• Lights problem brings back memories of Braga
• Unidentified power surge is blamed for blackout
To have one set of floodlights fuse on you mid-match might be considered unfortunate: to have two looks like the most peculiar of footballing coincidences. Already plunged into darkness once this season during their Champions League match at Braga in November, Manchester United were again left bemused in the gloom as all four floodlights at Craven Cottage fused simultaneously just as Fulham defended a corner in the 42nd minute of their 1-0 Premier League win.
The hold-up was thankfully brief as 10 minutes later the floodlights just as abruptly came on again. The official explanation was that some unidentified power surge had tripped the main switch.
With the score 0-0 as half-time approached, there was a temptation to suggest the root cause might have been a high-strength hairdryer being switched on in the away dressing room. And while many present were grateful to have been spared any suggestion of electricity-company connivance had United, who were pressing for an opening goal at the time, dropped points in their Premier League title chase, there is still a puzzle as to how such things can happen in a league of such wealth and modernising spirit. Fulham are currently investigating.
Albeit, for all the inconvenience to ESPN, who were covering the game live, it must be said in its favour that Craven Cottage remains perhaps the top flight's most agreeably unreconstructed ground; a comfortable jumble of wooden panelling and old‑style posts and pillars.
With the lights out, and the stands lit by the glitter of hundreds of mobile phones, it even looked rather lovely.