Author Topic: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...  (Read 1189 times)

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2017, 07:51:02 AM »
Fulham may have lost but I was pleased they kept attacking right to the end - it's the romantic in me

Coumnist Chris Bishop reveals the football romantic side to him and has an answer to those who questioned his last blog post

Well that's it. Thank heavens, I can forget about football until August.

We can argue that Yann Kermogant handballed before Tomas Kalas - I thought it could have been a push. I was hoping he could chip a Leicester repeat for us, but he showed tremendous composure to stick in the bottom corner.

We could also argue that if Marcus Bettinelli had managed to outmuscle Chris Martin for that last minute header he could have done a much better job of putting it away. But then we are probably clutching at straws.

I enjoyed watching John Swift I think he will make a fine player. How he missed that goal in the second half, heaven only knows. I could see Bettinelli didn't know much about it.

What did please me was that Fulham kept attacking right to the death against a defence packed tightly in the six yard box. Sone Aluko - we all love you here in Africa - you only have to beat a guy once.

But Reading won comfortably by successfully strangling the running game; snuffed it out, ruthlessly.

Wasn't pretty was it?

"We won and that's all that matters."

So says one of my new Reading Twitter friends last night. I am not a hypocrite, I have probably said it myself down the years.

But isn't this why the South Americans and Europeans run rings round us ? Why we don't win World Cups? That desperate desire to choke games at the expense of attacking football.

Sorry I will always be a football romantic and there is nothing anyone can do to change my mind.

Speaking of which, I was choking with laughter when I saw the righteous wrath of Reading fans after my last column. Many seemed to be labouring under the misapprehension that I was writing a match report, which I was not. This publication asked me to write a blog as a Fan, not an analyst which I do not profess to be.

It always makes me laugh this online hectoring. Abuse always demeans an argument. It is the big chance for a computer programmer or shelf filler to make themselves feel important.

True, I wrote the last column in hot blood and maybe I should have slept on it, but some of this online bellowing was the sort of stuff you hear shouted at street corners after the pubs have closed.

"This guy claims to be a journalist," wrote another guy.

I have been a journalist for 36 years and won a string of awards reporting from scores of countries from South America to the South Pacific; I have walked through minefields, fought through tear gas, suffered truncheon blows and death threats in search of the truth.

More than once I have flown into war zones in Angola in the spiral - that is, for those of you who drive on the M4, the terrifying, death defying, spin in to land to avoid surface-to-air missiles. It was a lot more scary than tweets, I can tell you. I have been shoved into filthy cells, at gunpoint, in the cause of my craft and never gave up.

When anyone has the guts to do just one of the above they can talk to me about journalism. I tried to do you all the justice of a reply, in the interests of free speech, don't bother to write next time. Quite frankly, I am a busy editor and don't have the energy for this rubbish.

Another called me a plastic fan. What? in 1997 I flew from assignment in Zimbabwe to Heathrow and drove to Carlisle for and away game. It rained, but thankfully we won.

One online interaction did catch my eye. The bloke, whoever he is, who wrote a mock apology for Reading's performance at Fulham. It was a scream and sir you have a future as a comedy writer.

Speaking of which its only a blasted game. I try to put some perspective and humour into our passion. I tire of people who write about football as if it is an A-Level subject instead of the simple game we all grew up with.

Offline ..FOF..

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2017, 07:54:12 AM »
The only person I'm hoping we keep is Mr Joka himself.

He have proven with Watford and now Fulham that he knows how to give a team a shot at promotion.

The ball is in Tony and Shahid Khan's court to back him in the transfer windows.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 07:55:19 AM »
What issues will Fulham face after defeat in the Championship Play-off semi final?

The season came to an end in unfortunate circumstances - we take a look at the key issues that Fulham will face over the next couple of months

 So the season has come to a bitterly disappointing end that no one associated with Fulham wanted.

Instead of winning promotion to the Premier League we're all still trying to get our heads round the fact that it wasn't to be and that next season we'll be travelling to Hull, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Fulham fans can be proud though.

The team played some of the best football in the division and despite going down over two legs to Reading every single person at Craven Cottage this season can hold their heads high and be proud of the efforts the side put in over the course of year.

Now the building starts for an assault on the automatic spots next season - that has to be the aim now.

After coming so close this time, Slavisa Jokanovic will now want to skip the Play-offs all together and take one of those top two spots to see Fulham into the Premier League.

But now the season is over, where do Fulham go from here? We've taken a look at the key issues the side will face over the summer months ahead of the new season.

Keeping hold of Tom Cairney

 Dejected: Tom Cairney (Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images)

The vultures are already circling after the Cottagers Play-off defeat, most of whom have their eyes on Fulham's talisman Cairney.

This will be the biggest challenge Jokanovic will face over the close season, Cairney is 26-years-old now and will be thinking of what is best for his career - he may not get too many more chances to play in the Premier League.

He has always been fully committed to Fulham, his reaction to last night's defeat is testament to what he feels for this club and he would've loved to have played in the top tier with the side.

It wasn't to be, and with clubs like Newcastle sniffing round a chance to play in the Premier League may be too tempting, especially for a player in the prime of their career.

It would be a fantastic achievement for the club to keep hold of him, but this could go on and on over the summer.

Rebuilding the front line
Another key issue facing Fulham over the summer is their forwards, or lack of.

The side were crying out for a decent striker this season and one failed to arrive - Jokanovic never really fancied Gohi Cyriac while Chris Martin has had more twists and turns than an episode of Eastenders.

I'd be surprised if either remained at the club and that means Fulham will need to sign three strikers, and three good ones at that if they want to challenge for promotion again.

Of course, strikers are at a premium and it won't come cheap, but this will be a key bit of work for Tony Khan, Brian Talbot and Craig Kline in the summer.

You could perhaps say the lack of a quality striker cost Fulham this season, although they managed to score the joint most amount of goals in the division - just imagine what may have been achieved had they had themselves a 20-goal forward?

The future: Tony Khan

Turning loans in permanents
Tomas Kalas, Lucas Piazon, Cyriac, Thanos Petsos and Martin were all on loan this season, but only two of them need to be made permanent.

Signing Kalas and Piazon from Chelsea will be another issue Jokanovic faces, the defense has been a problem this season and Kalas has been phenomenal at the back.

While that was great for Fulham in the season, it's bad news now with everyone knowing what the Czech is capable of and there will be a number of suitors after him as well.

He has said previously that staying at Fulham would be the perfect scenario for him and Jokanovic wants to sign him, so hopefully it's a match made in heaven.

Piazon was the most impressive in the defeat on Tuesday night and looked good before his jaw injury against Cardiff and signing him wouldn't be the worst thing they could do to strengthen the attacking midfield roles.

Both players will have teams after them, the issue Fulham face is making sure they front the queue.

The Ryan Sessegnon situation

 Keeping hold of Sess: Ryan Sessegnon (Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire)

This could well be the saga of the summer, will he or won't he leave the Cottage?

Liverpool are confident they can land the 16-year-old during the transfer window, while Jokanovic insists the best place for him to continue his development is at Fulham.

A move to a club like Liverpool is enough to turn anybody's head, let's be honest, but hopefully the club can do enough to persuade the youngster that moving so early in his career isn't the best of moves and that he can grow into a world class player at the Cottage.

It won't be the end of the world if he does choose to leave, but it will certainly be a help if he stays.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2017, 07:59:59 AM »
Fulham must make a move for this 15-goal Derby County ace, should Cairney opt to leave

It will take some time for Fulham to get over the disappointment of their play-off semi-final defeat to Reading, with Slavisa Jokanovic’s side falling short in their quest for Premier League football, despite defying the odds to finish inside the Sky Bet Championship’s top-six.

With just eight-fixtures of the season remaining, Fulham found themselves eight-points behind Leeds United, but a magnificent run of form saw the Cottagers finish the season five-points ahead of the Whites.

Key to that run of form, and Fulham’s impressive performances across the season, has been Tom Cairney, who has scored 13 goals for the Cottagers this campaign.

Cairney added 11 assists to his goal tally, and with Fulham’s failure to gain promotion, there is plenty of speculation surrounding the 26-year old’s future.

Should Cairney leave Craven Cottage, Fulham are likely to land a handsome transfer-fee and they must invest it wisely to replace their best player.

Derby County’s Tom Ince is a player that Jokanovic could look to lure to Craven Cottage, with the 25-year old one of the Championship’s most high-profile players.

Cairney and Ince play in different roles within their respective teams, so should Fulham make a move for the Derby man, he wouldn’t be seen as a direct replacement for Cairney.

However, Ince has 15 goals and six assists across all competitions this season, which shows he could replace Cairney’s creativity at Fulham, should the Scottish international opt for a move away.

Ince has been a shining light in a disappointing campaign for Derby, and the Rams would not let him go on the cheap, but with Fulham certain to land a multi-million pound deal from Cairney’s potential departure, he would be well within their price range.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2017, 08:01:35 AM »

Kermogant kills off Fulham’s dream
by Dan on May 17, 2017

It just had to be a penalty that ultimately ended Fulham’s promotion dream, didn’t it? This one, awarded contentiously by Martin Atkinson after both Yann Kermogant and Tomas Kalas appeared to handle a bouncing ball in the box, was converted by Kermogant to send Reading to Wembley and extend Fulham’s wretched winless play-off record. After the raucous and somewhat riotous Royals celebrations afterwards, you could spot red shirts sinking to their knees disconsolate as Slavisa Jokanovic’s side ran out of gas approaching the penultimate hurdle in an extraordinary season.

Fulham certainly gave it everything, especially in a frenetic finale as they even pushed Marcus Bettinelli forward in search of goal that could have brought extra time, but you felt that the exhaustions of a punishing league and Cup campaign had caught up with the visitors – this might have been one game too many. Even though Fulham’s football wasn’t as fluent as it could have been – and you have to credit Jaap Stam for ensuring his side shackled Tom Cairney – they still carved out a host of excellent chances, with Ali Al-Habsi making a string of world class saves both before and after Kermogant banished his own play-off penalty demons in the second half.

The Omani goalkeeper had already smuggled Ryan Fredericks’ strike onto the post after a typical bustling run onto the post before he made a brilliant stop to claw away Cairney’s curling free-kick and then hauled himself up to thwart Sone Aluko from the rebound. In the second half, Al-Habsi smothered a shot from ex-Royal Lucas Piazon, made an outstanding reaction drive to tip Kevin McDonald’s placed drive over the crossbar after a brilliant burst from Aluko and then threw himself at the feet of Chris Martin when the substitute seemed well placed to equalise.

In the final minute of stoppage time, with Bettinelli a permanent fixture in the Reading box, Stefan Johansen swung over a cross from the left and Martin glanced a free header wide of the far post – summing up both a frustrating evening and an ultimately unfulfilling loan spell for the Scotland international. Fulham had soon plenty of application and endeavour but were punished for the lack of potency in the final third that has been the story of their season.

Reading were much more ambitious than at Craven Cottage on Saturday, roared on by a fired-up Madjeski crowd and they went close to taking the lead in the thirteenth minute when Kermogant shook off the attentions of both Kalas and the excellent Tim Ream to swivel and shoot at goal. It looked like the opening goal, only for Bettinelli to brilliantly palm it around his post.

The hosts started the second half in rousing fashion. Kermogant’s fine cross located Lewis Grabban in space, but the Bournemouth loanee’s attempted flick was easily gathered by Bettinelli. The tie’s crucial moment arrived just a minute later. Kermogant and Kalas chased a floated ball forward by van der Berg and, after the former Leicester striker had pushed the centre back, Atkinson adjudged the latter guilty of handball. TV replays suggested the French forward had also used his hand to try and gain possession, but that was all academic once Kermogant squeezed his spot-kick under the body of a disappointed Bettinelli, who had guessed right.

The Fulham goalkeeper recovered quickly as he palmed away a Grabban drive at goal to prevent Reading from doubling their lead just moments later and Bettinelli was in the right place at the right time to gather John Swift’s stabbed shot when the ex-Chelsea midfielder had almost the whole goal to aim after being perfectly picked out by Chris Gunter. For a moment it looked as if Fulham could be swept away by a Royal tide, but they came again – with wave after wave of attacks towards the end, but Jokanovic’s side couldn’t produce the piece of magic that would have been necessary to beat the inspired Al-Habsi.

READING (5-3-2): Al-Habsi; Gunter, Blackett (McCleary 66), Ilori, Moore, van der Berg; Evans, D. Williams, Swift (Kelly 75); Kermogant (Mendes 89), Grabban. Subs (not used): Jaakola, Gravenberch, Beerens, Popa.

BOOKED: Kermogant, Moore.

GOAL: Kermogant (pen 49).

FULHAM (4-1-2-3): Bettinelli; Fredericks, Malone (Martin 73), Kalas, Ream; McDonald; Cairney, Johansen; Aluko, Ayite (Sessegnon 58), Kebano (Piazon 58). Subs (not used): Button, Odoi, Parker, Cyriac.

BOOKED: McDonald, Johansen, Malone.

REFEREE: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire).


Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2017, 08:03:34 AM »
Aldershot's former Fulham and Millwall midfielder named England C player of the year

Aldershot Town midfielder Jake Gallagher named England C player of the year

Aldershot Town midfielder Jake Gallagher, who counts Fulham and Millwall among his former clubs, has been named the England C player of the year by manager Paul Fairclough.

Part of the National Game Awards, whose ceremony was held at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, Shots fans' favourite Gallagher won his ninth cap for the Three Lions in November and is now the most experienced member of Fairclough’s squad.

 Other awards…

Fair Play Award: Clitheroe FC

Unsung Hero: Albert Lant, founder and President of Concord Rangers

Fan of the Year: Andrew Betts, Stalybridge Celtic

Goal of the Season: Dave Tarpey, Maidenhead United

Cup Run of the Year: Lincoln City

Young Player of the Year: Sean Raggett

Step 3 & 4 Player of the Year: Dan Maguire, Blyth Spartans

Player of the Year: Alex Woodyard, Lincoln City

Golden Boot: Danny Rowe, AFC Fylde

Community Club of the Year: Sutton United

Lifetime Achievement Award: Andrew Morris, co-founder and Chief Executive of Westfields

Team of the Year: Lincoln City

Manager of the Year: Danny Cowley

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2017, 08:05:59 AM »
Report: Newcastle to table £12m bid for 26-year-old who has blown Benitez away

Newcastle United are preparing a formal bid of £12million for Fulham attacking midfielder Tom Cairney, according to a report.

The Telegraph claim the newly-promoted Premier League club will make a strong push to sign Cairney after failing to prise him from the west London club in January.

It is said that Cairney is flattered by Newcastle’s interest and is ready to tell Fulham that he wants to quit and join the north-east giants.

The Craven Cottage outfit have slapped a £20million valuation on the playmaker.

The Telegraph report that Magpies manager Rafael Benitez has been blown away by Cairney and regards him as one of the outstanding players in this season’s Championship.

The Scotland international, 26, has been regularly scouted by Newcastle’s recruitment team and they are confident that the player has what it takes to make an impact in the Premier League.

Cairney has a contract with Fulham that runs until 2019 with an option for a further 12 months but is ready to push for a move after they suffered promotion heartache with a play-off semi-final defeat at the hands of Reading.

Benitez is stepping up preparations for the north-east club’s return to the Premier League after they stormed to the Championship title this year.

The Spaniard is reportedly convinced that left-footed Cairney’s ability to dictate the play will translate from the second tier into the top flight.

The attacking midfielder made 51 Fulham appearances in total this season, scoring 13 goals and supplying a further 12 assists.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2017, 08:07:51 AM »
Jokanovic wants Fulham to show ambition

Slavisa Jokanovic has urged Fulham to be ambitious in the transfer market this summer if they want to compete for promotion next season.

The head coach fell out with the Whites board over transfer policy last summer and his team ultimately fell short in the play-offs, losing to Reading.

Asked if this season’s lessons will be learned, Jokanovic said. “They can be. It depends on what we are going to do in the summer, and if we are going to bring in what this needs.

“Next season is going to be complicated, like every other season. Half the Championship is going to push to get promoted. If we want to be in this half we need to be clever in this period in front of us.

“I expect our best players are going to stay with us. This is the information I have from the board of the club. They promised the most important players are going to stay with us.

“We are talking about being more clinical and more solid. We finished the season with two strikers who are loan players. I finished the season without a natural striker.

“We are going to rest and analyse what I believe is progress that we’ve made this season, but we must show ambition to be stronger in the period in front of us.”

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2017, 08:11:11 AM »
Fulham remain confident Ryan Sessegnon will sign pro contract at Craven Cottage... but it won't be until June as Premier League clubs circle

    Fulham starlet Ryan Sessegnon will celebrate his 17th birthday on Thursday
    The teenager has taken the Championship by storm during 2016-17
    Cottagers expect Sessegnon to pen a professional contract in June
    A number of Premier League clubs are keen on signing the youngster

Fulham wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon turns 17 on Thursday but is not set to celebrate his birthday by signing his first professional contract with the Championship club.

The west Londoners are still confident he will put pen to paper, but he is not due at their training ground on Thursday for any special announcement.

Turning 17 means Sessegnon is now eligible to sign a pro deal but Sportsmail has been told he will sign one next month instead. 

Ryan Sessegnon turns 17 on Thursday and as such is eligible for a professional contract

That is despite him attracting interest from Premier League clubs.

Meanwhile, Fulham’s board this week reassured Slavisa Jokanovic that they will not sell his best players this summer.

Sessegnon and Tom Cairney are among Fulham’s most coveted assets, but the Serb is happy with the messages he has received from his bosses since their play-off semi-final defeat by Reading.

Instead, Sessegnon is expected to put pen to paper on a pro deal at Fulham in June

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Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (18/05/17)...
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2017, 08:13:12 AM »
 Liverpool confident of wrapping up £15m deal for Chelsea and Arsenal target

LIVERPOOL reportedly expect to sign Fulham starlet Ryan Sessegnon this summer.

The 16-year-old has enjoyed an impressive breakout campaign at Craven Cottage.

And The Independent claim his performances have caught the eye of four big boys.

The credit Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City with interest in Sessegnon.

And they say the Reds are confident of securing his services in a £15m swoop.

Sessegnon predominantly plays at left-back, a problem position for Liverpool this term.

And it appears Jurgen Klopp is keen to recruit him as a long-term solution.

The Independent indicate Liverpool want to bolster their defence by signing Andrew Robertson, 23, too.

The Scotland international’s form has been a bright spot for relegated Hull this season.

And Klopp is apparently hoping to capitalise on their plight by landing him.