There are certain grounds that everyone wants to play at. An obvious example is Wembley, which bears enormous historical significance, and the FA Cup semi-finals and final offer the chance to play there for those that progress that far.
For Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, Craven Cottage is proving to be every bit as iconic as the home of football. A disastrous performance at Fulham’s home ground in November 2008 proved to be something of a watershed in the Brazilian shot-stopper’s career in English football. Harry Redknapp had recently arrived as Spurs manager and had inherited a keeper low on form and confidence, making errors of judgement and technique aplenty. It was after this trip to play the Cottagers that Redknapp confesses his patience was pushed almost past the limit with the ex-PSV Eindhoven custodian. But for the presence of the transfer window, Redknapp might well have been tempted to enter the market immediately for a replacement, but fortunately for Gomes, he was unable to do so. The New Year did herald the arrival of Carlo Cudicini from Chelsea but he was hardly the headline signing that would threaten Gomes’s chance of establishing himself in the long term. A period of injury aside, Gomes has featured regularly since his horror show at the Cottage, and it is two games at the same venue in the last three months that best demonstrate why Redknapp will be glad he persevered with his man.
On his first return to Craven Cottage – the goalless Boxing Day draw earlier this season – Gomes began to lay his ghosts to rest with a star showing against a dominant Fulham attack. It was a performance he went on to repeat in Saturday’s FA Cup Quarter Final stalemate, with the scoreline not the only essence of d