Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)  (Read 3633 times)

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Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« on: March 13, 2010, 08:51:05 PM »,19528,11681_6019263,00.html

Hodgson pushing squad to limit

Cottagers boss revels in high-class fixtures

By Hayley Paterson   

Last updated: 13th March 2010   

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson wants his players to forget fatigue and give their all for the rest of the season despite an intense fixture list.

The Cottagers take on Premier League leaders Manchester United tomorrow in their 47th fixture of the season.

Despite good runs in the Europa League and FA Cup boosting the West London club's fortunes, the packed schedule of fixtures means Hodgson is having to push his minimal squad to the limit.

"We are stretched in terms of personnel," said the ex-Inter Milan coach.

"This is a testing time for the durability of the side and it's important that we give our best for the matches that remain despite the tiredness.

"We have to give our best for the large number of matches that do remain because that's what our season requires of us and I'm sure the players will deliver what's required of them when I ask them to step up to the plate again."

Sunday's clash could prove to be a tougher test for the league leaders than some pundits predict following Fulham's shock 3-0 win over the Red Devils in December.

Hodgson's men were also enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run before the 3-1 midweek defeat against Juventus in their first leg of the Europa League round of 16.

However, the Fulham chief is not complaining about the top-flight fixture list and the experience it is offering to his players.

"It's great to be in Turin and then to play Manchester United at Old Trafford and then go back to playing Juventus at home," the 62-year-old said.

"I think this is a great reward for the players for all the hard work they've put in this season and they certainly won't let themselves down on Sunday."

Man. Utd v Fulham Match Specials: Man. Utd to score in 1st 10mins 7/2

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2010, 08:55:48 PM »
How do Fulham stop Wayne Rooney? Easy, we've got Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes!

Confident Paul Konchesky looking forward to Manchester United test

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 11:39 AM on 13th March 2010

Paul Konchesky is confident that Fulham's defence will be strong enough to shackle Wayne Rooney when they come up against the in-form Manchester United striker tomorrow.   

Rooney scored twice in United's 4-0 hammering of Italian giants AC Milan on Wednesday to take his tally to 30 for the season.   

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits the 24-year-old is in the form of his life and has challenged him to beat Cristiano Ronaldo's record of scoring 42 goals in the 2007-08 season.   

The Red Devils lost 3-0 at Craven Cottage in December and Konchesky thinks Fulham can shut out Rooney and co again and even come away from Old Trafford with a result.   

'We have Brede (Hangeland) and Aaron (Hughes) in defence. They are strong, quick, good in the air and read the game well, so they have great ability to stop him (Rooney),' said Konchesky.   

'We've beaten United at home already, and we've always got a chance.'
 Lynchpin: Fulham centre back Brede Hangeland (right) in action

Konchesky made his comeback from a two-month lay-off with an ankle injury on Thursday against Juventus. That match ended in a 3-1 defeat for Roy Hodgson's men, which left Fulham's hopes of making the quarter-finals of the Europa League hanging by a thread. 

Clint Dempsey also returned in that match following two months out with a knee injury. It had been feared that Dempsey's season was over when he limped off against Blackburn in January, so Hodgson was naturally delighted that both he and Konchesky returned on Thursday. 

'It was good to see those two back, that was excellent news,' said the former Inter Milan boss. 'Both of them have been out for a long period of time and it was good for Konchesky to get a game under his belt and for Dempsey to get half an hour under his belt.   

 Rock: Cottagers' defender Aaron Hughes (left) challenges Peter Crouch
'I think they will be very useful for us in the games that we have left this season, of which there are very many.'
Hodgson will have to decide whether to stick with Konchesky at left-back for the United game or to turn to Nicky Shorey, who was cup-tied for the Juve match.   

Captain Danny Murphy, who was suspended for Thursday's defeat, faces a fitness test on a groin injury while long-term absentees Andy Johnson and John Pantsil (both knee), remain sidelined. 

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2010, 08:59:11 PM »
Striker James Beattie beaten by knee injury as Stoke City career looks over after six-week lay-off

By Chris Wheeler

Last updated at 10:54 PM on 12th March 2010

James Beattie has almost certainly played his last game for Stoke after it was revealed he will be sidelined for six weeks following surgery on his knee cartilage.

He has been out of favour since his bust-up with manager Tony Pulis at Arsenal in December over time off for a team Christmas party, and almost joined Fulham for £3million in the January transfer window.

Since then, the 32-year-old former England striker has started just one Barclays Premier League game and made six appearances as a substitute, and is now unlikely to play again this season.

Pulis said: 'James has just had an operation to have a knee meniscus cleared up. He'll be six weeks out. We've got two months left so it's all about his rehab now.'

The Stoke boss admitted he had faced new problems in his second year in the league, but looks likely to keep the club up again.

He added: 'There are other issues outside of the Beattie incident. The second year holds different problems and it's been more difficult to manage this season than it was last year.

'That "second year syndrome" is certainly there, and there are pitfalls... You learn as you go along, but for me it's been a much tougher year.'

Stoke could have a big say in who finishes fourth this season, with Aston Villa and Tottenham due at the Britannia Stadium in the next week. Pulis admits he is a big admirer of Martin O'Neill's team, who his side face on Saturday.

'I'd pay to go and watch Villa every week and I've got a lot of time for Martin,' he said.
'He's got balance in the team and spent good money on Downing, Milner and Young.

'There are so many teams fighting for fourth but Villa and Spurs have caught up and it wouldn't surprise me at all if either of them got fourth.'

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« Last Edit: March 13, 2010, 09:02:06 PM by White Noise »

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2010, 09:20:41 PM »
Roy Hodgson for England! Sir Alex Ferguson trumpets Fulham boss for national service

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 12:41 PM on 12th March 2010

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Roy Hodgson would be an ideal candidate to manage England one day - but does not expect there will be a vacancy any time soon.   

Hodgson has been mentioned as a likely successor to Fabio Capello should the Italian decide to step down after this summer's World Cup.   

As someone who has always believed the international arena is better suited to men who have vast experience behind them, Ferguson can see exactly why 62-year-old Hodgson would be attractive to the Football Association, given his excellent work at Fulham recently. But he cannot see Capello stepping aside in the short-term.   

'Roy Hodgson has great experience, the kind of experience you need in international management. He would be ideal for that type of thing. 

'But I don't think you can't pre-empt that. I am sure if Fabio does well at the World Cup, he will want to stay on as England manager. Why would he not want to? It is the hardest challenge for him because the expectation is high and he looks to me to be the type that relishes that.'
Not that Capello's abilities detract from Hodgson's achievements. Although he had already carved out an impressive reputation overseas, the view of Hodgson in England was largely tainted by an ill-fated spell at Blackburn. 

Yet it is only two years since he arrived at Fulham, with the club seemingly heading for the Championship, and instigated a stunning transformation which currently sees them scrapping with Juventus for a place in the Europa League quarter-finals.   

Ferguson has already suffered at Fulham's hands, losing on successive league visits to Craven Cottage, including a 3-0 reverse in December, which probably marked the low point of their season.   

'Fulham has been a remarkable story,' said Ferguson. 'Roy has brought his experience and authority to the club. He has formed a team that no-one likes to play against. They are very well organised and they play with great discipline. That is down to the manager.   

'Two years ago when Roy went there, they were third bottom of the league. Now they are playing European football. He has turned the whole club round. It is a remarkable story.'
Ferguson is probably relieved United meet Fulham in the middle of the Londoners' European clashes with Juventus, especially as last night's first leg was in Turin.   

Not that the United boss feels Hodgson's men are necessarily out of the contest, despite having lost the first leg 3-1. 

'They are not out of that tie,' he said. 'That away goal will mean something at Craven Cottage because it is a very hard place to go to.

'It is not the Juventus of old, from the Lippi days. They are still a very good team but Fulham only need to score once to make it a very interesting night for themselves.'

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2010, 06:21:13 AM »
Good to be Back

Sunday 14th March 2010

Fulham FC News

The high profile matches keep coming for the Whites as they next travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. 

Fulham were recently boosted by Clint Dempsey's return to action following a knee injury. The US international made a substitute's appearance in Fulham's UEFA Europa League game against Juventus in the Stadio Olimpico di Torino - and he is now looking forward to more action on Sunday.

"That's why you play in the Premiership, so you can play the best teams in the world so it's exciting when you get to play in those games," he told

"You want to play in big games and it was great to be back. I'm still working on trying to be 100% fit and get the sharpness back. But it's good to be back playing - I knew there was a possibility of me getting on the pitch against Juventus. Now that I've got the first game out of the way hopefully I'll be able to improve on my fitness and quality.

"They told me that I would be out for between five to eight weeks and it took seven weeks. Sometimes that's the way it goes, I've been in England for three years and seven weeks is the longest I've been out so I feel fortunate."

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2010, 06:22:37 AM »
Foderingham Loaned

Friday 12th March 2010

Fulham FC News

Fulham FC can confirm that goalkeeper Wesley Foderingham has joined Bromley FC on loan until 24th April 2010.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2010, 06:23:42 AM »
Inside Fulham Podcast

Friday 12th March 2010

Fulham FC News

In this episode of the Inside Fulham Podcast we get the thoughts of manager Roy Hodgson on the ties against Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus, plus goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and striker Bobby Zamora reflect on a very tricky night out in Turin.

Listen or download now|

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 06:24:49 AM »
Fulham v Juventus

UEFA Europa League

Thursday 18 March

Kick-Off 18:00 GMT

Tickets for this match have now sold out. Hospitality packages| are still available.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2010, 06:29:17 AM »


Hodgson deserves this year's gong
HODGSON: Deserves recognition for his efforts


THERE can be no dispute that Wayne Rooney will be crowned Footballer of the Year. But what about Manager of the Year?

The answer lies at Old Trafford today. Not with Sir Alex Ferguson but Roy Hodgson.

That an Old Trafford clash is not top of Fulham's priorities emphasizes what a great season the club is having.

Many, myself included, thought Fulham would be deep in the relegation mire by now. Instead they are enjoying their best-ever season.

On Thursday, Fulham host Juventus believing they can overcome a 3-1 first-leg deficit. Then comes an FA Cup quarter-final replay at Tottenham. To have reached Premier League safety and the business end of two cups trumps a losers' appearance at the 1975 FA Cup Final.

For all the romance of a history featuring great players such as Johnny Haynes, Bobby Robson, Bobby Moore and George Best, Fulham have not won a thing.

That could change thanks to Hodgson's erudite management and avuncular persona.

Look at the emergence of young centre-back Chris Smalling - on his way to United in the summer - or the re-born Bobby Zamora.

They are just two examples of how Hodgson works to improve players young and old.

At the start of the season, Hodgson said survival was the priority.

That sharpened minds and averted the sort of complacency that has seen West Ham struggle under Gianfranco Zola.

While Hodgson never made it as a pro, let alone came close to matching Zola as a player, as a boss he is world class.

In 34 years since starting out at Halmstads in Sweden, Hodgson has coached national sides - notably Switzerland - and major clubs such as Inter Milan.

He knows how to cope with the ups and downs as at Blackburn.

He is not fazed by big players. Neither will he patronize young pros.

As the title and Champions League races hot up, Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti and Arsene Wenger will win votes for the managerial gong.

There is also a case for Martin O'Neill or Harry Redknapp.

But for achievement relative to resources, Hodgson is in a league of his own.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2010, 06:34:49 AM »


14th March 2010

By Paul Hetherington

WAYNE ROONEY has given ­Manchester United boss Sir Alex ­Ferguson his word that he doesn’t have to worry about his fitness.

Fergie was furious with his 30-goal top scorer when he played for virtually all of England’s ­recent win against Egypt while he was carrying a knee injury.

The United boss left Rooney out of United’s next match – last weekend’s win at Wolves.

But Rooney, in the form of his life, returned to the side and scored twice in Wednesday’s ­Champions League thrashing of AC Milan.

And the United superstar faces Fulham at Old Trafford today, insisting: “My knee problem wasn’t much. It was just some bruising which was ­catching sometimes.

“It was a bit painful but it’s something you’ve got to get on with. I want to play every game. I’m in good form, scoring goals and any player doing that wants to play – I’m okay!

“To play for my country is a great honour and unless I really can’t play at all, I’ll ­always play.

“I hope everyone sees the real Wayne Rooney at the World Cup, after the last two tournaments when I was injured and then sent off. It’s not nice to be injured and, hopefully, I’ll stay fit from now ­until the end of the season and be fit for the World Cup.”

Rooney, 24, also revealed the ­confidence of the current United side, although he warns that ­Fulham could prove to be tougher opposition than European giants Milan.

He said: “To beat Milan was a great result. We are all delighted to have scored seven goals over two legs against a team of their calibre – it is a great ­achievement.

“Hopefully, it will give us confidence going into the run-in to the end of the season but Fulham will be a ­difficult game.

“They’re fighting to get into Europe, they beat us last season and earlier this season, too.

“It’s a big time of the season for us now and this is a massive game.”

Rooney can be coy on personal achievements and targets.

But he insisted: “I haven’t got a goals target in mind. I’ll just keep trying to score every time I play and see what it all adds up to at the end.

“I had a target at the start of the season and, yeah, I’ve beaten that – but I don’t really set ­targets, to be honest. I just try to do my best when I play and if I score goals, then great. It’s nice to hear people talk about me being one of the best players in the world.

“And if I won the award for being the best, if that happens, I’ll be delighted. But it’s not really a ­major thing for me.

“I’m playing well at the minute and the team are playing well, so I’m pleased with that.

“Hopefully, I can continue like this until the end of the season and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Rooney also dismissed the idea that Arsenal have the easiest run-in in the title race. He said: “There are no easy games in the Premier League. You go away from home and it’s really difficult with the fans all up for it – and the opposing ­players.

“It’s difficult whether the team is at the bottom of the league or the top. I’m sure there will be a lot of twists before the end of the season and I don’t think anyone has got an easy run-in.”

What does seem easy for Rooney at the moment is scoring goals – and he’s confident he’ll stay fit enough to ­continue hitting the target.

Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck has added to United’s list of injured strikers.

The hitman, 19, has been forced to cut short his loan stint at Preston North End because of a knee injury which could need surgery.

Fergie has already lost Michael Owen for the remainder of the season after he damaged a hamstring in the Carling Cup Final at Wembley.

And last season’s strike sensation Federico Macheda is still recovering from a calf injury.

The Italian youngster has made only five starts for United this season and his last game was in the Carling Cup quarter-final victory over Spurs back in December.

Manchester-born Welbeck netted two goals in eight league starts after North End boss Darren Ferguson asked his dad, Sir Alex, for a favour.

Ferguson Jnr said: “The way it’s looking is that he’s going back to Old Trafford and that’ll be it.

“Hopefully, if the scan shows on Monday that there’s no operation needed, then there’s a ­possibility he might come back. But I’m not ­overly optimistic about it.”

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2010, 06:39:01 AM »

Bobby Zamora hails 'unbelievable' Wayne Rooney

• Strikers came face-to-face at Old Trafford on Sunday

• Fulham man resigned to not making England World Cup squad

Stuart James,

Saturday 13 March 2010 00.21

Fulham head to Old Trafford tomorrow for the next stop in their relentless season with Bobby Zamora claiming that England can win the World Cup if Wayne Rooney maintains the "unbelievable" form he has shown in a Manchester United shirt when the finals get under way in South Africa in June.

Zamora is enjoying his most prolific campaign in top-flight football and has been widely praised for the contribution he has made to Fulham's season, yet the 15 goals he has scored represent only half of Rooney's remarkable haul for United.

"He's been brilliant, top-drawer," said Zamora. "I suppose [Cristiano] Ronaldo going has made him a better player. He's stepped up and been unbelievable. I just hope that he can continue that into the World Cup because when he's on fire England have every chance of winning it."

There was a time not so long ago when Zamora's performances for Fulham were prompting suggestions that he might have a chance of joining Rooney in Fabio Capello's squad, but the former West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur striker admitted he is resigned to spending the summer watching, rather than playing alongside, England's talisman.

He has already made holiday plans and while cancelling a trip to Las Vegas to go the World Cup would not be much of a hardship, the prospect is far from his mind. "I'm pleased by the way the season has gone so far and just want to continue that," said Zamora. "It's nice [people talking about a call-up] but it's not something I'm thinking about. I'm doing my stuff for Fulham and what happens, happens. But I will be watching the World Cup on the box wherever I am."

The United match will be the 47th game of Fulham's season – more than any other Premier League club – and there were signs during the 3-1 defeat in Juventus on Thursday night that an unforgiving schedule is beginning to catch up with Roy Hodgson's players. Dickson Etuhu's away goal has, however, given Fulham hope that Juventus can be vanquished in the second-leg at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

"We're disappointed because two of the goals were conceded through set-plays,' said Zamora. "On the other hand we dominated the second half and created a few chances. But we will go back to Craven Cottage where we are good and hopefully can get something. The tie is certainly not dead."

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2010, 06:43:01 AM »

Manchester United v Fulham (1.30pm, Sky Sports 1)

Fulham may have shocked United twice down by the riverside in the past two seasons but their record at Old Trafford is a shocker: 16 defeats in the past 17 visits. At least Danny Murphy, having missed the previous two games through a combination of injury and suspension, should be available for a venue where he regularly used to score a winning goal for Liverpool.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2010, 06:51:57 AM »


Our strength is in defence


FULHAM keeper Mark Schwarzer has warned in-form striker Wayne Rooney that it will be harder to score against the Cottagers than it was to grab his double against AC Milan in midweek.
The Londoners had the fourth-best defensive record in the top flight last season and have kept four clean sheets in their last five Premier League games.

That stunning record has led Schwarzer, who won February's Player of the Month Award, to warn United that Fulham's defence are back to their best.

Aussie Schwarzer, 37, said: "We've defended extremely well recently and we've gone back to the way we were defending all of last season.

"In February, we were outstanding from front to back. We've built on the foundations of having a very, very strong defensive unit that doesn't concede many goals.

"We have been able to work our way up the table and this season have worked our way through various competitions, like the FA Cup and the Europa League. Overall it has been fantastic."

Defender Aaron Hughes is relishing the big games as they come thick and fast.

"It has been a long season but it's been really enjoyable playing at home and in Europe," said Hughes.

"There is some mental tiredness with all the games but you forget about that when you are playing big matches against teams like Manchester United and Juventus.

"You dream about those types of games when you are young so I'm certainly not complaining.

"Every player wants to play in big games and I'm no different.

"The more big matches we have, the better.

"You want to test yourself against the top players, people like Wayne Rooney, and try and do yourself justice.

"We are looking forward to playing United and Juventus once again."

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2010, 06:54:00 AM »


Hodgson hints at changes



ROY HODGSON has hinted he will rest some of his Fulham stars against Manchester United today.

The Cottagers are on a tough run of games as they chase silverware at home and in Europe.

On Thursday, they host Juventus in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash and then face Spurs in an FA Cup quarter-final replay on Wednesday 24.

And boss Hodgson may use the trip to Old Trafford to give game time to the likes of frontman Erik Nevland, while Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey could return from injury.

Wolves were hit with a suspended £25,000 fine for fielding a second- string side at United in September but Hodgson knows a trophy is within his grasp.

He said: "Is the game with Manchester United down my priority list?

"The answer is 'Yes' as there are glittering prizes on the back of the games with Juventus and Tottenham.

"It is quite strange to be saying that, as the games against United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are the highlights of the year for Fulham."

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2010, 06:59:28 AM »
So football needs more English managers? Tell that to the WI

Last updated at 10:44 PM on 13th March 2010

Phil Brown pinched his nose, shook his head and delivered the most enigmatic remark of the season. ‘I’d like to apologise to the Women’s Institute,’ said the manager of Hull City. ‘There was apparently 50-100 women going on a march across the Humber Bridge and the incident was unsavoury and unfortunate.’

And we hugged ourselves in surprise and delight. For this was pure Alan Bennett; these were lines which the greatest living Englishman would have been thrilled to compose.

Two of Brown’s players, Nick Barmby and Jimmy Bullard, had been seen slicing lumps off each other in a brawl while on a ‘warmdown outing’ to a park close to the Humber Bridge. We can only imagine the genteel incredulity of the Hull WI.

Brown, of course, is one of just seven English managers in the Premier League and he is well schooled in the cliches of his trade.

‘It’s a passionate game and emotions run high,’ he babbled. ‘It’s a sign they care.’
A court might find that explanation singularly unconvincing but the fact Brown could offer it is sadly instructive. In the eyes of most English managers, football is a game played by passionate ruffians. The harder you kick, the more you care and the less foreign players understand your caring. It is a nonsense, of course, but that’s the way the thinking goes.

Naturally, there are exceptions. Roy Hodgson, of Fulham, is a civilising influence, while Brian Laws, of Burnley, displays encouraging signs. But then, there are the others. Harry Redknapp, of Tottenham, who was once instrumental in buying an FA Cup for Portsmouth, takes some pride in his failure to understand foreigners.

Of Samassi Abou, who played for him at West Ham, he said: ‘He don’t speak the English too good.’ Of Abou’s so-called ‘mystery ailment’, he said: ‘The lad went home to the Ivory Coast and got a bit of food poisoning. He must have eaten a dodgy missionary or something.’

And of a crop of new signings, he said: ‘I left a couple of my foreigners out last week and they started talking in “foreign”. I knew what they were saying, “Blah, blah, blah, le b***** manager, f****** useless b*****!”’

Football considers Redknapp a ‘character’, which is a much kinder epithet than the real world might bestow. But then, in that real world an otherwise intelligent man like Steve Bruce might be reluctant to blame Sunderland’s recurring misfortune on ‘the media’.
Some of us find it difficult to keep a straight face when discussing Tony Pulis, of Stoke. It isn’t just the ugliness of the long throws — most commentators regularly assure that ‘there’s a lot more to Stoke than long throws’ — it’s the thought of Pulis leaping from his bath in order to butt his star striker. The story may have been exaggerated but the image is disturbing.

Which brings us to Sam Allardyce.

‘Personal criticism is not the road I go down,’ boomed the Blackburn manager last week.

This from the man who conceals his own cloddish deficiencies with bovine criticism of referees, who declares that Trevor Brooking has been given his senior FA coaching appointment because he has ‘a media-friendly face’ and who maintains a tedious campaign against Rafael Benitez, who not only produces superior football teams but speaks rather better English than the Blackburn bumbler.

It is said that Allardyce is still ambitious to become manager of England. Fabio Capello is not trembling in his shoes.

Now, none of this suggests that English managers are incapable of operating at the highest levels.
From Ramsey to Clough to Paisley to Robson, the precedents are illustrious and persuasive. Yet England is not producing its Ferguson or its Wenger. It cannot offer an O’Neill or a Moyes.

Instead, it gives us Cockney caricatures and people who want the ball belted high, long and often.
There are those who contend that there is little wrong with English football which could not be cured by many more English managers.

Personally, I doubt they are right and I doubt that public opinion is with them. For they may offer Messrs Brown, Redknapp, Allardyce et al. But I shall cite the horrified ladies of the Hull Women’s Institute.

I rest my case.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2010, 07:13:20 AM »

Etuhu set to derail Man Utd’s title race


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Today, lovers of FA Barclay Premier League will be treated with classical and explosive encounter, as in-form Manchester United welcomes stubborn Fulham at the Old Trafford in one of today’s fixtures.

There is no doubt that Manchester United is enjoying one of its best form as it has been fantastic both at home and in Europe, where it is campaigning in the UEFA Champions League and has qualified for the quarterfinal stage thanks to its impressive outing against Italian giants, AC Milan, which it handed a 4–0 defeat on Wednesday.

It is believed that Man U will bring its devastating form, which enabled it to beat Milan during the week, to bear in today’s match against Fulham.

On paper, it would be easy to award the match to Manchester United because of its pedigree, coupled to the fact that it is on fire at the moment. The Sir Alex Ferguson-tutored side recently won its first silver of the season - the Carling Cup. Manchester United proved to be the better side in the final as it came from behind to lift the trophy after Gabriel Agbonlahor had put Aston Villa in front.

Man U parades one of the best strikers in the world in Weayne Rooney, who many are describing as the best at the moment, and with his current form, it will only take ill luck to prevent the Red Devils from carrying the day. This is one player, who gives 101 per cent in every match he plays. So, the earlier Fulham curtails him today, the better for them.

Man U is at the top of the Premier League table at the moment, followed by Chelsea, who as well has a match in hand. The Red Devils is not only about Rooney, the team is made up of good and solid players, who are battle ready to defend the trophy they have won for three consecutive seasons, a feat yet to be matched by any other Premier League side.

Again, the club is not about the players alone, though they seem to be the real actors. The club has a sound and respectable manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, who has fought many football battles and knows what it takes to continue to remain atop.

Meanwhile, Nigerian-born Dickson Etuhu is set to scuttle Manchester United’s ambition of winning the Premier League for the fourth consecutive time, as he plays a vital role for Fulham to ensure that Man U does not taste victory today. Etuhu said he’s quite prepared for the match.

Fulham’s manager, Roy Hudson is one coach that has proved himself in his chosen career and will not allow his side to be humiliated by another Premier League side, not even by Manchester United. His team’s strength lies more on teamwork, which is vital to the club.

There is no doubt that Fulham is one team that most Premier League sides dread a lot because of its stubbornness. It is a good side despite occupying the 10th position on the league table at the moment. On a good day it can wreck any team and Man United is not an exception.

It is expected that Fulham is going to make things difficult for Man United at Old Trafford. Even if it is going to lose in today’s encounter, it is certainly going to give a good account of itself. In the other fixture for the day, fifth-placed Manchester City will square up against Sunderland, which is lying 13th on the Premier League table. Although Man City still has two matches in hand, it will be aiming to surge into the ‘big four’ bracket, while Sunderland will also be aiming to climb some steps further.

Football fans will, therefore, have value for their money as they converge at their various viewing centres to cheer their favourable sides.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2010, 07:15:27 AM »



Dave Kidd

Clint Dempsey insists Fulham's battleweary troops can upset Manchester United again today - as he prepares to go head-to-head with Wayne Rooney in a preview of their World Cup shoot-out.

When Dempsey (above) suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in January, the USA team regarded it like Rooney's broken metatarsal before the last World Cup.

But America's most potent goal threat has lifted Fulham boss Roy Hodgson by returning to first-team action in just months and is likely to feature at Old Trafford today.
Hodgson's men return from their 3-1 Europa League defeat by Juventus to face the champions, having beaten United comfortably in their last two meetings.

The Fulham boss has so far refused to tinker with his team despite a congested fixture list.

But Dempsey reckons Fulham will take great confidence from their 3-0 mauling of United at Craven Cottage in December, which followed a 2-0 win over Alex Ferguson's men last season.


Dempsey, 27, said: "Any time you take a scalp of a big team, like United, you remember it and take confidence from it.

"United know we have done well against them and they won't be underestimating us.

"Wayne Rooney is in outstanding form but we have beaten them in the past with him in the team.

"We have the second Juventus game, Manchester United, Manchester City and also Tottenham in the FA Cup replay but we're not complaining. That's why you play in the Premier League - to play against the best in the world."

Dempsey, who came off the bench in Turin during the week, believes Fulham could overcome Italian giants Juve in the second leg at the Cottage on Thursday night.

He said: "We need a 2-0 win and you always have to be optimistic because our home record is exceptional.

"You never would have believed that Fulham would be in Europe and going so well in three competitions, so there is no reason we can't keep pushing on."

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2010, 07:18:54 AM »



Fulham want Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck on loan next season.

With Andy Johnson's long-term fitness a major worry, Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson will try to bring in Welbeck, 19, for the season.

Welbeck's current loan at Preston looks to have been ended by a knee injury.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (14.03.10)
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2010, 07:25:01 AM »

Up next: Manchester United (a)

by Dan on March 13, 2010

After a tough night in Turin, Fulham had for Old Trafford tomorrow, where about from one glorious afternoon early in Chris Coleman’s reign, we haven’t really enjoyed two much success. Not that many sides have that good a record up there, though.

There’s been plenty of discussion about how Hodgson will play this. Some have been advocating that he takes the ‘McCarthy’ route and rests players with future fixtures in mind. There’s something to be side for allowing a couple of the likely starters against Juventus on Thursday, but wholesale changes aren’t going to helpful.

The only alterations I can perceive Hodgson making would be to reintroduce Nicky Shorey at left back, which would make sense as the on-loan defender is Cup tied for our European games and there’s no need to rush Paul Konchesky back during a heavy schedule of games. Chris Smalling can’t play against United under the teams of the deal that will see him head north in the summer and there’s no real value in seperating Hughes and Hangeland at this stage.

Midfield might be an interesting one. Danny Murphy could be fit to return in the middle should he shake off a groin problem and given his great record against United, Fulham will like their captain available for selection. Simon Davies has been taken off early on a couple of ocassions and would normally be a candidate for a break but I suspect Roy Hodgson will want to ease the returning Clint Dempsey gently back towards full fitness following his earlier-than-anticipated return from a serious knee injury. Bjorn Helge Riise hasn’t featured for a while so this could be an opportunity to give him a rare taste of league football, from the bench at least.

Gera and Zamora have linked well together in the system Hodgson adopted to cope with a chronic lack of strikers. Bobby’s thrived as Fulham’s focal point and there’s no reason to change it. He might not have scored for a little while since his purple patch meant the media had to seriously consider him as a potential England player but his all-round play has been as excellent as ever.

United have been patchy this season amid injuries and all the off-field stability. I’ve long doubted the Glazers’ credentials as custodians of the football club let alone businessmen and the increasing efforts of MUST to build a campaign capable of unseating the Americans have to be applauded. How much it translates to the players on the field I’m not so sure. Those United fans who have protested have made it clear that there are still completely behind Ferguson and his team.

United will view this as an opportunity to reignite their title challenge and the way they demolished AC Milan in midweek suggests that they are more than capable of pushing Chelsea all the way. The ease of Wayne Rooney’s flicked header on Wednesday made me ponder the plausibility of an England call-up for Gary Neville, who delivered such a fine ball, with Glen Johnson injured and Wes Brown not really a right back. Stopping a team with all the creativity United have will be immensely difficult – and the first goal is massive (just as it will be come Thursday at the Cottage).

MY FULHAM XI (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Baird, Shorey, Hughes, Hangeland; Etuhu, Murphy, Davies, Duff; Gera; Zamora.