Author Topic: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)  (Read 8472 times)

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Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« on: February 03, 2010, 10:08:34 PM »

Fulham to rival Arsenal in transfer race for QPR wonderkid

Published 16:04 03/02/10

By James Nursey

Fulham have emerged as surprise rivals to Arsenal for the signature of QPR wonderkid Raheem Sterling.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was in pole position to get Sterling, 15, after ordering the club’s academy director Liam Brady to sign him up.

But now the Cottagers have sounded out their west London neighbours about a possible summer transfer for the youngster.

Lightning-quick striker Sterling, who turned 15 on December 8, is an England Under-16 international.

He is waiting for his first team debut and won’t beat the Football League record set by Reuben Noble-Lazarus, who made his Barnsley bow aged 15 years and 45 days last season.

But Fulham still hope to get Sterling’s signature for a modest down payment of £1.5million with a number of add-ons should he fulfil his potential.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 10:11:25 PM »

Elm eyes new Fulham deal

Feb 3 2010 By Yann Tear

DAVID Elm is running out of time in his bid to persuade Roy Hodgson he deserves to stay on at Craven Cottage next season - but he believes he can do it.

The 27-year-old Swede has a one-year deal with Fulham and it will only be extended if he can show the boss his worth.

Elm was a second-half substitute in the home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday - and was only denied his first goal in Fulham colours by a marginal offside decision.

But that was only the second time he had made a Premier League appearance since joining last summer. He has yet to start a game for the Whites in any competition - even though fellow strikers Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora have both had spells out with injury.

"Yes, obviously it's harder if you don't play, but I keep working hard and when I get my chance, I'll try to take it. My only target is just to be patient," said Elm, who finds himself further down the pecking order following the arrival of Stefano Okaka on loan from Roma.

"I don't think I expected to play more before now because it's taken me these couple of months to settle down.

"There's a big difference between Swedish football and English football and I had to take a few months just to adjust to the tempo and pace and now I'm starting to get hold of it, I think.

"It's more physical here and the game is much faster, so it takes time. But I love it here and I want to stay."

The former Kalmar FF striker, who helped his former club to the Swedish league title in 2008 added: "Hopefully now I will play a little bit more, but there's many good players, so it's tough. I knew that when I signed.

"It was maybe a possibility to go out on loan, but I don't think it's been discussed. It's good for me to be here training with those guys. They are good players and I feel that I'm developing all the time and I can still learn more.

"They have all played a lot more years at this level than I have, so I try to talk to them and learn from them. I think Zamora's a very good player. We are kind of similar in certain ways."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 10:17:54 PM »,19528,11681_5915948,00.html

Stoor stuck at Fulham

Swede seeking Cottagers exit

By Richard Torgerson   Last updated: 3rd February 2010   

Fredrik Stoor has vented his frustration at failing to secure a move away from Fulham in January.

The Swede has endured a torrid time at Craven Cottage since arriving in England from Rosenborg in the summer of 2008.

The full-back has consistently failed to hold down regular first-team football, and was shipped out on loan to Derby County for the first half of the 2009/10 campaign.

He is now back with Fulham, but has seen no improvement in his situation despite impressing during his time with the Rams.

Stoor admits he had hoped to seal a move away from Fulham during the winter transfer window, but has been forced to accept another loan switch is now his only viable option.

"There were some clubs interested but things didn't go through," he told Fotbollskanalen.

"Now we are keeping our eyes open for a loan, even though that wasn't what I had hoped for."


Stoor did have offers on the table during the recent window, but admits none of the propositions put to Fulham or himself were suitable.

He added: "Two things could not be resolved: a club willing to pay the price Fulham were asking, as they don't want to let me leave on a free, and my own demands.

"I can live with a lower salary but it should still be a contract that I am happy with. None of the teams could meet those two things."

Stoor accepts that he may be forced to see out the season at Fulham, with a loan move far from guaranteed, but is hoping a difficult spell on the banks of the Thames will come to an end sooner rather than later.

"There are better and there are worse places I could end up," he said.

"If something comes up which seems promising then I am willing to jump on it.

"If not, I will stay at Fulham until the summer and try to get something sorted then."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 10:21:20 PM »

Jonathan Greening twists knife as Pompey earn pay and come out fighting

Fulham 1 Greening 74 
Portsmouth 0 

Amy Lawrence at Craven Cottage,

Wednesday 3 February 2010 22.01 GMT

How does it feel, when your team is scraping the bottom of the Premier League, when your better players have been pruned one by one, plucked away to leave the branches bare, when your club is being squeezed into financial oblivion, when, to top it all, you are at the mercy of a ceaseless downpour? For the supporters of Portsmouth, it feels like making you celebrate your club with even more barefaced commitment.

Their trip to Fulham, uplifting for 75 minutes, ended up as another dose of masochism. A courageous attempt to take the game to their hosts backfired as Portsmouth were architects of their own undoing in helping Fulham to score the only goal of the game. Jonathan Greening was the recipient after Nadir Belhadj fumbled on his return from the Africa Cup of Nations. It was the ex-West Brom winger's first goal of his Fulham career.

Given the strides Fulham have made over the past couple of years, it jarred a little to see their manager Roy Hodgson mentioning Premier League survival as their biggest goal for the remainder of the season, even if form has dropped off alarmingly. As their opponents were entitled to ask him: you think you've got problems?

Portsmouth at home might have appeared like the ideal fixture for a team in need of a booster, but the Premier League's most wounded club arrived with a voracious appetite for the fight. The collection of players Avram Grant was able to field, who had been belatedly paid earlier in the day, made a sprightly start.

Despite the gradual stripping of resources which saw two of the club's biggest cash generators sold in January, their team still comprised eight full internationals, with the other three capped at under-21 level.

When Frédéric Piquionne cantered into the box and got a shot away unchallenged, agitation pricked the home support. Kevin Prince Boateng lashed in a 30-yarder which careered fractionally wide. The German then danced daintily into the area and steered in another shot for Mark Schwarzer to deal with. He played with enough zest to suggest he is auditioning to become the next returning ex for Tottenham.

Unsurprisingly, having dominated the opening exchanges, Portsmouth were vulnerable to the first attack Fulham mustered. Aaron Hughes headed goalwards from a corner, but David James parried smartly.

With half-time approaching Fulham awoke from their slumbers. Stefano Okaka had a half-chance, heading wide from a couple of yards and probably thankful of the offside flag that saved him from too much shame. Bobby Zamora's jinking run was stopped by a last-ditch tackle.

End product has been the bane of Portsmouth this season, who have played prettily, if naively, for much of the campaign. They continued crafting chances after the break but struggled to find the beating of Schwarzer. Another fine opportunity was thrwarted when Aruna Dindane glanced in Angelos Basinas's dipping corner.

Fulham toiled. The clinical touch has been frustratingly elusive for them, too, during a stodgy run of five straight defeats in the league. Damien Duff hooked in a shot which was deflected. Zamora headed straight into Schwarzer's upper body and glanced another wide.

The Fulham substitute Erik Nevland pounced on a careless pass from Belhadj and angled a fierce shot a fraction off target. Unfortunately for Portsmouth, it would not be his only error. In the 74th minute, Duff dispossessed the Algerian inside his own area. The Irishman advanced and fizzed over a low cross for Greening to slide in. Fulham's relief in scoring was palpable. Portsmouth's frustration was yet another shot of pain to absorb.

Hodgson will hope that this result, eked out unconvincingly, is enough to encourage his team to turn the corner and return to brighter climes. The FA Cup and Europa Cup await as well as that old chestnut about Premier League survival.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2010, 10:23:07 PM »

Fulham v Portsmouth

Match facts

Wednesday 3 February 2010 20.00

  Score line 
Final score  Fulham  1 – 0 (HT 0 – 0)  Portsmouth 
Greening 74
Bookings   Ben Haim 87
 Fulham's Percentage Portsmouth's Percentage
Corners 5 50%  5 50% 
On target 5 50%  5 50% 
Fouls 12 48%  13 52% 
Offside 1 50%  1 50% 

Fulham Mark Schwarzer, Stephen Kelly (Kagisho Dikgacoi, 55), Brede Hangeland, Chris Baird, Nicky Shorey, Aaron Hughes, Danny Murphy, Damien Duff, Jonathan Greening, Stefano Chuka Okaka (Erik Nevland, 70), Bobby Zamora (David Elm, 77) 

Portsmouth David James, Steve Finnan, Tal Ben Haim, Nadir Belhadj, Jamie O'Hara, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Hassan Yebda, Angelos Basinas (Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, 82), Marc Wilson, Frederic Piquionne (Danny Webber, 62), Aruna Dindane 
Referee Taylor, A

Venue Craven Cottage

Attendance 21,934

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2010, 10:26:08 PM »
Fulham 1-0 Portsmouth 
The Portsmouth defenders look on in horror as Greening prods in the winner

By Mark Ashenden 

Jonathan Greening's first goal for Fulham piled more misery on bottom-placed and cash-strapped Portsmouth.

The visitors will be devastated after missing a number of first-half chances, with striker Frederic Piquionne firing straight at keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham's Stefano Okaka nodded an easy chance wide but his side took the lead on 74 minutes as Greening slotted in a Damien Duff cross from the right.

Kevin Boateng worked tirelessly for Pompey but Fulham held on for victory.

The result was a little harsh on Avram Grant's men, who attacked with vigour and creativity in the opening hour and only a lapse in concentration at the back caused their downfall in the capital.

Both teams had a miserable build-up to this crunch clash. Fulham suffered new injuries to Zoltan Gera and Andrew Johnson, while the financial woes of Portsmouth have continued with players arriving at Craven Cottage on the day they received a delayed pay cheque for the fourth time.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson would have hoped for a more lively start from new loan signings Okaka and Nicky Shorey, but it was the visitors who dominated the opening half an hour and only Schwarzer's backside prevented them from scoring the opener.

 606: DEBATE
We can STILL do this!! Forget about all the off field problems. Fans sounded brilliant and thought we played really well (again)

On-loan striker Piquionne, part of an ambitious three-pronged attack, was put through by Jamie O'Hara and the Fulham defenders, screaming for offside, were relieved to see the Martinique star's piledriver fortuitously saved.

The south coast club were picking up all the loose balls and looking anything but a team who had claimed only one point from their previous six matches on the road.

The lively Boateng was causing all sorts of problems from midfield and almost scored with a half-volley, but the Londoners, looking to avoid a sixth successive league defeat, finally emerged from their slumber.

Defender Aaron Hughes headed straight at keeper David James for their first chance of the game, and 10 minutes before half-time Okaka was guilty of one of the misses of the season.

Just three days after scoring a wonderful backheeled goal for Roma, the Italian headed wide from two feet after Greening had nodded down an inswinging cross from Dannny Murphy.

Back came Portsmouth as O'Hara blazed over after a series of desperate shot-blocking tackles, including one that denied Piquionne at close range.

A languid start to the second half was thankfully enlivened by Bobby Zamora coming close with two solid headers - the first straight into the hands of David James and the second, a glancing nod from Duff's cross from the right.

Hodgson sent on striker Erik Nevland in search of the winner and was almost rewarded within one minute after a 30-yard volley dipped narrowly over the bar.

But with 16 minutes remaining, Pompey were made to curse their earlier misses as Greening took full advantage of some sloppy defending.

Duff made another dangerous run down the right and after his cross flew past Zamora - in an offside position - the ball fell to Greening who calmly side-footed in for his first Fulham goal.

Portsmouth's heads understandably dropped and they rarely threatened again.

It was a huge relief for Fulham, as they bounce back from last week's home defeat to Aston Villa and rise to 10th spot.

But Pompey - still six points away from Premier League safety - now have to visit champions Manchester United on Saturday.


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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2010, 10:26:40 PM »
Fulham 1 Portsmouth 0: Jonathan Greening compiles the misery on doomed Pompey

By Sportsmail Reporter

Last updated at 10:05 PM on 03rd February 2010

Portsmouth's misery continued as Jonathan Greening's first goal for Fulham condemned the financially-stricken club to another defeat in tonight's Barclays Premier League clash at Craven Cottage.

Pompey, adrift at the foot of the table, have lurched from one crisis to another this season, with players and staff again being paid late.

Manager Avram Grant has, though, vowed to stick with the beleaguered Fratton Park club.

Indeed, Pompey had shown an improvement following the return of their African Nations Cup trio, and Kevin Prince Boateng had a couple of chances in the first half.

However, after a terrible miss from Fulham's on-loan Italian striker Stefano Okaka, making his debut, Fulham eventually got the breakthrough with 16 minutes left as Greening netted at the far post.

For Pompey, things are likely to get worse before they get better, as Grant must now rally his beleaguered troops for a trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

Even a win for Portsmouth - who have lost four from the last seven - would not have be enough to lift them off the foot of the table.

However, it was a bright start by the visitors, as Prince Boateng tested Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer with an angled drive.

Pompey continued to have the better of the opening exchanges.

Frederic Piquionne almost got on the end of a quick counter-attack as Fulham - who had lost the last five league games - failed to deal with the ball on what was fast becoming a skiddy surface.

The Portsmouth striker should have done better when sent clear on 12 minutes, but Schwarzer stood up well to make the save.

Prince Boateng caught hold of a loose ball 22 yards out, which flew just the wrong side of the keeper's right-hand post.

Fulham could not retain possession in midfield, and struggled to get out of their own half for long spells.

However, it needed a fine one-handed save from England keeper David James to deny Aaron Hughes as his header at the back post from a corner was creeping in.

Prince Boateng skipped into the Fulham box, and was unfortunate to see his shot take a deflection which allowed Schwarzer to make the save.

Okaka then somehow missed a glorious chance to score on his debut

A deep cross from the left was nodded back across goal by Greening, with the ball falling to Okaka at the far post.

However, no more than two yards out and with the goal at his mercy, the on-loan Italian inexplicably guided the ball wide.

Portsmouth almost took the lead on 52 minutes when Aruna Dindane's far-post header from a deep corner was beaten away by Schwarzer.

Damien Duff weaved into space for a shot from the edge of the Pompey penalty area, which was deflected behind.

Bobby Zamora could not get any power on his header at the back post as he meet a deep cross from the right flank.

The Fulham striker then glanced the ball wide as the home side pressed again.

Fulham finally got the breakthrough on 74 minutes when Greening converted at the far post after Duff dispossessed Nadir Belhadj and put the ball across the six-yard box.

To their credit, Pompey continued to go forwards, and Grant sent on former Arsenal striker Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, on loan from Spartak Moscow, for the closing stages.

However, Fulham saw out the remaining five minutes to end their losing streak and heap more woe on Pompey.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 10:29:47 PM »

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 10:33:24 PM »

Fulham 1 Pompey 0

by Neil Weld at Craven Cottage

Jonathan Greening scored the only goal of the game as Pompey slipped to defeat at Craven Cottage.

The Blues dominated for long periods but were unable to create many clear-cut openings and wasted those they did.

And a defensive mistake from Nadir Belhadj allowed Greening to grab the winner to deny Pompey even a point.

Avram Grant made five changes from the side that lost at Manchester City on Sunday.

Belhadj, Hassan Yebda and Aruna Dindane all returned from Africa Cup of Nations duties, while there were also starts for Frederic Piquionne and former Fulham star Steve Finnan.

Ricardo Rocha – whose transfer to the Blues was finalised just a few hours before kick-off – was handed a place on the bench.

The Blues had an early sight of goal with Kevin-Prince Boateng’s angled shot forcing Mark Schwarzer into action on four minutes.

Fulham were allowing Pompey plenty of possession, constantly giving the ball away in the centre of the pitch.

And Piquionne could have broken the deadlock on 12 minutes when he was sent through on goal, but the Frenchman was denied by Schwarzer.

Boateng then attempted an audacious effort from 30 yards that fizzed inches past the post as Pompey tried to make their dominance count.

But only a super save from David James stopped the Cottagers from taking the lead on 25 minutes.

The ball looked destined for the net when Aaron Hughes met Damien Duff’s corner but James somehow got a hand to it.

Pompey were soon back on the attack, however. Boateng did all the hard work by waltzing through the Fulham defence, before prodding the ball straight at Schwarzer.

The visitors’ good work was almost undone on 34 minutes when Fulham debutant Stefano Okaka – with the goal gaping – headed wide from close range.

But Pompey had another great opportunity late in the half when a corner caused havoc in the box. The ball fell kindly for Piquionne but he was unable to force it through a sea of bodies.

Nadir Belhadj then sent a couple of fine crosses into the area – the first was cleared and the second diverted into Schwarzer’s arms by Yebda.

Half Time: Fulham 0 Pompey 0

The hosts were still looking sloppy early in the second half and again had to rely on Schwarzer to keep the scores level on 53 minutes.

The Australian did well to keep out Dindane’s header at point-blank range after the Ivorian had connected with Angelos Basinas’ corner.

Piquionne then just failed to get a touch onto Belhadj’s dangerous cross into the box as Fulham’s fans grew increasingly frustrated.

Pompey’s fans, by contrast, were giving their side non-stop backing, continuously chanting ‘Avram Grant’s blue-and-white army’.

Grant made his first change on 62 minutes with Danny Webber coming on to replace Piquionne up front.

Fulham’s first chance of the half was a decent one, but an unmarked Bobby Zamora headed Duff’s pin-point cross straight into James’ arms.

Erik Nevland replaced Okaka for the Cottagers on 70 minutes and within seconds was firing a shot inches wide from the tightest of angles.

Fulham were starting to take control as the game wore on and Pompey were made to pay for wasting their chances when the hosts took the lead on 75 minutes.

Belhadj gave the ball away cheaply in his own box, allowing Duff to send in a low cross that Greening stroked home.

Duff tried to add a second soon after, skidding in a low shot from distance that James did well to hold low to his left.

Pompey were looking short of ideas so Grant threw on an extra forward for the last few minutes with Quincy Owusu-Abeyie replacing Basinas.

But the Blues were unable to find an equaliser and where left to ponder what might have been.

Pompey: James (c); Finnan, Ben Haim, Wilson, Belhadj; Yebda, Basinas (Owusu-Abeyie 82), Boateng, O’Hara; Piquionne (Webber 62), Dindane

Subs not used: Ashdown, Vanden Borre, Rocha, Hughes, Mullins

Fulham: Schwarzer; Kelly (Dikgacoi 55), Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey; Duff, Murphy (c), Baird, Greening; Zamora (Elm 78), Okaka (Nevland 70)

Goals: Greening 75

Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Smalling, Stoor, Riise


Referee: Anthony Taylor


Attendance: 21,934

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2010, 12:59:18 AM »
Speaking in the post-match press conference, visiting manager Avram Grant gave his reaction to his side's defeat on Wednesday evening:

"We played very good football, created a lot of chances and were by far the better team," said the Portsmouth Manager.

"They did not even deserve a draw, they had only one chance and scored.

"There was also a mistake by the referee in the goal, because Zamora was offside.

"After what has happened off the pitch, the players gave 100% and gave their heart.

"I am very proud because it is good that we showed, even with the problems off the pitch, that we kept the spirit of the game and gave 100%. As long as we have a chance, we will fight.

"With the situation of the club, I am trying to do my best for the team. I love this club and when all of the city is supporting the team, I feel committed. I am trying to do my best in these circumstances."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 01:04:01 AM »
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson admitted that the narrow 1-0 success over Portsmouth was essential to the remainder of their season.

The Cottagers went into the home meeting with the Premier League's bottom club on the back of a run of five successive top-flight defeats.

Pompey were the better side for long periods in the first half on the banks of the Thames but were again left with nothing to show for their efforts.

Jonathan Greening scored the only goal of the game 16 minutes from time after the visitors passed up a number of decent opportunities.

Hodgson told Sky Sports: "Tonight's victory was a crucial one for us, it was a little bit of a make-or-break.

"If you go to a sixth defeat at home to Portsmouth it's hard to get your season back on track.

"To win was the all-important thing. I've seen us play better, but I've seen us play better and take nothing so I will be quite happy and be grateful for the three points.

"I've got to say it was a fairly fortunate victory, but I think I can put that into context with all the rather unfortunate defeats we've had lately where we haven't really deserved the results we've got. It was good to get the three points and get over the 30 mark.

"It was a good performance from Portsmouth and I can imagine Avram Grant must be absolutely devastated not to get anything from the game but I know how he feels because I have been in that position once or twice myself recently."

Hodgson has seen his side decimated by injuries and he threw new signings Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka into the fray following their loan arrivals from Aston Villa and Roma, respectively, on transfer deadline day.

Big talent
Okaka missed a glorious opportunity to open his account in the first half but somehow headed wide with the goal at his mercy and the Cottagers boss accepts he will need time to settle after his arrival from Serie A.

Hodgson said: "He's going to need a bit of time. He's a big talent but he is going to need time before we can groom him into being a Fulham player.

"He worked hard, he was disappointed with his miss, but it doesn't matter, it is the victory that counts.

"Our problem at the moment is all the injuries. It really is the worst injury crisis I think I've experienced as a manager.

"To lose six players from last year's team, it's so difficult to replace that. I think we are doing pretty well with all the injuries we've had."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 06:07:28 AM »

Sting in the tail awaits for Avram Grant’s Portsmouth

Patrick Barclay, Chief Football Commentator

For the Portsmouth fan, life is like having a swarm of wasps attack your picnic. There are so many of the blighters; you don’t know which one to swat.

Should it be Milan Mandaric, who sold out to Alexandre Gaydamak? Or Gaydamak, who sold out to Sulaiman al-Fahim? Or Sulaiman the not-so-magnificent, who, having owned the club briefly, sold 90 per cent to Ali al-Faraj? You’d have to find Ali before you blamed him — and his very existence is questioned by Portsmouth-watchers who, for some mysterious reason, have begun to succumb to cynicism.

And what’s that buzzing noise? Yes, meet Balram Chainrai, the latest saviour, who has lent al-Faraj £15 million.

As for Peter Storrie, the chief executive, the fans don’t know whether to cheer or jeer him; they have done both this season. Yet someone must be holding things together because Craven Cottage saw a decent visiting team last night, one whose spirit matched that of the travelling support.

There was nothing defeatist about Avram Grant’s residue, who, faced by hosts who had lost their previous five league matches, were quick to counter-attack. Yet they were thwarted by Mark Schwarzer in Fulham’s goal and, in three months, will probably disperse.

Storrie, who found the present owner — or was led to him by Pini Zahavi, the influential Israeli agent — described al-Faraj and associates as “very, very rich”, promising that they would take Portsmouth to a new level.

At last, it seems, a promise is to be kept. All that remains to be decided is the level to which Portsmouth must sink before the supporters’ torment is over. Even if the club can avoid administration — Revenue & Customs is looking for £6 million by next Wednesday — they will be starting to chase Southampton, their great rivals, down the divisions next season.

No doubt some of Southampton’s fans, having suffered, are enjoying a giggle. But this is all too sick to be funny. Portsmouth recently offloaded Asmir Begovic and Younès Kaboul, raising £14 million, some of which was kept by the Premier League to pay clubs still owed fees from Portsmouth’s better days, when they won the FA Cup with players they couldn’t afford.

This is how football works. Football debts are paid first and only then does the game deign to consider taxpayers like you and me, let alone the poor companies who print programmes and so on.

Sick indeed; at a time when those who can afford it will soon be handing over 50 per cent of their wages in tax and standard-rate payers are expected to be next in the queue for a caning, it is wrong for the most recognisably profligate industry to be protecting its own like bonus-bloated bankers. Instead of burbling about John Terry, the Sports Minister should address this.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2010, 06:08:59 AM »

Jonathan Greening saves Stefano Okaka as Fulham end losing run

Fulham 1 Portsmouth 0

Tom Dart

It may not be the best phrase to use in their present situation, but yesterday Portsmouth took plenty of credit. They went to one of the most challenging venues in the Barclays Premier League and dominated most of the match.

If their football was superior in technique, ambition, flair and spirit to the sort that teams usually serve up amid the attrition and anxiety of a relegation battle, their fate was common: a struggling side unhinged by a single shabby moment, which was seized upon by Jonathan Greening to score his first Fulham goal in his 21st appearance for the West London club.

Portsmouth remain six points from safety and visit Old Trafford on Saturday. Fulham, far from impressive, ended their losing streak. Never mind the quality, though — relish the result. They had entered this game on the back of five successive league defeats and missing seven first-team players. “January was a bad period on paper; it turned out to be a bad period on the field,” Roy Hodgson, the Fulham manager, said.

Soon after agreeing to let Diomansy Kamara join Celtic on loan on Monday, Hodgson discovered that Andrew Johnson’s knee injury is more serious than first thought and the forward may miss the rest of the season. He was scheduled to have surgery in the United States last night.

“It’s going to be a long time,” Hodgson said. “I’m disappointed because at the end of this transfer window I was still believing he was going to come back and it wasn’t going to be long.”

However, there is nothing like a visit from Portsmouth to put your own problems in perspective. Avram Grant’s players were at least paid their wages yesterday, five days late. It was the fourth tardy payment in the past five months. Grant was an odd mixture of defiance and desolation after the match. “We played very good football, we had more chances by far,” he said. “We did everything well except score.

“The players are sad and frustrated; you cannot come to this place and miss so many chances. We are playing football worthy of the middle of the table. I’m proud because we showed that even with problems off the pitch and being bottom of the league, we kept our spirit, tried to play good football.”

Was he considering resigning after players were sold against his wishes? He stopped short of a definitive answer. “This club is very dear to me, I love this club, all the city’s behind it,” he said. “I feel a commitment to do things for the club, I’m trying to do the best in the circumstances. Even in this situation I feel we’re doing well.”

Hodgson’s depleted ranks were swelled by two loan signings, Nicky Shorey — from Aston Villa — and Stefano Okaka, the Italy Under-21 striker, from Roma. The latter ensured that his debut would be unforgettable with a blunder in the 33rd minute that should guarantee him exposure on bloopers DVDs for years to come. Greening nodded Danny Murphy’s lofted ball back across goal to the 20-year-old, who dinked his header wide from two feet.

Overall, though, he looked promising. “We threw Stefano Okaka in because Erik Nevland had a toe problem,” Hodgson said. “He’s a young, raw player, but he showed a lot of determination. It will take a lot of time for him to get used to how we play.”

Strangely, the side sitting in mid- table was the one trying to grind out a result. Portsmouth attempted more fancy touches and cheeky tricks than you would expect from a side in their position. Champagne football on a tap-water budget? Hodgson was impressed, but suggested that despite the asset-stripping, “it wasn’t a cheap team out there. I would think the wage bill at Portsmouth is considerably higher than ours.”

Fulham saw more of the ball in the second half, but the contest degenerated into a messy and manic midfield battle with space at a premium and aimless aerial punts in plentiful supply. Unexpectedly, the stalemate was broken with 15 minutes to go.

Damien Duff pinched the ball from the careless Nadir Belhadj in the penalty area and his deflected cross found Greening, who netted with a measured, low finish. For Portsmouth, it was the crunch after the credit.

Fulham (4-4-2): M Schwarzer — S Kelly (sub: K Dikgacoi, 55min), A Hughes, B Hangeland, N Shorey — D Duff, D Murphy, C Baird, J Greening, — R Zamora (sub: D Elm, 77), S Okaka (sub: E Nevland, 70). Substitutes not used: P Zuberbühler, B H Riise, F Stoor, C Smalling.

Portsmouth (4-3-1-2): D James — S Finnan, T Ben-Haim, M Wilson, N Belhadj — H Yebda, A Basinas (sub: Q Owusu-Abeyie, 82), J O’Hara — K-P Boateng — F Piquionne (sub: D Webber, 61), A Dindane. Substitutes not used: J Ashdown, R Rocha, H Mullins, A vanden Borre, R Hughes. Booked: Ben-Haim.

Referee: A Taylor.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 06:12:03 AM »
Roy gets the win he was Craven

Published: Today


ROY HODGSON hailed his Fulham side as a Jonathan Greening goal saw off Pompey.
But striker Andy Johnson has flown to America for a knee op.

Hodgson said: "There is a risk he will be out for the season but also some optimism."

The £10million-rated star will be operated on by renowned surgeon Richard Steadman, who saved former England skipper Alan Shearer's career.

Hodgson added: "They will go in, see what the problem is and fix it."

He was happy to see off rock-bottom Pompey and end a run of five defeats thanks to Greening's 74th-minute strike.

The Cottagers' boss said: "I am delighted with the result, especially as I may now be looking at the rest of the season with what is a limited and inexperienced group of front players.

"At half-time, we were somewhat fortunate still to be at 0-0.

"We had not really got into the game but the team showed a lot of character and were better in the second half.

"It was important to win the game and to get the three points. That lifts us into the 30-point area, which is an important psychological barrier.

"We have played better in defeats but you get no credit for that.

"So we might as well have played not so well and got the result."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2010, 06:14:56 AM »
Fulham 1 Portsmouth 0

From ANDREW DILLON at Craven Cottage

Published: 03 Feb 2010

AVRAM GRANT'S misery was complete last night as his team suffered yet another unlucky defeat.

With the financial situation threatening to send Pompey crashing, they were hit by a lucky late punch from Jonathan Greening.

The Fulham midfielder's 74th-minute winner stopped the rot for Roy Hodgson's men after a run of five straight defeats.

Yet despite Pompey losing yet again, the battlers from Fratton Park had kept the spirit of the club alive with a performance which deserved more than the bare statistics show.

Grant said: "We played very good football, created a lot of chances and were by far the better team.

"They did not even deserve a draw, they had only one chance and scored. There was also a mistake by the referee in the goal, because Bobby Zamora was offside.

"After what has happened off the pitch, the players gave 100 per cent and their heart. But you cannot come to these places and miss so many chances.

"One lapse in concentration and we have lost the game. We are playing football that deserves to be in the middle of the table - but we are not scoring.

"As long as we have a chance, we will fight.

"I am trying to do my best for the team.

"I love this club and when all of the city is supporting the team, I feel committed."

Portsmouth's three-man forward line of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Aruna Dindane and Frederic Piquionne had the upper hand for all but a split-second when Fulham pounced.

Zamora was denied a shot at Damien Duff's cross from the right but on-loan midfielder Greening popped up and buried the ball past David James from 12 yards to score his first goal for the club in 21 appearances.

Yet before and after the goal Pompey played with the skill, enthusiasm and speed that does not belong to a club in such turmoil.

Yet again the players' wages were delayed - but at least you can see what they do eventualy get paid for.

Fulham have rampant injury problems but it still should not have been such hard work to unlock the Premier League's bottom club.

But with rookie Stefano Okaka missing a sitter on his debut and a reshuffled defence, with on-loan new-boy Nicky Shorey thrown straight in at left-back, it was tough going.

Italy Under-21 striker Okaka somehow headed wide in the first half when unmarked less than five yards out.

And with Boateng running the show, Fulham were decidedly second best.

Keeper Mark Schwarzer made a one-handed save from Dindane while James stopped Aaron Hughes' header at the other end.

The win takes Fulham up to 30 points.

Relieved boss Hodgson said: "We struggled to get ourselves going and all credit to Portsmouth for their first-half performance.

"Their passing and skill were very good, that knocked us back a bit. We had to grind out a result.

"As it turned out, we got a bit lucky and took all three points."



FULHAM: Schwarzer 6, Shorey 6, Kelly 5 (Dikgacoi 5), Hughes 6, Hangeland 6, Greening 7, Duff 6, Baird 5, Murphy 5, Zamora 5 (Elm 5), Okaka 5 (Nevland 5). Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Riise, Stoor, Smalling.

PORTSMOUTH: James 6, Finnan 6, Belhadj 6, Wilson 6, Ben Haim 7,Yebda 6, Basinas 6 (Owusu-Abeyie 5), Boateng 7, O'Hara 6, Piquionne 7 (Webber 5), Dindane 7. Subs not used: Ashdown, Rocha, Mullins, Vanden Borre, Hughes. Booked: Ben Haim.

REF: A Taylor 6

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2010, 06:18:25 AM »

Fulham 1 Portsmouth 0: match report

Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Fulham and Portsmouth at Craven Cottage on Wednesday Feb 2 2010.
By Jason Burt

Published: 9:50PM GMT 03 Feb 2010

Drowning off the field in a sea of uncertainty and debt but fighting like fury to keep their heads above water on it, Portsmouth, nevertheless, were once more holed under the water-line. It was again of their own making with Nadir Belhadj gifting the goal that earned Fulham a victory and left their opponents sunk at the bottom of the Premier League table.

Their efforts deserved more. But how often has that been said this season?

They may be a shambles as a club right now but not as a team. Whatever fate holds for manager Avram Grant after this season, he knows he has — like Paul Hart before him — fashioned a competitive team in trying circumstances. They fight. Still, they appear certainties for relegation.

Given the serenity surrounding Fulham, particularly compared to the chaos at Portsmouth, it’s an arresting statistic that Roy Hodgson’s side went into the contest with a record of five successive league defeats.

They began, however, as if drained of belief, blunted of intent. Portsmouth, for all their woes, were far sharper with Angelos Basinas, the Greek international restored through expediency, biting into the challenges and Frederic Piquionne, perhaps offside, wasting an opportunity when released down the left. Mark Schwarzer was the far more occupied of the goalkeepers.

Aruna Dindane who, like Piquionne, didn’t know until late on Monday whether he would be in Portsmouth blue for this match, the first after the closure of the transfer window, threatened to wriggle free on two occasions before the Ivorian combined with Nadir Belhadj.

The attack broke down but, again, the clearance was ineffective and Kevin Prince Boateng worked his way back into the Fulham penalty area only to shoot weakly at Schwarzer.

Fulham continued to struggle. Passes were over-hit, crosses mis-directed.

Both debutants — Nicky Shorey, signed from Aston Villa and the Roma striker Stefano Okaka — were finding it difficult to integrate while the visitors continued to gain control of midfield and attacked with far greater purpose.

Still, it was Fulham who eventually fashioned the first clear chance when Aaron Hughes met Damien Duff’s corner. His header was comfortably palmed away by David James. Soon after and Duff carved out another opportunity from a set-piece with Okaka, just, failing to touch in his inswinging free-kick.

If the Italian went close on that occasion, he soon perpetrated a terrible miss. Danny Murphy snapped into a challenge and his deep cross was met by Jonathan Greening who guided his header to Okaka who was on-side and almost on the goal-line.

It appeared he simply had to nod the ball beyond James — and did so, but it bounced past the post as well. The 20-year-old striker, who had scored against Fulham in the Europa League earlier this season and who has arrived on loan until the end of the campaign, held his head in anguish.

Still the balance had swung. Fulham were in the ascendancy and Okaka seemed to have been pricked into action, laying a pass off neatly to Greening who found Bobby Zamora. Just as he appeared to have gone through on goal he was halted by Marc Wilson.

Soon after and Zamora was appealing for a penalty, after tangling with Tal Ben Haim, while, for Portsmouth, Piquionne and Dindane both wasted headed chances and the former had a shot charged down.

Portsmouth’s ambition was faultless. They sensed points could be gained and soon after the re-start Dindane twisted to reach Basinas’s corner — but failed to guide the ball over Schwarzer, who held on while Piquionne stuck out a boot, only for Belhadj’s curling cross to brush narrowly wide.

Once more Fulham gradually gained as a degree of ascendancy and Duff, increasingly appearing their most likely source of danger, centred towards Zamora. Wilson beat him to the ball it skimmed wide. Seconds later and Zamora was denied by the same defender and then, finally, the breakthrough.

Duff, inevitably, was involved, stealing possession inside the Portsmouth area from Belhadj and squaring across goal for Greening. The midfielder steadied himself and side-footed a low shot beyond James and into the net.

It was Greening’s first goal for Fulham since he arrived from West Bromwich Albion.

It was a desperate blow for Portsmouth. They poured forward, frantically in search of a goal. Fulham were pushed back, forced into their own area but, finally, held on.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2010, 06:20:54 AM »

Greening's late payment taxes poor Portsmouth

Fulham 1 Portsmouth 0

By Mark Fleming

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The more dire the situation becomes, the better Portsmouth seem to play. Six points adrift from safety, facing a winding-up order at the High Court next week and on the brink of yet another takeover, Portsmouth produced one of their best performances at Fulham, only to lose out to Jonathan Greening's first goal for the club late in game.

On the face of it, the visit of Premier League whipping boys Portsmouth could not have come at a better time for Fulham. Roy Hodgson's injury-hit side have been in rotten form since they beat Manchester United 3-0 in mid December, taking just one point out of a possible 18.

Yet despite their perilous situation, staring down the double barrels of financial apocalypse and likely relegation, it was Portsmouth who were the better side for much of this contest, and have every right to feel aggrieved that their efforts earned them no reward.

Mark Schwarzer made several fine saves, particularly in the first half, as Portsmouth dominated possession and created a string of decent chances. Frederic Piquionne should really have scored when Jamie O'Hara put him in the clear, but his shot was too close to Schwarzer's imposing frame. Schwarzer also kept out two efforts from Aruna Dindane and one shot from Kevin-Prince Boateng as Portsmouth mounted a succession of impressive attacks.

The midfield energy of Boateng and O'Hara was too much for Fulham, who were pressed on to the back foot for long periods. Hodgson gave Fulham debuts to new signings Nicky Shorey and 20-year-old Italian striker Stefano Okaka in an attempt to patch up his side which has been struck by injuries to several key players. Okaka marked his debut by making one of the misses of the season, a header from just three yards out that he glanced past the far post.

Portsmouth's luck ran out in the 74th minute. Damien Duff robbed Nadir Belhadj, one of three players back from African Cup of Nations duty for Portsmouth, on the Fulham right and crossed for Bobby Zamora who missed his attempt. The ball rolled to Greening who had time to take stock before guiding his shot low past David James from 12 yards. It was Greening's first goal since moving on loan from West Bromwich Albion last summer, and Fulham's first in the league for nearly six hours.

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant, who moaned afterwards that Zamora had been offside, praised the character shown by his players. "I am very proud because it's good for football that we showed that even with all the problems off the pitch and being bottom of the league we show the spirit of the game and try to play good football all the time," he said.

Hodgson generously conceded his team had been outplayed for much of the match. "The most important thing was to bring our run of bad results to an end," Hodgson said. "We had to grind out a result and show determination to get something from the game, even it was only a 0-0 draw. As it happened we were a bit lucky and won 1-0."

Hodgson's kind words were scant consolation for Portsmouth who now have two daunting away fixtures coming up – at Manchester United on Saturday and the High Court on Wednesday when the club must pay £7.5m to HM Revenue and Customs or face liquidation. Much rests on this latest takeover.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Kelly (Dikgacoi, 55), A Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey; Duff, Murphy, Baird, Greening; Zamora (Elm, 77), Okaka (Nevland, 70). Substitutes not used: Zuberbühler (gk), Riise, Stoor, Smalling.

Portsmouth (4-4-2): James; Finnan, Wilson, Ben Haim, Belhadj; Yebda, Basinas (Owusu-Abeyie, 82), Boateng, O'Hara; Dindane, Piquionne (Webber, 62). Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Rocha, Mullins, Vanden Borre, R Hughes.

Referee: A Taylor (Cheshire).

Booked: Portsmouth Ben Haim.

Man of the match: Boateng.

Attendance: 21,934.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2010, 06:27:30 AM »
Fulham 1 Portsmouth 0: Avram Grant cops a sucker punch at Craven Cottage

By Simon Cass

Last updated at 11:28 PM on 03rd February 2010

The off-field problems continue to mount at Fratton Park but, in the face of hugely the commitment and desire of Portsmouth's players cannot be questioned. That much was in evidence against Fulham, despite the result.

But valiant defeats are not what Portsmouth need right now and unless Avram Grant can find a way to turn dedication to the cause into much-needed wins, Portsmouth are surely doomed.

The watching Andy Murray must have been impressed by Portsmouth’s heart. For 90 minutes, the action might even have taken his mind off losing the Australian Open final to Roger Federer.

Fulham’s victory, with a goal 15 minutes from time, was down to Portsmouth failing to keep doing the right things rather than any improvement in their own play.

Grant said: ‘We played very well, we created the better chances. We did everything well. The players are very sad and very frustrated. After what has happened off the pitch they gave 100 per cent, but we missed too many chances and you cannot do that.

‘I don’t like the word fate too much; it is more a matter of concentration in the box. In the last two games we have created more chances than before but we haven’t scored.

'We performed very well, not like a team that is bottom of the league. I am very proud because even though we are bottom and there are problems off the pitch, we still played with great spirit.’

Portsmouth came desperately close to taking advantage of a slump in Fulham’s form and manager Roy Hodgson was relieved about his side’s return to winning ways after they had lost their last five games.

Hodgson said: ‘We showed an awful lot of character in the second half. It was important to break the run of bad results and, quite frankly, we have played a lot better than that in some of the defeats.

'I was pleased with the grit that the players showed out there.

‘We really struggled to get going and all credit to Portsmouth for their first-half performance. The skill they showed was very good. It knocked us back a little bit and we were a little fortunate that it was 0-0 at half-time.’

Despite Fulham being without six first-team regulars — striker Andy Johnson will have exploratory knee surgery in the US today — Hodgson could find no place in his starting XI for Chris Smalling, the centre back Sir Alex Ferguson will take to Manchester United for £10million in the summer.

Loan acquisitions Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka came straight into the Fulham team while Grant made five changes from the side which lost 2-0 to Manchester City on Sunday. Africa Cup of Nations trio Aruna Dindane, Nadir Belhadj and Hassan Yebda were all welcome returnees.

The changes by Grant certainly had the desired effect in the opening moments with Portsmouth hardly looking like a side with the world on their shoulders.

Moving the ball around well on the slick surface, Frederic Piquionne, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Dindane tried their luck and, despite not unduly troubling goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Fulham’s supporters felt the need to gee up their side.

David James was called upon in the 25th minute to palm away Aaron Hughes’s header at the back post but Portsmouth were quickly back on the front foot, Boateng dancing past three defenders although his shot was tame.

Okaka was unfortunate when he did not get a better connection on Damien Duff’s free-kick from close range, but the same could not be said when, moments later, the Roma loanee sent a header wide of the from two yards after he was teed up by Jonathan Greening.

Referee Anthony Taylor, on his debut in the top flight, made his first big decision when he waved away Zamora’s appeal for a penalty after the striker had tumbled under Angelos Basinas’s challenge.

Portsmouth showed no nerves as the second half began with Dindane once again testing Schwarzer. But by inviting Fulham on, they were the architects of their downfall.

Belhadj’s mistake allowed Duff to cross from the right and, although Zamora missed with an attempted header, the ball dropped for Greening to smash home from 12 yards.

‘I thought Zamora was offside,’ said a rueful Grant.

The visitors rallied, but it proved to be too little too late. It would be cruel on Portsmouth if that turned out to be the story of their season.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2010, 06:30:42 AM »

Fulham 1, Portsmouth 0: The Daily Mirror match verdict

Published 22:15 03/02/10 By MirrorFootball

Jonathan Greening piled the pressure on Portsmouth with  a clinical winner.

The Fulham midfielder converted Damien Duff’s cross from 12 yards in the 74th minute to leave Portsmouth five points adrift at the bottom and up to their necks in crisis.

Although they are set to be wound up unless the taxman is paid around £7.5million next Tuesday, Portsmouth were able to name one new signing – ex-Arsenal striker Quincy Owusu-Abeyie – on the bench and announce the arrival of another, Ricardo Rocha.

For all the trouble engulfing them, Pompey remain a team with a lot of life on the pitch and they began brightly.

Striker Freddie Piquionne streaked clear in the box, only to see his left-foot shot deflected behind brilliantly by Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer in the 12th minute.

Fulham defender Aaron Hughes responded with a header from a Duff corner which was palmed away well by keeper David James.

Roy Hodgson’s men had lost each of their previous five matches.

They were also hit by the loss of striker Andy Johnson, who is out for the season.

Still, the Fulham boss was able to field new recruit Stefano Okaka, the highly-rated young striker allowed to leave Roma on loan because the Italian club have signed veteran Luca Toni.

Fresh blood was certainly needed. But when the chance arrived for Okaka to make an instant impact, just after the half-hour, he blew it.

The 20-year-old marksman found himself totally unmarked in the Pompey six-yard box as Greening headed the ball into his path.

But Okaka somehow directed his own attempt wide of the post. The Under-20 star slumped to his knees in despair, but was warmly applauded by the home fans who were able to put their frustrations to one side.

This was a must-win game for Avram Grant’s side, whose next two fixtures are away to Manchester United and the High Court.

Pompey had arrived with just one victory in their last seven games and the usual chaos ringing around their ears.

The players had been paid late again, for the fourth time this season, and this time PFA representative Hermann Hreidarsson had seen fit to publicly tell the club to get their act together.

The Premier League had withheld £2million of the cash Pompey had raked in from sales. And Grant himself was refusing to commit his long-term future to the south coast outfit.

Portsmouth came out to dominate the early exchanges of the second half with Aruna Dindane somehow missing with a free header on 52 minutes.

Minutes later Piquionne narrowly failed to reach a chipped ball into the Fulham box from Nadir Belhadj. And, backed by the fervent support of their die-hard fans, Pompey were bossing this game.

Fulham had a few scraps, such as Duff’s shot deflected out for a corner on the hour, but Pompey were in control.

It was left to Greening to show their strikers how it should be done.

Sill the away fans were in full voice, however, belting out: “There’s only one team in Hampshire” in a jibe at their next FA Cup opponents and bitter rivals Southampton.

The trouble is, if the taxman doesn’t get his money by next week, that might actually be the case.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (04.02.10)
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2010, 06:32:54 AM »

Fulham striker Johnson turns to Steadman to rescue season

04.02.10 |

Fulham striker Andy Johnson is turning to famed knee specialist Dr Richard Steadman to rescue his season.

The Colorado-based surgeon has operated on some of sport's leading figures such as Tiger Woods and Ruud van Nistelrooy while Alan Shearer and Michael Owen have also credited Steadman for saving their careers.

Johnson will undergo the operation, manager Roy Hodgson confirmed.

"He will have knee surgery in America, when they will go in and see what it is, and then fix it," he said. "There is a risk that he will be out for the rest of the season, but there is also some optimism.

"However, the experience of our medical people think it might be (season ending).

"I am disappointed in that, because I was still believing he was going to come back and it would not be that long

"Now I may be looking at the rest of the season with a limited and inexperienced group of front players."