Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)  (Read 5725 times)

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2010, 07:23:43 AM »


Hodgson interested in Anfield post

By Neil Ashton & Chris Bascombe, 01/05/2010

ROY HODGSON has emerged as the shock front-runner to succeed Rafa Benitez at Liverpool this summer.

The Fulham chief is a wanted man after leading the Londoners to the Europa League final.

Although Benitez's future will not be resolved until the end of the season, Hodgson has emerged as a potential replacement at Anfield.

Hodgson, 62, has told friends he has one big job left in him after his remarkable work with Fulham and is now one of the names being considered by Liverpool.

The Kop have already explored other options, including Martin O'Neill - who is sure to be on the short-list - and Jose Mourinho.

But Hodgson has become a serious contender after leading the London club on an exhilarating European run. The Fulham chief has always wanted the England job, but his path has been blocked by the excellent work of Fabio Capello.

Hodgson is aware that Capello intends to see out his contract with the FA, which runs until 2012, and is unlikely to quit even if England won the World Cup this summer.

Instead, Hodgson has told close friends he is interested in transforming Liverpool's fortunes, though there has been no official approach.

Liverpool will not make their move for a new manager until the end of the season and will not be panicked into an appointment.

Hodgson's work at Fulham over the past two seasons is much admired at Anfield and he has become a credible solution to their ongoing problems.

The Fulham chief has an excellent managerial record, with the exception of his second season in charge at Blackburn.

At 62, he believes there is another big challenge left in his career and is prepared to listen offers from another club.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2010, 07:27:09 AM »

It's a huge rebuilding job and only an appointment along the lines of Martin O'Neill will fit the bill.

Celtic should be looking to someone of the ilk of Roy Hodgson. I appreciate they might not be the only ones casting an envious eye towards him after his near miraculous run to a European final with Fulham, but if you don't ask you don't get.

Here's a guy with vast experience of club and international football in several countries. Inter Milan, Blackburn, Finland, Switzerland are just a few of his posts. He ticks all the right boxes.

Who's to say the chance to make Celtic a European force again might not tickle his fancy?

He's not the only experienced manager out there - Alan Curbishley and Mark Hughes are among those currently out of the game.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2010, 07:29:39 AM »

Hodgson deserves glory

Hugh McIlvanney

Even those of us who are generally inclined to find the dramas of the Europa League eminently resistible have happily yielded to the intoxicating appeal of Fulham’s adventures in the tournament this season. In my case, there was perhaps previously an exaggerated tendency to be put off by what seemed rather strained attempts by some of Europe’s most powerful clubs to ratchet up excitement over their involvement in the competition as a means of making their failures at Champions League level appear less culpable.

Liverpool gave the impression of taking that line recently after their early ejection from the continental championship. But even consolation prizes have proved beyond them in a season of merciless deprivation and their supporters’ sufferings deepened when overcoming a 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final was too much of a task at Anfield on Thursday night. If the red contingent on Merseyside were unlikely to gain solace from happenings by the Thames on the same evening, a multitude of other football fans in this country must have had their spirits lifted by the latest heroics of Roy Hodgson and his players.

Certainly by the time Fulham had come from behind to win a match that was a clean-cut decider with Hamburg after a goalless draw in Germany my own coolness towards the Europa League had become a distant memory and the final against Atletico was looming as an occasion demanding fierce allegiance. The stirring of commitment has, of course, been cumulative as Fulham progressed through the tournament in a series of dramatic surges and now I’m obliged to admit that anybody whose heart hasn’t been warmed by their deeds might have to check his surroundings to ensure he is not already with the embalmers.

Few cup campaigns anywhere can have exerted more evangelising charm than this one and at the core of it is the engaging and endlessly impressive figure of Hodgson. He is a manager of vast experience across Europe and everything he does confirms that no job he ever held has failed to add to his knowledge and authority. But maybe his most attractive qualities are personal. He is intelligent, dignified and modestly understated whether winning or losing. Two dear departed friends of mine who were stalwarts of Fulham long ago, the rumbustious centre-half Bobby Keetch and the genius inside-forward Johnny Haynes, would have considered their beloved club privileged to have such a man in charge.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2010, 07:32:39 AM »

Hodgson's Heroes

18,200 miles, 273 days, 1 match from glory

Duncan Castles

There was just one track blasting out of the speakers in the Fulham dressing room. Again and again, the message bled through the old Cottage walls. If the Hamburg players were confident that this was going to be their evening, a natural progression to a Europa League final at their hypermodern World Cup stadium, the neighbouring DJ wanted them to know otherwise. "I've gotta feeling, that tonight's gonna be a good night...that tonight's gonna be a good night...that tonight's gonna be a good, good night..."

Pascal Zuberbuhler picks the tunes at Fulham. The 39-year-old, 6ft 5in Swiss goalkeeper is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger and has the self-confidence to match. Studying the German media with Fulham number one, Mark Schwarzer, he'd been unimpressed with what was written after their team's goalless draw in the away leg.

"We said to the boys that a lot of the so-called German experts had written us off and said we weren't any good," says Schwarzer. "That Hamburg only had to come here and play decent football and they would beat us. That got players going even more so. And we showed them. I don't think they've got any complaints about the way the game went."

It went as improbably as much of the rest of Fulham's 18-match, nine-month odyssey through the competition's qualifying rounds to their first final. Hamburg had the better of the first-half, scoring midway through it when Mladen

Petric propelled a 30-yard free kick into the top right-hand corner of Schwarzer's net.

An away goal to the good, and with their opponent's best striker, Bobby Zamora, visibly handicapped, Hamburg were set fair. Fulham would surely need to break out of their carefully structured 4-4-1-1 and take risks, leaving the door open for a decisive second goal.

"At 1-0 down a little guy pops up on your shoulder and says it looks like it's going to be the end of the road for you guys," recalls Schwarzer. "But then you beat him down and say 'no, we're going to turn this around' and we'll give it everything. At halftime we said, 'Whatever happens we don't give up, we keep fighting'. We said we were going to go out and win the game. It wasn't about going gung-ho for the first half-hour. It was about being organised, keeping our shape and putting them under as much pressure as possible. And it worked."

As the game entered its final quarter, Danny Murphy spotted Simon Davies accelerating away from his usual station as a withdrawn left-winger and down a centre-forward's channel. One exquisitely weighted pass and cleverly juggled finish later, the Cottage sensed victory. When the visitors made an unholy mess of clearing Fulham's next corner, Zoltan Gera claimed it. Like FC Basle, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Wolfsburg before them, Hamburg had been undone by a team that refuses to accept anything less than success.

At their helm is England's most astute manager. When Roy Hodgson was appointed in December 2007 he inherited a club short of points and self-esteem after Lawrie Sanchez's catastrophic reign. Keeping Fulham in the Premier League by winning their final three matches was extraordinary. Finishing seventh the next season, better still.

Hodgson's methods are unashamedly orthodox, adhering to principles he developed more than three decades ago. On top of a fine eye for a player and some deft handling of the transfer market, he prepares for every opponent in what by modern Premier League standards is an unusually painstaking fashion.

Most of Fulham's training time is spent schooling the first team on match formation. "We work on it every day," says Davies. "I've been working with the manager three seasons now and every day is team shape. He gets the 11 that he wants and he drills everything in that he wants. We've got the ball - it's never unopposed. It's certain drills, defensive and 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, sorting the bad things out, sorting the good things out. It's nice to know what you work hard on works so well."

Fulham are calm and resilient under pressure. Their preference is to pass from the back, but there is little hesitation to target Zamora with long balls if other avenues becomes overly risky. Exceptionally well co-ordinated, they can be thrilling when attacking, but play the percentages when necessary.

"We have a little laugh about it now and again," says Davies of the training ground grind. "But when he came in we were fighting relegation and now we're in the Europa League so you take it. If you're going to play for him you've got to put a shift in, work to a system and be tight defensively."

Schwarzer and Zuberbuhler epitomise the manager's transfer strategy. The former has been in goal for every game bar one League Cup tie, while intermittently flying halfway round the world to represent Australia. "For me, Schwarzer is on the top of the Premier League," says Zuberbuhler. "He's a machine. He made the long trips with Australia and he's absolutely here mentally. He played every game and I have to search for goals he conceded because of a mistake." Zuberbuhler played every minute of Switzerland's four matches at the 2006 World Cup without conceding until a penalty shootout. Remembering the player's character from his time coaching the Swiss national team, Hodgson invited Zuberbuhler to form a training ground and matchday partnership with Schwarzer that has become central to the team's spirit.

Zubi was responsible for one of the lighter moments of Fulham's European campaign. He spotted pictures in German newspapers of the actor and Fulham fan Hugh Grant watching the Wolfsburg tie accompanied by the club's communications and marketing director Sarah Brookes and handed out copies on the plane home before translating for the team.

Grant has been invited to Hamburg for final night. Fulham believe it's going to be a good one.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2010, 07:35:40 AM »

Forget Euro stars, my top man is at Fort William

The real managers of the year have achieved success without money, fans or even players

Rod Liddle

The roar around Craven Cottage on Thursday night was so great that you could almost hear it in Craven Cottage. The players must have wondered what the hell was going on, all that hubbub instead of the usual polite whispering.

Roy Hodgson is, probably rightly, everybody’s choice of Premier League manager of the season, partly on account of his achievements at Fulham and partly because he seems such a patently decent human being. Not being an embittered, mean-spirited, carping idiot counts for quite a lot these days when top managers are capable of whining simultaneously about referees having played too much stoppage time and not enough stroppage time; or there being a conspiracy, possibly involving the United Nations and the Zionist Occupation Government against their team; or referees being unfit or stupid or ugly.

So Hodgson wins by popular acclaim and I for one wouldn’t argue. But a word for a couple of other bosses in the Premier League who deserve praise: Mick McCarthy at Wolves, for a start, whom I had nailed on for relegation. I still suspect you and I could probably beat Wolves if we put a couple of jumpers down in a local park, and if they had Chris Iwelumo playing up front; but, somehow Ol’ Big Nose kept them up and huge credit to him. And if he does it next season, he deserves a knighthood.

And for those other clubs prepared for a season of struggle, the time to give up all hope is when Iain Dowie appears hovering over your ground, like the angel of death.

My other runners-up are Harry Redknapp, for instilling a semblance of conviction into Tottenham Hotspur, and Tony Pulis, whose Stoke side play neater football than they are given credit for and were pretty much safe come the turn of the year.

But it’s below the Premier League where the real miracles occur; I reckon the manager of the season across all four divisions is Chris Hughton at Newcastle United; yes, he had more resources than most [especially in the January transfer window] but he also had the Geordies on his back and a club in freefall staffed with fractious and deluded players. You just hope they remember this when the Magpies are lying 15th in the Premier League come October and there are calls to replace him with Magic Johnson or Barack Obama or Malcolm Macdonald.

Meanwhile, Ian Holloway may well be crazier than most, but he has proved once again that he is a fine manager, imbued with passion and nous and an ability to connect with a club. Looked at across the 92 league clubs, Blackpool’s achievement is perhaps the most remarkable, coming from a small population base in a declining area already saturated with big league teams; they should have the receivers knocking at the door, not the Premier League.

The proud tangerine advance reminded me, happily, of that fine Blackpool side at the turn of the 1970s, with Tony Green scampering up and down the wing: older readers may recall even more adept Blackpool wingmen, from a time when towns the size of Blackpool could really punch their weight. Times have changed, though and I would argue that hoisting the Seasiders into a playoff position is all the more remarkable now. Without Holloway, where would Blackpool be? That’s the test.

Sean O’Driscoll at Doncaster Rovers deserves similar plaudits for similar reasons and with the added bonus that they are one of the most entertaining teams in the league, even if they do play in rugby shirts. Why has no Premier League club tried to prise him away from the Keepmoat? Do they think Doncaster’s unlikely successes have been down to luck?

Below there, Danny Wilson at Swindon and Kenny Jackett at Millwall have overachieved, through extraordinarily good organisation and the inculcation of discipline and team spirit, with a crop of players of moderate ability sprinkled with one or two genuine talents. Both of these managers have been serially underrated; in Jackett’s case may this long hold true because we don’t want to lose him. But in the same division Chris Turner deserves credit for having kept Hartlepool up yet again and John Barnes deserves credit for having left Tranmere. It is always the best thing John Barnes has done as a manager, left somewhere.

The Premier League scouts have already been checking out young Eddie Howe at Bournemouth in League Two, while Keith Hill at Rochdale needs to be watched too. Rochdale are another side who the economics of modern football suggest should not exist. This has been their best season since the invention of the Spinning Jenny in 1764, which, actually, was several years before they were formed.

Good managers sometimes fail, of course, as we saw with Paul Hart at Portsmouth. Logic suggests Neil Woods will ultimately fail at Grimsby Town but yesterday’s home win against Barnet has given his team a slim chance of survival, though they will need to win at Burton Albion on Saturday and hope other results go their way.

And a special mention for Calum McLean, the manager of Fort William FC. Bottom of the Highland League for year after year, playing on a pitch that is almost entirely under water, bereft of fans, money and even players. They sit proudly third bottom this year after two stunning away wins: that’s achievement, Hodgson, okay?

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2010, 07:40:00 AM »


Sunday May 2,2010

By Richard Edwards

ALAN Mullery, the last man to lead out Fulham at a major final, knows what it’s like to sample success on the banks of the Thames.

But even one of Fulham’s favourite sons admits that he never expected to see his former club in a European final.

Mullery joined Fulham at the age of 15 and, after eight successful years at Tottenham, returned to captain the club in their sole losing FA Cup final against West Ham in 1975.

And now Mullery (right), a UEFA Cup winner with Spurs in 1972, believes manager Roy Hodgson can inspire the club to a final win over Atletico Madrid.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Fulham crowd so boisterous and up-for-it as they were against Hamburg,” said Mullery.

“I’ve never heard as much noise, even when there were 40,000 people in Craven Cottage. After the first half I couldn’t see Fulham scoring two goals but the crowd lifted them to another level.”

The crowd undoubtedly played their part but the Hodgson effect cannot be overestimated.

“You just have to look at the teams that Fulham have beaten in this competition to see what an incredible job he has done as manager,” added Mullery.

“The achievement to get to where the football club is at the present time is just incredible.

“Roy had been out of the country for so long (before joining Fulham) and he hadn’t really achieved anything in English football, but as soon as he came in you could see a difference in both the club and the team itself.

“We haven’t seen a story like this since Wimbledon beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final in 1988.”

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2010, 07:44:06 AM »


Sunday May 2,2010

By Colin Mafham

FULHAM owner Mohammed Al Fayed is set to reward manager Roy Hodgson and his players with a bumper bonus for their historic achievement in reaching the Europa League final in Hamburg on May 12.

Harrods boss Al Fayed (above, right), who has already spent more than £280million on the Premier League club, is expected to splash the cash again to say thank you to Hodgson and co for turning unfancied Fulham into Britain’s only Euro finalists this season.

And he is also likely to step up efforts to secure 62-year-old Hodgson’s services beyond the official retirement age after his manager declined to commit his long-term future to the club whose fortunes he has transformed in little more than two years.

Hodgson admitted he didn’t know how much longer he will be at Fulham, saying: “I’m only 62 and I don’t know where I’ll end my days.

“Let’s see where we go from here and see where that takes us.”

Exactly how much Hodgson and his players will now pocket in bonuses is being kept a secret because of sensitivities over players’ pay. But Hodgson revealed: “Mr Al Fayed is very generous and is always prepared to reward us.

“Of course we have to be careful about rewards because we are already well-paid people. But hopefully we can also reward him for all the effort and money he has put in.”

Hodgson, however, admitted that he and Fulham are in footballing heaven.
“I’ve had some great moments and results that have excited people in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy,” said Hodgson. “But right now all this is a magnificent feeling.

“You’d have got very big odds on Fulham reaching a European final when we started last year in the second qualifying round.

“But these players have produced performances time and time again against Europe’s best, and have deservedly won matches without any luck.”

Fulham are at home to London rivals West Ham in the Premier League today and Hodgson added: “We’ve still got four games to go this season and it would be nice if we could keep our league form going. But I can’t keep whipping these boys time and time again.

“I suppose they could crack up but they haven’t done so for 59 games, so maybe I’ll get another four out of them!”

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2010, 10:50:21 AM »


Sunday May 2,2010

By Jim Holden

ROY Hodgson has been a treasure of English football for 20 years, yet for most of that time he’s been treated like a dusty old relic, a jewel locked away and neglected in a dark storeroom at the British Museum.

So, yes, it is a great joy to see his reputation fly so high, to see Hodgson suddenly displayed as the star exhibit of our national game after leading Fulham to a European club final amid exultant scenes at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

It also reminds me that he was shamefully disdained in his homeland for so long.

When a few of us, and we were a very few, advocated that Hodgson should be made manager of England in November 2000 following the resignation of Kevin Keegan, the idea was met with either outright scorn or an amused, indulgent tolerance. They went for Sven instead.

It was the same in 2006 when Steve McClaren was appointed, and the same in 2007 when Fabio Capello tookover.

Roy Hodgson? No, the vast majority of fans, media, administrators and players in English football laughed at the idea that he should be England team manager.

Nobody laughs now. In fact, everybody thinks it is a wonderful thought. Hodgson for England is the cry, Hodgson for Manager of the Year, Hodgson for Prime Minister.

The man himself will meet this transformation from dusty old relic to diamond geezer with a wry smile. His personal view of what constitutes professional success was eloquently revealed in an interview four years ago when he was the manager of the Finland national team, the best ever in that country’s history.

“You can’t always be winning trophies and medals,” said Hodgson.

“But you can be acknowledged by your peers as a good coach and this brings its own contentment. You do get a lot of satisfaction from being accepted into the elite football family.”

Hodgson has been recognised by the continental elite of football for two decades and more.

It is now 12 years since Franz Beckenbauer chased him to become the national team manager of Germany. He was about to take one of the great prestige jobs of world football, until at the last moment the Germans decided that, on principle, they couldn’t have a foreigner in charge.

This is the Germany that has reached the fi nal of 11 of the 21 major tournaments played since 1966, winning fi ve of them. They thought Hodgson was their man. England didn’t. That’s England with no fi nal at all since 1966. That’s England who abandoned principle, even though they had a precious jewel of their own. It’s not as if taking Fulham to the final of the Europa League, the old UEFA Cup, is the first time Hodgson has achieved that particular glory. Oh
no, he did it back in the mid-1990s when he was manager of Inter Milan.

For the past several World Cups and European Championships, there has been a special panel of football experts set up to make an offi cial assessment of the tactics, technicalities and style of play for FIFA and UEFA.

Hodgson has been the man they always call for from the home of football. He’s the best, as Beckenbauer will tell you. Now, finally, suddenly, happily, belatedly, at the age of 62, Roy Hodgson is recognised here for the world-class manager/coach that he has long been.

It is a moment to treasure. His Fulham team have won unexpected success and it is a dazzling achievement to take a modest club so far.

What also makes Hodgson’s work so admirable is that his team plays an attractive style of football, and that he has substantially improved the quality of specific individuals in the team. The progress of Bobby Zamora into a consistent high-class striker is a case in point.

Earlier this season, when Hodgson was the first man to air the thought that Zamora would adorn the England squad, the idea was met with scorn – or at least an amused, indulgent tolerance.

Nobody is laughing any more. In fact, there is sadness that injury to the Fulham striker might prevent a call-up from Capello for the World Cup.

It looks certain now that Hodgson will be named Manager of the Year. It’s a fine honour that will be thoroughly deserved, although it should be acknowledged that there are other excellent contenders.

If you ask me, the job done by the unsung Chris Hughton to take Newcastle straight back to the Premier League has been magnificent.

So has the work of Paul Lambert, who started the season with a 7-1 win away to Norwich when he was boss of Colchester – and then made the Canaries champions of League One when they swiftly nabbed him for themselves.

I would also like to add honourable mentions to two managers restoring the fortunes of long forgotten former League clubs. Dean Holdsworth made Newport County the champions of the Blue Square South with 103 points,
while Liam Watson inspired Southport to be winners of the Blue Square North.

Whatever level of football you work at, management can be a tough and lonely job much of the time. Roy Hodgson has been doing it all over the world with admirable style and success and humility since the mid-1970s. 

He is lonely no longer. Everybody thinks he’s a hero today.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2010, 10:52:24 AM »

Roy Hodgson for romance and Carlo Ancelotti for logic

But Sir Alex Ferguson could manage a surprise for manager of the year

    * Tweet this (28)
      Comments (21)

Roy Hodgson

The Fulham manager, Roy Hodgson, has taken the club to their first-ever European final. Photograph: Joe Giddens/Empics

Since the Premier League began, only one manager-of-the-year award has been bestowed on an individual whose team did not finish top. In 2001 George Burley was honoured for qualifying for the Uefa Cup with an Ipswich team in their first season back in the top flight, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson scantly rewarded for a then unprecedented third successive title.

The Manchester United manager would not have minded the award going to a fellow Scot. He had already won five of the gongs by that stage, has gone on to pick up another four, and probably felt like everyone else that distinctions handed out by sponsors are of comparatively little merit next to honours won on the pitch. Yet Ferguson is currently chief cheerleader for Roy Hodgson as manager of the year. Even if an official award did not exist, the managerial achievement of the season would still be a topic keenly discussed at every level of the game, precisely because the game has so many levels.

If it is a little disappointing that the official award tracks the destination of the title so closely it is hardly surprising, because any other course would be fiendishly difficult as well as endlessly controversial. David Moyes, for instance, has never won a trophy at Everton, yet there have been several seasons when the results and consistency he has produced on a limited budget have been little short of astonishing. Then there are all the relegation firefighters and the managers down through the divisions who produce small-scale miracles against all expectation. Ian Holloway at Blackpool this season comes to mind, as well as Chris Hughton at Newcastle, Steve Cotterill at Notts County and Keith Hill at Rochdale.

Sticking to the Premier League to simplify the argument, this season alone there have been claims made on behalf of Moyes, Harry Redknapp, Martin O'Neill and Tony Pulis, yet realistically, with their present clubs at least, none of those is'' going to get close to a title. Rafael Benítez, on the other hand, has been agonisingly close to a title. In addition to a major miracle in Istanbul and a thrilling FA Cup final win in previous years, his Liverpool side of last season suffered only two league defeats, positively parsimonious compared to the present situation where everyone has lost at least half a dozen, yet manager of the year passed him by. Benítez ultimately had to face the fact that even beating United home and away could not prevent his rival and adversary picking up a third successive title for the second time in his career. It is hard to argue against success on that scale.

So while Hodgson would be a wonderfully romantic and completely deserving choice as manager of the season for his magnificent feat in guiding Fulham to the Europa League final, logic and precedent are not on his side. Carlo Ancelotti is on course to win a league and Cup Double in his first season in England, and no one has ever done that before. Arsène Wenger managed it in his first full season in England, which was a considerable achievement in its own way and earned him the manager-of-the-year award in 1998, though it felt much more like his second season here as he arrived in September of 1996. José Mourinho won just the league in his first season with Chelsea, repeated the achievement the following year, and was manager of the year both times. So Ancelotti could feel aggrieved, to say the least, were a double in his first season to count for nothing.

Manchester United could still derail Chelsea's title bid today, or to be more exact Liverpool could, and were the title to end up at Old Trafford it would be United's fourth in a row, and no one has done that in the entire history of English football. Were Ferguson to claim such a success at the age of 68, breaking Liverpool's record of 18 titles to boot, Hodgson might have to get on the pitch and score the winning goal in Hamburg to wrest the award from its most regular recipient.

The way Fulham's fairytale has been panning out, however, you wouldn't bet against him doing that. Even Ferguson is behind him, describing Fulham's run to the final as one of the best British performances of all time, though he could simply be playing down Chelsea claims. It amounts to little in the scheme of things: it is only a talking point, a matter of opinion. But Fulham's success is unexpected, Chelsea's more or less demanded. And Hodgson has built a squad, with the help of considerable funds from his owner, whereas Ancelotti inherited an already capable one.

Here's the weird bit, though. Hodgson is definitely getting younger. No one else in football management has ever managed to pull off that trick. Hodgson has not just reinvented the glory game, he appears to have stumbled on an antidote to stress as well as the secret of eternal youth. Why stop at manager of the year? Based on his Thursday performances there is still time to be the next prime minister.

Offline epsomraver

  • Gentleman Jim
  • ***
  • Posts: 9277
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2010, 10:54:15 AM »
I see in the BBC gossip column that Wenger has Brede on his shopping list again according to the Sunday Mirror

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2010, 10:57:52 AM »
Inside Fulham FC

The most comprehensive coverage of Fulham FC. Presented by BBC London 94.9, Inside Fulham gives you the latest team news, player and manager interviews as well as features involving the club's community initiatives. Stay in contact with everything going on at Craven Cottage by listening to the podcast every Friday.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2010, 11:20:40 AM »

Drury's yell of a verdict

By Alan Mckinlay 1/05/2010


Liverpool's grudging participation in the Europa League - after being "relegated" from the Champions League - contrasts starkly with Fulham's joyous ride to the final in Hamburg.

And so, too, did the TV coverage on Thursday.

"We can't even win the scrubby old Europa League these days," summed up the feeling on Five, while over on ITV4, the fathful band of digital airmchair fans were treated to arguably the most enjoyable hour of the season.

And commentator Peter Drury had his own Bjorge Lillelien moment.

Lillelien was the Norwegian commetator who famously reacted to his countrymen's victory over England in 1981 by screeching out a list of names of English historical icons and ended with "Maggie Thatcher, your boys have taken a hell of a beating".

Well, cometh the Craven Cottage hour, cometh the commentator.

"The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is the place to be tonight," yelled Drury, as the camera panned along the crowd, showing faces with smiles and tears in equal measure.

"There isn't a club, a pub or a party in the land you'd rather be at.

"This is fresh, this is new, this has never happened before."

After listing nine of 17 English sides that had made European finals, Drury went on: "But none have done it with such disbelieving joy as Fuham are enjoying now.

"This is Fulham for heaven's sake, a club which 15 years ago didn't have two farthings to rub together.

"Bought by a very wealthy man, it has become a hugely enriched club.

"Hamburg will stage the Europa League final. Fulham will play in it."

Drury captured the barely believable excitement of a small club's greatest night. As long as they do it in XL, put me down for the T-shirt.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2010, 11:44:23 AM »
Hosts name preliminary squad

McCarthy drafted back in as South Africa set out their stall

Last updated: 1st May 2010   Subscribe to RSS Feed

South Africa have named a 29-man preliminary squad as they step up their World Cup preparations.

Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is the man charged with the task of steering the hosts to glory on home soil, with much expected of the Brazilian and his troops.

Among those called upon by the South American are four players currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

West Ham striker Benni McCarthy is handed an international recall, while Everton's Steven Pienaar, Portsmouth's Aaron Mokoena and Fulham's Kagisho Dikgacoi also make the squad.

Six names will be cut from the preliminary line-up before the finals get underway on 11th June.

"We have been preparing this process for three years and a lot of factors were taken into consideration," Parreira said on revealing his selections.

"I'm happy with the players we have selected and I want to concentrate on them, not those who didn't make it."

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2010, 11:49:29 AM »

Zola hails Hodgson

Sat, 01 May 13:26:25 2010

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has paid tribute to Fulham boss Roy Hodgson ahead of their clash on Saturday.

Fulham reached the UEFA Europa League final on Thursday after beating Hamburg 2-1, where they will face Atletico Madrid next month, however, after knocking out favourites Shakhtar Donetsk and then Italian giants Juventus, the Cottagers will be confident of claiming victory.

Zola was at Craven Cottage to see Fulham narrowly defeat their German opponents and admitted that he has been the manager of the season.

"He has done a brilliant job. I watched them and they were really good considering the team he has got. Roy has done very well. I was really impressed. Personally I voted him to be manager of the year," Zola told the club's official website.

"I am not an envious person. I appreciate and I admire what he has done because he has achieved a big result with his team. I just respect what he has done and I will tell him Sunday when I see him.

"Fulham have been working hard, they have a good manager. They have had a very good atmosphere. All of these things create a perfect recipe to have success."

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2010, 11:53:07 AM »

Hangeland urges Cottagers to keep focus

Sat, 01 May 14:08:32 2010

Brede Hangeland has reminded Fulham's Europa League heroes there are still Barclays Premier League points up for grabs this season.

Hangeland admits the prospect of meeting Atletico Madrid in their European final at the Hamburg Arena on May 12 will be dominating every player's thoughts as it will be the biggest match in the club's 131-year history and will conclude a fairytale season under manager Roy Hodgson.

But the defender insists that with a 10th successive season in the Premier League already guaranteed, Fulham must not lose interest in their domestic duties.

"Of course the final will be in the back of our minds but the worst thing we could do would be to drop the standard in the Premier League and then think we can raise it again for the final," he said.

"We need to keep going the way we have done all season and do our best in the league games, which will be good preparation for the final.

"You need to perform to stay in good shape, both as individuals and as a team, so I'm sure the manager will not let us drop our standards."

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2010, 12:22:54 PM »



2nd May 2010

By Daily Star Reporter

EVERYONE’S quite rightly full of praise for Roy Hodgson and his fantastic Fulham.

Their epic Europa League adventure has delighted the nation while the Big Four of Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and ­Liverpool have fallen on foreign soil.

It’s been one hell of a continental ­crusade by the Cottagers, starting off last summer against the unknowns of FK Vetra and Amkar Perm and taking in victories over holders Shakhtar Donetsk, mighty ­Juventus and the German pair of ­Wolfsburg and Hamburg.

Now they face Liverpool’s conquerors Atletico Madrid in Hamburg’s Nordbank Arena and only a bitter Chelsea die-hard would not wish them success in a first foreign final in their 130-year history.

Hodgson, of course, is hardly an ­overnight success and, in fact, the ­Croydon boy has probably spent more time abroad than a tax eile.

Starting off in 1976 he has been boss of (deep breath) Halmstads, Bristol City, ­Orebro, Malmo, Neuchatel Xamax, Inter Milan (twice), Blackburn, Grasshopper, Copenhagen and Viking.

He took ­Switzerland to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup and and also managed the UAE and Finland – not bad for a bloke who never made it in professional football.

Sir Alex Ferguson rightly says he should be the next Manager of the Year while ­others wrongly want him to be the next England manager if Fabio Capello quits after a World Cup disaster.

Let’s hope the affable Hodgson, for whom the phrase ‘decent cove’ could have been invented, never gets the Wembley ­hot-seat.

He will end up being ridiculed and hounded out like fellow Englishmen ­Graham Taylor, Steve McClaren, Terry ­Venables and Glenn Hoddle were.

Hodgson is 62 and, surely, doesn’t need the media madness the England job brings.

He’s also being linked with Liverpool and Manchester City – both unsuitable for ­different reasons.

Here’s an idea: why doesn’t he simply stay at Craven Cottage?

Good luck to Fulham and Hodgson against Atletico – let’s hope this time the good guy does come first.

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (02.05.10)
« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2010, 04:52:54 PM »

Celtic join Fulham and Bolton in Norwegian scouting mission

Marcus Pedersen and Mohammed Fellah were among two players watched by a wealth of clubs, including Celtic, on Saturday night in a Norwegian Premier League match.

02 May 2010 14:28 GMT

Thomas Rogne could be joined by two of his compatriots if a scouting mission to Norway was successful. Pic: ©SNS Group

Celtic were amongst a host of English and European clubs represented at Saturday night's Tippeligaen match between Valerenga and Stromsgodset. The Norwegian fixture, the ninth of the 2010 campaign for the two teams, featured a wealth of young talent attracting interest from teams keen to tap into a burgeoning Scandinavian talent pool.

Stromsgodset striker Marcus Pedersen, 19, and Valerenga attacking midfielder Mohammed Fellah, 20, were amongst the players under the watchful eyes of the Hoops' scouts in the region.

Officials from Fulham, Bolton, Sunderland, Blackburn, Borussia Monchengladbach, Hamburg and Auxerre were all reportedly at the fixture, which was won 1-0 by Stromsgodset.

According to Norwegian newspaper VG, six other young players are also being monitored by the clubs. Stromsgodset's Jo Inge Berget and Muhamed Keita, both 19, and defender Lars Saetra, 18, are all tipped for bigger things. For Valerenga, Harmeet Singh, 19, Moa Abdellaoue, 24, and his younger brother Mos Abdellaoue are also interesting clubs across Europe.

Pedersen and Fellah are two of the highest rated at both clubs and are both Norway under-21 internationalists. Pedersen, who had a trial with Liverpool in 2006, has scored five times in nine games this season for Godset, having moved from HamKam in 2009.

As demonstrated in a video on IMScouting from a game against Sandefjord in April, the tricky player scored twice and set up another in a 4-2 victory and was unfortunate not to add to his tally, terrorising the opposition defence with his direct style.

Fellah, who is of Moroccan descent, is a 5ft 5in attacking central midfielder who is renowned for his creativity. Born in Oslo, he overcame a broken leg in an under-18s match with Norway in 2007 to establish himself in the Enga's team.

Celtic made use of their scouting network in Scandinavia in the January transfer window, bringing in three players from the region. From Norway, young defender Thomas Rogne was picked up on a Bosman from Stabaek and has since gone onto to feature in the first team, although his progress has been hampered by injury.

Dutch defender Jos Hooiveld was picked up from Swedes AIK and striker Morten Rasmussen signed from Danish club Brondby. Swedish forward Emir Kujovic, 21, was also a reported signing target for Tony Mowbray back in January but the 6ft 4in player remained with Halmstad.