Author Topic: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)  (Read 7875 times)

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Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« on: January 28, 2010, 05:50:50 AM »
Manchester United see off Arsenal in the race to sign Fulham defender Chris Smalling

By Chris Wheeler and Matt Barlow

Last updated at 2:10 AM on 28th January 2010

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Manchester United have won the race to sign 20-year-old Fulham defender Chris Smalling, but the champions were forced to raise their offer to £10million after late interest from Arsenal.

United thought they had agreed an £8m deal for a player who cost Fulham £10,000 from non-league Maidstone 18 months ago and has only started two games in the Barclays Premier League.

But Arsenal’s attempt to hijack the deal meant United, in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, had to pay an extra £2m for the England Under 21 man.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson intervened on Monday with a personal phone call to Smalling, who travelled to Manchester for his medical on Wednesday, hours after playing in Fulham’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.

United’s decision to announce the signing before the game at Spurs also added pressure on the player. It was a subtle reminder from Ferguson that he thought they already had an agreement.

The deal gives Fulham a massive profit on Smalling, whose weekly wages will rocket from £5,000 to £25,000. An added bonus for the London club is that he will be allowed to stay at Craven Cottage until the end of the season.

Fulham club captain Danny Murphy, a former Liverpool midfielder, compared Smalling’s style to Sami Hyypia and likened his attitude to Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen.

High praise: Smallings' Fulham colleagues have lavished praise upon the youngster
Murphy said: ‘The first thing you notice is his great pace and desire. He trains like he plays and wants to win every game.

‘You see these players now and again as young lads. I was fortunate enough to see the likes of Owen and Gerrard. Chris is not quite at their level yet but you know when there’s a good player coming along.

‘He’s got wonderful pace which is always a great asset. He’s calm on the ball and good in the air. What more do you need for a good centre half?

‘For me, he’s like a quick Sami Hyypia. Maybe not quite as composed as Sami but that will come in time. Considering what’s been going on in the lad’s life, he’s been cool and calm.

‘He’s educated. It’s been a big few days for him and he’s handled it brilliantly. I don’t want to build the lad up too much, but he has the potential to be a wonderful player.’

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 05:56:35 AM »

United complete £12m Smalling deal

Published 17:42 27/01/10

By John Cross

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson last night struck an amazing £12million deal for Fulham defender Chris Smalling.

Ferguson agreed to pay that fee after another frantic day of drama surrounding the 20-year-old, as United upped their original offer to fend off Arsenal.

United had an £8m bid accepted at the weekend for Smalling, who was playing for non-league Maidstone just two years ago.

That included a clause which stated any other club would have to bid £10m to be given permission to talk to him, and yet Arsenal met that demand on Tuesday night.

However, United then went back, matched Arsenal’s offer and finally settled on a £12m deal which will include clauses for appearances and success.

It represents an incredible fairytale rise for Smalling who only made his Premier League debut last month having joined Fulham two years ago from Maidstone for just £10,000.

Smalling was on just £5,000-a-week at Fulham, where he will stay for the rest of the season, before going to United in the summer where he will quadruple his salary.

But Maidstone will not get a penny from the incredible bidding war between Arsenal and United as he was a non-contract player when he left and Fulham paid the transfer fee out of goodwill.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 05:59:02 AM »
Fulham captain Danny Murphy and manager Roy Hodgson heap praise on 'diamond' defender Chris Smalling

By Matt Fortune

Last updated at 6:12 PM on 27th January 2010

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Fulham captain Danny Murphy has tipped Manchester United-bound defender Chris Smalling to emulate the achievements of Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard, both of whom Murphy watched develop while on Merseyside.

The former Liverpool man doesn't believe Smalling is at the level of England legends Owen and Gerrard just yet but, given time and his new surroundings, Murphy is adamant stardom awaits.

He said: 'I was fortunate enough to see players like Owen and  Gerrard when they were young lads. Being a defender, Chris is different, and he is not quite on their level yet, but he is potentially a wonderful player.

'He has great pace is calm on the ball and good in the air. What more do you need from a good centre-half? He’ll be a great asset to his new club, and he won’t look out of place.
'It has been a big few days for him, but he’s handled it brilliantly.'

Tuesday night's defeat at White Hart Lane, where Smalling was perhaps culpable for losing track of scorer Peter Crouch for the opening goal, was only the 20-year-old's ninth first-team appearance since moving to west London from non-League Maidstone United.

The youngster was expected to undergo a medical in Manchester on Wednesday after United boss Sir Alex Ferguson moved quickly to secure the his signature in the face of stiff competition.

United reportedly pipped Arsenal to the capture of Smalling with Fulham said to favour the decision of the Champions to lend the player back to Craven Cottage.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was equally full of praise for the player he plucked from non-League obscurity just two years ago.
'We've known we had a diamond in our midst but unfortunately when you are Fulham and you produce a diamond you are aware that diamond can be taken away from you by clubs with more power,' he said.

'Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't make mistakes when he identifies a young player. He pays a lot of money for that player because in years to come he realises it will look very cheap. You'd expect the player to be of that quality.

'We thought he had great potential. He should take a lot of credit himself for the work he's put in while he's been with us.

'He has improved his game in that time, he's a good learner and learnt from the players around him - he's certainly a better player than when we took him from the non-league.

'We recognised his ability. I don't know who it was who scouted him to the club, he was introduced to me as a player we should take on board and I was happy to do so.

'It didn't take long for me to realise in training that he had something special. We've had him in the first-team squad ever since.'

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 06:05:37 AM »

Elm on his Premier League debut

by Dan on January 28, 2010

David Elm says making his Premier League debut at White Hart Lane was a dream come true. He looked useful, too. Here’s some Google-inspired translation from his blog:

In just one seconds left one of my childhood dreams came true. I got to play in the Premier League. And I had to quickly swallow the feeling that swept over me, I could not stand there and soak up the atmosphere, I was there to play. Enjoy, I do afterwards. But I know I would have been difficult to digest if my first impressions of the league would be bad, it is difficult to repair a first impression. But I’m pretty happy. Sure first touch was good, no big shots, while it is difficult to know how much it bang, how fast it really goes, and how well I would manage to keep up, but I think I did okay.Once I realized that it was not so bad, took well over five minutes, I could relax and just play. And believe it or not, but I actually enjoyed it tremendously by the time I was there. The feeling is very hard to describe. I just want more of it, experience it again, all the time.

As many times as I sat at home in Broakulla, or Kalmar, and watched the Premier League on TV – especially Boxing-day matches. I sat there and wondered what it would be, how much is different. And I had given up hope, I will never play there, I know, but the dream never quite went out. There has always been a little spark, a little light just waiting to grow. Yesterday it came on a great fire within me, there were only candles, a fire which would not only be right there. I enjoyed the pleasure. A dream that felt hopeless turned out to be anything but just that.

Sometimes I doubted about myself, worrying about how others view me as a footballer. I have heard different opinions, met with different reactions, but I’ve never had Sweden’s football experts behind experts behind me as Ras, for example. I think I quite often had to fight uphill, an effort had me extremely hard to prove, not just as someone who “lives” on the name. Sometimes I have thought about giving up. To stop completely. But I have a family who have supported in all weather and I am extremely grateful for that. For I had given up, I had never been to be part of this.

First thought yesterday when I came into the match was a bit special. I remember it very strongly. I was hoping that M, Dad and Mom watched the match, sharing the moment with me. Ridiculous? Sure. But very true.

It was not just sentimental. There was of course a charge too, a desire to show that you can do it, thinking those s**** now, they will see. All exaggerated respect which I might have received before long gone and I felt comfortable. Do not know if you could tell but then it felt good.

We of course lost the match 2-0. Not good at all. Four away defeats in a row now. Very important match at home against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Some very revealing thoughts. Elm’s clearly someone who has doubted himself, especially being thought of as the ‘lesser Elm brother,’ but there’s a real determination to prove himself. Encouraging that he – and the rest of the players – grasp the gravity of our results situation too.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 06:07:54 AM »


ABOVE: Fulham had to pay another £2m for Chris Smalling

28th January 2010

By Bill Thornton

MANCHESTER UNITED were yesterday forced to stump up another £2m to clinch the signing of Chris Smalling.

United had agreed an £8m price with Fulham for the England Under-21 centre-half .

But Arsenal tried to gazump United overnight with a £10m offer and that forced United to match the Gunners’ bid.

Smalling, 20, passed a medical in Manchester yesterday but will remain at Craven Cottage for the rest of the season, joining United in the summer.

His rags-to-riches story began at 16, when he was signed by non-League Maidstone.

They got a meagre £10,000 fee – with no sell-on clause – when Fulham took Smalling in the summer of 2008.

Meanwhile, United’s Serbian winger Zoran Tosic has joined Cologne on loan until the end of the season.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 06:09:13 AM »

Sunday FA Cup date for Fulham

by Dan on January 28, 2010

Fulham’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Notts County or Wigan Athletic at Craven Cottage will be played on Sunday 14 February, kicking off at 3pm

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 06:16:10 AM »

Danny Murphy backs Chris Smalling to sparkle at Manchester United

 20-year-old defender likened to a 'quick Sami Hyypia'

Stuart James, Thursday 28 January 2010 00.10 GMT

If Chris Smalling ever decides to follow up his interest in studying business management, his future employers at Old Trafford should provide ideal material for a dissertation. The 20-year-old Fulham defender, who todayunderwent a medical ahead of his move to Manchester United in the summer, was planning to enrol on a degree course at Loughborough University before the letter he sent to Fulham requesting a trial took his career down a different path.

Smalling was playing for Maidstone United in the Isthmian League at the time, having failed to earn a full-time contract at Millwall, but his decision to have one last crack at breaking into the professional game was rewarded when Roy Hodgson liked what he saw. Eighteen months and 10 appearances for Fulham later and Smalling is on the verge of completing his journey from prospective student to central defender for English football's most famous club.

Remarkably, he has started only two Premier League games, against Chelsea last month, when he was unfortunate to score an own goal, and at White Hart Lane on Tuesday, where he enhanced his burgeoning reputation with an impressive performance despite Fulham suffering a 2-0 defeat. That display followed the distraction of reports that United had stolen a march on Arsenal and agreed to sign a player Hodgson has described as a "diamond".

Danny Murphy certainly expects Smalling to sparkle at Old Trafford. "I was fortunate enough to see players like Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard when they were young lads," the Fulham and former Liverpool midfielder said. "Being a defender, Chris is different and he is not quite on their level yet but he is potentially a wonderful player. He has great pace is calm on the ball and good in the air. What more do you need from a good centre-half? He'll be a great asset to his new club and he won't look out of place.

"He showed against Tottenham and he showed at Chelsea a few weeks ago that he's very capable already for a 20-year-old. I think the more you see of him as a player, and you deal with him as a person, you'll see he's very cool, calm and collected. He's obviously got a lot going on at the moment and it has been a big few days for him but he's handled it brilliantly. Considering what is going on in his life, his performance against Tottenham was very good."

Smalling would appear to be a future England international in the making. He has already impressed Stuart Pearce, whose own career started at non-league level, and made his first start for the Under-21 side against Portugal in November. "I like what I see," said Pearce after Smalling's full debut. "He doesn't mind mixing it. He just needs to learn the game now and the only way you do that is by playing matches. It's the only thing he's short of."

He may have to be patient at Old Trafford but spending time on the sidelines at Manchester United and observing Rio Ferdinand at close quarters should not be too much of a hardship for a player who was writing to clubs for trials at the start of last season. Fulham, to their credit, responded and after Barry Dunne, the club's youth scout, watched Smalling six times it took just 15 minutes of a reserve match to convince Hodgson to give him a professional contract.

The four B grade A-levels he picked up at Chatham Grammar School for Boys are now unlikely to be needed, with the 1.92m (6ft 3in) defender financially secure for life and tipped to become a star of the future. "You know when there's a good player coming along," added Murphy, who likened Smalling to a "quick Sami Hyypia", the former Liverpool defender. "I think the only thing that's been a little bit of a shock is how quickly he's progressed."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 06:17:53 AM »

Home game on Saturday – what to do at full-back?

Can we afford two defensive full-backs again on Saturday?

Who would you pick?

Would it be foolhardy to have Duff and Davies at LB and RB?  (yes, but…)

I don’t usually go in for team selection discussions, but it is getting interesting isn’t it?

My XI:

Schwarzer; Kelly-Hughes-Hangeland-Kallio; Davies-Murphy-Baird-Duff; Gera-Zamora

Assuming Kelly hasn’t been banished.  Which he might have been.   Otherwise, what can you do?  We have so few options.     We can’t just play a 3-5-2 with Villa’s attacking width to contend with – that’d be carnage.   It may just be one of those times where we have to endure a few tricky matches and hope things pick up in due course.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 06:19:41 AM »

Okaka loan still in the offing?

by Dan on January 27, 2010

Encouraging news from Italy. Il Corriere Dello Sport suggests that Stefano Okaka is ‘likely’ to join Fulham on loan by the end of the week after success talks today between Roma and the Premier League club. Okaka’s agent has apparently flown to London to negotiate the deal. Let’s hope the fax machine doesn’t break down again.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 06:21:51 AM »
Home Advantage

Wednesday 27th January 2010

A goal in each half from Peter Crouch and David Bentley ensured Tottenham took all three points at White Hart Lane on Tuesday evening.   

The home side got off to a good start but just as the Whites were able to get a grasp on the game, Spurs took the lead through Crouch. Bentley's deflected strike after the break then put the game beyond Fulham's reach.

Looking back on the encounter, Aaron Hughes gave his assessment:

"It's always a tough game at White Hart Lane," he said. "They started well and had a few early shots on goal but we then settled down. The first goal was a bad one to give away but even then we were still in the game, they were never running away with it. The deflection for their second goal killed the game; they just sat back after that.

"We knocked the ball around well at times but we didn't really get at them in the way we would have liked. The important thing is not to lose faith in what we're doing and to stay as positive as we can."

The playing options available to Roy Hodgson have been somewhat reduced due to the recent spate of injuries - and whilst that may have momentarily thrown the Team off its rhythm, Hughes is confident the players will soon settle down in time for a crowded February fixture period.

"The injuries have disrupted the Team a little bit," he told "You can lose a player here or there but at the minute we've got AJ, Konch, Johnny P and Clint out - and Bobby's still coming back. There are four key positions out so when there are so many changes at the same time, it can disrupt you a little bit but hopefully that won't affect us for too long.

"There are a lot of home games in February but we don't want to be relying on our home form; we want to try and pick up points away from home as well. 

"We've got some difficult games coming up and we hope to get a few more points over the next few weeks - there's no reason why we can't, but we can't just assume we can turn up to our home games and take the points."

This weekend sees one of Hughes' former sides, Aston Villa, visit the Cottage and whilst the Fulham defender is looking forward to seeing a few old faces - any pleasantries will be cast aside come 3pm on Saturday.

"I still know a few people there who I played with for a year or two, it will be good to come up against a few of them but at the moment our heads are fixed on trying to get a few points and kicking on in the league.

"Villa are doing really well at the moment, they're an attacking side who get forward and have a lot of players who can do a bit on the ball and change the game. James Milner's doing well at the moment, they've got players who can make it a tough game but hopefully we can produce a performance that gives us the points."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2010, 06:25:04 AM »

It’s Tough Playing in Africa


Super Eagles and Fulham's defensive midfielder, Dickson Etuhu, has sensationally revealed why he is yet to adapt fully to African football. Speaking exclusively with the Daily Sunsport in Angola, Etuhu said it had not been easy for him since he has been playing for Super Eagles, saying that he's still trying to cope with the weather climate in Africa.

"For me personally, it’s a bit difficult playing African football. I sometimes find it difficult adapting to the climate and the heat, which is not the same as in England. And also, the style of play is totally different. I am still learning everyday when I play for Nigeria and I want to keep improving," he said.

On his reported toothache infection, he said: "Yeah, before the last game, I was sick and I couldn’t train much because I had toothache and I was on antibiotics. It could have been extracted in Angola but they are not sure which tooth is actually affected because it has to do with the nerve.

A scan must be performed to ascertain the actual tooth but the facility is not in Angola, so I have to wait until I go back home. I've been on tablets, and these can sometimes make you weak. I felt very weak in the game against Mozambique, for instance. But I did my best and put in more than 70 minutes, which was enough.

On the wave of criticisms that the team had suffered in recent times, he said: "You know I keep wondering about the negative press and the negative impression we have created in the minds of Nigerian soccer fans. We, the players, go out there and give our best, sometimes it comes off well and sometimes it doesn’t. At the end of the day, we just want our fans to stand by us and try to be behind us because we understand they get frustrated by some of our performances and results. If they stay behind us, that would help us a lot. But if they keep telling us how bad we have been, it’s not going to help us in any way. For us to move forward, we need the support of everyone. Sometimes our style of play doesn’t look good. Everybody is trying, and things can only get better.

“I play in the Premiership, and anywhere my coach wants me to play, I will play. I'm a player that has that special passion to play for Nigeria. Playing for the Super Eagles is the best feeling that I ever had and I love to wear that green and white strip. So, wherever the coach wants me to go, I go. If he wants me to play right, left or centre, I gladly accept.
“Wwhatever tactics the coach employs is not my business. My business is to put on the green and white jersey and play to my coach’s instruction. We get told what we need to do and we just go out there and do it.”

On lack of playmaker in the midde, Etuhu said: "I understand that our people want more flair and are craving a Jay-jay Okocha type. Mikel is a holding midfielder for Chelsea, but at the national team he has been given the role of a playmaker. He’s our number 10 and he tries to make the team play. People must remember that we play with three attackers whereby most teams play with two, so obviously you have to be more solid in the middle.

On his background, he said: "Well, I was born in Kano. My parents hail from Delta State. My dad is Agbor and my mom is from Okpella. I live in London. I moved to London when I was about six years old. When my elder sister passed away in London (she had cancer) we decided to remain in the city and be close to her grave, and I’ve been there ever since. I have two brothers – one is playing for Manchester City and the other one is looking after the family business. Mom is in London with me, and our dad is still in Kano.”

He, however, described Danny Shittu as his best teammate in the national team: My number one guy is Danny Shittu. We do everything together and everyone says we are like twins. He’s my very good friend, and we both grew up in London. Of course, there are others that are also close to me, like Mikel, because we are not far from one another in London. Osaze’s also a good friend, as well as Yakubu. But my number one person is definitely Danny.”

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2010, 06:29:39 AM »

Hodgson predicts big future for £12m 'diamond' Smalling

Fulham manager says Old Trafford-bound defender has 'something special'

By Mike McGrath

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Fulham manager, Roy Hodgson, is ready to showcase Chris Smalling for the rest of the campaign after losing the "diamond" unearthed from non-League football less than two years ago. Hodgson says it took very little time before realising the centre-back signed from Maidstone was a player heading for the top, something Manchester United also identified before making their move for the 20-year-old at the weekend.

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, is also a fan of Smalling but United agreed a fee of £12m with Fulham and the youngster headed straight to Manchester after the defeat by Tottenham on Tuesday evening. He will start his Old Trafford career in the summer.

"When it was put to me that I must resign myself to losing the player because Manchester United put in a very good bid that the club have accepted, I was then told the one piece of good news is that he won't be going until the start of next season," Hodgson said. "Why that was decided, you'd have to ask Manchester United. I think [the chief executive] Alistair Mackintosh, when the deal was proposed, wanted that to happen and Manchester United accepted it. It's obvious that it's much better but it wasn't assistance from my part."

Smalling has impressed during his three Under-21 appearances this season and has helped keep clean sheets in the last two matches under coach Stuart Pearce, who reports directly to Fabio Capello and recommends players to the England manager.

Smalling's background includes a grammar school education, four A levels and being accepted on a business management degree course at Loughborough University before being offered the chance to go full-time into football.

The move to Fulham came in 2008 and the match against Tottenham was only his second Premier League start, but Hodgson revealed: "We've known we had a diamond in our midst but, unfortunately, when you are Fulham and you produce a diamond you are aware that diamond can be taken away from you by clubs with more power. Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't make mistakes when he identifies a young player. He pays a lot of money for that player because in years to come he realises it will look very cheap. You'd expect the player to be of that quality.

"We thought he had great potential. He should take a lot of credit for the work he's put in while he's been with us. He has improved his game, he's a good learner and learnt from the players around him – he's certainly a better player than when we took him.

"It didn't take long for me to realise in training that he had something special. We've had him in the first-team squad ever since."

Fulham's captain, Danny Murphy, has tipped Smalling for the top. "I was fortunate enough to see players like Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard when they were young lads," said the former Liverpool midfielder. "Being a defender, Chris is different, and he is not quite on their level yet, but he is potentially a wonderful player.

"He has great pace, is calm on the ball and good in the air. What more do you need from a good centre-half? He'll be a great asset to his new club, and he won't look out of place. It has been a big few days for him, but he's handled it brilliantly. Considering what is going on, his performance against Tottenham was very good."

Maidstone are expected to receive a cash windfall when the move is completed. "To say the money will come in handy is an understatement," said their chairman, Paul Bowden-Brown.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 06:32:56 AM »

Administrators tell Crystal Palace not to play Victor Moses against Newcastle United

Tim Meston

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Victor Moses is expected to have played his last game for Crystal Palace after the club's administrators asked for him to be removed from the team to play Newcastle United at St James' Park this evening.

The Championship side were placed in administration yesterday and an automatic ten-point deduction is expected to be confirmed by the Football League shortly.

Tony Finnegan, Moses' agent, is certain that Palace, who have debts estimated at £30 million, will cash in on the 19-year-old winger before the transfer window close on February 1.

"If you're pulled out of a match, you're pulled out for a reason," Finnegan said. "They're going to be selling.

"Victor was stunned by the news, he was getting ready to play, but he's one of the most saleable assets in the squad so it's obviously been done to protect him. It means a deal is probably imminent with regards to him being sold."

Moses has been linked with moves to Manchester City, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 06:35:00 AM »

Who knows what the future may bring Birmingham? Meanwhile, there is the inspiration of Fulham, who are in Europe because Roy Hodgson worked wonders with a tight squad. For McLeish as well as Yeung, the gradient beckons.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 06:37:27 AM »

Why Chris Smalling is proof that there are a few Roy of the Rovers stories still out there

By John Cross

Published 06:01 28/01/10

The very public pursuit of Chris Smalling is as surprising as it is refreshing.

Smalling is just 20, was at non-league Maidstone just two years ago, joined Fulham for just £10,000 and his contract now is worth £5,000-a-week.

But the fact that Arsenal and Manchester United, two of the biggest and richest clubs in the world, have been slugging it out for his signature shows there are still diamonds to be unearthed.
Managers used to raid the lower divisions for talent and players would emerge from non-league.

Years ago, as a football-mad schoolboy, I remember reading on Ceefax that Wimbledon had signed a certain Vinnie Jones from Wealdstone for £5,000.

Jones' career may have gone into reality TV meltdown, but he didn't do too badly as a footballer and has carved out a great new Hollywood lifestyle.

There were a few of those back then. Les Ferdinand came up that route and was a Premier League goalscoring phenomenon for QPR and Newcastle. He played for England.

But these days, Premier League clubs tend to go abroad and non-league signings are a rarity. Maybe Jermaine Beckford and Smalling will help revise those perceptions.

Smalling, meanwhile, was left with a straight choice between Arsenal and United this week as both clubs were ready to go up to £10m for the defender.

We think that fairytales are a thing of the past in football. But maybe Smalling is proof that there are a few Roy of the Rovers stories out there.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2010, 10:33:27 AM »

Plugging the gaps

by Dan on January 28, 2010

The doom and gloom merchants in the summer said that the Europa League would hang like a dark shadow over Fulham’s season. Eventually, it could cost us. It still might, but Roy Hodgson reinforced his squad impressively over the summer. He brought in plenty of midfielders, each of whom has had a role to play over the last six months, but not a defender.

A central defender was the priority in June, with many minds exercised by the prospect of losing Brede Hangeland. But with the Norwegian and Aaron Hughes tied to extended contracts, the defensive departure was that of a rough diamond: young Chris Smalling. There’s a very real chance we’ll never know just how much Manchester United paid for him, especially in these cash-guzzling Glazer days at Old Trafford.

Funnily enough, though, it wasn’t centre back cover that perturbed me over the summer. I’ve been as convinced by Paul Konchesky as others but he’s proved a key part of the side that has taken Fulham to previously untouched heights. When he’s injured, he can see just how much we miss him. I’m not yet ready to write Toni Kallio off – he turned in some great displays for Finland under Hodgson’s instructions and was awesome against Arsenal last season – but a left back would be what I’d be searching for in the closing hours of the transfer window.

John Pantsil was always going to miss some part of the season due to the Africa Cup of Nations. Roy had brought him in Stephen Kelly in the summer precisely to cover Pantsil’s absence. That effectively marked the end of the line for Fredrik Stoor, signed as the first choice after Euro 2008, and now searching for a place to revive his career. Pantsil’s transformation from figure of fun to cult hero is something to behold. You do have your heart in your mouth when he goes for overhead clearance or dallies on the ball sometimes, but he brings the ball forward with great confidence and whips over crosses too. The stats show just how good he’s been – look at his strength in the tackle, those passes and the attempts created, something that signifies Pantsil’s importance as an attacking outlet.

Neither Kelly or Kallio have had particularly impressive stints as stand-ins for these two. It doesn’t help that Pantsil’s probably the best right back Fulham have had since Steve Finnan. The fact that the pair were dropped for Tuesday at Tottenham hints at some frustration at their under-performance at Accrington from Hodgson. Such problems in the full back areas are particularly troublesome with Aston Villa visiting at the weekend.

Martin O’Neill’s side are particularly blessed with pace and talent out wide. Ashley Young scored their equaliser at the Cottage last year and tormented poor old Chris Baird when he was stuck out at right back in the Sanchez season to such an extent that the Northern Ireland international was sent off. I don’t suppose Baird will be relishing the prospect of a repeat. At his best he’s virtually unstoppable. Worryingly for Fulham, he scored against Blackburn in a performance rull of dangerous running and again in the FA Cup tie with Brighton.

Sadly for Hodgson and Fulham, Young’s not the only threat. The consistency of James Milner’s form dictates that he is almost guaranteed to be on the plane to South Africa in the summer and might even have a shot of forcing his way in the first team. Milner’s creativity is becoming widely recognised but his workrate is just as crucial. He certainly doesn’t shirk responsibility but, like all the best players, his vision makes him just as dangerous breaking away on the halfway line as in the final third.

O’Neill could deploy him in central midfield again on Saturday. Milner looks so comfortable there that he’ll pose just as much of a threat in the centre as out wide. Pushing Milner inside would allow Stuart Downing to take one of the wing spots and, having been injured for the first half of the season, the England international has been making up lost time to prove himself after moving from Middlesbrough.

Stopping those three will be a tough task. Nick W speculated after the Chelsea game about potential Pantsil replacements from within the squad, but both sides of our defence are now a worry. It will be interesting to see what Roy does on Saturday.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2010, 10:54:15 AM »
Fergie’s Small secret is out


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ALEX FERGUSON went on a secret mission to London to clinch the £14million signing of Chris Smalling.

Manchester United's crafty boss sneaked into White Hart Lane on Tuesday night then held face-to-face talks with the Fulham defender after the 2-0 loss at Tottenham.

Delighted Fergie is now celebrating the capture of football's hottest young star from under Arsenal's noses.

Ferguson abandoned his own team's preparations on the eve of last night's titanic Carling Cup semi against Man City to fly to London and make a personal plea to Smalling.

The Premier League champions had to cough up an extra £2m to win the battle with Arsenal for a player dubbed the new Rio Ferdinand.

Centre-half Smalling, 20, underwent a medical at Old Trafford yesterday.

But he must wait until next season to pull on a United shirt under the terms of the deal - which rises to £14m depending on appearances and whether he plays for England.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2010, 11:21:16 AM »

Roy Hodgson snubbed as striker Marco Streller knocks back the chance to join Fulham

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 10:27 AM on 28th January 2010

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The Switzerland international was on Roy Hodgson's radar following injuries to Bobby Zamora and Clint Dempsey and the Cottagers boss was lining up a £6million offer.

The 28-year-old former Cologne and Stuttgart star caught the eye with 16 goals in 26 games this season but, according to Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung, is keen to stay in his homeland.
He said: 'I myself have decided very quickly not to switch to Fulham.  And FC Basel has also expressed very quickly that they do not want me to go. We have a great team, a coach who can play attacking football.'

Streller has 30 caps and 11 goals for Switzerland.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2010, 11:22:28 AM »

Fulham Football Club Tickets for Portsmouth Football Club Match

Fulham Football Club is now offering tickets for the Portsmouth Football Club match for general sale. This match was originally planned for January 9, but it was moved to February 3 at 8pm at Craven Cottage due to weather. And although it could be moved again, those who wish can still get a Fulham ticket for the game.

On the Fulham Football Club official site ( tickets are sill available and are on general sale now. Anyone can get them, but they are only allowed to purchase up to six. The prices of tickets are £30-£42 for adults and £10-£15 for juniors, depending on the seats.

Fans can also get Fulham Football tickets in a special family pack or group discount. Families can buy two adult tickets and then get two junior tickets for free. The only way to get the tickets like this is to call 0870 442 1234, selecting option 3, before the day of the game. Plus, groups of fans can get two free tickets when they buy six. Simply use the same phone number and option 3 to book before the day of the match. Booking fees will apply.

Fulham FC fans can also book tickets online and save on booking fees. Simply go to the Fulham Football Club official site noted above and choose to buy them online. Seatwave, the fan-to-fan ticket exchange, may also still have tickets for this game available.

On the Pompey FC website (, there weren’t any tickets that appeared to be available. However, Portsmouth Football Club fans can call 0844 847 1898 and choose option 2 to check for available away tickets. They can also check for coach travel tickets with Lucketts online ( or by phone (0845 389 1698).

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (28.01.10)
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2010, 11:28:07 AM »
FA Cup Update

Thursday 28th January 2010

The Club can confirm that Fulham's 5th Round FA Cup home fixture against either Notts County or Wigan will take place on Sunday 14 February 2010 at 3.00pm.

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