Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)  (Read 4434 times)

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2010, 10:39:28 AM »
http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/hodgsons-simple-plan-finds-willing-accomplices-2173368.html
Hodgson's simple plan finds willing accomplices
Fulham's hard-working squad have stuck with their manager's principles and it has paid off handsomely, writes Paul Hayward

T his is not the first time Fulham have taken in downwardly mobile footballers and had great fun with them, but this generation are not George Best, Bobby Moore, Alan Mullery or Rodney Marsh. Now, Craven Cottage dispatches a side of eager refugees from bigger clubs to a previously unthinkable European final in Hamburg on Wednesday.

"Coaches lead players to the water. They either drink or want to jump over the stream," says Roy Hodgson, the Fulham manager now being linked, by virtue of his transformative work in SW6, to a possible situation vacant at Liverpool.

Behind Hodgson's modesty is a tale of players slipping down the Premier League glamour ladder to find fulfilment, of points being proved and careers remade on the road to mid-table safety and this week's decider against Atletico Madrid.

The following "backbone" Fulham players can all be said to have been at larger clubs immediately before they moved to Hodgson's hot-house. Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Danny Murphy (Spurs), Damien Duff (Newcastle), Simon Davies (Everton), Paul Konchesky, John Paintsil and Bobby Zamora (all West Ham), Dickson Etuhu (Sunderland), Aaron Hughes (Aston Villa) and Jonathan Greening and Zoltan Gera (both West Bromwich Albion -- admittedly a yo-yo team).

Few of Hodgson's Europa League finalists can say they moved to Fulham in search of a higher altitude, if the main criterion is a club's trophy-winning heritage. Brede Hangeland, that first-class centre-half, arrived from Copenhagen, Clint Dempsey from the MLS, Chris Baird from Southampton and Chris Smalling (now bound for Manchester United) from Maidstone United.

This pattern of players responding to Hodgson's robust training ground drills and pattern-of-play foresight confirms that a small drop in status need not signify the start of a plunge. That lesson became apparent when Fulham achieved their highest league finish last year (seventh) and when they set out in the Europa League in a field of 192 clubs on July 30, 2009, with a 3-0 win away to FK Vetra. Wednesday's final will be their 19th fixture in a competition in which they have posted victories over Shakhtar Donetsk, the holders, Juventus, Wolfsburg and, most recently, Hamburg.

Aaron Hughes, who left Martin O'Neill's Villa to revive his career, is one of the best examples of a player who has found purpose and stability under Hodgson and his assistants, Ray Lewington and Mike Kelly. "I don't think anyone could have imagined two seasons ago, when we were on the brink of going down, that we'd get to where we are now," Hughes says. "It's been a lot of hard work on the training pitch and sticking to our style of football, regardless of who we're playing against.

"Everyone's found a role in the side that's good for them. A lot of people have said it's not where we've got to but how we've got there."

Uproarious drama and late turnarounds have characterised their 10-month journey to Germany, for which the 12,500 tickets allocated by UEFA sold out in less than four hours.

Hodgson concedes the point that middle-ranking players who have turned slightly stale in larger squads are not always thought of as the most reliable buys, but says: "It's dangerous to believe that when players drop down, if we're going to use that term, they're doing it for any other reason than that they want to benefit their careers.

"I think a lot of our players found their place in the team they were playing for under threat and that they were less likely to be starting games. But, obviously, their desire and appetite still existed, and maybe you're talking about a good degree of pride.

"Maybe having to leave that club, where perhaps they thought they weren't being correctly treated, or their skills weren't appreciated, has been a source of motivation for them."

Duff, Hodgson says, abandoned a higher wage at relegated Newcastle because playing in the Premier League meant more to him. The manager praises "that character and that unbelievable desire to play football. Those people always fit in," the manager says. "You bring a player who's a good character and big football man into the club and they always fit in. It's the ones who're not endowed with those qualities that sometimes make it harder."

All these Fulham players talk of the training ground as the place where a new identity was forged. "Normally we're doing the same thing every day: shape, and things like this, and it's working," says Zoltan Gera, the Hungarian who scored the winner in the semi-final second-leg against Hamburg. "He [Hodgson] is intelligent. He knows football from everywhere."

"We are people who prepare, people who orchestrate, people who try to direct, but it's not the concert director who plays the violin," Hodgson says with undue humility. "Coaches should never take credit for individual players' performances."

Over a longer conversation, though, he describes his own long scholarship: "It was drummed into us as young coaches in the late '60s and early '70s that the way to succeed is to get your team knowing what they're doing, quite simply, and each player feeling comfortable doing his job.

"We were almost forced to believe by the powers that be at the FA in those days that there was only one way of doing that -- put your tracksuit on and make sure you're out there with the ball.

"Your practices needed to be realistic. Anything you did should have a transference value to the game at the weekend. That's how we were brought up and that's what I've always believed from an early age. If you can get the players to buy into it I still think the theory that held good in the '70s is just as good today. What you do on the field in training does have a big effect on what you're going to do on the field on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon."

He adds more detail about that apprenticeship: "They gave us principles of play for attacking and principles of play for defending. You could argue that was quite simplistic. Width in attack, depth in defence. But it was all there, in a way. First you had to prepare, then you had to organise, then you had to observe, then you had to instruct. Your coaching manner had to be correct. Otherwise you were marked down. As you get older you go way beyond that, but, as young coaches, it was something for us to hang our hats on. Don [Howe] and Bobby [Robson] and Dave [Sexton] were in front of us, but they were the leading lights of the people who had been through courses and taken it on much further. They were people we could look up to. Terry Venables would come into that era."

Decades later, after spells at Internazionale, Blackburn and all points in between across Europe, Hodgson has found an English stage on which to demonstrate that early learning. He says: "There's no question in my mind that an experienced manager who retains the passion and enthusiasm of his youth is going to be arguably a better manager than the energetic youthful one who doesn't have the experience.

"What happens over the years is that the experience takes away the energy and the somewhat naive approach that can be good in football. What you've got to avoid as you get older is cynicism. Of course cynicism is not a domain of youth. It's a domain of old age."

Observer

Sunday Independent


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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2010, 10:40:39 AM »
http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/sport/football/8154060.Party_capital_prepares_to_welcome_Fulham_fans/
Party capital prepares to welcome Fulham fans

Fulham fans attending next week’s Europa Cup final in Hamburg can look forward to more than the football.

With its maritime flair, countless tourist highlights and its world-famous entertainment district, the Reeperbahn, Hamburg is the perfect location for the final of this newly formed event. Not only in Germany is Hamburg regarded as Europe’s favourite party and sports mecca.

In the run-up to the final between Fulham FC and the Spanish football team from Club Atlético de Madrid, thousands of British fans are expected to celebrate the occasion in the city centre and in Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, the city’s renowned entertainment district.

The final on Wednesday, May 12, will be hosted in the Hamburg Arena at the Volkspark, home of the Hamburger Sportverein (HSV), whose team was eliminated by Fulham in the semi-final.

On the pitch, Hamburg were the team Kevin Keegan played for in the late 1970s. He was a member of the team beaten by Nottingham Forest in the 1980 European Cup final, but they did get their hands on the famous trophy three years later.

For the last ten years, the modern 5-star stadium has ranked among Europe’s most atmospheric football stadiums. During the FIFA Football World Cup 2006, the stadium was the venue for five matches.

Ever since Germany hosted the World Cup, Hamburg has been recognised as an international hotspot for football fans.

Just a few train stops away from the stadium, visitors of the UEFA Europa League Final will have the opportunity to explore Europe’s largest entertainment district, the famous Reeperbahn.

There is hardly any other street in the world with such a legendary reputation attached to it, and no other street has so many tales to tell.

The Reeperbahn was originally a somewhat shabby red-light district for seafarers and sailors. However, by the 1960s and 70s it had turned into a stepping stone for popular culture, with the Beatles as the most striking example.

Ever since the 1990s, the Reeperbahn has turned into one of the world’s most vibrating and creative entertainment districts. With hundreds of bars, pubs and clubs, some of Europe’s best live music venues and a creative community that comes second to none, the Reeperbahn is definitely the place to go to celebrate the outcome of the final.

But also during the day, Hamburg offers a wide range of tourist highlights such as Europe’s largest inner-city port and the highly innovative urban development project HafenCity Hamburg with its historic warehouse district Speicherstadt attached to it.

Other points of interest include the work in progress on the Elbe Philharmonic Hall – Hamburg’s new landmark – as well as the beautiful Alster lake that is located amidst the buzz of the city centre with its countless shopping opportunities.

In Hamburg’s trendy, up-and-coming neighbourhoods, North European design blends with an almost Mediterranean flair. On the day following the final, the Queen Mary2, Queen of the Oceans and the world’s longest cruise liner, will arrive in the port of Hamburg and will be welcomed by hundreds of thousands of onlookers from all over the world.

Not alone for the football final can Hamburg be enjoyed. Each year, more and more British tourists make Hamburg their destination. Whether you fancy a shopping weekend, a cultural trip or if you want to follow the footsteps of the Beatles on the Reeperbahn – Hamburg is the place to be. With 150,000 overnight bookings per year, the UK now comes close to Switzerland as regards overnight stays in Hamburg.

This is also due to excellent low-fare flight connections between Hamburg and the UK: for example, EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) offers flights from Luton and Gatwick to Hamburg for as little as £45 return.

For additional information on the UEFA Europa League and the final, please visit www.uefa.com.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2010, 10:42:17 AM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/may/09/fulham-roy-hodgson-europa-league
Roy Hodgson offers fresh start at Fulham for football's refugees
Manager's simple but effective style of coaching has breathed new life into eager players' flagging careers

This is not the first time Fulham have taken in downwardly mobile footballers and had great fun with them, but this generation are not George Best, Bobby Moore, Alan Mullery or Rodney Marsh. Now, Craven Cottage dispatches a side of eager refugees from bigger clubs to a previously unthinkable European final in Hamburg on Wednesday.

"Coaches lead players to the water. They either drink or want to jump over the stream," says Roy Hodgson, the Fulham manager now being linked, by virtue of his transformative work in SW6, to a possible situation vacant at Liverpool. Behind Hodgson's modesty is a tale of players slipping down the Premier League glamour ladder to find fulfilment, of points being proved and careers remade on the road to mid-table safety and this week's decider against Atlético Madrid.

The following "backbone" Fulham players can all be said to have been at larger clubs immediately before they moved to Hodgson's hot-house. Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Danny Murphy (Spurs), Damien Duff (Newcastle), Simon Davies (Everton), Paul Konchesky, John Paintsil and Bobby Zamora (all West Ham), Dickson Etuhu (Sunderland), Aaron Hughes (Aston Villa) and Jonathan Greening and Zoltan Gera (both West Bromwich Albion – admittedly a yo-yo team).

Few of Hodgson's Europa League finalists can say they moved to Fulham in search of a higher altitude, if the main criterion is a club's trophy-winning heritage. Brede Hangeland, that first-class centre-half, arrived from Copenhagen, Clint Dempsey from the MLS, Chris Baird from Southampton and Chris Smalling (now bound for Manchester United) from Maidstone United.

This pattern of players responding to Hodgson's robust training ground drills and pattern-of-play foresight confirms that a small drop in status need not signify the start of a plunge. That lesson became apparent when Fulham achieved their highest league finish last year (7th) and when they set out in the Europa League in a field of 192 clubs on 30 July, 2009, with a 3-0 win away to FK Vetra. Wednesday's final will be their 19th fixture in a competition in which they have posted victories over Shakhtar Donetsk, the holders, Juventus, Wolfsburg and, most recently, Hamburg.

Aaron Hughes, who left Martin O'Neill's Villa to revive his career, is one of the best examples of a player who has found purpose and stability under Hodgson and his assistants, Ray Lewington and Mike Kelly. "I don't think anyone could have imagined two seasons ago, when we were on the brink of going down, that we'd get to where we are now." Hughes says. "It's been a lot of hard work on the training pitch and sticking to our style of football, regardless of who we're playing against.

"Everyone's found a role in the side that's good for them. A lot of people have said it's not where we've got to but how we've got there."

Uproarious drama and late turnarounds have characterised their 10-month journey to Germany, for which the 12,500 tickets allocated by Uefa sold out in less than four hours. Hodgson concedes the point that middle-ranking players who have turned slightly stale in larger squads are not always thought of as the most reliable buys, but says: "It's dangerous to believe that when players drop down, if we're going to use that term, they're doing it for any other reason than that they want to benefit their careers. I think a lot of our players found their place in the team they were playing for under threat and that they were less likely to be starting games. But, obviously, their desire and appetite still existed, and maybe you're talking about a good degree of pride.

"Maybe having to leave that club, where perhaps they thought they weren't being correctly treated, or their skills weren't appreciated, has been a source of motivation for them."

Duff, Hodgson says, abandoned a higher wage at relegated Newcastle because playing in the Premier League meant more to him. The manager praises "that character and that unbelievable desire to play football. Those people always fit in," the manager says. "You bring a player who's a good character and big football man into the club and they always fit in. It's the ones who're not endowed with those qualities that sometimes make it harder."

All these Fulham players talk of the training ground as the place where a new identity was forged. "Normally we're doing the same thing every day: shape, and things like this, and it's working," says Zoltan Gera, the Hungarian who scored the winner in the semi-final second-leg against Hamburg. "He [Hodgson] is intelligent. He knows football from everywhere."

"We are people who prepare, people who orchestrate, people who try to direct, but it's not the concert director who plays the violin," Hodgson says with undue humility. "Coaches should never take credit for individual players' performances."

Over a longer conversation, though, he describes his own long scholarship: "It was drummed into us as young coaches in the late 60s and early 70s that the way to succeed is to get your team knowing what they're doing, quite simply, and each player feeling comfortable doing his job. We were almost forced to believe by the powers that be at the FA in those days that there was only one way of doing that – put your tracksuit on and make sure you're out there with the ball.

"Your practices needed to be realistic. Anything you did should have a transference value to the game at the weekend. That's how we were brought up and that's what I've always believed from an early age. If you can get the players to buy into it I still think the theory that held good in the 70s is just as good today. What you do on the field in training does have a big affect on what you're going to do on the field on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon."

He adds more detail about that apprenticeship: "They gave us principles of play for attacking and principles of play for defending. You could argue that was quite simplistic. Width in attack, depth in defence. But it was all there, in a way. First you had to prepare, then you had to organise, then you had to observe, then you had to instruct. Your coaching manner had to be correct. Otherwise you were marked down. As you get older you go way beyond that, but, as young coaches, it was something for us to hang our hats on. Don [Howe] and Bobby [Robson] and Dave [Sexton] were in front of us, but they were the leading lights of the people who had been through courses and taken it on much further. They were people we could look up to. Terry Venables would come into that era."

Decades later, after spells at Internazionale, Blackburn and all points in between across Europe, Hodgson has found an English stage on which to demonstrate that early learning. He says: "There's no question in my mind that an experienced manager who retains the passion and enthusiasm of his youth is going to be arguably a better manager than the energetic youthful one who doesn't have the experience.

"What happens over the years is that the experience takes away the energy and the somewhat naive approach that can be good in football. What you've got to avoid as you get older is cynicism. Of course cynicism is not a domain of youth. It's a domain of old age."



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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2010, 10:43:32 AM »
http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/May/PantsilArsenalPreview.aspx
JP Targets Gunners




The final game of Fulham’s 2009/10 Barclays Premier League season takes place in North London on Sunday afternoon when Roy Hodgson’s side take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Sunday’s London derby will be Fulham’s 62nd game this season but defender John Pantsil dismissed any talk of fatigue as his Team prepare for a testing finale to the 2009/10 campaign.

“I don’t think we’re tired because the more you play good football and the more you get results, the more power you get," Pantsil explained. "When you’re playing a lot of games and not winning – that’s when you get tired.

“We’re going to go to Arsenal to play good football and try and get a good result. A positive result would be a boost ahead of Wednesday night’s Final in Hamburg.

“For the moment we’re not talking about the UEFA Europa League Final because we still have an important league match to play.

“I can’t talk too much about Arsenal because I’m a Fulham player and I focus on my team. They’re a top three team and it’s going to be a tough game.

“It’s their final home match of the season and they will want to give something to their fans and we want to finish in the top ten. It’s not going to be easy for either team.

“Arsenal play a similar way to Fulham so it will be an open game. It’s certainly going to be a nice game to watch on Sunday.”

Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/May/PantsilArsenalPreview.aspx#ixzz0nQLHxjRK

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2010, 10:44:54 AM »
http://www.imscouting.com/global-news-article/Fulham-boss-Hodgson-hints-hes-open-to-Liverpool-offer/7594/
Fulham boss Hodgson hints he's open to Liverpool offer

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has said that he would be open to an offer from a big club, hinting that a move to Liverpool would not be out of the question.

Last week, Hodgson was tipped as the front runner to succeed Rafa Benitez at Liverpool, who has been courted closely by Juventus.  It appears that Benitez will not secure the assurances that he wants from the Liverpool hierarchy which could keep him at Anfield. 

Meanwhile, Hodgson, has achieved what Benitez couldn’t, by leading his side to the Europa League final and has been linked with the Liverpool job.  Hodgson has done remarkably at Craven Cottage, firstly keeping Fulham in the Premier League against the odds and now leading them to European glory.

The 62 year-old has plenty of top level experience, having coached Inter Milan and the Swiss national team.

The News of the World quote him today, saying that he would consider a move to a top club, which presumably included the likes of Liverpool.

Hodgson said, "If the day comes when a big club wants me and I am available then I would be happy to do it.

"If you really want to be the guy who is involved in European Cup finals every year, you have to choose your clubs very carefully," he added.

"My fault in the past has always been that I can't bear not working so whenever I leave a job I have a tremendous tendency - probably not always intelligent of me - to jump at the first job that comes my way that sounds half-decent."

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2010, 10:46:01 AM »
http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2559/rumours/2010/05/09/1915850/steve-sidwell-told-he-can-quit-aston-villa-as-fulham-await
Steve Sidwell told he can quit Aston Villa as Fulham await - report

Out of favour Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell looks set for a summer switch after being told he is no longer needed at the club.

According to the News of the World, the former Reading and Chelsea attacking midfielder has become increasingly frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities and will look for a return to London this summer.

Having impressed in his early Villa career, Sidwell has seen his appearances restricted in recent months and has falledn down the pecking order due to the form of James Milner and Stiliyan Petrov in central midfield.

With only 12 league starts to his credit this term, he looks set to depart the west Midland's club this summer with the hope of resurrecting his career with Europa League finalists Fulham.

However, Sidwell’s wage demands may prove to be a stumbling block on any potential deal as the Cottagers will be keen for him to take a drastic wage cut.

West Ham United have also been reported as keen admirers of the Arsenal youth team product.


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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2010, 10:47:04 AM »
http://www.tribalfootball.com/hangeland-banking-hodgson-sticking-fulham-826161
Hangeland banking on Hodgson sticking with Fulham

Brede Hangeland is desperate to see Roy Hodgson stay with Fulham.

Hangeland, like his boss, has been linked with a move away with Arsenal known to be interested.

But Hangeland clearly wants to stay at Fulham – with Hodgson in charge.

Hangeland said: “Obviously, I hope he will stay. He is a great manager. We all enjoy working with him.

“He’s the main reason why we’ve come from battling relegation to playing in a European final.

“He is special because of the way he works with the team.

“He believes in his philosophy and I have learned a lot from him. The speculation about him or anyone else is not a distraction. The reason we’ve done well is we get to work and do our own business the best we can.

“This is not a team of individuals or big-name players. Roy is 100 per cent professional and he does all the things in training himself, not give them to other people. All the players buy into it.”

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (09.05.10)
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2010, 10:48:03 AM »
http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2559/rumours/2010/05/09/1915915/fulham-ace-bobby-zamora-could-see-his-england-dream-become-a
Fulham ace Bobby Zamora could see his England dream become a reality - report

Bobby Zamora looks set to be included in Fabio Capello's 30-man provisional England World Cup squad on Tuesday, according to the News of the World.

The Fulham goal-machine, who is currently in a race to be fit for his club's Europa League final against Atletico Madrid in Hamburg, will join the likes of Jamie Carragher and Ledley King in linking up with the Three Lions.

As competition for places begins to hot up, there are now only two friendlies - against Mexico and Japan - left for players to stake their claim for a place in the final 23-man squad travelling to South Africa.

Zamora, who is currently returning to full-fitness after picking up an Achilles injury, is desperate to make the final cut but is still unsure as to whether he will recover in time to take on the Spainiards.

England's medical team are said to be in constant contact with Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur's physios, as they assess the risks with both Zamora and King.

Meanwhile, Capello will also be searching for a replacement for Gareth Barry if the Manchester City midfielder fails to recover in time from the injury he picked up in midweek.

Speculation has linked West Ham United's talismanic Scott Parker with a return to the England fold, while Aston Villa's James Milner has been touted as a possible replacement after excelling in a central midfield position this season.