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Wednesday Fulham Stuff (28.04.10)

Started by White Noise, April 27, 2010, 09:21:44 PM

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White Noise

Rock The Cottage

Tuesday 27th April 2010

Fulham FC News

After Tuesday's training session at Motspur Park Simon Davies looked ahead to one of the biggest games of his career on Thursday night when Fulham take on Hamburg for a place in the Final of the UEFA Europa League.

Davies is hoping to capitalise on 'an unbelievable opportunity' at the Cottage against a side Fulham know plenty about after last week's away leg in Germany.

"We know a lot about them already so it's about going over what we went over last week and tweaking a few things here and there," Davies explained on Tuesday afternoon.

"We tried to keep it tight throughout the match last week and we did that. We defended really well as a team, kept it compact and worked hard for each other. We had a few glimpses of the goal towards the end of the game and it would have been perfect to knick the away goal but we didn't.

"As always going away against a good team you're always going to surrender possession. It was always going to be that type of game, especially knowing there was a second leg to come.

"It was a great effort by everybody and hopefully we can finish it off now. We have however given ourselves a great chance of getting to the Final of a major European competition. We're at home on Thursday so we'll want to take the game to them a bit more.

"It's definitely the biggest game I've had for a club side. I've played some big games on the international stage against some big countries, and we had the game against Portsmouth to stay in the League, but this game, to reach the Final of a major tournament, is an unbelievable opportunity.

"If you'd have told us that we would be in this position when we were travelling to Vetra last summer it would have stretched the imagination but we've got the chance now and we've done ever so well as a squad to give ourselves this chance."

One advantage Fulham will have over Hamburg is the Cottage faithful and Davies was keen to highlight the influence the home support can have on Thursday night's UEFA Europa League Semi-Final (second leg).

"Sometimes I wonder if the fans realise how important they are," Davies explained. "When they really get going at the Cottage they as good as anything else in the League, especially the Hammersmith End – they're brilliant.

"They almost suck us in towards them and if they can start the game like that on Thursday then they'll be a massive, massive advantage for us."

Read more:

White Noise

Roy Hodgson Stands 90 Minutes From Proving He Should Be Next England Boss

27/4/2010 9:17 AM GMT By Matt Butler

Roy Hodgson is 90 minutes away from confirming his status as heir apparent to Fabio Capello as he leads his side into the Europa League semi-final second leg against Hamburg.

If he wasn't already in a good position to succeed Capello as England manager, getting unfashionable Fulham into a European final will put him firmly in the frame to lead his country when the Italian finally moves on, probably after Euro 2012.

Hodgson has proven to fans in England that he can handle the pressure of European competition, having masterminded an impressive Europa League campaign, with victories over Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg And his feats of getting teams to over-achieve are not just restricted to Craven Cottage, having taken Switzerland to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup – the first time they had qualified for a major tournament since 1966.

So if he beats Hamburg and gets Fulham to the Europa League final, he will arguably be the best-qualified English manager to take over from Capello.

For one, he has proven he can get the most out of players who are, let's face it, not the world's best. Secondly, he has international experience. And third, he is English.

But before the FA rush to Craven Cottage to sign him up for England duty, three things must be considered.

Hodgson would certainly avoid making the same mistakes made by Steve McClaren and Kevin Keegan who blurred the lines of command between coach and players to the extent where they appeared to lose authority. But it's questionable whether the Fulham manager has the status to quickly earn the respect of top class players in the way Sven-Goran Eriksson and Capello did.

Also, Hodgson's international experience has been at the lower echelons of teams like Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland, so success is measured at a different level than it would be if her were in charge of England.

Finally, it's worth remembering that McClaren was the last English manager to make it to a European final – a note of caution, if nothing more, should Fulham make it to the Nordbank Arena in Hamburg for the climax of the Europa League on May 12.

White Noise

Stats about Sunday

By: timmyg | April 27th, 2010

In an attempts to make up for my rather lame post on Sunday, here are some stats about the match. The first three are courtesy of Football365.

    * Fulham have won only one of their last eight Premier League games.
    * The Cottagers have managed three shots on target in their last two league games.
    * Erik Nevland's goal was only their 11th scored in the first half this season. No team has scored fewer goals before the break.
    * Nevland's goal in the 36th minute was Fulham's first league road goal since January 5 against Stoke City — a span of 671 minutes, or 11 hours.
    * Fulham scored a league goal for the first time since Easter Sunday, a span of 248 minutes.
    * Fulham conceded a goal for the first time (in all competitions) since Easter Sunday, a span of 456 minutes, or 7.5 hours — the longest span this season?
    * Sunday was just the second time all season Fulham lost when leading at half-time. The previous occurrence was the Chelsea match on December 28. (Additionally, Fulham have drawn just twice when leading at half-time — quite the turn around from year's past.)
    * Fredrik Stoor made his first league appearance since February 28, 2009 when Fulham drew 0-0 with Arsenal.
    * Andranik made the bench for the first time since Opening Day at Pompey.
    * Matthew Briggs made the bench for the first time in a league game since May 13, 2007.

Some pretty crazy stuff, no?

White Noise

After sacking their coach, Fulham have a brilliant opportunity to beat managerless Hamburg

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Fulham v Hamburg, Europa League semi-final second leg, April 29, 2010

Fulham 2.15; Draw 3.20; Hamburg 3.20

"We analysed the situation and we saw that as things were we would not be able to succeed against Fulham. It was the last moment for us to react to keep our Europa League target in sight." Hamburg president Bernd Hoffmann after sacking coach Bruno Labbadia.

The build up to the biggest game in Fulham's history has been dominated by Hamburg's decision to sack coach Bruno Labbadia following the 5-1 mauling at the hands of Hoffenheim on Sunday. Clearly the fact that the final of the first ever Europa League will be at their home ground, the HSH Nordbank Arena, has forced the hand of a worried board following some poor recent displays.

Hamburg now travel to London with former assistant coach Ricardo Moniz in charge. Some Spurs fans will perhaps remember the Dutchman from his time at Tottenham when he was brought to the club by Martin Jol as a "skills coach." Moniz has no managerial experience and he faces an extremely tough baptism of fire.

The decision to sack Labbadia has to go down as one of the craziest of the season, in terms of timing, but Hamburg won't care if they secure a place in the final on May 12. Anyone who saw their defeat at the "Village Team" on Sunday can confirm that the players were no longer performing for Labbadia and this talented squad needed a kick up the proverbial backside.

HSV have quality throughout the side. Jerome Boateng (brother of Kevin-Prince) is set for a big money summer move to Manchester City as one of the top young defenders in Europe. And Marcus Berg proved last summer at the Under-21 European Championships that he is a poacher supreme.

Arguably the greatest goal scorer in European football over the last 10 years will also turn out for Hamburg after Ruud van Nistelrooy was pronounced fit after recovering from a hip injury sustained in the first leg. Moniz is also expected to have veteran Brazilian Ze Roberto and Ivorian Guy Demel available after calf and knee injuries respectively. They will though be without talented playmaker Piotr Trochowski who picked up a late booking in the first game.

The main fitness doubt for Fulham surrounds talisman Bobby Zamora. The former Brighton, Spurs and West Ham hitman lasted just 52 minutes of the first leg and Roy Hodgson admitted after the defeat to Everton on Sunday that "I'm not confident Bobby will be ready for Thursday. I am hopeful, but that`s all - he`s having treatment and we will have to keep our fingers crossed."

Hodgson made eight changes for the 2-1 defeat at Everton on Sunday and the performance from the understudies was hugely impressive with the Toffees fortunate to secure a late win thanks to a Mikel Arteta penalty. We can expect the same side that appeared in Germany, with Zamora to play even if only half fit due to the magnitude of the game for the Cottagers.

Following a season where they have seen off the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Wolfsburg in earlier rounds, there is heavy expectation surrounding this match. Mark Schwarzer made some crucial saves in the first leg and keeping it tight could be key, especially against what seems to be a mentally fragile side.

This is not something that can be leveled against Fulham who have knocked out the holders, one of the biggest clubs in European football and the German champions. Returning from Germany with a 0-0 draw after a 15 hour journey to the first leg was a fine achievement. They have shown impressive pluck and courage throughout the run and we can expect them to give it a real go on Thursday night.

Roy Hodgson has produced a miracle at Fulham, leading them from the "Great Escape" in 2007/2008 to the brink of a European final. The Cottagers are in a precarious position due to the away goals rule but with a frenzied crowd behind them and a well oiled team heading to its pinnacle, all signs point to another glory night by the Thames.

101gg predicts: Fulham 3 – Hamburg 1

Fulham 2.15; Draw 3.20; Hamburg 3.20

White Noise

Persepolis set to sign up Teymourian

Tehran Times Sports Desk

TEHRAN - Persepolis football club is eager to get hold of out-of-form Fulham midfielder Andranik Teymourian, according to the Iranian media.

Persepolis football coach Ali Daei has reportedly telephoned Teymourian, but has not yet succeeded to persuade the player to join Persepolis next season.

The 27-year-old midfielder is determined to join a European club in the summer transfer window.

Teymourian joined Fulham in 2008 but he is not the team coach Roy Hodgson's favorite player. Teymourian has not been in the starting lineup for a long time

White Noise

Reserves 3-2 Fulham FT

Goals from Olly Lee, Junior Stanislas and Cristian Montano see West Ham United edge out Fulham


West Ham United reserves v Fulham Reserves
Barclays Premier Reserve League South
Boleyn Ground
Tuesday 27 April 2010
Kick-off: 7pm

Full-time score - West Ham United reserves 3-2 Fulham reserves

100 mins - Trotta creates some space about 20 yards from goal and shoots with his right foot. Spence blocks before clearing. I am 99 per cent sure the injured player was the substitute Kamau. However, the medical staff have re-emerged from the tunnel, so fingers-crossed the stretcher was simply a precaution. The final whistle is blown and West Ham have completed their reserve season with a victory.

Don't forget to keep a close eye on for exclusive post-match reaction. WHUTV will also have highlights and post-match interviews soon.

98 mins - Smith lifts a free-kick into the box. Toure wins it but the ball bounces safely through to Kurucz.

96 mins - GOAL! Peniket pulls a goal back for the ten men as he curls a low shot inside Kurucz's far post from 15 yards.

95 mins - The crowd give the injured Fulham player a warm round of applause as he is carried off and down the tunnel. Let's hope it's nothing serious. I'll try and work out who it is for you now.

91 mins - I'm sorry, but I can't see which Fulham player is down injured. We're going to have four added minutes, but at present, everybody's concerns are with the injured player. There are six yellow-vested paramedics and the Fulham physio tending to him at the moment. The medical staff carefully lift the player on to a larger stretcher.

90 mins - Montano is booked for a challenge that leaves a Fulham player in a heap on the pitch. The physio dashes on as the striker is cautioned. There seems to be some concern as he landed awkwardly, but his legs are thrashing around, so hopefully it's not too serious. Montano goes to check on his opponent's condition. The stretcher is brought on by the paramedics who are always on hand.

88 mins - Stefan Payne and Pierre, who is injured, are the two Fulham players to be replaced. Zola comes on for Daprela.

87 mins - Great stuff! Stanislas turns on a sixpence before shooting. His effort is deflected and Etheridge can only turn it aside. Montano races to the loose ball before crossing with his left foot to the far post. Abdulla catches the ball flush on the volley, only for the goalkeeper to save well with his legs.

85 mins - Fulham are going to make a second change. It is going to be Richard Peniket to come on. In fact, Michael Kamau is also going to be introduced. Andrea Zola is also going to be sent on for the final few minutes. I hope his Dad hasn't gone home early...!

82 mins - GOAL! Montano has his goal! Toure can only get a toe-end on the through ball and the Colombian-born player is there to finish superbly, smashing the ball low past Etheridge and into the bottom right-hand corner. Surely game over, now. Montano will be well-pleased with that, as he has been desperate to make his mark at reserve-team level.

81 mins - Fulham force a corner. Buchtman takes it, it is flicked on at the near post and Trotta tries to hook it goalwards. The ball spins high in the air and Kurucz claims.

80 mins - Steve Davis is coming back into it at the World Snooker in Sheffield. He's just rattled in a 128 break against Neil Robertson and is now only 9-2 behind... Frei is on for Harris.

79 mins - Fulham are going to make a change. Kerim Frei is going to come on.

77 mins - Zola and Modelski are warming up on the touchline. I'm not sure Dyer will want to change anything, though.

76 mins - We have a short break in play as Briggs receives treatment. Dyer uses the hiatus to issue some instructions while some of his players enjoy a drink.

74 mins - That should have been 3-1. Brown does brilliantly to trick his way into the box. He cuts the ball back to Abdulla, who controls and shoots, but it hits a Fulham defender and Etheridge gathers the spinning ball. Abdulla wants a penalty, but the referee is not having any of it. Moments later, West Ham have the ball again and Stanislas smashes the ball high and wide from 25 yards.

71 mins - I doubt anyone cares, but Bayern Munich are now 2-0 up on aggregate against Lyon in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg in France.

68 mins - You have to feel sorry for Montano. He runs on to Stanislas's through ball and rounds Etheridge before smashing his shot against the post from no more than five yards. The angle was a bit tight, to be fair to the striker, but still he lies on the turf, holding his head in sheer disbelief. On the plus side, West Ham are well on top here, all of a sudden.

67 mins - Boa Morte has showered and changed and is now making his way through the West Stand Lower to sit with Zola and Clarke. He gets a cheer from the fans as he jogs up the steps.

66 mins - Montano again! McNaughton slams a superb raking ball over the Fulham back-four, a la Michael Dawson. Montano gets between Fulham's centre-backs and heads goalwards, but Etheridge is able to jump high enough to catch above his head.

65 mins - Montano comes close to his first goal at reserve level, latching on to a long through ball and volleying towards the near post. Etheridge throws himself to his left to keep the ball out before expertly preventing the corner.

61 mins - West Ham make a hash of a free-kick. Spence gives the ball away to Smith. He tries to play in Payne, but Brown is there again to cut the pass out. Good positional play from the No6.

58 mins - Trotta does well to hold of McNaughton before flicking the ball into the path of Briggs. The captain cuts into the box on his right foot and shoots. The ball hits Spence and bounces towards the goal, but Kurucz is there to gather it.

56 mins - Great block from Spence to deny Buchtman after the midfielder had skipped past McNaughton. The ball rebounds to Harris, whose low shot is gathered by Kurucz at the second attempt. Fulham look by far the more likely scorers at present.

54 mins - McNaughton does well twice more in the space of a few seconds, first to out-muscle Trotta, then to cut off Payne's attempted through ball to the same player.

53 mins - Briggs shoots powerfully from 25 yards but McNaughton is there to block with his face! The ball runs through to Brown, who brings it clear with typical aplomb. The Academy defender is a cultured player.

51 mins - Payne works a yard of space inside the Hammers penalty area and shoots, but Brown blocks. Fulham work the resulting throw to Trotta, who lays off to the same player, but Payne curls his shot over from 16 yards.

49 mins - A neat flick from Abdulla looks to have released Stanislas, but Pierre sticks to his task and wins the ball back before Stanislas concedes a foul.

48 mins - Fulham have started the brighter after the break, and Trotta goes close-ish to equalising, shooting low from 25 yards. Kurucz slides, but he always looked confident that the ball would go safely wide.

46 mins - West Ham get the second half up and running, kicking towards the deserted Bobby Moore Stand end.

Half-time score - West Ham United reserves 2-1 Fulham reserves

Two half-time changes for the Hammers. Boa Morte and McCarthy are the men to make way. They are replaced by Edgar and Montano.

47 mins - Fulham take a throw-in wide on the left and Smith crosses low. McNaughton blocks it and clears and referee Bull blows for half-time. Join us again in about 15 minutes for the second half.

46 mins - We're into the one and only added minute and West Ham have got their mojo back. Daprela, who has been superb this half, gets forward again and cuts inside. Abdulla feeds the ball wide to Lee, but he crosses too high for Abdulla and Boa Morte and the ball bounces behind.

45 mins - Into the final minute of the first half and West Ham have suddenly got a bit sloppy in possession. It is important that they see out the remaining seconds. Dyer is on the edge of his technical area keeping a close eye on things.

43 mins - So close to an equaliser for Fulham. Stefan Payne gets through the middle and clear of Spence and Brown, only to shoot powerfully wide of the far post. He shrieks in frustration.

42 mins - I should also say that Stanislas looks very confident tonight. Not only is he seeing plenty of the ball, but he is also looking to run beyond the forwards and get on the end of things.

41 mins - McCarthy turns well and finds Stanislas. He lays the ball back to Lee, whose cross is just too high for Abdulla in the centre. Daprela picks up the loose ball, but Boa Morte is crowded out on the edge of the box and the chance is lost. Lee and Daprela are vital to this formation, and their willingness to get up and down the flanks is giving West Ham some real width.

38 mins - This has been a thoroughly entertaining game so far. Both teams are keeping the ball on the floor and moving it well around what is a very lush, green pitch. Alex Dyer will be delighted with the way his side have come from behind to take the lead. Without sounding too sentimental, Dyer puts a lot of time and effort into the reserve squad, and he will be particularly pleased to have seen Lee belt in his first goal of the season.

35 mins - I should have mentioned that Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke are here.

32 mins - McCarthy is fouled 40 yards out. Boa Morte curls the ball in, but it is headed clear.

30 mins - Stanislas concedes a free-kick 35 yards out. Buchtman shoots and Kurucz is scrambling, but the ball curls wide.

27 mins - GOAL! Good, my reverse psychology worked! Boa Morte slots the ball wide right to Lee, who slams it low across the box for Stanislas to finish first-time. Etheridge got a hand to the ball, but he couldn't keep it out.

26 mins - At last a bit of a lull in the goalmouth action...

21 mins - Josh Pritchard cuts inside on his left foot and shoots low from 25 yards. Kurucz is there, though, and collects at the second attempt.

18 mins - Brilliant stuff. Brown swaps passes with Payne before releasing Stanislas through the middle. He jets past Pierre and crosses towards McCarthy, only for Toure to stab the ball behind. The corner is won by McNaughton, but it's an easy catch for Etheridge.

17 mins - It's all calmed down a bit, but you get the feeling there could be another goal at any moment.

14 mins - It's all happening! Fulham win a corner and Briggs crosses, only for Toure to be penalised for a foul on Brown.

13 mins - GOAL! That's more like it! Stanislas drives at the Fulham defence and tries to slot the ball through to Abdulla. The youngster is muscled out, but the ball is only half-cleared to Lee, who takes a touch and belts the ball into the top right-hand corner from 25 yards.

13 mins - Briggs calls Kurucz into action again with a low shot from 25 yards, but the goalkeeper is equal to it.

11 mins - GOAL! Fulham take the lead. Smith gets round McNaughton and clips the ball high to the far post where Trotta gets above Brown and heads the ball past Kurucz from six yards. That was too easy, and Dyer lets his players know by telling them to concentrate.

9 mins - The first corner comes to nothing when Briggs's shot is deflected behind. Buchtman floats the ball in and Kurucz punches clear of the area.

8 mins - Marcello Trotta picks the ball up 25 yards from goal, but his shot is well blocked and bounces harmlessly into Kurucz's arms. Seconds later, Kurucz makes an outstanding save after Trotta had escaped Spence's clutches and shot from just eight yards. The Hungarian deflects the ball behind for a corner.

7 mins - Alex Smith picks up the ball about 35 yards out, but the Fulham left-winger can only drag his shot straight at Kurucz.

6 mins - Boa Morte is playing on the left of the three-man midfield, with Payne in the middle and Stanislas on the right. Kurucz catches confidently and bowls the ball out to Brown. He runs forward 20 yards before lofting the ball towards Abdulla, but his pass is too high and bounces through to goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

5 mins - Fulham have a corner. Chris Buchtman crosses towards the near post, but centre-back Cheick Toure can only divert the ball well wide of the post. West Ham are in a 3-5-2 formation again, as has been Alex Dyer's prefered system in recent weeks. Daprela and Lee are the wing-backs, with Spence, flanked by Brown and McNaughton in the centre of defence.

3 mins - Payne and Lee create space for McCarthy on the edge of the penalty area. The South African passes left to Daprela, but his cross is behind Abdulla, and Fulham escape again.

1 min - So nearly a magical start for the Hammers. Daprela and Stanislas combine well down the left before the latter finds McCarthy. His first touch is into the path of Abdulla, but a defender gets back in well to concede a corner. The ball is crossed into the box, but headed clear at the near post.

6.59pm - And here we go...

6.58pm - Captain Jordan Spence steps forward to go through the pre-match rituals with his opposite number Matthew Briggs. West Ham will attack the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand end of the stadium in the opening 45 minutes. Fulham will kick-off.

6.57pm - Here come the two teams. Must admit, there isn't what you'd call a massive crowd in the West Stand Lower this evening. Still, a few hundred hardy souls have turned out. Good on them, too.

6.55pm - Both teams are back in their respective dressing rooms ahead of what promises to be an entertaining climax to the reserve-team season. A host of scouts have turned out to catch what could be the likes of Josh Payne's final appearance in a West Ham United shirt. Southend United manager Steve Tilson is among those who have popped along to the Boleyn Ground on what is a glorious, warm and sunny evening.

Good evening and welcome to the Boleyn Ground

West Ham United complete their Barclays Premier Reserve League South season with the visit of a youthful Fulham side to east London. Benni McCarthy is the star turn in tonight's starting lineup, with Luis Boa Morte continuing his comeback from a long-term knee injury with another start.

Fabio Daprela, Junior Stanislas, Peter Kurucz and Josh Payne have all turned out at first-team level this season, while Academy youngsters Jordan Brown and Ahmed Abdulla will be eager to shine.

Victory could see the Hammers finish fifth in the nine-team table, providing Portsmouth fail to beat champions Aston Villa in their final match.

With their own first team in UEFA Europa League semi-final action against Hamburger SV on Thursday, Fulham manager Billy McKinlay has named a very young and inexperienced team.

West Ham United reserves: Kurucz, Lee, Daprela (A.Zola 88), McNaughton, Spence, Brown, Stanislas, Payne, Boa Morte (Edgar 46), Abdulla, McCarthy (Montano 46)
Subs: Stech, Modelski

Fulham reserves: Etheridge, Marsh-Brown, Briggs, Pierre (Peniket 88), Toure, Pritchard, Harris (Frei 80), Buchtman, Trotta, Payne (Kamau 88), Smith
Subs: Bettinelli

White Noise

West Ham Res 3-2 Fulham Res

Tuesday 27th April 2010

Fulham FC News

Fulham's Reserves lost their final game of the season on Tuesday evening at Upton Park. The Whites took an early lead through Marcello Trotta. But West Ham equalised through Oliver Lee before taking the lead courtesy of Junior Stanislas.

The home side made sure of all three points when Cristian Montano scored on 82 minutes. Richard Peniket netted an injury time consolation goal for Fulham.

Billy McKinlay's side made a fine start with both Alex Smith and Trotta having good early opportunities to hand Fulham in the lead.

Trotta, the Italian under 19 international, was looking real a threat early on. On eight minutes he saw a 25 yard effort easily collected by West Ham keeper Peter Kurucz. And the home side's custodian had to be on top form moments later when he once again denied Trotta.

Fulham took the lead on 11 minutes after Alex Smith was able to round his opponent before clipping a ball to the far post where Trotta was on hand to head home.

Unfortunately the lead was only to last a couple of minutes. The home side were back on level terms when a clearance fell to the feet of Oliver Lee who finished well from 25 yards. West Ham took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark when Junior Stanislas converted a low cross from close range.

With just two minutes to go before the half-time interval Fulham striker Stefan Payne almost netted the equaliser. The front man raced clear of the West Ham defence but unfortunately fired his shot wide of goal.

Fulham started the second-half much the brighter side. Payne, once again, came close to levelling the scores on 51 minutes after he received a pass from Trotta - only to fire over. Fulham continued to press forward in search of an equaliser and only a good save from Kurucz denied Courtney Harris.

Those scares spurred West Ham into action and the Whites were fortunate not to concede when Cristian Montano missed a hat-trick of chances all within a matter of minutes.

However, Montano finally managed to beat Neil Etheridge in the 82nd minute after latching on to a through ball and driving a powerful low effort into the net.

Richard Peniket scored the final goal of the game late into injury time with an expert finish past Kurucz.

Fulham: Etheridge, Marsh-Brown, Briggs, Pierre (Peniket 88), Toure, Pritchard, Harris (Frei 80), Buchtman, Trotta, Payne (Kamau 88), Smith

Read more:

White Noise

Everton lead Fulham in chase for Paul Scharner as Wigan plan summer clear-out

By Sportsmail Reporter Last updated at 10:14 PM on 27th April 2010

Everton have emerged as favourites to beat Fulham to the signature of Paul Scharner.

Wigan plan a small clear-out this summer and the Austrian is unlikely to get a new contract after becoming disgruntled in recent weeks.

Scharner is likely to head a list of around six first team squad players, including Jason Koumas and Olivier Kapo, who the club will look to move on after chairman Dave Whelan vowed to avoid another relegation fight.

Wigan have secured their top-flight future for a sixth successive season with two games to spare.

But Whelan said: 'I will be sitting down with Roberto Martinez very soon to discuss budgets. Some players will be staying, some players will be going.

'But one thing we won't do is go the way of Portsmouth and Hull, and just throw money around. We won't be stupid about it.'

White Noise


Fulham... 1 Fools... 0


Published: Today

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PAUL KONCHESKY is determined to make history with Fulham as a two-fingered thank you to his fellow pros.

No Fulham player made it into the Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year despite an incredible season at Craven Cottage.

Striker Bobby Zamora's 19 goals and boss Roy Hodgson's leadership has taken them to the brink of the Europa League final on one of the smallest budgets in the Premier League.

Fulham reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and could still finish in the top half of the division despite a crippling injury list and a small squad.

Yet left-back Konchesky said: "There's not even been a mention of anyone getting near the PFA team; like Bobby or our goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who has been as good as or better than Joe Hart at Birmingham.

"It goes unrecognised. For certain players, ie Bobby, he has to be up there with the top five goalscorers this season.

"But even players tend to go for the big names when they vote. Maybe they don't want to pick Bobby because he has bullied a few centre-halves this season.

"But it's probably because we haven't got an out-and-out big name here. People do talk about Fulham and say 'haven't they done well?' But that's about it. I think we deserve more. We're not 'little old Fulham' anymore.

"The Europa League stands out, but also the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

"Even in the league with as many games as we have played, we've done far better than anyone could have expected.

"We've never been in trouble with relegation even though we've had all these games. People think we're not a big club, so it goes unrecognised. We play a lot of football even when things are not going right. That's what the manager has brought to the club and he doesn't want to change it.

"We haven't had loads to spend, yet he has built a good squad here.

"We have a squad capable of going places. People want to come here and play because there's someone like the manager to learn from. But it's gone unnoticed.

"Roy should be in with a shout at Manager of the Year even if we don't get to the final. It's a great achievement what he has done."

Konchesky and his team-mates can console themselves with news that Fulham have been named Team of the Year by lads' magazine Nuts.

And they scooped a double with Hodgson being named Manager of the Season.

A photoshoot should help them overcome the snub from their peers as Fulham prepare to take on Germans Hamburg in tomorrow's semi-final second leg.

It is the first time in a marathon European run approaching 18 games and 19,500 miles that Hodgson's team have been favourites to go through.

And the Cottagers have had to contend with the lengthy absences of £10million crock Andy Johnson and Nigeria World Cup right-back John Pantsil.

Yet before Fulham's 2-1 defeat at Everton on Sunday, the team had not conceded a goal for six hours of football.

And Hamburg have problems of their own withmanager Bruno Labbadia sacked on Monday after a 5-1 loss to Hoffenheim.

Konchesky said: "That can work either way.

"You get rid of a manager and it's disappointing, but the team can respond and do well for whoever has taken over.

"It's happened so close to the game so they are up in the air.

"They have to get their minds right for the game whereas we've had a week to prepare.

"Maybe because it's 0-0 people expect us to go through. But it doesn't always work like that.

"This is the best season of my career. But it seems we have to run an extra yard to get noticed.

"Bobby got overlooked for the last England squad when he should have been a definite."

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White Noise

BBC fears as nation forced to decide: Coronation Street or the debate

Patrick Foster, Media Correspondent


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The BBC has accused ITV of trying to undermine its election debate by competitively scheduling against the corporation's coverage of the event.

ITV has confirmed that it will not move Coronation Street, the soap opera that regularly has more than eight million viewers, from its 8.30pm slot tomorrow, which coincides with the start of the third leaders' debate on BBC One.

BBC sources said they thought that ITV, which had an average of 9.4 million viewers for its debate two weeks ago, was trying to ensure that its event emerged as the most watched of the three debates between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

"There is a feeling that we gave them quite an easy ride when it was their turn," said one BBC insider. "That does not seem to have been reciprocated."

The commercial channel moved Coronation Street from its regular slot to show its debate but insisted that it would not help the corporation by repeating the switch tomorrow, which is likely to dent viewing figures.

There has been huge interest in the live debates, but with Coronation Street on ITV and key European football games involving Liverpool and Fulham, the BBC does not expect to top audience figures for the leaders' programmes.

The team responsible for the BBC event organised a sweepstake for viewing figures with estimates among senior figures between seven and eight million. One senior official said: "If it ended up between ten and twelve we would be absolutely rejoicing."

The second debate, hosted by Sky News, had an average audience of 4.1 million viewers, including those who watched the event live on the BBC News channel and Sky Three. Sky News has been given permission to broadcast the BBC debate live and it will also be shown on the BBC News channel and aired on Radio 4.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 of Britain's 52,000 pubs are also expected to show the debate, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.

White Noise

The Race for Third Place in the UEFA Country Ranking

By Johnathan Starling, on April 27th, 2010

With Bayern Munich's 3-0 victory Tuesday at the Stade Gerland, the race for third place in the UEFA County Ranking standings, currently being battled out between Italy and Germany, picked up plenty of steam. It could also be the day the entire race swung in Germany's favor. While this will mean nothing for the 2010-2011 UEFA competitions, it means everything starting with the 2011-2012 European club competitions.

For those wondering why this is a big deal, third place in these rankings guarantees 3 Champions League places with the opportunity for a fourth to qualify in the final non-champions qualification round. At worse, fourth place in those leagues will be playing in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.  Finishing fourth in these standings means only first and second go into the Champions League, with third place fighting it out in the final non-champions qualifier for the Champions League. The difference between third and fourth is having a seventh team playing European football.

After today's Bayern Munich victory, Germany leapfrogged Italy for the third ranking spot. It also means even if Inter Milan beat Barcelona on Wednesday (which would temporarily put Italy back into third place), Hamburg on Thursday could guarantee Germany finishing in third place by winning against Fulham.

This is about the easiest way to simplified all the scenarios.
* If Inter Milan loses Wednesday and goes out of the Champions League, Germany will lock third place.
* If Inter Milan loses Wednesday and advances to the Champions League final, the only chance Italy has of finishing in the third spot is by seeing Hamburg lose outright to Fulham on Thursday. Then, Inter Milan has to beat Bayern Munich in the final for Italy to clinch third place. A 120 minute draw or Bayern Munich winning sees Germany clinch the third spot.
* If Hamburg matches or does better than an Inter Milan draw, and Hamburg advance either through away goals or penalty kicks, or Hamburg wins, Germany locks third place regardless of the results in the respective finals.
* If both Inter Milan and Hamburg draw and Hamburg does not advance, then the winner of the Inter Milan/Bayern Munich game would clinch third place for their respective country. If after 120 minutes, the Inter Milan/Bayern Munich game ends in a draw, Germany locks third place.
* If Inter Milan draws and Hamburg loses outright, Inter Milan has to beat Bayern Munich outright in the Champions League final for Italy to keep their third spot. If it's a 120 minute draw, then Italy will keep the third spot.
* If Inter Milan wins or Hamburg draws: If Hamburg advances, Germany locks third place. If Hamburg does not advance, then the winner of the Inter Milan/Bayern Munich game would clinch third place for their respective country. If after 120 minutes the Inter Milan/Bayern Munich game ends in a draw, Germany locks third place.
* If Inter Milan beats Barcelona and Hamburg loses outright to Fulham on Thursday, Italy can keep the third spot by either drawing or beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. If Bayern Munich wins, then Germany will take the third spot.

Again, let me remind you that this is not for next season, but for the 2011-2012 European Club season.  This is mostly to ensure that all clubs know going into the upcoming season what places will qualify you for what competition. As long as Germany doesn't tank in next year's European competitions, or Italy dominates both the Champions League and Europa League, it could be at least three years before Italy can overtake for the third UEFA Country Ranking spot.

White Noise

Soccer-Coach sacking overshadows Hamburg's Cup build-up

Wed, 28 Apr 03:30:00 2010

As preparation for a Europa League semi-final goes, sacking your coach three days beforehand does not fit the norm yet Hamburg SV believed it was a decision that had to be taken ahead of their crunch second leg at Fulham.

Chastened by a 5-1 loss at Hoffenheim on Sunday and a league run which has seen four wins in 15 matches, the Hamburg board had had enough and Bruno Labbadia was shown the door days before the club's biggest match of the season on Thursday.

The sacking was not that much of a surprise given the widely reported rumours that Labbadia had fallen out with a number of his squad including Ze Roberto, Mladen Petric, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Frank Rost.

The timing, however, was a shock.

"Risky but right," the Welt newspaper said. "Labbadia had already proved in his career the he is admittedly a good motivator but is unsuited to the long-term task of building a team."

Assistant coach Ricardo Moniz, dubbed a 'great motivator' by the club, was handed the task as stand-in coach of raising morale after the Hoffenheim shambles against a Fulham team whose remarkable run has put them in touching distance of a first European final.

The Dutchman, who arrived in Hamburg together with former coach Martin Jol from Tottenham Hotspur, can hardly have been given a stiffer task in his first game in charge.

On the day he took over he was given the news that striker Tunay Torun had suffered a ligament injury and was ruled out of Thursday's match.

It is the second time a Bundesliga team has done this during the season though and Fulham will best be on their guard.

In December, Stuttgart sacked coach Markus Babbel three days before their final Champions League group game against Unirea Urziceni. They won 3-1, qualified for the second round, were given a plum draw against Barcelona, and have jumped from 16th to sixth in the table.

Fulham's hopes of progress could rest on the state of Bobby Zamora's Achilles as the striker fights for fitness ahead of the second leg at Craven Cottage, a compact ground tucked on the banks of the River Thames in west London.

Having scored just one goal in their last five matches - including last week's goalless first leg - Fulham desperately need their top scorer fit and firing if they are to return to the German city for the May 12 final against either Liverpool or Atletico Madrid.

Zamora has scored 19 goals this season, including strikes in both legs of the quarter-final victory over German champions VfL Wolfsburg, having set Fulham on their way in the tournament when they beat Vetra of Lithuania 3-0 away back in July 2009.

"I have had an Achilles tendon problem for a long time," Zamora said after limping off the pitch after an hour against Hamburg. "It has been niggling at me for a bit now and I just did a little bit too much but I really hope to play next Thursday. I am desperate to be part of that."

Manager Roy Hodgson, on the brink of one his greatest achievements in his long and travelled coaching career, was less than confident.

"He's having treatment and I'm hoping he'll be ready for Thursday, but I'm not confident," Hodgson told the club's website (

Zamora missed Sunday's trip to Everton when Hodgson rested most of his first-choice players. Paul Konchesky, Aaron Hughes, Danny Murphy, Brede Hangeland, Dickson Etuhu, Damien Duff, Zoltan Gera and Simon Davies were all fit but left out of the matchday squad and should return on Thursday.

Probable teams:

Fulham: 1-Mark Schwarzer; 6-Chris Baird, 18-Aaron Hughes, 5-Brede Hangeland, 3-Paul Konchesky; 16-Damien Duff, 20-Dickson Etuhu, 13-Danny Murphy, 29-Simon Davies; 25-Bobby Zamora, 11-Zoltan Gera.

Hamburg: 1-Frank Rost, 6-Dennis Aogo, 5-Joris Mathijsen, 17-Jerome Boateng, 20-Guy Demel; 14-David Jarolim, 15-Piotr Trochowski, 8-Ze Roberto, 13-Robert Tesche; 22-Ruud van Nistelrooy, 9-Paolo Guerrero.

Referee: Cuneyt Çakyr (Turkey)

White Noise

No favours for Chelsea at Anfield

Tue Apr 27 02:08PM

Chelsea's 7-0 win over Stoke will certainly give them confidence in the title run-in, but I don't think the fact they put seven goals away will affect Manchester United's focus at this stage.

Chelsea's conviction going forward was again demonstrated as it was the third time since the turn of the year they have scored seven.

Their ability going forward is fantastic, but they still have the main challenge of their run-in, with a very difficult fixture against Liverpool to come.

Just because they are free-scoring, it doesn't necessarily deserve to win the title. As I have said before, in my opinion the team who ends up top of the league absolutely deserves the recognition as league winners.

Even though Manchester United could beat Liverpool's record of 18 championships, Chelsea certainly should not expect any favours at Anfield.

Not only do Liverpool still have a sniff of that fourth Champions League spot, they have great self-respect and a strong winning mentality every time they step onto the pitch.

Liverpool will not be thinking about the destiny of the title, and anything surrounding the game will be irrelevant once the whistle blows.

When I was playing for Liverpool, we drew 2-2 with Manchester United in 1999, and it almost scuppered their treble bid.

Paul Ince went wild at the end of the game, and the draw was well celebrated, but this was more to do with the fact that we had managed to grab a point from the game than anything else. Their treble bid wasn't a concern during the game, and it always a great result to get points against them, hence the manner of the celebrations.

If United were to surpass Liverpool's title record, I think it would be difficult for a number of the fans to take. However, I think from a fan's perspective, Liverpool getting to a position again where they are in with a real shout at the title is the main priority.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered at the club, and working on the short-term future should be the primary focus, and I am sure this is a greater concern of the fans and players than United overtaking their record.

White Noise

Refreshed Fulham eye fairytale final

(AFP) Wednesday 28 April 2010

Fulham star Zoltan Gera believes his side's controversial weekend break could prove the decisive factor as they aim to continue their UEFA Europa League fairytale against Hamburg on Thursday.

Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson risked the wrath of the Premier League when he rested nine first-team players for Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Everton to keep them fresh and injury-free ahead of the semi-final second leg at Craven Cottage. West Ham complained to the Premier League when Hodgson made a similar selection for a loss at Hull before his team's quarter-final against Wolfsburg.

But Hungary midfielder Gera insists Hodgson's decision will ensure the team, who drew 0-0 in Germany in the first leg, are perfectly prepared as they try to set up a final clash with Liverpool or Atletico Madrid. "I would be lying if I said I didn't like the rest as the past weeks have been very tough," Gera said. "All the games have been very speedy and I needed to recover well during the weekend, especially after our long journeys."

All the games have been very speedy and I needed to recover well during the weekend, especially after our long journeys.Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera

Despite having to make a 18-hour road trip to Hamburg after their flight was grounded by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe, Hodgson's team coped admirably with the draining journey and delivered a defensive masterclass in the Nordbank Arena. They shut out Hamburg even though the hosts dominated possession for long periods, but Gera hopes their failure to score an away goal won't prove costly as a score-draw in the return would mean the Germans go through to the final, which will be held at their own stadium.

"Our goalless draw is not the best omen because so far we have scored on all of our away games in Europe," Gera said. "Now after the goalless draw we have to win on home soil. If we don't win then we just can go through with penalties. Of course I'd accept this if it meant that we could go into the final."

That result was just the latest heroic effort by the Cottagers in a European campaign which began way back in late-July and has includes wins over holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian giants Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg. Now Fulham, who have never won a major honour in England or reached a European final, are on the verge of the greatest achievement in the club's 131-year history.

Zamora concern
Fulham's chances of an historic triumph will be significantly improved if 19-goal leading scorer Bobby Zamora recovers from an Achilles problem in time to feature. Zamora's performances in Europe this season have rightly earned rave reviews and even sparked talk of a surprise call-up to England's FIFA World Cup™ squad.

But he limped off in Germany last week after sustaining the injury and missed the Everton match as a result. "He's having treatment and I'm hoping he'll be ready for Thursday, but I'm not confident," Hodgson said.

Hamburg sacked manager Bruno Labbadia in the aftermath of last weekend's 5-1 loss at Hoffenheim, with assistant coach Ricardo Moniz - a former member of Tottenham's backroom staff under ex-boss Martin Jol - taking charge to the end of the season. Labbadia has been under pressure for several weeks as players complained about his stern style of management and he paid the price for such a heavy league defeat just days after his team's lacklustre effort against Fulham.

Hamburg had won just four of their last 15 matches and Chairman Bernd Hoffmann said: "We analysed the situation and we saw that as things were, we would not be able to succeed against Fulham.

"There was no alternative to this. We need to improve the probability of us being successful on Thursday. It was the last moment for us to react to keep our Europa League target in sight."

White Noise


By John Curtis, Press Association Sport

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey will demand the Premier League provide clarification on team selection regulations at their summer meeting.

Wolves still feel aggrieved at being handed a suspended £25,000 fine by the league after making 10 changes for the clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford in December.

Moxey points out that other teams have also made wholesale alterations to their line-ups without action being taken against them.

The issue has come back into the spotlight after last weekend when Fulham made nine changes for the clash with Everton and were beaten 2-1.

Moxey said: "Some sections of the media were having a go at Wolves for the side we fielded against Manchester United.

"I don't recall them having a go at Manchester United for making many changes on the last day of the season which could have affected relegation.

"Since then we have seen other managers make a lot of changes. Are we going to have the same furore over Roy Hodgson's selections for Fulham at the weekend?

"The Premier League have got an issue and we will be raising it at the summer meeting now being introduced are squad systems where you can only register 25 players and as many Under-21s as we like.

"The manager will have 25 players to pick. Surely he has got to be able select whatever 11 he wants to play week in and week out just as Roy Hodgson did at the weekend.

"We will be asking for clarification on the ruling. The one question is 'how many changes are too many?' but we won't be asking for an apology for the action taken against us."

Moxey wants manager Mick McCarthy to remain at Wolves for "a very long time" after saluting his efforts in keeping the club in the Premier League.

McCarthy is understood to be on a one-year rolling contract and has performed wonders since taking charge at Molineux four years ago when Wolves, according to Moxey, were a "club in crisis".

Moxey said: "Mick has been central to everything we have done from a football point of view. He took over a club that was in crisis.

"Part of our plan when we appointed Mick four years ago was to take the club and rebuild it, take it to the Premier League and stay in the Premier League.

"We set out a plan of where we wanted to go and Mick has delivered at every turn and we couldn't be more happy with what he has done.

"I hope personally Mick will be with us for a very long time."

White Noise

LE: The last time we spoke, we talked about Fulham's interest in the U.S. How is that progressing?

Gans: Fulham has great interest in America and shows great interest in America. I represent Fulham and so does FSG. That particular deal announced in October has more to do with corporate sponsorship and the jersey. When you're up in a jersey year, in the team's commercial department it becomes the top priority. The people are very progressive there, they just have a lot of balls in the air right now, as most clubs do right now in the EPL.

LE: Some of that has to do with the changing economic climate, yes?

Gans: Yes, I think that's true. The changing economic climate has changed things in the EPL, some teams like Portsmouth got into major financial trouble. It's the first EPL team to go into administration. But Fulham's having an unprecedented year - they're in the semi-finals in the second leg of the Europa League and they're one of only two teams in England left in the European competition, the other being Liverpool. Man U and Chelsea and Arsenal have all been knocked out. It's unprecedented for Fulham so they're pretty much focused on in most ways, the best year in their history. If they beat Hamburg at home next week they're in the Europa League final, which is pretty extraordinary.

White Noise

Ruud set to face Cottagers

07:02 - 28th, Apr 2010
Veteran Netherlands international Ruud van Nistelrooy has returned to training and could feature in Hamburg's Europa League semi-final second leg clash with Fulham on Thursday.

The 33-year-old former PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and Real Madrid star has been struggling with the hip injury he suffered in last week's first leg against the Cottagers.

He missed Sunday's embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga which proved to be head coach Bruno Labbadia's last game in charge of the club as he was axed on Monday.

There is more good news for Hamburg as defender Guy Demel and midfielder Ze Roberto have also been able to return to training.

Demel has recovered from a knee injury while Ze Roberto is available again following a calf problem.

White Noise


I'm off to Madrid in the morning for work. I'm due to land back at Heathrow just before 6pm on Thursday. Hopefully that will give me plenty of time to get to the Cottage, especially as I'll have no luggage, so fingers crossed.

My girlfriend is always on about the words that could be made by the abbreviations of the team names in the top left hand corner of televised matches. Obviously for this EUROPEAN SEMI-FINAL there is a rather appropriate word that will be created. If this had been on Sky though it would not have worked as they have taken to using only two letters (probably to 'differentiate themselves from the other channels') and a game between FU - HA doesn't have quite the same poetry.

Surprisingly Hamburg have sacked their manager Bruno Labbadia this week, which is probably bad news for the whites as it seems pretty clear that the players hated him.

Without Labbadia, the players might play with much more freedom at Craven Cottage. But Woy's amazed us in getting this far and despite being underdogs yet again, Fulham could easily progress to the final. All you need is a little bit of luck to go your way.

Anyway here are some stats from the UEFA website:

There were no goals last week when the sides met in Germany, with Fulham defending heroically. Tellingly, Hamburg had five shots on goal while their guests had none, and were also well on top in terms of corners (7-1) and offsides (3-1).

Hamburg have now played 13 games against English sides in European club competition, with the record W4 D3 L6: (W0 D1 L4 in England).

Hamburg have yet to win in five trips to England, avoiding defeat only once, with a 0-0 draw against Southampton FC at The Dell in a 1984/85 UEFA Cup first round opener.

Prior to last week's stalemate in Hamburg, Fulham had only once drawn the first leg of a European tie away from home, holding Bologna FC 2-2 in one of the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup finals, before winning the return fixture 3-1 in London.

Hamburg have drawn 0-0 at home in the opening leg of three previous European ties, going on to win the most recent two of them (one on away goals). They were undone in the 1983 UEFA Super Cup, however, losing 2-0 at Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen FC.

Fulham remain unbeaten in 15 European home games (11 wins, four draws) since making their continental debut in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup. They have conceded more than one goal just once when holding European matches, drawing 2-2 with HNK Hajduk Split in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round, and have won their last four home fixtures in the UEFA Europa League.

Fulham have never been involved in a European penalty shoot-out. Hamburg lost their only European penalty shoot-out 4-3 on home turf against Dutch opponents Sparta Rotterdam following a 2-2 aggregate draw in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup first round.

Fulham have three players who will miss the final if they receive a yellow card: Paul Konchesky, Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera. Hamburg have six.

Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakır has officiated in four matches (including internationals) involving English teams with the English side triumphing on each occasion. He has only officiated in one match involving a team from Germany, which the German side lost. I've just noticed he is also two months younger than me, the bastard.

Good luck everyone.

Posted by Bad Andy at 22:58

White Noise

West Ham chairman David Sullivan seeks end to Fulham feud with £100k charity offer

By Matt Barlow

Last updated at 1:00 AM on 28th April 2010

West Ham chairman David Sullivan wants to strike a peace deal with Fulham by making a six-figure donation to charity before the feuding clubs meet on Sunday.

Sullivan had offered to make the payment rather than proceed with a long court battle with Fulham over the Cottagers' claim for lost prize-money resulting from the Carlos Tevez affair.

'I'm told we will win but it'll take a long time and the only people who will get rich are the lawyers,' said Sullivan. 'I'll give £100,000 to Great Ormond Street Hospital tomorrow if we can call it a day.'

The clubs fell out when Fulham claimed for compensation last year, citing that West Ham finished one place above them in the 2006-07 season when Tevez was registered illegitimately. That place was worth £450,000 in prize-money.

West Ham hit back last month with a complaint to the Premier League because Fulham fielded a weakened team and lost at Hull - but Sullivan admits he acted hastily.

'I probably regret making that complaint,' he said. 'Mohamed Al Fayed is someone I admire and respect. I enquired about withdrawing it but it's gone through and it looks like we'll lose anyway.'

Fulham said last night they were planning to fight through the courts for the Tevez money.

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