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Thursday Fulham Stuff (03/06/10)

Started by WhiteJC, June 03, 2010, 07:11:51 AM

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Pim Verbeek Is The World's Least Favorite Man While Mark Schwarzer Dies

Several hours after the deadline for World Cup squads had passed, Pim Verbeek was busy doing whatever Dutch coaches of the Australian national team do – either turning the whole thing around or bolting for a fatter paycheck. Whatever it was, it did not include publicly announcing the team, which led to worldwide whispering, wondering if we'd come face to face with the worst case scenario: did he forget?
Whether he got it in on time, we do not know, but the squad is here, a day late, with a very good theory as to why the delay: they were checking to see if Mark Schwarzer had died.

But before we get to the death of Mark Schwarzer, it's worth pondering just what would be the punishment should a squad have arrived late. A fine? A points deduction? A cage match with three starving lions in the basement of FIFA's headquarters with only a bootlegged DVD of Gladiator as a weapon? Sepp gets to choose your squad via dartboard and Panini album? Chances are it's something bureaucratic, which might just make it worth it.
Regardless, how are we supposed to know monumentally important imformation like the average age of World Cup squads if Pim won't put his squad through on time? And how are we supposed to know Australia cut it close with Don Fabio's Golden Girls for oldest squad?
The squad itself, announced on the back of injuries, so we can let it slide, can be found at the Australian World Cup Blog. What you can find below is Mark Schwarzer falling to his death.

Mark Schwarzer Plays Dead

Orient capture Omozusi
Former Fulham defender signs one-year deal

Leyton Orient have completed the signing of former Fulham right-back Elliot Omozusi.

The defender arrives on a one-year deal with an option of a further 12 months.

Omozusi is the third new defender to join the Brisbane Road outfit since the end of the 2009/10 campaign.

Hackney-born Omozusi played eight Premier League games for Fulham prior to his release from Craven Cottage this summer.

Orient boss Russell Slade told the club's official website: "Elliot is a young defender who comes here with a good pedigree having played in the Premier League with Fulham and on loan with Norwich and Charlton.

"He is a good athlete, he likes to get forward and he passes the ball well. He is also strong in one-against-one situations and we had the opportunity to view him last season when he trained with us for a couple of weeks.

"By his own admission he wants to get his career back on track and it's a good opportunity for both him and the club to move forward."

Trotta's Target

The 2009/10 season was a landmark campaign for Marcello Trotta, Fulham's Italian Under-19 international forward. The striker successfully made the breakthrough into Billy McKinlay's Reserve Team, making a number of appearances towards the end of the season.

Trotta successfully carried his Academy form into the Barclays Reserve League and now Billy McKinlay is expecting further progress from the young Italian next season.

"He scored a barrel load of goals for the Academy so he just emphasised what we knew he had," McKinlay explained. "He's got a natural instinct for scoring goals - but he needs to concentrate on more than just the finishing aspect of his game.

"We've got high hopes for him, he scores goals and he got the winner for us in our game against Portsmouth which was pleasing. He always seems to find time and space in the box and get some efforts on goal.

"That aspect of the game comes naturally to him but we need to get him realising that the intensity of the game is what it is. He's got to work hard and make sure he concentrates on his runs and awareness - which will help him become a better all-round team player.

McKinlay continued: "He's been here 18 months now and he's been involved with me in the last three or four games of the season. He came on and worked hard against Portsmouth and that's all we're asking him to do.

"He's a young player and it does take time for people to come across and settle. Hopefully next season we'll see that maturity kicking in. He's been on the periphery of my team and we're looking for him to kick on next season. He needs to be playing the majority of the games in the Reserve League. We're expecting that and I'm sure he's expecting that of himself.

"He's got great confidence in his ability to score goals. And even though scoring goals is the most important thing, we're also looking for him to contribute in other ways. But he knows what he needs to work on and he has been doing that. So we're looking forward to next season."

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Fulham - Dikgacoi Makes 23
It`s great to see another familiar face selected to grace the World Cup stage.

Our occasional midfield starter, Kagisho Dikgacoi, has been granted his chance to grace the greatest international stage in the word.

Dikgacoi has been selected, by the South African national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira to be on the FIFA nominated list of twenty-three to represent the host nation.

Our congratulations go to Kagisho.

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Fulham - Kop Swoop?
One of the tabloids carries the suggestion, this morning that Roy Hodgson is on the verge of making a move for the Liverpool full back, Fabio Aurelio.

Aurelio, a former Valencia player brought to Anfield by Rafa Bentitez, has been unable to agree a new contract and is set to leave the club on a free transfer.

A Brazilian by birth, Aurelio is thirty years of age and the tabloid goes on to suggest that signing him would free up a move, to Birmingham, for Paul Konchesky.

Here at Vital Fulham we`re not quite sure how to view this potential deal.

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Fulham - Remember Carlos Bocanegra?
The ex-Fulham player is now hugely anticipating the forthcoming World Cup!

As captain of the USA side England face in their first match, Carlos is eager to spring a shock and has spoken to the media about how the World Cup gives everybody the chance to shine and enhance their potential for a career move, when he remarks,

"There`s a chance for players to take huge steps in their career at a World Cup."

"If you show you can perform at this level then you`ve answered all the questions and can stand tall."

"Players who do that deserve everything that comes their way and we`ve seen big moves made after World Cups time and time again."

Does anyone who frequents this site want to nominate somebody who`ll jump to the forefront and make a huge name for themselves at South Africa 2010?

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Fulham - A Phone Call Away?
So much for the presumption, yesterday, that the future of Roy Hodgson looked to be with Fulham!

Lurking on the internet, last night, were quotes form the man himself that have once again sown those seeds of doubt in my mind.

Speaking about the vacancy at Inter Milan, Roy is quoted in the Italian media as having remarked,

'I don't know who could be the coach.'

'I saw an interview where Capello said he wanted to stay with England, but in that type of situation it is impossible to know where the truth lies.

'There has been so much speculation on Benitez's future. The last thing I heard was that he wanted to stay at Liverpool, as he still has a four-year contract."

'I haven't spoken to anyone or heard anything from Inter."

'There is the same type of speculation around my name as you get with Capello and Benitez.'

'I have a contract with Fulham."

'The day I receive a call from someone, then that is the moment I'll think about these things. For the moment I'm not thinking about them.'

Just one phone call then?

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No Arsenal bid for Fulham defender Brede Hangeland - agent
Defender 'happy' at Craven Cottage...

Arsenal may reportedly want Brede Hangeland but have not yet contacted Fulham about the big Norwegian's availability, according to his agent.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has pinpointed his defence for a major overhaul and has been linked with the imposing centre-back, but hasn't made a formal approach yet, said Rune Hauge.

"Brede is more than happy at Fulham, and I've had no enquiries from anyone about him," he said according to the Fulham Chronicle.

"I have no meetings scheduled with Fulham to discuss him, or anyone else for that matter – and there has been no activity from us regarding a move.

"But as you know in football, what will be, will be – but I would be very surprised if Brede is not a Fulham player next season."

McLeish lines up next signing
Alex McLeish is hoping to continue his spending spree at St Andrews by adding Fulham striker Bobby Zamora to his ranks.

The Scot has already been busy this summer when adding Nikola Zigic and Ben Foster to his ranks and reports now claim he will step up his attempts to sign Zamora.

The Cottagers face a battle to keep hold of the striker after he starred in the Premier and Europa League last season and Birmingham are leading the race for his signature.

McLeish, who has dropped all interest in Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia, has more funds available and would have to bid in the region of £9million to land Zamora.

David James lined up by Fulham as Arsenal's pursuit of Mark Schwarzer escalates

Fulham are considering a move for David James after Arsenal stepped up interest in Mark Schwarzer.
Arsenal want 37-year-old Schwarzer, who also has interest from Wolfsburg, after weighing up more expensive alternatives abroad.
The Australian has one year left on his contract at Fulham and is due to hold talks when he returns from World Cup duty.

London bound? David James is wanted by Fulham
He has voiced concerns about whether Roy Hodgson will remain at the club and Arsenal's interest offers him a big chance to play at the top level.
Fulham would command a modest fee of around £4million for the keeper and have already made inquiries about possible replacements.
England international James, 39, is on their radar. He has an offer on the table to stay at Portsmouth and there is interest from Tottenham - but the chance to play regularly in the top flight would appeal.
Fulham have other targets too, including Hull's Boaz Myhill, but a one year deal for James could fit into their budget.

At full stretch: Arsenal are stepping up their pursuit of Mark Schwarzer
Meanwhile, Fulham have expressed interest in Hannover striker Jan Schlaudraff.
Hodgson said: 'I am aware of Jan Schlaudraff. He is a very fast player that is also able to score goals. He could add something to our squad.'

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Rafa Benitez is out: Spaniard to quit Liverpool with a £4m pay-off

Rafael Benitez will leave Liverpool today after the club's board made it clear he was no longer wanted as manager.
The Anfield hierarchy has blinked first in the Mexican stand-off by offering their 50-year-old manager a compromise compensation deal to quit the club.

He's off: Benitez's relationship with the Anfield hierarchy has grown increasingly uncomfortable
The offer was made in a conference call to Benitez, who is in Sardinia. It is believed Sammy Lee has been put in temporary charge of team matters.

The Spaniard believed for some time he had the whip hand in his dealings with the board, but the negotiations about his future became a vicious circle - although he did not realise just how vicious it was to become.

In a vote of no confidence, the Liverpool board approved a proposal which would see Benitez depart with a lucrative pay-off worth in the region of £4million.

Liverpool, ultimately, have decided it is time to move on and progress. The Dallas-style soap opera that has blighted the famous club's name over recent months had to stop and Benitez will be the cast member to depart.

Centre of attention: Roy Hodgson has impressed at Fulham
That was inevitable after a disastrous season in which Liverpool finished seventh in the Barclays Premier League and Benitez blamed a dwindling transfer budget for his squad's inane performance.

That did not sit well with owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who, despite declaring their intention to sell the club, knew action had to be taken swiftly for the Anfield outfit to move forward or risk implosion. With every penny counting, doing nothing was too big a risk to take.

1. May 2005 - Leads club to a miraculous Champions League final triumph in his first season. One of the all-time comebacks.
2. May 2006 - Another comeback, this time in the FA Cup final against West Ham.
3. July 2007 - Signs Fernando Torres for a fee of around £21m from Atletico Madrid.
4. March 2009 - Signs new five-year contract.
5. May 2009 - Finishes second in the league.
1. January 2005 - In his first FA Cup match, his side lose to Burnley.
2. November 2007 - Very public fall-out with new owners.
3. January 2009 - Faces public ridicule after his 'facts' press conference.
4. July 2009 - Replaces Xabi Alonso with £17m midfielder Alberto Aquilani.
5.December 2009 - Humiliated as his side are knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages.

Benitez has spent more than £220m on more than 70 players in his colourful six years at Anfield.
Yet, as Sportsmail revealed last week, his budget was severely restricted and he wanted written assurances from the club's board that money from every player sold could be re-directed into the coffers enabling him the funds to bring in new ones.

Confidence in his ability to wheel and deal, particularly on the back of last season's £17million acquisition of Alberto Aquilani, was evidently not there.

Instead Benitez was allowed to grow increasingly frustrated. Despiteoffers for his players he did not want to sell for fear of his squad being further weakened.

Had Benitez received the guarantees he had been looking for during talks with chairman Martin Broughton then the current situation would not have arisen but with both parties unable to envisage a way of working together a parting of the ways was and is inevitable.

When Juventus came knocking, Liverpool believed an easy exit was apparent for the Spaniard but he did not have enough faith in the Juventus project and harboured hopes that Liverpool's fortunes would change with new ownership.

However, with annual losses of £55m, debts totalling £351m and the club out of the Champions League, Liverpool is not an easy or, more importantly quick, sell.

Benitez was always going to find it difficult after winning the Champions League famously in his first season as that dramatic Istanbul victory over AC Milan raised the roof on expectation. He and his wife Montse have fallen in love with the area and embraced the history of the club.

Doubts: Owners George Gillett Jr. left, and Tom Hicks were forced to act after Liverpool's seventh-place finish

When the Kop sang You'll Never Walk Alone to him they meant it and he reciprocated. He danced with them and drank with them establishing himself as a man of the people but, ultimately, the team's demise has even weakened that bond. While he enjoys the majority of support, some fans have brought his credentials into question this season.

Transfers, team selection and substitutions have all raised eyebrows - even among the stars of his team. The Americans will always take the brunt of the blame but now Benitez will be forced to walk away and into the arms of Inter Milan.

Following in the footsteps of his great adversary Jose Mourinho will not be easy but already the Inter fans are calling for the man 'who stole the Champions League away from Milan'. That one night in Istanbul could yet serve Benitez well.

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Cottagers Daily Rumor Mill: Could Fulham be interested in David James?

I just read a rumor regarding David James and possible interest from Fulham. According to the Daily Mail, Fulham could be considering goalkeeper David James as potential transfer option. James is 39 and currently plays for Portsmouth. This article in the Daily Mail also mentions a potential link between Arsenal and Mark Schwarzer. 

According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal might be escalating their interest in Mark Schwarzer. I last had an update on Schwarzer in my post on May 29th. There is no question the links between Arsenal and Mark Schwarzer are continuing.

In my post on May 29th I did have a quotes from Mark Schwarzer from an ABC Sport article. In this article, Schwarzer mentions he does see his future with Fulham.  I have again put these quotes below. 

These quotes are from Mark Schwarzer from an ABC Sport Article which I originally posted on May 29th.

"I haven't heard anything other than what's been written said or written in the papers, so it's purely speculative at the moment," he said. "I've got another year left on my contract at Fulham and I've really enjoyed my time at Fulham and I'm {still} enjoying it and I see my future at the moment with Fulham. " " I don't see anything changing unless someone tells me otherwise."

Hannover striker Schlaudraff linked with Fulham

Hannover 96 striker Jan Schlaudraff is being linked with a move to Fulham.

The 26-year old is a player that has attracted the interest of Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson who is keen to add strength to the squad to improve on their Europa League runners-up achievement.

"I am aware of Jan Schlaudraff. He is a very fast player that is also able to score goals. He could add something special to our squad," said Hodgson.

Fulham are interested in Portsmouth goalkeeper David James as a potential replacement for Arsenal target Mark Schwarzer - report

Fulham are thinking about making a move for Portsmouth goalkeeper David James with Arsenal ramping up their interest in Mark Schwarzer.

The Gunners see the 37-year-old, who has also drawn interest from Wolfsburg, as a major upgrade to Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski, according to the Daily Mail.

The Australian international has a year remaining on his current Fulham deal and is looking to hold talks with the club after returning from the World Cup this summer.

Schwarzer has expressed his concern with the status of Roy Hodgson at Fulham and a move to Arsenal would give the Australian a chance to play at an elite club.

The Cottagers would ask for about £4million for the goalkeeper and are expecting Schwarzer to depart as they have already started looking into finding a replacement.

James, an England international, among the candidates to move to Fulham.

Despite the fact that Tottenham Hotspur are interested in the 39-year-old Englishman, a move to the Cottagers would give James a chance to play on a regular basis in the Premier League after Portsmouth were relegated to the Championship this past season.

Cottagers Daily Rumor Mill Update: Are Fulham preparing to sign Frederic Piquionne?

I just saw this story regarding Fulham and striker Frederic Piquionne. I do have an update on the progress between this player and the Cottagers. According to the Daily Mirror,  Fulham and Lyon have agreed to a fee for Frederic Piquionne. 

The Daily Mirror article also mentions that Piquionne has already met with Fulham manager Roy Hodgson. The article also states they are preparing to sign Piquionne to a £2million deal.

Frederic Piquionne is currently 31 years old. Last year he played with Portsmouth on loan from Lyon. He scored 5 goals for Portsmouth.

Fulham agree £2million deal for French strike ace - Exclusive

Ambitious Fulham are set to sign Frederic Piquionne in a £2million deal after agreeing a fee with French giants Lyon.

Piquionne wants to come back to the Premier League after a year on loan at Portsmouth, ending with an FA Cup final appearance at Wembley.

The experienced forward met with boss Roy Hodgson before going home to consider his future - and the clubs have thrashed out a figure after a couple of weeks of haggling.

Piquionne's arrival at the Europa League finalists could pave the way for one of their forwards to leave.

Who'll fill Liverpool hotseat?

A look at the candidates for the top job at Liverpool.

Roy Hodgson

The Fulham manager may be seen as the safe pair of hands on a comparatively short-term basis, particularly after taking a side on a limited budget to the Europa League final. However, he would be unlikely to get the Anfield faithful buzzing with anticipation

Martin O'Neill

Beaten by Benitez to the Anfield job while at Celtic, the Villa manager is believed to have the support of a number of board members at Liverpool. But Villa's Randy Lerner has made it clear he does not expect his man to leave .

Guus Hiddink

The vastly experienced former Chelsea manager has signed to take over the Turkey job from next season but may have an escape clause.

Frank Rijkaard

The Dutchman offers the strongest guarantee of the attractive football which Liverpool have missed recently.

Kenny Dalglish

Returned as an ambassador last year, and is likely to step in as caretaker.

Hiddink not interested in Inter Milan job

Guus Hiddink has ruled himself out of contention to coach Inter Milan next season, according to his agent.

The Dutchman, who recently opted to become Turkey coach, is considered one of the candidates for the post left vacant by Jose Mourinho's departure for Real Madrid.

"Inter asked me last week if Hiddink could be a candidate for the Nerazzurri hotseat," said Hiddink's agent Cees van Niewenhuizen to Italian TV Telelombardia.

"They told me that he was the number one candidate on the list.

"I replied that it is impossible because Hiddink has only just started his experience with the Turkish federation and he will not go to the federation and ask them to be freed from his contract. Hiddink wants to respect his contract.

"You can never say no, but I believe it is impossible."

The former Chelsea manager will take the reins of the Turkish national team in August after his contract with the Russian national team expires this month.

There has also been media speculation that Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and England boss Fabio Capello could coach the Nerazzurri next season.

Dickson Etuhu eyes Fulham extension

DICKSON Etuhu wants to sit down and discuss a new deal when he gets back from the World Cup finals.

The no-nonsense Nigerian midfielder is one of several Fulham stars with just a year remaining on their contracts, with the club so far stalling on talks over new terms after Whites boss Roy Hodgson put on hold his stamp for all extensions until the start of July.

Speculation over the futures of the likes of Paul Konchesky and Zoltan Gera has grown during the close season, with the pair attracting interest from Birmingham and Roma respectively.

Etuhu was a major part of the success story in SW6 this season, making 37 appearances and forming a formidable partnership with Danny Murphy in Fulham's engine room.

And he insists he's happy at Craven Cottage, and is ready to open talks when he returns from South Africa – if the club comes calling.

He said: "They haven't spoke at me, but it's not like I'm out of contract - I've still got a year left.
"I'm just going to keep my head down, go to the World Cup and see what happens. I'm happy and want to stay here."

The Fulham Five

Fulham will be represented at the 2010 World Cup Finals by five members of Roy Hodgson's First Team squad.

With all the attending nations confirming their final squads before the start of the tournament, Fulham's five all secured their respective places at the Finals.

Keep up with the fortunes of the Fulham Five at this summer's Finals on the following dates (KO times BST):

Fulham Five - World Cup Diary

11th June

South Africa v Mexico              Kagisho Dikgacoi  (KO 3pm)
12th June    
Argentina v Nigeria                 Dickson Etuhu (KO 3pm)
England v USA                       Clint Dempsey (KO 7:30pm)
13th June    
Serbia v Ghana                      John Pantsil (KO 3pm)
Germany v Australia               Mark Schwarzer (KO 7:30pm)
16th June    
South Africa v Uruguay            Kagisho Dikgacoi (KO 7:30pm)
17th June    
Greece v Nigeria                    Dickson Etuhu (KO 3pm)
18th June    
Slovenia v USA                      Clint Dempsey (KO 3pm)
19th June    
Ghana v Australia                   John Pantsil / Mark Schwarzer (KO 3pm)
22nd June     
France v South Africa              Kagisho Dikgacoi  (KO 3pm)
Nigeria v Korea Republic         Dickson Etuhu (KO 7:30pm)
23rd June    
USA v Algeria                        Clint Dempsey (KO 3pm)
Ghana v Germany                  John Pantsil (KO 19:30pm)
Australia v Serbia                  Mark Schwarzer (KO 19:30pm)

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