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Monday Fulham Stuff (17/05/10)...

Started by WhiteJC, May 17, 2010, 07:48:17 AM

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Fulham boss Hodgson to gain pay-rise and £25M transfer kitty

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is set to be handed a bumper summer transfer kitty.

The Sunday Mirror says Hodgson, on a one-year rolling contract, is also in line for a pay rise and will be given funds of around £25 million by club owner Mohammed Al Fayed to improve his squad.

Al Fayed has the money to invest after the recent sale of Harrods for £1.5 billion to the Qatar royal family.

Leeds & Fulham Strikers Linked - Transfer Rumours


Not that many links today or yesterday. Thing is, the players and managers go on holiday now. Also, most players contracts don't run out until the end of June as we know, so it isn't always an instant thing to start buying.

I digress.

Yesterday, I think it was The Sun, linked us with Fulham and ever so nearly if not for injury England striker Bobby Zamora. The report said that both Villa and Everton were after the striker and a price of around £8million was mentioned.

Interesting that we are now being linked WITH a Fulham player after so many of ours have been linked to Fulham. Nicky Shorey, Luke Young, Curtis Davies, John Carew and Steve Sidwell have all been linked to the London club. So maybe some sort of swap deal will ensue?

Bobby Zamora profile on the Fulham official site: Click Here

2008/2009 he played 35 times in the league with two goals, FA Cup 2 goals, total 4 (just in case you can't do the maths!)
2009/2010 he played 27 times in the league with 8 goals, FA Cup 3 goals, Europe 6 goals.

Big improvement on the season before but .... ? Not that great a record is it? He is 29, so this is probably him just at his peak or just reaching it?

I thought this link would crop up. The Express claim that Villa have joined 'the chase' (no venue has been given for this race as yet) with Everton to sign 26-year-old Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford who sadly for the Elland Road outfit is available for a free this summer.

Beckfords profile on the Leeds official site: Click Here

There are certainly goals in this chap, albeit at a lower level. This season he made 38 appearances in the league scoring 25 goals + 5 FA Cup goals.

A report in The Mirror the other day suggested that Nicky Shorey can join Fulham for a pre-agreed (at the time of his loan) £2million fee. I'm not sure if this is true or not as I'm sure MON had some quotes recently saying the player did have a place back at Villa.

So far we have:


Nigel Hokey-Cokey to see out his contract: Click Here

Villa will bid for £2.5million rated, 18-year-old Cardiff City right-back Adam Matthews. Click Here

Robbie Keane: Click Here
Robbie Keane several more times including: Click Here

Veteran Wigan keeper Mike Pollitt.

Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Stephane Sessegnon.

Paul Scharner from Wigan. Click Here

Chelsea's Serbian international defender Branislav Ivanovic Click Here

Carlton Cole from West Ham for £12million Click Here
Carlton Cole from West Ham for around £10million, not sure why the price reduction! Click Here

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Lee Grant Click Here

Stephen Ireland from Manchester City (+ possible swap for Milner) Click Here

Kevin Doyle from Wolves. Click Here

Aiden McGeady from Celtic Click Here

Alexander Hleb from Barcelona: Click Here

£5million rated 24-year-old PSV Eindhoven right-back Stanislav Manolev.

£10million rated Sporting Gijon left back Roberto Canella Click Here

£15million rated 24-year-old Porto striker Radamel Falcao Click Here

Liverpool's attacking midfielder Yossi Benayoun. Click Here

Jermaine Jenas from Spurs

Bobby Zamora linked to Villa and Everton with a £8million price tag.

Jamie Beckford on a free from Leeds United.


Ashley Young to Manchester City. Click Here
Ashley Young to Manchester United for £22million
Ashley Young at the centre of £22m transfer battle as Spanish superpower Barcelona joins Real Madrid in race for Aston Villa star. Forum thread: Click Here
Ashley Young to Barcelona for £25million

Curtis Davies to look for a Villa exit.
Curtis Davies to Newcastle United. Click Here
Curtis Davies to Fulham. Click Here

Gabby Agbonlahor to Arsenal for around £22million Click Here

Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young to Manchester City for around £45million. Click Here

Habib Beye outward.

James Milner to Man Utd
James Milner to Man City
James Milner to Arsenal

John Carew to Fulham for £3.5m Click Here

Luke Young wanting to go back to London.
Luke Young to West Ham Click Here

Marlon Harewood Click Here

Nigel Reo-Coker wanted by Stoke and Blackburn Rovers Click Here

Nicky Shorey to Fulham Click Here

Steve Sidwell to Fulham or possibly West Ham. Click Here

Wilfred Bouma as the club have confirmed he is free to talk to other interested parties and can move on a free: Click Here

Manager In And Out Talk:

MON to Liverpool, Slaven Bilic or Steve McClaren on Villa's radar: Click Here

Read more:

Fulham - Striker Raid Imminent!
After our Europa League Final hopes were dashed on the rocks, it would appear that Roy Hodgson could be on the verge of spending some of the cash the campaign generated.

The News of the World carries an article that implies that the Bristol City forward, Nicky Maynard, is Roy`s target with a bid, in the region of, £4.5 million on the table.

Maynard, a product of the Crewe Academy, has hit more than 30 goals for the Ashton Gate side in the last two seasons.

We`ll see how this one develops shall we?

Read more:

Fulham - What Price Zamora?
Success always breeds interest and after a dalliance with a move to Hull City last pre-season, the rumour mill is rife that our free scoring striker, Bobby Zamora, could be lured to pastures new.

Birmingham City, according to the Daily Grapevine, have already expressed an interest and yesterday the names of two other potential suitors appeared in the tabloids, that of Aston Villa and Everton.

What price Bobby Zamora remaining a Fulham player come the start of the season?

Read more:

Fulham - Uneasy Ground!
With Roy Hodgson intimating that he will honour his Fulham contract, rumours continue to circulate of a swoop by a big club.

The latest to be linked with acquiring the services of Roy Hodgson are our vanquished Europa league opponents, Juventus.

After growing tired of waiting for Rafa Benitez to give a decision regarding leaving Liverpool, the fallen Italian giants are, if the rumours are correct, preparing a swoop to lure Roy back to Serie A for one last hurrah.

Here`s hoping the prospect doesn`t appeal to him!

Read more:

Schwarzer eyes deal talks
Keeper hopes Fulham keep hold of Hodgson

Mark Schwarzer admits he would be happy to discuss a new deal at Fulham as long as Roy Hodgson remained.

Hodgson has been linked with a move away from Craven Cottage following his success at the club over the last few seasons.

The likes of Liverpool, Juventus and AC Milan have been credited with an interest in the former Blackburn boss.

Schwarzer is keen for Hodgson to stay in west London and claimed his own future could be decided by whether or not Hodgson remains at The Cottagers.

"I have a year left on my contract and I'm keen to talk," Schwarzer told The People.

"I'm happy where I am - as long as the manager is still going to be here.

"Lots of big clubs are going to be interested in the manager's services after the amazing job he's done.

"As players we hope he'll stay but it is out of our hands."

Fulham's labours fall just short of glory

On Tuesday night, television viewers in Britain and across the world watched as Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister.  In stepping down as the leader of the Labour party at their London headquarters, Mr Brown reminded those present of the maxim on the back of their membership cards: "By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more together than we do alone."

Twenty-four hours later, at the Nordbank Arena in Hamburg, the spirit behind the beleaguered former PM's departing words was on display for all to see as Fulham took their Europa League Final against Atletico Madrid to extra time. After nineteen games played over a period of ten months, the west London club's European adventure was finally halted late on Wednesday night when Diego Forlan struck a winner for their Spanish opponents with the clock showing 116 minutes.

When the disappointment of Wednesday night's defeat recedes, Fulham's achievement in reaching the final will remain. Their manager, Roy Hodgson, moulded a collection of experienced players into a unit formidable enough to have knocked out Juventus, Wolfsburg, Hamburg, and Shakhtar Donetsk. Fulham boast a talented squad of seasoned professionals – Damien Duff was a Premier League-winner with Chelsea before losing his way at Newcastle, Danny Murphy has tasted European success before with Liverpool, while Mark Schwarzer is among the top division's most assured goalkeepers – but nobody expected the club to remain in the hunt for a European trophy for so long, and to brush aside former winners of the European Cup along the way.

Fulham's success under Hodgson did not begin this season or even the year before, when the club finished seventh in the Premier League and qualified for Europe. The sixty-two-year-old coach succeeded Lawrie Sanchez at Craven Cottage in December 2007 with Fulham battling relegation and, after a difficult start to his reign, Hodgson kept the club in the Premier League with an inspired run of four wins from their last five games. After successfully avoiding the drop, Hodgson brought in gifted players from British clubs who, perhaps because of injury or perceived inconsistency in the past, arrived at Fulham with something to prove. Along with his domestic acquisitions, Hodgson used his extensive European football experience and bulging contacts book to bring in players from abroad too.

Of the eleven players who started for Fulham in Hamburg on Wednesday night, six were Hodgson purchases:  Schwarzer, Duff, Brede Hangeland, Zoltan Gera, Dickson Etuhu, and Bobby Zamora. However, this means that the other five who began the game were at the club back when they were battling to retain their top flight status. Chris Baird, Aaron Hughes, Paul Konchesky, Simon Davies, and Danny Murphy were all part of the struggling side that Hodgson inherited in December 2007, and yet he incorporated them into a team that was three minutes from a penalty shootout and, possibly, the first trophy of Fulham's 131-year history. No wonder, then, that Hodgson's ability to make good players better through clever coaching and careful nurturing has made some people wonder how such gifts might work if transferred to the England team in the future.

A word of caution though: the last couple of times that the Football Association appointed an English England manager on the basis of their coaching credentials alone, rather than their personality or media profile, the national side did not fare well. Graham Taylor hauled Watford from the Fourth Division to the top flight and on into Europe, while Steve McClaren took Middlesbrough to the UEFA Cup Final only four years ago, but in both men's short-lived reigns England failed to qualify for a major tournament. The strength of common endeavour is not always enough. Circumstance and the performance of a key individual can, and will, play decisive roles at times. Fulham found this out on Wednesday night when confronted by Diego Forlan, and Gordon Brown learned it to his cost when Nick Clegg chose to align the Liberal Democrats with David Cameron's Conservatives rather than the Labour party.

Could Bobby Zamora be at Fulham for the long term?

I just read an encouraging article regarding Bobby Zamora and his future with Fulham. According to Dan at, Zamora could be looking for a long term deal with the club. As posted by the article " Bobby poised to sign new deal", there is a link to a Daily Mirror story that the sides are in discussions for a four year deal.

According to the Daily Mirror story, " Bobby Zamora set to sign new four-year Fulham deal" talks between both sides are progressing well. The article states that Zamora has one year left on his current deal.  Also, the Daily Mirror article mentions that the club wants to extend his 1 year left with the club by adding an additional three years to it.

As you can imagine this is encouraging news. However, until we have confirmation that there is actually a new deal, I expect rumors about Zamora's future to persist. Over the last few days there have been stories regarding interest from Aston Villa, Everton, and Birmingham City.

Bobby Zamora's future with the club is a story I plan on following closely.   

Keeper's future depends on boss

Mark Schwarzer is ready to extend his contract with Fulham as long as manager Roy Hodgson stays with the Europa League finalists.

The Australian is a big fan of Hodgson and hopes he rejects the advances of big name suitors after rumoured interest from Liverpool, Juventus and AC Milan in the former Blackburn boss.

Schwarzer claims he is content with life at Craven Cottage at the moment although he admits a change in management could have a barring on his decision to remain in west London beyond the end of his existing deal.

I have a year left on my contract and I'm keen to talk," the former Middlesbrough keeper told The People.

"I'm happy where I am - as long as the manager is still going to be here.

"Lots of big clubs are going to be interested in the manager's services after the amazing job he's done.

"As players we hope he'll stay but it is out of our hands."

Keeper to delay contract decision
Fulham, 15:38, May 16, 2010

Mark Schwarzer is ready to extend his contract with Fulham as long as manager Roy Hodgson stays with the Europa League finalists.

The Australian is a big fan of Hodgson and hopes he rejects the advances of big name suitors after rumoured interest from Liverpool, Juventus and AC Milan in the former Blackburn boss.

Schwarzer claims he is content with life at Craven Cottage at the moment although he admits a change in management could have a barring on his decision to remain in west London beyond the end of his existing deal.

I have a year left on my contract and I'm keen to talk," the former Middlesbrough keeper told The People.

"I'm happy where I am - as long as the manager is still going to be here.

"Lots of big clubs are going to be interested in the manager's services after the amazing job he's done.

"As players we hope he'll stay but it is out of our hands."

Market Forces
As the closing bell sounds on another season, Ciaran Cronin sifts through Giovanni Trapattoni's portfolio to rate his prized assets

Outperforming The Market

» Damien Duff, right (48 club appearances/9 goals)
» Shay Given (44 apps)
» Kevin Doyle (37 apps/9 gls)
» Richard Dunne (46 apps/3 gls)

A change of surroundings can do wonders, can't it? Shay Given, in his first full season with Manchester City, and Richard Dunne, Kevin Doyle and Damien Duff at Aston Villa, Wolves and Fulham respectively, have all benefited from new surroundings this season. That applies most in the case of Duff. At Newcastle, the winger was a tight hamstring or pulled groin waiting to happen, but at his new home by the Thames he has played more club games this season than any other Irish international. And not only has he managed quantity, he's come up with quality too. As an inside-out winger, the now fashionable term for a winger playing on the wrong side, he has shown the same sleight of foot and intelligence that persuaded Chelsea to pay £17 million for him back in 2003.

Sure, some of the pace has gone but he remains as threatening a player as ever. The Duffer is back. His season may have come as something of a surprise but the quality that Given and Dunne have shown at their new clubs hasn't. The Irish keeper, before his unfortunate injury, was doing nothing different at City than he was doing at Newcastle but when you play for a club who have spent hundreds of millions and are towards the top of the table, your achievements come into the spotlight that little bit more. One of the best shot-stoppers in the game, he remains a player most clubs and countries would want in their side: if he were English, he'd be their number one. Dunne, meanwhile, appears to have stepped up a level since leaving City. There has been a freshness about the centre-half this season that seems to have sprung from the feeling that he is now at a club where he is wanted. Being voted in the PFA Team of the Year by your fellow professionals is a considerable honour, particularly when Dunne's form last season seemed to suggest that he wasn't quite the force he once was.

As for Doyle, another who relocated to the west midlands this summer, he has been a minor revelation. Wolves supporters groaned when they found out that their marquee summer signing was going to arrive from Reading but by, popular consent, the striker has produced at a level above all his teammates. He is, if you listen to some pundits, a top-four player, someone who would not be out of place in the Champions League and, while that may apply to his general play, he needs to shake off his Emile Heskey-syndrome and prove that he can get into double figures in the scoring charts. At a club other than Wolves, he might just do that.

Paying A Dividend

» Darron Gibson, left (23 club appearances/5 goals)
» Marc Wilson (35 apps)
» James McCarthy (23 apps/1 gl)
» David Meyler (11 apps)
» Anthony Stokes (41 apps/22 gls)
» Seamus Coleman (18 apps/1 gl)
» Keiren Westwood (46 apps)
» Stephen Hunt (27 apps/6 gls)
» Brian Murphy (16 apps)

It has been a positive year for the progress of young Irish talent. At the start of the season, Marc Wilson, James McCarthy, David Meyler and Seamus Coleman were all well down the pecking order at their respective clubs but over the course of the season, the foursome have gone on to make a considerable impact. Wilson's emergence at Portsmouth over the past nine months has as much to do with the club's financial situation as the player's talent but after being switched to central midfield by Avram Grant in recent months – away from the firing line at centre-half where his confidence seemed to be taking a battering – he has produced a series of mature performances, not least in the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham.

McCarthy, meanwhile, eventually won Roberto Martinez's faith after Christmas having played mostly reserve football before that and his contribution has been noteworthy, not just for his ability on the ball, but for his maturity in so often doing the simple thing when most youngsters would try the extravagant. It is a sentiment that can also be applied to Meyler and Coleman. The Sunderland player's knee ligament injury may have him on the sidelines for the guts of next season but he has ensured that, when he does recover, Steve Bruce won't be afraid to pitch him into big games. Meyler is a player who works his backside off when his side are chasing the ball and uses it effectively when he has it, qualities that would endear him to any manager. Coleman, who has made his mark this season on-loan at Blackpool rather than at Everton, is a similarly honest player with an eye for attack from right-back.

Away from the new arrivals, Darron Gibson has been trusted by Alex Ferguson to play in a number of important games this season and he has shown an ability to play further up the pitch in midfield. He looks a more confident player than last season, while Anthony Stokes and Stephen Hunt look like different players entirely. The 21-year-old striker has been in scorching form for Hibernian this season and, even though his 22 goals have come in Scotland, it still represents a return to form. As for Hunt, he was voted Player of the Year at relegated Hull for his energetic and skilful performances before injury ruled him out for the run-in. A final word on two goalkeepers, Kieren Westwood and Brian Murphy, who have both performed brilliantly in the Championship this term. With Given on the sidelines, at least Ireland have solid options to fall back on.

Solid Investment

» Shane Long, right (36 club appearances/9 goals)
» Sean St Ledger (48 apps/4 gls) » Andy Reid (24 apps/2 gls)
» Stephen Kelly (20 apps)
» Steven Reid (22 apps/2 gls)
» Keith Fahey (42 apps)
» Kevin Foley (29 apps)
» Stephen Ward (24 apps)
» Glenn Whelan (38 apps/2 gls)
» Liam Lawrence (31 apps/1 gl)
» John O'Shea (18 apps, 1 gl)
» Leon Best (42 apps/10 gls)

For some Irish players across the water, standing still is good enough. For example, Glenn Whelan and Liam Lawrence did enough during Stoke's first Premier League season last year to suggest that they were capable of having an influence in English football's top tier; this season, with 30-plus appearances each, they've reiterated the point. It's a fine achievement, as it is of Keith Fahey, Kevin Foley and Stephen Ward, three players whose clubs earned promotion last season and who've each gone on to prove – with 42, 29, 24 appearances respectively – that the Premier League is not a step too far for them.

Then there are players like Stephen Kelly and Andy Reid. The pair were faced with crucial seasons at Fulham and Sunderland respectively, and both have shown that their careers are not on a downward slide. In fact, if injury hadn't hampered both over the latter months of the season, particularly Reid who was enjoying an influential season on Sunderland's left flank, they'd probably have done enough to be in a higher category. As it is, they have a base to build from next year.

A quartet of players in the Championship have also managed to avoid their football stock falling. With the departure of Kevin Doyle from Reading, Shane Long was expected to kick on and show his true potential as a first-choice striker but, while he struggled to get game-time during Brendan Rodgers's reign, he was a more regular presence under Brian McDermott. Leon Best, another Championship striker, secured a move to Newcastle in the January transfer window and despite not scoring for his new club, he will have opportunities next season to prove his worth on a higher stage. Sean St Ledger was another who had a topsy-turvy season. He moved to Middlesbrough on loan at the end of September but didn't see eye-to-eye with Gordon Strachan and found himself back at Preston. Thankfully for the centre-half, there appeared to be no grudges on the part of his former club and he slipped back into the starting line-up. He is, without doubt, a player good enough to play in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Steven Reid has gone about proving over the last two months of the season at West Brom that he is capable of stringing consecutive games together. The 29-year-old played at right back at the Hawthorns but the very fact that he played games without breaking down, no matter what position, is a promising sign. He is out of contract at Blackburn in June, but he should have plenty of potential suitors. As for John O'Shea, a season on the treatment table leaves his stock untouched.

Negative Equity

» Robbie Keane, left (44 club appearances /25 goals)
» Stephen Ireland (30 apps/3 gls)
» Aiden McGeady (49 apps/7 gls)

Stephen Ireland needs to get a "new head". So says Roberto Mancini, who either doesn't like his midfielder's bald look or feels that the player needs to get in the right frame of mind for next season. But Ireland's problem, as we've seen this season, is not necessarily his attitude – for once – but more the way he plays the game. He is designed to play in a floating role, in the hole behind a front two or perhaps as one of three in central midfield. He doesn't, however, seem to have the necessary tenacity or positional sense to play in a two-man central midfield and that doesn't look like an issue that's going to be sorted out anytime soon. His inability to adapt has seen his stock fall this season, plain and simple.

For Robbie Keane, it's a different issue. The striker has shown an impatient streak this season that doesn't exactly make him an enticing prospect for other clubs. In January, Keane had the option of fighting for his place at Tottenham or playing out the rest of the season at Celtic and he chose the latter. Sure, you can understand the guy's desire to play for a club he has a strong attachment to – and he did score 16 goals in 19 games in Scotland – but if Keane had any ambition, he would have tried his hardest to break into a Tottenham side who at that stage were hovering around the top four. With his loan spell at Celtic now up, the Ireland captain is, effectively, in limbo. He remains a Tottenham player but will Harry Redknapp want a player in his ranks who's likely to want to leave if he isn't getting a regular start? Will any serious Premier League club want such a player?

As for Aiden McGeady, he has suffered a lot this season. This time last year you could have seen the winger making a move to a club like Everton, Aston Villa or Tottenham but his relative struggles this term may make clubs like that think again. His stock has fallen to the extent that a move to somewhere like Birmingham or Wolves is now more likely.

Heading For A Crash

» Caleb Folan, below (9 club appearances/2 goals)
» Liam Miller (36 apps/2 gls)
» Kevin Kilbane (24 apps/1 gl)

Poor Caleb Folan. He moved to Middlesbrough on loan in September, pulled a hamstring early on during his time there and was then unwanted by Gordon Strachan. In the meantime, he had publicly criticised Phil Brown so when he arrived back at the KC Stadium he knew his days were numbered. He did make one or two appearances once Iain Dowie took charge but his career as a top-level footballer looks in serious jeopardy. It's a similar story for Kevin Kilbane. He still has one year left on his Hull contract but the 33-year-old looks set to become an increasingly peripheral figure.

Liam Miller, meanwhile, has enjoyed a decent season at Hibs but for a player once believed to be Roy Keane's successor, the 29-year-old has fallen a long way.

Note: Only players close to Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland squad are considered for evaluation

Cottagers Daily Rumor Mill: Could Mark Schwarzer be looking for a new contract from Fulham?

In today's installment of the Cottagers Daily Rumor Mill, I have a story involving Mark Schwarzer. According to the article, "Schwarzer eyes deal talks" , Mark Schwarzer might be interested in talking about a new deal with Fulham as long as Roy Hodgson is still with the club.  Also, the story mentions he has one year left on his contract.

This article also has a couple of quotes from Schwarzer that come from a article involving the Fulham Goalkeeper. Schwarzer told the People,  " I have a year left on my contract and I'm keen to talk.  Schwarzer also told the People," I'm happy where I am - as long as the manager is still going to be here."

The stories about the players and the manager will be continuing. I will do my best to bring you the best information I can find on Fulham.

Johnson strains hamstring with Aris in Greek playoffs.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)

(Thursday, May 13, 2010) -- One day after he was a mildly surprising addition to the United States preliminary World Cup roster, American striker Eddie Johnson tweaked a hamstring and had to leave late in the first half of Aris Thessaloniki's 1-1 draw yesterday with AEK Athens in the Greek playoffs.

Johnson was removed in the 42nd minute. Fellow American, midfielder Freddy Adu, who was left off the U.S. roster of 30 -- 23 will make the final World Cup team -- also started and played until the 76th minute.

Athens tied the game when Leonardo scored in injury time.

Aris appears headed for next season's Europa League, Europe's second-tier tournament. The round robin playoffs, in which each team plays six times, which also include PAOK and Olympiacos Piraeus. The winner goes to the Champions League and the other three enter the Europa League.

With two rounds remaining, PAOK is first at 3-0-1 with 10 points, followed by AEK is (1-1-2, 6) and Aris (1-2-1, 4) and Olympiacos (1-3, 3 points)..

Before the playoff tournament began, Aris was on the wrong end of a 1-0 score in a tense loss to Panathinaikos in the Greek Cup final. Adu played the final 10 minutes while Johnson stayed on the bench.

But Aris, led by its Americans, bounced back to defeat Olympiacos 2-0 behind two goals by Johnson to open the playoffs.

In a yellow-card filled match, Johnson opened the scoring with a header in the 39th minute. Adu was constantly dangerous coming down the left side and, in the 39th minute, beat a defender on the end-line and sent a left-footed cross to Johnson in the right side of the pealty area. Johnson hit a hard header that found the net.

Johnson had another great chance midway through the second half, but Aris clung to its narrow lead until stoppage time when Johnson took advantage of a major defensive gaffe to score again and put the match away. Johnson jumped on a poor back-pass, went around the goalkeeper and shot into an open net.

Johnson also received a yellow card.

In their second playoff match, both Edu and Johnson got the start, but could not duplicate their opening-match heroics in a 2-0 loss to PAOK. Aris could not generate much offense and Aris coach Hector Cuper lifted Adu in the 66th minute.

In the third playoff match, after a delay in the tournament caused by the violent political unrest in Greece, another Johnson goal was not enough and Aris fell 4-2 loss match at AEK Athens. Adu was dressed, but did not play.

The match was extremely physical with each teams finishing with nine men. By the 39th minute, it was 10-versus-10. It was nine-against-nine by the 72nd minute when Johnson rose over two defenders to head in Darcy Neto's cross from the right flank to give Aris a 2-1 lead.

Three AEK goals in the next 12 minutes virtually ended any Aris hopes of winning the competition.

Basel clinch Swiss double
May 17, 2010 - 7:36AM

Basel clinched a Swiss football league and cup double on Sunday by taking the league title with a 2-0 victory over runners-up Young Boys in a decisive final day clash in Bern.

Goals from Australia international Scott Chipperfield and midfielder Valentin Stocker gave Basel their 13th league title just days after they drew level on points with their Bernese rivals for the first time this season.

Both will play Champions League, while Zurich side Grasshopper and Lucerne claim Europa League slots after finishing third and fourth respectively.

Young Boys held a seemingly unassailable six-point lead just over a month ago and squandered domination of Switzerland's top division since last July.

Basel's form has surged since Fulham effectively knocked them out of the Europa League in December, under the guidance of their new coach this season, former Bayern Munich player Thorsten Fink.

The northern club won the cup trophy a week ago, beating second division Lausanne 6-0.

Last-placed Aarau were relegated while Bellinzona face a play-off to stay in the top flight.

Fulham - Replacing Smalling?
One hole that needs to be plugged over the summer months is of course as back up for our ever reliable pairing of Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes.

Judging by the current squad, only Chris Baird seems capable of filling in that position so obviously at least one more player is needed to play this role.

Due to Smalling's age I'd like to see Roy go after someone with youth on their side and potential.

We have been linked numerous times to Rochdale centre half Craig Dawson, whilst Rangers' young centre half Danny Wilson seems to be on the verge of a move to Liverpool for a miniscule fee-surely we could go after him?

Yet again, whatever Roy decides, I'm sure it'll be best for our club.

Read more:

World Cup 2010: Eddie Johnson Diagnosed With Hamstring Injury In USA Camp
Johnson was injured with Aris.

Forward Eddie Johnson has a left hamstring sprain, according to U.S. Soccer. Johnson is in Princeton, N.J., with the others called up for a U.S. training camp to prepare for the World Cup.

Johnson picked up the injury with his club side, FC Aris, in a Greek playoff game against AEK Athens on May 12. He is listed as day-to-day.

The injury could impact Johnson's World Cup chances. He faces steep competition from the other strikers in the U.S. 30-man preliminary roster to make the final 23 which will travel to South Africa.

Brian Ching, Herculez Gomez, Edson Buddle, and Robbie Findley are all vying for a spot next to Jozy Altidore up front for the United States.

The United States will face the Czech Republic in an international friendly on May 25. Friendlies against Turkey and Australia will follow before the Stars and Stripes kick off their World Cup campaign against England on June 12.

Fulham - Strange Schwarzer Link!
One of the strangest suggestions lurking in the Sunday tabloids related to Mark Schwarzer.

On the back of two exceptional seasons, the thirty-seven year old keeper, was linked with a move to Arsenal.

Now we all know Arsene has a stable full of keepers with 'Teflon` hands (nothing sticks) and this is meant as no disrespect to Mark, but aren`t Arsenal famous for going for younger talent, Sol Campbell apart!

Read more:

My Fulham Highlight 09-10
by lydia on May 17, 2010

This season has been my favourite as a Fulham fan. Super results domestically and in Europe has me in tears on several occasions! Many of this years events could be my highlights. For example, beating Manchester United for the second year in a row was amazing. A victory at FC Basel to put us through to the knockout stages of the Europa League was awesome as well.  Fulhams miraculous comeback against Juventus was one that had me pinching myself to make sure it wasn't a dream! Roy Hodgson signing a new contract and Bobby Zamora becoming one of Englands most wanted strikers are memories that will never leave me.

But I have to say that out of all the happy times this season, my highlight has got to be the Hamburg game at the Cottage. My dad and I sat in our living room on opposite sides of our sofa, both to scared to break the silence. It was a tense game and I was actually shaking at parts of it! Whenever Murphy gave away a pointless freekick outside the box I remember saying to my dad, "Surely its too far out to trouble Marky." But he simply replied, "But Petric is a good player though." The quality of his free kick is undenyable but it silenced the Craven Cottage crowd, although thankfully for only a few minutes! Afterall, when do Fulham make things easy for themselves? I watched as Fulham tried to get themselves back into the game but half time came with the score at 1-0.

Although,  perhaps out of desperate hope, I still believed that Fulham could get back into the game. My belief was obviously mirrored by those watching the game at the Cottage as everyone stood and sang "Stand up if you still believe!" I took the cue and stood in my living room with my extremly out dated scarf (bought so long ago that Leeds were still in the PL) held above my head.  No more than 3mins later, Fulham equalized with a super goal from Simon Davies. I went exstatic! I had not celebrated like that about a Fulham goal ever. At least not until the winner came.  Zoltan Gera has been excellent this year and it was fitting that he should score the winner. It was that moment that makes this my highlight this year. The adrenaline that went through me, I actually sprinted out the living room and out into the garden! I just couldn't contain myself. Upon re-entering my living room I saw my dad sitting laughing on the sofa saying, "I've waited so long for this as a Fulham Fan!"  Even my mum started celebrating. There was joy at the final whistle as well as the ultimate European run had taken us right to the final.

This game was my highlight because everyone associated with Fulham felt the same way. The players, the fans, the manager, the chairman...everyone. We were one. One big family.

World Cup Preparations Underway

Fulham will be represented at the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa by five players from Roy's Hodgson's First Team squad.

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has returned home to Australia for an international training camp ahead of a friendly match against New Zealand in Melbourne on the 24 May. 

The Socceroos will play two further friendly matches against Denmark on the 1 June and the USA on the 5 June. Schwarzer and company will face Germany in their opening game of the Finals before challenging Ghana and Serbia.

Defender John Pantsil will join up with Ghana for a training camp in France on the 24 May. Pantsil and company will play two friendly matches prior to the Finals, against Holland in Rotterdam on the 1 June and Latvia in London on the 5 June.

Pantsil will come up against Schwarzer in Ghana's second match of the Finals, following the Black Stars opening game against Serbia. Ghana's final group stage game will be played against Germany.

Kagisho Dikgacoi could play an important role for South Africa in the 2010 Finals. The midfielder has now returned home but played no part in the host nation's 4-0 friendly victory over Thailand in Johannesburg last weekend.

South Africa will play three more friendly matches, against Bulgaria, Colombia and Denmark, before getting the Finals underway against Mexico on the 11 June. Following their opening match against Mexico, South Africa will go on to face Uruguay and France in their group.

Nigerian international Dickson Etuhu will team up with his fellow Super Eagles in London on the 19 May for a training camp which will see them play two friendly matches in the Capital against Saudi Arabia and Colombia.

Nigeria's third and final friendly match will be played against Korea DPR in South Africa before they take on Argentina, Greece and the Korea Republic in their World Cup group.

Fulham's fifth and final representative at this summer's World Cup Finals is US international star Clint Dempsey.

Dempsey's US team will play two friendly matches on home turf prior to their trip to South Africa. The first friendly will take place in East Hartford against the Czech Republic before the American's challenge Turkey in Philadelphia.

Once the US have arrived in South Africa they will play a final friendly against Australia before their opening game of the tournament against England on the 12th June, followed by two further group matches against Slovenia and Algeria.

Read more:

Fulham battling Everton for Bristol City striker Maynard

Fulham are launching a bid for Bristol City striker Nicky Maynard.

The News of the World says Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson is set to signal his commitment to the club.

He will make an offer of up to £4.5million for Bristol City striker Maynard.

And Hodgson is convinced the Championship outfit will be unable to say 'no'.

Maynard, 23, has also become a prime target for Everton boss David Moyes.