Fuller Flavour: So proud to be Community Champion as the fighting spirit in the Blues camp continues apace

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 December 2018

Community champion Karl Fuller, with the referee, linesman, mascots and captains Luke Chambers and Billy Sharp, ahead of the match.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Community champion Karl Fuller, with the referee, linesman, mascots and captains Luke Chambers and Billy Sharp, ahead of the match. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Karl Fuller was Community Champion at Portman Road on Saturday and led the teams out. Here’s his take of a special day

Ellis Harrison celebrates with his team-mates after giving the Blues the lead.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMEllis Harrison celebrates with his team-mates after giving the Blues the lead. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Having spent a week since the win over Wigan with a feel-good factor hanging around, it was nice to reach Christmas with what must be said was another decent result against a good Sheffield United side.

Yes, there were times when The Blades dominated possession, and, on another day, they might well have scored more than the solitary goal that they did manage.

But what Town still lack in quality, they make up for in fight and endeavour.

Paul Lambert has instilled a fighting spirit in the squad which may just keep us in touch come the January transfer window when hopefully that missing quality, and indeed, experience, can help push us towards safety in the second-half of the season.

David McGoldrick battling with Jordan Spence in the first half.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMDavid McGoldrick battling with Jordan Spence in the first half. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

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I’m sure that most of you are aware now that I had the privilege of being the Community Champion for the game on Saturday, and what a humbling experience it proved to be.

I was very much aware that I would not have this honour bestowed upon me had it not have been for the generosity and kindness of so many others.

Whilst I took on the role as an individual, I made sure that I collectively had everyone with me in spirit.

With Sheffield United keeper Dean Henderson on the ground, Luke Chambers heads home, but his effort was ruled out by referee Andy Woolmer.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMWith Sheffield United keeper Dean Henderson on the ground, Luke Chambers heads home, but his effort was ruled out by referee Andy Woolmer. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

I was lucky to have family and friends with me to support me on the day.

Being the superstitious sort, I also secretly hoped that those with me would bring us some luck too. For example, my wife had only been to one game previously and that was the 1-0 UEFA Cup win over Inter Milan.

My mum was present too and she’d been to the total sum of four matches over the past 40 years and we’d won all of those.

The biggest pressure felt was by my daughter Lola attending her first game.

Town manager Paul Lambert has a word in the ear of Ellis Harrison, after bringing him off the pitch to bring on substitute Jordan Roberts.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMTown manager Paul Lambert has a word in the ear of Ellis Harrison, after bringing him off the pitch to bring on substitute Jordan Roberts. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

She was fully aware that the first time my other three children attended games, they’d all seen a win. Ok, we didn’t win, but in all honesty, I would have taken avoiding defeat before the game, so it was kind of mission accomplished.

I started the day with an interview with Mark Murphy on Life’s a Pitch where I had the pleasure of also meeting Russell Osman for the first time.

Then after hospitality in the Champions Lounge, a pitchside interview with Rob Chandler started the old nerves to jangle a little. Then onto the tunnel I went to meet the match referee and a briefing of what was required from me in leading the teams out.

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Town fans applauding.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMTown fans applauding. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

At this stage I need to say a massive thank you to Dan Palfrey who was brilliant in looking after me and ensuring everything ran smoothly and making the occasion as good as it was.

I can’t really explain the surreal feeling I had when walking out onto the pitch and subsequently to the centre spot.

I kissed the match ball before placing it down in the hope that it would bring us some luck and I will never forget this experience for the rest of my days.

My usual view in row b of the lower tier of the Sir Bobby Robson stand doesn’t always give me the best perspective of games so it was nice to enjoy a different view from the middle tier of the Co-op stand.

I did wonder at some of the decisions that went against us, especially the foul on Trevoh Chalobah by Oliver Norwood who only received a yellow card for his actions. It’s when you look back at Toto Nsiala’s red card at Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the season that increases the frustration with the lack of consistency from one match official to another.

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I cannot end this week’s column without offering my sincere condolences to the family of Les Godfrey who sadly passed away at the end of last week.

Les was for many years, the Chairman of the Clacton-on-Sea branch of supporters whom I travelled to many games with in the late 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s.

Les was a true gentleman loved by all and my thoughts are with all the family at this sad time.

Finally, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and here’s hoping for another good result at QPR on Boxing Day. Have a great one.

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