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Thursday Fulham Stuff (06/05/10)

Started by WhiteJC, May 06, 2010, 07:33:58 AM

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Fulham boss Roy Hodgson eyes manager of the season award

ROY Hodgson wants the manager of the season award on Sunday – because it would be an accolade for his Fulham team.

The Whites boss is the red-hot favourite after guiding his club to the final of the Europa League and another comfortable mid-table finish.

However, the 62-year-old nearly split his sides when the Chronicle told him there was also a Facebook group that had 300 sign-ups for him to become Prime Minister instead.

He said: "That's very nice of them – but I take politics far more seriously than to think they're for an old dilettante like me."

But with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson describing Fulham's appearance in a European final 'as miraculous' – the odds are the man with 34 years coaching experience in seven different countries will pick up his first major gong.

The manager of the year award is presented by the League Managers Association and voted for by the association's 256 members, made up of all 92 league clubs' bosses, retired coaches, and those still involved in the game below managerial level.

The votes for the award were cast in early April, with the result announced at the ceremony in the Grosvenor Square Marriott Hotel.

Hodgson said: "All awards for a manager are awards for the team. It isn't the most important factor for me. Having said that whoever gets the vote, should be very proud as they're votes from experts in your field and peers – and that's always worth having."

Worthington backs Fulham for glory

Nigel Worthington is backing Northern Ireland internationals Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird to bring the Europa League trophy to Craven Cottage.

Fulham face Atletico Madrid in Hamburg on Wednesday after closing their domestic campaign this weekend against Arsenal.

The club's remarkable journey has captured the imagination of football fans throughout Britain, including Worthington.

The Northern Ireland manager is thrilled that Hughes, skipper of the national side, and Baird have played key roles in the campaign.

Under Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, Baird has replicated his good form for his country in central midfield at club level and has enjoyed a marvellous season.

Worthington said: "When Roy gave Chris the role it really opened the door for him. He has done a fantastic job.

"I had previously used him in that position away from home. He does an excellent job for the team. He can play in defence but I prefer him in the centre.

"He is a great holding player. He protects the back four very well. He is a good long passer of the ball and he can break things up.

"Chris has been patient at Fulham. He has continued to work very hard. When the opportunity arose, he certainly took it.

"That speaks volumes of the player himself but also of the manager and coaching staff. He is a very good pro. He has shown people this season what he is capable of doing."

Worthington believes Hughes, who has also worn the colours of Aston Villa and Newcastle, is a dream of a player for any manager.

"Aaron has been around the Premier League since he was young. That says a lot about his attitude and ability, " he said.

"As a manager you know what you are going to get from him before you put his name on the teamsheet because he is so consistent at a very high level.

"He is very quiet and unassuming. He knows what he is about and he knows what he wants. He has certainly achieved that."

Fulham have already despatched Juventus and Hamburg, not to mention last year's UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk, on the way to the final and Worthington would love to see Hodgson triumph in Germany.

He said: "I certainly think they can win it. They have been terrific value all the way through. I am delighted for a club like that who have not overspent.

"In Roy they have a manager who just gets on with his work. I have met him a few times on coaching courses. He is not afraid to share his knowledge and information with you. People like that, you can learn from.

"For Chris and Aaron to be part of the Fulham set-up in reaching the Europa League final is an absolutely magnificent achievement. I am delighted for both of them and Roy Hodgson."