Steve Sidwell can’t stand the thought of dropping out of the Premier League, as Fulham continue their battle against relegation on Sunday.
The Cottagers welcome Everton to the capital for a match both sides are desperate to win, albeit for differing reasons. Whilst the Toffees now have genuine hope of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, Felix Magath’s side are rock bottom of the standings and five points adrift of 17th placed West Bromwich Albion.
Fulham managed to win their last home game, against Newcastle United, and although they followed this up with a 5-0 mauling at Manchester City, it has at least given them something to build on as they look to avoid the drop. And Sidwell certainly hopes they can push on from the win against the Magpies, as he feels dropping out of the top-flight is something he simply will not be able to live down for the remainder of his life.
“I can’t contemplate life outside the Premier League,” he told The People. “I played in the Championship for many years and know it is a tough, tough league to get out of. We don’t want to be in that situation. I said in a meeting to the lads: ‘It is not just about the Fulham badge any more, it is about the badge on the sleeve. It is not just you that wears it but other people who take pride in it’. Whether that be our kids at school, our parents or grandparents…they all have association with that badge as much as we do.
“Everyone needs to take that on board and keep that badge on there for next year. I am obviously giving my all and hopefully showing the club what I am worth. I love it here. I was born not far from the training ground and all my family are around the area. When we finish playing football, the foreign lads can go back to their own countries but I will always be based around here. So if we go down it will always be me associated with it.”
Sidwell, 31, is out of contract in the summer, yet he clearly hopes to be offered fresh terms if the Cottagers remain in the Premier League. The midfielder has been one of their main performers this term and is their leading goalscorer with six goals in 31 appearances, and he will likely play a key part in their bid to avoid relegation to the Championship.