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Saturday Fulham Stuff (15.05.10)

Started by White Noise, May 15, 2010, 06:25:19 AM

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White Noise

Villa Lead Chase For Zamora


Published: Today

BOBBY ZAMORA is set to be an ÔŅĹ8million summer target for Aston Villa and Everton.

The two clubs have joined Birmingham in the battle to sign the Fulham striker, 29.

But boss Roy Hodgson plans to offer Zamora a new deal in a bid to keep him.

Zamora must wait to find out if he needs surgery on the Achilles problem which cost him a place in England's 30-man provisional World Cup squad.

Doctors say the injury needs at least a week to settle down before specialists have a look.

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White Noise

Juventus move in for Hodgson


Published: Today

JUVENTUS are preparing a dramatic bid to prise Roy Hodgson from Fulham.

The Italian giants were outwitted by Hodgson's men in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Now they see him as the ideal man to bring back the glory days.

There will be stern resistance from the Londoners.

Hodgson saved Fulham from relegation after joining them in December 2007 and only this week saw his side narrowly lose 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final.

But Hodgson, 62, who is on a one-year rolling contract, has said: "If the day comes when a so-called big club wants me, and I'm available, then I would be happy to do it."

Juventus, who will finish seventh in Serie A this season, have been courting Liverpool's Rafa Benitez to replace interim boss Alberto Zaccheroni.

But now they are eyeing Hodgson, who has already bossed Italian outfits Inter Milan and Udinese.

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White Noise

Bobby: I can't take any Mora


Published: 14 May 2010

BOBBY ZAMORA spoke for the first time about his World Cup heartbreak - admitting: I'm so depressed.

The Fulham striker was set to gatecrash Fabio Capello's England squad after a string of top displays in the Premier League and Europe.

But Zamora's dream of playing for his country this summer has been left in tatters by an Achilles tendon problem - picked up during last month's Europa League semi-final against Hamburg.

The injury meant Zamora was only able to play 55 minutes of the 2-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid at Wednesday night's final in Hamburg.

It also forced him to tell Three Lions manager Capello that he could not be included in his provisional 30-man squad, which was announced on Tuesday.

Zamora said: "I told Fabio I was struggling and knew that had I have gone I wouldn't have done myself or England justice.

"It was a decision between four lots of people to be honest - our medical team, their medical team, myself and the England management team.

"It's very disappointing but I'm looking at the bigger picture.

"The World Cup is a massive tournament. It's not about myself, it's about England.

"Fabio wished me the best and hoped I'd get fit and be available next season.

"In the final I was struggling to play. It's one of those things, it came at a bad time.

"The last five weeks have been terrible. It's been an up-and-down season as it's been so good on the pitch and to now pick up this injury has kicked me in the teeth.

"I have been sat at home feeling depressed. I'm absolutely gutted."

Zamora will be speaking to the Fulham medical team this weekend to see whether he requires surgery during the close season.

He said: "I'm going to talk to the medical guys again in the next couple of days and see what's happening. But I've got something pencilled in for next week if we go that route."

The ex-West Ham and Spurs ace has gone from zero to hero.

He has scored 19 goals to help fire the Cottagers to their first major European final.

And Zamora said: "It's been a success, I suppose. It's been a lot of hard work and determination.

"I was out there to prove people wrong. But I just wanted to work hard and do well for the club.

"Last year, because I only scored a few goals, everyone just looked at that and didn't look at the bigger picture.

"But I knew the goals would come, it was just a matter of time.

"So I worked on holding the ball up, bringing people into play AND scoring goals this season.

"I'm extremely pleased with the way the season has gone - not just for myself but the rest of the team.

"Everyone this year has been first class."

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White Noise

Hodgson is top Fulham Target


Published: 14 May 2010

FULHAM stars have given chairman Mohamed Fayed the name of the man he must sign this summer - Roy Hodgson.

The Cottagers chief has been linked with Liverpool and England after taking his side to the Europa League final.

But Hodgson, who insists he will not walk out of Craven Cottage, is only on a rolling deal.

And Fulham stars fear he could be tempted to leave for a far more glamorous job.

Norway defender Brede Hangeland said: "He's the main reason why we reached the final - it's as simple as that.

"We have a good group of players who work hard but it's masterminded by Roy.

"The biggest thing the club can do is make sure he stays."

Fellow defender Paul Konchesky said: "It's vital he stays and we kick on again for another good season."

Winger Simon Davies added: "I wouldn't be surprised if he has offers on the table. We don't want him to go."

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White Noise

Middlesbrough set for major coup by beating Spurs and Fulham to defender Craig Dawson

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 11:28 PM on 14th May 2010

Gordon Strachan is ready to pull off a transfer coup by beating Tottenham and Fulham to the signature of Rochdale defender Craig Dawson, 20.

Boro have agreed a deal of around £750,000, rising to £2m, for the former Manchester City trainee.

He is rated as one of the best young defenders in the country and played a pivotal role in the League Two club's promotion.

There be a second blow for Spurs, too, as Andros Townsend nears a loan move to Ipswich.

Town boss Roy Keane wants the England U19 left winger at Portman Road for the whole season.

Townsend - a product of the White Hart Lane academy - has already been on loan at Yeovil, Leyton Orient and MK Dons in the past year.

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White Noise

Fulham eye Bristol City hot-shot Nicky Maynard in £3.25million deal

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 9:25 PM on 14th May 2010

Fulham are keen on a £3.25m move for Bristol City striker Nicky Maynard.

City manager Steve Coppell insisted that the former Crewe striker was not for sale, with West Brom also interested ‚ÄĒ but Fulham's offer for the 23-year-old may change his mind.

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White Noise

He's played for Souness, Keegan and Tigana . . . now Lee Clark is showing what he's learned

By Michael Walker

Last updated at 11:16 PM on 14th May 2010

It is 8.30am in Lee Clark's Huddersfield Town office. Laptops are open, statistics are being analysed and an unnamed non-League striker is being discussed. The mail includes DVDs from hopeful players asking for trials ‚ÄĒ it's no longer just a letter. The mood is businesslike; serious.

Then Clark's experienced backroom staff get to work. There is a lunch request for a plate of lettuce with gravy around it ‚ÄĒ 'like Gordon Ramsay does it' ‚ÄĒ followed by a brief discussion on the effect on the digestive system of eating sand. It is less serious now.

Finally, news of Chris Coleman's demise at Coventry City begins to come through. Heads are shaken. Clark and Coleman were team-mates at Fulham. Clark scored the winner in Coleman's first match as manager, against Newcastle.

'It just shows you how precarious it is,' Clark said of his profession. 'When it's someone you know well, and Chris is a very good friend of mine, it makes it tougher.

'But when I got this job a lot of the managers who rang up said not to expect anything other than one day getting the sack. They didn't mean it in a bad way, they were just being realistic.

'But you have to be optimistic, too. You have to see how long you can stay. Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, they're changing the rules.'

A morning in Clark's company and it becomes clear that such balance is a theme. At 37, he is the youngest manager in the three divisional play-offs ‚ÄĒ Huddersfield host Millwall on Saturday in the League One semi-final first leg ‚ÄĒ and he is unchanged physically from the midfielder who played Barclays Premier League football for Newcastle and Fulham until three years ago.

He was Glenn Roeder's assistant at Norwich and Huddersfield is Clark's first manager's job. Alongside him, though, are men such as Derek Fazackerley and Terry McDermott, who have seen it and done it.

The banter they produce was taken on to the training pitch, yet the session was long and intense.

For all his comparative youth, Clark has been planning to coach for a long time. A product of Wallsend Boys Club, he was 17 when he made his Newcastle debut under Jim Smith, the first in a list of high-profile managers Clark played under: Ardiles, Keegan, Dalglish, Reid, Tigana, Coleman and Souness. Clark started taking notes early.

'I took my first coaching licence in my early 20s,' he said. 'Even in my teens I was looking after a boys club on a Sunday ‚ÄĒ trained them in midweek. Shola Ameobi actually played for one of the sides, Walker Central. It's always been in my mind.

'Keegan's decision-making, seeing a player, that was spot on. Jean Tigana, he was into fitness and nutrition ‚ÄĒ we'd have three sessions a day, sometimes the first was at six in the morning.

'You'd come in, do a 5km run, then have breakfast together and relax. That would give your body recovery time. You'd have another session at 10, then one at three in the afternoon. We were super-fit. We got results, that makes it easier to sell your wares. I haven't tried six o'clock here yet...

'What I saw with Graeme Souness was man-management. He was under severe pressure as Newcastle manager; the crowd never took to him. But he never once brought that pressure into the dressing room.

'As a young player, I had Ossie Ardiles. He gave us loads of confidence but the squad was just too young. We'd be 3-0 up and lose 4-3.'

Cutting Huddersfield's average age was one of Clark's stated aims in his first job interview. That was 17 months ago following Stan Ternent's dismissal. Of the 21 players' names on Clark's noticeboard, only eight remain from December 2008.

The rest of that season was about stability ‚ÄĒ Huddersfield finished ninth. This season, 'the first aim was to be in the top six'.

Clark acknowledged the strong support from new, young multi-millionaire chairman, Dean Hoyle. But the club's transfer record remains the £1.2million spent on Marcus Stewart 14 years ago. Since then there have been eight managers and this is the ninth consecutive season below Championship level.

To many, Huddersfield remain the Herbert Chapman club, the one Bill Shankly managed before Liverpool. They have not been in the top flight since 1972. Clark said the club's history should be embraced but if he is successful he will have altered it.

A victory over Millwall ‚ÄĒ who lost 1-0 at the Galpharm Stadium a month ago ‚ÄĒ would take Huddersfield one step forward but they are the outsiders of the four play-off teams and, while that top-six aim has been achieved, it may require the two further years on Clark's contract to get the club promoted.

By then Clark will have learned again. As he said of the difference between being an assistant and being No 1: 'Every day I have the final decision on football matters. You have to get used to that.

'I've had a player come to me this season with "a big problem". He asked if I could do anything about his broken dishwasher. I told him I wasn't actually a qualified plumber, but that I'd see if I could get someone to help him.'

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White Noise

When I close my eyes I see motorway: Atletico 2-1 Fulham (AET)

Filed under: General,Match info ‚ÄĒ weltmeisterclaude @ 4:47 pm

117 minutes to beat us.  Astonishing effort.

Hamburg is vibrant.  Red and white striped shirts scurry around in threes and fours.  Are there any white shirts in town?

They are all in the city's Reeperbahn area.   The "The Sinful Mile".   The English flock there and stay all afternoon.    It could have been the lack of the sleep, but the air around the Reeperbahn seems hazy, somehow diluted, like a heatwave without the heat.  It feels like stepping into one of those films celebrating the sixties, celebrating freedom, happiness, and maybe even love.

Narrow streets housing bar upon bar open up into what we might call a square, and here is all the fun, loud.  A central statue with a half-naked Englishman on top.  "Fulham till 1 die" says his blue away shirt, whirling around his head like a lassoo.  From his perch our man leads and directs the singing.  Beneath him broken beer bottles accumulate, people dance around, delighted to be there.  How many Fulham songs are there anyway?  You can make them last all afternoon.

In the side-streets the Atletico fans dance amongst themselves.  Theirs was a different approach:  while an Englishman preparing to sing will spread his arms, furrow his brow and build what he hopes will be a convincing stare, a Spaniard will smile, bemused, maybe bang something with his hand to make noise, before joyfully beginning his performance.  Sometimes worlds collide:  several Fulham fans try some variation of "We love Real Madrid" by means of a good natured (if unimaginative) taunt, the Atletico fans grin it off and respond from left field.  Like watching Steve from payroll attempting to heckle a professional comedian on a work night out.

But the numbers.  Thousands of people in one area.  Thousands of people in surrounding streets, out of view.  The bars are rammed, the tucked-away (but not very) brothels must wonder what on earth is going on just yards from their front doors.  Commuters look horrified.  Visiting football fans are in heaven.   And all the time the police let it be, content to supervise minor disturbances in exchange for a good, happy atmosphere.   ith different teams in the final the city could have gone wrong, but red and white and white mingle all day, and as the beers go down the happiness goes up.  There is no sign of trouble.

Reeperbahn underground station.¬† ¬†Again it's all red and white, deafening sounds of thousands of people in a confined space singing together.¬† The group slowly pours itself into the hall, then down the stairs, then to the train platform.¬† The trains come, the trains go.¬† They are full, and getting fuller.¬† ¬†On the train for 20 minutes.¬† Nobody knows where to get off.¬† The stations go by and then ‚Äď was it Iserbrook? ‚Äď someone makes a move.¬† Slowly everyone else follows, and yep, here are the police, waiting.¬† ¬†A short walk to a bus stop, a short trip in a bus, and here it is: the Nordbank arena.

Set amongst trees, vast, glassy.¬† We wander in.¬† A small loaf of bread with cheese on top, somehow infused with Chilli.¬† ‚ā¨3.¬† Lovely.¬† A souvenir scarf. ‚ā¨20.¬† A programme.¬† ‚ā¨8.¬† The burgers look nice, but are sold out quickly.¬† A substitution is made:¬† Schnitzel.¬† What is Schniztel?¬† ¬†Some kind of chicken burger.¬† Nice.¬† ¬†Up steps, steps, steps.¬† Down to seats.¬† ¬†We are in a corner, exactly where we have been in the last two trips to the (much smaller) White Hart Lane.¬† ¬†It feels like we are about to play Spurs.

The crowd gathers and the noise starts to get impressive.  On the field, a beautiful supernatural krypton green, there is enough to keep attention, but not so much that you feel that this is anything other than an important football match.  This is no Superbowl, it is all about the football.   The announcers are the single concession to cheese, two bland UEFA bods appear on the screens discussing how amazing they expect everything to be.  But soon they are gone and Diddy Hamilton is being craned up into the sky, and the Black Eyed Peas are on the PA system singing "I('ve?) got a feelin(g?)".  Diddy reads out the team news and Zamora is in it.  The crowd are pleased.

There is smoke on the field now.  Who knows why, but big occasions need smoke.  The music gets all heavy, full of meaning and even menace.   Darth Vader would have liked it.   The big screens show the players shuffling around in the tunnel, shaking limbs, nervous.  On the field a giant flag is unfurled.  What does it mean?  The music keeps playing, the stadium is in a collective frenzy, the players appear, the game kicks off.

We look nervous.  Hangeland slices a ball up into the air. Atletico have done their homework and are filling in spaces, pressing our midfielders, making it hard.  Murphy gives it away, Aguero frees Forlan, Forlan strikes the post.   It looked like a good chance, but on reflection the last defender (Hughes?) did well, Schwarzer was well positioned, and Forlan didn't have that much to aim at.   It's a warning though:  we look fine until we give the ball away.

Which is how they score:  Konchesky mislays the ball, and here come Atletico again, Aguero mishits, Forlan, alert as can be, nudges the ball past Schwarzer.  He races off, shirtless (is that a yellow card offence?), overjoyed.  It had been coming.  They are bossing us around.

But Fulham react well.  Simon Davies equalises, the ball spends time in the Atletico area, Konchesky, Zamora, Duff, then Gera dinks it to the far post, a defender shades it on, and Davies volleys emphatically home, low and unstoppable.

The half is over.  It feels like we've been playing for 5 minutes, not 45.   We sit down and think about what we have seen.   Atletico have had much of the attacking play, Fulham have Fulhamed along quite well, but there is a sense that we are not attacking as a team, that the full-backs are not involved enough, that Zamora is isolated (and about 30% fit), that the admirable Gera is neither fish nor fowl between his two (difficult) jobs.   Not criticisms: worries.  This is a worrying game, simply because it is a final.  We are in a major Europan final.

Sit back and wait for the players.

The second half is much better.¬† The team passes beautifully, quick, accurate.¬† At last we feel like the better team.¬† ¬†Then Zamora ‚Äď inevitably ‚Äď departs, and even though he had not been playing well (by his own standards), we lose momentum.¬† Atletico are in charge again.

The game hurtles through to full-time.   Now Nevland is on, his last effort in a Fulham shirt.  But no chances are coming.

Extra time flies by too.  In the first period Aguero misses from about a foot out, stretching in vain as the ball trickles across him, his poke diverting the ball goalwards but not goalwards enough.  That was the big chance.

The second period.  Penalties now.  It has to be penalties.  But Forlan strikes again, great work on the left, a cross, Forlan's a darting run across Hangeland, he gets the ball first and again nudges past Schwarzer, and it's over.  117 minutes.  It's over.

White Noise

A Fabulous Journey

Friday 14th May 2010

Fulham FC News

Fulham's European dream may have ended in heartbreak in Hamburg, but Damien Duff is already targeting a successful domestic campaign next season to boost the Club's chances of experiencing another European adventure in the future.

"It's been a fabulous journey," explained Duff. "We can take a lot from that, but when you get to a Final you want to win it, so we are gutted.

"At the start of the second half on Wednesday I thought we were really strong and perhaps that was the time to capitalise and take our chances. We're all devastated.

"I've obviously had some massive highs and massive lows in my career and getting to the Final there have been so many highs - but losing a Final is not a nice feeling.

"I hadn't trained for a week so I was tired at the end and it was always going to take its toll. The Club did great getting me fit and out there but it would have been nice to win.

"We obviously won't be in Europe next season but hopefully we'll have a better chance to pick up more points in the league. Hopefully we'll do a lot better in the league and get into Europe again."

Duff has enjoyed a fantastic inaugural season at the Cottage and before the Team departed for their summer break, the Republic of Ireland international was keen to pay tribute to Manager Roy Hodgson following another historic season for the Club.

"I think the fact that he was named Manager of the Year by the LMA on Monday speaks volumes. He's a top Manager, a top coach and it's about time he started getting the recognition he deserves.

"I can't speak highly enough of him ‚Äď you can see what he's done with us this year. He's a top man."

Duff had one final note of praise to deliver for a playing colleague, whose inspirational goals in the UEFA Europa League played a pivotal role in Fulham reaching the Final in Hamburg.

"He's [Zoltan Gera] been brilliant and I love Zoltan to bits. He was fabulous again in the Final and he's been brilliant all season." 

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White Noise

From Pain To Pride

Friday 14th May 2010

Fulham FC News

bredefinalnewsThe pain of a Final defeat was palpable as Fulham's players departed the Hamburg Arena on Wednesday evening, but despite a cruel end to a memorable European adventure, Fulham's pain will eventually be replaced by pride, as Brede Hangeland explained.

"It was difficult to come so close to penalties and lose it at the end," said Hangeland after the game. "It's going to take some time to get over that disappointment but I'm sure in a while we'll be proud of having reached the Final and the fact that we gave a good account of ourselves.

"I thought on the whole they were probably the better team and created more chances but when you're that close to penalties it's very harsh and very difficult to take.

"All four of their attacking players are top, top players. For most of the game I thought we did really well and they didn't create that much but they scored two really good goals and Forlan is always dangerous in the box.

"I'm sure in time we'll be able to look back and be proud of our performances in Europe but when you lose a Final it's hard to be positive but we have done well."

Before departing for the team hotel on Wednesday night Hangeland paid tribute to Manager Roy Hodgson, who has guided Fulham to heights that many would have never thought possible only a short time ago.

"He's the main reason we were in the Final, explained the Norwegian international captain. "We've got a good group of players that work really hard but it's all masterminded by the manager. He's been crucial to the success we've had over the last two years.

"I think if we hadn't of played in Europe we could have finished higher in the league but we needed to balance the squad with the number of games we played and for a small Club to get to the Final is a great achievement."

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White Noise

Final Podcast

This week's edition of the 'Inside Fulham' podcast focuses on the Club's remarkable European adventure.

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White Noise

Club Focus - Fulham - Dizzying heights, shattered dreams, but a proud club still believes

By Matt Domm

Friday 14 May 2010

Empty handed, yet full of pride. A 63-game long season ended with the mix of emotions that Craven Cottage has spilling from its walls. Hope sprung from several memorable comebacks from against the odds. Despair struck after Diego Forlan cruelly defeated Fulham 116 minutes into the Europa League final. Yet, ultimately, pride overruled any other feeling as the players, manager and fans reflected on what was, despite not actually winning anything, the most successful season in the club's history.

The Fulham players brought literal meaning to the age-old blood, sweat and tears metaphor on Wednesday night. Bobby Zamora pushed himself beyond the pain barrier for the last few games of the season, Danny Murphy had worked so hard he could barely stand come full-time. And

Zoltan Gera collapsed in a heap of emotion at the end of extra-time, summing up emphatically how everyone connected with the club - and to a certain extent plenty of outsiders - felt at that moment. It was a cruel, cruel way to end a season of such hope, with this last game proving just one tiny step too far for Fulham to get the recognition they deserved - the Europa League trophy. When the fans at the end of last season were singing "we're all going on a European tour",not one of them expected to take in 19 fixtures, seven countries and thousands of air (or coach) miles, but their club has been the footballing story of the season and all it lacked was a fairytale ending. This, however, was real life, and 120 further minutes was simply too much for such tired legs.

Those supporters old enough to remember the club's last golden era will be only too aware of the club's ability to make promises only for luck to change its mind at the last moment - somehow it just would not have been Fulham were it Murphy lifting the trophy on Wednesday night. Over the years Fulham have fluctuated between the top flight and the bottom of the football ladder, and despite missing out yet again on a major trophy, the 2009/10 season far eclipsed all others that had gone before it. And for that reason, even accounting for the late heartbreak, 2010 will be remembered as a major success. Not in the league, perhaps, although a safe mid-table position is still a remarkable achievement when considering the team's two cup runs (let's not forget the FA Cup quarter-final), but the overall view of this year will be of how one man and his troops overcame the odds from every angle to succeed beyond anyone's wildest expectations.

That man, Roy Hodgson, took the defeat as he takes any result - with humility and grace. Clearly devastated by the outcome, he took the opportunity to praise his players, and rightfully considering the consistently high performances from the majority of them over the slog that has been 2009/10. Zamora, with Hodgson's continued support, has been a revelation. Damien Duff's career has been rejuvenated since his summer move. And Gera has filled in (and improved upon) for Andy Johnson spectacularly, particularly in Europe. All the above - and most of the rest -have thrived on the team-focused tactics that the manager demands, and now at the end of the season their performances can be judged on consistency rather than temporary form. No player can be accused of underperforming, and that really is testament to the talents of Hodgson.

Had Fulham won the Europa League then there would have been a case for the manager achieving all he could at the club - not that Hodgson would ever make such a claim. Now, however, he could well feel like he has unfinished business. The potential that this quaint family-friendly club alongside the river was clear this season for the whole of Europe to see, but the pain of the harshest of defeats served as a reminder that, whether they go on to bigger and better things or not, the spirit of everyone involved will always remain.

The important question now is whether Fulham will sink back into the comfortable surroundings of Stevenage Road by the river, or whether this past year, combined with the fact Craven Cottage will host no European fixtures next season, will spur the club on to further success and a regular attack on the top seven. In truth, a lot rests on whether Hodgson is plied away from the esteem he has built in SW6 for one last chance to prove himself at an already established outfit or whether he, along with Mohammed Al-Fayed, can keep the bulk of the squad together and improve on it with more clever transfers. For those who witnessed each of the 63 games this season provided, dare they dream that things could get even better? For they, more than anyone, know the pain that is caused by dreams being shattered.

White Noise


by Dan on May 14, 2010

It's only natural that the overriding emotion just after that sudden blow to our collective solar plexis was crushing disappointment. Getting that close has to hurt. But, given a couple of days to place the whole experience in the broader picture, I challenge any Fulham fan to be feeling anything other than very, very proud.

Proud of how Roy Hodgson handled defeat. With characteristic frankness, he set the defeat in it's rightful context minutes after the game had finished. In that analytical manner of his that seems to have been borrowed from a sixties schoolmaster rather than a modern football manager, Roy conceded that found it difficult to make a technically gifted and exceptionally dangerous Atletico Madrid. When Sergio Aguero was leading all and sundry a merry dance after Forlan's first goal, I feared Fulham might buckle under the pressure.

That goes against everything we know about the team Hodgson's built. In adversity, we saw those familiar qualities yet again ‚Äď endeavour, teamwork and the will not to be beaten. That spirit had carried Fulham through far greater crises that this and Simon Davies' sweet strike had our hopes soaring. It's right to acknowledge his contribution here too. Davies has been written off by some as past it and injury-prone over the past season, but he scored one of the best goals I've seen in a high-pressure situation to get us back into the semi-final and demonstrated that flawless technique at the far post again on Wednesday night.

Defensively we were clearly stretched but the boys kept going. Dickson Etuhu imposed himself on proceedings and quelled some of those speedy Atletico breaks. There was plenty of courage on display. Most of our back four were carrying niggling injuries and Damien Duff soldiered on despite the calf strain from Stoke. Bobby Zamora battled gamely for the best part of an hour and caused enough consternation to create the goal. Everyone was a hero.

Tactically, we were difficult to break down but, if anyone doubts that Roy's too nice for the pressure-cooker, get them to watch the video again. The difference between an anxious first half and the positive manner in which the Whites started the second half was remarkable. As ever with Fulham, with a bit more luck, the balance might have tilted our way. But don't take too long to consider the 'if only's' ‚Äď the memories should simply be happy ones.

Remember all those people you told you that the Europa League would wreck Fulham's season. That we'd be a relegation dogfight before we knew it. The astounding thing about this season is that, for all the thousands of miles the same players travelled week in, week out, the Whites still finished well clear of the danger zone. Think about the sides we've played and beaten: Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Hamburg. We fell in the final seconds against a team that possessing one of the most frightening strike partnerships in all of Europe ‚Äď there's no shame in that.

The enormity of all of it could have been too much. I first started going to Fulham in the early 1990s ‚Äď and many of my friends have been following the club for far longer. Sadly, I couldn't make it to Hamburg, but it felt like I was there. Not just because of the sheer number of phone calls and text messages I received from my Fulham family, but those banners, the black and white masses and the songs that came through loud and clear on the television.

Most football fans will never get to see their team in a European final. We did ‚Äď and the boys certainly didn't let us down.

White Noise

Davies: We've made the Europa League attractive again

Published 23:00 13/05/10 By Darren Lewis

Simon Davies last night insisted Fulham have made the Europa League attractive again to English clubs with the competition derided since its inception two years ago.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill and former Bolton boss Gary Megson were heavily criticised for fielding weakened teams in the tournament.

Villa, Liverpool and Manchester City will contest it next season and Davies said: "During the group stages the manager did rotate the team quite a lot. The Premier League was our main objective this year.

"But as soon as we got far enough, probably after beating the holders Shakhtar Donetsk, he was playing his strongest XI.

"The nights we've had at Craven Cottage, for a club like us it doesn't get much better. It's been really great. We've loved every minute of it.

"If you're a well organised team and winning games you're going to get confidence.

"We're all good players, maybe not world beaters, but if you're playing with confidence you can win games. That comes from being a solid team, a solid unit, going on runs like we've gone on, getting to a final.

"You're going to be growing in confidence and that's going to add loads to your game. That's definitely something that's helped us along the way and we had a really settled team unit.

"And I'm sure the manager will be looking to bring in players to strengthen the squad. We finished seventh last season, got to a final this season, and we want to keep building. It's a great time for the club."

White Noise

Reo-Coker warns he will only quit Villa on his terms - Exclusive

Published 23:00 13/05/10

By James Nursey

Nigel Reo-Coker has warned Aston Villa he will choose his next club - not Martin O'Neill.

Villa are looking to sell several fringe stars like Reo-Coker, who will be 26 today, to raise funds for new signings.

Blackburn and Stoke have already expressed an interest in the former West Ham dynamo, who had a huge bust-up with Villa boss O'Neill last September.

But Londoner Reo-Coker would prefer a move to a more ambitious club based down south.

He has only 12 months left on his Villa contract after a £7.5million switch from West Ham in July 2007. And he is willing to sit out the rest of his contract and leave on a Bosman rather than just moving to earn Villa cash.

Fellow outcasts Steve Sidwell and Nicky Shorey also both have only a year left on their contracts and that is sure to affect their price tags.

Shorey can join Fulham for a pre-agreed fee of around £2m after he went there on loan.

Fulham have also enquired about Sidwell, while defender Curtis Davie is wanted by promoted Newcastle.

West Ham are interested in Luke Young, who is also set to leave Villa Park.

White Noise,19528,11681_6152436,00.html

English eyes on Hoseth

Norwegian international in demand

Last updated: 14th May 2010 understands a number of English sides are chasing Norway international Magne Hoseth.

The Molde midfielder has enjoyed a fine season to date and his performances for club and country have alerted a host of clubs.

The 29-year-old could be available for a cut-price fee and both Blackburn and Fulham have been credited with an interest in the attacking midfielder.

Blackburn have held preliminary talks over a £450,000 deal for the attacking midfielder who has had previous spells with FC Copenhagen and Valerenga and has over 20 caps.

Hoseth's English agent, Dan Fletcher, has confirmed several English teams are tracking the player.

"There is significant interest in Magne from English clubs. But nothing has been agreed yet," Fletcher told

"Magne is a leading contender for the Norwegian Player of the Year this year, having been involved in 14 out of Molde's 17 goals so far and scoring five himself in 11 games."

White Noise

Simply the Best

Saturday 15th May 2010

Fulham FC News

The Final Barclays Premier League Fair Play tables have been released. The tables are compiled from marks awarded by The Premier League Match Delegates.

Once again Fulham's fans finished first in the Behaviour of the Public Fair play table. The Team ended the campaign third in the Fair Play league.


Position     Played  R/Y  P/P  R/O  R/R  B/O  Pts  Score  Avge 
1  Arsenal   38  321  317  228  232  205  1303  325.8  8.57 
2  Tottenham Hotspur   38  319  315  228  232  206  1300  325  8.55 
3  Fulham   38  331  281  227  234  209  1282  320.5  8.43 
4  Manchester United   38  319  305  221  222  208  1275  318.8  8.39 
5  Chelsea   38  311  318  221  222  200  1272  318  8.37 
6  Burnley   38  317  287  219  231  200  1254  313.5  8.25 
7  Aston Villa   38  315  296  218  222  202  1253  313.3  8.24 
8  Manchester City   38  325  293  217  225  189  1249  312.3  8.22 
9  Everton   38  317  290  220  227  187  1241  310.3  8.16 
10  West Ham United   38  309  285  216  221  209  1240  310  8.16 
11  Wolverhampton Wanderers   38  305  288  218  223  203  1237  309.3  8.14 
12  Wigan Athletic   38  307  283  218  224  202  1234  308.5  8.12 
13  Liverpool   38  310  295  217  220  190  1232  308  8.11 
14  Stoke City   38  302  276  215  224  197  1214  303.5  7.99 
15  Blackburn Rovers   38  317  265  209  220  202  1213  303.3  7.98 
16  Portsmouth   38  297  258  212  219  202  1188  297  7.82 
17  Birmingham City   38  303  281  203  213  187  1187  296.8  7.81 
18  Bolton Wanderers   38  291  270  211  219  193  1184  296  7.79 
19  Hull City   38  298  257  209  222  185  1171  292.8  7.7 
20  Sunderland   38  276  271  200  219  193  1159  289.8  7.63 



R/Y = Red & Yellow Cards - Maximum 10 pts per Match
(Red 3 pts, Yellow 1 pt)
P/P = Positive Play - Maximum 10 pts per Match
R/O = Respect Towards Opponent - Maximum 7 pts per Match
R/R = Respect Towards Referee - Maximum 7 pts per Match
B/O = Behaviour of Officials - Maximum 6 pts per Match 

Position     Played  Pts  Avge 
1  Fulham   38  320  8.42 
2  Sunderland   38  316  8.32 
3  West Ham United   38  310  8.16 
4  Liverpool   38  309  8.13 
5  Burnley   38  308  8.11 
6  Manchester City   38  307  8.08 
7  Wigan Athletic   38  306  8.05 
8  Tottenham Hotspur   38  306  8.05 
9  Wolverhampton Wanderers   38  304  8 
10  Chelsea   38  304  8 
11  Arsenal   38  303  7.97 
12  Aston Villa   38  300  7.9 
13  Everton   38  300  7.9 
14  Manchester United   38  300  7.9 
15  Stoke City   38  299  7.87 
16  Bolton Wanderers   38  296  7.79 
17  Blackburn Rovers   38  295  7.76 
18  Birmingham City   38  289  7.61 
19  Portsmouth   38  285  7.5 
20  Hull City   38  275  7.24 


Matches up to and including Sunday 9th May 2010.

Prize money of £30,000 is awarded to the club finishing the Season at the top of the Fair Play League, with £20,000 going to the club whose supporters are deemed to be the best behaved. 

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