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Tuesday Fulham Stuff (04.05.10)

Started by White Noise, May 04, 2010, 06:10:41 AM

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White Noise

Mircea Lucescu: «I wish Fulham to win Europa League»

03-05-10 12:52:44

Girnyky's coach Mircea Lucescu never denied his sympathy for Europa League favorite FC Fulham, London which, on aggregate score result, drove Shakhtar out of this tournament. Mister several times emphasized that his sympathies in this tournament still remain with the Cottegers. Therefore, Fulham qualifying for Europa League final has inspired Lucescu's addressing Cottager's Head coach Roy Hodgson with following message : 

Dear Mr. Hodgson,
Dear FC Fulham's players!

With all my heart I would like to send my best wishes and congratulations on your squad's great achievement – qualfication for the UEFA Europa League Final. FC Fulham won all through the tournament stages, showing powerful, facinating football, and due to harmonious team efforts, character, irrepressible thirst of victory has become successful.

I hope, that shown by FC Fulham confident game manner, will also be performed in Final fixture on May 12, and will make all the European football world speak enthusiastically about you. I sincerely wish the team, beaten Shakhtar, to become Europa League winner, placing our squads' names together in the winner's line of this prestigious European football tournament. I wish you every piece of success in Hamburg.

Yours faithfully,
FC Shakhtar Head coach
Mircea Lucescu

The corresponding letter has been sent to FC Fulham's London address.

FC Shakhtar

White Noise

1st May 2010

Well, what a massive night it was on Thursday. I was working for Sky Sports which was a very tough call to make as I was so keen to be at the Cottage for what was undoubtedly the highlight of the club's history. Getting to a major European final is just massive, and for Fulham, to be the last standing English team in Europe representing the Premier League and English football in general in Hamburg later this month, well, it's is an absolute fairy tale. It's seriously the kind of thing I'll hopefully be telling my grandchildren about in 50 years time.

I really enjoyed working on the game at Sky Sports but in the end I think I regret not being at the ground and being part of that amazing atmosphere, especially having experienced the away leg in Hamburg and the Juventus tie at the Cottage - I've got a feeling the other night would have even topped that one. You could feel it even watching it on a screen - I was doing live TV but I was shaking and my heart was absolutely racing, and a couple of days later I still feel the same. It's absolutely wonderful how this season has turned out for Fulham and I'm so happy for everyone associated with the club, but especially the players who've done such an amazing job.  I'll be at the final in Hamburg cheering them on and I can't wait!

There's only two more Premier League games to play now, and the Championship ends this weekend. I'll be taking a short break in May and going on holiday, but I'll be starting my preparations for the new season once June comes around. I played the last reserve game of the season for QPR last week. It was at Aldershot's ground and against Eastbourne. As with the previous game, I played in midfield and having got two the week before, the purple patch continued and I got another.  It was at Aldershot that I played my first QPR reserve game a couple of months back. We lost that one and I gave away a penalty, so it was nice to go back there to end the season on such a positive note. My last few games have really proved that I'm in a much better place now and what a worthwhile experience this has been - and it was certainly nice to finish the season on a bit of a scoring run, especially as I haven't been able to say that since I was about eight! 

Other than that, if you have seen Soccer AM this morning, you'll have seen me busting out a few dance moves dressed as a "Moritz Dancer" as part of their May Day celebrations. So happy May Day and I hope the weather holds out!

More soon...

White Noise

McAllister favourite after Coleman sacking

Tuesday 4th May 2010 15:30

Gary McAllister emerged as one of the early favourites to retake the helm at the Ricoh Arena after Chris Coleman was sacked.

The former Scotland captain, 45, enjoyed a memorable playing spell with the Sky Blues between 1996-2000 before returning to the club as player/manager in 2002, resigning 20 months later to be with his wife while she underwent treatment for cancer.

McAllister is joined at the top of most bookmakers' lists by former Celtic and West Brom manager Tony Mowbray and current Notts County boss Steve Cotterill.

Others in the frame include Phil Brown, Gareth Southgate, Alan Curbishley and Eric Black, who took over from McAllister in 2003 for a brief spell in charge and is currently assistant to Steve Bruce at Sunderland.

However despite all the inevitable early speculation, Coventry chairman Ray Ranson insists the club's board will take their time to get the decision right.

"We will not be rushed into finding a successor and the board will explore every avenue to appoint the right manager to take Coventry City Football Club forward," he said in a statement released this morning.

Coleman, formerly in charge of Fulham and Real Sociedad, took the reins at the Ricoh Arena in February 2008 with the club 20th in the Coca-Cola Championship.

The Welshman kept them up by one point on the final day of that campaign before finishing 17th last term.

The Sky Blues battled their way through some sporadic form over the first half of this season before an impressive run at the turn of the year propelled them to within reach of the play-off places come mid-March.

But a dreadful run of 11 games without victory until the end of the season, culminating in Sunday's abject 4-0 home reverse by Watford, saw the midlands outfit finish a lowly 19th - just one place above where they were when Coleman penned a three-and-a-half-year deal.

There has been plenty of clamour for his head from City supporters and that defeat, their heaviest of the season, certainly added weight to their case.

But the powers that be at Coventry were keen to stress their decision was not a knee-jerk reaction to Sunday's match but was made after assessing the last two years as a whole, while reflecting a deterioration in form towards the end of the season for the second year running.

Ranson added: "It is true I enjoyed a very close working relationship with Chris and it's been a pleasure to work with him since his arrival in February 2008.

"The board would like to place on record their thanks for his efforts over two and a half years."

As Ranson starts the search for Coleman's successor, he has confirmed the new manager will have to work with the current backroom staff of Steve Harrison, Frankie Bunn and Steve Ogrizovic.

White Noise

My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham Against Stoke City

by Russ Goldman on May 4, 2010 4:14 PM BST 

Fulham play tomorrow against Stoke City at Craven Cottage.

The game takes place at 8PM UK Time and 3PM EST. The game will be on Fox Soccer Plus live in the United States.

In the first match in January,  Stoke City beat Fulham 3 - 2.  Fulham are currently 11th in the league with 46 points. Stoke City are currently 13th with 44 points. This should be another interesting game for Fulham. If the club wants to end up in the top 10 by the end of the season they are going to need some points from their final two matches. I expect a tough challenge from Stoke City.  Below are "my 5 keys to victory for Fulham against Stoke City."   

1. Fulham need to be next to perfect  defending set pieces.In the first match-up, Stoke City took advantage of set pieces to score goals. This was a key from the last match against West Ham. I think this key is very important in the match. If Fulham want to win tomorrow they need to defend set pieces very well tomorrow. Matthew Etherington's kicks off of set pieces set up 2 goals in their last matchup for Stoke.

2. Fulham need to  score early in this match.  If Fulham can score early they could really take control of this match. Just ten days ago Stoke City travelled to Chelsea and lost 7 - 0.  That loss probably hurt Stoke City a great deal. An early goal could affect the confidence of Stoke City.

3. Fulham need to contain Matthew Etherington. This player was really integral in the first match - up against Fulham. He was key on set pieces, and also in the midfield on the left side. Fulham need to do a good job of limiting his effectiveness on the match.

4.  Clint Dempsey again needs to be involved in scoring opportunities.With Bobby Zamora probably being out again,  Dempsey needs to be very involved in this match up to create scoring chances. He was able to score and create other opportunities in the last match up against West Ham. This was a key as well from the last match up.

5. Chris Smalling needs to step up once again and be very solid on defense.  If he is playing in the place of Hangeland tomorrow he needs to be consistent. At time he looks very comfortable, and at other times he looks a little shaky. I think he just needs some more experience. Tomorrow would be a great time for him to be consistent and limit his mistakes.

The big question again will be who will Hodgson be starting tomorrow?  If he puts out the same lineup as the last match-up that would be fine with me. I just hope Fulham can come out strong and take control of this match early. I do expect this match to be a tough game.

White Noise

Fulham 3 West Ham United 2

by Gordon Thrower

Typical isn't it. A week of sunshine, warm temperatures and blue skies. Then you go and sort out a boat trip, the skies cloud over, the heavens open up and the temperatures drop to levels approaching absolute zero. Welcome to a British Bank Holiday weekend.
This year's trip down and up the Thames was organised by our very own Romford who arrived with the good ship MV Valulla at Westminster Pier at the appointed time. I have to say that, at first glance, a brief look at the boat and a brief look at the number of people waiting on the pier suggested that the sailor to ship equation looked as if it could be a bit top heavy. I believe Admiral Romford had the same worry at first. However, as the pier emptied and the boat filled up, it became clear that, whilst it would be a bit busy, there would at least be room to swing a cat. If only one of us had thought to bring one.

The initial arrival prompted a mass attack on the bar – which for those who enjoy a tot or two of grog at 10am was a bit worrying. However, the initial rush soon thinned out and the remainder of the trip found bar service easier than in most land-based hostelries I can think of. We got the ritual playing of Build Me Up Buttercup out of the way early on. It's not big, it's not clever and anyone who likes that particular song is officially stupid. A quiet word with the DJ whereby it was suggested that his next drink would be a gallon of Thames water promptly ruled out any repeat of the error.

Things took on a surreal turn very early on. Embarking on a circular route which involved heading downstream to start off with, as we passed St Paul's I spotted a nun. Then another. Then a dozen more. Hundreds of them. Running. Now either the bottle of Old Speckled Hen that I'd been given had gone into some form of secondary fermentation process thus doubling the alcohol content causing flashbacks of my being taught by Sister Assumpta back at St Thomas' in Grays all those years ago, or there really were a load of nuns on the run. Thankfully the rest of the crew had spotted the hurrying habits, though I'm not entirely sure the chants of "get yer tits out for the lads" and similar were entirely tasteful.

The music wasn't too bad – even the hard of thinking had five minutes of garage to listen to before retiring downstairs to listen to the boat's engine. As the trip wore on and the beers slipped down, the sights to be seen got more and more weird. Admiral Romford amazed everyone by managing to carry two bottles of Magners, a bottle of Speckled Hen and three pints of lager back from the bar. However, on arrival with the drinks it became apparent that the Admiral had lightened his burden somewhat by tipping most of it down his front.

The four hours we were on the boat passed remarkably quickly and, aided by the well-known time-dilation effects of Speckled Hen, we arrived at Putney Bridge at what I was reliably informed was 2pm. I have to say that it was really nice of the Met to meet us as we disembarked, though the bloke in the van did seem slightly confused at my request for two choc-ices and a 99.

A brisk walk across the park later and we arrived at the ground. Team news was that it was much as you were really: Green, Faubert, Spector, Da Costa, Upson, Noble, Parker, Kovac, Behrami, Ilan, Cole.

You will appreciate that, the trade-off for the unorthodox mode of travel to this fixture is always going to be a reduction in the accuracy of the match reporting. Well you try breakfasting on Old Speckled Hen (Mrs Wreford, if you're reading this that's not a suggestion!). What I do remember of the first half is that it was a drab affair. We probably had more of the possession and both Noble and, bizarrely, Da Costa, pulled good saves out of Schwarzer, whilst Fulham's best chance came from a Dempsey effort that hit the top of the bar. The most amazing thing about the whole affair was how quiet the home support was. I mean, you've just made the first European final of your lives, against all odds, you'd think you'd be in some sort of celebratory mode wouldn't you? Amazingly there were dozens of empty seats – and the full ones were about as noisy. A poor 45 minutes of football came to an end with the home side taking what was, in all honesty, an undeserved lead. Faubert lost Dempsey who cut inside and beat Green low down to the right. There was barely time to restart.

The home support did manage to raise a cheer during the interval though. Sadly it came with the news from Diddy David that Chelsea had beaten (or were beating) Liverpool. It must be nice to have two teams to support.

So to the second half. Well it had everything, stamina, passion and a never say die spirit all to rarely seen thse days. Sadly all that came from the 3,000 or so travelling supporters who, shortly after the commencement of hostilities on the pitch, started the Claret & Blue Army chant. This just seemed to get louder and louder without respite. On the pitch things weren't going too well. A shot that was destined for a throw-in went in off Cole to double Fulham's lead, not that you'd have noticed if you'd been outside listening.

Shortly after there were a couple of substitutions. Ilan and Faubert departed for Franco and Diamanti. The substitutions came as we had won a free kick on our left. Noble eventually took it and curled a ball into the box and Cole's angled run enabled him to glance home to reduce the deficit and increase the decibels in the away end.

It was difficult to concentrate on the game to be honest – the combination of having stood for four hours on the boat plus the cold and damp weather was taking its toll on the dodgy knee and ankle that are the legacy of nearly 30 years of knocking about the nether regions of the Southern Amateur League. The combination of Speckled Hen and Spitfire was having a similar effect on the head. Then there was the dinghy. During the duller moments of this match – and there were more than enough of these to go round – those of us further backup the stand were continually distracted by the passage of a number of small yachting vessels crewed by people who actually enjoy being cold and wet. For fun. One of these provided the highlight of the afternoon by capsizing in precisely the area of the Thames between the stands viewable to the away support. This calamity – plus the repeated unsuccessful attempts of the unfortunate Pugwash to right the upturned vessel – caused much hilarity and the Claret & Blue Army chant was temporarily suspended for long enough to be replaced by a chant of "going down, going down, going down". Still it could have been worse for not-quite-a-yachtman. Imagine the chants had he gone through the whole thing dressed as a nun.

On the pitch it was time for our own upturned dinghy moment. Jonathan Spector played the role of Uncle Albert as he first dithered then gave the ball away on the left hand side. Nevland played the ball across the box to give Okaka the easiest tap-in he'll probably ever have. Any celebrations by the home support were drowned out by the increased volume from the away end who,by now, were well into gallows humour territory. This was underlined by the brief change in chant to "were gonna win 4-3".

There was still time for us to pull one back. A well-worked move saw Parker gain some space on the right. Parker pulled the ball back for Franco to sweep home from about 12 yards. The goal came in the 90th minute but there was barely enough time for the restart. The crowd departed to well- deserved applause from the players – shame it wasn't the other way round really.

An invitation for a post-match pint that had seemed like such a good idea two hours previously now, in the light of sub-arctic temperatures and a head, knee and ankle all in need of ice packs meant that a nice easy journey home in a warm car was called for – much gratitude therefore to Able Seawoman Upton Girlie for the land-based transport home.
This was one of those days where a great day out was spoilt by the football. There have been far too many of those this season and I for one will be quite happy to see the back of this one – if only to give me some recovery time until the start of next season.

Final hats off to Admiral Romford for organising the flotilla – just sort out better weather for next time squire – I really don't fancy adding hypothermia to my knee and ankle problems!

Man of the match

The bloke on the dinghy. By far and away the most entertaining thing on display over the 90 minutes.

White Noise

Three English clubs chase Ghana's Dede Ayew

Posted On Tuesday, 4th May 2010

Three English clubs are among the many European sides seeking to sign Ghanaian midfielder Andre 'Dede' Ayew from French giants Marseille.

According to the source Birmingham City, Everton and Fulham have all approached Marseille to sign the son of legend Abedi Pele.

A football agent with extensive experience in transfers deal between English and French clubs has told Ghanasoccernet exclusively.

The Ghanaian youngster has excelled while on loan at second division side Arles Avignon but his performance during the U20 World Cup and Africa Cup Nations has heightened interest.

Ayew is reported to have snubbed a new offer tabled by Marseille to renew his expiring contract with a permanent offer from Arles unlikely to be accepted by Marseille.

But the agent has said revealed that with many offers on the table for the youngster, he is likely to demand of pound of flesh.

"Birmingham City, Everton and Fulham have all sent their representatives to talk to Marseille about Andre," the French-Cameroonian top agent told Ghanasoccernet under conditions of anonymity.

"I think his performance at the World Youth Championship and also the Africa Cup of Nations have shown that he is matured for the top level.

"But his agents are being difficult because his price could go higher after the World Cup which the English clubs want to avoid.

"They have sent scouts to watch him in many matches he has played in including the Youth Cup and the Cup of Nations."

Ayew's contract with Marseille is expected to end next year.

White Noise

Register Your Interest

Tuesday 4th May 2010

Fulham FC News

Following the extraordinary demand for UEFA Europa League Final tickets, the Club is currently working to receive a further allocation of tickets for Fulham supporters wishing to attend the Final in Hamburg on the 12th May. Should the Club receive a further allocation of tickets, they will be sold to Season Ticket Holders only (maximum one ticket).

Priority will also be given to those fans that have travelled to previous UEFA Europa League matches this season, away Season Ticket Holders and those on the Cup Scheme. Whilst the Club cannot guarantee a further allocation of tickets or that the further allocation will be greater than a few hundred, Season Ticket Holders are advised to register their interest in receiving puchase information from Fulham FC. Should a further allocation of tickets be made available to the Club, registered parties will be informed immediately.   

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White Noise

Don't trust Lawro with your finances

By: timmyg | May 4th, 2010

It's one thing to have your table prediction from August differ greatly from the actual table in May, but Lawro has the benefit of making predictions every week.

And in regards to Fulham, his predictions continue to confound. The tables say it all, really.

Relegation eh, champ?