Press titles can be purchased by visiting the following website:

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Posted May 19, 2013 by Editor in category "Reviews

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