Author Topic: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)  (Read 8033 times)

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2010, 02:31:48 PM »

White Noise

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2010, 02:36:07 PM »

Van Damme a hard target for Baggies

Tuesday 4th May 2010 10:02

Anderlecht midfielder Jelle van Damme claims West Brom are interested in signing him, with Stoke and Fulham also reportedly tracking him.

The former Southampton man has impressed at Anderlecht, helping them secure the Belgian championship this season.

The 26-year-old, who can also play in defence, admits he would be interested in a move back to England, with the Potters and Cottagers also credited with an interest in his services.

"West Brom are one of the clubs interested in me," van Damme told the Daily Star. "Other English sides have also shown an interest.

"I will consider a return to the Premier League."

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2010, 02:37:21 PM »

Hodgson set to ring the changes

Author:  Ben Moss

Posted on:04 May 2010 - 11:30 AM

Fulham have the small matter of an upcoming Europa League Final on their minds as their Premier League season winds down with a penultimate game against Stoke City.

But despite Roy Hodgson being likely to rest some key players with half an eye on the game against Atletico Madrid on May 12, there is bound to be a celebratory mood around Craven Cottage in the last home game before the trip to Hamburg.

What's more, there's also still a possibility of finishing in the top ten domestically as the Cottagers, in 11th spot currently, are just one point adrift of Blackburn.

Sunday's 3-2 victory over West Ham was secured despite the absence of the rested Bobby Zamora, Damien Duff, Brede Hangeland, Aaron Hughes, Zoltan Gera and Danny Murphy, and Hodgson looks set to again go with his fringe players.

The likes of Stefano Okaka and Erik Nevland will start, but these second-string players have proved in recent weeks that they are more than capable of performing in the Premier League.

Only Andy Johnson (knee) is unavailable to the west London club through injury.

The Cottagers have lost just one of their nine games - one in five domestically - and cannot be written off despite their continental distractions.

Stoke arrive in the capital with tenth place and the prestige of a top-half finish also still a possibility.

Saturday's goalless draw with Everton has left them 12th in the table and victory at Fulham would see them leapfrog both the Cottagers and Blackburn into tenth place.

However, it has not been plain sailing in recent weeks for the Potters amid reports of dressing room unrest between manager and players.

Amady Faye (groin) and Thomas Sorensen (elbow) are out for the season and will be joined by striker Dave Kitson, who missed the Everton game following an astonishing weekend interview in which he was highly critical of manager Tony Pulis.

Pulis has no fresh injury concerns so looks set to stick with the same side that held Everton, but he is still looking for a first win in five games.

Stoke were 3-2 winners when these two sides met at the Britannia Stadium in January.

They raced into a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to goals by Tuncay, Abdoulaye Faye and Mamady Sidibe.

Fulham fought back but a reply from Damien Duff on the hour and a late second from Clint Dempsey was not enough.

However, Fulham have had the better of recent match-ups after winning four of the last five and drawing the other, dating back to their time as Division One clubs.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2010, 02:38:31 PM »

Club Focus - Fulham - How best to prepare?

By Matt Domm

Tuesday 04 May 2010

Roy Hodgson put out a starting XI that would have made West Ham blood boil. Except, this time, the east Londoners were in a position to take advantage of it, but failed to do so. The manager’s rotation policy worked wonders and despite being seven first-team regulars short at kick-off, the Whites were professional and accomplished, and just as no one player stood nor did anyone in white do anything wrong.

For a match that boasted five goals there was a real lack of goalmouth action - the home crowd and players were most certainly just going through the motions in the first of three hindrances before the big one on May 12. The players that came in did enough to justify Hodgson’s decision to rest many of his starters, but this writer expects several more first-teamers to face Stoke tomorrow night - almost two weeks without playing a game of football having had to start two almost every week since the end of July would probably end up being detrimental to the team who are running on pure adrenaline. With that in mind, those first-teamers who didn’t start against West Ham should do so against Stoke, with the exception of Bobby Zamora whose fitness Cottagers fans will be sweating on until they hear the line-up in the Nordbank Arena. After last Thursday’s unforgettable European semi-final, Fulham fans could be forgiven for not knowing where Sunday’s victory put them in the league - 10th - and nor do they, with survival having been assured long ago, care much for anything other than following their players to the 19th game on this incredible journey.

Unfortunately for a side needing to retain match sharpness and still avoid picking up knocks that could keep them out of the biggest game of their career, Tony Pulis’ outfit is the last team anyone would want to face. Already Stoke have claimed the blood of Zamora in January’s league match - a quite shocking tackle from Abdoulaye Faye from which the England hopeful dislocated his collar bone, and their record against other Premier League clubs this season is only too well known. The fact is Hodgson will look to play a strong team against either Stoke or Arsenal, and the dilemma is choosing between which one is the best practice for Atletico Madrid - probably the Gunners for the flair they have available - and which one will leave enough time for recovery ahead of the final, with Sunday’s Emirates fixture a little too close for comfort to Wednesday night. Of course Hodgson, as he so frequently does, will utilise his squad as he sees best, and the Cottage faithful can rest assured they have one of the best possible leaders to prepare Fulham for their biggest match in history.

Organisation has been the key to this season’s European success, and the reward most likely is a place in next year’s competition. (Fulham currently sit top of the English fair play league and England sit third overall, which means, barring some stupid sendings off over the remaining fixtures, the Whites will again be representing England next year whether they win or not). It would have been easy for the players last Thursday to panic after Hamburg’s opener and to go for broke too early, but, and this is thanks to the manager, they kept their shape, kept structured and kept on playing football. Their just rewards followed in the euphoric seven-minute spell in which Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera took the roof of the Cottage. For the Whites to have any chance against a technically proficient Atletico side, every player must remember what to do. And with Hodgson in the dressing room, there is little doubt they will once again prove a very tough nut to crack indeed. And one of the toughest individual nuts in the side, Zamora, will be doing his utmost to make sure he is leading the line next Wednesday.

With Zamora still being touted to Fabio Capello for inclusion in the World Cup just six weeks away, maybe, just maybe, as the Hamburg fans so eloquently put it last Thursday, football is indeed coming home - to London’s oldest club. Has there been an English side in a European final that has the best wishes of almost every fan nationwide? Probably not, but whatever happens, the Whites (or Blues, going by the ghastly kit for the final) have done the country proud.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2010, 02:39:38 PM »

Fulham    v    Stoke

Live text and stats
Content will update automatically

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Fulham v  Stoke 20:00

Fulham 50% Stoke 50% Attempts on target
Fulham 0 Stoke 0 Attempts off target
Fulham 0 Stoke 0 Corners
Fulham 0 Stoke 0 Fouls
Fulham 0 Stoke 0
Barclays Premier League
Venue: Craven Cottage Date: Wednesday 5 May 2010 Kick-off: 2000 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live & local radio

Fulham's leading scorer Bobby Zamora is still recovering from the Achilles injury which saw him miss Sunday's win over West Ham.

Manager Roy Hodgson could restore Zoltan Gera to the starting line-up after resting him at the weekend.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has no fresh injury concerns and may name the same team that held Everton on Saturday.

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is set to continue in place of the injured Thomas Sorensen after a positive full debut.



Injured: A Johnson (knee), Zamora (Achilles)


Injured: Abdoulaye Faye (groin), Sorensen (elbow)

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson says that his side's final two league matches will play an important part in their preparation for the Europa League Final on 12 May.

 It is still a very real objective to finish in the top 10 and I believe it is healthy to retain this target

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson
Sunday's 3-2 win over West Ham has kept the Cottagers in confident mood and their immediate target is to finish in the top half of the table. Victory over Stoke would lift them above Blackburn into tenth place.

Stoke's last visit to West London ten days ago resulted in a 7-0 hammering at Chelsea. Tony Pulis' side restored some pride with a point at home to Everton at the weekend and they, like Fulham, have eyed a top half finish.

However, Stoke end their campaign on Sunday at Old Trafford, where Manchester United will be hoping to retain their title. Pulis, who saw his side finish 12th last season, may have to wait until the next campaign to break into the top ten.


• Fulham and Stoke have met 66 times. Fulham lead by 27 wins to 24 and there have been 15 draws.

• Stoke's last victory at Craven Cottage came in March 1991, when a Wayne Biggins goal gave them a 1-0 win in the old third division.


• Fulham are unbeaten in their last five home matches in all competitions.

• Fulham's 3-2 win over West Ham on Sunday was the seventh time they've scored at least three goals in a match at Craven Cottage this season.

• Only Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Aston Villa have left Craven Cottage with all three points this term.

• Clint Dempsey has made 99 league starts for Fulham.


• Stoke are looking for a first win in five games.

• Stoke have scored just nine away goals in the Premier League this season, fewer than any other team.

• Stoke have lost 22 points from winning positions this season. Only Wigan Athletic have lost more.

• Stoke have conceded 99 goals in their Premier League history.



Zamora: 19 goals (8 league); Gera: 10 goals (2 league)


Fuller: 8 goals (3 league); Etherington: 6 goals (4 league)

Referee: Peter Walton

Assistant referees: Ron Ganfield & Patrick Keane

Fourth official: Mike Jones

Fulham (W3-2 v West Ham, h): Pantsil, Baird, Smalling, Konchesky, Riise, Greening, Dikgacoi, Davies (Okaka 70), Dempsey (Elm 85), Nevland. Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Shorey, Gera, Etuhu.

Stoke (D0-0 v Everton, h): Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Delap (Pugh 88), Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington (Lawrence 87), Sidibe (Tuncay 88), Fuller. Subs not used: Simonsen, Diao, Collins, Moult.


Stoke 3-2 Fulham (5 January 2010)

Stoke scorers: Tuncay 12, Abdoulaye Faye 34, Sidibe 37

Fulham scorers: Duff 61, Dempsey 85

White Noise

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2010, 02:42:05 PM »,19528,11681_6132742,00.html

Scharner eyeing Wigan exit

Free agent confirms he has played last home game for Wigan

Last updated: 4th May 2010   

Reported Everton and Fulham target Paul Scharner has confirmed he has played his last home game for Wigan.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who will be a free agent in the summer, came off the bench to provide the assist for Steven Gohouri's late equaliser in Wigan's 2-2 draw against Hull at the DW Stadium on Monday.

The Austrian, who joined the Latics in 2006, had 'THANX' dyed into his hair as he confirmed it would be his last home game for the club.

He said: "This was the last game at the DW Stadium for me, that's true - as a Wigan player.

Too early

"Next season, I am looking for a midfield position but it's too early to say at which club. I am looking to stay in the Premier League."

He continued: "I have lots of memories. I think we have to talk for another 30 minutes to cover all the stuff.

"First of all I have to say thank you to the chairman of Wigan Athletic for giving me the chance to play in the Premier League.

"And another thank you to the supporters. They created a nice song for me. It was very enjoyable and I go home with tears in my eyes."

Spencer retirement

Meanwhile, the Latics have confirmed that chief executive Brenda Spencer will be retiring at the end of July after 24 years with the club.

Spencer, who joined the Latics in 1986 and has seen it rise from the foot of the old Division Four to the Premier League, said: "Wigan Athletic has been my life for the past 24 years and it has been an incredible journey.

"To think that we are in the Premier League for a sixth season is another testament to all that has been achieved here and it's going to be very strange not being involved on a day to day basis any more.

"But of course, I will be watching avidly and cheering on the team from the sidelines."

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2010, 02:44:10 PM »

Fulham striker AJ makes US dash for knee check

05.05.10 |

Andy Johnson has flown to the US to see surgeon Richard Steadman over his knee injury.

AJ, who has not played for his club since January, flew back to England on Thursday.

Steadman operated on Johnson in January and Fulham chief Roy Hodgson hopes he will return for next season.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2010, 02:53:10 PM »

Faye doubtful for Cottagers trip

Tuesday 4th May 2010 13:33

Abdoulaye Faye remains an injury doubt ahead of Wednesday night's trip to Fulham in the Premier League (8pm kick-off).

Faye was absent for Saturday's goalless draw with Everton due to a thigh strain and could miss out again at Craven Cottage.

Asmir Begovic will continue to deputise in goal for Thomas Sorensen, who is recovering from a dislocated elbow.

Potters (from): Begovic, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Collins, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Whelan, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Kitson, Fuller, Tuncay, Sidibe, Pugh, Wilkinson, Moult, Beattie, Amdy Faye, Diao, Simonsen.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2010, 02:56:04 PM »

Zamora unlikely to tackle Potters

Tuesday 4th May 2010 13:57

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora is unlikely to play any part in Wednesday night's Premier League clash with Stoke City at Craven Cottage.

Zamora is struggling with an Achilles injury and faces a race against time to be fit for the Europa League final against Atletico Madrid next week.

Clint Dempsey will continue to deputise in attack for Fulham's last home match of the season.

Fulham (from): Schwarzer, Konchesky, Hangeland, Baird, Hughes, Etuhu, Duff, Murphy, Gera, Davies, Zamora, Dempsey, Zuberbuhler, Pantsil, Greening, Riise, Dikgacoi, Smalling, Nevland, Okaka, Shorey, Elm.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2010, 02:57:19 PM »

Fulham winger Duff: I knew Hodgson was great at Blackburn

05.05.10 |

Fulham winger Damien Duff claims he's been backing Roy Hodgson's England credentials for the past ten years!

As Fulham prepare for Thursday's European semi-final decider with Hamburg, ex-Chelsea winger Duff claims Hodgson, 62, may still succeed Fabio Capello.

Duff said: "My first full season at Blackburn was under Roy. That was a while ago now, but even more than 10 years ago I fancied him to be England manager one day.

"Whether he has ever got close, I don't know, but he is a top manager and coach and I think all the lads here would back me up on that. You can see that the work he does is paying off on the pitch. It's definitely not too late even now for him to manage England.

"I love working with him and I'm not alone in thinking that. He is well respected by everyone in the game, so why not?

"For now, though, we would like him to stay at Fulham."

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2010, 02:59:32 PM »

Postcard from Europe: Dempsey in uncharted territory in Europa League final

Fulham star can become first American to play in European final

Greg Seltzer May 4, 2010


Fulham face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on May 12 in Hamburg
Clint Dempsey could become the first American to play in a European final
The memory of his sister remains a driving force for the U.S. international

AMSTERDAM — Barring some unforeseen calamity over the next eight days, Fulham attacker Clint Dempsey will boldly go where no American has gone before. He will feature in a cup final of a UEFA tournament—the first-ever Europa League title match, to be exact.

There have been several Americans to win a domestic championship in Europe, and even more have raised a domestic cup. But no one from the U.S. has ever vied for one of Europe's spotlight club cups on the field.

An American has "won" one, though. While with Borussia Dortmund, Los Angeles Galaxy forward Jovan Kirovski scored his first professional goal during the German club’s 1996-97 Champions League title run. Kirovski collected a winner's medal after Dortmund defeated Juventus in the final in Munich, but he was not in uniform.

Dempsey, however, will be key to the fray for the Cottagers, either as a starter or as a goal-seeking sub torpedo. The man they call Deuce is known for grabbing opportunities, for succeeding when the cards seem against him and his side.

Before he stares down Atlético Madrid in Hamburg on May 12, though, Dempsey can draw some inspiration from international teammates who have come close to a big cup final before he did.

In 2005, DaMarcus Beasley scored a team-high four goals for PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League proper and famously ran Jaap Stam a bit ragged while appearing in one of the semifinal legs against AC Milan. Two years earlier, John O'Brien was on the pitch for Ajax Amsterdam and 20 seconds from the semis before Milan’s Jon Dahl Tomasson bundled home a tie-flipper in stoppage time.

Now, Dempsey will take that last step in this particular ascension of American soccer exploits and physically battle for UEFA silver. In reality, though, the Texas native from humble beginnings has been battling to make this final since he was a boy.

When he was 12, Dempsey's sister Jennifer suddenly passed away. The loss still fuels his competitive fire. A recent ESPN feature on the U.S. star revealed that Dempsey placed a note on his sister's grave, telling her that she'd always be with him.

Along with the obvious soccer talents, it’s the memory of his sister that makes him the perfect man to get first crack at European glory -- he's already carrying his Fulham flag for two.

Considering his schoolyard array of flicks, kicks and tricks, Dempsey may as well still be out there showing off to his sister when he plays. He has peddled that inner drive and flair into a career that's taken him from the New England Revolution to playing in the biggest city in Europe in the biggest league in the world.

Often shifted around the field by his team’s formational needs, Dempsey has a knack for making the big play. At 27, he has already scored an impressive list of goals: to put New England in MLS Cup 2005, to give the U.S. hope of advancement at the 2006 World Cup, to save Fulham from relegation in 2007, to help the 'Nats earn runner-up status at last summer's Confederations Cup.

The most recent headline-grabber came in mid-March, when he hopped off the bench to complete a stirring Craven Cottage comeback that put Fulham past vaunted round-of-16 opponents Juventus. A moment of invention saw him nestle a pillowy chip into the far side netting, and the West Londoners moved on.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, the subject of various poetic urges that he be the next England boss, has built a side based on gritty skill. Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer and hot transfer topic Brede Hangeland—born in Houston, Texas!—supervise the back with authority. Old EPL hands Simon Davies, Damien Duff, Zoltán Gera and Danny Murphy (average age: 31) do the dirty work to set the table. Most commonly, the gobbling up is done by Dempsey or Bobby Zamora, who's enjoying the form of his life.

Atlético also could be just the right final combatant. Sure, they’re loaded with explosive talent—most notably super snipers Sergio Agüero and Diego Forlán—but they’re quite beatable. In fact, Los Colchoneros will arrive in Hamburg winless in 10 away from home if they can't beat La Liga strugglers Sporting Gijón away three days before the final.

Then again, why should maestro Hodgson (who coached against the U.S. at World Cup 1994 with Switzerland) and his brave boys fear any team right now? They've already come from the third round of qualifying to dispose of Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg—clubs that have combined to win nine UEFA crowns.

The closest Fulham have come to top-shelf silver was a 2-0 loss to West Ham United in the 1975 FA Cup final. Before this year’s adventure, their lone European entry ended in the third round of the 2003 UEFA Cup (re-tooled as Europa League last summer).

But everything seems to be lined up so Fulham finally can be called champions, perhaps even thanks to an opportunistic play made by Dempsey. There's just one thing that's sure: Win or lose, this first Europa League final will truly be a night to remember for Dempsey, his club, his family, the Fulham faithful and Stateside fans.

And for whichever player becomes the first American to reach the next height.

Greg Seltzer’s “Postcard from Europe” appears on every Tuesday.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2010, 03:15:40 PM »

India's football coach resigns - reports

(AFP) – 7 hours ago

NEW DELHI — India's football coach Bob Houghton has resigned over the delay in extending his contract beyond the Asian Cup next January, reports said on Tuesday.

Houghton, 62, sent his resignation to the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) this week while on holiday in South Africa, the Times of India said.

"Bob's biggest complaint is the breach of contract on the part of the federation," the Kolkata-based Telegraph cited unnamed sources as saying.

"A particular AIFF official began negotiating with some FIFA agents for a new coach to be appointed after the Asian Cup. He really wanted to stay but things were made increasingly difficult for him."

AIFF president Praful Patel, a federal minister, was trying to convince the Englishman to withdraw his resignation ahead of a meeting of the federation's executive committee in New Delhi on Friday, reports said.

But an AIFF official denied the coach had quit.

"I have no knowledge of Houghton?s resignation," the federation's senior vice-president Subroto Dutta told the Telegraph.

"A final call on his demands will be taken in the executive committee meeting."

Houghton, who took over as the Indian coach in June, 2006, has also demanded a raise of 10,000 dollars to his monthly salary of 20,000 dollars, the Telegraph said.

He was also unhappy with the slow progress of preparations for the 2011 Asian Cup where India, ranked 132 in the world, are pitted against strong teams like Australia, South Korea and Bahrain.

Houghton, a former Fulham midfielder, coached China for two years from 1997-1999 and then worked with Uzbekistan in 2005 before joining India.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #32 on: May 04, 2010, 03:28:05 PM »

Midfielder Britton is deemed most likely to depart as he is is out of contract and could end his seven-year stay to fulfil his Premier League ambitions, with Wigan his most likely destination.

Influential midfielder Pratley - a target for Nottingham Forest - defender Angel Rangel, who has interested Fulham, and fellow defender Williams could also leave.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2010, 03:33:55 PM »

Gylfi Sigurdsson happy to stay at Reading FC

By Jonny Fordham

May 04, 2010

Gylfi Sigurdsson insists he will shun the chance to join the Premier League this summer in favour of helping Reading win promotion.

The Iceland Under-21 international has a host of top-flight suitors with West Brom, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers, Wolves and Fulham all monitoring his progress this season.

After staring in his first full season at Madejski Stadium, the attacking midfielder, who was Royals’ top-scorer with 20 goals, has reiterated that he is going nowhere.

“I’ve got two more years on my contract and I’m not really fussed about the things which are going on,” said Sigurdsson.

“I’m happy here and playing every week so I think it would be a good idea to stay here for another two seasons. I’ll just turn my phone off and enjoy the summer now.

“If we start next season properly then I think we will have a great chance to get into the Premier League. I think it will be a good season next year.”

However, Reading chairman Sir John Madejski and his board are meeting boss Brian McDermott and director of football Nick Hammond today to discuss budgets for the 2010/11 campaign.

Although no bids have come in for any of Royals’ star players, McDermott has confessed that the club might not be able to shun multi-million pound offers from the top-flight this summer.

Sigurdsson is Reading’s most prized asset and the sale of one key player to help keep the club on a stable financial footing to move forward could be seen as more favourable than selling-off more.

But Sigurdsson added: “I haven’t seen what the bills look like, I don’t know what the chairman and other people are thinking, but I’m happy here at the moment.”

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2010, 03:39:33 PM »

Why Connor Wickham should snub Spurs and learn his trade at Ipswich

By Darren Lewis

Published 11:06 04/05/10

Do Spurs really need another wonderkid ?

Do the club on the brink of the Champions League really need to be bringing in players for the future?

I'd suggest not. However good Ipswich's Connor Wickham might be.

Especially if Spurs get into the Champions League.

The boy himself needs to be playing regular first-team football to improve himself and Spurs, should they make fourth, would surely need to focus on bringing in the experience needed for a European campaign at the highest level of club football.

Yes, the likes of Aaron Lennon, Tom Huddlestone and Gareth Bale have gone on to make a success of themselves at Tottenham after joining the club as highly-rated youngsters.

But Wickham should bear in mind that for every Danny Rose at White Hart Lane, there is a Johnny Bostock, poached from Crystal Palace way back in July 2008 and not seen since.

As a 17 year-old, Wales full-back Chris Gunter was seduced into believing he had a future at Spurs and quit Cardiff, where he had lifted the Football League's Apprentice of the Year award, for north London.

He ended up making a handful of sporadic first team appearances (just five in the Premier League) before being farmed out to Nottingham Forest on a loan deal that was eventually made permanent.

And what about Wayne Routledge, who, at 20, turned down a deal at Crystal Palace - where he was an ever-present in the 2004-5 season - to join Spurs only to appear in five League matches before, again, being farmed out on loan to Portsmouth and Fulham and eventually joining Aston Villa three years later.

There is no doubt that Connor Wickham possess outstanding ability for his age.

Neither is anyone questioning the fact that, should he show the right attitude and train on, he will indeed end up at a Spurs, an Arsenal, a Chelsea or a Manchester United.

But perhaps this should be one occasion on which his advisers, his parents and maybe even Connor himself, should decide to continue on his upward curve to stardom at Portman Road.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2010, 03:41:06 PM »

Why Roy Hodgson should stay well away from the Liverpool job

By Darren Lewis

Published 11:07 04/05/10

He believes there is there is one more big job left in him but Roy Hodgson would be advised to stay well away from Liverpool.

The Fulham boss has shown himself to be an outstanding leader of men. A magnificent motivator to inspire the Cottagers to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the Final of the Europa League.

And he has every right to bask in the warm glow of a fantastic job well done at Craven Cottage. Particularly while he is being linked with the Anfield job, the England job and, possibly, even the job at No.10 on Thursday.

But of all the offers that may come his way, the Liverpool position is the one fraught with most danger. Yes, even more so than the England job.

This has been Liverpool's transitional season. The one in which it is widely accepted that the club's hapless owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have undermined any chance of success with their restrictions on transfer funds.

But the man who succeeds Rafael Benitez next season - if indeed the Spaniard does quit for Juventus - will be expected to hit the ground running.

To knit the sum of the parts and make an effective machine capable of coping with the superior wealth of Chelsea, the production line of kids combined with the will to finally loosen the purse strings at Arsenal and the greater strength in depth at United.

And I haven't even mentioned Manchester City who will become a monster of a club should they make it into next season's Champions League. To be fair, even Spurs would be a force to be reckoned with should they make it.

In addition, the politics and uncertainty over any forthcoming investment at Anfield is such that Hodgson has no guarantees that he would get the considerable funds needed for the Reds to smash their way back into the top four next season.

For all his faults, Benitez brought one Champions League trophy to the club, reached another final and lifted the FA Cup. That, and not the barren seasons in which the Reds flattered to deceive, is the standard by which Hodgson would be judged.

And for all the compliments with which he is being showered, the 62 year-old tactician is savvy enough to know from his time at Blackburn that this remains an unforgiving industry.

One in which the heroics of this season will be regarded as a distant memory should he not make an immediate impact at Anfield.

To give Liverpool their due, they remain loyal to their bosses. The club itself has not sacked a manager during mid-season in its 117-year history.

The supporters on Merseyside are among the most knowledgeable in the country and, while everyone outside of the region has lambasted Benitez for his buying policy, his negative tactics and his reliance on Torres and Gerrard - all criticisms that have ultimately been justified - the fans stand by their man.

But the pressure on Hodgson to justify that faith will be unbearable next season. Just as it will be on the man that eventually succeeds Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Which is the reason why Hodgson should deliver a polite: 'Thanks, but no thanks' if he is approached by Christian Purslow and the men from Anfield.

Right now, with Tom Hicks and George Gillett in charge, Liverpool are a poisoned chalice. It is a description in no way intended to insult one of the giants of English football. More to articulate the situation in which the Reds now find themselves.

Yes, Hicks and Gillett may have declared their intention to sell up. But are they really going to get the £800million they want for a club they bought for just £220million three years ago?

And talking of the Fulham squad that have reached the Europa League Final, none of them are superstar names with the profile that the Liverpool players enjoy but all of them buy into the Hodgson ethos.

Would the Liverpool fans accept a Zoltan Gera or a Simon Davies, though?

Especially when the talk from the likes of Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and even Benitez himself are telling all and sundry that the ailing Reds need four or five top players to compete next season.

No, Hodgson should surely dodge this particular bullet in favour of either staying at Craven Cottage - the club that have given him the chance to reinvent himself in this country - or a project which will give him the time to replicate the success of this season

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2010, 03:42:25 PM »

Why I'm worried Ancelotti, Ferguson or Grant could steal Hodgson's rightful Manager of the Year award

By Darren Lewis

Published 11:03 04/05/10

While I agree that Roy Hodgson should be Manager of the Year, he could yet be run close for the award by Avram Grant.

What, for example, would happen if Grant were to inspire his Portsmouth team to victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final?

If the team with nothing, the relegated have-nots of the Premier League who will have to release most of their squad in the summer, were to pull of the unthinkable against the team that has everything?

Could you really downgrade the magnitude of the achievement behind the exploits of a Fulham team that might not even win the Europa League?

And what if Carlo Ancelotti wins both the Premier League AND the FA Cup in his first season?

Or if Chelsea suffer some miraculous collapse on Sunday, allowing Manchester United to claim their fourth consecutive title? What then?

Don't get me wrong - having followed Fulham during their epic odyssey across Europe, I'd love nothing better than to see Roy Hodgson lift the manager of the year award.

I remember covering the west Londoners when Hodgson arrived to take over from Lawrie Sanchez in December 2007. The club was teetering on the brink of relegation and, after one defeat in particular - to Sunderland - Hodgson admitted to welling up as he spoke of his despair at the club's situation.

They survived, courtesy of Diomansy Kamara's heroics at Manchester City two games later. And that, rather than this season, is when their journey began.

He has done a fantastic job but this unforgiving sport is about profile (note Fulham's lack of players in the PFA Team of the Year). About achievements and about winning.

Which is why it really would not surprise me to see Grant, Ancelotti or Ferguson pip Hodgson at the post should the chips fall in their favour.

And make no mistake, although each has been gracious in their praise of the Fulham boss, they would have no compunction about snaffling the award ahead of him.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2010, 03:44:48 PM »

Wolves set to miss out on Jeremain Lens as PSV swoop for £5m-rated striker

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 11:56 AM on 4th May 2010

PSV Eindhoven look set to beat Wolves to the signing of AZ Alkmaar forward Jeremain Lens.

Wigan, Newcastle United, Sunderland and Fulham were also tracking the Holland World Cup hopeful, but PSV are closing in after agreeing a fee for the £5million-rated 22-year-old.

'Both sides have talked about the transfer fee and the last thing I heard was that they had come to an agreement,' said Lens.

'Then I have to reach an agreement with PSV. Until Sunday, myself and AZ were focused on competition and now I will deal with the transfer.'

Lens has attracted attention by 13 goals in 36 appearances this season, which has earned him a place in Holland's training squad for South Africa 2010 ahead of Hamburg's Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Read more:

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2010, 03:46:40 PM »

O’Neill tipped to succeed Benitez as next boss

Author:  Nigel Brown

Posted on:04 May 2010 - 10:50

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill is the favourite to take over as Liverpool FC manager at Anfield this summer as current Liverpool chief Rafa Benitez mulls over whether to accept a deal to join Serie A giants Juventus. Other candidates for the job include former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, and Fulham manager Roy Hodgson.

Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benitez is under intense pressure from Juventus officials to accept their job offer, however the Spaniard wants to meet Liverpool Executive Chairman Martin Broughton to discuss the future at Liverpool. Spaniard Benitez is growing increasingly fearful of Fernando Torres' departure this summer and he wants assurances from the club's executive chairman that money generated this summer will be directly invested into the Liverpool dressing room. Aston Villa manager has made a surge to the top of the candidate’s list to succeed Benitez, with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, and Fulham manager Roy Hodgson also in the running.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is hot on the trail of key asset Fernando Torres, and doubts are beginning to emerge over the future of talismanic captain Steven Gerrard, prompting Rafa Benitez to discuss his future at the football club. Number 1 candidate Martin O’Neill has stabiised Aston Villa since joining the club in 2006, helping the club challenge for the top four and guiding Villa to their first Cup Final in ten years against Manchester United in the Carling Cup.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez must make a decision on his future at the club with Juventus pressing for an acceptance on their contract offer. Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill is now the favourite according to the bookmakers, however it is thought the Villa board would be unwilling to allow their manager to leave for a rival.

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)
« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2010, 03:51:22 PM »

Having started with a beef about those Liverpool fans on TV I have to say the week was balanced with the good news story of Fulham reaching the Europa League final.

There was a genuine nationwide goodwill towards Roy Hodgson and his side.

People were so pleased for them that it rather restores some of my faith in fans.