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General Category => Archive => Daily Fulham Stuff => Topic started by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 09:33:38 AM

Title: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 09:33:38 AM


Tuesday April 27,2010

By Frank Wiechula 

FULHAM’S prospects of reaching their first European final have been given a timely boost with the news opponents Hamburg have sacked coach Bruno Labbadia just three days before Thursday’s Europa League semi-final.

Now with home advantage following a goalless first leg, Fulham face a German side in some disarray after the axing of Labbadia following a 5-1 Bundesliga trouncing at Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Hamburg chairman Bernd Hoffmann said: “We analysed the situation and we saw that as things were, we would not be able to succeed against Fulham.

“There was no alternative to this. We need to improve the probability of us being successful on Thursday.

“It was the last moment for us to react to keep our Europa League target in sight.”

Labbadia was jettisoned because seventh-placed Hamburg have won just four of their last 15 Bundesliga games.

And, with two games left, they are five points behind Stuttgart, who occupy the last European spot.

So Hamburg effectively need to lift the Europa League – with the final being played at their own ground on May 12 – to qualify next season.

The man now given the task of trying to wreck Fulham and Roy Hodgson’s dream is assistant coach Ricardo Moniz, a former member of Tottenham’s backroom staff under ex-boss Martin Jol.   

Moniz followed Jol to Hamburg, where he was succeeded by Labbadia last summer and will take charge until the end of the season.

And Hoffman said of Moniz: “He is incredibly enthusiastic, knows the team and English football well and lives for the game.”

Fulham legend and 1966 England World Cup winner George Cohen said: “Obviously their players’ reaction is going to be the principal thing, but Hamburg obviously have lost confidence in him.

“When this kind of thing happens, and it happens here too, it can give the team a bit of a fillip but sometimes there’s a feeling of down-ness, and it’s a very strange thing.

“It’s quite a calculated gamble, one which really could backfire on them. But they must have had a very good reason to do that.

“One of them, of course, is that they have not performed and they feel that this is the last chance they’ve got to do something to save their season.

“They’ll want to try and lift their players by going for a new manager.

“But that could be to their detriment, because, if they come out and look for an away goal, leaving themselves open at the back, we will score.

“It’s no secret to the way Fulham play, there are no stars, no big names, they are big on team-work, everyone works very hard for each other and it works brilliantly.

“Fulham deserve to get to the final and we have a very good chance of containing them and scoring a goal or two, just as we did against Juventus.

“Hamburg have really got to try and come out and win it and we can hit them with the sucker punch.”

Fulham are hoping 19-goal top scorer Bobby Zamora can win his battle against Achilles tendon trouble to lead the line on Thursday after missing Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at Everton.

Former full-back Cohen added: “Bobby’s been scoring goals for us this year and is obviously a threat, but if a player is not fit then he can’t play and you have got to play somebody else.

“Both Zoltan Gera and Clint Dempsey up front work very hard and can score goals, and Damien Duff can be lethal in front of goal, too.

“They will get all the support they need.”‘Hamburg have to try to save their season’
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 09:35:22 AM
Charles Sale: FA flop in search for £40million sponsor

Last updated at 12:18 AM on 27th April 2010

Falling sponsorship money looks like having a major impact on English football with the national team and a number of Premier League clubs, all with unrealistic expectations, searching for backers in a crowded market.

Former FA chief executive Ian Watmore employed agency IMG to find an England team sponsor who would pay £40million a year over four years. But there have been no takers near that price - and the FA might now have to accept the £20m offer from current partners Nationwide, which had previously been snubbed.

Tottenham, whose chairman Daniel Levy wants a £10m-a-year deal, are frustrated their hired agency Wasserman Media Group can find nobody interested at that inflated figure after a global search. They are now banking on a Champions League place creating interest, albeit at a lower figure than Levy expected.

It is a buyers’ market with Aston Villa, Fulham, promoted West Bromwich and Championship play-off team Leicester all without shirt sponsors. Sunderland’s recent deal with internet bingo site Tombola is understood to be worth less than £1m a year.

Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 09:36:43 AM
Nevertheless, Birmingham will have to consider the fact they can still be caught by Sunderland, Blackburn, Fulham and Stoke City and that the difference in prize-money between ninth and 13th, for example is a significant £2.8million.

Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: blingo on April 27, 2010, 09:57:26 AM
I suppose we could always stick the corner shop logo on our shirts just to fill space lol. But you know what? I like the idea of a season without a shirt sponsor and looking at the FFC shirt as it should be. Sometimes I feel it is too much of an exploitation for the sake of increased revenue to put sponsors on shirts. They have all the ground to advertise in. I understand that it gets seen home AND away but it is just something I personally have not liked from day one.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:17:12 AM
Jimmy Bullard set to be ditched as Hull City prepare for life in the Championship

By Colin Young

Last updated at 7:35 AM on 27th April 2010

Hull City will be forced into a fire sale of their relegated squad to cope with their crippling debts.

But owner Russell Bartlett, who has invested most of his personal fortune to keep the club afloat, has vowed to see out the difficult months ahead for the troubled Yorkshire club, after their relegation from the Barclays Premier League was confirmed at the weekend.

Bartlett knows that top earners like midfielder Jimmy Bullard and Geovanni will be sacrificed as the Tigers come to terms with life in the Championship.

But 32-year-old Bullard - bought for £5million from Fulham and on £45,000 a week, without a relegation clause - is likely to command a fee of £2m, providing Hull can find a club willing to match his wages and ignore his injury-ravaged career at the KC Stadium.

Geovanni has been in talks with Olympiakos over a summer move to Greece. London-based property magnate Bartlett, who is hoping chairman Adam Pearson will stay on to steer them through relegation and its implications, will hold meetings this week to prepare for next season.

Among the main issues to be resolved is the manager's position. Phil Brown is still officially in charge, but is on gardening leave after he was forced to let Iain Dowie take command for nine games in a doomed bid to avoid relegation.

Dowie is desperate to stay in charge and remains in pole position to do so, after making a positive impact on the players in all but results.

Bartlett said: 'A significant number of the player contracts contain step-down clauses in the event of relegation, coupled with five players coming out of contract or loan players returning to their clubs, which will help reduce the wage bill for playing staff to about £21m.

'It is all about steering the business through a major transitional period now and that is what myself and Adam will be concentrating on. We will need the assistance and co-operation of the people we deal with, and with our creditors.

'We also deal with one main lender, with whom we have a very good relationship, and the option is open to us to propose restructuring of debt until the club adjusts.
'Obviously, it is a huge disappointment to be relegated from the Premier League, but it has been a wonderful privilege to have participated at the highest level for the past two years.

'We now must get down to concentrating on reducing the wage bill to about £15m in the Championship to establish financial viability and stability. Subject to this, I anticipate we will be very competitive next season.

'I am totally committed to the future of Hull City and to ensuring the club's long-term stability. I am here for the long haul and myself and Adam will do all we can to steer through these difficult times.'




Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:21:27 AM

Fulham v Hamburg betting tips

Dave Higgins - 27 Apr 2010

You can back Cottagers at 10/11 to qualify for the Europa League final

When Fulham finished seventh in the Premier League last season, some thirty-three points behind Liverpool in the table, nobody could have foreseen that Roy Hodgson’s team would now be just one match away from potentially facing the Reds in the Europa League final.

The Cottagers have been nothing short of sensational in this competition, despite being handed several draws that almost looked as if UEFA were trying to engineer their exit out of the competition. Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Wolfsburg have all been slain, despite being the bookies favourite each time and Hamburg look ripe for the taking.

Bet365 offer 10/11 that Fulham knock out another German team on Thursday night and they have done the hard work by managing a goalless draw at the Nordbank Arena. They have been boosted by the fact that Hamburg parted company with their manager on Monday, with Sky Bet offering 5/4 that they take full advantage by winning this encounter.

Much depends on the fitness of Bobby Zamora, a striker that many people argue should be included in Fabio Capello’s 23-man England squad for the 2010 World Cup. The striker limped off with an Achilles problem in last week’s first leg, although he’s 6/1 (William Hill) to open the scoring and send a packed Craven Cottage into frenzy.

Bruno Labbadia’s last match in charge of Hamburg was Saturday’s 5-1 pummelling at the hands of Hoffenheim, with Ricardo Moniz taking charge until the rest of the season. It’s hard to know what impact this will have on the second leg, although the Rothosen are 5/2 (Coral) to win on the night and 10/11 (bet365) to qualify for the final, which will be held at their own stadium.

Club chairman Bernd Hoffmann claims that this managerial switch is likelier to produce a strong result on Thursday, although much depends on the front pairing of Marcus Berg (8/1 Ladbrokes) and Ruud Van Nistelrooy (13/2 bet365). The Dutchman had an excellent scoring record against Fulham when he was a Manchester United player, although he didn’t get much change from Brede Hangeland in the first leg.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:29:40 AM

Fulham v Hamburg Preview

Apr 27, 2010

Steve Rogerson

The second leg of the Europa League semi-final on Thursday 29 April 2010 sees Fulham take on Hamburg. Report includes football betting tips.

The surprise package in this year’s Europa League – London club Fulham – battled out a creditable goalless draw away at Hamburg last week in the first leg and on Thursday (29 April 2010) welcome the German side to Craven Cottage as they bid to reach their first ever Europa League final.

The shock news though ahead of the second leg came on Monday when Hamburg sacked their coach Bruno Labbadia and put his assistant Ricardo Moniz temporarily in charge. True, Hamburg have had worst domestic form than they had last season, but the move was a surprise so close to an important semi-final clash. Moniz will be known to Fulham fans as the former skills coach at London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Labbadia has only been in charge for ten months but some of his players have been open in their hostility to him, notably goalkeeper Frank Rost.

Current Form for Fulham and Hamburg

Fulham are set to end this season mid-table; they are twelfth in the league, safe from relegation and with no hope of reaching the European qualifying places with only three league games left. Their current form saw them lose on Sunday away at Everton through an injury time goal, though manager Roy Hodgson rested several key players. That was their first defeat in seven games in all competitions, a run that saw them knock out Wolfsburg in the Europa League and earn a draw away at Liverpool.

Hamburg have had a slightly better season than Fulham but their seventh place in the league means that they too will not qualify for Europe next season with only two matches left to play. Their 5-1 thrashing at the hands of 1899 Hoffenheim away will not have done their confidence any good especially as they also lost the previous week 1-0 at home to Mainz.

Fulham Team News

Bobby Zamora was substituted with an Achilles problem in the first leg and is thus a doubt for Thursday. Chris Baird is suspended but John Painstil is likely to play instead.

Hamburg Team News

Piotr Trochowski’s late booking in the first leg means he will be suspended for this match.

Football Betting Odds for Fulham v Hamburg

Football betting tips: The best odds available for a Fulham victory after ninety minutes are 5/4 though 6/5 is more common among bookmakers. There are longer odds for a Hamburg win with 5/2 being on offer from a couple of bookmakers; others are offering 12/5 or 11/5. The 12/5 bet is also the most popular for a draw after ninety minutes. For odds to reach the final, both teams are on parity at 10/11 though at least one bookmaker is offering evens on Fulham.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:31:44 AM
Fulham under scrutiny again after making nine changes against Everton

By David Kent

Last updated at 12:22 AM on 27th April 2010

Roy Hodgson's policy of saving his best players for Fulham’s Europa League campaign is under Premier League scrutiny again after he made nine changes for Sunday’s defeat at Everton.

The board will decide this week whether action should be taken but the manager remains defiant about his approach and will be encouraged by the impact it has had on semi-final opponents Hamburg.

Bruno Labbadia was sacked as manager of the German club last night with their failure to break down Fulham in the goalless first leg of their last four clash cited as a reason.

Labbadia was in charge for less than 10 months and has been replaced by Ricardo Moniz, who worked under Martin Jol at Tottenham and helped Aaron Lennon develop into an England winger.

The fitness pro, 45, has never managed before and his first task will be to lead Hamburg to a win at Craven Cottage on Thursday, earning them a place in the final, which will be at their home stadium.

‘Recent performances against Mainz, Fulham and Hoffenheim have given us the impression we had to change something,’ said Hamburg chairman Bernd Hoffmann.

‘We did it to be able to play a successful game in London and reach the final of the Europa League.’

Hodgson has come under fire twice recently for resting firstchoice players in the top flight, where his team are comfortable in mid-table.

West Ham made a complaint earlier this month about the Fulham manager’s approach but he insisted he would be ‘absolutely amazed’ if action was taken against him.

His confidence follows Fulham’s 18-hour road trip to Hamburg and the ‘reserves’ only losing after a last-minute goal at Goodison Park.

Wolves received a suspended £25,000 fine for fielding a reserve team at Manchester United earlier this season and the Premier League said they would hit clubs harder for such offences in future.

Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:34:05 AM
33 Zoltan Gera

Fulham have surprised many this season: decent league form early in the year and the club’s greatest run in Europe is down to the talent of players such as Gera.

A versatile and creative midfielder, the Hungarian has been excellent during the Cottager’s march to the Europa league semis.

Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:36:35 AM
Diomansy Kamara would cost Celtic £6m in permanent move from Fulham

By Peter Jardine

Last updated at 12:17 AM on 27th April 2010


Celtic will have to come up with a package worth more than £6million to sign Diomansy Kamara on a permanent basis from Fulham.

Interim boss Neil Lennon wants to retain the Senegal striker for next season if he lands the top job at Parkhead. But Sportsmail understands the English club would want a transfer fee of around £3.5m, following January’s initial loan deal.

With Kamara likely to command wages of around £20,000 per week, it would be a significant statement of intent from the Hoops hierarchy to move for the 29-year-old, who has impressed during an injury-hit spell in Glasgow.

Kamara, who played for Tony Mowbray at West Brom, insists he wants to stay, despite the Englishman’s recent departure from Celtic.

‘I have a good feeling here,’ he said. ‘I was unlucky with my hamstring injury earlier but I have enjoyed my time here. I was a bit sad when Mowbray left because I had a good rapport with him. But Celtic are bigger than any coach or player and I want to stay.

‘I love this club but, in football, you are never sure what will happen. Sometimes you might want to stay at a club but end up playing elsewhere.’

Lennon believes Kamara is one of the few Mowbray loan signings who can benefit Celtic in the longer term.

Landry N’Guemo’s £1.7m price tag is likely to prevent a permanent move from Nancy and Edson Braafheid will return to Bayern Munich. Spurs star Robbie Keane, meanwhile, looks too expensive to keep.

Lennon said: ‘It’s not up to me (who stays). But, in my opinion, Kamara would be good enough. I like his attitude. He has pace, power and a decent touch.
‘Listen, he has played in the Premiership. I like his type.’

Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:40:16 AM

Kamara keen to stay with Celtic but Fulham won't let him go cheaply

On-loan forward Diomansy Kamara has spoken of his desire to make his move to the SPL permanent but Celtic may have to stump up a sizeable transfer fee.

27 April 2010 07:41 GMT

Diomansy Kamara wants to stay with Celtic beyond the end of the season but his parent club Fulham will expect around £3.5 million for their player. Kamara is on loan in Glasgow from the Cottagers, having joined on the final day of the winter transfer window.

The Senegal international has played eight times for the Hoops since his move in a spell that has been dogged by a hamstring injury which saw him miss the entire month of March.

Kamara has since returned to the fold and has continued to impress interim boss Neil Lennon, who is keen to keep the forward, a scorer in the weekend win at Dundee United, on a permanent basis.

That feeling is mutual for Kamara, who was a £6 million signing for Fulham from West Brom in 2007, and he says he would take the chance to stay with Celtic if it was presented to him.

“I have a good feeling at Celtic,” Kamara told the Herald. “I was a little bit unlucky with the problem with my hamstring but I have enjoyed my time here and we will see at the end of the season what will happen.

“Celtic are a big club and I have a lot of respect for them. I want to stay if I can agree a deal with Celtic, definitely. I have a good feeling here and I love this club but in football you never know what will happen."

He added: “I’m still on loan from Fulham so I just need to play well in the matches that remain and see what happens. Sometimes you want to stay somewhere but go somewhere else.

“But at this moment if I have the opportunity to stay, then definitely I want to stay.”

Kamara, 29, was out of favour at Craven Cottage before his switch to the Scottish Premier League, despite having played just 49 times in the league in two-and-a-half seasons. 24 of those appearances, however, came from the substitutes bench.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:44:43 AM
TheGame Podcast

The debate also focuses on player burn out – Fulham for example are set to play their 18th Europe league match of the season. Do Uefa and the FA need to introduce a winter break for the Premier League? As Stewart Robson says: “The only thing that would happen with a winter break would be that clubs would go abroad to play games for more money”.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: Hazey on April 27, 2010, 10:45:05 AM
Worst case scenario we have Harrods and MAF takes £1m of his loan to FFC??

Charles Sale: FA flop in search for £40million sponsor

Last updated at 12:18 AM on 27th April 2010

Falling sponsorship money looks like having a major impact on English football with the national team and a number of Premier League clubs, all with unrealistic expectations, searching for backers in a crowded market.

Former FA chief executive Ian Watmore employed agency IMG to find an England team sponsor who would pay £40million a year over four years. But there have been no takers near that price - and the FA might now have to accept the £20m offer from current partners Nationwide, which had previously been snubbed.

Tottenham, whose chairman Daniel Levy wants a £10m-a-year deal, are frustrated their hired agency Wasserman Media Group can find nobody interested at that inflated figure after a global search. They are now banking on a Champions League place creating interest, albeit at a lower figure than Levy expected.

It is a buyers’ market with Aston Villa, Fulham, promoted West Bromwich and Championship play-off team Leicester all without shirt sponsors. Sunderland’s recent deal with internet bingo site Tombola is understood to be worth less than £1m a year.

Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:48:34 AM

Hamburg sack coach Bruno Labbadia before they face Fulham in Europa League

Tom Dart

Fulham should feel flattered. Hamburg decided yesterday that the only way they could beat Roy Hodgson’s side on Thursday was to sack the coach who had taken them to the last four of the Europa League and replace him with someone who has experience of English football.

Three days before the clubs meet at Craven Cottage in their Europa League semi-final, second leg, Hamburg dismissed Bruno Labbadia and appointed Ricardo Moniz, an assistant to Labbadia and a former Tottenham Hotspur skills coach, as interim manager.

Poor domestic form that came to a head with a 5-1 defeat by Hoffenheim on Sunday prompted Hamburg to take drastic action, even though last week’s first leg with Fulham ended goalless.

“We saw that as things were we would not be able to succeed against Fulham,” Bernd Hoffmann, the Hamburg chairman, said. “We believe that Ricardo will be able to get that extra percentage out of us which had disappeared recently. He is knowledgeable about English football and can therefore prepare the team in the best way for Thursday’s return leg.”

Moniz, a 45-year-old Dutchman, was brought to White Hart Lane in 2005 by Martin Jol, the former Tottenham manager, to focus on improving the team’s technique. He followed Jol to Hamburg in 2008 and stayed when Jol joined Ajax in May of last year.

“If I had not been convinced that we can do it with this team, then I would not have accepted,” Moniz said. “We now have to move up a gear. All that matters is Thursday.”

The departure of Labbadia after ten months in charge is likely to boost morale in the Hamburg squad. Several players, including Frank Rost, the goalkeeper, had fallen out with Labbadia, who had been expected to leave in the summer even if Hamburg were to lift the trophy in their own stadium on May 12. A dismal second half of the season has resulted in Hamburg sliding to seventh place in the German league.

The timing is odd but Bayern Munich took even more extreme measures in 1996. They sacked Otto Rehhagel only four days before the first leg of the Uefa Cup final and went on to defeat Bordeaux under the guidance of Franz Beckenbauer.

Fulham will have John Paintsil available to replace the suspended Chris Baird at right back for the tie.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:50:53 AM

Hull face bleak future as relegation exposes flawed business model

With huge debts, an even bigger wage bill and few saleable assets, Hull are a cautionary tale for our times

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Hull signed Jimmy Bullard to a lengthy deal last January despite the fact he had failed a medical. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images

Hull City serve as a cautionary tale for our times. Football's answer to the status conscious neighbour who kept up appearances by remortgaging the house and taking out multiple loans, they have been well and truly credit-crunched. This time last year Hull were attempting to sign Michael Owen; today they are in broadly the same boat as those who tried to live the dream but ended up seeing their home repossessed, the sports car impounded and the exotic holidays cancelled.

Effectively relegated to the Championship following Saturday's home defeat against Sunderland, the east Yorkshire club are £35m in debt and face the grim probability of entering either administration or a creditors' voluntary arrangement. Either option would incur a 10-point deduction next season and Hull's owner, Russell Bartlett, is desperately striving to avert such a situation by renegotiating loans. Whether or not he is successful should become clear at the end of a week of emergency meetings.

The bleakness of Bartlett's horizon is exacerbated by the alarming reality that Hull have a £40m annual player wage bill and precious few playing assets for creditors to strip. A European football equivalent of Greece they may be but in this case there is no chancellor Angela Merkel on hand to supervise a bail-out by the River Humber. Moreover while Greek public sector workers can expect to see their pay slashed, the all powerful Professional Footballers' Association will not countenance the imposition of involuntary wage cuts on union members.

Adam Pearson, Hull's chairman, has been engaged on a frantic cost-cutting mission since succeeding the free-spending Paul Duffen in November and is appalled by the club's past governance. "Sunderland also have a £40m wage bill," he said. "But they have seven or eight young saleable assets. We don't. We have players on long contracts, high wages and with no transfer value."

Jimmy Bullard, for instance, Hull's top earner, commands a basic £45,000 a week and has three years remaining on his contract. Hull signed the injury-prone midfielder for £5m from Fulham despite Bullard failing a medical and Duffen admitting his knees were "uninsurable". Pearson is extremely keen to offload Bullard but prospective buyers are unlikely to be queuing round the block.

The chairman's ambition is to reduce the wage bill to £15m a year. While two other high earners, Stephen Hunt and George Boateng, are, respectively, saleable and out of contract this summer, others seem virtually immovable. Daniel Cousin is on loan with the Greek side Larissa. The striker earns £26,000 a week at the KC and is contracted until June 2011, as is the £25,000-a-week Brazilian midfielder Geovanni.

Then there is the £20,000-a-weekmidfielder Peter Halmosi. Due back from a loan stint with Hungary's Szombathelyi, he has two years left on his Hulldeal. How Pearson wishes Duffen hadfollowed the example of Niall Quinn,Sunderland's chairman, and inserted clauses in all player contracts making 40% pay cuts mandatory in the event of relegation.

All managers make transfer market mistakes but Phil Brown, the manager Hull placed on gardening leave in March when he was replaced by Iain Dowie, has recruited more than his fair share of duds. Hull's seven recognised strikers have scored nine goals between them all season but collectively rake in £200,000 a week.

Bartlett must also shoulder considerable blame. He not only sanctioned requests to purchase players from Duffen and Brown but took out sizeable loans against advance Premier League income – including £10m of next season's £16m Premier League parachute payment for relegated clubs.

Brown is among the creditors Bartlett and Pearson, are negotiating with. The former manager earns around £1m ayear, has 12 months outstanding on his agreement and Hull cannot afford to pay him off.

With Dowie's short-term arrangement ending next month, reinstating Brown would be the cheapest option but no one at the KC believes he and Pearson could, realistically, work together again. "It's not going to happen," a club source said, explaining that the only scenario under which Brown may conceivably be retained would be if he were reappointed by an administrator.

Deeply unpopular with many players, Brown had a habit of falling out with his signings. The manager's increasingly erratic, slightly manic, behaviour – remember the half-time team talk on the Manchester City pitch and the serenading of the KC with a Beach Boys number – was highlighted when, after losing 6-1 at Liverpool last September, he laid off bewildered canteen staff at the training ground for a week. Intended as a punishment for the Anfield humiliation, it left hungry players gorging on junk food bought from local petrol stations. Small wonder directors hope Brown, the subject of a scathing weekend deconstruction by Boateng, will resign.

"We've had some dark days at Hull," acknowledged Dowie, who would be delighted to stay on. "But there will be sunny times ahead." Pearson can only pray he is right.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:52:33 AM

Club Focus - Everton - From the School of Science to the Dogs of War and back again

By Andrew Tuft - Football Correspondent

Tuesday 27 April 2010

On the surface, Everton’s hard-fought 2-1victory over Fulham on Sunday seemed like a game between a team with nothing to play for - except hoping Liverpool suffer an almighty collapse to let the Blues sneak into seventh - and a team with their minds elsewhere - Fulham’s latest biggest game in history, the Europa League semi-final second leg, is fast approaching on the horizon. Upon further inspection, however, there was more to the contest than meets the eye.

Not only were Fulham impressively resolute, for if they have given up on the Premier League, it certainly did not show in their performance, but the home side played - for the first half an hour and a 15 minute spell after the break - with a style and verve rarely seen in recent years at Goodison Park. A week ago, Everton’s performance at Ewood Park was favourably compared to Barcelona in more than one report - and at their best, they showed it was not a one-off against the Cottagers. The Toffees may have lost their way when Fulham went ahead - thanks to an uncharacteristic lapse from this writer’s Everton Player of the Year Leighton Baines - but once David Moyes got a hold of his players at half-time, Everton were back on track. Until the hour mark, it looked a matter of time until the Blues went ahead but only one goal came and the momentum died somewhat. Moyes took risks - a rarity for the pragmatic manager - withdrawing Phil Neville in favour of Louis Saha and suddenly Everton were vulnerable on the break, but the Scot wanted the win. It came in the 94th minute but for much of the hour and a half before Mikel Arteta swept Everton to victory from the penalty spot, the Goodison faithful had been treated to some wonderful play - which may have been the case since the turn of the year, but something about this performance felt like it was a level above even the previous delightful displays.

Perhaps it was the spring sunshine which, during the brief lulls in the game, gave the occasion almost a pre-season friendly feel - something only added to by the dearth of away supporters. But more than the weather, it was Everton lighting up proceedings. The Blues have entered sublime displays at home numerous times this season but this was different - this was not Everton taking apart a woeful Hull City side or going toe-to-toe with Chelsea and Manchester United. Rather, Everton were faced with a determined Fulham - who made nine changes and yet retained a clear game plan that was executed very well - and set about attempting to dismantle them the right way. While Roy Hodgson’s side did not play for the draw, their two banks of four were so disciplined it was clearly going to take something special to break through, and, inspired by Arteta, Everton tried their best to produce it. The opening 30 minutes saw the ball rarely leave the floor and, with Arteta directing traffic, this Everton is a far cry from the teams Moyes put out in the early part of his eight-year spell on Merseyside. A five-man midfield has long been the order of the day but no more does Moyes look to hard-working but limited players such as Kevin Kilbane, Mark Pembridge or Thomas Gravesen. These days, Everton value technique over tenacity - even the players who, from the outside, appear to be of the destructive bent - such as John Heitinga or Marouane Fellaini - have talent in abundance. Indeed, the most impressive thing about Heitinga’s game is the unerring accuracy of his passing.

Even with captain Neville starting again in midfield - as he did at Ewood Park - Everton’s engine room was greatly more focused on attack than defence. Normally a right-back, Neville’s presence as the sole ball-winner in the midfield five not only allows Tim Cahill to support the lone striker, but frees Arteta from any real defensive duties - but against Fulham, Neville went one further. By dropping deep, he gave cover to the centre-backs and allowed both Baines and Tony Hibbert - who was excellent - to fly forward. Neville’s importance was emphasised when he was withdrawn and the Blues looked less dangerous, but the freedom with which Everton now play was underscored by the No.18’s deft back-heel to escape trouble in the first-half. Once the School of Science and later the Dogs of War, Everton are looking at further glory days - for if the 33-year-old Neville is pulling out the tricks, things must be going well - and they are.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 10:53:55 AM

Arsène Wenger has been handed an £18m war chest – yes, £18m – by his generous bosses. In a story that is unlikely to prompt anyone at Manchester City to lose any sleep, the Telegraph list Wenger's top five targets as: Jack Rodwell (Everton), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Brede Hangeland (Fulham), Felipe Melo (Juventus), and Marouane Chamakh (Bordeaux).
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 11:09:35 AM

• Post-volcanic-ash-hysteria, Hamburg have the distinct advantage of avoiding a 15-hour bus ride for Thursday night's Europa League semi-final second leg, away to Fulham. In a commendable show of fair play, the northerners have, however, decided to even things up a little by flying to London without a manager. Bruno Labbadia was sacked on Monday morning following a 5-1 defeat at Hoffenheim so abysmal, disgraceful and spineless that the board construed it as a cry for help. This wasn't a "Clash of the Titans" (goalkeeper's Frank Rost controversial choice for a partial team-outing the week before), more a case of "Dude, where's my dressing room?" Labbadia had lost it, completely.

Immediately after the defeat, the manager was still laughably pretending the team hadn't downed tools to force his dismissal. "If they're playing against the manager, they're playing against themselves," the 44-year-old said. Not quite. The players' willingness to get rid of their manager culminated in "a conspiracy", in Süddeutsche Zeitung's view, "47 years of Bundesliga football haven't seen such grotesque scene of sabotage." And it worked. Technical coach Ricardo Moniz, the well-respected former "skills coach" at Spurs who was brought in by Martin Jol, will be in charge at Craven Cottage.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 11:10:29 AM
Reserves Face Hammers

Tuesday 27th April 2010

Fulham FC News Powered by 

Billy McKinlay's Development Squad take on West Ham United at Upton Park tonight in their final match of the 2009/10 season (kick-off 7pm). 

The Whites recorded a three-one victory over Stoke in their last outing and will be looking to finish the season on a high note.

West Ham are likely to feature former Fulham favourite Luis Boa Morte as well as experienced striker Benni McCarthy.

Aston Villa have already claimed the Barclays Premier Reserve League South title and Arsenal are guaranteed second place.

The Whites are also assured of a third place finish and a win tonight would see them end the season just one point behind the Gunners.

Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 11:14:38 AM,,12306~2036050,00.html

Independent Arbitration – FFC and WHUFC  

An Independent Arbitration Tribunal hearing the claim brought by Fulham FC against West Ham United FC has considered whether the Award and Reasons of the FA Tribunal in Sheffield United v West Ham, chaired by Lord Griffiths, is admissible in proceedings between the two parties.

The full decision can be read by clicking here.,,12306~150979,00.doc (,,12306~150979,00.doc)
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 11:15:53 AM

Ian Rush: UEFA have got it wrong over Europa League final tickets

Apr 27 2010 by Ian Rush, Liverpool Echo

IF Liverpool get to the Europa League final they will only get 12,000 tickets and that’s wrong.

The two finalists have to be given a bigger proportion of tickets but also UEFA should take into account clubs’ home attendances.

Our crowds are a lot bigger than Fulham’s and if we meet in the final the allocations should reflect that.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: JBH on April 27, 2010, 11:24:51 AM
Ian Rush need not worry as the scousers won't be there anyway   :005:
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: Tktd on April 27, 2010, 11:26:20 AM

Ian Rush: UEFA have got it wrong over Europa League final tickets

Apr 27 2010 by Ian Rush, Liverpool Echo

IF Liverpool get to the Europa League final they will only get 12,000 tickets and that’s wrong.

The two finalists have to be given a bigger proportion of tickets but also UEFA should take into account clubs’ home attendances.

Our crowds are a lot bigger than Fulham’s and if we meet in the final the allocations should reflect that.

How would that be remotely fair..... what a dick! If we get into the final we should both be allocated the same, if anything with Fulham being in the semi who are treated as the home team for the final we should have the most. I hate that attitude of we're a bigger club and deserves special treatment - what a dick. If we both get in the final we have got there because we deserve it and should both be treated fairly! fcuk t - I want to see Athletico get through now! fcuk Liverpool - what a dick.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 11:45:01 AM

West Ham 1 Fulham 0!

Filed: Tuesday, 27th April 2010

By: A Different Staff Writer

The club has won an early round in the latest arbitration battle resulting from the Tevez affair.

Fulham are the latest club to seek easy money out of the affair, claiming that they lost out on Premier League prize money solely as a result of the club's selection of Carlos Tevez during the so-called "Great Escape" season.

The Cottagers had hoped to capitalise on the widely-derided decision of Lord Griffiths that Tevez, and Tevez alone was solely responsible for the club staying up. However, the initial arbitration panel considering Fulham's case has ruled that Fulham will not be able to rely on Griffiths' lapse of sanity and will, instead, have to actually prove their case. This is something that they may find more difficult against a different legal team more able to point out the major flaws in Sheffield United's "case", which would no doubt have been overturned had the club been afforded the right of appeal.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 11:47:35 AM,19528,11681_6119246,00.html

Gera - Roy right to rotate

Fulham midfielder backing boss with Europa glory in sight

Last updated: 27th April 2010   

Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera has backed manager Roy Hodgson for rotating his squad with Europa League glory in his sights.

Hodgson's men tackle Hamburg at Craven Cottage in the second leg of their semi-final showdown on Thursday having returned from Germany with an admirable 0-0 draw.

The Cottagers boss has used the full depth of his squad this season due to their impressive European adventure, but that has irked some Premier League rivals, most notably West Ham.

But with little to play for in domestic competition and the club just 90 minutes away from an unprecedented Europa League final appearance, Gera believes it is vital that the key men are kept fresh.

"I didn't play against Everton, what's more I didn't even travel with the team. Our manager let me know after the Europa League game (in Hamburg) that I'll be rested in the Premier League with some of my team-mates," he wrote in his blog on Hungarian football website Pepsifoci.


"I would be lying if I said I didn't like this rest as our past weeks have been very tough. All the games have been very speedy and I could regenerate well during the weekend, especially after our long journeys.

"Our game in Hamburg was quite interesting. Everyone thought - me too - that we'd be tired after our day-long travel but I was fresher than ever."

Gera admits he was disappointed not to find the net in the first leg against Hamburg and hopes Fulham are not left to rue their missed opportunities.

He added: "I enjoyed the game. I was just a bit unhappy because I didn't manage to score though I had the chance for it at least two times. It's a pity because an away goal, an away victory could've been very good.

"Our goalless game is not the best omen because so far we could score on all of our away games in the Europa League.

"Now it'll be another game, after the goalless draw we have to win on home soil. If we don't win then we just can go through with penalties. Of course I'd accept this [winning on penalties] if it meant that we could go into the final."
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 01:02:14 PM

IS there anyone looking forward to the possibility of a Liverpool v Fulham Europa League Final?

No, I thought not. Two of the dullest, defensive sides imaginable will show the rest of Europe what an average competition the Premier League now is.

That’s if anyone is watching.

ITV have ditched polished professional Steve Rider from their World Cup coverage this summer in favour of Adrian Chiles, the hero of all couch potatoes, possibly because he looks like one.

There are no positives to this move unless you work for the BBC. Chiles is an irritating, arrogant presence who mistakenly believes that we are interested in his support of West Brom.

Actually there is a positive to the television transfer. The BBC will presumably ditch their policy of never failing to show Chiles and Frank Skinner (is it compulsory to be ugly to support The Baggies?) in the crowd when screening a West Brom match.

MIND you television wins over radio any day of the week, especially if Alan Green is behind the mic.

I had the misfortune to be tuned in for five minutes of the Birmingham derby on Sunday when the insufferable Green and his sidekick Steve ‘Clueless’ Claridge spent the entire time debating safety issues in South Africa, while there was a game going on in front of them.

Green may be a hero to the nerds and nutters who inhabit phone-ins, but to us fans actually interested in how a game is developing, he is a disgraceful waste of time.

WATCHING Blackpool celebrate their likely play-off place at London Road on Saturday made me realise that following football in this country is an utterly futile experience.

No-one should begrudge ‘Pool’ their achievement in finishing in the Championship top six and, given the sheer ordinariness of the other teams in the play-off fight, they could reach the Premier League.

But what would be the point? They would be hammered every week in a way that would make Burnley’s Premier League campaign seem a roaring success and, from my own experiences with Posh this season, few fans would enjoy that.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but financial bias is making it more sensible, and more enjoyable, for clubs to stay where they are truly competitive.

Dreams quickly turn to nightmares. Ask Hull, Portsmouth, Burnley and Posh.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 02:00:42 PM

Why neutrals should support Fulham's euro charge rather than snipe about weakened sides

By Darren Lewis

Published 13:15 27/04/10

The lack of neutral support for Fulham’s bid to reach the Europa League final is not only surprising, it’s a disgrace.

Roy Hodgson’s men have done magnificently this season. You all know the calibre of sides they have beaten – Roma, Juventus, holders Shakhtar Donetsk.

They have been on the go in the competition since July last year. Clocked up 19,000 travelling around the world and still managed to make a decent fist of it in the FA Cup, reaching the quarter-finals, and the League.

They did magnificently to hold their nerve in Hamburg last week to get a semi-final, first leg draw.

Now all they need to do it repeat the giant-killing heroics at Craven Cottage that have seen them claim a number of scalps – including Manchester United – at home this season.

And yet they put in their team-sheet at Everton last Sunday and people start moaning about the fact that they have made nine changes.

Er, what do they expect? It’s the game between the two most important matches in the club’s 131-year history.

Do they really expect Roy Hodgson to flog the living daylights out of his players by fielding an unchanged side?

It's ridiculous and a lack of respect for what Fulham are trying to do.

Liverpool fielded some of the players that had featured in their Europa League first-leg tie against Atletico Madrid but Rafa Benitez had no choice. European football is expected, no, demanded, on Merseyside every season and so he HAS to push for the three points at every possible opportunity.

In addition, despite the deficiencies in Liverpool’s squad preventing them from challenging for the title or the Champions League, games against Burnley these days are more like a light workout than a full-throttle hammering.

It was different for Fulham against a tough-to-beat Everton side who – despite all of the Cottagers’ changes – only managed to see off Hodgson’s men courtesy of a late, late controversial penalty.

I for one hope Fulham go on to reach the Final. They deserve every bit of credit going for they have achieved already.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 02:18:13 PM

Adrian Leijer set for Socceroos reign

Grantley Bernard From: Herald Sun April 28, 2010 12:00AM

MELBOURNE Victory coach Ernie Merrick has tipped defender Adrian Leijer to be a big part of the Socceroos' plans after the World Cup.

Capped once by the Socceroos, in 2008, Leijer regularly represented the Young Socceroos and Olyroos and is expected to figure in preparations for January's Asian Cup finals after a strong return season in the A-League.

"I think he might be considered for the Asian Cup," Merrick said yesterday from South Korea, where Victory was preparing for tonight's final Asian Champions League game against Seongnam Ilhwa.

"There might be two or three of our boys involved, but Adrian has been coming on in leaps and bounds as a player and a person."

Two seasons in the shadows at English Premier League club Fulham did not help Leijer's international ambitions before he came home to help Victory to the A-League grand final.

But there may be several factors in the 24-year-old's favour as the Socceroos leave behind the World Cup and focus on the Asian Cup.

It is likely the Socceroos' preferred central defenders may be unavailable for Qatar 2011, with Craig Moore likely to retire, Lucas Neill committing to club football, Patrick Kisnorbo constantly battling injury and Mark Milligan yet to gain a regular place.

A new coach to replace Pim Verbeek after the World Cup might also pave the way for Leijer's inclusion along with fellow Geelong-raised defender Matthew Spiranovic, who is with Japan's Urawa Reds.

"I rate Adrian very highly," Merrick said.

"He is the quality of player and person with the character needed to represent your country. Things didn't go all that well at Fulham, but he's back on track and looking for a spot with the Socceroos."

Leijer has been tipped to succeed Kevin Muscat as Victory captain.

Veteran Rodrigo Vargas is being rested tonight, leaving Leijer and Muscat to be partnered at the back by Matthew Foschini, Leigh Broxham and Evan Berger.

Marvin Angulo will likely start up front with versatile Tom Pondeljak, while Carlos Hernandez, who is still battling a virus, and Nick Ward will play attacking midfield roles.

Victory has taken seven young players to South Korea and there is a chance three or four will get a run.

s to gain experience as Melbourne starts looking towards next season after the disappointment of finishing runner-up for the A-League premiership and championship and failing to advance in Asia.

"Last Monday was the start of our pre-season in a way, so this is the start of our pre-season games," Merrick said.

"We're starting to figure out who's going to be recruited, learn how to hold the ball in midfield and the things we need to do better."
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 02:40:13 PM (

5. Central Midfield If Coyle is to implement the passing game he wants, then he must find a central midfielder in the mould of Paul Scholes at Manchester United or Danny Murphy at Fulham to build a team around. He would love Jack Wilshere to be that man but, even if Arsene Wenger allows the on-loan Arsenal youngster to return to the Reebok next season, it is a huge ask to expect an 18-year-old who had not started a top-flight game until joining Wanderers to pull the strings. Should Wilshere remain at the Emirates, then Sean Davis, who was brought in to perform that role under Megson before a serious knee injury ruled him out for the season after just four games, could be Coyle’s playmaker. Either way, a midfield maestro to play alongside the combative Fabrice Muamba is a essential.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 03:32:21 PM

The Question: How do Fulham do it?

By adhering to modernist methods and melding disciplined shape with hard work, Fulham have exceeded expectations

Posted by Jonathan Wilson Tuesday 27 April 2010 14.47 BST

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The Fulham manager, Roy Hodgson, has instilled in his players a tight defensive system. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA

There is something endearingly old-fashioned about Fulham, about their ground, about their manager, even about the way they set about winning European ties. Which is not to decry their achievements; rather it is to acknowledge that wherever the tides of tactical evolution take football, certain virtues remain constant.

Watching Fulham beat Shakhtar Donetsk at Craven Cottage earlier this season, you could have been watching almost any game between an English side and an eastern European team from the 70s or 80s, as pluck and organisation eventually overcame technically superior opponents. It was a similar story in their 0-0 draw with Hamburg last week, methodical patient obduracy eventually breaking the will of opponents who, if football were merely a test of skill, would surely have won quite comfortably. Yes, Mark Schwarzer made a couple of useful late saves, but Fulham were never subjected to the sort of onslaught to which, for instance, they subjected Juventus.

Had Bobby Zamora been fully fit, they might even have nicked the away goal they'd managed in Donetsk, Turin and Wolfsburg. In the tale of them training on the hard shoulder after being caught in a traffic jam, there even seemed a nod to Clough-like eccentricity, he having made Peter Shilton train on a Madrid roundabout before the 1980 European Cup final. It's the sort of story that, should Fulham reach the final, will echo through the ages, a quirk of management that will be deemed to have drawn the squad together, as perhaps it did.

As Phil Brown, Roy Keane and others – perhaps even Clough in his later years – have discovered, team-building eccentricity is not an easy trick to pull off, for it requires both a fine judgment of the mood of the squad and that the squad should have absolute faith in their manager. If not, the manager just looks rather silly and the players feel resentful. It's hard not to be reminded of Steve Archibald's comment that team spirit is an illusion brought on by victory when considering the difference in reaction of Hull's players to having their half-time team-talk on the pitch at Eastlands, and Fulham's to running up and down the side of an autobahn.

Hodgson's method

That Fulham's players responded positively, seem even to have regarded it as rather a laugh, is evidence of the esteem in which they hold Hodgson. Given the job he has done, though, that is natural. The narrative arc of his time at Fulham feels like the plot of some unpublished Michael Hardcastle novel, perhaps called something like "Manager", in which one of the kids brings in a friend of his dad who looks a bit like an owl and has done something ill-defined abroad for 30 years. There is widespread suspicion, but gradually the team adapts to his methods, avoid relegation in thrilling circumstances, and two seasons later find themselves on the brink of a European final. Actually, that's pretty much how it sounds when Simon Davies describes it as well. "We're two and a half years down the line now, so we're all converted," he said, hinting that there were doubts about Hodgson's methods at first.

So what is it that Fulham do? The easy answer is that they keep their shape, and certainly that was in evidence against Hamburg, who passed and passed and passed and found navy shirts thwarting their progress wherever they went (a more complete analysis of that game is given here on the excellent zonalmarking website).

But why? Everybody knows that teams who keep their shape are harder to break down; why and how are Fulham better at doing it than other sides? There is, sadly, no easy solution; it's all down to hard work. "We work on it every day," said Davies. "Every day in training is geared towards team shape. I've been working with the manager three seasons now and every day is team shape, and it shows."

A faint smile suggests the work isn't necessarily particularly interesting. "We have a little laugh about it now and again," Davies said, "but when he [Hodgson] came in we were fighting relegation and now we're in the Europa League so you take it. If you're going to play for him you've got to put a shift in and perform, work to a system and be tight defensively."

So what is it exactly that they work on? "I don't want to give any secrets away," Davies said, "but he gets the 11 that he wants and he drills everything in that he wants. We've got the ball – it's never unopposed. It's certain drills defensive, certain drills attacking and we work very hard at it. There's no diagrams, it's just all on the pitch. We do a lot of work after every game on analysis, sorting the bad things out, sorting the good things out. It's nice to know what you work hard on works so well. It's just working on little things now and hoping we can still get better."

Often those who work hardest in such a system go unnoticed, as the likes of Stephane Guivarc'h have found. He was derided by outsiders for his finishing at the 1998 World Cup, but revered by those within the France squad for his work-rate and his intelligent running. According to Davies, Zamora suffered a similar disregard last season, before some high-profile and spectacular goals this season won him the acclaim he deserves.

"Last year playing with him you could see what he brought to the team but only maybe playing could you appreciate that," he said. "The fans obviously look at and judge strikers by goals, and last year he didn't get his fair share, but this year he's absolutely on fire. He shoots all the time and they're going in at the minute. Confidence makes a massive difference.

"Everyone last year was talking about Emile Heskey and what he brings to the team. It was the same with us last year, with [Zamora's] work rate and bringing the midfielders into the game all the time. When you don't have somebody like that you really miss him, and this year he's added goals to it and he's looking a top player. It's just a shame people sometimes overlook that there are other things you look for in a striker than goals."

Second-order complexity

Hodgson's philosophy has remained more or less unchanged since he joined Maidstone as Bobby Houghton's assistant coach in 1971. There they implemented the ideas of Allen Wade, the modernising technical director of the FA, who, in a quite literal way, rewrote the coaching manual. Wade saw no point in drills that weren't specifically related to game play, and so formulated a whole theory of coaching based on specific match situations.

Houghton and Hodgson moved to Sweden, Houghton at Malmo and Hodgson at Halmstad, and it was there that Wade's ideas took root, as Sweden was divided between the modern, English method – which favoured pressing, zonal marking and counter-attacking with direct passes – and the more traditional German school with a libero and man-marking.

As the Swedish academic Tomas Peterson put it, "they threaded together a number of principles, which could be used in a series of combinations and compositions, and moulded them into an organic totality – an indivisible project about how to play football. Every moment of the match was theorised, and placed as an object-lesson for training-teaching, and was looked at in a totality."

Traditionalists, including Lars Arnesson, who had been appointed as a de facto technical director to work alongside Sweden's national manager, called the English approach "dehumanising" and said it turned players into "robots", but it was undeniably effective. They won five out of six league titles between them, while Houghton took Malmo to the 1979 European Cup final, where they were narrowly beaten by Clough's Nottingham Forest. More than that, they changed the mindset of Swedish coaching, inspiring, among others, Tord Grip and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The football their sides produced may not have been as obviously aesthetically pleasing as what had gone before, but Peterson compares it to listening to Charlie Parker after Glenn Miller or viewing Picasso after classical landscapes. "The change does not just lie in the aesthetic assimilation," he wrote. "The actual organisation of art and music happens on a more advanced level." Naivety is gone, and there is a second order of complexity; football, as other cultural modes had since the dawn of modernism, began to work with an overt knowledge of its workings.

The second leg

The early Swedish critics who condemned the sterility of some of the English school may have had a point. Certainly when two Wadian 4-4-2s meet – as they did in Hamburg last Thursday – the result can be unspectacular, something perhaps exaggerated by the use of inside-out wingers. Their possibilities may be thrilling from an attacking point of view , but when both sides use them cautiously – Davies and Damien Duff for Fulham, Piotr Trochowski and Jonathan Pitroipa for Hamburg – with an absence of attacking full-backs the effect can be stifling. Part of the game-plan of both sides is to compress the effective playing area vertically by playing in three compact bands; inside-out wingers also compress it horizontally, by constantly coming inside.

In fact, if there is a criticism of Fulham this season that it is not explicable by the slenderness of their squad, it is that in defensive mode they seem to struggle to pose any sort of threat. Of the last 12 games in which they've kept clean sheets, seven have finished 0-0, and in only one – against Manchester United — have Fulham scored more than once. In the absence of an away goal for the first time in a knockout European this season, that must be a concern (which is one of the reasons the away goals rule is such an excrescence).

Given the sacking of Bruno Labbadia after Sunday's 5-1 defeat to Hoffenheim and his replacement with Ricardo Moniz, once a skills coach at Tottenham, it is difficult to know how Hamburg will line up on Thursday, although given Labbadia's apparent unpopularity they will presumably be mentally buoyed, but we can be sure that Hodgson will be sticking to the familiar programme, remaining loyal to a mode of play that has served him well for almost four decades.
Title: Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (27.04.10)
Post by: White Noise on April 27, 2010, 03:48:14 PM

Europa League Betting: Fulham backers - beware the caretaker effect

Europa League  / Ralph Ellis / 27 April 2010

Fulham earned an excellent goalless draw in Germany last week but their out of form opponents will be galvanised by the sacking of their manager. Ralph Ellis has a very unpatriotic bet of the week...

There's probably nothing more dangerous in all of football than playing a team who have just sacked their manager. All of a sudden a group of hopeless, unhappy players, who have been more interested in arguing with each other than winning, become a band of brothers.

For a game or two it doesn't really matter who is in charge. The guy in temporary control, of course, always claims that an upturn in results shows he deserves a crack at it full time. In reality you could literally put the caretaker in charge - complete with broom, mop and bucket - and the effect would be much the same.

An atmosphere of doom and negativity is lifted, replaced by one of relief and relaxed confidence. Have a look through this season and see some of the evidence. Hull might be getting relegated, but in the two matches after Phil Brown was put on gardening leave they got within a minute of their first away win in 17 months, and then beat Fulham at home. Bolton responded to the departure of Gary Megson by scoring four goals in an FA Cup tie. Manchester City went on a run of four successive wins as soon as Mark Hughes was out of the door. Even rock bottom Portsmouth beat Burnley and Liverpool during the three weeks after Paul Hart left.

There are even more glaring examples of the "caretaker effect" lower down the leagues - Bristol City took 14 points from 18 after Gary Johnson's number two Keith Millen took over. And Brian McDermott stepped up from the backroom staff to transform Reading from relegation certainties to outside play-off hopefuls.

So sorry, any Craven Cottage fans, but the best bet of all the midweek football has suddenly become to lay Fulham at 2.22 for their Europa League second leg against Hamburg. The German club might have been held to a 0-0 draw by Roy Hodgson's side on their own ground, may also have won just four of their last 15 Bundesliga games, leaving them five points off qualifying for Europe again with just two games to play. But they have just sacked their coach Bruno Labbadia and that will change the whole picture.

"It was the last moment for us to react," said chairman Bernd Hoffmann as he analysed a 5-1 trouncing at Hoffenheim on Sunday, before installing skills coach Ricardo Moniz to bring the side to London for Thursday's semi-final second leg.

Labbadia had been in charge only 10 months but had clearly lost his dressing room. Brazilian Ze Roberto came back a week late from his winter holiday; Ruud van Nistelrooy got stroppy - understandably for one of the game's great strikers - about being asked to play as a deep lying midfield man; and his captain and goalkeeper Frank Rost resigned his place on the players' council in protest at being rebuked by the boss for taking five team mates to watch Clash of the Titans the night before a game.

Moniz, who was once on Tottenham's backroom team and was described by some pundits as the "keepy-uppy coach", is hailed by his chairman as being "incredibly enthusiastic". And that spells bad news for Fulham, especially if Bobby Zamora is still not fit. The players will take his mood and be just as keen - and that's a twist that Fulham, going into their 59th game of an epic season, could well have done without.

Five things you might not know about Ricardo Moniz

1. Born June 1964, he played for FC Eindhoven's youth and reserve side as a defender or midfield man but was transferred back to his home town club Haarlem at the age of 20 to make his debut in the Dutch Eredivisie

2. He played a further 162 games in the Dutch League, moving to RKC Waalwijk before returning to Eindhoven to work with the youth teams

3. He studied under skills coach Will Coerver, and was recruited for Tottenham by Martin Jol in 2005 as skills coach to work both with the first team and Academy

4. He fell out with Juande Ramos because he was no longer working with the senior players, so followed Jol to Hamburg in June 2008.

5. In Sega's Football Manager 2010 he's the very best coach to put on your staff if you want to improve set pieces. Maybe that's how Hamburg's chairman got the idea!