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General Category => Archive => Daily Fulham Stuff => Topic started by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:03:20 AM

Title: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:03:20 AM
Danny Murphy backs Fulham duo Paul Konchesky and Bobby Zamora to bolster England options

By Ashley Gray

Last updated at 1:17 AM on 27th February 2010

Danny Murphy insists England will find no better stand-in at left back than his Fulham team-mate Paul Konchesky.

Fabio Capello will decide on Saturday who to audition against Egypt on Wednesday following injury to Ashley Cole that threatens his World Cup participation and the decision of Wayne Bridge to make himself unavailable.

Switching Manchester City centre half Joleon Lescott is an option, along with natural full backs Stephen Warnock, Leighton Baines and on-loan Fulham defender Nicky Shorey.

But Murphy believes that even if Bridge changes his mind, the Manchester City man does not have the quality of Konchesky, who is struggling to make Sunday' match at Sunderland because of an ankle injury.

'I don’t see a better left-back than Konchesky out there, other than Ashley Cole,' said the Fulham captain.

‘If he can get over this injury, get himself fit and flying, there’s no better left back because he’s a great defender, no one does him for pace, good on one-on-ones and he’s a really good passer of the ball.

'Stevie Warnock is a terrific player I was with at Liverpool, but he hasn’t got the pace that Konchesky’s got. And when you’re playing against some of the best players in the world, that pace is crucial.'

Bobby Zamora is also in Capello's thoughts after hitting 15 goals this season and again showing his strength at working hard and holding up the ball during Fulham's draw at Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday night.

'He’ll let no one down because he’s got a great work ethic and he’s a big, strong boy,' said Murphy. ‘And I think in certain games you need a different option. You need to whack it up there and someone to get hold of it and bring people into play.'

Zamora is a doubt after aggravating an achilles problem in the Ukraine, where Murphy's injury-time sending off put a dampener on setting up a last 16 glamour tie against Juventus.

'I’ve made a silly kick out,' said Murphy. ‘I have to hold my hands up and say I’ve been stupid and I should know better.

'But there was no malice in it. I’m really hopeful it’ll only be a one-game ban.’

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:03:51 AM
The squad has a youthful look, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Collison and Gareth Bale included, but there is also a recall for Fulham's Simon Davies.
The 30-year-old midfielder has not featured since back-to-back World Cup qualifying defeats to Germany and Finland a year ago.

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:05:38 AM
SUNDERLAND v Fulham: Steve Bruce boosted by return of Lee Cattermole from suspension

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 3:39 PM on 26th February 2010

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole will return from suspension for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.

The 21-year-old missed last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal after being sent off at Portsmouth. David Meyler, who was dismissed during the same game, still has two more matches to serve.

Manager Steve Bruce is otherwise only without Andy Reid (hamstring) and Jordan Henderson (ankle), and they could both be back in business within 10 days.

Team (from): Gordon, Fulop, Bardsley, Hutton, Turner, Ferdinand, Mensah, Kilgallon, Da Silva, Cattermole, Cana, Zenden, Richardson, Malbranque, Campbell, Bent, Jones, Benjani, Liddle, Noble.

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:10:34 AM

FootyMAD's Sunderland match preview
By Footymad Saturday, 27th February 2010

FootyMad attempt to assist you with their form guide as Sunderland take on Fulham in a Premier League match on Sunday, 28th February 2010 at 15:00.

History of the Sunderland v Fulham fixture

Fulham face a trip to Sunderland at The Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon, hoping to improve upon an average previous return from this fixture. Of the 26 games played, Cottagers have recorded 5 wins, and Sunderland have come away with 12 victories.

The most recent encounter between these two sides was just last season, in January 2009, the The Black Cats carving out a narrow 1 - 0 victory in a Premier League match.

For a detailed analysis of the head-to-head between the two sides, click here

Recent encounters between the teams:
2009/2010 Sun 06 Dec Fulham 1 - 0 Sunderland PREM
2008/2009 Tue 27 Jan Sunderland 1 - 0 Fulham PREM
2008/2009 Sat 18 Oct Fulham 0 - 0 Sunderland PREM
2007/2008 Sat 05 Apr Fulham 1 - 3 Sunderland PREM
2007/2008 Sat 27 Oct Sunderland 1 - 1 Fulham PREM
2005/2006 Thu 04 May Sunderland 2 - 1 Fulham PREM
2005/2006 Mon 02 Jan Fulham 2 - 1 Sunderland PREM

Recent respective form guides

Sunderland losing only 1 of the last six, but drawing 4 of them. The goals for column just outweighs the goals against over this period, 6 to 5.

Fulham have an average recent record on the road, seeing them win just 1 and draw 2 of the last six. While the Cottagers have hit 6 goals, 9 have hit the back of the wrong net.

Sunderland find themselves struggling down in 14th position in the league having picked up 26 points from their 26 matches. Fulham's 37 points from 27 games sees them lie inside the top half of the table, in 9th position.

For a detailed analysis of team form guides throughout the leagues, click here

Current form guides: P W D L F A P
Sunderland 6 0 3 3 3 8 3
Fulham 6 4 2 0 12 3 14

FootyMad's prediction ...

Nothing appears to be going right for the Cottagers out on the road recently, yet the Madmen can see a turn around in fortunes as they battle to a victory in a closely fought contest at Sunderland. Away win

Sequence statistics:
Sunderland Drawn last 2 games at home.
Failed to win in previous 2 home matches.
Not won in the 7 most recent games.
Fulham Previous 2 away games have finished all-square.
Not won in previous 3 away matches.
8 games since last defeat.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:14:57 AM

6pm kick off against Juventus

by Dan on February 26, 2010

I’m not going to castigate the club for this as I’m not entirely sure that this is fully their decision – they may have been beholden to UEFA’s scheduling demands, but kicking off at 6pm on a Thursday is undoubtedly going to make it difficult for some fans to make it to the Cottage for one of the biggest nights in Fulham’s history.

It may even alter the atmosphere, which would be a real shame as the place was rocking for the first leg against Shakhtar, and I reckon that urgency transmitted itself to the players.

The last time Fulham went out of European competition it was after an early kick-off to compensate for continental television. Let’s just hope history doesn’t repeat itself
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:16:44 AM

Did Sunderland ‘reinvent Bobby Zamora?’

by Dan on February 26, 2010

Perhaps Steve Bruce was warming to his theme during his pre-match press conference or just being deliberately disingenious, but this comment strikes me as a little odd:

I think we reinvented Bobby Zamora when we played at Fulham. He made a mess of us down there, if I am honest, he was very, very good on the day.

No doubt Zamora was good against Sunderland. But most of the talk after that game was about his celebration rather than any England call-up. And it’s certainly untrue to suggest that Bobby’s only been in form since early-December. Let’s take a closer look:

30 July: Scores a long-ranger in Vetra to get our Europa League campaign off and running.

15 Aug: Gets a little fortunate with the winner against Portsmouth.

20 Aug: Looks awesome against Amkar Perm. Belts in a powerful goal to go with a top-notch display as the leader of the line.

19 Oct: Clincal from close range to end a barren run and set Fulham on their way against Hull.

22 Oct: Bullies Roma at the Cottage. Momentum swings back towards the Italians when he’s taken off early by Hodgson.

25 Oct: Misses a sitter at Man City. Much of the post-match hilarity obscures a selfless performance.

31 Oct: Plays a blinder against Liverpool. Rolls in the first, gives Jamie Carragher the run around and the Liverpool defender is sent off – long after he actually should have been having hauled Zamora down twice.

6 Dec: Scores winner against Sunderland.

Care to think again, Steve?
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:19:04 AM

Drama awaits shaky Sunderland

By Norman Hubbard

February 25, 2010

Seasons tend to end somewhat dramatically for Sunderland. Last year, it had barely finished when Ricky Sbragia decided he was not best suited to management. Twelve months before, Roy Keane reacted to securing safety with an outburst of typical honesty and perfectionism when he said: "We've lost 22 games this season and people are telling me we've had a good season, After losing 22 games, I'm lucky to be in a job."

Twice in the past decade, they have ended with Sunderland statistically the worst side in Premier League history, twice with promotion from the Championship and once more with play-off defeat. And now? That is a cause of increasing concern on Wearside, where they are strangers to the supposed mediocrity of mid-table.

Sunderland's early-season results suggested a finish in the top third should be feasible. Their recent record has placed them in the lowest third of the table. Despite stiff competition, they are the out-of-form side there. While Bolton, Burnley, Portsmouth, Wigan and Hull have endured their difficulties over the last couple of months, none has gone as long without a win as the Black Cats.

It is 13 matches, dating back to November's defeat of Arsenal, since they triumphed. Sunday's game against Fulham at the Stadium of Light can be deemed winnable, but so were the matches against Portsmouth, Stoke and Wigan, who all departed with a point.

The familiar question can be posed: where did it go wrong? Bruce can, correctly, cite injuries that have not been equally distributed across the squad. He was so short of defenders for January's trip to Chelsea that midfielder Lorik Cana played in the back four in the 7-2 defeat; come Saturday's visit to Arsenal, a shortage of midfielders meant centre-back Anton Ferdinand was pushed further forward than normal.

Continuity has been impossible. Bruce has fielded 16 different back fours thus far, a number that is likely to rise before the end of the campaign. The strongest midfield may well comprise the quartet who began the win against Liverpool (Cana, Lee Cattermole, Andy Reid and Steed Malbranque), but that unit has only been deployed twice since.

Stability, however, has not been on the agenda. Bruce has taken a wrecking ball to the oversized squad Keane left. Nine players have arrived, three of them on loan, and 28 departed on either permanent or short-term deals in the last nine months. Hastily-assembled sides often display inconsistency, though, since Arsenal were overcome, Sunderland have acquired the wrong sort of consistency.

Bruce may have been guilty of trying to change too much too quickly. Cana, Cattermole and Darren Bent all belong in a strong first XI who fostered optimism in autumn, but the subsequent injuries suggest the new manager may have pruned the squad rather too efficiently to leave options on the bench. While it is telling that many of Keane's recruits now play at a lower level, some for their former manager, not all of the arrivals are obviously superior to their predecessors.

But with suggestions that other players, such as Maynor Figueroa and Keiren Westwood, were also targets for Bruce, it gave the appearance that the manager was trying to sign an entire new side. With the exception of Reid, some of the more able players he has inherited have underperformed. Kenwyne Jones too rarely realises his vast potential, while Malbranque has been demoted to the bench.

Underachievement can appear a constant in the North East, where expectations can overcome some players and where reputations have been dented before. The danger for Bruce is that, despite the local knowledge a Geordie possesses, he falls into the same trap as some of his predecessors. His time at Wigan enhanced his standing, showing a manager with a cosmopolitan approach to bargain-hunting, who could produce a physically tough, footballing side.

His Sunderland team appear based on the same principles, but with a couple of significant differences. Especially when battlers Cana and Cattermole are not in harness, resilience has been lacking. And, more so than elsewhere, Bruce has been given a sizeable budget. His transfer spend exceeds £30 million, even if half of it has been recouped. It makes Sunderland the costliest side in the relegation battle and exacerbates the impression that more was anticipated.

The reality now is that it is a fight for survival. West Ham have displayed how a couple of victories can transform the picture for a talented team; Sunderland, the other side with the most ability in the lower half of the table, should be able to emulate them. But the longer the wait for that elusive win continues, the greater the chances of another sadly dramatic conclusion to a campaign.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:20:44 AM

Roy Hodgson’s Fulham continue to impress

By Robert Hicks   

6:14pm UK, Friday February 26, 2010

Is there anything this man can’t do? Just when you think it can’t be done, Roy Hodgson and his men go and do it.

Be honest, who would have thought that Fulham Football Club would be sitting pretty in the final 16 of the Europa League amongst the likes of Juventus, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid?

Thursday night’s match against Shakhtar Donetsk was their biggest challenge of the season, and they succeeded.

“This Shakhtar team is as good as any team I have come across in 35 years,” states Hodgson. When you think of the great teams this man has come up against in his wonderful career, that’s saying something.

Fulham played well. Very well. It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen a Fulham side with so much strength and determination about them. But we saw it in abundance last night.

Bringing with them a 2-1 lead from the home leg, Fulham knew they were going to have to play pretty much the entire 90 minutes with their backs up against the wall. And it was hardly a surprise that within half an hour, Shakhtar had racked up 11 shots and nine corners.

However, Fulham were resilient, and with a solid wall of white shirts blocking the path to Mark Schwarzer, Shakhtar were reduced to long shots.

But it was Fulham who against the run of play made the breakthrough with their first real chance of the match. A Damien Duff in-swinging free kick from the right side of the box was met with a perfectly-timed glancing header from Hangeland.

The 50,000 strong crowd, who some of answered a pre-match poll on the club’s website as to whether or not Shakhtar would win, were silenced within a second. This silence soon turned to frustration as they bombarded Fulham with further attacks but all to no avail.

Shakhtar were finally rewarded for their efforts in the latter part of the match with a brilliantly crafted goal, but Hodgson’s side managed to hold on and the vital second goal Shakhtar were searching for never came.

Fulham face Italian giants Juventus next month in what is arguably their most glamorous and biggest match of the last ten years. Can they do it? Will little old Fulham come stricken to stage fright at the Stadio delle Alpi? Who knows — but if there is one thing we can be sure of, it’s that they won’t go down without a fight.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:25:35 AM,19528,11681_5984256,00.html

Zamora not thinking of England

Striker backed by team-mates for international recognition

Last updated: 26th February 2010   

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora is staying calm over his chances of breaking into the England squad.

Zamora has enjoyed a superb season for the Cottagers, scoring 15 goals in all competitions despite missing several games due to injury.

He has terrorised opponents with his power and there is a growing clamour for Fabio Capello to take a look at him before this summer's World Cup.

Zamora could be called up for international duty in next week's friendly against Egypt but he is not thinking about the matter too much.

The 29-year-old is just pleased to be performing well in a Fulham side that has continued to impress this term and believes his team-mates deserve much of the credit for his good form.

Asked about his England prospects, Zamora said: "It would be nice but I'm not looking to that at all.

"It's going really well for me but that's purely down to the team who are creating chances for me.

"It's nothing to do with the way I've played this season, it's just that now the ball's going into the back of the net."


Zamora may not want to talk up his England chances but Fulham winger Damien Duff believes he deserves to be selected.

"He has helped me this year, it's been a pleasure playing with him," said the Irishman.

"I've got an understanding with him and, for me, he's one of the best I've played with, so why not?

"Collectively we've done well over the past two years so it's great when the lads get a bit of recognition.

"When he's on the pitch things can happen, so why not give him a go?"


Duff's sentiments were echoed by Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland, who said: "I watch him more than any other English player, he's a great player.

"I have to play against him in training so when I walk out I am happy he's in my team and not the opposition.

"He's done really well for us this season, whether that is good enough for England is for other people to decide but I will say he's a great player."
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:26:54 AM
Inside Fulham Podcast

Friday 26th February 2010

Fulham FC News

Not only did Roy Hodgson’s team remain unbeaten in the Premier League in February following a victory over Birmingham City, but they progressed to the last sixteen of the Europa League after they knocked out the holders Shakhtar Donetsk in dramatic fashion in Ukraine.

In this episode of the Inside Fulham Podcast , we’ll look back at the last seven days, and get the thoughts of manager Roy Hodgson and Skipper Danny Murphy on what the team has achieved in that period.

Download the Fulham Podcast

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:33:57 AM
Nicky answers your questions

Posted by Nicky Shorey on February 26, 2010 at 4:30pm

Send Message   View Nicky Shorey's blog

Thanks to everyone who has posted their questions.

Nicky I would like to start by saying thank you for your efforts so far, you have really impressed the fans. But have the fans impressed you? (Aaron)

Definitely, they're fully behind the Team and you really need that especially if things go bad. Even if things have been a bit scrappy on the pitch they've still stuck with us and we've managed to get the results. It's always hard when you come to a new club and you don't know how it's going to go. So it's great to have that support behind you.

Who would you most like to thank for helping you become the footballer you are today? (FrankieFFC)

That's a tough one; there are so many people to thank. Definitely my parents - my mum for driving me about everywhere when I was younger. My dad had a big bearing on me - he's in the game, working for Reading and he really pushed me hard as a youngster. He keeps me sane whenever I've got worries on the football pitch.

My brother was a big help and my wife is giving me great support at the minute. There are so many people to mention but those are the main ones.

In your opinion who are the best players you have played with and against? What made them special? (Owen Smith)

The one who stands out the most is probably Steven Gerrard, he's got everything. Physical attributes, ability - he's just got everything to his game. As a left-back, some of the people I have come up against, the nippy wingers like Aaron Lennon, Ronaldo and Wright-Phillips are always tricky. But I'd say Steven Gerrard is probably the best.

How is Fulham viewed by other players within the league? And have you seen a change in that perception over the past few years? (MJL)

Fulham has a good history in the game. Everyone looks at Fulham and thinks the team plays good football and tries to play the right way - the way I like the game to be played. I've always looked at Fulham and admired the way they go about their business. It's a good traditional club and I'm pleased to be a part of it.

What football team did you support as a lad? (Putney White)

I'm going to have to say two. Leyton Orient, where I came through as a youngster and Arsenal.

What kind of music do you like? (Jonah McGowan)

A complete variation. I couldn't pinpoint any one style - I'm not fussed.

Why did you choose Nottingham Forest as a short term loan option and not a Premier League club after your initial move from Villa? (David Preston)

At the time I could have gone to another Premier League club but I didn't feel like that was the right move at the time. Then the window closed to go to a Premier League club so I had to go to a Championship club - that was the only route I had. Nottingham Forest were very interested and I've got to be honest, I probably wouldn't be here at Fulham if it wasn't for Forest giving me an opportunity to go and play games.

I'll be forever thankful to them; I really enjoyed my time there with Billy Davies. I was looking forward to going back there until Fulham came in and I couldn't turn down the opportunity to join. When you're not playing, you just want to be playing games. I had no worries about dropping down a division to play games - the most important thing is to be playing.

What advice would you give to youngsters wanting to be professional footballers? (C@rme99)

Just learn your trade, make sure you work hard and give it everything you've got. As long as you work hard and give it your best shot you can't have any regrets. Make sure you listen and learn from other people in the game.

I remember when I was coming through the youth team, we had to clean the toilets, the stands and everything like that. I think it was the best grounding I could have had.

When I became a professional I really appreciated that fact that I didn't have to do those things. I think they should go back to that. At some clubs youngsters don't even have to clean boots these days, which is ridiculous. To be fair, at the time I hated it. But now I see that it gave me a good grounding.

Nicky, I saw you play two games for England at Wembley - versus Germany and Brazil if I recall correctly. How did you find the England/Wembley experience? And do you still have hopes of a recall by Fabio? I thought you had a couple of decent games. (Roy Simmons)

That was the pinnacle of my career. Playing for your country and doing it while you're playing for a club like Reading, that has only just got up to the Premiership. People say that you don't get those opportunities when you're playing for a 'less fashionable club' - so it was nice that I got that opportunity.

It's hard to describe the feeling, standing there with the national anthem playing and your family watching. It's the best feeling I've ever had on the football pitch. I really enjoyed it and I'd love to experience it again but that's down to other people. Football is all about opinions and you've just got to keep working hard. I'm just concentrating on trying to do well for Fulham and see where that takes me.

Is Rob Earnshaw as great a man as he is a footballer? (James Alexander Tizzard)

He's a great lad. I've got nothing but good words to say about him. He just loves life and he loves his football. I wish all the lads at Forest all the best because they're a great group and I hope they do it this season.

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:35:53 AM
Next One Up: Sunderland

Friday 26th February 2010

Fulham FC News   

Sunderland v Fulham, Barclays Premier League

Sunday February 28th 2010, KO 3pm.   

Fulham return to Barclays Premier League action this Sunday when they take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

We have visited the Stadium of Light on five previous occasions, but our only victory to date came in September 2002, when Junichi Inamoto was amongst the scorers in a 3-0 win. Last season the only goal of the game came from Kenwyne Jones 10 minutes after the break in a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Sunderland returned to the top-flight after a one-year absence in 2007, and have struggled in both subsequent seasons, finishing 16th last term.

In attempt to breathe new life, the club enticed Steve Bruce back to his native north east last summer, replacing caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia. And the Black Cats got off to a moderate start to the new campaign before hitting some excellent form in the autumn with goals flowing freely. Hull were hammered 4-1 at the Stadium of Light and Wolves left a few weeks later on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline. Only a late Anton Ferdinand own goal cost them a memorable victory at Old Trafford too, but there was better luck in the home game against Liverpool when a stray beach ball was awarded an assist to Darren Bent’s winning goal.

Subsequently form has not been as hot with little to cheer following a home victory over Arsenal in mid-November. This included an astonishing 7-2 defeat at Chelsea as well as a 1-0 reverse here at the Cottage.

Three January recruits were added to attempt to bring more consistency: Defenders Matt Killgallon and Alan Hutton from Sheffield United and Tottenham respectively, as well as striker Benjani from Manchester City.

Stadium Details:
- Address: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 1SU
- Telephone: 0191 551 5000
- Capacity: 48,300
- Visitors Sections: Metro FM (South) Stand
- Disabled Fans: South Stand 

Getting There: 
(Approximately 275 miles from SW6)

Depart Motspur Park 7am / Craven Cottage 7.30am
Season Ticket Holders / Fulham Members’ Club: Adults £20, Juniors £10
Non-Season Ticket Holders/Members: Adults £25, Juniors £18

By Road
Leave London via M1 and continue to end. Join A1(M) North until junction 49 then follow signs for Teesside onto A168 which becomes the A19. After 51 miles exit at junction with A1231 (signs Sunderland). At fifth roundabout take third exit into Queens Road (B1289) which becomes Kier Hardie Way. Turn right at next roundabout into Stadium Way. Ground is on the right.

Car Parking
A Park and Ride scheme is available for both home and away supporters from the Sunderland Enterprise Park which is signposted from the A1231. Street parking is also available and there are a number of Pay and Display car parks in the Town Centre across the Wearmouth Bridge.

By Rail
Train travel on the day of the game is just about possible although it may require more than one change of train. Travel is from Kings Cross to Newcastle, then by Metro to the Stadium of Light Station which is close to the ground. You are strongly advised to check times prior to travelling. 

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:37:28 AM
Playing to Our Strengths

Friday 26th February 2010

Fulham FC News

Dickson Etuhu summed up the mood in the dressing room as one of jubilation on Thursday evening after Fulham recorded a memorable UEFA Europa League victory over UEFA Cup champions Shakhtar Donetsk.

“It’s a dream come true,” he enthused. “A lot of people didn’t think we could do it, but we always knew that if we worked hard and kept our organisation we would cause them problems, and things worked out for us, so now we look forward to the next game.”

Dickson played a key role in the centre of midfield, on the frontline of two defensive banks that worked tirelessly to keep Shakhtar’s creative attackers at bay. It required 90 minutes of total concentration, tracking and interceptions, but it was nothing that the Nigerian powerhouse isn’t accustomed to.

“They’re a great team – anyone can see that, but we’re not an easy team to play against either,” he assessed. “We’re used to playing against the best teams in the world like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, so we were well prepared and came with a game plan.

“The gaffer prepared us to deal with their pressure and hopefully everybody saw that. We’re lucky because we’ve got great coaches at the Club who help us to play to our strengths against these teams.”

Next up for Fulham’s European heroes is a Round of 16 tie with Juventus in a fortnight’s time, but, as Dickson points out, with Premier League and FA Cup fixtures to come before then, there is plenty else to prepare for before the meeting with the Italian giants.

“We’re excited and enjoying the moment now, not thinking about the next game yet,” he said. “Before Juventus comes Sunderland away on Sunday in the league, our bread and butter, and the most important thing. So we’re happy, we’ll enjoy this, but tomorrow we’ll move on.”

The two-legged Round of 16 provides yet another spectacle in what is shaping up to be one of the best seasons in Fulham Football Club history. A solid campaign in the top half of the Premier League, coupled with progress to the latter stages of two major cup competitions is success to savour, and the games are coming thick and fast in a season that just keeps on giving.

“It’s crazy,” he exclaimed. “I only got back from the African Nations two-and-a-half weeks ago and I’ve played six games already. But it’s good to be back in the thick of things and playing every week – or every three days.

“We’re all enjoying it and long may it continue.”

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:40:21 AM

Match Preview: Sunderland v Fulham

5:39pm Friday 26th February 2010

By Scott Wilson »

Hutton Turner Mensah McCartney
Malbranque Cana Cattermole Richardson
Bent Jones

Duff Etuhu Murphy Davies
Shorey Baird Hangeland Hughes

Sunderland subs (from): Bardsley, Ferdinand, Benjani, Campbell, Carson, Da
Silva, Zenden, Noble.
Fulham subs (from): Smalling, Riise, Zuberbuhler, Greening, Nevland, Elm,
Kelly, Stoor.

SUNDERLAND: Steve Bruce has Lee Cattermole back from suspension and he is likely to revert back to his preferred 4-4-2 formation. That is likely to mean Darren Bent partners Kenwyne Jones in attack, with Steed Malbranque recalled to the right wing at the expense of Fraizer Campbell. John Mensah is also fit enough to play, despite his ongoing back problems.
Suspensions: Meyler 2
Injuries: Reid (hamstring), Henderson (ankle)
Leading league scorer: Bent 16
Last five League games: LDDDL
Next game: Bolton (h), 9/2

FULHAM: England hopeful Bobby Zamora is a doubt after picking up an Achilles injury playing in the Europa League. Andrew Johnson, Clint Dempsey and John Pantsil are also out, but cup-tied duo Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka may return. Okaka is the likely candidate to slot in for Zamora.
Suspensions: None
Injuries: Dikgacoi (ankle), Johnson (knee), Konchesky (ankle), Dempsey (knee), Zamora (Achilles), Pantsil (knee)
Leading league scorer: Zamora 8
Last five League games: WWDWL
Key player: Damien Duff - the former Newcastle winger has been rejuvenated in West London.

Last season: 1-0
Head to head: Sunderland 20, Fulham 14, draws 13
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Halifax) G35 Y137 R4 Av: 4.02
Last Sunderland game: v Everton (h) 26/12/09, 1-1, Y4 R0
Odds: H 11/10; A5/2; D23/10

It's a fact: Sunderland have only lost once to Fulham on Wearside soil in 35 years.
Comment by Scott Wilson: This is as big as they come but Fulham will not be making life easy.
Prediction: 1-1
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:42:59 AM

My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham at Sunderland

There is no rest for Fulham this weekend. They will be travelling to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland on Sunday. The kickoff for the match is 3PM UK time and 10AM EST. The game will actually be shown on tape delay on Fox Soccer Soccer Channel in the United States at noon EST. Sunderland currently sit 14th in the League with 26 points. Fulham are currently 9th with 37 points.

Roy Hogdson and Fulham need to figure out a way to get another away win. Sunderland will again be desperate for a win as they want to get as far away from the relegation zone as possible. The question is what kind of shape and lineup will be on display for Fulham on Sunday? Below I will have my "5 keys to victory for Fulham."

1. Bobby Zamora is doubtful for the match so who will step up to take his place at striker. Zamora picked up an Achilles injury in the Europa League match. Who will Roy use at striker. I am hoping David Elm will get a shot at striker. To me he deserves another chance to show his ability. He seems to have a good touch up front. This striker position will be key on Sunday.

2. The return of Nicky Shorey is important for the defense. As I stated prior I think Nicky Shorey has been impressive on defense. Stephen Kelly was very good in the last match. This is nothing against Kelly. Shorey just gives Fulham a defender who can push the ball up better and is more natural at the position.

3. Fulham desperately need to score the first goal. Fulham have struggled so much on the road I think they need to play from ahead the majority of the match. If they can get off to a fast start they can dictate the game to Sunderland. Again, they are playing a desperate side right now. Zoltan Gera has been very good lately. I would not be surprised to see him score a goal early in the match.

4. Hogdson should use some fresh legs in this match. After a grueling match in the Ukraine a key will be how Hogdson uses his lineup. I already stated I think David Elm and Nicky Shorey should start. At some point during the match it might be good to use Jonathan Greening and Bjorn Helge Riise in midfield. Players like Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu might need some rest. They have worked very hard lately. I also would not be against Stephen Kelly coming in to spell someone on defense.

5. It is important to push the ball up to the strikers. Fulham always seem to be at their best when the defenders are pushing the ball up the pitch. Fulham need to dictate the pace of the match. Nicky Shorey has been great so far in moving the ball up. Fulham need to play like they are at Craven Cottage which is more aggressive.

Fulham are coming off of a grueling schedule lately. Sunderland on the road is game they need to win. If they want to move higher up the table Fulham need to win these games on the road. Let's hope our good form continues on Sunday.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:46:37 AM

Roy Hodgson Shows His Class

by Niall Owens 

Contributor Written on February 26, 2010

On the 28th of December 2007 the forgotten man of English management returned to to the Premier League, and what a difference he has made.

Roy Hodgson, the twice former manager of Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, and the Swiss national side, took up his role as Fulham boss with his side facing a certain relegation and years of struggle trying to get back up into the top tier.

He came into Craven Cottage determined that the club would stay up and was proven right on the final day of the season when club captain Danny Murphy's goal in a 1-0 away win at Portsmouth ensured they would stay up.

They had gone into the last few games looking as if they would go down and but won three games in a row for the first time in the club's top flight history and since then Hogdson's men have continued to amaze the world of football.

On the 16th of December 2009 Fulham headed to Basel a country Hodgson knew well in all his years of management, knowing only a win would see them into the knock out stage of the Europa League.

A fantastic performance inspired by Bobby Zamora's two goals ensured their passage but bad news came in the draw a few days later when they were to face UEFA Cup holders Shakhtar Donetsk but the confidence in the Fulham camp was obvious with goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer saying: "anything's possible."

Last week they made the perfect start against the holders when Zoltan Gera put his side in front after only three minutes at the Cottage, Donetsk had not played since their final group game because of the end of season break in the Ukraine but as proven last year the break was of benefit to them as they leveled just before the break through Luiz Adriano.

Bobby Zamora fired home a wonder goal just past the hour mark to notch up what was a famous victory for the Londoners. But surely the away goal they conceded meant their task in the Ukraine was going to be too much for them.

As they made their way onto the pitch last night in what was an intimidating atmosphere as England had experienced in their recent World Cup Qualifying defeat in the autumn, Fulham knew it was the David versus Goliath tie.

They were brave and kept their heads as the home side began well and battered the Fulham defence with Schwarzer pulling off a string of great stops, but with the skill and flair of Damien Duff and Zoltan Gera Fulham knew they had the chance to get the vital away goal.

And it came ten minutes from half time when the defensive rock Brede Hangeland headed home and all of a sudden the whole of Europe took notice. Unlike with youngster Chris Smalling, who is leaving to join Manchester United in the summer, Fulham have managed to keep a hold of Hangeland. But after a performance of this magnitude a lot of clubs will be sniffing around come the opening of the window.

Although the home side equalised with 20 minutes to play Fulham hung on to what is their greatest achievement in European football, and Hodgson was quick to praise the spirit and the belief of his side:

"We put in an enormous amount of work, trained a lot and the result shows it wasn't in vain," said the 62-year-old. "I wouldn't rule out that at the end of my coaching days I will name this match as the best in my career."

At the end of last season Hodgson had come on record as saying he had the tough task of calming expectations down at the club and ensured that Premier League survival was of paramount importance, but after their late show against Birmingham City saw them move into nineth and on 37 points they have their safety assured.

They take on Sunderland in the league on Sunday, but then have a home FA Cup quarter final tie against Tottenham the following weekend and then take on Italian giants Juventus a side Hodgson knows well over two legs sandwiched with a league game against Manchester United.

The other 15 teams Liverpool aside will not have heard much about Fulham but they will have done now and do not be suprised if their fairytale run continues as they face a Juventus side in all sorts of turmoil in the next round. 

Fulham have nothing to lose as for Juventus it is the opposite and once again Fulham fans can rely on a fantastic team spirit Hodgson has instilled at Craven Cottage to ensure they can run the Italians all the way.

As for the rest of the season they have a genuine chance of winning the FA Cup and will hold no fears in the Europa League as has been proved. And as for the league, as said earlier, with survival an almost certainty they can play with no pressure as they find themselves only eight points of Europa league qualification and nine off the top four.

Hodgson is one of the nicest men in world football and is a genuine footballing man and he is dying breed in our game today with managers now being media driven and money mad. Sir Alex Ferguson regards him as one of his closest friends in management and a top boss and who is argue with that?

Let's all sit back and enjoy how he gets the best out of side week after week because it is a dying art in this modern football world.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:49:01 AM

Striking options for Sunday?

by Dan on February 26, 2010

It’s clear that Bobby Zamora’s a doubt for Sunday. I doubt Roy Hodgson would have brought him off last night had he not been struggling and, furthermore, Achilles injuries aren’t the most easy things in the world to get over, least of all in two days.

In the event that Bobby doesn’t make the Sunderland game, David Elm would seem to be next in line. The Swede didn’t let anyone down in Donetsk and arguably added a bit more vibrancy to Fulham’s attack once he came on. Elm’s been a lot more impressive in his brief run in the side that a few people expected and deserves a chance to show what he can do. I would be worried that someone of his height would become an easy out ball and get a little too isolated, especially if Hodgson persists with 4-4-1-1.

The alternative is to pair Elm with Erik Nevland, who hasn’t appeared in the first team for a little while, and revert to a 4-4-2. That would mean finding a place for Zoltan Gera in midfield, which might be worthwhile as one of the wide players might be due a rest after their hard work last night, or leaving the Hungarian out altogether. It’s more a question of shape than personnel and it will be interesting to see what Roy decides to do.

UPDATE: Ed in the comments raises the very valid point of Stefano Okaka, who I initially neglected only because I feel Hodgson sees him as something of a work in progress – a late substitute who could fashion a chance against a tiring defence. Perhaps he’ll spring a surprise and play the Italian from the start.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:52:13 AM

Squad sheets: Sunderland v Fulham, Friday 26 February 2010 19.45

Steve Bruce trusts Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday plus Sunderland tomorrow will add up to fatigue for Fulham. Relieved that Roy Hodgson is likely to be without key striker Bobby Zamora, Sunderland's suddenly threatened manager aims to choreograph a first league win in 14 games. Bruce has demanded his team effect an "180 degree turn" and start "looking up the table". Brave words but should they fail to beat a Fulham side bound to be at least a little tired by Europa League exertions in Ukraine their manager's job security will be called into serious question. Louise Taylor

Venue Stadium of Light

Tickets £10-27 (0871 911 1973)

Last season Sunderland 1 Fulham 0

Referee M Atkinson

This season's matches 21 Y86, R3, 4.24 cards per game

Odds Sunderland 5-4 Fulham 13-5 Draw 23-10

 Probable starters in bold, contenders in light. Photograph: Graphic Sunderland
Subs from Fulop, Carson, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Malbranque, Zenden, Benjani, R Noble, L Noble, Reed, Liddle

Doubtful None

Injured Henderson (ankle, 6 Mar), Reid (hamstring, 6 Mar),

Suspended Meyler (second of three)

Form guide LDDDLL

Disciplinary record Y47 R1

Leading scorer Bent 15

Subs from Zuberbühler, Smalling, Kelly, Stoor, Teymourian, Konchesky, Riise, Greening, Zamora, Elm, Nevland

Doubtful Konchesky (ankle), Zamora (achilles)

Injured Dikgacoi (ankle, 14 Mar), Dempsey (knee, Apr), Paintsil (knee, Apr), A Johnson (knee, May)

Suspended None

Form guide WWDWLL

Disciplinary record Y29 R1

Leading scorer Zamora 8

Match pointers

• Fulham have failed to win in 12 Premier League matches away from home

• Darren Bent has been caught offside more times (40) than any other player in the top flight

• Bobby Zamora's first four league goals this season were all scored in the first half and the last four have all come after the break

• Sunderland have picked up the most yellow cards this season (56) while Fulham have the fewest (29)

• If selected, Fredrik Stoor will be playing for Fulham on his 26th birthday
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 06:57:34 AM

Murphy: Kon can fill gap


Published: Today
DANNY MURPHY has backed Paul Konchesky to fill England's gaping hole at left-back.
Fulham skipper Murphy rates his team-mate second only to Ashley Cole - regardless of Wayne Bridge's decision to quit international football.

Konchesky, 28, is close to recovery from a knee injury and may even travel with the squad to Sunderland for tomorrow's Premier League match.

Midfielder Murphy said: "Ashley Cole is the best left-back in the world.

"But, if he's not fit, it's irrelevant whether Wayne Bridge changes his mind or whatever.

"I've played a couple of years with Konch and, if he can get himself fit and flying, there's no better left-back because he's a great defender.

"He's quick, no one does him for pace, he's good on one-on-ones and he's a really good passer.

"I don't see a better left-back than Konchesky out there other than Cole.

"People talk about Stevie Warnock, who's a terrific player I was with at Liverpool. He has great potential but he hasn't got the pace Konchesky's got.

"At international level, that pace is crucial."

Konchesky has two caps but has not played for England since 2005.

He has been one of Fulham's most consistent performers this season.

But the ex-West Ham and Charlton defender has been blighted by injury - linked to an on-going knee problem and the added workload of Fulham's Europa League success.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 07:05:26 AM


27th February 2010

By Ian Murtagh

Kieran Richardson ­admits he hadn’t ­envisaged a scenario like the one Sunderland are caught up in – even in his worst nightmares.

Steve Bruce’s Sunderland entertain Fulham tomorrow – the first of four ­successive games at the Stadium of Light – in search of their first league win since November 21.

Richardson does not need reminding that if the Black Cats’ form over the past 10 weeks is repeated over the next 10, they will be relegated.

The midfielder said: “This is my third season at Sunderland and it’s fair to stay we ­struggled in the last two.

“I never imagined it would be the same again. It never even entered my head, considering the squad we’ve got now.

“We made a great start, we were flying, and all of us thought, ‘Hey, it’s going to be a great ­season’.

“Then we hit a rough patch that none of us really saw coming.’’

Richardson was not alone in ­believing the Black Cats were in line for their best campaign since Peter Reid was in charge after they beat Liverpool and Arsenal on home soil and were seconds away from ­winning at Old Trafford.

Though Bruce tried to dampen ­expectations, the ex-­Manchester United star reveals that even in the dressing room there was talk of a top-six finish.

“At the start of the season, when we were winning, everyone was saying, ‘Yeah, Europe’s on. Definitely’.

“And now results have turned and people are talking about relegation.

“What’s happened this season is upsetting because I’ve had so much faith in this team, the players, the coaches and the manager.

“When I look at the table, it really hurts because we should not be down there.

“But I can say all I want. The fact is the table does not lie and now it’s all about launching our ­revival.

“It only takes one win and then everyone’s heads will lift and we will be looking upwards again.’’

Sunderland have actually drawn five of their last eight matches and, but for goals conceded in the last 10 minutes recently, would be as close to the top six as the bottom three.

But Richardson, who has been played in a variety of roles this term, is convinced they can rediscover their spark as quickly as they lost it.

He added: “There are still 11 games left and who knows, if we put a ­really good run together, we can still finish in the top 10. We are more than capable of doing that. We have got to take advantage of these four home games.

“It was awful going into the last game of last season knowing we could go down – and we don’t want to go through that again.

“With the quality in this squad, I really don’t think we will be in that predicament again.

“But unless we start winning soon, then it will be like that again.’’
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 07:13:55 AM

The debt league: How much do clubs owe?

Pompey entering administration has left other fans fretting about their team's safety.

Ben Chu assesses the state of financial play in the top flight

Saturday, 27 February 2010

The recent bond prospectus revealed that the Glazers (pictured) lost Manchester United £35m attempting to hedge against a rise in interest rates.

Portsmouth have finally gone into administration. And to judge by the recent public interventions by a succession of Premier League chairmen, there is a palpable fear that other top-flight clubs could also be in danger.

In January, the Wolves owner, Steve Morgan, called for some "common sense" on Premier League finances. This month, David Gold the co-owner of West Ham and Dave Whelan of Wigan chimed in, suggesting the Premier League should impose new regulation on clubs to save them from their financial profligacy.

So owners are clearly increasingly worried about the finances of the league. But how concerned should fans be that their own club might follow Portsmouth down the road to financial ruin? The answer to that depends, in part, on the nature of the debt loaded on to each club.

Premier League debt comes in several different forms. Several clubs have borrowed directly from banks. These loans tend to come with a variable interest rate and relatively short repayment dates. Liverpool have come unstuck with this type of borrowing. The Royal Bank of Scotland is demanding that the club's American owners, who owe the bank £237m, bring in a new investor with £100m to pay down debt as a condition of rolling over its borrowings again this summer.

Other clubs have tapped the bond markets to raise money. Manchester United and Arsenal have issued securities worth £500m and £245m respectively, secured on club assets. Bonds tend to have a longer maturity than bank debt. In Arsenal's case, the club is locked in at a reasonable interest rate for 20 years. But some bonds are kinder than others. United's recent offering gives them just seven years in which to repay the money, and at a higher rate of interest.

Yet the most expensive debt in the Premier League is the £200m so-called "payment-in-kind notes" which the Glazer family took out when they acquired United in 2005. This summer the annual interest rate on that tranche of borrowing will rise to an astonishing 16.5 per cent, with full repayment due in 2017.

The accounts of many clubs, such as Fulham, Aston Villa and Wigan, show that they are beneficiaries of loans from their owners, or rather usually other companies which also belong to their benefactors. On the face of it, this type of financing looks safe and cheap as it tends to come with a very low interest rate (often zero) and no urgency on repayment. The owners of the dark side and Manchester City have even written off their soft loans of £701m and £305m respectively in recent months, making these two clubs debt-free.

But can smaller clubs expect such debt forgiveness from their owners should they run into financial crisis or their benefactor decides to sell up? The grim fate of Portsmouth should be a warning. Alexandre Gaydamak sold the South Coast club last year, but he still wanted £28m of his investment back; a demand that seems to have helped push Pompey under.

Yet debt should really be only one part of the concern for fans. Even if owners write off what they are owed, their other function is to absorb losses made by the club and provide working capital. If that backing (often a condition of banks continuing to lend) disappears, clubs will be in big trouble. Relegation and the accompanying fall in television revenue are likely to spell bankruptcy.

So fans also need to look at the extent to which their club is living beyond its means as a stand-alone business. Balancing the books is the sign of a healthy club. By this measure – with only six out of 20 clubs showing an operating profit in their most recent accounts – the Premier League is looking desperately sick.

Manchester United

Turnover: £278.5m

Operating profit: £91.3m

Net debt: £716.6m

Interest payment: £68.5m

Manchester United's Byzantine finances are essentially a tale of massive profits and massive interest payments. The club's 08-09 accounts showed that the Red Devils paid £42m of interest on their £500m of bank loans. And the interest charge on the "payment-in-kind" loan, secured on the controlling shares in the club of the Glazer family, was £26m. But the PIK loan "rolls up" the interest, so the value of that debt rose to £202m in the year. Last month the Glazer family issued a £500m bond with an interest rate of 9 per cent and maturity date of 2017. The proceeds will be used to pay off the existing bank loans. The bond prospectus also makes provision for up to £70m to be taken out of the club "for general purposes, including repaying existing indebtedness". This is assumed to mean paying off some of the Glazers' PIK debt, on which the interest rate will rise to 16.5 per cent this August. The full PIK debt is repayable in 2017. The recent bond prospectus also revealed that the Glazers lost the club £35m attempting to hedge against a rise in interest rates.


Turnover: £312.3m

Operating profit: £58.8m

Net debt: £297.0m

Interest payment: £16.6m

A pocket of financial sanity. The club's 08-09 accounts show the outstanding value of the bonds issued to finance the building of the Emirates stadium at £244.9m. But this is repayable over a 20 to 22-year term at a fixed interest rate of 5.3 per cent. The club is also paying off some of the principal sum of the bond each year (£5.3m in 08-09), which means that Arsenal, managed by Arsène Wenger, will not be saddled with debt indefinitely. The bank loan taken out by the club with Barclays to finance the Highbury Square apartment complex, on the site of Arsenal's former ground, stood at £137m, with a repayment date of December 2010 and an interest rate of 2-2.5 per cent above the London inter-bank lending rate (Libor). Since then, however, the club has reduced the property bank loan to £47.1m, financed by selling apartments at Highbury Square for a discount. The main financial risk for the club would be a failure to fill the Emirates.


Turnover: £164.2m

Operating profit: £24.9m

Net debt: £261.7m

Interest payment: £36.5m

The clearest possible example of the madness of a leveraged buyout in football. Liverpool's relatively healthy operating profits in 07-08 were wiped out by interest payments on their borrowings from the Royal Bank of Scotland and the US bank Wachovia. Since Liverpool refinanced in the summer, the new managing director of the club, Christian Purslow, has claimed that the club's debt has come down to £237m.

West Ham

Turnover: £71.6m

Operating profit: –£32.8m

Net debt: £114.9m

Interest payment: £3.0m

As the new co-owner David Gold puts it: "a car crash". West Ham's 07-08 accounts showed that they owed £114.9m, more than its annual turnover. The accounts also showed the club had breached covenants on a £35m bank loan. The new repayment date for that loan, from a syndicate of five banks, is August 2011. This is, no doubt, the reason why the Hammers' new owners are urgently seeking to raise £40m from new investors.


Turnover: £53.7m

Operating profit: –£2.1m

Net debt: £164.0m

Interest payment: £1.0m

The colossal size of Fulham's net borrowing reflects the debt it owes to Mohamed al-Fayed. The 07-08 accounts show that the club owes the Harrods owner £159m. However, this is said to be unsecured, interest-free and with no fixed repayment timetable. The club also has a £4.5m bank loan from NatWest, secured on Fulham's future broadcasting income and repayable within a year, on which it paid interest of 7.11 per cent.

Aston Villa

Turnover: £75.6m

Operating profit: –£13.1m

Net debt: £72.3m

Interest payment: £5.7m

Aston Villa's 07-08 accounts show the club has a £13m bank loan secured on the club's assets. £2.5m of this is repayable in three instalments each year until 2012. It also has a £10m overdraft. But Villa's biggest debt is to their American owner, Randy Lerner, who has lent the club £49.5m. These loans are repayable in full in December 2016. Villa paid £4.1m in interest in the year on Lerner's loan, on top of £1.37m to service the bank loan.


Turnover: £63.5m

Operating profit: –£2.4m

Net debt: £48.8m

Interest payment: £0.7m

Another club that survives by the grace of wealthy benefactors. The club's 07-08 accounts show that the Black Cats owed £35.2m to their immediate parent company. This was unsecured, interest-free and with no repayment date. The club also had a £13.6m bank overdraft, guaranteed by the owners. Ellis Short, the American businessman who took full control of the club last May, has given conflicting signals over how much he is willing to spend in order to push Sunderland up the table. The latest word is that he wants to reduce the wage bill.

Bolton Wanderers

Turnover: £52.3m

Operating profit: –£5.3m

Net debt: £58.4m

Interest payment: £3.9m

Not a healthy picture. Bolton rely on the backing of their owner Edwin Davies. The latest accounts show that the club owes its parent company £55.9m. Moreover, this borrowing does not come for free: £23m is repayable on demand and has an interest rate of 10 per cent. A further £11.5m is secured on future TV money. The threat of relegation is real – as is the prospect of a financial crunch.

Hull City

Turnover: £11.2m

Operating profit: –£9.2m

Net debt: £17.1m

Interest payment: £0.4m

An accident waiting to happen. The note from the accountants in the club's 07-08 accounts says that if the Tigers are relegated they will need to generate a financial surplus of £23m to avoid meltdown this financial year. And even if Hull survive in the Premier League, they will need to generate a £16m surplus. The accounts also show a £22m bank loan, with £12m repayable within a year.

Wigan Athletic

Turnover: £46.3m

Operating profit: –£17.0m

Net debt: £54.0m

Interest payment: £1.5m

The club's latest accounts make it plain that all that stands between Wigan and oblivion is Dave Whelan. The owner has put £39m into the club in the form of an unsecured, interest-free loan with no fixed repayment date. The club also has an overdraft and bank loan from Barclays of £18.7m, repayable on demand, on which Wigan paid £1.5m in interest in 08-09. The club ran at an operating loss of £17m in that year and the accounts note "further losses are anticipated in 2010 and 2011".

Tottenham Hotspur

Turnover: £113.0m

Operating profit: £18.4m

Net debt: £45.9m

Interest payment: £8.0m

Spurs have gone into debt to build a new training ground in Enfield. The club is paying an annual interest rate of 7.29 per cent on £30m of its borrowings. But it does not have to pay this back until 2024. A planned new 56,000-seat stadium should increase match-day revenues, although it remains to be seen how much the project itself will cost, or the terms of the financing.

Stoke City

Turnover: £11.2m

Operating profit: –£7.8m

Net debt: £2.3m

Interest payment: £0.5m

The Potters' 07-08 accounts showed negligible debt, but do make it clear how dependent the club is on its benefactor, Peter Coates, the owner of the bet365 online betting company. Revenue will have increased thanks to the Premier League TV money. But so will their outgoings. Last summer, the club spent £10m in luring Robert Huth and Tuncay Sanli to the Britannia Stadium.


Turnover: £79.7m

Operating profit: £6.3m

Net debt: £37.9m

Interest payment: £4.1m

Uncertainty reigns. £27m of the Toffees' borrowings – secured on future ticket sales – are spread over a relatively long period. But the 7.79 per cent interest rate meant that £4.1m of cash left the club in 08-09. The plan to increase match-day revenues by building a new 50,000-seat stadium in Kirkby was thrown into disarray last year when the Government rejected the proposal.


Turnover: £11.2m

Operating profit: –£8.9m

Net debt: £11.9m

Interest payment: £2.7m

According to the 08-09 accounts, the Clarets' chairman, Barry Kilby, and seven other directors had the right to claim full repayment of their £6.97m loans out of the club's new Premier League revenues following last summer's promotion. The chairman is aiming for a profit this financial year to improve the club's balance sheet.


Turnover: £70.5m

Profit: –£17.0m

Net debt: £57.7m

Interest payment: £6.6m

Portsmouth owed £28m to their former owner Alexandre Gaydamak, £18m to their owner, Balram Chainrai, and £5m to agents and other creditors. The club was also being pursued for £7.4m of unpaid taxes by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Administration means a nine-point deduction and just about certain relegation from the Premier League. Now the fight will begin by the club's creditors to get their money back. First in line will be those other clubs still owed money by Pompey.


Turnover: £18.2m

Operating profit: –£1.6m

Net debt: £13.0m

Interest payment: £0m

Wolves spent heavily to win promotion in 2007 and the club's 07-08 accounts reflect that. The effort was financed by new owner, Steve Morgan, who is now owed £13m by the club, although this is interest-free. Morgan tried to buy Liverpool in 2004 and says he was prepared to put £70m of cash into the Merseyside club to do so. Looking at Wolves' zero interest bill for 07-08, many Liverpool fans will probably wish he had been successful.

the dark side

Turnover: £190.0m

Operating profit: –£11.4m

Net debt: £511.6m

Interest payment: £0.7m

the dark side's 07-08 accounts show the club falling short of its goal of financial sufficiency. The accounts also showed a debt of £488m to its owner, Roman Abramovich. But last December the club released a statement revealing that this had been converted to equity, leaving the club "virtually debt-free". Those same results also featured an exceptional payment of £12.6m to Luiz Felipe Scolari and three coaching staff following the Brazilian's sacking as manager last season.

Birmingham City

Turnover: £49.8m

Operating profit: £13.7m

Net debt: £12.0m

Interest payment: £0.26m

Hope, perhaps, for Hammers fans. Birmingham City's 07-08 accounts reflect the golden legacy of David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady. The accounts are evidence that a middle-ranking club without a ridiculously wealthy sugar daddy can run its finances in a sensible manner. The club's main debt was a £14.7m loan from its parent company, but this appears to be interest-free. Birmingham's new owner, Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung, has a solid base on which to build.

Blackburn Rovers

Turnover: £50.9m

Operating profit: –£6.8m

Net debt: £20.3m

Interest payment: £0.8m

Precarious. The latest accounts show bank debt, secured on the club's assets, projected to increase to £20m. This loan is repayable by May 2012. The estate of the club's late benefactor, Jack Walker, has lent some £6m interest-free. But there does not appear to be an open-ended commitment to fund the club's losses. As the chairman, John Williams, warns in the accounts: "Without external funding we are inevitably moving from a trading club to a net selling club".

Manchester City

Turnover: £87.0m

Operating profit: –£34.2m

Net debt: £194.4m

Interest payment: £14.4m

The normal rules of business do not apply to Manchester City. The latest accounts show a company with a turnover of £87m running at an operating loss of £34m and with an accumulated debt to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi of £194m. Since then, the club has spent £117m on players, including Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez. But last month Sheikh Mansour converted Manchester City's entire £305m debt to him into equity.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 07:22:55 AM

Emile Heskey has been indifferent, Bobby Zamora has had a good season but is not an England player and Capello now has an injury doubt over Jermain Defoe. Capello never seems completely convinced by Peter Crouch either.

For me, Carlton Cole is the man. He’s strong, a nuisance, the penny has dropped and he’s really improved for the team.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 07:28:34 AM

Amauri blow for Juventus

Juventus striker Amauri is set to miss three to four weeks with a thigh injury.

The 29-year-old was substituted during yesterday's 0-0 Europa League draw with Ajax, which saw them book a last-16 clash with Fulham on aggregate.

A statement on the Juventus website read: "This morning Amauri underwent tests following the injury suffered yesterday during the match against Ajax.

"The tests confirmed the diagnosis made after the match. The prognosis is of 25 days."

The injury looks certain to rule him out of both legs of the tie against Fulham.

He joins Gianluigi Buffon on the sidelines, with the Italy goalkeeper set to be out for a month after also suffering a thigh injury.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 07:35:47 AM

Steve Bruce retains backing of Sunderland owners

Steve Bruce insists morale in the Sunderland dressing room is still good

George Caulkin

Steve Bruce has been offered reassurances that his position at Sunderland is under no immediate threat despite a damaging sequence of 13 league matches without a victory in which his team have tumbled down the table.

After climbing to sixth, Sunderland are fourteenth in the Barclays Premier League, just three points clear of the bottom three. They host Fulham tomorrow, the first of four consecutive fixtures at the Stadium of Light.

Bruce, who was appointed on a three-year contract in June, described that run yesterday as a “wonderful opportunity” for his stuttering side, who have failed to win a league match since Arsenal were beaten 1-0 on Wearside more than three months ago.

While the manager’s role has become a topic of conjecture among some supporters, who have been left perturbed by another campaign that has degenerated into a skirmish with relegation, Bruce is adamant that he retains the backing of Sunderland’s owners.

“This club has never had a sustained period of stability and that’s what it needs,” he said. “That was the biggest challenge I had when I came in. But I’ve had no pressure from within the club, only support, that’s for sure.

“Pressure gets piled on from outside, but I really don’t feel that, not ever. I take the job on and the one thing that drives me is the fear of failure. I don’t want to fail. I’ve waited for a long time to come to a club like this and I’ll do my absolute best to make a success of it.

“It’s not easy. And I’ve spoken to many managers who’ve been here before me and they’ve said the same: ‘It ain’t easy to live with the expectation.’ We’ve got to get better at it and put that right, but it can only take time.”

After beating Arsenal and Liverpool and drawing with Manchester United at Old Trafford, Sunderland recognise that they have since underachieved. “What’s happened is upsetting,” Kieran Richardson, the midfield player, said. “I do feel upset about it because after that great start we had, we think we should be in the top ten now.”
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 07:39:46 AM
Fulham FC is delighted to announce official travel arrangements to take fans to and from Turin for the Club's UEFA Europa League clash with Juventus on Thursday 11th March.

Spaces are limited so book today to guarantee your seat on the plane.

The Fulham Flyer Overnight Package includes the following:

Return Direct Flights from London Gatwick (including standard catering) leaving Wednesday morning 10th March and returning after the game on Thursday 11th March.

Transfer from the airport to the hotel upon arrival on Wednesday.

One night stay in either a 4* Superior Hotel or 4* Tourist Hotel well located in Turin based on two people sharing a twin room (cost is based per person with additional single supplement of £35pp)

Breakfast on Thursday morning

Transfer from the hotel to the stadium

Match ticket

Transfer from the stadium back to the airport after the match on Thursday 11th March
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 08:25:56 AM
Match Preview Info from Sunderland Official Site - (
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 08:28:39 AM

Up next: Sunderland (a)

by Dan on February 27, 2010

Anybody foolish enough to take too much optimism with them to Wearside on Sunday needs to remember just how good Fulham have been at playing people into form this season. Gareth Bale hadn’t won a Premier League match in his three years at Tottenham before we allowed the Welsh full-back to orchestrate a win at White Hart Lane, Blackburn ended a worrying winless run against us at Ewood Park and the trait can be traced back several years.

Pressure seems to be building on Steve Bruce at the Stadium of Light. From afar, it seems like Ellis Short doesn’t tolerate failure. It didn’t look like Sunderland’s new owner would have much to worry about during some heady autumn months as the Mackems roared off with all the accleration of one of those TGV trains. Sunderland rocketed towards the upper reaches of the table, fired by the goals of Darren Bent and there was a solidity about their midfield that never really existed under Roy Keane. Bruce brought Lee Cattermole with him from Wigan and paired him with the tenacious and yet talented Lorik Cana, a notable capture from Marseille.

Slowly but surely things started to unravel, though. Bruce blamed Liverpool for unsettling Kenwyne Jones, unplayable on his day but someone who sometimes plays in the relaxed manner of many a Trindadian, but there have been whispers of dressing room unrest. Certainly Steed Malbranque has faded after a promising start to the campaign and was widely tipped to move on last month. Bruce looks set to welcome back the fiesty Cattermole into midfield as he seeks to end an alarming 14-match winless run that stretches back to the day a beachball-assisted Bent strike beat Liverpool.

Being drawn into another relegation battle would probably prompt Short into replacing his manager and, although you’d think Sunderland have far too much quality to be pulled into such a scrap, they are currently just three points above Bolton Wanderers, who sit in 18th place. When you consider that the Black Cats can call upon the likes of Craig Gordon, Anton Ferdinand, Michael Turner, Kieron Richardson and Andy Reid, it’s not hard to find yourself agreeing with the perception that Sunderland are underachieving.

That being said, it certainly won’t be easy for Hodgson’s side, especially after their European exploits on Thursday night. You get the sense that Premier League opposition still target home games against Fulham as real opportunities to pick up three points and it has been our travel sickness that has somewhat undermined our bid to establish ourselves as top ten finishers in recent years. The Stadium of Light will be buzzing with hope, if not belief, and Fulham will have to have their wits about them.

How Hodgson lines up might also have some bearing on the game. Stephen Kelly did well at left back against Shakhtar but it’s inconceivable that the Irishman will keep Nicky Shorey out of Sunday’s line-up. The on-loan full-back might just have a sniff of an England recall now that Wayne Bridge has opted out of international football, although he hardly needs an incentive to perform, with Fulham holding an option to sign the former Reading defender permanently in the summer. Chris Baird should start at right back again.

The composition of the midfield might well remain the same, unless Hodgson sees fit to rest one of his wide midfielders who did so much backtracking in Donetsk. That could neccesitate a move into a wider role for Zoltan Gera, who has excelled in the hole this season, and those of us who have been underwhelmed by Dickson Etuhu’s displays since his return from the African Nations Cup will be hoping for an imposing performance from the Nigerian as he returns to one of his old stomping grounds.

Hodgson’s biggest poser will come up front. Should he decide to stick with the 4-4-1-1 formation that has worked so well since a lack of strikers prompted it’s introduction before Christmas, then you’d fancy the beanpole David Elm to plough a lone farrow rather than the raw Stefano Okaka if Bobby Zamora fails to beat his Achilles injury.

MY FULHAM XI (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Baird, Shorey, Hughes, Hangeland; Etuhu, Murphy, Duff, Davies; Gera; Elm. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Smalling, Kelly, Riise, Greening, Nevland, Elm.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 08:32:07 AM

Saturday interview: Town chief wanting to take derby rivalry to next level

26 February 2010

By Richard Sutcliffe

AS a player, Lee Clark once said the prospect of playing for Sunderland against his beloved Newcastle United was one he could not face.

It was, along with revelations about him sporting a t-shirt denigrating the Black Cats at the 1999 FA Cup final, why he left the Stadium of Light in the summer that followed Peter Reid's side being promoted to the Premier League.

So, when the 37-year-old lifelong member of the Toon Army starts to compare the passion of a Tyne-Wear derby to today's scrap for local pride between Huddersfield Town and Leeds United, then it is worth taking note.

Taking time out from preparing for his third West Yorkshire derby, Clark told the Yorkshire Post: "It is a big game for so many reasons, but most of all for the fans and the people within the club. This is the one people look forward to.

"Huddersfield against Leeds is right up there with the Newcastle-Sunderland derby. It is much more of a rivalry than the West London one between Fulham and Chelsea that I played in.

"The atmosphere would be electric but the rivalry was not quite the same. But in terms of the passion of the fans and the desire of the people, games between Huddersfield and Leeds are very similar to Newcastle v Sunderland.

"This one will be that extra bit special, too. We have all the makings of a fantastic match – the ingredients being a local derby, our positions in the league and the possibility of either extending the points gap between us or narrowing it.

"I would love to have this game in the league above next season. It is a terrific occasion and a fantastic experience but a derby in the Championship would be even more special."

Clark's love of derby football is understandable. In the eight meetings between Newcastle and Sunderland during his two stints at St James' Park, he was never on the losing side for the Magpies while Chelsea triumphed in just one of his four appearances in the West London derby.

Since taking charge at the Galpharm, the former England Under-21 midfielder has maintained the happy knack of delivering in derbies with Town's two tussles against Leeds having yielded four points.

It means Clark is well qualified to impress on his players the importance of today's League One encounter.

He said: "I have stressed since we beat Tranmere on Tuesday night just how important this game is. I have made it quite clear what it means and how we cannot let anyone down.

"It helps that we have a good nucleus of lads who came through our Academy. They are quick to tell the other lads what it is all about.

"I can only speak for my time here, but the two games against Leeds have been the big ones because there has not been much success round Huddersfield.

"An added ingredient this season is both clubs are playing for more than just personal pride. There are points towards the goal we both want to achieve."

A glance at the league table reveals just how crucial the 68th West Yorkshire derby could be in deciding the fate of both clubs this season.

Leeds are in the better position, sitting second with 66 points. Huddersfield are four places and nine points worse off, though Clark's men boast by far the more impressive recent form after taking 22 points from an unbeaten 10-game run.

If Town are to reel in their neighbours and realise Clark's target of automatic promotion, a home win today is imperative.

He said: "The performance means nothing, the result everything. Every one of the teams above us bar Swindon have to come here and that is something we are pleased about because we have a good home record.

"It gives us an opportunity to take points off them. To win a derby, you need to have controlled aggression. You also have to show composure to make sure you play the game and not the occasion.

"You can also not afford to get caught up in what is happening on the terraces. Some players can get a little over-excited and approach it in the wrong way.

"We will have to do all those things to have a chance of winning the derby."

In contrast to Huddersfield, United's form has been disappointing since the turn of the year with Tuesday's win over Oldham Athletic being only their second league victory in nine outings.

The slump has seen what at the start of 2010 was an eight-point lead at the top of League One evaporate and leave Leeds trailing Norwich City by three points.

It has also left many of the Elland Road faithful worrying that the season could culminate in play-off heartache for the third consecutive season.

Clark is hoping to add to those nerves today, though he admits Simon Grayson's men will have been buoyed by the midweek win over Latics.

He said: "People talk about a blip because they are not winning every game. But don't forget the defeat to Walsall was their first home loss of the season.

"Leeds at home will be very tough. They are in second position, and people say the table never lies. I would swap places like a shot with Simon in terms of where our teams are in the league.

"Their destiny is in their own hands. For us to do something in terms of those above us, we have to continue our own form but also hope the other teams lose games.

"Simon does not have to worry about that. But if we can win this weekend then it will narrow the gap between us and leave us in a promising position."

Huddersfield v Leeds

Team news: Lee Clark has no fresh injury worries and is likely to name an unchanged line-up for the fifth consecutive game as the Galpharm prepares to host its first 20,000-plus crowd of the season. Simon Grayson is similarly blessed with Aidan White having recovered from the cramp that saw the teenager substituted during the win over Oldham. Tresor Kandol, Rui Marques and Ben Parker are back in training but are unlikely to feature.

Last six games: Huddersfield Town DDDWWW, Leeds United DWDLDW.

Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).

Last time: Huddersfield Town 1 Leeds United 0; February 14, 2009; League One.

SkyBet odds: Huddersfield to win 7-4; Leeds to win 6-4; Draw 12-5.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 11:31:28 AM
Fulham FC annual accounts to 30 June 2008 - (
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 11:35:52 AM
Fulham Flyer to Turin

Saturday 27th February 2010

Fulham FC News

We are delighted to announce that the Official Fulham Flyer overnight trip to Turin is now on sale to Season Ticket Holders and Club Members .

The trip includes return direct flights from Gatwick Airport, a night in a 4* hotel, all overseas transfers (airport-hotel-stadium-airport) and your match ticket, prices start at £425pp.

Secure your place now|

Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 11:39:23 AM

Are the Premier League mad?

by Dan on February 27, 2010

MAF asked this question in his own inimitable style last season, but you do have to wonder. Fresh from their studied inaction over Portsmouth’s plight, news emerged of the league’s plan to launch their own global TV channel to rake in some more money on the day the south coast club went into administration. A question of priorities.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 11:42:52 AM

Ex-Fulham striker John coy over Chicago Fire contract talks

27.02.10 |

Collins John is still feeling his way during preseason trials with Chicago Fire.

The former Fulham striker has been impressive, but is in no rush to enter contract talks just yet.

"I don't know. We'll see how things work out between both sides," Collins said. "At the moment I'm not really in a rush."

John arrived at the Fire on recommendation of fellow striker and former Fulham teammate Brian McBride.
Title: Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (27.02.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 27, 2010, 09:24:52 PM

Del Piero looking forward to Fulham test

by Dan on February 27, 2010

We get a mention on the Juventus captain’s website.

A knockout competition like this allows us to always set new objectives. It also helps us to understand that everything we do, at least up to the Final, is just one step forward on that path. You need to keep going, step by step, to go all the way.

We eliminated a top side and in the second leg played with character, controlling the game and above all keeping a clean sheet. That’s a good sign, as it hadn’t happened in a month.

Our next test is with Fulham in two weeks and then we visit Craven Cottage. For now we must focus only on Serie A, as on Sunday it’s Palermo and then Fiorentina. There’s no time to get distracted, as the fun part of the season starts here.