sport news Fulham show short notice is no problem for Scott Parker at Spurs

So, ultimately, Fulham were not doomed by a rogue executive decision, or the uniquely unfair and haphazard demands of another covid-blighted season.

Good crosses still bring goals. Good headers, too. Put the two together and great things can happen. Fulham got the point they thoroughly deserved, and justice was done. 

The Premier League were right to insist this match was played, and Fulham rose to the challenge. It was a good night for football, no matter the initial controversy

Scott Parker's Fulham rose to the challenge after the late fixture change this week

Scott Parker's Fulham rose to the challenge after the late fixture change this week

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And while they are the first to be called into action at relatively short notice, Fulham will not be the last. Southampton's match with Leeds is the latest fixture to bite the dust – bumped for Southampton's delayed FA Cup fixture with Shrewsbury – and Aston Villa have already requested their game with Everton be rearranged. 

As these spare games pile up, so inventive ideas must be entertained to clear the backlog. Playing who you can, when you can, really is the most straightforward solution.

And it is most certainly wasn't scandalous, as Fulham manager Scott Parker suggested. The idea that coaches are such advanced strategists that they require the best part of two weeks to prepare for a single match is relatively new anyway. It dates from season 1991-92, the year before the Premier League began.

Prior to that, games were frequently rearranged between Saturday and midweek. They were called FA Cup replays and for decades they thrived as keenly anticipated occasions in the season, with precisely the turnaround Fulham were given.

And, when that finally changed, it wasn't even football's idea. It was the police that decided they could not control FA Cup replays at less than ten days' notice, which altered the competition and English domestic football forever.

Ivan Cavaleiro is embraced by team-mates after snatching a point for Fulham at Tottenham

Ivan Cavaleiro is embraced by team-mates after snatching a point for Fulham at Tottenham

As a result of the new restrictions, one replay became the maximum permitted and we have now got it into our heads that a football match is such a complex pursuit it requires the same lead time as the Battle of Midway to make it possible.

Fulham's basic complaint was that they were not told to prepare for a game on Wednesday until Saturday. And while, yes, this is unusual in the Premier League era – like so much this season – it's really no different to an old-fashioned cup replay. It's what happened in every year, and every round, until pretty much the dawn of the Premier League. 

Back then, nobody made a fuss. In fact,

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