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Saturday Fulham Stuff (20.03.10)

Started by White Noise, March 19, 2010, 08:33:32 PM

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White Noise

Juventus Captain Alessandro Del Piero: I Never Imagined Losing To Fulham

The striker can't comprehend what happened tonight...

By Rick D'Andrea

Mar 18, 2010 10:01:00 PM

Juventus hitman Alessandro Del Piero has admitted that this campaign has been the hardest since former coach Marcello Lippi left the Bianconeri.

The Turin giants have seen Ciro Ferrara fired from his coaching post, replaced by current tactician Alberto Zaccheroni. On top of this, the Bianconeri were bundled out of the Champions League, and now the Europa League, at the hands of Fulham 4-1 this evening.

"It is definitely the toughest season since Lippi left Juventus," the 35-year-old declared to Corriere Dello Sport.

"I would have never thought that we were going to lose this evening.

"But the players must take all the responsibility at the moment, and not the coach," he concluded.

White Noise

Hitman Clint Dempsey the man to make Fulham's day

David Smith


Should Fabio Capello or Franco Baldini choose to take in Fulham's Europa League clash at home against Italian giants Juventus tonight, it is likely the England coach or his right-hand man will be just as interested in the form of Clint Dempsey as that of Bobby Zamora.

While the chances of Zamora making Capello's World Cup squad remain slim despite the rejuvenated striker's tally of 13 goals from 38 appearances this season, Dempsey is guaranteed a start for the United States so long as the Texan remains free of injury.

But there is no fear that the 27-year-old part-
time rapper will wrap himself in cotton wool and shirk his share of the work as he makes his first home appearance since sustaining knee ligament damage against Blackburn in the middle of January.

They breed them tough in Nacogdoches, a small town between Dallas and Houston where Dempsey grew up playing football with the offspring of Mexican immigrants.

Before crossing the Atlantic to join Fulham in January 2007, he played two games in the MLS with a broken jaw and he was straining at the leash ahead of his return to Roy Hodgson's squad for the Europa League round of 16 first leg tie at Juventus last week.

Dempsey came on for Simon Davies in the 59th minute of a game at the Stadio Olimpico that Fulham were to lose 3-1. He then started against Manchester United on Sunday and is set to make another start tonight for the most important game Fulham have played at the historic Craven Cottage.

On either the left wing or up front alongside Zamora, Dempsey's firepower will be vital to Fulham's cause if they are to reach the quarter-finals of what was the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history.

He said: "This is why I play over here, so I can play the best teams in the world. It's exciting when you get to play in these games.

"It's great to be back. They told me 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 three years and seven weeks is the longest I've been out, so I feel fortunate.

"But I'm still working on trying to be 100 per cent fit and get the sharpness back."

Dempsey has become a cult hero at the Cottage, where he has thrived under Hodgson's guidance. "Roy has done well," he said. "He has changed things around for us. The whole coaching staff deserve credit and some of the key players have stepped up."

Dempsey's contribution — whether it be a spectacular long-range thunderbolt like the one he scored in the win at Stoke just before sustaining his injury, or mixing it inside a crowded penalty area — has been significant as Hodgson's resurgent Fulham have all but secured Premier League survival for another season, swept into the last eight of the FA Cup and embarked upon a magnificent European adventure.

But that form — Dempsey has scored six goals in 22 Premier League appearances which compares favourably to Zamora's haul of eight from 24 — could have repercussions for Capello's England come the summer.

World Cup group rivals England and the United States meet in Rustenberg on 12 June and that is set to bring Dempsey face to face with Wayne Rooney.

He is an admirer of the prolific United striker but he said: "You have to focus on all the players. England have a very talented side and have more weapons than just one.

"We will have to play compact against England and limit the chances they create."

Of more immediate concern, Fulham must limit Juve's chances in a game that kicks-off at 6pm to suit the demands of UEFA's television paymasters.
Zamora insists confidence is coursing through the Fulham squad.

He said: "We're a good team, a very good team. We've beaten the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool this season at home and we gave Arsenal a great game at the Cottage, so there's no reason why we can't get another good result tonight."

There are still those in the Craven Cottage stands who can't stand the enigmatic Zamora and waste no opportunity to tell him so. "But I've managed to silence one or two," said the 29-year-old, who can certainly count Hodgson as a fan.

The Fulham boss, who stood by his man even when he netted just four times last season, said: "I was always convinced about Bobby and actually spoke to him and said listen, you will score goals because technically you're good enough to do so'.

"He is an all-round centre-forward. He leads the line, he's a focal point for our attacks, he's quite prepared to go into battle with big centre-backs and make their lives difficult, he can score goals and, probably most importantly of all, he works unbelievably hard for the team.

"I'm actually painting a picture here of a very good centre-forward."

White Noise,16368,1775_6037920,00.html

Baird: Fulham can go further

Fulham defender Chris Baird feels the Cottagers have the quality to progress even further in the Europa League this season.

Fulham beat Juventus 4-1 in Thursday night's last-16 second-leg tie to win 5-4 on aggregate and reach the quarter-finals, where they will take on Wolfsburg.

"To get to the quarter-finals of the Europa League is a massive achievement for the club," Baird told Fulham's website.

"I got a text from one of my mates saying 'You don't get much bigger than that' and to be fair I don't think we've had bigger than that in our careers.

"We're going to enjoy it but we'll be looking forward to the next game now.

"It's important to continue that form in the league on Sunday when we play Manchester City, because that is going to be another very tough game."

The quarter-final first legs will take place on April 1, with Liverpool's tie against Benfica in Lisbon kicking off at 8.05pm UK time and Fulham hosting their German opponents at Craven Cottage.

Second legs will be played a week later, with Liverpool again kicking off at 8.05pm.

If Fulham beat Wolfsburg, they will face either Hamburg - the city which hosts the final in May - or Standard Liege in the semis on April 22 (away) and 29.

Should Liverpool be successful, they will be away in their semi-final first leg.

White Noise

Fulham 4-1 Juventus

Filed under: Match info — weltmeisterclaude @ 10:51 pm

Read that scoreline again.  And again.   Fulham 4, Juventus 1.   Wonderful.  Unbelievable.   Wonderful.

I can not imagine how this can be bettered.  From whatever angle you look at this game it was astonishing.  There we were, 4-1 down on aggregate, a goal down in the first minute, playing against an Italian side that, one would assume, would be able to defend a big lead without too much trouble.   But no.  We did it.

It is easy to go over the top after famous victories, but the performances tonight were out of this world.  Bobby Zamora:  can a centre-forward do any more?   Damian Duff is to Fulham what petrol is to a car.   Zoltan Gera thinks he's Nandor Hidegkuti.   Chris Baird thinks he's Glenn Hoddle.  My brain cannot comprehend all this.

That wily old fox David Trezeguet scored in the first minute and that seemed to be about that.  If the buildup to the game suggested a rousing evening of cat and mouse football, Trezeguet's goal ended all of those ideas.  For one thing it meant that Juve were almost certainly through; for another, and perhaps this was vital, Fulham realised that the only way back would be to take off the handbreak.

A goal was needed, and arrived quickly.   Konchesky – excellent – curled a ball into the area that Zamora controlled expertly and hammered past Juventus' third choice goalkeeper.  It was a brilliant strike, but very un-Italian defending.  He should never have had so much room.

Fulham built momentum, Simon Davies slamming a free-kick against the bar from wide on the left, Dickon Etuhu hitting the post with a header.  So close!

Gera was unleashed again, but his run on goal was halted by Cannavaro's trip.  The red card (yes! we thought) was exciting but seemed harsh.  On the one hand Gera was in, but on the other, so were some defenders.    This changed the game.

Fulham's second goal was as good as we'll see.  Baird took a free-kick in the middle of the park and swung the ball wide into the path of Konchesky.  Konchesky found Zamora, Zamora looped a ball over the defence for Davies, Davies reversed the ball into the six yard box and Gera levered the ball into the roof of the net!   It doesn't get any better than that.   Passing and moving of the sort you might imagine, but rarely see.  Phenomenal.

Now we had a chance.  Another away goal would finish things, but Juve were all over the place now, couldn't get the ball, couldn't keep the ball, and Fulham were in absolute control.

So the next goal would be key.   The second half began, and here was Duff, having a storming game again, fizzing in and out on the right flank.  His cross hits a hand, and the referee awards a penalty!  No Murphy, no Dempsey, who wants this?  Gera?  Fair play to the man.  Up he steps, the 'keeper goes one way, the ball the other, and Gera has bloody well done it!  3-1!   The game is level, stark raving level.  Who'd have guessed?

We now enter what was expected to be a period of consolidation, with Fulham anxious not to concede and Juventus anxious to get to penalties.  Roy has other ideas though, and on comes Dempsey, Davies drops to right back (why not – nobody's attacking down there) and off comes Stephen Kelly (to a standing ovation, it must be said.  Good on him).   The game huffs and puffs along, and then....



Clint Dempsey gets the ball on the edge of the box.  You remember that goal Eric Cantona scored?  The chip?  Dempsey, in this most extraordinary game, this most important game, this game against Juventus, fiddles around for a moment, then dinks the ball high...........high............ and in!  In!  In!  4-1!   Ridiculous!  Absolutely ridiculous!   We felt like crying.   How can this be?   Not only are we beating Juventus in extraordinary circumstances, but we've done it with a goal of intergalactic quality, a shot that calmly, angelically, floated through the cold riverside air, ducked under the bar, and nestled in that Hammersmith End net, a goal fit to win any game.

What else is there?

White Noise

An unforgettable triumph for Fulham, football's little guys

Chris Blackhurst


Grownmen wept on Putney Bridge last night. As the crowd poured out of Craven Cottage and headed home they shook their heads in disbelief, and laughed and hugged each other, and yes, they shed real tears.

Fulham, tiny Fulham, composed of footballers who command few headlines and sums that John Terry and his mates would not get out of bed for, had beaten Juventus 4-1. The club that not so long ago was used to playing Crewe and Scunthorpe, versus the aristocrats of the European game —twice the continent's champions — and the little folk won.

Not only that, they did so with verve, spirit and style. And from a goal behind in the first few minutes. And with a goal that was pure wonder.
For the 23,000 who packed into the creaking old ground with its high, timber steps and clunky, old-fashioned turnstiles, and the wider Fulham faithful, this was their moment.

A mile away, earlier in the week, the snarling, unappealing pompadours of Chelsea had given way to Inter Milan. Immediately, the talk was of a furious billionaire owner and a manager who could be fired, and players who must be brought in and others who will have to go. Such is the expectation of success — that all it takes is to release more cash and scatter it around.

It's the same at Manchester United, where a figure of £1.2 billion for the club is airily tossed around. And Arsenal, with its mighty stadium and a tie-in with a Middle Eastern airline. And Liverpool, who still regard the Premiership as theirs by right.

They're the clubs who hog the sports pages. Their stars are superstars with labels that need no introduction — Frank, Wayne, Cesc and Stevie. Their bosses are household names — Carlo, Sir Alex, Arsene and Rafa.

By the time the coverage reaches Fulham, when Gary Lineker gets around to the also-rans (I swear an eyebrow is always slightly raised and his lip has the hint of a curl), everyone is sated or, in the case of the Match of the Day, ready for bed.

Not yesterday. For once, Fulham were not mentioned in the same breathe as Wigan and Hull. This was a fightback of epic proportions, a group of footballers standing up and giving the giant a bloody nose.

Yes, it was only football. But it was also about an owner, Mohamed Fayed, much-maligned in the rest of his life, showing that by remaining true it is possible to win. It was about a manager, Roy Hodgson, a true gentleman, overlooked in England and forced to ply his trade in Scandinavia and other countries, returning in triumph. It was about a collective passion of never say die.

It was about restoring belief in human nature, that life is not the domain of greed and money and cynicism. And, in one short passage of play, it was about the power of genius.

That was when Clint Dempsey, an American who would be consigned to the reserves if he was lucky at the grander clubs, produced a stroke of unutterable beauty. A brief look-up at the goal and he didn't lash the ball but sent it on a slow parabola into the top corner. It was audacious and brilliant.

At the end where Dempsey scored is a black-and-white poster of the great Johnny Haynes. Fulham, England but always understated, he would have signalled his approval. At the other, the scoreboard changed — Fulham 4 Juventus 1 — and the cameras flashed away, capturing a famous, never-to-be-forgotten victory.

White Noise

Fulham v Manchester City: match preview

Read a full match preview of the Premier League game between on Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on Sunday, March 21 2010, kick-off 15.00 GMT.

By John Ley

Published: 6:00AM GMT 19 Mar 2010

Sunday, March 21

Fulham v Manchester City
Craven Cottage
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT.
TV: Highlights, BBC2 Match of the Day 2.

Fulham have conceded just nine goals at Craven Cottage. Only Manchester United (8) have let in fewer goals at home in the Premier League. John Pantsil and Andrew Johnson are still missing for Fulham while City are still without the suspended Emmanuel Adebayor but Wayne Bridge is missing again while Martin Petrov is doubtful.

These teams have met twice this season. In the League Cup, in September, City won 2-1 in extra time in the Carling Cup and, a month later at Eastlands, they drew 2-2 when City led 2-0.

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, Shorey; Davies, Murphy, Baird, Dempsey; Gera; Zamora.
Manchester City (4-5-1): Given; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Sylvinho; Wright-Phillips, Zabaleta, De Jong, Barry, Bellamy; Tévez.
Referee: Lee Probert. Matches 17. R4. Y59.

This season: City 2 Fulham 2.

Last season: Fulham 1 City 1, City 1 Fulham 3.

Stat of the game: City are unbeaten in their last three visits to Craven Cottage.

Betting tip: Clever Fulham are strong at home so try 2-1 at 9-1.

White Noise

Fulham given German test after Juve heroics

German champions Wolfsburg offer hopes of semi-final spot for Hodgson

By Glenn Moore

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Europa League's antecedents are commercial – the competition was originally the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, open to clubs from cities which hosted trade fairs – so it is a perhaps appropriate that Fulham's next match in their European odyssey could be a works XI fixture: Harrods v Volkswagen.

While the shopping emporium merely shares the same owner as Fulham, VfL Wolfsburg – their quarter-final opponents – are wholly owned by the car giant and were originally its works' team. They are now the German champions and their pairing was an anticlimactic reward for the dramatic dispatch of Juventus. Liverpool were given a tricky tie against Benfica, who knocked them out of the Champions League, winning home and away, when Rafael Benitez's side were holders in 2005.

While Liverpool supporters will enjoy a break in Lisbon, Fulham fans will be less enthralled by a trip to the industrial central German city, which was created to house Volkswagen workers in the Thirties. For Roy Hodgson and his players the tie offers beatable opposition, with Wolfsburg's form less impressive this season following the exits of the coach Felix Magath and playmaker Diego.

The latter was in the Juventus team vanquished at Craven Cottage on Wednesday, a victory which has given the team the belief they can beat anybody. "Can we go all the way? Why not?" said Clint Dempsey, the match-winner. "If you work hard and you believe, there's always a chance. And I believe. We're a team that has a lot of character and that has a lot of heart.

"Everybody thought it was over when we went 1-0 down, but the character and the heart of the guys began to show, we fought back and to get the result we did was incredible."

In reference to the team narrow's escape from the drop less than two years ago he added: "To go from relegation candidates to the quarter-finals of the Europa League is crazy. But you always have to be trying to better yourself and be moving in the right direction, and this club is doing that."

Wolfsburg's strength is in attack with Grafite, recently returned to the Brazilian side, much-coveted Bosnian Edin Dzeko, and Obafemi Martins, previously of Newcastle. Defensively they are less sound, as Michael Owen showed when scoring a hat-trick in Germany for a half-strength Manchester United side this season.

Should Fulham defeat Wolfsburg they will meet Hamburg, whose ground hosts the May final, or Standard Liège of Belgium.

Liverpool have a more daunting path. Should they overcome Benfica they will play Spanish opposition, Valencia, Rafael Benitez's former side, or Atletico Madrid.

Benfica, currently three points clear in Portugal, thrashed an injury-hit Everton 5-0 earlier in the competition, with Argentina's Angel De Maria to the fore. They also include Pablo Aimar, whom Benitez managed at Valencia. "We know they are a good team," said the Liverpool manager. "They are top of the table and playing really well. I know a number of their players well – Aimar, Javier Saviola, Javi Garcia – so it will be tough."

Europa League: Quarter-final draw

Fulham v Wolfsburg, Hamburg v Standard Liège, Valencia v Atletico Madrid, Benfica v Liverpool

Ties to be played 1 and 8 April

White Noise

Neil Warnock: I turned down Zamora – but what do I know about strikers?

What I Learnt This Week

Saturday, 20 March 2010

What a fantastic game and super result for Fulham on Thursday. It just shows what you can do with the right attitude, and, when you look at the way Juventus played, what can happen to you with the wrong attitude. A few rounds ago I don't suppose Fulham were bothered one way or the other about the Europa League and they were fielding weakened teams. Having almost secured Premier League football next season they can now give the competition a full whack and are really going for it.

It looked and sounded like a great atmosphere. Craven Cottage is still one of the great football grounds, though I do wonder what some of the Juventus players thought of it with the cottage and the dressing rooms. I can remember playing there at the beginning of my career, with Chesterfield, and a few parts don't seem to have changed.

Thinking about England, Bobby Zamora is the nearest thing there is to another Emile Heskey, more than Carlton Cole. I could have had him on loan when he went to Brighton about 10 years ago. I'd just taken over at Sheffield United and he was out of favour at Bristol Rovers. I thought he was a bit lazy for me but he did well on loan at Brighton so they signed him and later sold him to Spurs for £1.5m. Now he's all over Fabio Cannavaro and might play for England. But that's typical, I'm absolutely useless at spotting strikers, though I think he works harder now.

White Noise

GAIN, NO PAIN ... Luka Modric

Published: Today

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LUKA MODRIC admits he would sacrifice silverware with Tottenham - if it guaranteed a Champions League spot next season.

Spurs are just two games away from an FA Cup final appearance, with Fulham and Portsmouth standing in their way.

However, they have never qualified for the Champions League - and midfielder Modric is clear what his priority is.

Modric, 24, said: "We have not achieved a fourth-place finish in recent times - so if I had to choose between that and the FA Cup, I'd go for the fourth place."

Modric also believes striker Roman Pavlyuchenko will play a key role in the final games.

He said: "Roman's best form is coming at exactly the right time."

Read more:

White Noise

We're hungry like the Wolf


Published: Today

ZOLTAN GERA has warned Wolfsburg that cosy Craven Cottage is a red-hot European cauldron.
Giantkillers Fulham face the German champs in the Europa League quarter-finals following Thursday's amazing 4-1 victory over Juventus.

And two-goal Gera, 30, rapped: "Juventus were a little bit unsettled and put off by our ground.

"Craven Cottage is not a big stadium but the fans are close to the pitch, much closer than you see in Italy.

"I think it was the best game ever played at Craven Cottage - for the players, the fans, for everyone involved with the club.

"I missed all the celebrations in the dressing room afterwards because I had to go to doping control - but everything worked first time!"

Wolfsburg were dumped out of Manchester United's group in this season's Champions League and knocked Portsmouth out of last season's UEFA Cup.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson said: "They had a fantastic season last year but lost their coach this season and things haven't gone so well.

"They have done well to get where they are, as have we.

"It was a wonderful result and a wonderful performance against Juventus.

"I didn't sleep very well afterwards. I got to sleep quite quickly but then woke up and couldn't sleep again.

"All managers go through it and it's a small price to pay. The longer the game went on, the more those four goals seemed achievable.

"But our fans know it's a topsy-turvy world and just because we have had great nights against Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus it doesn't guarantee us anything."

But match-winner Clint Dempsey believes Hodgson's troops have what it takes to go all the way in the Europa League.

His glorious chip eight minutes from time sealed Fulham's passage into the last eight.The USA international midfielder, 27, said: "Can we go all the way? Why not? If you work hard and believe, there's always a chance - and I believe.

"To go from relegation candidates to the quarter-finals of the Europa League is crazy.

"But you always have to be trying to better yourself and be moving in the right direction and we're doing that.

"We're getting stronger and, hopefully, we can push further in this competition and in the FA Cup."

Dempsey has fully recovered from a knee injury which threatened to end his season in January.

He added: "Scoring against Juve told me I'm back after my injury.

"I've got to keep working hard and get my fitness and sharpness back to what I had."

Read more:

White Noise

Dempsey eyeing Europa League glory after shock Juve win

Published 15:16 19/03/10

By MirrorFootball

Fulham's match-winning hero Clint Dempsey believes Fulham have what it takes to go all the way in the Europa League after last night's shock hammering of Juventus.

The Cottagers, who were 3-1 down from the first leg, produced a stunning comeback at Craven Cottage to beat the Serie A giants 4-1 on the night and seal a 5-4 aggregate win.

The reward for Roy Hodgson's men is a mouth-watering quarter final against German side Wolfsburg, who beat Rubin Kazan to qualify for the last eight.

Last night's victory heralded the latest chapter in an incredible season for Fulham and the win was all the more remarkable given that they went behind to a David Trezeguet goal inside two minutes.

Dempsey's clever chip sealed Fulham's passage to the quarter finals and he firmly believes getting to the final in Hamburg is a distinct possibility.

"Can we go all the way? Why not? If you work hard and you believe, there's always a chance. And I believe," the America forward said.

"We're a team that has a lot of character and that has a lot of heart.

"Everybody thought it was over when we went 1-0 down but the character and the heart of the guys began to show, we fought back and to get the result we did was incredible."

Progressing to the last eight of the competition is by far Fulham's biggest achievement in Europe, with their previous best a third round UEFA Cup appearance eight years ago.

The victory also demonstrates how far Fulham have come under the stewardship of Roy Hodgson, who took charge at the club in December 2007 when they were on the verge of relegation.

After saving the club from the drop Hodgson guided his side to a seventh place finish in his first full season at Craven Cottage.

Dempsey believes last night's victory could inspire Fulham to success in the Barclays Premier League and in the FA Cup - where they face Tottenham Hotspur in a quarter final replay on Wednesday.

"To go from relegation candidates to the quarter finals of the Europa League is crazy," said the 26-year-old, who signed from New England Revolution in January 2007.

"But you always have to be trying to better yourself and be moving in the right direction, and this club is doing that.

"We're getting stronger and stronger, and hopefully we can push further in this competition and in the FA Cup, and see if we can try to finish where we did or higher in League than last season."

Hodgson insists his side must not get carried away with the victory and underlined that point by instructing his players to come in for training today ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League game with Manchester City.

Dempsey is pushing for a start alongside Bobby Zamora up front after fully recovering from a knee injury which threatened to end his season in January.

Dempsey scored the equaliser against City in the reverse fixture earlier this season and he has warned it will take him time to get back to his best.

"To me, scoring that goal says to me that I'm back after my injury," said Dempsey.

"I've just to keep working hard and get my fitness back and get that sharpness and get the form that I had before I got injured."

Fulham will welcome back captain Danny Murphy and Jonathan Greening for Sunday's game after the midfield duo missed last night's game through suspension

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Arsenal to move for Brede Hangeland in the summer?

Published 09:20 19/03/10

By MirrorFootball

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Reports this morning suggest Arsene Wenger will look to bring in a major defensive signing this summer.

The Arsenal boss could face something of a crisis at the back, with William Gallas, Mikaël Silvestre and Sol Campbell all out of contract at the end of the season.

Talks with Gallas are on-going but it is thought the Frenchman wants a two-year contract, which would mean a change in policy for Arsenal who normally only offer one-year deals to players over 30.

After missing out on Chris Smalling to Manchester United in January, Wenger may well turn to another Fulham star Brede Hangeland.

The Gunners chief is a known admirer of the centre back and after the club posted a healthy profit in their most recent financial results, it's clear they could afford it.

Arsenal fans: Who would you like to see Wenger bring in? Is Hangeland the answer?

Fulham fans: How much would it take to prize Hangeland away?

White Noise

Roy Hodgson wins my vote to be England's next boss after his Fulham heroics

By Mark Lawrenson

Published 05:05 20/03/10

Roy Hodgson has earned himself legendary status at Fulham – and put himself in the frame for the England job.

Hodgson has made Fulham every football fan's second team (maybe apart from the odd Chelsea supporter) and that was borne out by the overwhelming feelgood factor across the nation following their Europa League win over Italian giants Juventus.

It is a result that will be remembered for a long time, going down as probably Fulham's best-ever night and one of the best games in European football history.

That is typical of Hodgson and what he has achieved at Craven Cottage against all of the odds – upsetting the big guns and pulling off the ­impossible job even from the day two years ago when he kept Fulham up on the final day of the season.

Now when you fast forward to Fulham getting into Europe, claiming some major scalps at the Cottage and working miracles on a shoestring you get a sense of Hodgson's achievements.

The England job should be done on a two-year basis.

You're never going to build an academy or long-term future. It's from tournament to tournament.

And when time runs out on Fabio Capello – the Italian says he will stay on for the Euros in two years' time – then, if he is still managing at the top level, Hodgson should be ­considered.

Everyone laments the dearth of British managers and yet when you consider the jobs that Hodgson, David Moyes and, even Tony Pulis at a different level, have done then there is every reason to feel encouraged and ­optimistic.

Hodgson also has ­pedigree at the top level, working at Inter Milan and with ­Switzerland.

Blackburn didn't work out, but he has clearly found a great formula at Fulham. Hodgson has developed a reputation for working on a budget and, if anything, he seems to have restored and revived owner Mohamed Al Fayed's enthusiasm for the club.

He puts on good training sessions by all accounts, keeping them fresh and ­interesting while bringing experience from all over Europe with him.

Hodgson is also a gentleman and that filters down throughout the club which is run well – they look after you and it's a good place to go.

But another major aspect is that Hodgson has taken players who have been at the crossroads in their careers or even seemingly on the way down and improved them.

Damien Duff and Bobby Zamora have both worked under Hodgson and he's markedly made them better players.

He signed keeper Mark Schwarzer on a free transfer and what a signing he's been.

Hodgson has a great eye for a player and is a good man-manager to boot. Just look at Zamora. He had the opportunity to go to Hull last summer and some of the Fulham fans had been getting on his back.

But the Fulham manager put an arm round his shoulder, made him feel wanted, convinced him to stay – and then look at how Zamora took apart Juventus. Utterly destroyed one of the best and most famous teams in Europe.

Zamora deserves to be knocking on the door for England. Is he international class? I have my doubts, but others have continued to get their chance.

Zamora now scores goals, flicks on, holds the ball up and is a real handful, as Juventus discovered to their cost. Hodgson has also taken players like Aaron Hughes, who I worked with at Newcastle, and played and used them to their strengths. A no-nonsense, solid defender.

It's the simple things for Fulham. Hodgson gets his players to do the simple things.

The best bit of advice I ever had as a footballer when I was a kid was to play simple passes in the first 10 minutes, don't do ­Hollywood passes.

Then you gain confidence, get stronger and go from strength to strength, rather than attempt the spectacular and see it all go wrong.

That is what Hodgson is all about and football should revel in his success at Fulham.

When the next vacancy comes up at England level, it's hard to see past Roy just now.

White Noise

Why Hodgson is a better manager than Mourinho, who is not the genius his Fleet Street fan club have made him out to be

By Brian McNally

Published 13:20 19/03/10

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The managerial feat of the week belonged not to the headline-hogging coach of Internazionale but to one of his barely-remembered predecessors at the San Siro.

The unassuming, under-rated Roy Hodgson's achievement in guiding Fulham to a fabulous comeback against Juventus and a place in the Europa Cup quarter final was far more impressive than Jose Mourinho's much-hyped success over former club Chelsea.

Juve may be way off the pace set by the two Milan clubs at the top of Serie A, but with four World Cup winners in their glitttering line-up and the luxury of a 4-1 aggregate lead in the opening minutes at Craven Cottage they gave Hodgson's side an Everest to climb.

But the unflappable Hodgson refused to be fazed by the Italian side's reputation and masterminded what is without doubt one of the finest comebacks by an English side in European competition.

Fulham should retire unbeaten, jokes 'Rocky' Roy Hodgson   

It is only now at the age of 62 that Hodgson's technical ability as a coach is being fully recognised in his homeland after spending most of his time working abroad.

But his transformation of Fulham from relegation candidates in 2008 to a club that can hold it s own in both the Premier League and Europe is testament to an astute football brain and exceptional organisational abilities.

The success he has achieved in the modest club surroundings of SW6 is reminiscent of his excellent work with the Swiss national side in the mid 1990s.

Hodgson may not have the charisma, the sound-bytes or the big-club stage of Mourinho, but in my book he is no less talented a manager or tactician - even if his CV does not boast the impressive list of trophies won by his Portuguese counterpart.

Mourinho is good, very good in fact. But, crucially, maybe not quite as good as he thinks he is.

It is a fact that his most impressive achievements were in his homeland where he got Porto to punch way above their weight to win both the UEFA Cup and the Champions League.

Since then his record in Europe has been distinctly average, despite the vast resources he has had at his disposal.

Mourinho may be the most successful manager in Chelsea's history and continued Robert Mancini's domestic success with Inter, but since 2004 his Champions League record is nothing to write home about.

The fawning adulation that has been heaped on the self-styled Special One by large sections of the English media in recent weeks has been embarrassing in the extreme.

Out-witting Carlo Ancelotti over two legs hardly qualifies him for the "tactical genius" plaudits showered on him by his Fleet Street fan club, after all, Manchester City's Roberto Mancini also managed to completely unravel the Chelsea manager's predictable, one-dimensional strategy at Stamford Bridge recently.

And the media-led campaign to lure Mourinho back to England conveniently ignores the unsavoury and negative aspects of his management style. The amateur theatrics, repeated diving and blatant time-wasting have not changed a jot since his days at Porto and Chelsea.

The self-righteous indignation of the Stamford Bridge fans as Mourinho's side did a passable impression of Chelsea circa 2004-07 was rich with irony just as the 1-0 scoreline reminded us that goals are usually at a premium in a Mourinho victory.

Mourinho and Inter throughly deserved their win even if they were aided and abetted by poor refereeing, but I am not convinced that they are good enough to trouble Barcelona or Manchester United.

Maybe I am old fashioned but I enjoyed the excitement of Fulham's rousing victory far more than the stop-start, ploddingly slow chess game that was Chelsea-Inter.

As an entertainment spectacle Roy Hodgson's Fulham certainly stole the show from the Special One this week.

White Noise

Fulham v Manchester City

Barclays Premier League

Sunday 21st March

Kick-Off 15:00

On-sale dates
Season Ticket Holders   Now on sale (Max 6 tickets)
Fulham Club Members   Now on sale (Max 6 tickets)
General Sale  Now on Sale (Max 6 tickets)
Buy tickets online|

How to Buy Tickets
buy tickets online  - 7 days a week, 24 hrs a day. Save on booking fees by booking online*
by phone on 0870 442 1234 (option 1) - 7 days a week, 24 hrs a day
in person from the Ticket Office: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; non-match day Sat 10am-12pm
by fax 0207 384 4810 (download printable form )
by postal application to FFC Ticket Office, Stevenage Road, Fulham, SW6 6HH enclosing a stamped addressed envelope (download printable form )
Seatwave - the official fan-to-fan ticket exchange
Thomas Cook - match breaks for all Fulham FC home games
* Lower booking fees compared to telephone booking

Category A+ prices apply to this match.

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Inside Fulham

Download the latest edition of 'Inside Fulham' to hear exclusive interviews with Roy Hodgson, Bobby Zamora, Zoltan Gera and Clint Dempsey following Thursday night's historic 4-1 win over Juventus.

White Noise

Wolfsburg Ticket Info

Friday 19th March 2010

Fulham FC News

Fulham v. Wolfsburg Home Leg Ticket Information

Following Thursday evening's famous victory over Juventus at Craven Cottage, Roy Hodgson's European heroes will now take on Wolfsburg in the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final. The first leg will take place at home on Thursday 1st April (Kick-Off 8:05pm).

Tickets for the match will be available to Season Ticket Holders (6 tickets) from 3pm on Friday 19th March, with their seats being held until 9am on Tuesday 23rd March.

Ticket prices will be as follows:

Riverside/Haynes (excludes A/AL): £40 Adults, £25 Concessions, £20 Juniors
Hammersmith/Putney and Haynes A & AL*: £30 Adults, £20 Concessions, £15 Juniors
*Family Area of A & AL to be sold from FFC Ticket Office only.

Please note the UEFA ticketing requirements for the Quarter-Finals have increased significantly compared to previous rounds, we therefore regret that sections of Block E and Block F as well as a large proportion of Z Block will be affected.

Members (6 tickets) will be able to purchase their tickets from midday on Tuesday 23rd March, with any remaining tickets going on General Sale at 9am on Thursday 25th March.

Wolfsburg home tickets are available to purchase online and over the telephone but will not be available to purchase in person until Sunday 21st March, tickets will be available from 9:30 until 2pm on the day of the Manchester City match and immediately after the final whistle.

Wolfsburg v. Fulham UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final Away Leg Ticket and Travel Information
The Club is pleased to announce it is planning official travel packages for the away leg of the Europa League Quarter-Final against Wolfsburg taking place on Thursday 8th April (Kick-Off TBC).

Match tickets for this Away Leg of the UEFA Europa League will go on sale shortly to Season Ticket Holders with Club Members being able to purchase after Season Ticket Holders have been given a window of priority (subject to availability).

Only Season Ticket Holders and Members will be able to purchase any official travel packages on offer and the Club expect demand to exceed supply when it comes to match tickets. Please note all official travel packages will include a match ticket.

Match Ticket Information
As soon as prices are confirmed, the Club will be selling match tickets for the away leg against Wolfsburg, allocating one ticket per named Season Ticket Holder. Please note Season Ticket Holders will not be able to buy for Club Members or non-members as the club expect demand to exceed supply.

Register your interest in Official Travel
You can register your interest and be the first to hear about official travel packages by visiting| the TMG Travel website|. You will receive an email with details as soon as packages are confirmed.

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Matchday Programme

Champions League-chasing Manchester City head to Craven Cottage on Sunday with Roberto Mancini's side sixth in the table and looking to make their mark in the top four.

But Roy Hodgson's charges will be aiming to bounce back from last Sunday's defeat to Manchester United, and carry on where they left off following Thursday night's incredible defeat of Juventus, with another first-class performance.

Fans heading to the Cottage for this exciting clash will also have the chance to get their hands on our fantastic matchday programme, which once again, contains 84 pages packed full of information, in-depth discussion, exclusive interviews and detailed coverage on your favourite club, be you a Fulham regular or visiting Blue.

The essential matchday read, sleek in design and full of innovative features, includes:

An exclusive insight from Manager Roy Hodgson.
Danny Murphy's views as Club captain.
On loan left-back Nicky Shorey talks defensive competition and thoughts on his future.
A peek inside the opposition's camp with Manchester City's experienced enforcer Patrick Vieira.
Expert Analysis from former Manchester City and England left-back Andy Hinchcliffe.
A look back in pictures at some of the past meetings between the two clubs.
Match action from our league game with Manchester United and our unforgettable UEFA Europa League encounter with Juventus.
Through the ranks with talented Development Squad hopeful Christopher Buchtmann.
Match action also, from the DS' excellent defeat of Birmingham City in the Premier Reserve League South.
Academy U18 Manager Gary Brazil discuses his side's run in the FA Youth Cup and his thoughts on the remainder of the season.
Unprecedented fan interaction and tonnes of fun for younger fans too.
Plus, so much more besides!

The brilliant matchday publication will be on sale in and around the ground from two-hours before kick-off and at half time.

If you miss your copy outside then look out for sellers on the Putney and Hammersmith Terrace, or at half-time from the programme room situated inside the Johnny Haynes Stand by Block E (opposite Turnstile 24).

Buy Matchday Programmes online|

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'Absolutely Unbelievable!'

Friday 19th March 2010

Fulham FC News Powered by 

"Absolutely unbelievable!" was how Chris Baird described Fulham's 4-1 victory over Juventus as the Northern Ireland international reflected on one the biggest matches of his career on Thursday evening.

"Obviously it was disappointing going a goal behind but we picked ourselves up and got a goal back," Baird explained. "Obviously the sending off had a bearing on the game but having said that we were on top.

"To get this far, even before this result, has been a great journey for us and we didn't want it to end. This was a bonus for us after having a great season last year and to get to the Quarter Finals of the Europa League is a massive achievement for the Club.

"I got a text from one of my mates saying 'you don't get much bigger than that' and to be fair I don't think we've had bigger than that in our careers. We're going to enjoy it but we'll be looking forward to the next game now.

"It's important to continue that form in the League on Sunday when we play Manchester City because that is going to be another very tough game."

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