Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11  (Read 8865 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2011, 07:54:28 AM »
 
Fulham keeper keen on Swansea switch

The Evening Post reports that David Stockdale is keen on a switch to the Liberty Stadium

The paper also reports that the Swans are waiting to hear back on thei bid which is rumoured to be betwen £2 million and £3 million.

And the paper also says that Stockdale is keen on a move to South Wales to become Swansea's Number 1 after previous incumbent Dorus De Vries left for Wolves.

The Post reports: But Swansea remain hopeful that they can convince the Cottagers to do business — even though Championship side Leeds, Stockdale's home city club, have declared an interest in taking him on loan.
Rodgers has identified Stockdale as his top goalkeeping target after Dorus de Vries quit the Liberty to sign for Wolves.

He believes the England squad member will thrive as Swansea's No. 1, and it is thought Stockdale is keen on a move to Wales.

But persuading Fulham to say a permanent goodbye to a keeper who is rated highly may take some doing.

New Craven Cottage boss Martin Jol has made it clear that veteran Australian international Mark Schwarzer will be his first choice in goal next season.

But he has also stressed that Stockdale is highly regarded and has said there are no plans to sell.

"I am actually quite calm about the situation," said Rodgers.

"The important thing is to get the right keeper in, not just to go and get someone.

"We are taking our time and we haven't jumped into anything.

"What is important is that we get a keeper who fits us right.

"There are plenty of keepers out there, but there are not many who will suit the way we do things."



http://www.planetswans.co.uk/article.aspx?ArticleID=11466

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2011, 08:00:10 AM »
 
Jol: Stock stays

FULHAM have rejected Swansea's request to take keeper David Stockdale on loan for the season.

Now new boss Martin Jol has challenged Stockdale, 25, to prove he is ready to take the No 1 shirt from Mark Schwarzer.

Swansea chief Brendan Rodgers wants the England squad man to take over from Dorus De Vries, who has joined Wolves.

But Jol insists Stockdale is staying after impressing him in training.

Jol said: "Schwarzer and Stockdale are both part of my plans for the new season. There's no way Stockdale will go to any other club."



Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/3683743/Martin-Jol-says-keeper-Robbie-Stockdale-is-staying-at-Fulham.html#ixzz1RUjfU5J6

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2011, 08:03:51 AM »
 
Frustrated Fulham progress

Fulham were held to a frustrating goalless draw by Faroe Island part-timers NSI Runavik - but still progressed to the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Martin Jol's side will face the Crusaders of Northern Ireland next Thursday after completing a 3-0 aggregate victory over the battling Faroese minnows.

Damien Duff hit the crossbar after five minutes and then sliced a shot over from six yards out as Fulham peppered the NSI goal but they could not find a breakthrough.

While most Barclays Premier League clubs have only just returned to pre-season training, Fulham were in competitive action for the second time. The first leg was played on June 30.

The 2010 runners-up qualified via the Fair Play league and still have 21 matches to negotiate if they are to reach the Europa final again. Belfast will be Fulham's next port of call and their progress was never in doubt following their 3-0 first leg win at Craven Cottage.

Bobby Zamora headed an early chance over the top before Duff, one of the first leg goal-scorers, struck the bar from 25 yards with a left-foot drive after cutting in from the right wing.

Fulham kept that early pressure up for the remainder of the half but could not find a breakthrough, with goalkeeper Andras Gango denying Andrew Johnson on three occasions.

Duff sliced a shot over the bar from just six yards out and Matthew Briggs was also off target with a close-range header as Fulham struggled to make their ascendancy count. NSI were well organised.

Left-back Jens Joensen was booked eight minutes before the interval for checking Johnson. Dickson Etuhu met Greening's free-kick but his header was straight at Gango. Steve Sidwell was booked early in the second half for a hard challenge on Mamuka Toronjadze, despite appearing to win the ball.

Duff and Briggs both tried their luck from distance with no luck before Jol began to make changes, with Kerim Frei and Bjorn Helge Riise sent on for Johnson and Jonathan Greening. Fulham, struggling to create any clear cut chances, then survived a scare when Klaemint Olsen burst into the box and sliced his shot wide of Mark Schwarzer's left-hand post.



http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/article-23968237-frustrated-fulham-progress.do?


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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2011, 08:19:28 AM »
 
Crusaders Ticket Information

Having progressed to the Second Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa League, we are delighted to be able to announce the following ticketing information for both legs against Crusaders of Northern Ireland.

Away Leg, Northern Ireland - Thursday 14th July (7.45pm)

The Club have been allocated a total of 550 tickets for this game. Loyalty Points will be used when allocating tickets for the away leg of the UEFA Europa League qualifier against Crusaders.

To check your Loyalty Points total, log into fulhamfc.com/tickets, your Loyalty Points will be on displayed on the right hand side of the page.

Season Ticket Holders with more than 110 Loyalty Points will given priority access* to tickets for the away leg between 9am - 12pm on Friday 8th July.

From 12pm - 4pm, Season Ticket Holders with more than 80 Loyalty Points will also be eligible to buy, with the remaining tickets going on sale to all Season Ticket Holders after 4pm.

Members will be able to purchase any remaining tickets from 9am on Monday 11th July. Tickets will be limited to one per Season Ticket Holder or Member and are subject to availability.

To qualify, you must have sufficient points prior to purchasing this match. Please note tickets are for unreserved seating, so supporters do not need to purchase tickets together in order to be sat together.

Tickets cost £25 for adults and £18 for over 65s and under 16s.
 

Home Leg, Craven Cottage - Thursday 21st July (7.30pm)

Following on from the NSI Runavik match at Craven Cottage, the Club is delighted to announce that tickets will be available from just £5 for adults and £1 for juniors for the home leg against Crusaders.

Season Ticket Holders will be able to buy tickets for the home leg from 2pm on Friday, Season Ticket Holders seats will be held until 9am on Tuesday 12th July when tickets will go on general sale.



Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2011/July/CrusadersTicketInformation.aspx#ixzz1RUoRvWg9

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2011, 08:45:01 AM »
 
West Brom: Chris Brunt talks about Zoltan Gera's imminent return

Chris Brunt believes the imminent signing of Zoltan Gera will be a ‘great addition’ to West Brom's ranks.

The Baggies are going through the final stages of securing the Hungarian’s return to The Hawthorns.

Skipper Brunt is one of only four outfield players to have played with Gera during his first spell at the club – James Morrison, Ishmael Miller and Roman Bednar being the other.


The Northern Irishman is looking forward to welcoming the 32-year-old back to the club, not least as the duo often combined to great effect during Albion’s title-winning campaign in 2007-08.

“He’s a great lad,” Brunt told the Birmingham Mail. “If he does come back, he will be great to have around. He’s funny, he takes stick but he’s a great guy and in the year we played together he was superb.

“Roy (Hodgson) knows him well and it’ll be a good addition if we can get him. I learned a lot from him on the pitch.

“The way Tony (Mowbray) wanted us to play meant we played well together.

“He’s deceptively good in the air and his goal threat was a big help to us.

“We complemented each other well and if it goes through it’ll be a great addition to our club.”

Reflecting on Carson’s departure, Brunt added: “I was a little surprised. It’ll be a big change for him and his family.

“Everyone has their own reasons for moving on.

“The club obviously felt it was the right time to sell but it’s sad to see him go because he’s a good friend.

“People come and go in football – me and Mozza seem to be the only two hanging on and I roomed with Scott for years.

“That’s football. I will keep in touch and I wish him all the best.”

Brunt insisted Carson was not affected by some of the criticism he received during his time at The Hawthorns.

“You get on with your job and can be two different people on and off the pitch,” he added.

“I don’t think he was affected by criticism – and a lot of it was unfair.

“It’s a difficult position to play in. In the four or five years I’ve been here our goals-against rChris Brunt believes the imminent signing of Zoltan Gera will be a ‘great addition’ to Albion’s ranks.

The Baggies are going through the final stages of securing the Hungarian’s return to The Hawthorns.

Skipper Brunt is one of only two outfield players to have played with Gera during his first spell at the club – James Morrison being the other.

The Northern Irishman is looking forward to welcoming the 32-year-old back to the club, not least as the duo often combined to great effect during Albion’s title-winning campaign in 2007-08.

“He’s a great lad,” Brunt told the Birmingham Mail. “If he does come back, he will be great to have around. He’s funny, he takes stick but he’s a great guy and in the year we played together he was superb.

“Roy (Hodgson) knows him well and it’ll be a good addition if we can get him. I learned a lot from him on the pitch.

“The way Tony (Mowbray) wanted us to play meant we played well together.

“He’s deceptively good in the air and his goal threat was a big help to us.

“We complemented each other well and if it goes through it’ll be a great addition to our club.”



Read More http://www.birminghammail.net/birmingham-sport/west-bromwich-albion-fc/west-bromwich-albion-fc-news/2011/07/08/west-brom-chris-brunt-talks-about-zoltan-gera-s-imminent-return-97319-29017360/?#ixzz1RUuwkU8f

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2011, 08:46:14 AM »
 
Fulham closing in on John Arne Riise

Fulham are closing in on the signing of Norway international John Arne Riise from Roma.

The former Liverpool left back is due to undergo a medical at Fulham, suggesting the Cottagers have agreed terms with the Serie A club.

"He's coming for a medical. If that's okay we've got ourselves a very good player," said Fulham manager Martin Jol.

Riise won the Champions League and the FA Cup during seven years at Anfield and his younger brother, Bjorn Helge, is already on the books at Craven Cottage.

Fulham were last night held to a frustrating goalless draw by Faroe Island minnows NSI Runavik but still progressed to the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Jol's men failed to capitalise on a flurry of first half chances against the Faroe Island part-timers.

But Fulham advanced 3-0 on aggregate and they will meet the Crusaders from Northern Ireland next Thursday.

"It's not easy playing here but I feel if you create six or seven chances in the first half you should score," Jol added.

"In the first half we had seven or eight good chances and we have to be more productive and eager to score. In the second half I think we only had two chances which weren't enough.

"We have to get fitter and more creative and come up with solutions. In this sort of game you need players that can make a difference and we didn't have that.

"Defensively we were sound and we didn't concede, which is important but they did have one chance at the end. Technically you can see the difference between the players but they did well."



http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/football/article-23968246-fulham-closing-in-on-john-arne-riise.do?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2011, 08:48:13 AM »
 
Palace boss confident new signing Dikgacoi has all the attributes to succeed at SE25

DOUGIE Freedman is convinced he has landed a huge bargain after completing the signing of Kagisho Dikgacoi and has told Eagles fans they haven't seen the best of the South African international.

The powerful midfielder agreed to a permanent switch from Fulham on Monday and signed a three year contract with Palace in a deal that cost £400,000 up front with an additional £300,000 to be paid based upon appearances.

The 26-year-old, known commonly as KG, impressed while on loan at Selhurst Park at the back end of last season and we revealed last month that the Bafana Bafana star was high on the Eagles list of summer targets.

Freedman was pleased with the impact Dikgacoi had in helping Palace stave off the threat of relegation to League One, but feels that he will be an even better performer in this forthcoming campaign.

"He's my type of player," the Eagles manager lauded. "I'm very pleased to have got him in.

"He did well for us when he came in last season but to be honest I don't think we really got to see the real KG then.

"Because of the position we were in in the league and the players we had available he had to sit quite deep and play more of a holding role.

"But really he's a player who likes to get forward and hopefully we will see a lot more of that next season.

"He's only 26 years of age and will get better and better with the more games he gets. I persuaded the chairman to buy him because at that age I really see it as a sound investment for the football club."

Dikgacoi is determined to make the move a success and refused to rule out a push for promotion, despite Palace's lowly finish in the Championship last season.

"I'm happy to be back," he said. "My aim is to help the team achieve what we want to achieve. The aim for me has to be the Premier League.

"Why not? We have a good bunch of players here and I feel we are capable of doing that.

"We did well at the end of last season and I think we can build on that and keep going forward."

Freedman was disappointed to lose midfielder Neil Danns to Leicester City last week, but he stressed the importance of only having players in his team that want to play for Crystal Palace.

And Dikagacoi's desire to return to south London was another crucial factor in the decision to bring him back.

"I can't get that point across enough," said the Eagles boss.

"I'm not interested in having players here who aren't happy. I only want guys who have a desire to play for Crystal Palace and KG has that.

"He wanted to come here and help us try and get as high up the table next season as possible.

"I'm interested in players who want to be here and will add value and quality to the squad. I think KG ticks all those boxes."



http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/story-12906568-detail/story.html?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2011, 08:49:36 AM »
 
Brendan Looking To Bring In Gudjohnsen?

Reports today suggest that Brendan Rodgers would like to bring Eidur Gudjohnsen to the Liberty Stadium

The Evening Post reports that Swansea City are keen on the former Bolton, Chelsea, Stoke City, Tottenham and Fulham striker as one of their 'big name' signings of the summer.

Gudjohnsen is a free agent this summer and wanted by Fulham and other Premier League clubs whilst he has worked with Brendan when he was at Chelsea.

The Post reports It is understood Rodgers has spoken to Gudjohnsen's camp and that Swansea are now awaiting a response from the Icelandic international.



http://www.planetswans.co.uk/article.aspx?ArticleID=11465

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2011, 09:42:53 AM »
 
Crusaders of Belfast next up for Fulham in Europe

From the Faroe Islands to Belfast, the Cottagers’ Europa League summer adventure continues

It may only be early July, but Fulham's season is already well underway and they marched triumphantly into the second qualifying round of the Europa League after a goalless draw with NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands.

The Cottagers took a 3-0 lead into the second leg of the tie, played at the 2,000 capacity Runavik Stadium on the island of Eysturoy, which was less then two thirds full.

The scoreline flattered the hosts as Fulham monstered their opponents in the first half. Damien Duff, (above), had the best of the chances but hit the cross bar after five minutes and then missed from six yards out.

However, with the scores still deadlocked Fulham were pleased to see Klaemint Olsen miss Runavik's best chance of the match after the break.

Next up for the Cottagers, who are now just 21 games away from the Europa League final in Bucharest on 9 May 2012, are Crusaders FC of Northern Ireland.

Crusaders, whose proud history dates back to 1898, are known as the Hatchetmen, and they will be hoping to do some damage to Fulham.
They qualified for Europe Last season by dint of being runners up in the Irish League behind Linfield. They also just missed out on the Irish Cup, losing to Linfield in the final.

Their most famous son is probably West Brom defender Gareth McAuley, who has made more than 200 appearances for Lincoln, Leicester and Ipswich and joined the Baggies this year.

The last time Crusaders met English opposition in Europe was in 1976, when they were drawn against Liverpool. The Reds won the two legged tie 7-0, although they had to fight hard in the first leg at Anfield where they ran out 2-0 winners. However, Bob Paisley's men went on to win the competition, something that Fulham fans may see as a good omen.

Martin Jol's men are sure of a warm reception at Crusaders' Seaview ground in Belfast, the club's website warns fans to get in early if they want to get a ticket, and with fewer than 2,000 available a full house looks inevitable.



Read more: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/81409,sport,football,crusaders-of-belfast-next-up-for-fulham-in-europa-league?#ixzz1RV9SiFOj


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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2011, 10:41:33 AM »
 
Riise to have Fulham medical
 


John Arne Riise is close to a return to the Premier League with Fulham.


The former Liverpool left back has one year left on his current deal with Serie A outfit Roma, but is set to skip out on it to link up with the side where his brother Bjorn Helge already plies his trade.

He is due in London to undergo a medical and could be the first big name to join the Cottagers this summer.

On the possible addition of the Norway star to his playing staff, Fulham boss Martin Jol said on Thursday night: "He’s coming for a medical.

"If that’s okay we’ve got ourselves a very good player."

Jol was speaking after his side’s 0-0 draw with Faroese minnows NSI Runavik, a result that saw them through to the second round of the Europa League qualifying stage. Their next opponents will be Crusaders of Northern Ireland.



http://www.setanta.com/ie/Articles/2011/07/08/Riise-to-have-Fulham-medical/gnid-99652/?

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2011, 10:43:14 AM »
 
Fulham near Europe, but boss Jol wants more bite

Fulham eased closer to the Europa League with a goalless second leg draw against Faroe Island minnows NSI Runavik, wrapping up a 3-0 aggregate win.


New boss Martin Jol now faces Northern Ireland side, Crusaders in the qualifying campaign.

Fulham were in control last night in the wind-swept north Atlantic outpost, but spurned a host of chances as Bobby Zamora and then Damien Duff went close without breaking the deadlock,

Hosts Runavik also failed to convert chances, with Klaemint Olsen putting wide two good chances.

“It’s not easy playing here but I feel if you create six or seven chances in the first half you should score,” said boss Martin Jol, afterwards.

“In the first half we had seven or eight good chances and we have to be more productive and eager to score. In the second half I think we only had two chances which weren’t enough.

“We have to get fitter and more creative and come up with solutions. In this sort of game you need players that can make a difference and we didn’t have that.

“Defensively we were sound and we didn’t concede, which is important but they did have one chance at the end. Technically you can see the difference between the players but they did well.”



http://www.london24.com:80/sport/fulham/fulham_near_europe_but_boss_jol_wants_more_bite_1_957275?

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2011, 10:44:23 AM »
 
Former Liverpool star John Arne Riise agrees move to Fulham

FULHAM manager Martin Jol has confirmed that John Arne Riise is close to completing a move from Roma to Craven Cottage.

The Norway and former Liverpool left-back is due to undergo a medical with Fulham, suggesting terms have been agreed with the Serie A club.

“He’s coming for a medical. If that’s OK we’ve got ourselves a very good player,” Jol said after Fulham had secured their progress into the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Riise’s younger brother Bjorn Helge is already on the books at Fulham and came off the bench in last night’s goalless draw with NSI Runavik.
 
Fulham, who won the first leg 3-0, failed to capitalise on a flurry of first-half chances against the Faroe Island part-timers – but they qualified with ease and will meet the Crusaders from Northern Ireland next Thursday.

“It’s not easy playing here but I feel if you create six or seven chances in the first half you should score,” Jol added on the club’s website.



Read More http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/amateur-football/2011/07/08/former-liverpool-star-john-arne-riise-agrees-move-to-fulham-100252-29017906/?#ixzz1RVP0bZFq


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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2011, 11:11:24 AM »
 
Fulham close to signing John Arne Riise from Roma
Fulham are closing in on the signing of Norway international John Arne Riise from Roma.
 

Target: John Arne Riise (right) will swap Roma for Fulham
Photo: AFP


The former Liverpool left-back is due to undergo a medical at Fulham, suggesting terms have been agreed with the Serie A club.

"He's coming for a medical. If that's okay we've got ourselves a very good player," said Fulham manager Martin Jol.

Riise won the Champions League and the FA Cup during seven years at Anfield and his younger brother, Bjorn Helge, is already on the books at Craven Cottage.

Fulham were last night held to a frustrating goalless draw by Faroe Island minnows NSI Runavik but still progressed to the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Jol's men failed to capitalise on a flurry of first-half chances against the part-timers.

But Fulham advanced 3-0 on aggregate and they will meet the Crusaders from Northern Ireland next Thursday.

"It's not easy playing here but I feel if you create six or seven chances in the first half you should score," Jol said.

"In the first half we had seven or eight good chances and we have to be more productive and eager to score. In the second half I think we only had two chances which weren't enough.

"We have to get fitter and more creative and come up with solutions. In this sort of game you need players that can make a difference and we didn't have that.

"Defensively we were sound and we didn't concede, which is important but they did have one chance at the end. Technically you can see the difference between the players but they did well."



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/fulham/8625131/Fulham-close-to-signing-John-Arne-Riise-from-Roma.html?

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2011, 11:12:26 AM »
 
Kelly Praises Fans

Fulham fans have certainly clocked up the miles following the Club's successes in Europe over recent seasons, but reaching the Faroe Islands to watch Thursday night’s First Qualifying Round aggregate victory over NSI Runavik was arguably the hardest test yet.

However the Fulham faithful once again showed their utter commitment by turning out to support the Team at the Svangaskard Stadium and their effort was greatly appreciated by the players, as defender Stephen Kelly explained.

“It was hugely impressive to see the fans make the trip to the Faroe Islands,” said Kelly. “It’s certainly not the easiest place to reach with no regular flights and you’ve got to hold your hands up to them for the dedication they’ve shown to get behind us.

“I think the fans are all excited and hopeful that we can enjoy a journey like we did last time we were in Europe. As a Club we really have got dedicated fans that will come and support us wherever we’re playing. Hopefully we can get a win for them in the next round and move on from there.”

Despite creating several chances on goal on Thursday evening Fulham failed to score but moved into the Second Qualifying Round thanks to a 3-0 aggregate victory. Whilst the lack of goals was an evident disappointment on the night, Kelly spoke of the benefits the competition will bring the Team as they navigate their way through the early rounds.

“We had good chances and plenty of possession but they defended in numbers and made it difficult,” Kelly explained. “We got a clean sheet and it was a good performance at the back and we’re through to the next round.

“We should benefit from the fact we're playing competitive games rather than friendly matches. Sometimes, pre-season friendly games can be exactly that, whereas in these games there’s something to play for and that should help us with our fitness because we’re putting more into it.

“The fact that we’re playing teams that are out to prove a point and make the next round themselves means we have to do that little bit more to beat them and over the two legs we put in good performances [against NSI Runavik]. We didn’t score on Thursday night which was disappointing but as I said, we’re in the next round.

“It’s [UEFA Europa League] started early for us again but it’s got that feeling of another European tour already. It would be great if we could continue progressing and it’s great to go away to different countries. I’d never been to the Faroe Islands before and it’s a landscape we would never see unless we were involved in the UEFA Europa League.

“It’s been a good test for us and as much as it was a competitive match, it was only our second game of the season on Thursday night. Now we’ll be sharper and hopefully that will show against the Crusaders next week.”



Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2011/July/KellyPraisesFans.aspx?#ixzz1RVW6OKO3

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2011, 11:32:49 AM »
 
Fulham reject Swans bid for Stockdale
by DAN on JULY 8, 2011



Fulham have rejected an offer from Swansea to take goalkeeper David Stockdale on a season-long loan.

According to quotes in this morning’s Sun, Martin Jol has challenged the 26 year-old to prove he is ready to displace Mark Schwarzer as Fulham’s first choice goalkeeper. Jol had previously appeared to be ready to loan Stockdale out, but these comments appear to indicate otherwise:

Schwarzer and Stockdale are both part of my plans for the new season. There’s no way Stockdale will go to any other club.



http://hammyend.com/index.php/2011/07/fulham-reject-swans-bid-for-stockdale/?


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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2011, 11:34:51 AM »
 
Crusaders countdown
by DAN on JULY 8, 2011

Lydia is currently on holiday, but before she left was able to do an excellent interview with the chairman of our next Europa League opponents, Crusaders.
 


North Belfast is the next destination for Fulham as we travel there to take on Crusaders Football Club in the 2nd Qualifying round of the Europa League. Many of you will not know much about the Belfast side so let me fill you in. Crusaders play at Seaview Stadium which can now hold around up to nearly 3,000 people. It is a new 4G pitch, the first to be used in the Irish premier League.

I was fortunate enough to meet up with Stephen Bell, the Crusaders FC Chairman, who very kindly gave up his time to chat to me about the club and about the excitement of Fulham coming to town in a Europa League game and also have a quick look around the recently renovated stadium. Here is an overview of the chat I had with him:


Can you give us an overview of Crusaders 2010/11 Season?

“Basically we finished runners up in the league and in the cup and qualified for the Europa League. It’s been a great season! For the past 4 years Stephen Baxter has been in charge and we have improved every year.”

I can see the new facilities around like the pitch and the stands. How have these improved things?

“We are trying to improve the facilities for the fans. This ground about 2 or 3 years ago was nothing but terracing. We are trying to improve the team but also bring the stadium along with us. It’s important to have the best possible facilities for the fans which is something that the Irish League has been lacking over the past 20 or even 30 years! The pitch itself is a real money generator for us. It also means that the team itself now is more physically fit. We are training more on it; we are not relying on other places now to train. Before we were going down to Jordanstown (University of Ulster, Jordanstown) but when the weather was bad training had to be called off so we think now our general fitness has improved. We never have to miss training now.”

So it’s a big bonus then, especially coming into a game like this?

“Well that’s it you know. The fitness of the players is very important now and the fitness in the Irish League has generally improved because of these kinds of facilities.”

How has the club been preparing for the game?

“Well the boys aren’t long back, maybe just 2 weeks into training. So a couple of training sessions and 2 friendly’s against Neath (Wales) and Larne (Northern Ireland).  Neath are also in the Europa league and they are similar to ourselves. They have just turned full time so those were two good quality games. We found 2 years ago when we were in the Europa League that we were playing junior teams in the build up and probably weren’t getting the work out that we needed so I think we have fitted a few better quality friendly’s in which helps. But other than that it has just been our normal Tuesday and Thursday training sessions.”



We have had a bit of talk among the Fulham fans that the game might be being moved to Windsor Park. Do you have any comments about that?

“Well two of the stands are now finished and we are just starting work on the unreserved stand to put seats in it and that will be finished before the game. We are quite confident that the game will take place here. We have spent a lot of money and have put in a lot of hard work to make sure we can play European football here and having Fulham here now is a big opportunity just to push everybody on and make sure that the work is finished on time.”

Does the prospect of having Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird playing here as Northern Ireland internationals add anything to the game?

“Well it does as it will help us pick up a few neutrals as certainly Northern Ireland supporters will want to come and watch the match. The game has generated a lot of interest too within Belfast, with a lot of media attention at the minute because it’s a high profile game. It’s probably our biggest game since we played Liverpool in 1977 and that’s the way we are looking at it. Cup finals are big games for the club but having an English Premier League club coming is a fantastic opportunity for the club. I would just like to say as well that we have been trying to open the new stands by bringing a big club over with no success; so this tie will kill two birds with one stone. Fulham are coming over to play a competitive game and we will fill the place.”

 

So are you expecting a sell out crowd then?

“Yes ticket sales are going very well at the minute. The tickets have been on sale to our members over the past few days and next week we will start to put them on sale to the general public. There is a lot of interest out there for tickets.”

(Since this interview took place on 3rd of July all the work that Stephen is talking about here has all been completed now)

Now about the actual match- Who do you think are your dangerous players? Who can really cause Fulham a big problem?

“Well we have a smashing team this year. Stephen Baxter has been building the team for 4 years and I would say all the players are dangerous! But people are talking about Stuart Dallas (the winger) and certainly Jordan Owens (the centre forward) plus Colin Coates, the centre half. Over the past couple of years people have been trying to sign them but their loyalties lie here and that’s great for Crusaders. Stephen Baxter brings them here and all they want to do is play football because they enjoy it. And I think this tells through the results and the way the team performs. Even the new boys that we have brought in- we signed Ciarn Cargan from Donegal Celtic, who were fighting relegation last year and he is over the moon at the prospect of playing a Premier League side now.

A lot of our players, Colin Coates in particular have come through our youth team and this is wait we try and do here, we try and build from the youth sides and stand by those players. We are attracting a younger fan base through this so it works well for us.”

What do you expect from your team over the 2 matches?

“I think that our 4G pitch will give us an advantage and I think we will give Fulham a good game here. I’ll not give you a result or score line but I think Fulham will find it very tough here, very intimidating. Supporters are so close to the pitch and there will be a full house and the atmosphere will be electric. We are aiming to make it a party atmosphere and that will be good for us as the atmosphere will be right on the touchline.

We like to get the ball down and pass it with fast mobile players and a big centre forward who knows where the net is! So we are confident that we can get some sort of result here although Craven Cottage might be a different cup of tea! But we are delighted the first game is here and this will give us a chance to start the game and really show what we can do. There are a lot of teams talking about our players, I know Blackpool have been interested in Stuart Dallas and Jordan Owens so those boys will be bursting to play against Premier League opposition. It’ll be a good test for our players to see where they stand and how much they have come on in the past number of years.”

Does the prospect of going to London to play at Craven Cottage excite the players as much as the fans?

“Yeah, the whole place is buzzing! From the minute the draw came out everybody has been talking about it and there is an extra buzz in training now. However we picked up a bad injury in training yesterday as our midfielder Chris Morrows is out of the match and is gutted about it. But everybody, right down to the youth teams, have been lifted because of the draw. To be the chairman of the club, it is so exciting to have my club play against one from England.”

Stephen also told me his excitement when he found out about some of Fulham’s famous fans and that he would have a ticket ready for Lily Allen if she wanted one!

I have been waiting a long time for the opportunity to see Fulham come to Belfast and could hardly believe my misfortune when I realised that I had booked a holiday over the game. Stephen joked with me saying that he would have cancelled his holiday and I assured him that I was tempted!

Throughout the interview it was very evident the passion that Stephen has for Crusaders FC and the fans. It was a pleasure getting to meet him and some of the other people around the club. He even gave me a quick tour of the stadium and the changing rooms. Fulham will no doubt be the favourites of this draw but make no mistake about it, these Crusaders boys can play good football and Fulham cannot take this game too lightly!



http://hammyend.com/index.php/2011/07/crusaders-countdown/?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2011, 11:47:26 AM »
 
Somogyi set to sign for Fulham?
by DAN on JULY 8, 2011

Reports from Hungary claim that Csaba Somogyi is set to sign a one-year contract with Fulham and become Mark Schwarzer’s deputy.

Martin Jol, who was poised to sign the Hungarian goalkeeper when he left Ajax last Christmas, gave Somogyi a trial with Fulham last week and has been sufficiently impressed to offer the 26 year-old a contract. What this means for David Stockdale is anyone’s guess.



http://hammyend.com/index.php/2011/07/somogyi-set-to-sign-for-fulham/?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2011, 12:17:17 PM »
 
Farmers Market

Fulham Football Club would like to invite you to its second Farmers Market, which will take place this Sunday (10th July) at Craven Cottage.

The concourse under the Putney Stand will be open to the general public between 10am and 4pm and will host numerous stalls selling arts and crafts, international foods and organic meats.

Entry to the event is free and friends and family are more than welcome to attend in order to sample the atmosphere at the ground on a non-matchday.

Fulham's first market was a great success and boasted a variety of exciting and unusual items. Why not join us as we open the gates for a second time?



Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2011/July/FarmersMarket.aspx?#ixzz1RVmPbiNO


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2011, 12:18:14 PM »
 
Saturday Action

A Fulham XI will play AFC Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon at Kingsmeadow. The match will kick-off at 3pm and tickets are available to buy at the gate.

Ticket Information:

Date: Saturday 9 July 2011
Kick Off: 15.00
Venue: Kingsmeadow, Jack Goodchild Way, 422a Kingston Road, KT1 3PB

Ticket Prices (Seating):
- £12 Adults,
- £7 Over 65s
- £4 Under 16s

Ticket Prices (Terrace):
- £10 Adults
- £5 Over 65s
- £2 Under 16s



Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2011/July/WimbledonFriendlyTickets.aspx?#ixzz1RVmg3Ku8

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff 08/07/11
« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2011, 12:20:03 PM »
 
Baggies in Gera talks

IN light of recent media speculation, Albion can confirm they are in discussions with former player Zoltan Gera and his advisors about a return to The Hawthorns.

The Hungary star decided to seek a new challenge after his Fulham contract expired on June 30 and he is now a free agent.

The Baggies have opened contract talks with Gera, who became a firm fans' favourite during his previous four-year spell at the club between 2004 and 2008.

The 32-year-old has undergone a Hawthorns medical, which revealed he was carrying an ankle injury from last season.

Gera underwent surgery to rectify the problem yesterday and Albion have agreed to oversee his rehabilitation.

If, as expected, he makes a full recovery - to the satisfaction of the club's medical staff - and agrees personal terms, he will rejoin Albion.

Gera is not eligible for the first three games of the 2011/12 season after he was sent off in his final match for Fulham.



http://www.wba.co.uk/page/News/0,,10366~2388843,00.html?