Author Topic: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)  (Read 12866 times)

White Noise

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2010, 11:19:03 AM »
Full-on Sale

Tuesday 23rd February 2010

Fulham FC News 

Still time to buy, with 60% off

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

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

Now organised by price

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

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

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

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

Read more:

White Noise

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2010, 11:20:59 AM »

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

By Alex Hendrikson

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

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

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

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

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2010, 11:22:02 AM »

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I'm happy to be back now and hopefully I can contribute to the team."

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2010, 11:23:16 AM »

- Jean Tigana, who used to smatter his team talks with bons mots from the greats of French literature when Fulham manager. One player, on seeing Tigana reading a book by Marcel Proust, reportedly exclaimed: "Proust? I thought he was a Formula One driver."

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2010, 11:25:10 AM »,worthington-wants-natonality--loophole-closed.aspx

Duffy looked set to win his first cap in the absence of skipper Aaron Hughes and his Fulham team-mate Chris Baird, who are both rested.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2010, 11:27:29 AM »

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

What really is making an impact on clubs like Tottenham, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Fulham etc. is the excellent management system in place. Harry Redknapp, Martin O’Neill, Alex Mcleish and Roy Hodgson have been outstanding managers thus far.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2010, 11:29:06 AM »


By Pete Thompson, Press Association Sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"He will probably say he's also not had a run of games. Listen, if you've scored that amount at international level it says a lot about you."

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2010, 11:32:23 AM »

Shakhtar Donetsk v Fulham betting preview

Dave Higgins - 24 Feb 2010

Cottagers 6/4 to qualify in the Ukraine

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

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

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

Any kind of draw (10/3 totesport) at the Donbass Arena will be enough to see the west London side go through, although the defence might have their work cut out against the dangerous striker that is Luiz Adriano (4/1 Ladbrokes). It was the Brazilian who scored Donetsk’s goal in the first leg and this might prove a match too far for the Cottagers.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2010, 11:58:05 AM »

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

Simon & Schuster, £16.99

Reviewed by Harry Pearson

From WSC 270 August 2009 


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

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

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

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

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

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

At the end of the book Ridley sums up Keegan’s current situation with Norma Desmond’s famous line in Sunset Boulevard: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” I’m not sure that’s quite right though. Football made Keegan a huge figure, but a ceaseless pursuit of money tends to diminish people and by the end of this lively book Keegan has shrunk considerably.

White Noise

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2010, 12:05:15 PM »

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

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

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

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

The best part about all this is that Arsenal ended up moving to Highbury in 1913, right under the noses of the only club in north London at the time – and this started a sequence of events that has led to the animosity with our good old cockerel Spuds down the road in N17.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2010, 12:07:20 PM »

How will Hodgson play it?

by Dan on February 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Plenty to ponder.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2010, 12:14:05 PM »

Bent remains hopeful of England call

By Damian Spellman, PA

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Getting them out of trouble and us having a good season is before anything."

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2010, 12:19:30 PM »

2) Clint Dempsey

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

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2010, 12:49:02 PM »

Three underappreciated Fulham players

Author:  Jonny Abrams and Nick Pearce

Posted on:24 February 2010 - 12:21

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

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

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

Aaron Hughes – Northern Irishman Hughes has played every league game this season, helping his side to 9 clean sheets in the process. However, central defensive partner Brede Hangeland continues to receive the credit despite not having been at his commanding best this season. Hughes was also a near ever-present last year so he must be doing something right.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2010, 12:59:41 PM »

Talking Tactics: Watching Zamora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The key? The wide players in defence and midfield must work together to stop crosses in the first instance and stop defenders backing up to cross from deep or overlapping. That relieves stress on the central defenders, who must be aware of Zamora's movement and aerial power.

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2010, 01:37:16 PM »

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

Date: 24th February 2010 at 12:55 pm

 Author: justin mottershead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2010, 01:44:14 PM »

Shakhtar Competition Winner

Wednesday 24th February 2010

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

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

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

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

Read more:

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2010, 01:46:15 PM »

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

Date: 24th February 2010 at 12:59 pm

Author: Oscar Pye-Jeary

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

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

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

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2010, 01:55:27 PM »,25212,12038_5977021,00.html


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff (24.02.10)
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2010, 01:57:51 PM »,25212,12038_5977021,00.html


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

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

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

SIX West Brom (2004/05)

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

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

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

Several teams have won just one away game and survived. They are: Fulham (2006/07 and 2005/06), West Brom (2004/05), Everton (2003/04), Aston Villa (2002/03) and Blackburn (1996/97). So there is plenty of hope for West Ham fans!