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General Category => Archive => Daily Fulham Stuff => Topic started by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:19:20 AM

Title: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:19:20 AM
Bobby Zamora and Michael Owen for the World Cup? Definitely insists England legend Teddy Sheringham

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 10:46 AM on 23rd February 2010

Teddy Sheringham feels Fulham striker Bobby Zamora could be a shock inclusion in England's World Cup squad.
Zamora has impressed for Roy Hodgson's men this term and scored the winner in Sunday's win over Birmingham with a fierce free-kick.

'Bobby Zamora has come on the scene, he is scoring goals and playing with a lot of confidence,' said Sheringham.

'Confidence makes the difference. Bobby is at the top of his game and people are talking about him being a candidate.

'There is a chance for everybody and anybody to turn things around, play better and get in the squad.'

Sheringham also refuses to accept time has run out for another striker - Manchester United's Michael Owen - to force his way into Fabio Capello's thoughts

'It is still early days, if Michael played the next four or five games and scored three or four goals then all of a sudden he's back in the good books and you'd have him in the squad,' said the former Tottenham forward.

'You know he can score goals at the top level, if you give him a half chance he will take it. At the moment he is not scoring or playing, but things can change very quickly in football so we'll see.'

Sheringham was at Wembley yesterday with former strike partner Alan Shearer as part of the England 2018/2022 bid where Morrisons was announced as a new official partner.

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:21:13 AM
Ex-Inter boss Roy Hodgson backs Fulham's west London rivals Chelsea in duel with Jose Mourinho's Italian champions

By Christopher Davies Last updated at 2:24 PM on 23rd February 2010

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, who had two spells coaching Inter Milan in the Nineties, believes Chelsea's experience will be a key factor at San Siro tomorrow.   

Hodgson knows first-hand the passion generated by Inter fans on European nights but is confident the Chelsea players can handle the atmosphere. 

He said: 'The good thing is Chelsea have a lot of experience and every one of their players will have played there before, I'm sure. For Carlo Ancelotti it's a return home. 

'The tie sees the best Italy have to offer and one of England's best teams. There is a belief the Premier League is better than Serie A but it's dangerous to say this league is behind that league. 

'If you can pan out all the teams in a league and work out how number 12 in Italy would do against number 12 in England it might be easier...but with the very top teams in any of the big European leagues there is very little to choose between them. 

'We saw that last week with AC Milan and Manchester United. It took United a while to get going and they needed a couple of great goals to win the match. 

'Inter are a stronger team than Milan, I don't think anyone would question that. For Chelsea the task of going to San Siro and playing a really strong team is one that will test them.'

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:24:58 AM
Manchester United back in the chase for QPR wonderkid Raheem Sterling

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 11:08 AM on 22nd February 2010

Manchester United's youth chief Brian McClair ran the rule over QPR whizz kid Raheem Sterling at the weekend as the Premier League champions joined the race to sign the 15-year-old hot prospect.

Manchester City, Arsenal and Fulham all want to sign attacking midfielder Sterling and McClair was in attendance as a VIP guest at QPR's latest Under 18 match in a personal scouting mission, says The Mirror.

Rangers' valuation of the player has so far stalled any deal but United's interest appears strong enough to be willing to thrash out a fee.

Sterling was born in Jamaica but raised in London, and has represented England at youth level.

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:28:22 AM

Champs Donetsk confident of more Europa excitement

BERNE: Holders Shakhtar Donetsk believe it will be good for soccer if they beat Fulham tomorrow to qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League.

“Our team deserves to play in the final phase of any tournament it takes part in because we show a spectacular game which is interesting for everyone,” said Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu.

“We will have to find ways to break them down as well as to reach the penalty area ... I hope the refereeing in Donetsk will help the spectacular and skilful football but not the physical one.”

The Ukrainians were beaten 2-1 by their Premier League opponents in the first-leg in London last week.

Lucescu, who has six Brazilians in his squad, said last week’s tie was between contrasting teams.

“It was a duel between two completely different styles of playing,” said the Donetsk coach. “Fulham were based on their physical strength and long passes.

“We construct our game with technique and fast dribbling. In my opinion it all resulted in a spectacular and exciting match for the fans.”

Donetsk lived up to Lucescu’s billing in the first-half of the group phase, scoring four goals in each of their first three games.

However, they failed to win or score a goal in their last two matches in the section.

The Europa League, widely regarded as the poor relation of the Champions League, is the last realistic chance of a trophy this year for former European champions Juventus and Liverpool who each won it three times in its previous incarnation as the UEFA Cup.

The tournament is a consolation prize after Juve and Liverpool finished third in their Champions League groups.

Juve won their first leg 2-1 at Ajax Amsterdam although they cannot be over-confident following the 4-1 home defeat by Bayern Munich which knocked them out of the Champions League in December.

Five-time European Cup winners Liverpool are in a trickier position as they take a slender 1-0 lead to Romania for their second-leg against Unirea Urziceni.

Spain’s four teams all face the threat of elimination, three of them having drawn at home last week.

Villarreal visit Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg, having been held 2-2, while Athletic Bilbao visit Anderlecht and Atletico Madrid make the long haul to Turkey’s Galatasaray after 1-1 stalemates.

Valencia, beaten 1-0 at Club Bruges, may rue their failure to score an away goal when they host the Belgians.

The Spaniards are without David Silva, who was sent off in the first leg. — Reuters
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:31:22 AM

Etuhu relishing first-team return

Tue, 23 Feb 19:49:15 2010

Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu has welcomed the chance to finally get a run of games under his belt in recent weeks.

The Nigeria midfielder started the season in impressive form, but missed several weeks with injury and then represented his country at the African Nations Cup, with Chris Baird and Kagisho Dikgacoi impressing in his absence.

He has played five games in succession since returning against Bolton, though, and told the club's official website: "It is good to be back. It felt like a very long time since I last pulled that white shirt on.

"If I'm honest it has been a frustrating season for me so far. I got injured at the start of October and then I picked up another not too long after I was back. I also found myself out of the starting line-up for a bit too.

"That's how you have to be because this is a team game, and when my chance came along I made sure I took it. It was a bit fortunate because it kind of coincided with the loss of KG (Dikgacoi) which was a shame as he had been doing very well.

"But it has been nice playing for Fulham again, I had missed it and hopefully there is a lot more to come from me now."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:35:26 AM

Why would Bobby Zamora leave Fulham this summer?

Why would Bobby Zamora leave Fulham this Summer? This is the question I am pondering today. I was on one of my favorite sites today I noticed one of the posts was regarding Bobby Zamora. The post on was entitled " Who are we going to lose Zamora to in the Summer".

My first thought that came to my mind was why? I read the reasons in the comments behind the original post. The reasons I was reading from posters ranged from "Bobby Zamora doesn't like it here" to Fulham is a "small club".

The first reason "Bobby Zamora doesn't like it here" is an interesting question. I have seen some of the gestures he has made after scoring goals. Is that gesture meant for the fans or is it meant for his critics? I haven't read or seen anywhere that he is unhappy at Fulham. If he was so unhappy why did he want to stay at Fulham rather than go to Hull?

The second reason I read was Fulham could lose him this summer because they are a "small club". This reason to me is the real argument. In past the larger clubs would take the best players from the smaller clubs over the summer. They can offer more money and possibly European football. I can see why many people would automatically think Bobby Zamora will likely be gone this summer. A team in the "big four" or like Manchester City can cherry pick and get whoever they want.

I personally think he will stay this summer. First, he is under contract with Fulham. He is not free to just walk. Second, if he is happy with the club and flourishing in this system why would he want to leave? He is a key person in the club and scoring goals at a great pace. Third, if the club values him like I think they do, they should do everything they can to make sure he stays. They might be a "small club," but if the desire of the player is to stay and the team wants him to stay I think combined sides can make it happen. I would hope that Fulham would try to offer him a new contract to ward off new bidders this summer.

The "Brede Hangeland" saga this summer is a perfect example of what I just described. Every day from say June until the transfer window closed it seemed I read somewhere that he would be leaving to a bigger club. Arsenal was the club mentioned the most in regards to Brede Hangeland. Brede made it public he wanted to stay, but it was obvious he was looking for a better contract from Fulham. This saga continued the whole summer. Even when Hangeland went public with his desire to stay the media still kept saying he was in "play" with another team. What happened in the end? Brede Hangeland signed a new contract with Fulham and stayed with the team. There was a desire by both sides to make it happen.

In my opinion as long as there is a desire for both sides to continue to work together Bobby Zamora will continue to be a Fulham player.

Posted by Fulham-Pats Fan at 11:28 AM 
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:39:15 AM

Captain Cana issues rallying cry

Author:  Nigel Brown

Posted on:23 February 2010 - 04:00 PM

Captain Lorik Cana insists free-falling Sunderland are good enough to retain their Premier League status.

The Wearsiders saw their winless Premier League run extended to 13 games after losing 2-0 at Arsenal on Saturday.

The Black Cats have plummeted from the top eight down to their current 14th place in the table, but Cana believes their fortunes will improve when manager Steve Bruce is finally able to name his first-choice line-up.

Combative midfielder Lee Cattermole will return from suspension for Saturday's visit of Fulham to the Stadium of Light.

"The players that came in against Arsenal did well, but we have Catts back for the next game and that is so important," Cana told The Journal.

"I really believe that when we have our strongest XI, we can do well against any team in this league.

"Having me and Catts on the pitch for the rest of the season is very important.

"The manager has told us that this is the time for us to show great spirit. I agree with him and think that we showed that against Arsenal.

"If we take that mentality into these next four or five home games, then I am confident we will be okay.

"I am a fighter, I never give up, but I think we have a team who have great fighting spirit."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:44:08 AM

Roy Hodgson’s miracles at Fulham

Date: 23rd February 2010 at 3:56 pm

Roy Hodgson has been a much travelled manager in his time, meaning he must have picked up a lot of skills and knowledge. He can look at his current post at Fulham and be proud of his achievements, and the desire to want more from a club that looks well equipped to compete now, and in the future.

Fulham supporters have every right to feel optimistic, especially due to the fact that the club is playing European football this season. They will be hoping for the same next season. Considering they finished in an impressive seventh place last term, the question of second season syndrome was put to them. That has been answered with another campaign that has shown a lot promise, whilst Hodgson is bringing the best out of players that were under-achieving before. The key has been putting a team together that has a mixture of unheard of players or players who looked to be stalling with their careers.

Players such as Mark Schwarzer, Brede Hangeland and Erik Nevland have been successful signings, although the player that has really shone is Bobby Zamora. Going shopping for bargains from abroad shows the understanding the manager has. Hodgson has shown that he can get the best out of a player who has always looked like he is ready to deliver. Zamora must be one of the leading candidates to be named as Fulham’s player of the season. He has been on a great goal-scoring run, and has caught the attention of England manager Fabio Capello.

The intention of spending and the financial resources available to Fulham will be looked at if Hodgson is to make the squad stronger. When the owner happens to be Mohamed al Fayed then there must be a temptation to try and buy your way to glory. The squad does not have a Wayne Rooney or a Cesc Fabregas but their core players like Damien Duff, Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora, Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland are playing at a level that is sufficient enough. As good as those players are will Fulham be able to attract a Champions League player? You get the feeling that finishing between seventh and tenth position is well within the club’s grasp, but Hodgson may have the ambition of ending further up the table should the next couple of seasons see a real progression.

Rather than give false hopes and expectations to fans, Hodgson continues to reiterate that the priority is the Premier League, even with the excitement of the Europa League and the fact that they are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. This probably comes from the fact that they survived relegation in the most amazing circumstances two seasons ago. Fulham used to talk about becoming the Manchester United of the south, but the strategy has been changed to a more realistic one. Along with that they have also altered away from developing the picturesque Craven Cottage stadium which sits on the banks of the Thames.

All in all, Hodgson’s years abroad seem to have made him appreciate the demands of English football. He has shown that to the Fulham faithful because his team always tries to play the game with style. The fans may be worried that all the good work will come to an end, judging by Hodgson’s timeline for staying at one club, but it seems that at his age, 62, he will not be using Fulham as a stepping stone for pastures new. The chance to cement himself as one of the club’s great managers is there for him.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:46:09 AM

Bobby for England in 2010

By: timmyg | February 23rd, 2010

Ollie Irish over at Who Ate all the Pies is polling his readers if Bobby Zamora is good enough for England. He personally thinks not and offers actual (compared to others, which I’ll get to later) rationale:

It’s not that I don’t think he’s a very strong striker who is capable of unsettling most defenders. It’s not that I don’t like him as a player – believe me, I’d LOVE to see him score the winning goal in the World Cup final and then ‘Shhhh’ Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. It’s simply that his playing style is not well-suited to international football – put him in an England shirt and he wouldn’t get away with half of the physical stuff he does in the Prem. That’s a problem, and other big front men such as Peter Crouch have experienced it before on the international stage. Even Alan Shearer had to tone down his natural elbows-and-all game for the Three Lions.

Although I don’t see Zamora as being that physical, he does have a point. Like with most ‘good’ college quarterbacks in American Football, I think he is excelling within the team’s system — a system that sees him as more than just a hold-up/target man. But, when taken out of the system, questions arise.

Compare this to members of the ESPN Soccernet podcast, excluding Fulham fan Adam Williams, TalkSport, and the always open-minded Alan Hansen on MOTD2 who shrugged such suggestions without giving any particular reasons.

In the other camp, besides all the Fulham fans, is Teddy Sheringham. Me? Well…

Although it’s not my national team, I don’t see why Bobby shouldn’t be given a chance in the upcoming match against Egypt. In fact, it’s probably going to happen considering the match is next week; it’s a midweek friendly that, although at Wembley, most of the big names will sit out; and Capello is known to give ‘fringe’ players opportunities.

The irony to this debate, which is something no one has really discussed is that in August he and Jlloyd Samuel got passports to play for Trinidad and Tobago. But had it not been for an injury in training, Zamora would have played against the United States in a September World Cup Qualifier. Which in turn would make this entirely moot.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:47:51 AM

By Mike Barton

Peterborough defender Gabriel Zakuani has agreed to stay at London Road - regardless of whether the club are relegated in May.

The 23-year-old, who has yet to play this year due to injury, is under contract until 2012 after signing permanently from Fulham in 2008 and insists he wants to remain a part of the side even if Posh are in League One.

"I'm not one to make a fuss or cause problems. I have a contract for two more seasons at the end of this one and I've always been treated well here," he said.

"It's been a frustrating season for me and the team, but I'm back in full training with the squad now and it feels great."

The Congolese centre-back still believes that his side have something to play for this season and that they can avoid relegation despite being bottom of the Championship and 10 points adrift of safety.

"To be honest I am not thinking about next season yet because we still have a chance of avoiding relegation. It will be a tough task, but we will be trying as hard as we can and I want to play my part," he said.

"But if we do go down I would want to be part of a team that can come straight back up again the following season."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:49:58 AM

The Baird necessities

by Dan on February 23, 2010

Interesting stat from Football 365:

Right-back Chris Baird had more touches of the ball than any other Premier League player this weekend.

Impressive considering just how badly his – and Fulham’s afternoon started.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:52:24 AM
Donetsk Transport Details

Tuesday 23rd February 2010

Fulham FC News

We have been advised by the Donetsk Police that a free transport service will be provided on Thursday evening for supporters who are making their way from Donetsk city centre to the Donbass Arena.

Coaches will be arranged to take Fulham fans from the Hotel Liverpool directly to the Stadium. The coaches will depart at 6:30pm local time . Fans are advised that the coaches will also be making the return journey after the game.

For your own convenience and safety you are strongly advised to use this means of transportation to reach the stadium.

The Hotel Liverpool is centrally located at 131a Artema Str.


Please note that no alcohol will be permitted on board the coaches and fans are also reminded that due to UEFA regulations, there will be no alcohol on sale inside the stadium.

Supporters who have booked the Official Club charter package will be provided with separate transfer coaches to and from the game. A full itinerary containing further details will be given to all supporters who have booked on to the charter when they check-in at Gatwick Airport for the outbound flight on Thursday morning.

If any supporters require assistance during their stay in Donetsk, they can reach Supporter Relations Manager Tommy Guthrie directly on 07717 225 164 . Alternatively, you can also contact the Club in London on 0870 442 1222 during office hours.

We hope you have a fantastic trip.

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:54:33 AM

Are Fulham really ‘overachievers’?

by Dan on February 23, 2010

The MOTD2 introduction to our game with Birmingham on Sunday enraged a few fans. Adrian Chiles surmised that Fulham and the Blues were punching above their weight. Either he slept through last season (entirely possible given how poorly West Brom performed) or he’s forgotten that we’ve been in the top flight for eight years and have been steadily improving under Roy Hodgson.

This piece puts it a little more politely, but I personally am bridling at these assertions of overachieving. Hodgson certainly would want a top half finish this season I’m sure.

At the same time Fulham are looking  set to duplicate last season’s top half finish and are in good positions in both the FA Cup and Europa League.  There are even some suggestions out there that Fulham’s victory over Shakhtar Donetsk has elevated them to being one of the favorites to win the tournament. With great players at every position, including Bobby Zamora, who is being tipped for an international call up, Roy Hodgson has done a marvelous job guiding his team into 9th place.

In a league that tends to relate money with success Birmingham and Fulham have managed to play their way into the top half with only minimal investments.  The main key for both of these teams has been their brilliant managers and untiring work ethic.  These two teams further illustrate the class that permeates the Barclay’s Premier League. It may be big spending clubs that make the league famous around the world, but it’s teams like Fulham and Birmingham that make the Premier League competitive and keep the others honest.

It’s difficult to argue with the sentiment but if Hodgson stays for a while by the Cottage shouldn’t mid-table be our expected level?
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 06:55:48 AM

Fulham v Shakhtar Europa League Second Leg Betting and Preview

Bobby Zamora will go into this game against Shakhtar knowing that if he can carry on where he left off in the first leg at Craven Cottage but this time score the opening goal, he would give Fulham a massive chance of getting through this very tough Europa League Round of 32 tie.

Zamora of course scored a stunning match winner against the UEFA Cup Champions a week ago which gave Fulham a 2-1 first leg win but he knows that to score a goal in this match would be absolutely priceless. The striker has odds of 9/1 to score the first goal and 13/5 to score at anytime during the match with Bookmakers, paddypower which, if based on his current form, are very attractive.

Shakhtar start the match as favourites however, with most bookmakers quoting them at 1/2 odds on to win the match, while Fulham fans will be quick to pounce on the 11/2 offered about them winning the game or indeed the 14/5 odds about the draw.

2010 Europa Cup Betting.

If Fulham are to win then now is probably the right time to do so. Shakhtar are only midway through a winter soccer recess and have been largely inactive since December; that is certainly the reason their manager, Mircea Lucescu blamed on the first leg defeat. Certainly they looked a little out of touch when Fulham took the lead at Craven Cottage, but it has to be said that their excellent football instincts surfaced soon after and they looked a very good team on the night.

£100 FREE Europa League Bet from Paddy Power

We therefore think that Shakhtar will get through this tie, but they might well have to go all the way on penalties to do so. They are an excellent football team who have a fantastic home record and they proved last season that they have the pedigree to go all the way. We fancy therefore, that a 2-1 Shakhtar win (aet) is on the cards here and would back that with odds of 11/2 provided by Paddy power. We would also consider backing them to win the Europa League outright with odds of 16/1.

Match Betting

1/2 Shakhtar
14/5 Draw
11/2 Fulham

Correct Score Betting Options

1-0 Shakhtar win – 9/2
2-0 Shakhtar win – 11/2
2-1 Shakhtar win – 11/2
1-1 Draw – 13/2
0-0 Draw – 9/1
3-0 Shakhtar win – 10/1
3-1 Shakhtar win – 10/1

All odds Courtesy of PaddyPower
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 10:51:00 AM

Mourinho not right for Liverpool

Tue Feb 23 02:14PM

First, some fantastic news. My wife Joanna gave birth to a boy, Ethan Daniel, last Friday at 2pm weighing 8lb 12oz. They are both doing really well and we are absolutely delighted with our new arrival.

On to football matters, and I genuinely believe that Chelsea will come through their Champions League tie against Inter Milan. I think they possess too much quality all over the pitch for a clearly talented Inter side; the resolve and strength that Chelsea have shown week in, week out gives them every opportunity to advance. The power and athleticism that Chelsea possess in every position will be extremely difficult for Inter to compete with.

Naturally, the English game has missed a character like Jose Mourinho since he left Stamford Bridge. He was always a little controversial and had something to say, but he certainly managed to produce the goods. Personally, I couldn't see him at Liverpool. I believe the right person to take the club forward is an individual who has a real understanding of the history and heritage that lies behind the club. His credentials and experience are excellent and he continues to impress at Inter Milan, but I don't personally see him as an ideal fit with Liverpool.

For all the talk of managerial 'mind games', they generally don't tend to have an effect on the players. It has become part and parcel of the game nowadays and I think players have become used to focusing solely on their football. If anything, mind games can backfire as they could motivate the opposition to counteract what has been said, and raise their game. Certainly players at the top of their game will understand the importance of focusing solely on what they can control, which is what they do on the pitch.

Personally, I love watching Champions League fixtures as I think most players do. I think it fascinating to see some of the world's finest teams competing, observing the different styles of plays, sampling the different stadia, taking in the atmosphere that the crowds create in these great spectacles.

I do tend to watch a lot of football in general to keep on top of everything that is going on, and the Champions League is certainly a competition that I enjoy greatly. I am only unable to view games if I am playing myself or I am travelling to an away fixture. I do tend to watch highlights or record games, as I am a firm believer that it is good to educate yourself by watching as much football as possible.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:05:30 AM

Fulham won't sit back and defend against Shakhtar, says Chris Baird

Feb 24 2010 By Jacob Murtagh

FULHAM will be asking for trouble if they go to Shakhtar Donetsk playing for a draw tomorrow night, according to Chris Baird.

The Whites travel to the Ukraine with a 2-1 lead from the first leg, thanks to Bobby Zamora's winner.

And Baird admits they can't sit back and defend their slender advantage if they stand any chance of making it into the last 16 of the Europa League.

He warned: "They're the holders, so it's always going to be tough. We can't sit back otherwise we're going to create a lot of problems for ourselves.

"We'll be looking to score – we always do when we're away. Hopefully we can progress."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:06:38 AM

Birmingham boss Eck: Danns, Johnson will learn from facing Fulham’s Zamora

24.02.10 |
Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish believes his defenders Roger Johnson and Scott Dann will benefit from the lesson they were handed by Fulham striker Bobby Zamora.

Zamora was outstanding in Fulham's win on the weekend.

"Scott and Roger have adapted brilliantly to playing in the Premier League and have quite rightly earned the plaudits," McLeish told

"But against Fulham they had a hard game against one of the best strikers in the league. Zamora has done it to more experienced defenders than Scott and Roger.

"If they want to aspire to step up to the next level they've got to overcome players like Bobby Zamora.

"Hopefully Sunday will be a great learning curve for them."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:13:32 AM,19764,11065_3151108,00.html

On-loan midfielder Wayne Brown is ruled out as he is still receiving treatment on an ankle injury at parent club Fulham.

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:17:00 AM
Ask Shorey

Tuesday 23rd February 2010

Fulham FC News

Nicky Shorey has made an impressive start to his loan spell with the Whites following his January switch from Aston Villa.

The Whites remain unbeaten in the Barclays Premier League since Shorey's arrival at the Club and have conceded just one goal in the last five league fixtures.

Now we're giving you an exclusive chance to question Shorey on anything you like, so submit your questions on Cottage Corner today and we'll find out the anwsers to your best questions later this week.

Ask your questions now|   

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:18:00 AM
Shakhtar Screening

Wednesday 24th February 2010

Fulham FC News

Don't worry if you can't make it to Donetsk for our away leg in the UEFA Europa League, you can cheer the Team on with fellow Fulham fans at one of our stylish bars at the Cottage (from 5pm, Thursday 25 February).

We are also offering a great value food and drink deal - a beer and a pie for just £5 .

After Fulham's great performance in the home leg, this is a game you won't want to miss!

Register your interest
Register your interest now   
Name*  Please enter your name
Email*  Please enter email
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Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:19:03 AM
Full-on Sale

Tuesday 23rd February 2010

Fulham FC News 

Still time to buy, with 60% off

|The ‘Full-on Sale’ is still on, and with up to 60% off| selected items now is the perfect time to pick up your Official Fulham merchandise. Your purchases can be made at the official online store| , or either of the Club’s retail stores found on Fulham Road and at Craven Cottage.

Recently added Nike items include the Club Zip Training Top| , available in both black and red, and in a wide range of sizes, as well as the official Club Rain Jacket| .

Now organised by price

Now fans can see what is on sale by price, making it easier on our supporters to work to a budget on some great items.  Need a gift under £5?|   Why not pick up a Europa League Baseball Cap| . Looking for something under £10| ?  How about our great Originals Half and Half Polo| ?

You can even see what is on sale under £20| or, if you are looking for that extra special gift, check out what is over £20 but still part of our full-on sale.

With items in limited supply now is the time to buy all the latest Fulham FC merchandise.

Such great prices and so much variety, treat yourself today as this sale will end soon.

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:20:59 AM

Club Focus - Sunderland - Bruce feels pressure as another relegation battle looms

By Alex Hendrikson

After Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday left the Black Cats hovering just three points above the relegation zone, Steve Bruce admitted that his team are embroiled in yet another relegation dogfight.

He cited injuries as one of the key reasons that the north-east club finds themselves in their current predicament but maintained that positive signs are evident: “We have been struck down with big players missing. I don’t want to make excuses and the signs have been good in the last four weeks. We are getting back to where we were at the beginning of the season with that resilience we had.” Admittedly, Bruce’s side did put on a spirited display and if - amongst others - Kenwyne Jones had finished off relatively simple chances the result could have been very different. The north London side only put the game beyond the Wearsiders on the stroke of full-time after a questionable penalty was awarded when Fraizer Campbell was judged to have fouled Cesc Fabregas inside the box. Bruce - who was yesterday fined £2,500 for comments regarding Andre Mariner’s sending off of Michael Turner against Manchester City in December - was less than happy about the decision, arguing the infringement was outside the area. Unfortunately for Sunderland, points are not given for doggedness, determination and effort and the Black Cats will need put on this kind of showing in upcoming winnable home games against the likes of Fulham, Bolton and Burnley.

Bruce faces a huge challenge in turning the fortunes of the club around before the end of the season, and there are certainly signs that he is feeling the pressure from an expectant support. On Saturday morning comments appeared in the press that suggested the team was feeling the weight of expectation when playing in front of the Stadium of Light crowd. The Sunderland manager said: “This is a great club with great support but, let’s be fair, there’s not much else to shout about apart from our football teams up here. We are out on a limb, away from everybody, so when it goes well we are the greatest place on earth but, if not, it is batten down the hatches time.” Aside from the questionable assertions about the pros and cons of life in the north-east, Bruce is on shaky ground when pointing his finger - albeit vaguely - at the irritability of a Wearside crowd. Yes, criticisms are being made, and they are often very vocal and made during the game, which certainly does not help the players. However, Sunderland’s long suffering support has seen their team put through this kind of position time and time again and with the huge investment that has been pumped into the club over the past two seasons it was not unrealistic for fans to hope avoid a relegation battle at the commencement of the season.

One positive aspect to emerge from Saturday’s fixture was the performance of Kieran Richardson. The ex-Manchester United man has found himself on the fringes of the side this season and often played out of position due to the form of Andy Reid in his usual left-sided midfield position. With Reid’s hamstring injury it looks like Richardson will be given another chance to prove his worth and he got off to an excellent start against Arsenal. Playing as an attacking midfielder he put in an industrious performance and the majority of Sunderland’s quality play went through him. His best moment came when playing an eye-of-the-needle pass through the Gunner’s two centre-backs, putting Jones through on goal, however the striker missed badly. Less encouraging was the performance of George McCartney at left-back. Theo Walcott gave the Northern Ireland international a torrid time, constantly out-pacing him and even out-muscling him. The Sunderland management had to take evasive action, firstly doubling up on Walcott by asking Darren Bent to play deeper on the left side of a midfield five and then by swapping McCartney with Anton Ferdinand who had been given a makeshift central-midfield role. Effectively playing McCartney in central midfield seemed another questionable decision from Bruce, considering that there were specialist midfielders on the bench.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:22:02 AM

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

Anton Ferdinand says he will play anywhere Sunderland boss Steve Bruce asks him to as he looks to resurrect a frustrating season.

The £8million defender started the campaign as one of Bruce's first-choice men at the back, but the arrivals of Michael Turner, John Mensah and Paulo da Silva, coupled with his own injury problems, have seen him slip down the pecking order in recent months.

Ferdinand, 25, returned after more than two months out with an ankle problem in Saturday's 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Arsenal, but did so initially in an unaccustomed midfield role and then at left-back.

However, with the Black Cats struggling to halt a 13-game winless run which has seen them slip to within three points of the relegation zone, he is happy to slot in wherever he is required.

He told the Sunderland Echo: "If the gaffer wants me to play left-back, I will do it. If he wants me to play right wing, I will do it.

"It has been a very frustrating period for me. I'm used to being one of the focal points of the team, and it has been difficult.

"These are the things that make you the player you are.

"No-one has seen me sulk or walk about saying I should be in the team instead of someone else. That's not the person I am.

"I give my best to the boys and treat each game the same whether I'm playing or not.

"It would be unfair on the boys who are playing if I acted any other way.

"I'm happy to be back now and hopefully I can contribute to the team."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:23:16 AM

- Jean Tigana, who used to smatter his team talks with bons mots from the greats of French literature when Fulham manager. One player, on seeing Tigana reading a book by Marcel Proust, reportedly exclaimed: "Proust? I thought he was a Formula One driver."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:25:10 AM,worthington-wants-natonality--loophole-closed.aspx

Duffy looked set to win his first cap in the absence of skipper Aaron Hughes and his Fulham team-mate Chris Baird, who are both rested.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:27:29 AM

We are now entering a new world of football, aren’t we? No more can a six year old child predict a score line at ease. The playing field has finally been leveled. I sit up a little more these days when I see The Big Four play the lesser sides. The gap has narrowed.

What really is making an impact on clubs like Tottenham, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Fulham etc. is the excellent management system in place. Harry Redknapp, Martin O’Neill, Alex Mcleish and Roy Hodgson have been outstanding managers thus far.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:29:06 AM


By Pete Thompson, Press Association Sport

Roy Keane believes David Healy can get his career back on track at Ipswich after the striker scored his first goal in over a year to secure a precious point at Scunthorpe.

The Northern Ireland international came off the bench to equalise 16 minutes from time and earn Keane's side a 1-1 draw six minutes after Iron skipper Cliff Byrne had opened the scoring.

Healy had been in the wilderness at Sunderland before making a loan move to Portman Road until the end of the season last month and Keane is confident there is more to come from the former Preston and Leeds man.

Keane said: "Sometimes it happens to strikers (a barren spell), he'd have been disappointed not to start.

"He's been unfortunate not to score one or two for Sunderland, I've seen incidents where he's been unlucky.

"I think once a goalscorer, always a goalscorer and I think he probably just needs a run of games.

"He's got a decent goal record, obviously you look at what happened with him at Fulham and Sunderland and sometimes for a striker it doesn't work at a club.

"I've known David from my younger days at Manchester United and he's a goalscorer, you try and find the right level and he's just come a little bit short in the Premiership but that's no insult to any goalscorer.

"He will probably say he's also not had a run of games. Listen, if you've scored that amount at international level it says a lot about you."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:32:23 AM

Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham betting preview

Dave Higgins - 24 Feb 2010

Cottagers 6/4 to qualify in the Ukraine

Bobby Zamora’s long-range effort was the difference between the two sides at Craven Cottage last week and it’s given Fulham every chance of eliminating the holders on Thursday night. They will take a slender one-goal advantage into the second leg and Stan James offer 6/4 that they go through to the last sixteen to face Juventus or Ajax.

It will be arguably the sternest test of the season for the Cottagers and the bookmakers are expecting them to have a rough ride, offering a best price 8/15 (William Hill) that Shakhtar win on the night and 8/13 (bet365) that they go through instead. Let’s not forget that Mircea Lucescu’s put four goals past Toulouse and Partizan Belgrade during the group stages and that an away goal means a 1-0 scoreline (11/2 Victor Chandler) will be enough to progress.

Nevertheless, Fulham have fighting spirit in abundance as they demonstrated when winning 3-2 in Basel to qualify from the group stages. With Zamora back in excellent form, many will be eyeing up the 9/1 (Paddy Power) that he opens the scoring, while he’s 11/4 (Sky Bet) to score at any stage as the striker’s done for the past four matches.

Any kind of draw (10/3 totesport) at the Donbass Arena will be enough to see the west London side go through, although the defence might have their work cut out against the dangerous striker that is Luiz Adriano (4/1 Ladbrokes). It was the Brazilian who scored Donetsk’s goal in the first leg and this might prove a match too far for the Cottagers.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 11:58:05 AM

Kevin Keegan  - An Intimate Portrait of Football’s Last Romantic
by Ian Ridley

Simon & Schuster, £16.99

Reviewed by Harry Pearson

From WSC 270 August 2009 


It’s a popular notion that silence is enigmatic. “Still waters run deep,” we say. Some people, however, can talk a hell of a lot yet remain unfathomable. Kevin Keegan is a veritable babbling brook, yet despite the fact he rarely seems to have shut up for four decades the motivations behind key decisions at important times in his life appear oddly mysterious.

When seeking motives it was once popular to stick to the French dictum cherchez la femme. These days most people prefer its US counterpart, follow the money.

For this sprightly canter through Keegan’s career Ian Ridley pursues the latter course. After a shaky start in which his description of modern Newcastle sounds worryingly like a pull-out newspaper supplement issued by One North East, the author hits his stride. There’s not much that is fresh here, but it’s an entertaining enough overview and ultimately far more illuminating – given the wealth of material already lavished on the subject – than I’d expected. The Keegan who emerges is altogether less opaque than I’d previously thought.

Keegan’s career as player and manager is strange to say the least. Since picking up a second Bundesliga title in 1979 he has not won a major trophy. For someone as apparently driven by the will to win as the man the Germans knew as Mighty Mouse that’s an awfully long period of failure. The question that emerges while reading Ridley’s book is whether it actually was winning that motivated the miner’s son at all. Because while the subtitle trades on the idea of Keegan as a “football romantic”, there is a good deal less about heroism and self-sacrifice than there is about hard cash. Keegan might have left Hamburg for Barcelona or Real Madrid, but stayed on largely because the German club would allow him to go and play in the US during the summer and earn an extra £250,000.

At times it seems that the only thing cavalier about King Kev was his curly hair. When it came to money he took a, well, more parliamentarian view. While Keegan was managing Fulham, for instance, the academy director Alan Smith asked him if he would do the official opening of the new youth wing of the gym. Keegan said he would, but only if the club paid him a fee of £7,000. “As a professional I could see where he was coming from,” Smith says generously before expressing disappointment at his former boss’s attitude.

Keegan, as numerous witnesses attest, is a man determined to the point of obsession with getting his fair share. The quest for what he believed to be fiscal justice bent his judgement out of shape and ultimately led to the sort of walk-outs that have coloured most opinions of him.

At the end of the book Ridley sums up Keegan’s current situation with Norma Desmond’s famous line in Sunset Boulevard: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” I’m not sure that’s quite right though. Football made Keegan a huge figure, but a ceaseless pursuit of money tends to diminish people and by the end of this lively book Keegan has shrunk considerably.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 12:05:15 PM

6. In 1910, Arsenal were close to bankruptcy and went into voluntary liquidation. It was a totally different universe from the financial stability the club enjoys now.

Believe it or not, we had our very own ’sugar daddy’ in the form of Sir Henry Norris, a property magnate, who bought the club and started the path to what Arsenal is today.

Incidentally, Henry Norris was also the chairman of Fulham, and there was a failed attempt at one point to merge Arsenal with Fulham and create a bigger and sustainable club.

It was generally accepted that the population in what is now South East London couldn’t sustain a football club – and it was one of the reasons Arsenal were in dire financial straits and had to do something drastic.

The best part about all this is that Arsenal ended up moving to Highbury in 1913, right under the noses of the only club in north London at the time – and this started a sequence of events that has led to the animosity with our good old cockerel Spuds down the road in N17.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 12:07:20 PM

How will Hodgson play it?

by Dan on February 24, 2010

Starting to get a little excited by the prospect of a massive game in Donetsk tomorrow. The task in front of Fulham seems a little daunting given the way Shakhtar passed so fluently at the Cottage last Thursday, but Roy Hodgson’s side have a pleasant knack of surprising us over the last couple of seasons so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be targeting a result at the Donbass Arena.

I was pleased to read Chris Baird extolling the virtues of a positive tactical approach this morning. For me, the worst thing we could would be to try and sit back and protect the narrowest of advantages. This would invite pressure from a Shakhtar side who will be intent on going forward anyway and could well be fatal. One of my criticisms of Hodgson’s pragmatic approach away from home has been that we don’t look to be positive early enough, spurning the opportunity to take the initiative in games that we could win.

Furthermore, Fulham have delivered their best away displays under Hodgson when we’ve needed to get something. Think Reading, Manchester City and Basel: when we throw caution to the wind and go for it, good things seem to happen. I’m not advocating a gung-ho approach tomorrow night, far from it. Crazily pushing everybody forward would be even more disastrous than the cautious option. But cancelling out Shakhtar’s away goal would put an entirely different complexion on the evening – and we stand the best chance of doing that by showing some attacking ambition.

Fulham should be encouraged by the shaky nature of Shakhtar’s defence. Their back four didn’t match the quality of their approach play and the goalkeeper wouldn’t inspired too much confidence either. Letting Zoltan Gera’s early shot creep in could yet prove to be a costly mistake. With Bobby Zamora in such dominant form, you’d think we could pose a few problems going forward.

That leads me onto my final question. How will Fulham line up? The 4-4-1-1 (as I see Gera gets forward in support of Zamora but starts from a slighty depeer position to press the opposition when they are in possession) has worked well for us lately, but the lone frontman could tend to get a bit isolated away from home. Would Hodgson be bold enough to go with two forwards to give us a bit of traction in the opposition penalty area? Or is there any need to change a system that has both Gera and Zamora firing at the moment?

Plenty to ponder.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 12:14:05 PM

Bent remains hopeful of England call

By Damian Spellman, PA

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sunderland striker Darren Bent is refusing to give up on his World Cup finals dream.

The 26-year-old frontman has plundered 16 goals to date for the Black Cats to fire himself to the fringes of the race to board the England plane for South Africa.

However, with Fabio Capello due to announce his squad for the friendly clash with Egypt at the weekend as Bent goes head to head with surprise contender Bobby Zamora at club level, time is running out for him to prove to the Italian that he has a role to play.

But, as he has done ever since his form for Sunderland put the £10million man in the international frame, he is simply concentrating on his job on Wearside and allowing the rest to take care of itself.

Bent told the Journal: "It would be nice to be involved. I don't think I have done my chances any harm this season.

"There are only Wayne Rooney and maybe Jermain (Defoe) who have scored more goals than I have as an out-and-out front man.

"All I can do is keep working hard, keeping doing well for Sunderland - there's no more that I can do.

"If it doesn't happen, I will move on."

Bent's desperation to be involved is all the more acute because he believes England have a genuine chance of returning with the trophy after being drawn in Group C along with the United States, Algeria and Slovenia.

He said: "England have got a great chance of winning the World Cup. If we can play as a team and maintain the form that we are in, there's no reason we can't win the World Cup.

"It was a good draw for England. It's there for us, but it will be tough.

"There is a long way to go before then - anything could happen.

"We have always had some of the best players in the world but it's just been a case of them playing as a team and getting everything together.

"You can never really talk about anyone being favourites because there is danger all over. Brazil are strong, Spain are a good team and you can never, ever write off the Germans.

"Before ever major tournament, they get battered in the lead up to it but, as soon as the finals come around, are always in the semi-finals or final."

In the meantime, Bent's focus will be on Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham and the Black Cats' efforts to end their 13-game run without a league victory.

He said: "Sunderland comes first - I would put the club before anything.

"Getting them out of trouble and us having a good season is before anything."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 12:19:30 PM

2) Clint Dempsey

There haven’t been a lot of football players that have done well from the States, apart from of course Roy Wegerle! But Dempsey has been a revelation under Roy Hodgson and he is playing some outstanding football. The midfielder doesn’t really get the plaudits he deserves after hiding in the shadows of the likes of Zamora and Duff. He chips in with a lot of goals and it wouldn’t be surprising if a bigger team were to tempt Fulham with a bid in the summer.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 12:49:02 PM

Three underappreciated Fulham players

Author:  Jonny Abrams and Nick Pearce

Posted on:24 February 2010 - 12:21

As fans and spectators, we are not in a position to be able to judge a player’s on-pitch contribution with 100% accuracy, especially as our football expertise is dwarfed by the managers getting paid handsomely to do a job that we seem to think we could do with the kind of received wisdom that they’d most likely laugh at us for spouting. In the spirit of self-flagellation, gives you three Fulham players whom Roy Hodgson sees every day in training yet remain the subjects of curmudgeonly muttering around Craven Cottage every other week…

Paul Konchesky – The former Charlton Athletic, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur left-back is often criticised for his proneness to defensive mishaps, but he is a committed performer with a decent touch and the occasional wonder goal up his sleeve, as witnessed in the 2-1 win over Everton earlier this season. The loan arrival of Nicky Shorey means that Konchesky faces a battle to reclaim his first team spot but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he was a part of the defensive unit upon which the Cottagers’ 7th place finish last season was based.

Dickson Etuhu – It’s harder for the Fulham machine to operate smoothly when it’s missing this important yet overlooked cog. Etuhu is a tireless worker whose presence allows the likes of Danny Murphy and Damien Duff to exert their influence with a relative degree of freedom and the Cottagers will be glad to see him back, despite Chris Baird’s admirable stint in his position.

Aaron Hughes – Northern Irishman Hughes has played every league game this season, helping his side to 9 clean sheets in the process. However, central defensive partner Brede Hangeland continues to receive the credit despite not having been at his commanding best this season. Hughes was also a near ever-present last year so he must be doing something right.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 12:59:41 PM

Talking Tactics: Watching Zamora

Watch our video analysis of Sunderland's game at Fulham earlier in the season as we go in-depth once more.

Cutting off the supply to frontman Bobby Zamora will be key if Sunderland are to claim three much-needed points this weekend.

Zamora has already scored 15 times this season in all competitions and has found the net in each of his last four games.

His physical presence, pace and hold-up play are a formidable package which have brought him to the fringes of the England squad.

A Zamora header was the difference when Sunderland met Fulham at Craven Cottage back in December, and the video above (Windows Media Player required) highlights just what Sunderland will have to do to go some way towards blunting the Cottagers' attack on Sunday.

The benefits of having Zamora up front are two-fold. He can either be used as a traditional striker and use his pace and finishing power to strike, or drop deep to hold the ball up and bring team-mates into play before advancing into the box.

Either way, Zamora will most likely be the target for the Fulham wingers - notably Damien Duff - when they deliver into the box. It's this Sunderland must stop and hope the central defensive pairing can deal with attacks straight down the middle.

Take a look at the video of the goal (press F5 to refresh if it's already run to its conclusion). The freezes highlight various crucial points.

The coaches' mantra is always 'stop crosses'. Sunderland should have the advantage in this situation with Duff (on the ball initially) out on the touchline and being well shepherded. But the Sunderland player second-closest to the ball (Reid) is hedging his bets and allows Pantsil (backing up Duff) to cross.

Then take a look at Zamora's movement. When Pantsil receives the ball the taller Turner is in a prime position to clear. But when the cross comes in, Zamora backs off and moves towards Bardsley. This gives him an easy header as he is essentially blocking the smaller Bardsley from clearing the ball by backing off Turner and taking up a position in front of the Sunderland right-back.

The key? The wide players in defence and midfield must work together to stop crosses in the first instance and stop defenders backing up to cross from deep or overlapping. That relieves stress on the central defenders, who must be aware of Zamora's movement and aerial power.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 01:37:16 PM

Pulis, Hodgson and McLeish are the real ‘managers of the year’

Date: 24th February 2010 at 12:55 pm

 Author: justin mottershead

When the manager of the year award is handed out in May it’s a pretty safe bet that Tony Pulis won’t need to hire a tuxedo.  With Stoke currently occupying 11th place in the Premier League it hardly seems realistic to predict any prizes heading their manager’s way. The same can be said of Roy Hodgson and Alex McLeish, although there teams are sitting comfortably in mid-table they’re unlikely to win anything other than credit when it comes to awards.

Since the Premier League manager’s awards inception in 1994, the man in charge of the champions has been the winner every season- bar 2001 when the powers that be decided George Burley deserved a nod for guiding Ipswich to fifth.  This year the chances are that Carlos Ancelotti will be lifting the almost irrelevant accolade unless of course Sir Alex, or maybe even Arsene Wenger can overtake the Blues at the top of the table. Yet would Ancelotti deserve to be classed as manager of the year for winning the title? Surely he would you cry after all he’d have not only stopped United winning a fourth successive crown, but also have done what no other manager since Jose Mourinho has achieved- winning the title in his debut season. Let’s look at the facts though, last season United won the league by playing worse than any champions in recent memory, this year they seem to be attempting to go one better –or worse- by winning the title by playing quite badly on a regular basis. If Chelsea do win the title, yes of course it’s an achievement but quite frankly a top Chelsea side would be out of reach for Fergie’s floundering team this year, not a mere four points ahead.

Then there’s the chance that Sir Alex does what he does best and wins yet another title just as people are writing him off. Well as I’ve just mentioned if that happens, it will be one of the least impressive title winning campaigns ever.  A win is a win, of course and Fergie will have made history, yet again, so will receive the plaudits he’s become accustomed to. If, although it seems unlikely Wenger does manage to overcome the top two then he’ll have justified his transfer, reserve cup side, giving youngsters a chance, Sol Campbell, Manuel Almunia, playing football the right way, 35 passes before a shot policy. Everyone will no doubt be queuing up to tell him how they always had faith in him and his victory is a victory for football. Possibly. Yet he’d also have seen his side beaten in their own backyard, comfortably by both top rivals and endured some of the most calamitous goalkeeping since Gomes sorted his act out, plus Wenger would have won the title after trying and failing for five years. Whichever manager does lift the title there’s a good argument to be made that none of them would have really been at the top of their game, merely not as bad as their nearest rivals- admittedly requisite for reward, but uninspiring nonetheless.

Then there’s the 2nd tier of English football, ranging from Man City, Villa and Spurs. If any of these manage to beat Liverpool to fourth spot then there could be some justification for giving the man in charge the manager of the year award. However there’s a good reason why none of them would deserve it. Firstly at Man City Mancini inherited a team in a good position with an excellent squad, to give him an award for just over half a season’s effort would be a little generous. Martin O’Neill would seem like a worthy recipient but he’d have grabbed fourth spot because Liverpool would have declined rather than Villa upping their game, after all Benitez’s side have been a shadow of the one last season and off-field angst seems to have upset the whole club including the team. Harry Redknapp’s Spurs would have achieved the same, merely overtaking a distraught Liverpool team by default rather than amazing their fans with a consistent campaign, as numerous and articles have highlighted, Spurs have had a mixed season to say the least, regardless of how it ends.  Of course if Liverpool do achieve fourth, then giving Benitez a manager of the year award would seem crazy considering the expectations many had of his team going one better then last season or at least mounting some form of title challenge.

That moves us into the 3rd tier of the premier league, ranging from Everton through to Sunderland. Moyes has done another fantastic job at Goodison with recent victories over United and Chelsea, making many wonder what might have been had they not started the season so badly. Moyes may well deserve to be named manager of the year- he’s won the LMA version more than Fergie- especially considering the injuries he’s had to deal with.  The only reason he may not receive such recognition is that he’s also overseen, two derby defeats, an opening day mauling and several disappointing away losses. This season for Everton has been good, rather than great. Sunderland’s Steve Bruce would probably get the award if it was for honesty. Never shy of admitting when his team are poor, he’s found himself making a lot of admissions lately as Sunderland have been dire. Sam Allardyce at Blackburn has done a steady job but he’s merely lived up to what you’d expect rather than surpassed any expectations.  Gianfranco Zola has had a bit of a disappointing season this time round- admittedly through no fault of his own as he’s had little or no money but it’s been disappointing nonetheless. Mick McCarthy has got some decent results at Wolves but the idea of listening to him give a speech is enough to stop anyone handing him any prizes. That just leaves the rest of the relegation battlers and the fact that they’re battling the drop should prevent any of their managers getting any awards-unless they give it Avram Grant out of sympathy so that he can sell it.

That leaves just my trio of real contenders. Pulis deserves plaudits for avoiding the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ and actually picking up where he left off last season by making the Britannia Stadium a difficult place to visit and even picking up some points on the road. Hodgson has done it again, making his Fulham side one of the real banana skins in the league and he’s even managed the impossible by turning Bobby Zamora into an England contender. As for McLeish, his Birmingham side have been the real surprise package going on a twelve-match unbeaten league run and taking points off three of the top four this season.

Of course the season’s not over yet and as Hull proved last year, there’s always the possibility of a rapid free-fall happening at Birmingham, Stoke or Fulham. As this season has shown though, that looks highly unlikely. If the powers that be really wanted to give the Premier League manager’s award to someone who really deserves it, then they could set a new precedent by giving it to one of the managers who’ve managed to exceed expectations rather than just fulfil them; somehow though I doubt it.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 01:44:14 PM

Shakhtar Competition Winner

Wednesday 24th February 2010

Fulham FC News
Congratulations to 2010/11 Season Ticket Holder Simon Dawson, who will be on his way to Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday after winning two places on the Official Fulham Flyer. Simon won these seats by purchasing his 2010/11 Season Ticket to enter our great competition.

You could win our next great prize, which is a Corporate Box for Fulham v Wigan for you and nine friends.

All supporters who purchase their 2010/11 Season Tickets before 3pm on Tuesday 2nd March will be entered into a prize draw to win a corporate box for Fulham's Barclays Premier League fixture against Wigan, taking place on Friday 2nd April 3pm kick-off.

You and nine friends will be invited to the fixture, given your own personal corporate box to watch the match from, including a two-course meal and cash bar. An experience you won't want to miss, make sure to buy your Season Ticket today| .

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 01:46:15 PM

'Confidence is a preference’ – But can United duo build any out of the side?

Date: 24th February 2010 at 12:59 pm

Author: Oscar Pye-Jeary

Yesterday, I was hypnotized by a woman who hypnotizes footballers down by Craven Cottage. I realize saying it like that implies she’s a mad old hag in a head scarf who wanders round the outside of the ground convincing unexpecting players they’re a chicken, or that they have to murder the President of Paraguay when they hear the words “zonal marking”, but it’s nothing like that. She lives in a perfectly normal house round the corner in Fulham.

She told me she once hypnotized a then non Premiership team to help their motivation and confidence whilst chasing for promotion, and she mentioned a couple of other players she’d ‘helped’ but whom I’d probably get sued for mentioning, so I’m saving that for a News of the World dossier I’m compiling incase I ever get brought up on some of the more libelous things I say in these articles.

This encouraged me to ponder the power of the mind over the body and the mental attributes of top-level sportsmen (and women) and the influence confidence has on footballers in particular. Confidence is possibly the most important attribute after natural ability in my view. A player full of confidence is far more likely to score that 30 yard chip than the one plagued by a niggling doubt about his abilities. That player is prone to wondering whether such an audacious move will come off after that bad miss against Bolton that was laughed at by Adrian Chiles’ pet beard on 2 Good 2 Bad. His mind might wander to whether he may have left the gas on or whether his hair looks ridiculous in the rain – and his success will suffer as a result. The confident player will be plagued by just one thought, one a wise old philosopher once coined during a noble quest for catchy advertising – “Just do It”. (I toyed with the idea of saying it was Friedrich Nike but I thought that was just 2 Bad 2 be Good)
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 01:55:27 PM,25212,12038_5977021,00.html


Hello, I have a question. With Rooney doing so well this season and seeming to carry the rest of the United team, I would like to see how much of a 'one man team' they are compared to the rest of the league. Could you show what the league table would look like if each team's top scorer was omitted from their results, eg: if you exclude all Drogba's goals then Chelsea's result from Saturday would change from 2-0 to 0-0. Thanks! Bruce, St Albans

MARTIN SAYS: Bruce, we have new Premier League leaders! Under your system, Arsenal go two points clear at the top. Remarkably, if you take Cesc Fabregas' 12 goals away from the records, Arsenal would be just one point worse off (the point earned from his goal in the 1-1 draw with Burnley).

In contrast, Drogba's 19 goals have added 15 points to Chelsea's tally so without them the Blues drop down to third spot. Wayne Rooney's goals have earned Manchester United eight points and they would remain second.

Tottenham remain in the fourth Champions League spot in part because Spurs would have beaten Wigan 'without' Jermain Defoe's five-goal haul earlier this season - therefore the White Hart Lane club only drop six points in comparison to the nine lost by Manchester City, for whom Carlos Tevez has scored two fewer goals.

Sunderland suffer badly, dropping from 14th to 19th spot, such is the value of Darren Bent's goals to the cause but they are kept off the bottom by Portsmouth on goal difference. If you remove the goals of Bent and Aruna Dindane then Sunderland's goal difference is -27, Pompey's is -28.

Where there is more than one top-scorer, the player whose goals have contributed the most points has been selected. For example with Stoke City, Matthew Etherington's goals 'contribute' one point, so he loses out to Robert Huth and Tuncay who have each 'contributed' four.

Premier League table 'minus each team's top scorer'

Team  Top scorer (goals)  Points change  New points New position (change)

Arsenal Fabregas (12) 1 54 1st (+2)

Man Utd Rooney (23) 8 52 2nd (=)

Chelsea Drogba (19) 15 46 3rd (-2)

Spurs Defoe (16) 6 40 4th (=)

Aston Villa Agbonlahor (11) 8 37 5th (+2)

Man City Tevez (13) 9 37 6th (-1)

Liverpool Torres (12) 9 36 7th (-1)

Fulham Zamora (8) 7 30 8th (+1)

Stoke Huth/Tuncay (3) 4 30 9th (+2)

Birmingham Jerome (5) 7 30 10th (=)

Blackburn Dunn (5) 4 30 11th (=)

Everton Saha (13) 11 27 12th (-4)

West Ham C Cole (9) 3 24 13th (=)

Wolves Doyle (6) 4 20 14th (+2)

Hull S Hunt (6) 4 20 15th (+2)

Burnley Fletcher (7) 3 20 16th (+3)

Bolton Klasnic (6) 5 18 17th (+1)

Wigan Rodallega (7) 7 18 18th (-3)

Sunderland Bent (15) 11 15 19th (-5)

Portsmouth Dindane (5) 1 15 20th (=)

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 01:57:51 PM,25212,12038_5977021,00.html


Hi Martin, greetings from China. I love your column and I can't wait to read it every week. Anyway, I am a West Ham fan and I am disappointed that the Hammers have managed just 5 victories and only one of them came away from home, and I don't think they can win the remaining 6 away games easily. Would you please tell me that in the Premier League history, what were the worst records for both victories and away records of a team who successfully stayed up? Thank you and looking forward to seeing you next week. Shucong Fu (West Ham fan)

MARTIN SAYS: The West Brom side that launched the famous "great escape" in 2005 hold the record for the fewest wins recorded by a non-relegated Premier League side. They picked up just six wins that season before staying up on Survival Sunday. Last season, Hull City managed only eight wins - as did Fulham in the two seasons before that.

Fewest wins in a Premier League season by non-relegated teams:

SIX West Brom (2004/05)

Hull (2008/09)
Fulham (2007/08 & 2006/07)
Coventry (1995/96)

Sunderland (2008/09)
Bolton (2007/08 & 2001/02)
Blackburn (2004/05 &1996/97)
Man City (2003/04 & 1993/94)
Everton (2003/04 & 1997/98)
Middlesbrough (2000/01)
Bradford (1999/2000)
Derby (1999/2000)
Southampton (1995/96)
Ipswich (1993/94)

As for away wins, two sides in Premier League history have survived without winning a single match on the road. In 1992/93, defending champions Leeds United went through an entire 42-game campaign without winning away. Yet they still managed to finish three places above the relegation zone. More recently in 1999/2000 Coventry City finished 14th without winning away.

Several teams have won just one away game and survived. They are: Fulham (2006/07 and 2005/06), West Brom (2004/05), Everton (2003/04), Aston Villa (2002/03) and Blackburn (1996/97). So there is plenty of hope for West Ham fans!
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 01:59:23 PM,25212,12038_5977021,00.html


I recently read an article from Sam Alladyce and he's reported to have said that Chris Samba is being penalised by referees because he is too tall. I wonder how true or false this statement is. Is Alladyce's comment on his influential centre back true or is it because he feels aggrieved? Peter McLaughlin

MARTIN SAYS: A good question. As somebody of 6ft 3ins myself, I have great sympathy for tall players. During my undistinguished non-league career I always felt referees penalised taller players for aesthetic reasons; sometimes they look ungainly and are penalised in a fair fight for the ball or for backing in when the referee should just allow play to carry on. I mentioned it in reference to Peter Crouch in commentary last Sunday and I do think it can be very frustrating for tall players.

Taking a more scientific approach and using the Premier League's official website, I have looked at the disciplinary records of the tallest players in the Premier League. I have looked only at outfield players who have played at least five Premier League games this season.

Of this small sample, 0.99 fouls are committed per game and these eight players are booked once every 12.58 games. On average, a Premier League player has committed 12 fouls this season and has picked up two yellow cards. So you could suggest that the tallest players tend to concede more fouls, but don't really tend to pick up more bookings.

Outfield players above 193cm. Must have played at least five Premier League games:

Player Height (cm) Appearances Fouls committed Yellow Cards Red cards

Stefan Maierhofer 202 8 5 1 1

Peter Crouch 198 27 34 1 0

Zat Knight 198 23 11 1 0

Anthony Gardner 196 21 15 1 0

Nwankwo Kanu 196 17 8 0 0

Marouane Fellaini 194 23 56 6 0

Brede Hangeland 194 26 18 2 0

Chris Smalling 194 6 3 0 0

Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 02:01:12 PM,25212,12038_5977021,00.html


Hi Martin, Good column as always. As a Rovers fan I have noticed recently that Nikola Kalinic manages to hit the post almost every game at the moment. What I would like to know is Kalinic top of the 'Hit the Woodwork' table this season and how does he compare to other players? Keep up the good work! Peter Stock (Blackburn Rovers fan)

MARTIN SAYS: In terms of the Premier League Nikola Kalinic has hit the woodwork on just two occasions. The boys at Opta have given us the stats you want and Wayne Rooney leads the way in terms of hitting the post or crossbar. The Manchester United striker has hit it six times this season, one more than Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia.

Hitting the woodwork in the Premier League:

SIX TIMES: Rooney (Manchester United)

Gerrard (Liverpool)
N'Zogbia (Wigan Athletic)

Arshavin (Arsenal)
Crouch (Tottenham)
Dempsey (Fulham)
Pedersen (Blackburn Rovers)
Scotland (Wigan Athletic)
Tevez (Manchester City)
van Persie (Arsenal)

Anelka (Chelsea)
Benitez (Birmingham City)
Benni McCarthy (Blackburn, now West Ham)
Defoe (Tottenham)
Drogba (Chelsea)
Eagles (Burnley)
Fabregas (Arsenal)
Kalinic (Blackburn Rovers)
Kalou (Chelsea)
Keogh (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Kuyt (Liverpool)
Ngog (Liverpool)
Reid (Sunderland)
Rodallega (Wigan Athletic)
Taylor (Bolton Wanderers)
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 02:04:22 PM,,12555~1975720,00.html

Trollope hopeful over injured stars

 24 Feb 2010

Bristol Rovers boss Paul Trollope is hoping the postponement of Tuesday night's clash at Exeter will give him more time to get his injured stars back to fitness.

Wayne Brown, Danny Coles, Chris Lines and Jo Kuffour would all have missed out at St James Park, which was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, while Byron Anthony was struggling after picking up an injury in training on Monday.

Trollope, whose side face Colchester on Saturday, told the club's official website: "The soft tissue injuries sustained by Chris Lines and Jo Kuffour are probably taking a wee bit longer to heal than we first thought.

"We had hoped that both would have been back for (the Exeter) game, but they were still experiencing a little bit of soreness over the weekend. We are hoping to get one, or both, back for (Saturday's clash with Colchester).

"Danny Coles is making good progress with his jarred knee and is expected to join in training on Thursday, while Wayne Brown is still continuing his rehab at Fulham but may be involved on Saturday."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 02:21:08 PM

George Best, the footballing Beatle, one of the greatest of the swinging 60s? In 1970, after being suspended for bringing the game into disrepute, he returned and promptly scored six goals in an 8-2 victory at Northampton.

Then in 1976, on his debut for Fulham, he scored after just 71 seconds. George played 361 games for Manchester United with a haul of 137 goals.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 02:23:38 PM

Several heads of state invited to inauguration of Ukraine's new president

© RIA Novosti. Grigoriy Sisoev


The inauguration of Ukrainian president elect Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday will be attended by 11 heads of state and 15 foreign ministers, the country's UNIAN news agency said on Wednesday.

Yanukovych is scheduled to take the oath of office at parliament on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. local time (08:00 GMT).

The Ukrainian Central Election Commission declared Yanukovych winner in the presidential election on February 14, but his rival Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal to contest the results suspended the announcement until last Saturday, when she withdrew it.

Invitations to attend the ceremony have been given to all Ukrainian ministers, the country's Youth and Sport Minister Yuriy Pavlenko said.

"I have received an invitation to the inauguration, and I am likely to attend it, because there is a responsibility, and such a notion as succession of power," Pavlenko said.

Tymoshenko's bloc meanwhile signaled it would not attend the ceremony, bloc member Serhiy Mishchenko said.

"We will not attend the inauguration. This is not our feast, and we have not been invited to the feast," the parliamentarian was quoted as saying on the Tymoshenko bloc's website last weekend.

The speaker of the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, Boris Gryzlov, who will lead the Russian delegation at Yanukovych's inauguration, expressed hope that relations between the two neighboring countries would be "more appropriate" with Yanukovych as the Ukrainian leader.

Relations with Moscow have been soured in recent years by pro-Western outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko's bid to accept Ukraine into NATO, bitter gas disputes, Kiev's support for Georgia during its August 2008 war with Russia over South Ossetia, and other issues.

Ukraine's parliament rehearsed the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.

The mayor of eastern Ukraine's city of Donetsk, Oleksandr Lukyanchenko, said Yanukovych could attend a Europa League football match between Shakhtar Donetsk and England's Fulham after the inauguration.

"There is no exact information, but there was such an intention," Lukyanchenko said.

Shakhtar lost to Fulham 2-1 in the League's first leg last Thursday.

KIEV, February 24 (RIA Novosti)
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 02:31:37 PM

Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham: Brede Hangeland Primed for Ukraine Onslaught

24/2/2010 9:03 AM GMT By Dean Jones



Roy Hodgson was careful not to label the first-leg victory over Shakhtar Donetsk as his best while manager of Fulham. But a similar performance in this meeting in the Ukraine would certainly be rather special.

It would catapult his side into the final 16 of the Europa League and set up an encounter with the might of Ajax or Juventus.

That would be a remarkable achievement for a side that was heading for relegation from the Premier League less than two years ago. And even Hodgson, usualyy so composed, would have to show some emotion if Fulham do edge out the current Uefa Cup holders.

During their progress in this competition, Hodgson has consistently played down his side's chances of success, insisting the cup would prove a great experience for many of his players - but little more.

Try telling that to Fulham supporters today. They are also into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and hope that the first-ever piece of major silverware could soon be heading to Craven Cottage.

This season has seen Fulham defeat both Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League, but while those results were a tremendous achievement, they will not lead to a trophy of any shape or size.

That's why this European adventure has breathed new life into this campaign. Defender Brede Hangeland knows he will need to be at his best for the latest trip, as there is no doubt Fulham's back line will be under intense pressure for long spells of the game.

He said: "We won the first-leg 2-1 even though they must have had 60 to 70 percent of the possession - it's important that you don't get frustrated by that.

"I think they're the best team we've played in Europe by quite a margin. You could see why they're the current holders of the Uefa Cup.

"We'll go to Donetsk with a lot of confidence, though, and hopefully we can get a good result. But we'll have to take our chances when we get there."

Strategy: It's a tough situation, because Fulham can not afford to sit back and defend their lead. Shakhtar will brush off the result from the first-leg, and focus on producing the free flowing, attacking football that they are capable of playing. The best way to combat the slick passing style is for Fulham to focus on their own pattern of play and to push for another goal that really would leave Shakhtar with a battle on their hands.

Injury Update: There is no sign yet of a return to the side for knee injury victims Andrew Johnson, Clint Dempsey and John Pantsil, while Paul Konchesky is still nursing an ankle and calf problem. Midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is expected to miss out as he also has injury to his ankle.


Luiz Adriano could prove to be the man that decides this tie. The Brazilian scored at Craven Cottage, and has five goals in the competition so far this season. However, with Croatian Dario Srna pulling the strings in midfield and 24-year-old Brazilian Fernandinho considered a superb talent, Fulham will really have to be on guard. One aspect that could hurt the Ukranians is the fact they have not been in league action since the middle of December, due to a winter break.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 02:38:26 PM

Shakhtar will unleash their brilliant Brazilians as they aim to dump Fulham out the Europa League

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham, Europa League, February 25, 2010

Shakhtar Donetsk 8/15; Draw 100/30; Fulham 7/1

“They’re the holders, so it’s always going to be tough. We can’t sit back otherwise we’re going to create a lot of problems for ourselves. We’ll be looking to score – we always do when we’re away. Hopefully we can progress.” - Chris Biard.

Fulham stand on the brink of a remarkable achievement as the west Londoners head to the Ukraine, 2-1 up from the first leg, to take on last season’s UEFA Cup holders Shakhtar. The Cottagers earned their slender advantage courtesy of goals from Zoltan Gera and Bobby Zamora, and provided the visitors avoid defeat in Donetsk they will defy the odds to reach the last 16 where they’ll meet either Juventus or Ajax.

Fulham will have been encouraged by the shaky performance of Shakhtar’s defence from the first leg. In particular, goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov had several nervy moments as he allowed Zoltan Gera’s early shot creep into his net, and that goal could yet prove to be a costly mistake in the grand scheme of the tie. Further question-marks were levelled at Shakhtar’s experienced backline, including the likes of Croatian international Darjio Srna and Romanian international Razvan Rat, as the Fulham forward line conjured up numerous efforts on goal throughout the contest.

Arguably however, the appraisal of Shakhtar’s defensive insecurities was magnified by the brilliance of their attacking play at the other end of the pitch. (9/4 to be over 3.5 goals.)

As was the case during their triumphant 2008/09 season, Shakhtar’s midfield and attack continues to be saturated with high-quality, young Brazilian imports, that most clubs in world football would crave to have on their books. And their quality was in full evidence last week as the likes of Willian, Ilsinho, Fernandinho, Luiz Adriano and Jadsen all showed off talents at Craven Cottage.

Shakhtar’s stockpile of brilliant Brazilians doesn’t stop there however. A former target of Manchester United, Shakhtar won the race in the summer to sign the much-hyped Douglas Costa - dubbed the “new Ronaldinho” - for a reported fee of €12 million. And even more quality came through the door of at the end of 2009 as the club splurged another €6 million on snapping up the wonderful Alex Teixeira from Vasco da Gama after the forward was one of the stars of the shwo at the Under-20 World Cup last year in Egypt.

With so many Brazilians to pick from, it seems difficult to believe that Fulham will keep a clean sheet in Donetsk. (Fulham are 6/1 to keep a clean sheet.) But the Premier Leaguers will be far from pessimistic, as they will also feel confident that they can score goals at the other end. (Shakthar are 21/20 to keep a clean sheet, 5/6 against.)

One of the most obvious features of match last week was the way in which Shakhtar dropped their pace after the break. With the Ukrainian league still on it’s mid-season break, Mircea Lucescu’s team struggled to find the form and tempo which brought them Luiz Adriano’s equaliser at the end of the opening 45. Fulham were able to cash in on their opponents lack of match fitness as Bobby Zamora smashed home a brilliant second and they could have had more goals as gaps began opening up as they game became more stretched. (Draw/Fulham is 17/1.)

Only once in this season’s Europa League, in the defeat to Russian outfit Amkar Perm back in August, have Fulham failed to score away from home. Credit for that has to be given to Roy Hodgson’s fluent 4-4-1-1 away formation, in which Zamora is the main target striker, Gera is able in float around in the hole behind him, while Damien Duff and Danny Murphy offer that extra bit of guile and class to help support their side’s attacking efforts.

Balancing out their forward-thinking players, Dickson Etuhu plays a crucial role as the midfield enforcer protecting the back-four. And with Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes playing in front of experienced keeper Mark Schwarzer, Fulham have a solid defensive unit on which they can rely.

Any kind of draw at the Donbass Arena will be enough to see the west London side go through, although playing for a stalemate is always a dangerous game. Rather, the Cottagers may decide that attack is their best form of defence, and should they net a crucial away goal then maybe, just maybe, Fulham can start to have dreams of reaching the final in Hamburg.

101gg predicts: Shakhtar Donetsk 3 - Fulham 1 (14/1)

Shakhtar Donetsk 8/15; Draw 100/30; Fulham 7/1
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 03:25:54 PM

The Wednesday Wonder: Bobby Zamora

By Taylor Fisher | 24th February 2010
“Bobby for England!” were the cries from the Fulham faithful on Sunday as Bobby Zamora smacked home a free kick from 20 yards out. There was nothing that Joe Hart could do to stop the powerful left-footed shot by Zamora. The 90th minute winner was Zamora’s eighth goal of the season and helped complete a hard-fought comeback by Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The day didn’t get started well for Fulham, though. Chris Baird looked as though he was playing for Birmingham with the way he headed home a beautiful cross from Lee Bowyer. That early own goal was all the first half had in store as the Blues went into the break with a lucky 1-0 lead.

The second half had much more in store for all 21,758 in attendance, though. Less than fifteen minutes after the second half kicked off, Damien Duff played a beautiful one-two with Zoltan Gera then rocketed home a lefty shot that banged in off the post. The equalizer on sixty minutes pumped up the crowd and the team.

It appeared as though the match would end at one apiece, but Bobby Zamora still had more in store for the hometown crowd. As the seconds ticked off the clock, Roy Hodgson looked to have the last laugh, and that is exactly what would happen. Zoltan Gera had the ball about twenty yards out when Stephen Carr blatantly body checked him, setting up the dramatic finish.

Zamora stepped up to take the free kick and that was that. His shot easily curled around a poorly set up wall by Birmingham and flew just over Joe Hart’s outstretched hand. That goal, along with his tremendous work throughout the match, is why Bobby Zamora is this week’s Premiership Talk Wednesday Wonder.

“Bobby for England!” The Fulham faithful know it. We know it. Does Fabio?
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 03:27:23 PM,19528,11661_5977456,00.html

Hodgson welcomes pressure

Cottagers boss happy to be under the spotlight

By Chris Burton   Last updated: 24th February 2010   

Roy Hodgson is relishing taking on the challenges which lie ahead for Fulham this season.

The Cottagers exceeded all expectations in 2009, securing seventh spot in the Premier League and a place in the Europa League.

They remain on course to emulate that achievement this term, while they have also slipped quietly into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and reached the last 32 in continental competition.

Such success has helped to raise the bar at Craven Cottage, with supporters now expectant rather than hopeful.

Hodgson, though, has welcomed the pressure placed on his shoulders and hopes he can continue to appease the fans for the foreseeable future.

"Expectations mean you are having success, when there is no expectation that means no-one believes in you or believes you are capable of doing something," he told

"I'm not sure that people expecting from you is a negative thing. Obviously one hopes expectations are tempered by the reality of situations and people regard each situation on its merit."


Hodgson admits the outlook appears bright for Fulham pushing forward but is keen to avoid slipping into the trap of demanding too much from his players.

"I suppose a good season for us would be if we can maintain our mid-table position and if we can give a good account of ourselves in the coming match against Shakhtar (Donetsk) and then have a bit of luck in the quarter-final (of the FA Cup) against either Tottenham or Bolton," he said.

"We have got a lot to play for and some exciting times ahead but maintaining the status quo of what we have done so far would certainly mean, from my point of view, that we have had a good season, considering that recently we have had to deal with a number of injuries to key players.

"We are still being hampered by that and all managers will tell you that losing three or four of your senior first-team players and your better first-team players is not easy to deal with."

Hodgson has experienced many highs and lows over the course of his distinguished career, but admits his feats at Fulham rank alongside anything he has achieved in the game.

He said: "It's been very good. I am very happy here and I have been very satisfied with the job and the relative success we have had.

"In terms of my CV, I would regard the work here and the success here to be on a par with a lot of the successes in the past."
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 03:28:19 PM

The Fulham diet

by Dan on February 24, 2010

A bit of lunchtime surfing and I came across this from Fulham FC’s nutrionist Stephen Hines.

Nutrition is very important. The average Premier League player covers 10-12k in one 90 minute match, so just as you wouldn’t expect to travel very far in a car with no petrol, the fuelling of the Fulham stars is a serious matter too…

A pre-match meal should contain low GL carbohydrates for a controlled but short-term energy boost, proteins that improve cognition, motivation and that balance neurotransmitters and essential fats that control inflammation. It should also aim to eliminate anything that will cause stress to the body. Ideally, this would be predominantly gluten free foods, such as rice (not pasta or pizza), things like fish, lean meats or eggs and plenty or fruit and vegetables, such as blueberries, raspberries, carrots and broccoli. These foods provide a host of antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals generated during the game and a host of vitamins and minerals that are essential to drive the metabolic reactions that convert food to energy.
I would suggest that players should not be allowed to eat what they like and should be provided a menu that covers all the basics described above and that provides them with the best chance to perform well and recover well after the game.

Stephen’s top tips

So, you play a bit yourself and want to gain an edge over those mouthy Sunday league full-backs? Then read on…

Keep hydrated:

Get into the habit of taking on plenty of liquid throughout the week, but that’s not an excuse to go to the pub or a justification for that morning latte.

Drink lots of water instead of tea, coffee or beer. Try and replace those break-time cups of tea with water, particularly in the two days before a game. On the morning of a game, drink as much water as you can tolerate. You should be peeing freely and the urine should be colourless.

Immediately after the game, drink some Lucozade Hydro – or even water with a tiny pinch of salt – to replace the nutrients lost through sweating. Then maybe some milk. Our boys have shakes which contain special protein and carbohydrates, but a cheap, easy substitute would be a standard milkshake.

Food for thought:

Consuming the right pre and post-match meals isn’t just for professionals. Eating the right nutrients can make a significant difference to performance and energy at any level of competition.

In the two to three hours before a game try to eat some fish with wholegrain rice and vegetables to give you some energy. Then try and eat something as soon as you can after exercising. I suggest always trying to have lots of fruit, nuts and seeds as snacks around you at training and game times.”

Sugar is not so sweet:

Chomping down a Mars bar might seem like a good idea to give you lots of energy from sugar, but be warned.

Things that are really high in sugar will upset your blood sugar and disrupt your hormones. The brain runs on glucose, so you want some blood sugar, but you don’t want it spiking really high and then really low because you’ll have less glucose for your brain, which will mean your reaction times fall right down.

Go nuts:

Fancy a quick snack? Then reach for some nuts.
They are a super food and they’re healthy. People always assume they’re high in fat, which they are; but they are healthy fats (what we call essential fats) that you don’t make in your body so you have to get them in your diet, such as the monounsaturated fats Omega 3 and Omega 6. They’re very good for your brain, your nervous system, your eyes and they make hormones. They’re extremely useful.

Nuts are also full of good protein and carbohydrate. They’re high in zinc, magnesium, and B Vitamins too and those are the kinds of vitamins you need to turn your food into energy.

Now, did you get all that?
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 24, 2010, 03:40:12 PM

Lucescu asks Shakhtar to dig deep

Published: Wednesday 24 February 2010

Having eliminated English opponents in last season's UEFA Cup round of 32, Mircea Lucescu asked FC Shakhtar Donetsk to prove their final win "was not down to luck" as they face Fulham FC.

Mircea Lucescu urged his FC Shakhtar Donetsk side to "prove that our success in the final UEFA Cup was not down to sheer luck" as they look to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit at home against Fulham FC.

A tremendous strike from Bobby Zamora saw Roy Hodgson's Fulham take a slender advantage in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 opener at Craven Cottage, but having won eight of their last ten European home games, Lucescu's side know they can draw considerable strength from their home fans. "Our supporters are a mighty force," said Lucescu. "Their help was very important during the group stage. Now we must prove our success in the final UEFA Cup was not down to luck."

Rewind 11 months and the Pitmen were facing a similar task having lost the first leg of their UEFA Cup round of 16 tie 1-0 at PFC CSKA Moskva, but they duly won 2-0 in the return fixture in Donetsk to go through. "It's swings and roundabouts," said the Romanian coach. "Last year we needed two goals. It took a supreme effort. Now our task looks easier because one goal might be enough. On the other hand, before the home match against CSKA I didn't need to say anything to motivate my players. We have to focus. Any mistake might be crucial."

London sides have not thrived in Donetsk; Arsenal FC lost a 2000/01 UEFA Champions League group stage game 3-0 at Shakhtar, while late goals from Yevhen Seleznyov and Jadson saw the Pitmen beat Tottenham Hotspur FC 2-0 in last season's round of 32. Brazilian midfielder Willian remember that game very well, but was wary of making any comparison with the club's current opponents. "Fulham are a much better and more dangerous side," said the 21-year-old.
Title: Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
Post by: HatterDon on February 24, 2010, 04:58:50 PM

2) Clint Dempsey

There haven’t been a lot of football players that have done well from the States, apart from of course Roy Wegerle! But Dempsey has been a revelation under Roy Hodgson and he is playing some outstanding football. The midfielder doesn’t really get the plaudits he deserves after hiding in the shadows of the likes of Zamora and Duff. He chips in with a lot of goals and it wouldn’t be surprising if a bigger team were to tempt Fulham with a bid in the summer.

Sigh. Where do these guys get their information? Roy Wegerle was a South African. He went to colled in the USA, married an American girl and became naturalized. Eventually, he played for the USA, but he'd already played for Luton Town, QPR, Blackburn, and Coventry City before he ever kicked a ball in an American league.