Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)  (Read 9128 times)

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Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« on: March 04, 2010, 08:27:47 PM »

Italy keep Wales in their sights

Published: Wednesday 3 March 2010, 20.48CET

Italy 2-0 Hungary

The hosts moved to within three points of qualifying Group 3 leaders Wales thanks to goals from Stefano Okaka Chuka and Luca Marrone in Rieti.

The hosts moved to within three points of qualifying Group 3 leaders Wales thanks to goals from Stefano Okaka Chuka and Luca Marrone in Rieti.
Read moreGoals from Stefano Okaka Chuka and Luca Marrone earned Italy a victory against Hungary which lifted the Azzurrini above their opponents into second place in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 3.

Okaka opened the scoring in the 25th minute in Rieti, controlling a long ball from Giuseppe Bellusci, dribbling past two defenders and finding the corner with a low, right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area. Having been set up by Fabio Borini for an effort on goal moments before Pierluigi Casiraghi's team went ahead, Ezequiel Schelotto returned the favour to the the dark side FC striker five minutes after the break with a cross which Borini directed narrowly over.

The traffic was one way with Lorenzo De Silvestri the next to threaten, the defender shooting wide after being teed up by Mario Balotelli. However, Italy − who started the evening in fourth − did get their second nine minutes from time when the visitors' defence failed to clear a low cross by De Silvestri from the right and Marrone fired in a powerful left-footed shot from the edge of the box.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 08:29:55 PM »

Fulham loanee extends Pirates stay

Bristol Rovers - Wayne Brown extends loan stint by another hour

By GMF Editor  March 04, 2010

Bristol Rovers have extended the loan of Wayne Brown by a further month.

The Fulham loanee has impressed during his initial stint with the Pirates but is still working on his fitness as he battles back from an ankle injury and is unlikely to be fit enough for this weekend's clash at Swindon.

Manager Paul Trollope is also set to hold talks with Doncaster over the future of on-loan striker Paul Heffernan.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 08:51:46 PM »

Spurs Odyssey FA Cup 6th Round Preview - Fulham v Spurs - 06.03.10 

The following is our record against Fulham in the FA and Football League Cups. The details are:

FA Cup   Round   Venue   Result  Scorer(s)
1908-09    2       H      1-0    R. Steel
1983-84    3       A      0-0
          3R       H      2-0    Archibald, Roberts
1997-98    3       H      3-1    Clemence, Calderwood + o.g
2006-07    5       A      4-0    Keane(2), Berbatov(2)
FL Cup
1981-82    4       H      1-0    Hazard
1999-2000  4       A      1-3    Iversen
2001-2002  4       A      2-1    Rebrov, Davies

"Craven" a Cup win !

Spurs first met Fulham in a major cup competition in our first season as a Football League side, when both teams were in Division Two. Spurs would be promoted as runners-up at the end of that season, whilst Fulham finished mid-table. I have seen conflicting records of the result of this game, but the best I can offer is a solitary goal win by Spurs, with our scorer being Robert Steel. There was also a Daniel Steel in our side then. A little team called Woolwich Arsenal were beaten in the same round by Millwall. Spurs had beaten Manchestser City in the preceding round, but we were knocked out by Burnley in the Third Round, after a replay.

It was to take 75 years before we next played Fulham in the FA Cup. In January, 1984, after a 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage, Spurs finished the job with a 2-0 win, with goals from Steve Archibald, and Graham Roberts. It was to be a magical year for Spurs in the UEFA Cup, but Norwich knocked us out in the next round of that year's FA Cup. That little team I mentioned above had knocked us out of the Milk Cup in the preceding November. Fulham were a Division Two side in the 83-84 season. Malcolm MacDonald (who had once played for that little team) was the Fulham manager.

In January 1998, Spurs were fighting relegation and Jurgen Klinsmann had not arrived for his second spell as a Tottenham player. Fulham were gradually working their way back up the league after flaunting with demotion to non-league status earlier in the nineties. Klinsmann played, but didn't score, as Spurs ran out 3-1 winners with Clemence and Calderwood scoring for Spurs, along with a Maik Taylor own goal. Neil Smith briefly got Fulham back in the game to make it 2-1, but it was minutes later when the score was made 3-1 thanks to the "Cottagers'" goalkeeper. Spurs were to be rather ignominiously knocked out in the next round by Barnsley. Although Ginola scored in a 3-1 defeat, it was a year later that he scored a wonderful goal at Barnsley in an FA Cup quarter-final victory.

After a bad start, February 2007 heralded an upturn in Spurs' fortunes and indeed skills. They had started the month in mid-table but worked their way up to a last day fifth place and European qualification through their league placing for the second year running. We had seen off Cardiff and Southend in the earlier rounds, before producing four classy goals and a truly great win in the fifth round at Craven Cottage. Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov both scored two. This was match 41 in a 59 game season for Spurs, and whilst we nearly produced a miracle result in Match 46 at Stamford Bridge, we were undone in the replay at The Lane. In that first game we had been 3-1 up at half-time, despite playing little more than 36 hours earlier in Portugal against Braga.

Former Spur Simon Davies, who now plays for Fulham, was one of our scorers when we beat Fulham at Craven Cottage in November 2001. Sergei Rebrov scored the other Spurs goal in a game where I had the privilege to sit close to Ricky Villa.

Fulham sit comfortably in 9th position in the Premier League and have made great progress to the last 16 of the Europa Leaue where they will play the once mighty Juventus. Fulham are currently unbeaten in 8 games since they lost 2-0 in successive games to Spurs, then Aston Villa. We are Fulham's first Premier League opponents in the FA Cup this year. They have beaten Swindon, Accrington Stanley and Notts County to reach this year's quarter-final. They will be aiming for further progress in the competition they have never won. The best they achieved was to lose to West Ham in the 1975 final. Fulham included former Spurs Captain Alan Mullery and former England and West Ham captain Bobby Moore in their side.

Bobby Zamora made quite a recovery from an injury scare after Fulham's last game in Europe, and played most of last week's draw at Sunderland. He has had an excellent season and is a thorn in any side, even if he does not score, as he shields and holds the ball so well. Fulham will certainly be missing Andy Johnson, who has only played in 8 league games anyway this season, and Clint Dempsey is also missing for at least another three weeks.

Spurs have more than their usual problems, and the team might almost pick itself. Gareth Bale went off with a knee injury on Wednesday night, but is said to be okay, but Tom Huddlestone is definitely out after his ankle injury sustained last week. Jermaine Jenas is having an operation on his groin, and Harry Redknapp has little in the way of experienced midfielders. If fit, Bale might play in front of Ekotto on the left, with Modric moving inside and Kranjcar playing on the right of midfield. Peter Crouch increased his goal-scoring record for England this week, but whether that will be enough for him to win back a starting position is another question. Crouch has now scored 20 goals in 37 England games.

Both teams would no doubt prefer to finish this tie at the first attempt, fearing fixture congestion and the risk of more injuries if they draw. However, I think that a draw is the most likely result this Saturday tea-time, and will predict a 1-1.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 08:52:57 PM »

A glimmer of hope?

by Dan on March 4, 2010

Here’s something to perk Fulham fans up ahead of the weekend. From OptaJoe:

3 – Tottenham have lost three consecutive FA Cup quarter final ties, two of these coming against London clubs. Ominous.

A good omen?

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 08:54:27 PM »

Fulham v Spurs: Can Cottagers avoid hitting the wall?

04 March 2010


Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur

ROY'S BOYS... Roy Hodgson admits he is amazed that his side continue to battle on three fronts after 44 games since July. 
Saturday, 5.20pm

FULHAM fans continue to pinch themselves as they enjoy arguably the most successful season in the club's history.

Despite qualifying for the inaugural Europa League last season with a best-ever seventh-placed finish, few fans expected to be fighting on three fronts in March - and they weren't the only ones.

"The chairman made it very clear: give it [Europe] your best shot but for Christ's sake don't let it impact on the Premier League," said Roy Hodgson earlier in the season.

Survival was still the fundamental priority as Fulham kicked off their season in July. But, 44 games later, there is all to play for at the business end of the season.

Fulham are virtually safe with 38 points already in the bag, allowing them to focus on their striking progress in both the FA Cup and Europe - having sensationally eliminated holders Shakhtar Donetsk and progressed into the last 16 last week.

The Cottagers' stellar season is all the more remarkable because they are missing key first-team players.

Andrew Johnson has made just 13 appearances this campaign, Clint Dempsey is out with a cruciate knee injury and Hodgson is also missing both of his first-choice full-backs. John Pantsil has a knee injury while ex-Spurs left-back Paul Konchesky is racing to be fit after an ankle problem.

"We don't have the kind of squad where we can make wholesale changes," said Hodgson. "We know what our best team is and we try to get it on the field. I keep expecting the players to hit the wall after all the games we've played this season but they keep proving me wrong."

Spurs hope that Fulham finally flag this weekend, but the Cottagers' staggering stamina shows no signs of expiring - they played eight games in February, and were unbeaten.

In fact, Hodgson's side are now enjoying their longest break for six weeks, and they will fancy their chances of extending their FA Cup adventure beyond this weekend.

Spurs were lucky to escape Fulham with a goalless draw on Boxing Day, when Heurelho Gomes was the man of the match.

The Cottagers have one of the best four home defences in the top flight, having conceded nine times in 14 games - the same as Spurs.

Hodgson's side have also matched Tottenham's points total at home, taking 29 Premier League points from a possible 42, and beating Liverpool (3-1) and Manchester United (3-0) along the way.

Fulham's stellar season is largely due to veteran Aussie goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and towering centre-back Brede Hangeland, but Bobby Zamora has suddenly seized the mantle at the other end of the field.

The ex-Spurs forward recently scored in four consecutive games, taking his total tally to 15 in all competitions.

Ham&High Sport verdict: Dickson Etuhu will allow Danny Murphy the freedom to dictate the game, while Zoltan Gera will play in behind Zamora.

Hodgson's side are very well organised and, with a makeshift midfield, Spurs will struggle to break through.

This looks like a repeat of the Boxing Day stalemate - a tight, cagey affair with neither side overexposing themselves. The defences and keepers are likely to come out on top again, setting up another replay at the Lane."

Prediction: 0-0

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 08:57:00 PM »

Punching the clock: or the case of the unwanted footballer

Filed under: General — weltmeisterclaude @ 5:54 pm

I read this today with interest.

It begs the question:  what does Andranik do all day?

We know Roy plays a lot of  11 v 11 in training.  Is Andranik part of the second XI in that setup?     Or does he have to train with Fred Stoor and anyone else not “in Roy’s plans”?    In his recent book, “A week in December”, Sebastian Faulks speaks of (fictional) reserve players training with the youth team.  Faulks spoke to Hodgson to research this book.  Perhaps that is the answer.

Either way, it must be a demoralising and humiliating experience.   If I turned up to work every day knowing that nobody was going to give me anything important to do, knowing that those in authority would rather I just go away, well, I’d do exactly that.     The writing must have been on the wall for our man for some time; why not go and play in Sweden or the US or New Zealand for a bit?     Curious.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2010, 08:58:36 PM »

Christopher Buchtmann: Is he a player to watch in the future for Fulham?

I was reading the article on entitled " Reserves 2 - 0 Stoke" and the first name that jumped out at me was Christopher Buchtmann. He was making his debut with the reserves. Not only did he score a goal in the match, but based on the article he was very involved in the match for the Fulham Reserves.

According to the article, Reserves 2 - 0 Stoke, stated "Another making his first start for the Whites was midfielder Christopher Buchtmann, a January transfer window signing from Liverpool, and a player that impressed from the off driving forward with conviction and endeavour with display that bodes well for the future." The article has other information on the game and Buchtmann's play. If you are interested please check out the article.

Buchtmann as mentioned prior came to Fulham at the very end of the January transfer window from Liverpool for 100,000 pounds. According to his bio on, he is on an 18th month contract that will have him with Fulham until June 2011. The German born player will be turning 18 at the end of April. Also, according to his bio he was named among UEFA's top 10 stars of the future in May 2009.

I remember reading about Buchtmann when the deal happened. His signing seemed to "fly under the radar ". This probably happened because the Chris Smalling transfer to Manchester United was around the same time. I was not happy that Fulham were accepting a transfer with such a promising player like Chris Smalling at first. It looks like to me Fulham might have been able to pick up a player that has the potential to be a "hot prospect " as well.

If you look at this and analyze it, Fulham accepted a "rumored" 8 million pound transfer fee for Chris Smalling who is 20 years old. They brought in Christopher Buchtmann from Liverpool on a transfer fee of 100,000 pounds who is 18. To me this sounds like a good trade off for Fulham if the young German born player turns out to succeed eventually on the first team.

The big question to me is how did Fulham get this player for such a small fee? According to an article on entitled " German Starlet Christopher Buchtmann Leaves Liverpool for Fulham" it hints to what the reasons might be. The article by Mick Maguire states, "Buchtmann was widely regarded as the most promising prospect in Liverpool's youth ranks, and it is being speculated that attitude problems may be the reason for the sudden exit."

Whatever the reason Buchtmann was able to come to Fulham doesn't matter anymore. All that matters is how he progresses at Fulham. This is one player I will be following and checking his status with the club. It might only be one reserve game, but it sound like to me Christopher Buchtmann is player to watch in the future for Fulham.

Posted by Fulham-Pats Fan at 8:54 AM 

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2010, 09:03:05 PM »

Americans assess Dutch defeat

( Thursday 4 March 2010

Using his Europe-based players for the first time since the FIFA Confederations Cup and the close South Africa 2010 qualifying, USA coach Bob Bradley watched his men slump 2-1 to the Dutch in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening. The friendly was always going to be a tricky contest for the American coach, without influential centre-back Oguchi Onyewu, attacking midfielder Clint Dempsey and striker Charlie Davies – all to serious injuries – and still shuffling his pack in defence, midfield and attack.

“It was a good test for us and I think overall we played well,” said Bradley after his side conceded a Dirk Kuyt penalty five minutes before the interval and another deflected goal, from substitute Klass Jan Huntelaar in the 73rd minute, before captain Carlos Bocanegra reduced the arrears with a brave header in the dying moments. “The collective effort was pretty solid. There were moments where it needed to be sharper, quicker and better and we still need to raise the bar. Late in the game it was nice to see a good push. We had the ability to move the ball forward get people running off it and we created some good opportunities.”

We had some moments in the first half that were OK but I don’t think we put enough pressure on them.USA creator Landon Donovan
A win on the road in Amsterdam against the Dutch, world powers and the first European side to qualify for next year’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, was always going to be a big ask for the injury-hit Americans. Even though his side’s performance was creditable, Bradley will not be pleased with yet another injury suffered. Stuart Holden, himself filling in for the injured Dempsey, is expected to be out for at least six weeks after suffering a leg fracture under a heavy tackle from Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong.

It was also a difficult day for left-back Jonathan Bornstein, who conceded the first-half spot-kick after a silly foul on the outstanding Wesley Sneijder and had the ball bobble off his backside and trickle into the goal for the second. Bundesliga-based Steve Cherundolo, however, is set to return soon from injury and will give the coach options in defence. In midfield, the coach will be bolstered by a return to form for DaMarcus Beasley. The Rangers man had been out of favour for some time, but put in a good shift after coming on for Holden.

“You were able to see his mobility and a little bit of his quickness,” Bradley said of Beasley, who was relegated to the bench after a poor showing at the start of last year’s Confederations Cup, in which the USA eventually reached the final. “He had the confidence of being a threat and put defenders on their heels. Those are good things and hopefully they can be built upon,” added the wide man, whose free-kick set up the late consolation goal for Bocanegra.

Landon Donovan, who has been wowing the Goodison faithful since the start of his loan deal at English Premier League outfit Everton, had precious few touches on the ball and was largely unable to stamp his authority on the proceedings. “I thought we did OK,” said the all-time USA top goalscorer. “We had some moments in the first half that were OK but I don’t think we put enough pressure on them. You always know that when you come here and play them that they’re going to have a lot of the ball and you hope that at some key moments you make some plays going forward. It took us too long in the second half before we made some real plays.”

Late impact
Jozy Altidore, who partnered Robbie Findley and Eddie Johnson, both candidates to take over for the injured Charlie Davies should he not return in time for the finals, had a chance near the end to draw level. “The subs made a great impact," he said. "They did what they were supposed to do. Alejandro Bedoya, DaMarcus Beasley, Clarence Goodsen, Maurice Edu, they all came on and did what they had to do. They impacted the game big time and we almost equalised.”

In all, Bradley has reason to be positive. Having had ample opportunity to evaluate his domestic and European-based players, the coach is planning to name his squad for South Africa 2010 well ahead of the FIFA deadline in early June. “We have a little more time where we're sizing up form and assessing injuries but certainly there is a nucleus of guys. There are players who have played big roles throughout qualifying and players who continue to be in the picture for us. There are always going to be tough decisions. As a staff we're committed to seeing as many games as we can and we have a lot of work to do to make sure we can make all the decisions that give us the best chance [in South Africa].”

The Americans next play Czech Republic in Connecticut on 25 May before concluding their South Africa 2010 tune-ups against the Turkey four days later in Philadelphia. In South Africa, they open on 12 June against England in Rustenburg and follow up with games against Algeria and Slovenia.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2010, 09:09:45 PM »

Harry's style council

04 March 2010

Harry Redknapp says our style of play will always matter most to him.

The manager was delighted with the football produced in the first half of Sunday's win against Everton.

We led 2-0 at the break after Roman Pavlyuchenko's opener and a wonderful strike from Luka Modric following approach play with his Croatian compatriots Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar.

Many saw it as one our best halves of football of the season, not least taking the quality of opponents into account.

Everton hit back in the second half and we had to show the other side to our character to hold on for a vital 2-1 victory that moved us back into fourth in the Premier League.

We now turn our attention back to the FA Cup and a quarter-final tie at Fulham on Saturday - the winners go to Wembley for the semi-finals.

"We've got to keep going," said Harry. "We're up there and it's a great position to be in.

"The most important thing is the way we play and the way we played in the first half against Everton, the football we played, the way we passed the ball, the way we moved the ball, our movement off the ball, it was fantastic.

"I enjoy that and I enjoy managing a team that plays like that. That will always been important to me.

"Whatever happens, we've had a real go, especially when you look at where we were last season and the points we've got so far this season. It's been fantastic."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2010, 10:12:10 PM »

Tottenham's Jermaine Jenas has groin surgery but will be back soon

• Midfielder has been carrying the problem for some weeks

• He had operation in Germany after the advice of a specialist
David Hytner, Thursday 4 March 2010 20.53 GMT 

Jermaine Jenas has undergone groin surgery in Germany but the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder intends to return to full training within two weeks, with a view to a speedy comeback for the first team.

Tom Huddlestone, however, has had his hopes of a swift return from his ankle ligament problem dashed. Jenas's fellow midfielder hoped to be back in training in two weeks' time, following the injury he suffered against Everton last Sunday but he has learned that he must wait that long simply for another MRI scan to see how the injury is healing. It appears that his fears of a four- or five-week lay-off at least are set to be realised.

The Spurs manager, Harry Redknapp, is without the winger Aaron Lennon for six weeks because of groin trouble. With David Bentley a major selection doubt for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Fulham, also with a groin injury, Redknapp must improvise in midfield.

He could use Younes Kaboul, the January signing from Portsmouth, as a defensive midfielder, alongside Wilson Palacios who, with nine bookings, is one away from a two-match ban. Redknapp's other options involve pushing Gareth Bale from left-back to left midfield and moving Luka Modric inside from the flank or using Eidur Gudjohnsen, another January acquisition, in midfield.

Jenas has carried his groin problem for some weeks – he last played in the defeat at Wolves on 10 February – and he was encouraged to seek expert opinion. The specialist in Germany decided he needed to operate but is happy at how the procedure went and Jenas has now targeted a quick return, although it may be delayed as he catches up on match fitness.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2010, 10:15:10 PM »

Premier League rejects idea of a fourth-place play-off

• Proposal fails despite earning support of a majority of clubs

• Big four clubs joined by five others to secure 11-9 split

Owen Gibson, Thursday 4 March 2010 20.40 GMT Article history

Premier League clubs today rejected a proposal to introduce an end-of-season play-off for the fourth Champions League place, amid concerns about fixture congestion and the integrity of the competition.

At today's meeting of all its 20 clubs, the Premier League presented a detailed breakdown of how the concept might work. It had first been raised by the clubs at an earlier meeting to discuss possible improvements to the competition.

It is understood that the idea was narrowly rejected, with 11 clubs voting in favour and nine against. To carry the plan, at least 14 clubs needed to vote in favour.

The proposal, as revealed by the Guardian last month, would have seen the teams finishing between fourth and seventh playing one another at the end of the season to decide on the money-spinning fourth Champions League place. The idea is believed to have had strong backing among many clubs outside the top four, believing that it could help break the "virtuous circle" that they have enjoyed by regularly qualifying for the lucrative competition.

The same four clubs – Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea – have filled the top four positions in five of the past six seasons. Only Everton, in 2005, have broken their stranglehold. The other 16 clubs fear that the gulf between the so-called "big four" and the rest could grow even wider now Champions League TV revenues have increased by a further 30%. However, five of those clubs, believed to include Birmingham and Fulham, joined the traditional top four in voting against the proposal.

The Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said there was "not enough support" for the idea. "The main topic of discussion was the Champions League play-off for that fourth qualifying place," he said. "We gave a lot of discussion, a lot of detail, a lot of data. But there was not enough support to take the idea forward, so we won't be discussing that proposal any further."

While the Premier League's analysis of the idea presented the pros and cons in a neutral manner, some senior figures were believed to hold reservations about its practicality. Uefa had said the decision was entirely one for the Premier League but the extra fixtures at the end of the season would have caused disquiet at the Football Association due to their potential effect on the England squad and the FA Cup final.

After the proposals leaked, players and managers raised concerns that their effort over 38 League games could be rendered meaningless by a further knock-out competition. "While it might be quite exciting, we play 38 Premier League games and that is where you should be judged," said Everton's manager, David Moyes. "Say it is Tottenham who finish fourth after an unbelievable season and they get beaten by a team who finish seventh, having worked so hard?"

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2010, 06:21:05 AM »
Hughes chases Fulham's Wembley dream

By Stuart McKinley

Friday, 5 March 2010

Aaron Hughes sat out Northern Ireland’s trip to Albania this week. ‘Lucky him’ many of those who trekked to Tirana might say after the dismal 1-0 defeat.

Under normal circumstances the international captain would have been there leading his troops into battle and putting club football to the back of his mind for a few days.

This is no normal season for Hughes and his Fulham team-mates though.

Performing solidly and consistently in the Premier League and still harbouring hopes of emulating last season’s highest ever league finish of seventh, there is also a chase for silverware down at Craven Cottage — and on two separate fronts, one at home and another abroad.

Massive dates away to two of the biggest names Europe has to offer in the shape of trips to Juventus in the Europa League and Manchester United in the Premier League are looming large on the horizon over the next 10 days.

While footballers traditionally trot out the old ‘one game at a time’ cliche, it definitely is the next game that is the most important for Hughes as he would gladly take victory over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow afternoon, with Wembley two steps away and the FA Cup having much more of a shine to the Cookstown-man than triumphing in Europe.

Hughes has been to Wembley when Newcastle United made it to back-to-back finals in the late 1990s, but he failed to make the bench on either occasion.

“For us to even talk about winning either of them is a massive thing,” said the 30-year-old, who has captained Northern Ireland for eight years.

“I'd rather win the FA Cup because it's a domestic competition and as a kid growing up it's the one you think about.

“The FA Cup still has that something special, especially now it's back at Wembley. It's a massive day.

“That said, if we could progress in the Europa League I wouldn't say no.”

Hughes’ Fulham and Northern Ireland team-mate Chris Baird has never played at Wembley either, but he did impress in the 2003 FA Cup final in

Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, when he was named Southampton’s Man of the Match in their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, despite it being only his second start for the club.

He has forced his way into the Fulham team on a regular basis this season and he has his sights on a glorious end to the campaign.

“It shows how far the club's come,” said Baird.

“To finish seventh last season and qualify for Europe was absolutely fantastic.

“Now that we're in the quarter-final of the FA Cup and in the last 16 in the Europa League it shows what a good side we really are. We don't want it to end, we want to keep going and see how far we can go.”

Fulham’s improvement over the last couple of seasons has been built on the firm foundation of Hughes’ central defensive solid partnership with Norwegian captain Brede Hangeland.

Hangeland has attracted attention from clubs across Europe, but it seems it’s a partnership that works rather than individuals standing out.

“Brede has everything you could want a central defender to have,” said Hughes.

“He's 6ft 5 and his aerial capabilities are fantastic, but for such a big lad he's comfortable with the ball at his feet, he can see a pass and play it.

“We’ve formed a good partnership and you can see why he had interest from other clubs.”

Read more:

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2010, 06:22:50 AM »

Lawro predicts a draw

by Dan on March 4, 2010

Mystic Mark reckons it’ll be all square at the Cottage on Saturday:

Fuham have had a good February and done very well in the Europa League and they’re very hard to crack at home.

Tottenham have got lots of injuries in midfield, and although it’s great for Harry Redknapp that Roman Pavlyuchenko has found such good form, you wonder where the Russian was months ago.

I’m always a bit worried about someone who just turns up like that, he didn’t start a lot of games away from home, which tells a story. And it’ll be interesting to see how he does without those injured midfielders to supply him. I tip Spurs to leave town with a draw – well, go back across town, anyway.

Probably just the result both teams don’t want. Spurs will want to avoid any fixture congestion as they chase a Champions’ League place and Fulham won’t fancy a trip to the Lane with their poor domestic away record.

Oh, and by the way Lawro, what constitutes a great February? Going through the whole month unbeaten and dumping the UEFA Cup holders out of Europe not good enough for you, is it?

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2010, 06:25:57 AM »

Premier League chairmen reject idea of play-off for Champions League place

Oliver Kay,Football Correspondent

The campaign to introduce Premier League play-offs to settle issues of Champions League qualification was defeated yesterday, with upwardly mobile clubs such as Birmingham City and Fulham among those who found themselves voting to protect the status quo.

A group of clubs — including Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers — led a motion to have the top flight’s fourth Champions League place contested in play-offs between the teams finishing fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh in the table. That motion was discussed at yesterday’s meeting in London, with a view to exploring the proposal further, but the idea did not get the required backing of a two-thirds majority, with sources saying that the vote was “pretty much 50-50”.

The outcome was welcomed by the chairmen and chief executives of the established “big four” clubs, who have occupied the top four places in each of the past four seasons and had been reluctant to see a “lottery” applied to the final qualification spot for Europe’s top club competition.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of yesterday’s meeting was that clubs such as Birmingham and Fulham, who respectively occupy eighth and ninth positions in the table, were opposed to the possibility of widening the competition for a Champions League place. However, sources at the meeting indicated that both clubs had made clear that they were voting on the basis of practicality and, above all, sporting integrity, rather than self-interest.

The sporting integrity argument was put forward strongly by Liverpool, whose managing director, Christian Purslow, spoke volubly on the matter. Although the Merseyside club are in danger this season of finishing outside the top four for the first time since 2005, Purslow argued that, far from intensifying competition, a play-off system may lead clubs to “settle” for a top-seven finish while conserving energies for the play-offs.

Practicalities were also questioned amid concerns that such a system could not be worked into an already congested domestic programme.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2010, 06:27:33 AM »

Davies aims to strike first

Simon Davies has said scoring the first goal will be decisive for Fulham in their FA Cup quarter-final tie against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The midfield player, who is one of four former Spurs players in Roy Hodgson's side with additional incentive to win, said that the players were on a high after reaching the last 16 of the Europa Cup.

“We are a tough act to play against at home, so if we can get an early lead, we will be very tough to break down,” he said. “We are pretty confident that we can beat them. The reality check is that two-and-a-half years ago we were staring relegation in the face. What a turnaround.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2010, 06:33:57 AM »

"This is a huge opportunity for these boys to face a different kind of football. We have a chance to build the foundation of our team, because we cannot expect the players from overseas (for the World Cup). I think we have five of them injured.

"I do not know how long they will be out - two months, one month, six weeks. We are sending our doctor out there to find out what is going on."

Parreira was referring to injuries to the likes of Fulham midfielder Kagiso Dikgacoi and West Ham United striker Benni McCarthy, long-term injury casualties at their clubs.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2010, 06:36:57 AM »
FULHAM v SPURS (FA Cup, Saturday 5.20pm)

Tough one to call. For the good of my old friends Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird, I’d like to see Fulham make it to the semi-finals, but I’m not convinced Roy Hodgson’s men will overcome Tottenham. I reckon it may take a replay to decide what promises to be a compelling clash.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Fulham 19/10 Draw 23/10 Spurs 7/5

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2010, 06:42:44 AM »

Guus Hiddink did not need to prove himself before he came to Russia. His success as a coach is enviable: With PSV Eindhoven , he won the Dutch First Division Championship six times, (1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89 2002/03, 2004/05 and 2005/06), the UEFA Champions League in 1987/88 and the Dutch Cup three times (1987/88, 1988/89 and 1989/90). To this he added the World Clubs Title with Real Madrid in 1998 and the English FA Cup with Chelsea in 2008/9.

As a national team coach, he took Holland and South Korea to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, respectively, in 1998 and 2002 and in 2006, guaranteed Australia their first presence in a World Cup final stage in 32 years.

After Hiddink who is next? The internal figure may be Kurban Berdyev who took FC Rubin Kazan to two successive championships in the Russian Premier League. Certain limited experience in Europe was a positive but the international career is limited. The external one may be the British Roy Hodgson. His pedigree is enviable: In club football, he has managed Viking FK, Malmo FF, Internazionale, Blackburn Rovers, Grasshoppers, FC Copenhagem, Udinese and is currently at Fulham FC. As national team manager, he took Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup Finals and the Euro 1996 Finals.

Having worked in UEFA and FIFA technical groups and being multi-lingual, Roy Hodgson has international experience which may prove irresistible to Russia.

Time will tell. But now that Hiddink has closed the door, who else?



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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2010, 06:46:28 AM »

London derby in the FA Cup

The pick of the sixth round of the FA Cup tomorrow is definitely the London derby between deadly at home Fulham and Champions League spot chasing Tottenham. Roy Hogson coached Fulham currently lie in the 9th place on the Premiership, and already drew 0-0 with Tottenham this season, and they are still very much in the Europa competition, where bigger teams than them have faltered. For Fulham, which will be hosting their northern neighbour, their home form has been this season’s weapon.

The Cottagers recently came from behind to beat Birmingham at home, and also knocked out the reigning Europa Cup champions Shaktar Donetsk via a 2-1 win in London, and 1-1 away draw. And recently, the English league champions suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat in their hands, a result that will not be far from their FA Cup opponent’s mind.

For Tottenham, all eyes will be on in-form but dissatisfied Russian, Roman Pavlychenko, who have upstaged Jamain Defoe as the main threat upfront. Priority for Tottenham might probably lie somewhere else; winning a Champions League spot, and despite their recent run of wins their only hope of winning anything this season remains the FA Cup. Whether they can escape from Craven Cottage unharmed will be answered tomorrow evening, or maybe another day, if they force a replay by playing a draw.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (05.03.10)
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2010, 06:48:59 AM »

For me, he'd done enough long ago. I've been banging on about Crouch's quality for such a while that it must seem like I'm running his Facebook fan club. But to me, England blend so much better when he's there. It's often the way - a big centre forward who may not be amazingly gifted lifts the performance of the team as a whole.

Look at how much better Fulham are when Bobby Zamora plays, though he's not a great striker, just a good one. Think Stephane Guivarc'h for France at the 1998 World Cup - not very talented, or even that effective, it seemed, but an integral part of the World Cup-winning side. The Czech Republic were outstanding when Jan Koller, the giant striker, was in his prime; since he declined and retired, they've struggled hugely.

From my own experience, Ireland were a better team when Niall Quinn was up front instead of me. Quinny offered more than I could. I was a Heskey-type striker, strong and good in the air but limited, while Quinny had the aerial presence but more of an all-around game as well. Ireland functioned better as a whole when he was in the line-up. Even Italy, the world champions, see the value of a tall striker - Luca Toni - though he's often used as a lone battering-ram.

England's advantage is that Crouch needn't operate up front on his own, he can form a partnership with Rooney, one of the most in-form and talented forwards in the world. His inclusion, not just in the squad but the starting XI, is a no-brainer.