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Sunday Fulham Stuff (07.02.10)

Started by White Noise, February 06, 2010, 06:49:11 PM

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White Noise


Skipper didn't see sacking coming

TERRY: Denied affair to pal Zamora

By Neil Ashton, 06/02/2010

HE lay on the masseur's table, not cocky but confident this was just another episode he could breeze through.

Despite the writing appearing on the wall in six-foot red letters, John Terry still thought he could brazen this one out.

Get a massage, jump in a car, drive the 31 miles from Cobham to Wembley, deny everything and walk away with a reprimand.

Even those without an intimate knowledge of Fabio Capello's mind-set could barely believe Terry could be so deluded.

But denial is the state in which the erstwhile England captain currently resides.

Yes, he thought it was going to be more than a slap on the wrist from Capello. He fully expected a lacerating dressing down. After all, he'd be warned the Italian was running out of patience.

Before Christmas, when News of the World reporters exposed his willingess to breach the privacy of the Chelsea training ground for £10,000, Franco Baldini had delivered what amounted to a final warning.

Yet still Terry thought he was untouchable.

His mood may not have been exactly ebullient on Friday morning but there was enough of a spring in his step to suggest he had no inkling of what lay ahead of him.

And that, perhaps, says everything you need to know about the former England skipper.

Terry would have felt the omens were good when a member of the Chelsea staff drove his black Range Rover out of the training ground, turning left with the waiting media pack in hot pursuit.

Minutes later and shortly after midday, chauffeured by one of Roman Abramovich's security men, a black Mercedes turned right and swept towards London in splendid isolation.

It was just about the only victory of the day.

When Terry returned to Cobham after the 12 most brutal minutes of his life, those who saw him described him as 'shell-shocked' and 'glassy-eyed'. It was clear he'd been crying.

The realisation had dawned somewhere during those 30 miles that his reputation had been shredded, taken apart by Capello, the first man in a long time to truly hold a mirror up to Terry's shattered life.

Even those who thought they were closest to him have been shocked by his stance.

Bobby Zamora has been a friend since the days when they played for Senrab as kids in East London.

The Fulham striker asked Terry outright a little over three weeks ago, when the football world was already buzzing with rumours of the liaison with Vanessa Perroncel.

Was the England captain sleeping with Wayne Bridge's ex? Again, denial.

Since then Zamora has left Terry alone with his thoughts, unable to comprehend his pal's capacity to duck, dive and deceive.

It has become a way of life for Terry these past two weeks, denying everything despite the prospect of losing the England captaincy.

From his Chelsea team-mates, there has been a degree of understanding. Amazingly, the foreign contingent in the dressing room have been laid back, barely able to conceal their disdain at the whole situation.

Others have been supportive, pinning up their own 'Team Terry' posters around Cobham in response to Manchester City's backing of Bridge.

What isn't open to doubt is the tension in the air at Cobham.

Terry has been quiet, a remote figure apart from in actual training, keeping his thoughts to himself, refusing to open up, scared that any sign of contrition be misconstrued as weakness.

That, in itself, was part of the problem. Had he apologised personally to Capello at the start of the week and stepped down, he would have been spared Friday's humiliation and won back some respect from the Italian.

As it was, the silence simply hardened the manager's attitude and approach until there was only once course of action left open to Capello.

Had Terry shown he was accountable for his actions, for the disharmony caused in the dressing room then he would have stood a chance. Slim, but a chance all the same.

Instead, as one England source revealed, Terry gave us "a version of events", hinting heavily that he did not admit to the affair.

He misjudged the manager's mood spectacularly, failing to recognise the damage he has done to the England team as they prepare for the World Cup finals.

Two hundred miles away in Alderley Edge, his England team-mate Wayne Bridge was at home watching Sky News when the Football Association verbalised Terry's dismissal.

He was unchecked, still unable to comprehend the actions of a man he regularly described as his best friend when they were together at Chelsea.

Capello was kept full informed of events last week and yet he also asked his right hand man Franco Baldini more probing questions about his captain's activities.

They were aware of all the rumours that have circulated this week, from betting to birds and the bit on the side hawking her story.

Capello is staggered by the intensity of the scrutiny the skipper has been under since he took News of the World investigators on an unofficial tour of the club's training ground.

That was for £10,000 and yet the captaincy has come at an even bigger cost.

It hurt him to return to an empty house on Friday afternoon, absorbing the impact of losing the captaincy of his country.

What a night it must have been, a lonely existence without his wife and two children, who are thousands of miles away in Dubai.

It will take time for the enormity of becoming the first player to be fired from the role of England captain for off-field activities to sink in, something he had coveted since he made his debut for the senior team against Serbia & Montenegro in June 2003.

He still has the shirt, framed on the wall of his specially created trophy room at his magnificently-appointed £2.5million home in Oxshott, Surrey.

Since then he has captained his country 28 times, trading shirts with some of football's well-known faces along the way.

Many of them have been lovingly framed by his pal Phil, a memorabilia fanatic who trades from a shop in Eastbourne.

With Terry's reputation, passers-by might just see the captain's armband up for sale.

White Noise


Spaniard admits Fulham disappointment

RANGEL: Swansea City star has ambition

By Mario Risoli, 06/02/2010

ANGEL RANGEL will decide his Liberty Stadium future in the summer and has hinted he will sign a new contract if the Swans clinch promotion.

The Spanish defender, 27, will be a free agent in the summer and talks over a new deal appear to have hit the rocks.

Rangel, a target for Fulham during last months' transfer window, insists his contract situation will not affect his performances in the final run-in.

And the former Terrassa player expects to hold crunch talks with the play-off chasing Swans at the end of the season.

Rangel admitted he was disappointed that a loan move to Fulham failed to come off, but he insisted: "I won't let it affect my performances.

"Every player wants to play at the highest level and in this country that's the Premier League.

"Jason Scotland and Jordi Gomez had to leave Swansea to play in the Premier League. But I want to get there with this club.

"I'm not thinking about my future. I'm just focusing on this season.

"I'm a Swansea player and I'm 100 per cent committed to the club.

"The contract situation isn't on my mind. I'll look at my future at the end of the season.

"I'll sort things out in the summer. You never know what is going to happen.

"My dream is to get to the Premier League with Swansea, that's my dream.

"Swansea gave me the chance to play in British football and to become a professional footballer.

"It's the club I play for and a club I love. That's why winning promotion to the Premier League with them would mean so much.

Rangel triggered a one-year extension after making his 23rd appearance of the season against Preston yesterday.

But fans fear the bargain £30,000 signing will leave the Liberty Stadium if Paulo Sousa's men fail to go up.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson tried to lure Rangel to Craven Cottage on deadline day with a loan deal but Swans chairman Huw Jenkins blocked the move.

Rangel added, "I'm disappointed because Fulham are a good Premier League club.

"But I won't let it affect my performances. I've think I've been consistent this season.

"The gaffer likes to rotate his players but I'm showing him I want to be his right-back for the season.

"I'm really enjoying this season. The club is having its best moment for 26 years and I'm a part of that.

"Swansea has given me everything - and I have given them everything as well.

"If we can get into the play-offs then we will have a great chance of going up.

"When Roberto Martinez signed me three years ago he said we would have a chance to reach the Premier League. Now we are very close.

"The team has changed a lot since Paulo Sousa took over.

"We don't score as many goals as before but we're a very hard team to beat and we keep a lot of clean sheets."

White Noise

Arsenal's Chris Smalling bid irks Manchester United while Patrice Evra bemoans Gunners' plaudits

By Rob Draper, Mail on Sunday Chief Football Writer

Last updated at 10:35 PM on 06th February 2010

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Manchester United may have got the better of Arsenal last Sunday but the Gunners appear to have got under the champions' skin.

Patrice Evra, who boasted that the fixture was 'men against boys' after last season's Champions League semi-final win, said: 'When we won the Premier League for the third time in a row last season, in France they just said, "Manchester United are champions again".

'Then Arsenal win a Carling Cup tie and you hear it's the most beautiful football in the world. That winds you up. What have they won in four years? Nothing.'

Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue is tackled by Manchester United's Patrice Evra
In the boardroom on Sunday, United chief executive David Gill seemed grumpier than normal.

It is thought he was irked that Arsenal's bid for Fulham defender Chris Smalling drove up the price United paid by about £2million, to £12m.

Read more:

White Noise

Kevin Moore has dementia

by Dan on February 7, 2010

Awful news afflicting one of Ian Branfoot's old Fulham side who later became the club's Safety Officer.

A HOST of ex-Saints stars are coming to the aid of one of their own, Kevin Moore, after he was struck down with a rare form of dementia.

The 51-year-old, who scored Saints' last Wembley goal, was diagnosed with Pick's Disease about two years ago.

The Daily Echo has thrown its weight behind the campaign to support Kevin.

The illness, similar to Alzheimer's, is a form of frontotemporal dementia and generally affects people aged under 65, particularly men.

It has become progressively worse since the diagnosis.

Moore, who also played for Grimsby, Oldham and Fulham, made 185 appearances for Saints, from 1987 to 1994, scoring 13 goals.

He scored the second in Saints' 3-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the 1992 Zenith Data Systems final.

He lives in Otterbourne with his wife Mandy, but requires care seven days a week at the White House, in Curdridge.

To help finance his visits to the centre, as well as support the family, a group of friends, fans and former colleagues have arranged a charity fundraiser.

They will hold a golf day at Meon Valley in April, followed by a dinner, complete with an auction and raffle.

Richard Becheley is one of the chief organisers of the event, along with friend of the Moores, Ian Ritchie.

They are also receiving help from Lisa Catlin and Saints legend Matt Le Tissier.

Becheley told the Daily Echo why he wanted to help.

"Kevin Moore was the hero of my brother, Simon," he said.

"I still remember the Zenith Data Systems Cup final at Wembley when he scored.

"I remember seeing pictures of him and the likes of Glenn Cockerill stood by children's beds at the hospital and I thought someone has got to do something for him now.

"I was caddying for Matt on his golf day last year and he mentioned it then.

"I was shocked to hear what had happened, so I wanted to help."

Becheley has received sponsorship and prize donations from many local businesses "The support has been unbelievable,"

he said. "The interest in the day has been huge."

Le Tissier has been busy lining up former Saints stars to captain the golf teams on the day.

Already, the likes of Claus Lundekvam, Francis Benali, Jimmy Case, Iain Dowie and many more have been confirmed.

Le Tissier said it was a cause very close to all of their hearts.

"We are all doing it to support Kevin and Mandy Moore, who are going through some very tough times at the moment," he said.

"It's not nice to see one of your old mates suffering, so we are doing what we can to help.

"He's always been a very solid, dependable and trustworthy guy.

"My abiding memory was him scoring in the Zenith Data Systems final, when he rose like a salmon.

"It was amazing how high he managed to get.

"It was the only time I've seen a guy head the ball downwards and into the top corner."

All the golf teams have already been sold, but a limited number of tickets remain for the dinner.

Caddy positions for the ex- Saints and team captains are being auctioned off.

Bids should be emailed to Richard Becheley at If not enough are received, the caddy positions will be auctioned on eBay.

Due to the high demand for the golf day, Becheley and co are planning more events in aid of Moore.

Anyone interested in tickets, or providing sponsorship or raffle prizes, can contact Richard Becheley on 07876 778891.

Letters, cards and donations can be sent to The Kevin Moore Benefit Fund, 1 St Simon Close, Locks Heath, Southampton SO31 6DH.

Even as a very young supporter in those days, it was more obvious that Kevin never gave less than 100%. It's time for the fans to rally round him now. Get well soon, mate.

White Noise


Roy's battlers foil Bolton

by Dan on February 6, 2010

It was a late decision to make a mad dash up to Bolton. I had a ticket but was struggling to find a way up there, with train prices getting astronomical on the eve of the match, and my first choice of chaffeur had let me down. Fortunately (or foolishly on her part), my friend Laura stepped into the breach. She fancied a day out and was keen to do a bit of shopping. Spending a hour or so in a shopping centre seemed like the smallest of sacrifices considering that Laura would be doing the driving and had never been to football before. By the end, she was singing Jonathan Greening's name with gusto.

This wasn't a particularly pretty point and hopes of repeating last season's awesome win at the Reebok were feint. Fulham's injury crisis deepened even before kick off. Bobby Zamora was ruled out so Roy Hodgson went with a new Nordic front two in Erik Nevland and David Elm. Nevland's not really renowned for storming performances from the start and he had a largely frustrating afternoon, but Elm looks to be far better than some give him credit for. He's got a terrific first touch and a smart footballing brain. This could be another handy Hodgson pick up.

I'm sure a few people will moan that we weren't particularly adventurous away from home again. But, season after season, Fulham have come to places like Bolton trying to play nice easy-on-the eye football and been bullied out of it. This was a day for scrapping – and it was nice to see the boys battle for everything. Jonathan Greening was gritty again and Kagisho Dikgacoi looked impressive before he was forced off with another injury. At least, the returning Dickson Etuhu could take his place. There's no denying Bolton had the better of the contest and Owen Coyle demonstrated a desire to win the game with three bold substitutions which might have been rewarded late on had Mark Clattenburg not spotted a push as Kevin Davies headed in from a free-kick.

The first half was a desperately dreary affair notable only for a few half chances. Elm had the first, stretching in an attempt to steer a corner home at the back post, but couldn't kept his effort down. Kevin Davies, easily Bolton's best performer on his 500th league appearance, offered an early warning with a low shot that was bravely blocked by Aaron Hughes, then the home skipper's namesake Mark found Tamir Cohen, who horribly miscued in front of goal.

Davies couldn't react quickly enough to a deflected cross-cum-shot from Fabrice Muamba but was terribly unfortunate not to send Wanderers in with a half-time lead. His shot from Kevin's flick on was heading for the corner until Schwarzer produced a quite stunning save. In response, all Fulham offered in the way of a goal threat was a long-ranger from Dikgacoi that drifted wide.

The second period was meandering along pleasantly enough until Coyle summoned his second substitute from the bench. Johann Elmander had already been brought on to add to Bolton's attacking threat and it was something of surprise that Coyle turned to Vladimir Weiss instead of his fellow loanee Jack Wilshire. The Slovakian preceded to showcase his precocious talents and threaten to end Fulham's stubborn resistance.

A burst down the wing brought a corner almost immediately and the Manchester City midfielder looked ominously dangerous every time he had the ball. Chris Baird had enjoyed a tidy return to right back, the position that plagued him under Lawrie Sanchez, but Fulham looked more than a little ruffled by the end. Nevland exited gingerly and whilst Stefano Okaka looked lively all the action was taking place at the other end.

Bolton produced a storming finale in which Muamba drove wide and then, in a frenzied last five minutes, the Fulham goal led a charmed life. Kevin Davies looked to have made the winner with a lovely ball that set Elmander free only for the Swede to somehow roll his finish wide. Schwarzer, who had earlier made a fine point blank save to deny Lee, was finally beaten by Davies from the Korean's set play only for Clattenburg to intervene.

This display was in many ways was the hallmark of Hodgson's Fulham. Utterly hopeless away from home when he took over, we are now capable of grinding out points. It isn't attractive, but it's mighty effective – and puts us on course to be comfortable enough to treat the Cup and Europe with the relish they deserve.

BOLTON WANDERERS (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Ricketts, Robinson, O'Brien (Basham 63), Knight; Muamba, Cohen, Lee, M. Davies (Elmander 57), Taylor (Weiss 71); K. Davies. Subs (not used): Al-Habsi, Samuel, Gardner, Wilshere.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Baird, Shorey, Hughes, Hangeland; Dikgacoi (Etuhu 55), Murphy, Duff, Greening; Elm (Okaka 75), Nevland (Smalling 75). Subs (not used): Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Stoor, Riise.

REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).


White Noise

Kevin Davies denied winner for struggling Bolton

Bolton 0 Fulham 0

Paul Rowan at Reebok stadium

WHOEVER said that 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon would take our minds off some of the current travails affecting English football off the field clearly didn't have this fixture in mind.

This was as unedifying a spectacle as anything we have seen in the last week, though the details were hardly salacious. The game was scrappy and dull, except right at the end when Kevin Davies headed in from a Bolton set-piece, but referee Mark Clattenburg spotted an infringement that eluded the rest of us and awarded a Fulham free kick.

Burnley manager Owen Coyle said: "Everybody in the stadium knew it was a good goal barring one man. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth."

Some of us, however, had our senses well and truly numbed at that stage. There were excuses galore as to why both teams were below par and the two managers weren't slow to come up with them. Bolton's influential centre-half Gary Cahill — their top scorer in all competitions this season — was a late withdrawal and full-back Gretar Steinsson also pulled out just before kick-off. Fulham had their own absentee woes, Bobby Zamora falling victim to a virus, allowing the tall Swede David Elm his first start for the club.

Coyle has said changes will come slowly under his management and he is proving true to his promise, still preferring only one player up front in the burly shape of Kevin Davies and even employing a holding player behind a four-man midfield.

Mark Davies looks like one player who might flourish under Coyle and he must have thought he had scored two minutes before the interval, when Tamir Cohen's long ball forward was flicked on by Kevin Davies to his namesake, whose well-timed run and strong, low shot produced an excellent save from Mark Schwarzer.

Whatever attacking intent there was in the second half came from Bolton, particularly when Vladimir Weiss and Johan Elmander were employed to shake things up as the game entered the final quarter. Chung-Yong Lee was guilty of slightly over-running the ball — just like against Liverpool the previous week — even if Schwarzer produced a great save at his feet.

Then, on 90 minutes from a Lee set-piece, Davies beat Brede Hangeland in the air and headed powerfully past Schwarzer, but Clattenburg decided to intervene.

"I'm delighted we rode our luck a little bit," Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said. "They had by far the better goalscoring opportunities but we have an excellent keeper and a hard-working team and sometimes that can get you a point out of these types of games."

Star man: Brede Hangeland (Fulham) Referee: M Clattenburg Attendance: 22,289

Bolton: Jaaskelainen 6, Robinson 6, A O'Brien 6 (Basham 65min), Knight 5, Ricketts 5, Lee 6, M Davies 6 (Elmander 58min, 6), Muamba 6, Cohen 5, Taylor 6 (Weiss 71min), K Davies 6 Fulham: Schwarzer 7, Baird 6, Hughes 6, Hangeland 7, Shorey 6, Duff 5, Dikgacoi 5 (Etuhu 55min, 6), Murphy 6, Greening 5, Elm 5 (Okaka Chuka 76min), Nevland 5 (Smalling 76min)

White Noise

Coyle feels sore about points that got away

Bolton Wanderers 0 Fulham 0

By Ian Whittell at the Reebok Stadium

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Owen Coyle was correct in his assessment that any point is a good one, given Bolton's current predicament, but thanks to the woeful finishing of his forward Johan Elmander and the refereeing of Mark Clattenburg, this was undoubtedly a case of two points dropped for his struggling team.

Elmander, a £10 million signing by the former manager Gary Megson and subsequently one of the main reasons behind his ultimate demise at the Reebok, was played clean through, unopposed, by Kevin Davies three minutes from time but managed merely to steer a shot beyond the far post.

Two minutes later, Davies himself rose impressively to meet a free-kick from Lee Chung-Yong, heading powerfully into the goal, only for the effort to be ruled out by Clattenburg for a push on Brede Hangeland.

"Everybody in the stadium knew it was a good goal; the Fulham players knew it was a good goal, but there was one man who felt it wasn't," said Coyle. "That leaves a bad taste in the mouth because it was clearly a terrific goal: a great ball in, the player's jumped well and he's won a clean header.

"I asked the referee his view and he said he saw Kevin Davies clearly pushing with two hands. I'd better leave it there or I'll get into a bit of bother.

"I knew at the time there was no contact. I've since seen the rerun and there is no contact that I've seen. The cross comes into the six- yard line and Kevin jumped up and planted a great header into the corner."

After just one victory in his first five games in charge at Bolton, Coyle's frustration was understandable, although consolation came in the form of a dominant second-half display and the fact that, having failed to keep a clean sheet all season, his side have now done so twice in the last three games,

Indeed, save for a late free-kick by Nicky Shorey which was deflected over the bar, it was hard to recall a Fulham effort of note.

"Bolton put us to the test today, they had by far the better of the goal chances but we've been resilient," said Fulham's manager, Roy Hodgson, while confirming his belief that Clattenburg had made the right decision over the Davies effort. "We've had an awful lot of bad luck recently, decisions and deflections, so if that was lucky, we have worked up to that."

In contrast to the visitors, Bolton also created two good first-half chances for Mark Davies, both saved by Mark Schwarzer, the latter one being turned on to the bar. After the interval, it was not until the 70th-minute introduction of the on-loan winger Vladimir Weiss that Bolton's fortunes improved significantly, with Schwarzer being required to make one impressive stop in particular at the feet of Lee.

Attendance: 22,289

Referee: M Clattenburg

Man of the match: Knight

Match rating: 3/10

White Noise

Fulham move for Beattie was scuppered by wage demands

Published 23:00 06/02/10

By John Percy

James Beattie's ­staggering wage demands wrecked a £2million move to Fulham and left him stuck at Stoke.

Beattie stunned Fulham by asking for £60,000-a-week and Cottagers' boss Roy Hodgson pulled the plug on transfer deadline day.

Now the 31-year-old faces an uncomfortable three months after falling out with boss Tony Pulis.

The pair clashed in the dressing room at Arsenal in December and Beattie has started only one Premier League game since.

It is a similar situation for £5.5m misfit Dave Kitson, whose hopes of a loan move came to nothing in the ­January transfer window.

Pulis said: "James and Dave are still here. They've got to get their heads down and work hard.

"They need to get back in the team and score some goals."

White Noise

Bolton 0-0 Fulham: The Sunday Mirror match report

Published 22:22 06/02/10

By Lindsay Sutton

Kevin Davies looked set to celebrate his 500th League appearance with a winning strike, until ­controversial referee Mark Clattenburg ruled it out.

The 33-year-old seasoned campaigner beat in-form keeper Mark Schwarzer when he headed home from a Lee Chung-Yong free-kick with just minutes left.

But referee Clattenburg reckoned he had seen a push and to the fury of ­Wanderers' boss Owen Coyle, he disallowed the 'winner' and let Fulham off the hook.

Coyle blasted: "We scored a perfectly good goal, and you could see that even the Fulham players felt that. Just one man felt it wasn't. It leaves a bad taste.

"I've been to see the ref and he says he saw Kevin Davies pushing with both hands. I've seen the re-run. I didn't see a two-­handed push. It was a great header and a clean goal in my ­opinion."

Fulham's manager Roy Hodgson admitted his side "rode their luck" but was adamant that there was a push, even though he ­added: "It's hard to make a clear judgment."

He went on: "I ­congratulate the referee on the strength of his decision.

"It was a correct decision but if we had some luck, then we have not had a lot of that this season."

But Hodgson did admit; "We needed to stand up with all those projectiles flying in. We rode our luck at times but we have a great keeper and showed our ­resilience to get a point.

"We have seven players out, and no Bobby Zamora, who went down ill, but he'll be back for Tuesday's Burnley match."

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Clattenburg's decision, Bolton had only themselves to blame for not wrapping it up early with the bagful of opportunities that came their way.

And keeper Schwarzer earned a big pat on the back from Hodgson for his ­decisive saves, blocks and the fact that he threw ­himself fearlessly into the way of Bolton's marauders.

The Trotters' mis-firing record signing Johan ­Elmander must be ­squirming at the way he missed out after being put through by Kevin Davies.

The big Swede had only the stranded Schwarzer to beat but with the keeper narrowing his options, ­Elmander managed to put the ball wide.

Mid-way through the ­second-half, it was Chung-Yong's turn to hang his head in shame. Israel star Tamir Cohen played a quick-thinking pass beyond the Fulham defence and Schwarzer looked to have no chance as the South ­Korean approached goal.

But the Fulham stopper dived at Chung-Yong's feet and retrieved the ball.

In the first half, Bolton midfielder Mark Davies had two gilt-edged chances but missed his way too.

Kevin Davies then set up his namesake with a flick-on header, only for Schwarzer to get a leg in front of Davies's well-struck effort, the ball spinning against the woodwork and away.

White Noise

Johnson fears 10 months out

Andrew Johnson fears he could be out of action for up to 10 months following knee surgery in the USA.

Fulham have confirmed the striker, 28, will miss the rest of the season after renowned specialist Dr Richard Steadman operated on him in Colorado on Thursday.

The club hope to have Johnson available in time for the start of the 2010-11 campaign, but People Sport understands it could be as late as December before Johnson is able to play again.

The former Everton star has been plagued by injuries again this term and has managed just 13 matches.

He has also suffered from groin and collarbone problems.

White Noise



Alan Nixon; Dave Kidd; Steve Bates; Tom Hopkinson; Alan Oliver; Mel Henderson; Steve Goodman

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has confirmed Nicky Shorey could join the club permanently.

The 28-year-old left-back moved to west London on loan from Reading on transfer deadline day.

Fulham have an option to sign him in the summer, 24 months after Hodgson first tried to sign the England international. He said: "A price has been put on Nicky's head if, at the end of the loan period, he wants to stay and we certainly want to keep him.

"He's a player we considered many times.

"When he was at Reading we were interested, but the price and wages he could command took him out of our reach and he went to Aston Villa."

White Noise

Adam Johnson was almost nicked by Manchester United - a month before he joined rivals City in a £7million deal.

People Sport can reveal that the England Under-21 winger was given a secret tour of the champions training ground and met with club officials, including boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

United were clearly keen to sign the 22-year-old - tipped by Fabio Capello to be an England star of the future - but their interest suddenly tailed off in mid January and City boss Roberto Mancini swooped to land the Sunderland-born player on deadline day.

It's thought United went cold on Johnson partly because they had to pay £7million for Fulham defender Chris Smallings to ward off interest from Arsenal, who were ready to cut a deal with Roy Hodgson.

White Noise

El of a miss stuns Coyle

Ian Whittle

Bolton 0

Fulham 0

Johan Elmander's woeful miss - and a controversially disallowed goal - continued the misery for new Bolton boss Owen Coyle.

The latest Reebok chief has now won just one of his first five league matches in charge at Wanderers as his team keep hovering in and around the relegation picture.

But yesterday even his opposite number Roy Hodgson would have admitted that Coyle deserved win No.2 and would have got it but for his misfiring striker and referee Mark Clattenburg.

Elmander, a £10million forward signed by former boss Gary Megson, was played clean through by Kevin Davies in the 87th minute - only to roll his shot wide.

And a minute later Davies rose to meet Chung-Yong Lee's right-side free-kick, heading home the ball only to see referee Clattenburg rule it out for a push.

Coyle said: "Everybody in the stadium knew it was a good goal. Fulham players knew it was a good goal but there was one man who felt it wasn't.

"That leaves a bad taste in the mouth because it was clearly a terrific goal - a great ball in, the player's jumped well and won a clean header.

"I asked the referee his view and he said he saw Kevin Davies clearly pushing with two hands. I'd better leave it there or I'll get into a bit of bother.

"I knew at the time there was no contact. I've since seen the re-run and there is no contact that I've seen. The cross comes into the six-yard line and Kevin jumped up and planted a great header into the corner."

In response, Hodgson said: "I don't think you'd expect me to say anything other than it was a good decision. I've spoken with Brede (Hangeland) and he says he was about to head the ball when he felt a push and fell over.

"Bolton put us to the test today. They had by far the better of the goal chances but we've been resilient.

"We've had an awful lot of bad luck recently with decisions and deflections.

"So if that was lucky, then we've worked up to that."

Bolton sub Vladmir Weiss, on loan from Manchester City, livened up his team's attacking play when he came on for the final 20 minutes but until then it was a drab afternoon for the neutrals.

It took 40 minutes for either team to create a chance.

That arrived when Fabrice Muamba's shot was deflected into the path of Mark Davies, who couldn't quite get a clean contact on the ball and steered it straight to Mark Schwarzer.

Three minutes later the same player struck the bar when Lee's ball found the head of target man Kevin Davies, who took advantage of Hangeland's slip and nodded down for his namesake.

Mark Davies then lashed in a wicked drive, forcing Schwarzer into a superb reflex block that turned the ball on to the bar.

The second half was even worse, if anything, until Weiss came on and livened up matters.

In the 70th minute. A flowing Bolton move ended with Tamir Cohen slipping through a pass to Lee, who tried to round Mark Schwarzer but let the keeper get a hand on the ball. Weiss himself then cut in from the left to unleash a fierce shot that deflected just over.

At the other end, Nicky Shorey's free-kick took a similar deflection over the bar and substitute Stefano Okaka directed a tame header at Jussi Jaaskelainen as the stalemate continued.

The late drama left Coyle feeling hard done by but the Bolton boss still believes his side are on the right track, especially after another clean sheet.

Coyle said: "If we continue to play like that we'll get results. Any point is a good one in the Premier League.

"But the galling thing is we should have had all three."

Shiner Knight

Maybe it's playing against your old club but the big stopper was imperious at the back.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen 5 - Robinson 5, *KNIGHT 9, O'Brien 5, (Basham, 64mins, 5) Ricketts 5 - Muamba 8 - Chung-Yong 5, M Davies 6, (Elmander, 57mins, 4) Cohen 5, Taylor 5 (Weiss, 66mins, 6) - K Davies 6.

Fulham: *SCHWARZER 7 - Baird 5, Hangeland 5, Hughes 5, Shorey 5 - Greening 5, Murphy 5, Dikgacoi 5 (Etuhu, 55mins,6) Duff 5 - Elm 5 (Okaka, 76mins) Nevland 4. (Smalling, 76mins).

Referee: M Clattenburg, 5.

Shocker Elmander

He missed the best chance of the game, and it was the sort of opportunity a £10million striker should bury.