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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

The great West Ham clear-out: Who's up for grabs and how much will they cost in the big summer sale

By Tom Bellwood

Last updated at 1:08 AM on 28th April 2010

Comments (9)

West Ham are safe for another season - but the players are not. Co-owner David Sullivan has revealed that the club will accept offers on every player this summer, except Scott Parker.

The Hammers have struggled all season under manager Gianfranco Zola and have only just staved off the threat of relegation with two games to spare.

So Sullivan has promised a reshuffle in the summer – the dead wood will be cleared away and a raft of new playing bought in its place.

So with anywhere up to 25 players set to head for the exit, Sportsmail analyses the Hammers under threat and how much the club could recoup from a mass sale.

Alessandro Diamanti

Fans love him as he's as close to having Paolo Di Canio back as they're ever going to get. Naturally gifted, wonderful finisher, but prone to anonymity.
Value: £3m

Possible destinations: West Brom, Napoli

Benni McCarthy

Not one of the club's finest moves. McCarthy has looked off the pace, overweight and has struggled in front of goal when handed opportunities.
Value: £1m

Possible destinations: Galatasaray, Celtic

Carlton Cole

Fans will be disappointed to see Cole leave. Their powerful forward wears his heart on his sleeve and has scored nine vital goals.
Value: £10m

Possible destinations: Aston Villa, Arsenal, Liverpool

Danny Gabbidon

The Wales international has featured just 11 times this season as injuries continue to hamper his time at Upton Park.

Value: £500,000

Possible destination: Cardiff, Rangers

Fabio Daprela

Brought in as cover last summer and has made just seven appearances for the Hammers this season.

Value: £500,000

Possible destination: Grasshoppers

Frank Nouble

Made 10 appearances earlier in the season but barely for more than a few minutes. Now on loan at Swindon.

Value: £1m

Possible destinations: Reading, QPR, Ipswich

Freddie Sears

Has spent the season on loan at Crystal Palace and Coventry City, appearing just twice for the Hammers.

Value:  £500,000

Possible destinations: Crystal Palace, Watford

Herita Ilunga

Always an outlet going forward but suspect at the back. Has only featured once this year.

Value:  £2m

Possible destination: Paris St Germain, Blackburn

Junior Stanislas

Another product of the Academy – full of running and no shortage of ability but needs more games. Could still attract interest from some leading clubs.

Value:  £2.5m

Possible destinations: Aston Villa, Tottenham

Jack Collison

Started the season as an exciting prospect but will end it knowing he has plenty of work to do. A hardworking midfielder with real touches of class.

Value: £1.5m

Possible destinations: Ipswich, Sheffield United

James Tomkins

Aside from a couple of high-profile mistakes, Tomkins has proven himself a decent prospect. Strong in the air but needs more experience.

Value: £2m

Possible destinations: Tottenham, Fulham, Bolton

Jonathan Spector

The own goal against Wigan was unfortunate but has generally done well. Willing to shift to unfamiliar positions and has commendable workrate.

Value: £500k

Possible destinations: Wigan, Wolves

Julien Faubert

A pacy defender who has looked more comfortable going forward than dealing with duties at the back. His cross for Ilan's goal at Everton was stunning.

Value: £1.5m

Possible destinations: Rangers, Bordeaux

Kieron Dyer

A player synonymous with all that was wrong at West Ham. A highly paid former international who has failed to deliver after a series of nasty injuries.

Value: £1.2m

Possible destinations: QPR, Ipswich Town

Matthew Upson

Few players have seen their standing in the game drop as much as Upson this season. Has been troubled by imposing forwards and his heading hasn't been up to scratch.

Value: £7m

Possible destinations: Tottenham, Blackburn

Mark Noble

Suffered as many players have this season – showing moments of brilliance and no lack of hard work - but an underlying lack of confidence has hampered his development.

Value: £4.5m

Possible destinations: Tottenham, Fulham

Manuel da Costa

Endeared himself to Hammers fans by joining as part of the deal which saw Savio depart. Has acquitted himself in his few opportunities this term.

Value: £2m

Possible destinations: Fulham, Bolton

Robert Green

A certainty for Fabio Capello's World Cup squad but it hasn't been a great season for Green who has suffered at the back of an ever-changing defence.

Value: £8m

Possible destinations: Arsenal, Sunderland

Radoslav Kovac

A tenacious and talented midfielder who has made 28 appearances this season. A hard worker who is let down occasionally by his passing.

Value: £2m

Possible destinations: Sunderland, Celtic

Valon Behrami

It's all or nothing from the Swiss international. He either dazzles with creativity and finishing or rather ambles unnoticed through a game.

Value: £8m

Possible destinations: Palermo, Stuttgart, Juventus

Zavon Hines

Thrust into the limelight with Zola facing a number of injuries and enforced sales this term. The 21-year-old has shown moments of brilliance but injury has decimated his season.

Value: £1m

Possible destinations: Blackburn, Wigan




Free signing from Saint Etienne - his goals against Everton, Sunderland and Wigan have gone a long way to helping stave off relegation.

Possible destination: West Ham (permanent deal)

Guillermo Franco

Joined on a free and scored four goals - Franco, 32, has impressed but is considered too old to be offered an extension to his one-year contract.

Possible destinations: Blackburn, Stoke

Luis Boa Morte

Not a hugely popular player with the fans, the former Portugal international, 32, hasn't played all season after suffering cruciate ligament damage in pre-season.

Possible destinations: Wolves, Reading


Joined the Hammers on loan from Middlesbrough in January – and will no doubt be returning up north after a poor spell at Upton Park.

Possible destinations: Middlesbrough,

Al Ahli

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White Noise

Europa League Semi-final: Fulham v Hamburg Match Preview

Josue Jamlang

What: Europa League semi-final second leg
Who: Fulham vs Hamburg
When: Thursday 29th April, 2010, at 20:05 BST
Where: Craven Cottage, London, England

Craven Cottage Fortress

Fulham have been spectacular at their home ground this season, losing only twice in the last 12 matches played at Craven Cottage. The remarkable run includes some truly historic Europa League victories over international heavyweights Shakhtar Donetsk, Wolfsburg, and of course the memorable turnaround to knock out Italian giants Juventus. Now, starting from scratch against Hamburg with the tie at 0-0, the London side can create yet more memories.

Despite lying innocuously in 12th place in the Premier League, The Cottagers have shown, under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, that they are capable of beating world class sides on their day, as they convincingly beat Manchester United and Liverpool earlier in the season as well.

Although Fulham have seemingly struggled to find the consistency to dispatch of the "lesser" teams in England, the side have rarely disappointed on big occasions, proving that nerves should not be a factor for Roy Hodgson's side. With a chance to qualify for the Europa League final on the line, expect The Cottagers to be well up for the challenge.

Ending Silverware Drought

Having drawn at home against The Cottagers in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, Hamburg will be hoping to overcome what is sure to be a more adventurous Fulham side. The Bundesliga club have not won any major silverware since the 1980s and will have to get the better of the tough English team if they are to have any chance of ending their unfortunate barren spell.

Hamburg are currently sitting seventh in the Bundesliga standings, making success in the Europa League, the club's primary target for the remainder of the season. Despite getting hammered by Hoffenheim at the weekend, a result which caused the club to sack Bruno Labbadia, interim coach Ricardo Moniz will surely have his side fully focused on a positive result against Fulham on Thursday night. It really could make or break their season.

Having dominated for large portions of the first leg, Hamburg will be brimming with confidence that a repeat performance, with the addition of a goal, can be enough at Craven Cottage.

Recent form

Fulham 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (17/04; Premier League)
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham (22/04; Europa League)
Everton 2-1 Fulham (25/04; Premier League)

Hamburg 0-1 Mainz (17/04; Bundesliga)
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham (22/04; Europa League)
Hoffenheim 5-1 Hamburg (25/04; Bundesliga)

Key absences

Fulham: Bobby Zamora (doubt); Clint Dempsey; Andrew Johnson

Hamburg: Eljero Elia; Marcell Jansen; Tolgay-Ali Arslan; Maximilian Beister

Players to watch

Fulham – Mark Schwarzer: The Australian goalkeeper is undoubtedly one of the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League and did well to help Fulham emerge from Germany with a clean sheet in the first leg. While Fulham's frontline will be expected to break down Hamburg's resistance, the lack of an away goal puts The Cottagers in a precarious position – just one German goal could change the complexion of the entire tie. For this reason Schwarzer will have to keep his concentration even throughout long periods of inaction.

Hamburg – Ruud van Nistelrooy: Undoubtedly not at the same level that he once was for the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid, Ruud van Nistelrooy remains a top-class player with a real eye for goal. The former unbelievably prolific striker has lost quite a bit of his pace, but his clinical finishing will always prove to be a significant threat for any opposing team. With the tie expected to be tight, van Nistelrooy's quality could just be the difference.

Match prediction

After a cagey affair in the first leg, expect Fulham to be more willing to take the game to Hamburg. Roy Hodgson will know though that the London side must be careful not to concede that precious away goal, while Hamburg will hunt for the strike which could ensure they reach the final due to be played at their home ground. Fulham though, with many of their team fresh having been rested for their weekend Premier League game, should have just enough to ensure a 2-0 win.

White Noise

Gera defends Fulham's rotation policy

Published 23:00 27/04/10

By Darren Lewis

Fulham striker Zoltan Gera has defended Roy Hodgson's right to rotate the team ahead of their Europa League semi-final showdown tomorrow.

The Cottagers boss has come under fire for his team selection in recent weeks, drawing criticism in particular from West Ham.

The late 2-1 defeat by Everton on Sunday was suffered by a team showing nine changes from the side that earned a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Europa League final away to Hamburg last week.

None of the absent players even featured on the bench but all are set to return at Craven Cottage tomorrow.

And Gera believes Hodgson has been right to use his squad with the club just 90 minutes away from the chance to compete for their first major trophy in their 131-year history.

The Hungarian said: "I didn't play against Everton, what's more I didn't even travel with the team. Our manager let me know after the Europa League game (in Hamburg) that I'll be rested in the Premier League with some of my team-mates.

"I would be lying if I said I didn't like this rest as our past weeks have been very tough. All the games have been very speedy and I could regenerate well during the weekend, especially after our long journeys.

"Our game in Hamburg was quite interesting. Everyone thought - me too - that we'd be tired after our day-long travel but I was fresher than ever."

Fulham go into tomorrow's match having prevented Ruud van Nistelrooy's Hamburg side from scoring on their home patch. Now they have the chance to add the Bundesliga outfit to the scalps of Roma, Juventus, holders Shakhtar Donetsk and Wolfsburg.

But Gera admits Fulham's task could have been even easier had they grabbed an away goal.

He went on: "I enjoyed the game. I was just a bit unhappy because I didn't manage to score, though I had the chance to do so at least twice.

It's a pity because an away goal, an away victory, would have been very good.

"Our goalless game is not the best omen because we had scored on all of our away games in the Europa League.

"Now it's be another game we have to win on home soil. If we don't win then we can go through with penalties. Of course I'd accept this [winning on penalties] if it meant that we could go into the final."

Meanwhile, Hamburg assistant coach Ricardo Moniz has been handed the manager's job full-time following the sacking of Bruno Labbadia earlier this week.

The role will be 45-year-old Moniz's first in management but the Dutchman does have experience of English football having worked with former Hamburg coach Martin Jol at Spurs for three years.

Hamburg chairman Bernd Hoffman said: "He is knowledgeable about English football and can therefore prepare the team in the best way for Thursday's return leg."

"We believe that Ricardo will be able to get that extra percentage out of us which had disappeared recently."

White Noise

A peculiar club


By Himmat Singh, 17, Selayang

WHICH English Premier League club do you support? It would most probably be either Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool — for they are the so-called big four clubs in the EPL.

Otherwise, it could be a above-average team like Tottenham, Aston Villa or Manchester City.

But ask me this question and my answer would be something you would not imagine — Fulham! Yes, I support Fulham and have been doing so for the past six years. You ask, "Why Fulham?" Actually, the first club that I had supported in the EPL was Manchester United but that was when I was oblivious to the happenings in the EPL. I supported Manchester because my friends were supporting it, and because it was the most popular club. However, when I started to pick up the papers to read the EPL news and started watching the matches a bit here and there, I realised that I didn't actually like Manchester. And for some reason, unknown to even me, I chose Fulham as the team to support.

Maybe because the name sounded unique. From then on, I have been ridiculed a quadrillion times over by friends, family members — you name it. Every time someone spoke of the EPL, and when they asked me which team I supported, I would enthusiastically say Fulham.

But nobody would believe me, not the first time around at least. Fulham is a relatively new club to Premier League football.

It gained promotion into the top ranks of British football in 2001. Astonishingly, this was its third promotion up the British league tier in five seasons.

This feat was mostly due to the backing of Mohamed al-Fayed, a multi-millionaire who spent a lot of money to bring quality coaches and players into the club. When I started supporting it in 2004, Fulham was a mediocre team.

It would usually be fighting for places in the lower half of the EPL table.

Back then, the club had good players such as Edwin van der Sar, Louis Saha and Luis Bao Morte. But in 2008, Fulham was on the brink of Premier League oblivion.

With just 15 minutes left to play in the final game of the season against Portsmouth, it was mathematically relegated. But a goal in the 77th minute of the game earned Fulham another season in the EPL.

Had it been relegated that day, I quite possibly wouldn't have a team to support now in the EPL. Now Fulham is consistently giving the bigger teams a run for their money, and is featured prominently in the top 10 of the EPL. The present team, led by Clint Dempsey, Danny Murphy, Brede Hangeland and Mark Schwarzer, have the potential to take this Fulham side far. Its campaign in the inaugural Europa League has been a sensation — it successfully navigated past the group stages and have a chance of making it to the semi-finals after winning Juventus in the last-16 stage.

Silverware or no silverware, come the end of the season, the present 2009-2010 campaign has been the best in the entire history of Fulham. It could be in the running for the EPL crown even.

I shall then have the last laugh at the many people who have poked fun at me for supporting Fulham.

Till then, glory to Fulham!

White Noise,hard-work-leads-fulham-to-the-brink-of-final--feature.html

Hard work leads Fulham to the brink of final - Feature

London - Were Fulham to beat Hamburg on Thursday to reach the Europa League final, it would represent one of football's great fairy stories.

This is a small side who seemed doomed to relegation when Roy Hodgson took over the season before last.

In their third last game they trailed 2-0 at Manchester City with 20 minutes to go, a result that would have ensured they were relegated.

But they came back to win 3-2, won their last two games and survived to finish seventh last season, qualifying for the Europa League.

This season, they have beaten Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Wolfsburg on their way to the semi-final, and a 0-0 draw in Hamburg leaves them well placed for the second leg.

Hodgson, at last, is getting the credit he deserves in England after a peripatetic career that has taken him to Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Finland.

His method, the midfielder Simon Davies says, is simple. He just ensures Fulham keep their shape better than other teams.

"If you are going to play for him you have got to put a shift in and perform, work to a system and be tight defensively," Davies said. "What you get after that is a bonus.

"I have been working with the manager three years now and every day is team shape, and it shows."

Davies admits that the incessant focus on shape can become boring.

"We have a little laugh about it now and again," he said, "but when he came in we were fighting relegation and now we are in the Europa League so you take it.

"I don't want to give any secrets away, but he gets the 11 that he wants on a Saturday and he drills everything in that he wants.

"We have got the ball - it's never unopposed. It's certain drills defensive, certain drills attacking and we work very hard at it.

"There's no diagrams, it's just all on the pitch. We do a lot of work after every game on analysis, sorting the bad things out, sorting the good things out.

"It's nice to know what you work hard on works so well. We are two and a half years down the line now, so we are all converted, and it's just working on little things now and hoping we can still get better."

While Fulham could hardly be happier with their manager, Hamburg sacked theirs, Bruno Labbadia, after the 5-1 defeat to Hoffenheim at the weekend.

He has been replaced by the skills coach Ricardo Moniz which, given how unpopular Labbadia seemed to have become, can only be of benefit to Hamburg.

It is Fulham, though, who have the stability.

White Noise

Europa joy would be just champion for Roy

Wednesday 28th April 2010 9:08

TEAMtalk's James Marshment tips his cap to Roy Hodgson and reckons the Fulham gaffer is a leading contender for Manager of the Season.

Whatever the outcome of Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg against Hamburg, Fulham can look back with great pride at one of the best seasons in their history.

So often in the shadow of their "significantly richer than you" west London rivals Chelsea, the Cottagers have risen and risen under the expert tutelage of Hodgson.

Now just 90 minutes away from a trip back to Hamburg for the Europa League final if they can overcome the Germans in the second leg of their last-four showdown, Hodgson deserves all the plaudits for masterminding their progress so far.

Shorn of the vast squad options that many of their rivals in the top flight, and almost certainly across Europe enjoy, Hodgson has also exceeded on the domestic front too by reaching the last eight of the FA Cup and also by overseeing a comfortable top-half finish.

Very impressive.

In a campaign that started as far back in July during Europa League qualifying, the crown jewel of their European adventure so far was undoubtedly the elimination of Juventus. A win that, lest we forget, came after the Cottagers found themselves trailing 4-1 on aggregate with two minutes played of the second leg, before eventually prevailing 5-4 on aggregate. No matter how many times Chelsea score seven in the league this season, that wining, dining, flirting-with and eventually ditching of the Old Lady will be remembered by this journalist as the performance of the season, bar none.

And it's not over yet either with Hamburg, who this week sacked their manager after a 5-1 defeat in the Bundesliga over the weekend, lie in wait for the second leg.

A goalless draw away from home, whilst a good result for Fulham, will see the visitors start as slight favourites to reach the final on May 12. Such is the way with European football and the away goals rule, as a home team, the next best result to winning is a 0-0 stalemate.

So you'd be forgiven if you had the pre-conceived thought that this will be one match too far for the Cottagers. But write them off at your peril and who'd bet against Hodgson leading out Fulham in the Europa League final against either Atletico Madrid or Liverpool in just two weeks' time.

Whatever the outcome on Thursday night, I believe Hodgson has proved himself this season (and to be fair, last season too) to be one of the game's best tactitians and definitely takes my vote for Manager of the Season.

White Noise

John Carew deserves his move to Fulham - too bad it will be eight years too late for the big Norwegian

Looking good in a white shirt: John Carew could leave Villa for Fulham

JOHN CAREW is moving  into the final year of his contract at Aston Villa and his situation has alerted Fulham to the possibility of luring him to Craven Cottage.

In a football terms it makes sense, the big Norwegian having the right attributes to share the burden on Bobby Zamora.

But few potential deals would have to be conducted in as potentially explosive and toxic circumstances, so it  is intriguing that it has been raised at all.

For Fulham's chairman, Mohamed al-Fayed, signing Carew would represent a loss of  face and could even have more serious consequences after his club's aborted  attempt to sign the player eight  years ago.

A £7.5million deal was called off then when the striker was found to have 'jumper's knee' in a medical organised by the club.

Fayed later accused his manager Jean Tigana in court of acting improperly in trying 'to sign a player with a clear medical problem at such a high price.'

But Carew and his club at the time, Valencia, took great umbrage at the outcome of the medical and the decision.

The striker has proved his fitness since and Valencia went  into a legal battle with Fulham, via FIFA, for compensation.

If Carew could be transferred to Fulham now without a great deal of fuss it  would show the game has grown up more than it is given credit for.

Read more:

White Noise

More Season Tickets Seats Available

Wednesday 28th April 2010

Fulham FC News

As of 9am Wednesday 28th April, all current Season Ticket seats that have not been renewed for next season have been released for sale to the general public, leaving some of the best seats in the house available for Fulham's 2010/11 Barclays Premier League season.

Some of the seats now available include W Block on the half way line in the Riverside Stand, there are also great views in the Riverside Stand blocks X and T and even fantastic views from Johnny Haynes Stand, F block, but you must be quick – they won't be available for long!

Buy your Season Ticket online today|

You can view which new seats have become available and even select your own seat for 2010/11 by logging in to our new online system|.

Remember, Adult Season Tickets for the 2010/11 season start at just £285, and Junior Season Tickets from just £95 – that's only £15 and £5 per game respectively!  We even have a limited number of FREE Season Tickets for Under 8s if booked at the same time as a full paying Adult Season Ticket*.

You could also benefit from our great Early Bird prices by purchasing your Season Ticket by 5pm Monday 10th May. You can purchase your Season Ticket instantly| with our new online system and in around four clicks become a Fulham Season Ticket Holder.  It has never been easier.

*Under 8 Season Tickets cannot be bought online.

Read more:

White Noise

Zamora and Gera lead Fulham's Europa League charge

Published: Wednesday, 28 April 2010, 9:42AM

At the beginning of the season, few would have envisaged the impact that Bobby Zamora would have on Fulham's 2009/10 Europa League campaign. The striker had hit just three goals in 48 Premier League appearances of the two seasons prior to the current one, becoming something of a figure of fun for opposition supporters, but this season has been instrumental in Fulham's reaching the semi-final of the Europa League.

It is a similar story for his team-mate Zoltan Gera who could count only four Premier League goals to his name from his two previous campaigns in the competition, but has suddenly come into his own in European competition this season.

Between them, Zamora and Gera have been involved in all but two of Fulham's 15 Europa League goals since the start of December:

Fulham's Europa League goals since start of December

Date Opponent Scorer Assist
3 Dec 09 CSKA Sofia Gera Riise
16 Dec 09 Basel Zamora Riise
16 Dec 09 Basel Zamora Riise
16 Dec 09 Basel Gera Kelly 
18 Feb 10 Shakhtar Donetsk Gera Zamora
18 Feb 10 Shakhtar Donetsk Zamora Gera
25 Feb 10 Shakhtar Donetsk Hangeland Duff
11 Mar 10 Juventus Etuhu Gera
18 Mar 10 Juventus Zamora Konchesky
18 Mar 10 Juventus Gera Davies
18 Mar 10 Juventus Gera   
18 Mar 10 Juventus Dempsey Etuhu
1 Apr 10 Wolfsburg Zamora Gera
1 Apr 10 Wolfsburg Duff Zamora
8 Apr 10 Wolfsburg Zamora Gera

Only two players can boast that they have scored more goals than Zamora's six in this season's Europa League, with Cardozo of Benfica and Pizarro of Werder Bremen both hitting nine so far, whilst Gera's four assists are surpassed only by Benfica's Di María and Bremen's Özil (six each).

Interestingly it is mainly since the Whites reached the supposedly tougher knockout stages of the competition that Gera and Zamora have come into their own; scoring against last season's winners Shakhtar, Italian giants Juventus and current Bundesliga title holders Wolfsburg, suggesting that they perform at their best against the tougher opponents.

For Zamora, such displays have led to whispers of a possible England call-up ahead of this summer's World Cup, though Roy Hodgson will be more interested in making sure that his striker has fully recovered from his Achilles injury ahead of the semi-final clash with Hamburg on Thursday.

White Noise

O'Neill makes no apologies for Euro strategy

Author:  Andrew Allen

Posted on:28 April 2010 - 11:17

Martin O'Neill has made clear that he will not back down from playing inexperienced players in next year's Europa League should Aston Villa miss out on Champions League qualification in the final two weeks of the season.

The Aston Villa manager bore the brunt of criticism from fans after the Midlands outfit exited last year's UEFA Cup at the hands of CSKA Moscow while fielding reserve and Academy graduates in the hope of speeding up their integration into first team matters.

This season Aston Villa were dumped out of the renamed tournament in the preliminary stages by Austrian side Rapid Vienna; a result which cost the club's fans the opportunity to embark on a European adventure like Premier League rivals Fulham, Everton and Liverpool.

"I will make it clear to the Aston Villa  fans what we will do if we are in the Europa League," O'Neill said in the Daily Express.

"The likes of Ciaran Clark,  Marc Albrighton  and Nathan Delfouneso  would've been given a chance so that, come this stage of the season, you'd know precisely what they're capable of.

"That experience might come in really handy in the run-up in the Premier League. That's the theory. In practice there might be a Europa League game so important that you might have to go with your senior players.

"This is my thought process and, if we're in the Europa League next season, that is what we will do.

"If we're in the Champions League then try telling Richard Dunne, who has fought so hard to get this far, that he's not playing."

White Noise

Viv's fighting spirit rubs off on players

Published at 11:31, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

There was a time when Viv Busby didn't care if he never won another football match ever again. All he was interested in was staying alive long enough to see the birth of his baby daughter Megan.

Finding time to relax: Workington Reds assistant manager Viv Busby, pictured below barking orders to players from the touchline, takes some time out at his home in Carlisle The man who terrorised defences for 14 years, played in the 1975 FA Cup Final and scored more than 100 goals for Luton, Fulham, Newcastle, Stoke, Sheffield United and Blackburn was facing his toughest opponent – leukaemia.

On more than one occasion, his family were told to prepare for the worst as he lay desperately ill in hospital.

As leukaemia took hold of him in the most brutal way, he was determined he would not succumb to the disease and even managed to make it 50 yards down the corridor to be at the birth of Megan.

Ten years on, Busby, 60, may have a new sense of priority but he has also rediscovered his hunger for winning games – after celebrating his greatest victory of all.

At an age when most men are winding down to retirement, Busby is helping to lead Workington Reds to glory, as well as be doting dad to a lively nine-year-old daughter.

He's a man who has been given a second chance of life and he's determined to make the most of it.

"I was on death's door but I pulled through," says Busby of the darkest days of his fight for life.

"Something like that is life changing. One minute, you're fit and healthy and you think you're invincible and won't get a serious illness, the next, you think you're on your way out. I can't believe now that I felt that ill. Anything associated with cancer is frightening. It came as a right kick in the teeth."

It was 2000 when Busby was struck down by illness while he was working as Colin Todd's No2 at Swindon. He thought he had a severe dose of flu but was instead given the devastating diagnosis that he had acute myeloid leukaemia.

He spent a traumatic year in hospital and underwent five sessions of gruelling chemotherapy. Nothing could have prepared him for the horrific side-effects. His weight plummeted by four stone, he lost all his hair and he had to be kept in isolation because his immune system was shattered but he never gave up the fight.

"Once you get over the shock, the determination to stay alive kicks in," said Busby.

"The doctor said it would be curable but the treatment would be harsh, but I knew if I stayed strong I could make it through.

"On one occasion, doctors called my family as they thought I wouldn't make it through the night after I developed a lung infection. The infection got me down and almost put an end to me.

"You never know what's round the corner. I came down with a heavy dose of flu and it was cough, cough, cough. I had a very high temperature, my teeth were bleeding, and I was in a right state. I took myself off to A&E and was kept in and fed antibiotics and two pints of blood. The next day I was told I had acute myeloid leukaemia.

"My daughter Megan was born 50 yards down the corridor on the maternity ward, but I was able to be there.

"I went into remission after the first course of chemotherapy, probably because I was so fit and strong-minded."

Now, Busby looks so well and has so much zest for life that you can't help but do a double take when he says he'll be 61 in June.

He is fit enough to run around the training ground with Workington Reds players young enough to be his grandsons.

In the dug-out alongside ambitious young manager Darren Edmondson, he has helped to inspire an barnstorming run of nine wins and two draws from their last 11 games, which has fired the west Cumbrians into the Blue Square North play-offs.

They host Alfreton Town in tonight's semi-final first leg in front of an anticipated bumper crowd, before Sunday's return leg in Derbyshire.

Their success has coincided with the 35th anniversary of Busby playing in the FA Cup final for Fulham against West Ham in front of 100,000 fans – a stark contrast to the world of non-league football where he now finds himself.

But it doesn't matter to him that he is working with part-timers, who juggle football with jobs as postmen, electricians and roofers, rather than multi-million pound stars he was accustomed to during a career in which he played alongside Bobby Moore and Malcolm Macdonald and, after hanging up his boots, included spells as assistant manager to Howard Kendall at Everton and Sheffield United and to Denis Smith at Sunderland.

Busby unexpectedly found himself out of the full-time game in 2007 when he was controversially axed as academy director at Gretna in a savage cost-cutting measure a year before the Borderers were wiped off the football map when late owner Brooks Mileson walked away from the club following illness.

Edmondson asked him to be his assistant when he took over from Tommy Cassidy as Reds manager in 2007, and it was a perfect move for Busby, who has settled living in Carlisle.

Good assistants, as any manager will tell you, are a godsend, and in the wider football world, Busby is respected as a man steeped in experience and knowledge of the game, and 42 years in football have done nothing to dim his enthusiasm.

Busby said: "Three seasons ago , I remember being at Consett in the FA Cup first qualifying round and there were three men and a dog there.

"I was going berserk on the touchline and afterwards someone commented on how I still get excited. I jump up in the air when you win and when things don't go right I still kick the ground. I still get a thrill out of it.

"We have such a tremendous blend of players at Workington that you can't help but be swept up. We have the likes of Tony Caig, who is an experienced former professional, Tony Hopper, Kyle May and Lee Andrews, who were all at Carlisle United, Jonny Wright and Gareth Arnison who have stepped up to the plate.

"Phil McLuckie didn't make it at Morecambe but has come on leaps and bounds.

"Some of them like Gari Rowntree, who was released by Blackburn, have had a kick in the teeth but bounced back.

"There are scouts at a lot of games and people are ringing me all the time wondering about players. They say 'What about Arnison? What about Wright?'.

"It's totally different to what I'm used to but it's really refreshing. I still get the same buzz.

"When you consider the size of the budget compared to other clubs in our league, we just can't compete financially but, on the pitch, the boys work so hard and are a match for anyone.

"Because of postponements due to the weather, we have had a relentless, non-stop programme with a squad of 16 or 17 players. One or two are feeling the pinch and we've had a few playing while they're unfit. The spirit is tremendous and they should be very proud of what they've achieved."

White Noise

Europa League Preview: Fulham - Hamburg

With the tie delicately poised, the Cottagers go into this encounter on level terms with an HSV side who have just lost their coach...

By Robin Bairner

Apr 28, 2010 11:30:00 AM

Kick Off: Thursday, April 20, 2010. 21:05 CET
Craven Cottage, London

On The Brink Of History

Thursday's encounter between Fulham and Hamburg promises to be a huge clash for both sides. The Cottagers, who battled to a 0-0 draw in Germany last week, will be aiming to qualify for their first ever continental final, while HSV are only one win away from the unique chance to play the competition's concluding match on home soil.

Amiable home coach Roy Hodgson has made few bones about his desire to see Fulham excel in the Europa League, making wholesale changes to his side for the weekend's domestic game against Everton, which was only lost 2-1 at the very last gasp.

Known for their excellent record at Craven Cottage, where the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus have all be soundly thumped this season, the Premier League club will certainly limber up for the midweek tie full of confidence. Speaking after last week's draw in Hamburg, Hodgson was upbeat over his side's chances of progressing.

"We've been given enormous help from the fans in our home games and I'm sure they'll be turning up in great numbers to cheer us on," he told ESPN. "The tie is still very open, 0-0 is not such a bad result for Hamburg because if they do score away from home then we'll have to score two."

Despite the former Inter coach's warnings, Fulham have managed to score more than once at home in each round since the group phase (during which they never actually managed to score more than one home goal), and if they can maintain such a record, it is likely they will have done enough to progress against opponents in turmoil.


Bruno Labbadia finally paid for the dire league form of HSV on Monday when he was sacked from his post as head coach of the club. A dire run of results domestically has seen Hamburg tumble down to seventh in the Bundesliga table, and an especially poor 5-1 defeat against Hoffenheim at the weekend proved to be the final straw for the club.

Ricardo Moniz has since taken charge of the side on a temporary basis, but he has a big job on his hands to reverse the negative trend on the home front. In Europe, on the other hand, die Rothosen have been going along fairly steadily. Belgian sides Standard Liege and Anderlecht were dismissed, while last week's scoreless draw at the HSH Nordbank Arena certainly doesn't rule out a shock on Thursday night.

Labbadia was confident that the scoreless outcome last week wasn't a poor result, and his thoughts were echoed by players such as defender Joris Mathijsen, who seemed fairly content with the outcome. "There are certainly worse results," the Dutchman said to the press after the game, before lamenting his side's inability to convert chances – something that has plagued them throughout the campaign.

Finding the net in foreign lands hasn't necessarily been such a big issue for HSV, as the 30-year-old was swift to point out. "In the last three European away games we have scored a total of eight goals. In London, we will score our goal, I'm sure," he explained.

If Hamburg can register first, it could be a difficult evening for Fulham, who won't know exactly what to expect from their German guests.



LOST 2-1 (a) Everton (Premier League, April 25)

DREW 0-0 (a) Hamburg (Europa League, April 22)

DREW 0-0 (h) Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League, April 17)

DREW 0-0 (a) Liverpool (Premier League, April 11)

WON 1-0 (a) Wolfsburg (Europa League, April 8)


LOST 5-1 (a) Hoffenheim (Bundesliga, April 25)

DREW 0-0 (h) Fulham (Europa League, April 22)

LOST 1-0 (h) Mainz (Bundesliga, April 17)

WON 2-1 (a) Bochum (Bundesliga, April 11)

WON 3-1 (a) Standard Liege (Europa League, April 8)



Andrew Johnson is a long-term problem for Fulham, while Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka are ineligible for this fixture. Otherwise, only Bobby Zamora is struggling for fitness, and he's likely to try to play through the pain of an Achilles tendon problem.

Probable Starting XI: Schwarzer; Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Davies; Gera, Zamora


Ricardo Moniz has a number of selection issues to concern himself with ahead of this match. Key figures such as Eljero Elia and Marcell Jansen lead an injury list that also contains Romeo Castelen, Tunay Torun and Collin Benjamin, though there is hope that right-back Guy Demel will be able to shake off a knock in time to feature.

Piotr Trochowski is suspended.

Probable Starting XI: Rost; Demel, Mathijsen, Boateng, Aogo; Tesche, Ze Roberto, Jarolim, Pitroipa; Petric, Van Nistelrooy



Damien Duff is one of the players who have had their career rejuvenated under Roy Hodgson's stewardship, and the veteran Irishman will look to be one of the protagonists of a home win on Thursday. He struck what proved to be the winning goal in the Cottagers' last home European match against Wolfsburg, and he would doubtless relish similar success against German opposition again.


Jerome Boateng will be handed a great responsibility in the heart of the HSV defence. The 21-year-old German international cannot make a slip or else it could prove costly for his team against a Fulham side who have been efficient in front of goal in recent European matches. Big things are expected of the young defender, and it is in matches like this he has to start to deliver.


HSV are in something of a state of disarray, but the loss of Bruno Labbadia may just spark them into some kind of form. It's more likely that the English side, who are generally so reliable at home, will manage to battle their way through to the final. Roy Hodgson's side will certainly have to be vigilant though.

Fulham 2-0 Hamburg

White Noise

Burnley set to net shock European place...if Fulham win the Europa League

By Christopher Davies

Last updated at 12:07 PM on 28th April 2010

Burnley, relegated from the Barclays Premier League, are in line for a Europa League place next season via the Fair Play League.

The highest placed club in the Premier League's Fair Play table who do not qualify for Europe are set to win a place in the Europa League.

The latest standings show Arsenal top followed by Tottenham, Fulham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Burnley.

If Fulham win this season's Europa Cup they would be invited back as holders, leaving Burnley in pole position for an unexpected place in Europe.

Should Fulham not win the final in Hamburg next month they could be back next season via the Fair Play table.

The top three national associations in UEFA's Fair Play League are given an extra Europa League place at the last table showed England in third place.

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White Noise

Final Push

Wednesday 28th April 2010

Fulham FC News

On Thursday evening Fulham will challenge Hamburg at the Cottage for a place in the Final of the UEFA Europa League and defender Paul Konchesky clearly believes his Team are in the best possible condition for arguably the biggest game in the Club's history.

"We've had a week to prepare for Thursday's match and we're over last week's trip to get to Hamburg," explained Konchesky. 

"We got the result we wanted in Hamburg and hopefully we can get an early goal on Thursday night at the Cottage.

"We just need to concentrate on what we're good at on Thursday night. We've got a great chance and we're playing at home.

"We don't want people to think it's going to be like the Juventus game. They've [Hamburg] got two attacking forwards who are always a threat and can score goals.

"We've got a great opportunity. If we can play how we've been playing and start well, get the fans behind us, and kick on, hopefully we can push the Europa League right to the end.

"Just to get to the Final of the Europa League would be a phenomenal achievement. Obviously one or two of our players have been there before, but there are not a lot of us that know what it means, so hopefully we can get there."

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White Noise

21st April 2010

Highlight of last week was the trip to Hamburg to watch my former team mates in the Europa League Semi Final first leg. With flights resuming just a few hours before I was due to leave, I got to make my way over in a much more comfortable fashion than the Fulham players following their arduous journey. While the game itself didn't have too much excitement, I had a great time overall and it was a great occasion to be at. I did a bit of media before the game - I spoke to ESPN about the Hamburg team and did a bit on Fulham for one of the German channels just before kick off. I had to walk all the way through the Fulham block to get to my seat and I have to say I got a fantastic reception from the Fulham fans. They were singing my name and asking for pictures and things, and it was a great feeling be still so appreciated even though I haven't played for Fulham in two years now. The picture you can see on the right is me with one of the Fulham punters who was wearing a World War One fighter pilots helmet - good old English humour as ever!

I hope some of the Fulham fans made more of the German experience than my friend Uncle Kev did while he was over. The whole time he was in Hamburg he managed to avoid doing anything remotely German by eating burritos and going to an Irish bar! I bet he didn't even drink German beer in there! Shocking behaviour on his part, but he can make amends for it with a sausage or two if he goes back to Hamburg for the final in a few weeks.

I went to the PFA Awards last night which always coincides with the close of the season. It was no great surprise to see Wayne Rooney win but the highlight for me was the speech from old leg-end Jimmy Greaves. He has us all chuckling away with a few anecdotes. 

Really looking forward to the second leg on Thursday now...

More soon...

White Noise

Ray Lewington sees light after Fulham's dark days

Ken Dyer


The latest leg of Fulham's grand European adventure unfolds down by the Thames tomorrow night and no one is enjoying the experience more than Ray Lewington.

Roy Hodgson's unlikely heroes will be doing their best to beat Hamburg, after a goalless draw in Germany, to reach the final of the Europa League and first-team coach Lewington is as excited about the prospect as any supporter of this grand old London club.

It is understandable that Fulham's spectacular success this season means so much to Lewington since his link with the club goes back three decades.

The Lambeth-born Lewington made 174 appearances for Fulham between 1980-85 but it was 12 months on, when he was at Sheffield United, that he took a call one day from then Fulham manager Ray Harford.

Fulham were by then in Division Three and a club unrecognisable from the one that are relishing tomorrow night's semi-final second leg.

"Ray said the club were basically skint and they were looking for a player/manager," recalls Lewington. "He had recommended me for the job but advised me not to take it.

"This was Fulham and I fancied it strongly. I was only 29 and could have gone on playing but I went to Sheffield United and told them what I wanted to do. At first they said no chance' but I kept on and they relented."

That was the start of the Lewington managerial and coaching career which has now turned full circle via Crystal Palace, Brentford and Watford.

Tomorrow night the 53-year-old will be in his usual place in the home dugout and perhaps, fleetingly, thinking back to those dark days and the extent since of the Fulham journey.

"It's been a long haul this season but one I will never forget," he added.

"The season before we had finished a marvellous seventh place so there we were in Europe. Our squad weren't the biggest and we went into the competition fairly relaxed and in a way, perhaps feeling that going out after the qualifying rounds would have suited us. Our first match was way back on 30 July, against Vetra from Lithuania.

"We had come back to pre-season training early because we wanted to be right for that first game.

"I remember there were concerns that we could run out of steam later in the season. We had seen Aston Villa the year before and the way they had fallen away because of their European commitments. They couldn't buy a win at the back end of the season.

"At the start, though, it was a nice little adventure, going to places we hadn't seen before and representing England in a major European competition.

"As we progressed, things got more serious especially after the two-legged win over Shakhtar Donetsk — easily our best performance.

"They were the holders and a very good side. They had a 20-minute spell at Craven Cottage which was better than anything we've played against at home but we won 2-1 and managed to draw the away leg 1-1. It was after that tie that I really thought we might do something special."

Tomorrow's semi-final, second leg against Hamburg is Fulham's 60th competitive match of the season.

"That's more than any other team in the country," Lewington said. "The players have done amazingly well and they still look sharp and slick considering their heavy workload. When you're winning, you don't feel fatigue."

Lewington works under manager Hodgson and alongside goalkeeping coach Mick Kelly. "I think it works well, Roy, Mick and myself," he added. "I suppose I am the outsider because Roy and Mick have worked together, on and off, for the last 30 years but they've never treated me that way.

"We split things up between us but Roy always takes the main session."

Tomorrow night, in the civilised, almost genteel environs of Craven Cottage, Hodgson's team will attempt to once again defy the odds and reach the final of the Europa League.

"The Cottage is a unique place," said Lewington. "You perhaps don't get the intensity of some other stadia although the fans there are good. They don't tend to give the opposition a hard time and they're very fair minded. It's a nice place to watch and play football, not a hard-edged atmosphere. That can though, work in our favour."

As kick-off approaches Hodgson will talk to his players one final time.

"Roy often says, Remember, be modest'," said Lewington. "Keeping things in perspective has been invaluable so far. We tend to get on with it. If we win we don't get carried away and if we lose, we don't beat ourselves up."

This season has seemed so special to Lewington because he can still remember the bad times.

"I remember the chairman David Bulstrode had plans to merge Fulham and QPR and that would have been the end of the club," he added. "I came back from training one day and I remember Yvonne Haines, who is now secretary at Millwall, was crying.

"What's happened?" I asked, and she told me. It was a devastating feeling but thankfully the club survived.

"We've come a long way since then, haven't we?"

White Noise

Keane has also had a change of heart about ex-Fulham and England Under-21 defender Liam Rosenior, who is on a season-long loan from Reading.

Rosenior, a free agent in the summer, has been informed that Ipswich are no longer interested in signing him on a permanent basis.

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White Noise

Nikola Zigic hands hope to suitors Blackburn, Stoke and Sunderland by snubbing Galatasaray switch 

By Sportsmail Reporter Last updated at 12:58 PM on 28th April 2010

Valencia striker Nikola Zigic has rejected a move to Galatasaray and admits he is holding out for a move to the Barclays Premier League.

The tricky 6ft 8in Serbia international has previously been close to sealing transfers to Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City and Sunderland and now seems certain to leave La Liga this summer.

Fulham and Everton have also tracked the out-of-favour former Racing Santander player, but Galatasaray are believed to be the first club to make a strong move ahead of the transfer window opening.

However, Zigic said: 'I don't know the plans of my club, but my desire is to go to England. I'm still a Valencia player, but I have to think about my future.

'My contract is for two more years and now the most important thing for me is that the team ensures it will be playing in the Champions League next season and I'm confident we'll succeed.

'All my plans at this time are related to Valencia, but there is interest from other big European clubs. Now I must achieve our goals for Valencia and then give my full commitment to the national team.'

The 29-year-old has made just two La Liga starts this season in a side that tends to play David Villa as a lone striker with Juan Mata and David Silva in support.

Zigic is recovering from a knee injury and hopes to be fully fit in time for the World Cup finals this summer.
'I think in a week I'll be better,' he said. '(Manager Radomir) Antic heard of my injury and called to see how I was. It's nothing serious and he can certainly count on me for the World Cup.' 

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