Author Topic: Saturday Fulham Stuff - 28/03/20...  (Read 472 times)

Offline WhiteJC

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Saturday Fulham Stuff - 28/03/20...
« on: March 28, 2020, 07:32:35 AM »
The best Fulham XI since the Millennium – centre-midfielders

Fulham have had a number of good central midfield players over the years, with the West London side renowned for their fondness of passing football.

Having spent much of the past 20 years in the Premier League, the Cottagers have been able to attract a number of talented players from across the continent, while they have also found excellent value in the domestic market.

Current boss Scott Parker has carried on this tradition too, with only Leeds United having more possession of the ball than Fulham and no side passing the ball more accurately.

With football suspended for the foreseeable future though, we have looked back at the best central midfielders from the last 20 years.

Steed Malbranque
The cornerstone of the Fulham sides of the mid-2000s, Malbranque was a creative number 10-type player who was able to drop deep and dictate play.

A real favourite at Craven Cottage, he made 172 Premier League appearances scoring 32 goals.

Danny Murphy
Joined Fulham from Tottenham Hotspur at the age of 30, but went to have a wonderful twilight to his career at Craven Cottage.

Given a more central role at Fulham than he had at Liverpool or Spurs, Murphy showed the full range of his creative abilities and was crucial in their run to the 2010 Europa League final.

Mousa Dembele
Arrived at the club as a forward, but left as one of the most dominant central midfielders in the league, Dembele was a uniquely talented footballer.

Able to carry to ball out of midfielder better than most, he joined Spurs in 2012 after two impressive seasons.

Scott Parker
Another player who flourished at Craven Cottage in the latter years of his career, Parker arrived from Spurs in 2013.

In four seasons he made 128 appearances and is now manager of the club.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff - 28/03/20...
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2020, 07:34:11 AM »

Random Royal Moments: Fulham Fog Fixture

Reading would win the rearranged game 1-0.

In modern football, to get a game postponed is generally quite difficult. Normally, it’s due to either safety of the players or safety of the fans - well, apart from if you build a football ground next to the River Trent and don’t realise you’re probably going to get a build-up of water if it rains…

However, in December 2016, during a game with Fulham, it was deemed that the referee’s assistant couldn’t see the full width of the pitch and therefore at half-time called the game off.

Now, ok there is an argument for safety etc, but the decision to abandon the game in many people’s eyes came a little too early. While it’s fair to say that the first half got tricky, with the referee quoted as saying on the pitch visibility was ok, during the half-time break and into what would have been the second half, conditions vastly improved.

Many fans took to Twitter to comment on this; indeed one of our sub-editors went back into the ground to get the picture below, where actually you can see the pitch fairly clearly.

Reading at this period were actually not playing too shabbily, even though Fulham had the lion’s share of the possession with Yann Kermorgant forcing some smart saves out of Button.

The referee had pressed pause on the game a couple of times during the first half, speaking to the captains and managers, and there is probably a view that given how they were playing, Fulham were the keener side to get this this game replayed. Finally at half time, it does seem that the Fulham manager got his way and the game was abandoned. Jaap Stam after abandonment was fairly balanced with his views and his interview is below.

On the radio phone-in post-game, there were a number of irate Reading fans, complaining that this decision had been made too early, and hinted that Slavisa Jokanovic may well have convinced the referee that the game should be stopped. However, what’s done is done, and just meant another fixture to fit in around an already congested fixture list.

The re-arranged fixture was played on January 24, with Reading running out with a 1-0 victory thanks to a rebound goal from Roy Beerens following John Swift’s penalty.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff - 28/03/20...
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2020, 07:35:17 AM »
Exclusive: Paul Robinson suggests West Brom signing Mitrovic

Paul Robinson has urged West Brom to sign Aleksandar Mitrovic if they are promoted to the Premier League this season.

The former Leeds United and Spurs keeper, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, insisted the 25-year-old would be “a good addition” despite a hefty price tag.

Mitrovic is the Championship’s top scorer this season with 23 goals in 34 appearances.

The Serbia international arrived at Craven Cottage in a £27million deal from Newcastle in July 2018 and signed a five-year deal.

Any deal would therefore likely break the Baggies’ current transfer record of £15.3million paid for Salomon Rondon in 2015 – a price worth paying accord to Robinson.

“I think Mitrovic would be a good addition depending on where Fulham end up,” he told Football Insider.

“He has proven he can do it at all levels. Fulham have done well to keep hold of him. A player like that would be a good acquisition for West Brom.

“If you go up you look at a different set of players than the Championship and you can attract a different type of player. You need a scouting network looking at two scenarios.

“If Fulham do not go up, I suspect he will move on but he can command a price tag. They paid a hefty price and that will not have dropped if anything it has increased.” 

Slaven Bilic’s side are currently second in the Championship, six points ahead of third-placed Fulham, with nine games left of the season.

Hal Robson-Kanu and Charlie Austin have scored 19 goals between them this campaign – a new striker likely to be a top priority at The Hawthorns this summer.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff - 28/03/20...
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2020, 07:37:17 AM »
Watford? Southampton? Atalanta? What does the future hold for Fulham’s Joe Bryan?

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Joe Bryan is in his second season at Craven Cottage.

The Bristol-born Bryan left his hometown club in the summer of 2018 to join then Premier League side Fulham. He made 28 appearances in what was his debut in the top-flight last season, but couldn’t help his side from an inevitable relegation.

Dropping back down to the Championship, where Bryan has proven himself in the past, he was expected to be a hugely important player for Scott Parker this season.

Having played in all but two of Fulham’s league games so far, the 26-year-old has certainly been a mainstay in Parker’s Fulham side, and an important one too – he’s set-up seven goals in the Championship so far this season, the majority of them being scored by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

But what might the future hold for the left-back? Last January he was a rumoured target of Watford’s. Nigel Pearson’s side were and still are fighting Premier League relegation, and were sniffing around Bryan in January with a £10 million move being touted.

Then Southampton joined the race. The Saints have been in search of a left-back since time began and they turned their search onto Bryan soon after Watford did so – at the same time, Serie A side Atalanta also emerged as candidates to land Bryan.

Whilst Southampton have stabilised their season in the top-flight, Watford continue to slip up, despite sitting outside the drop-zone on goal-difference.

Bryan would be a welcome addition to either side – he showed last season that he can take on the Premier League and whilst he may not have had an outstanding season back in the Championship, he remains a player of top-quality, and one with a point to prove in the Premier League.

The moves never materialised past a rumour in January, but if Bryan continues to impress from now up until the end of the season – whenever that may be – then surely the suitors will reignite their interest upon the opening of the next transfer window.

There’s a sense around Fulham as well that if they fail to achieve promotion this season, a few of their star players might move on and trigger a chain reaction of outgoings at Craven Cottage in the summer.

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff - 28/03/20...
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2020, 07:39:15 AM »
Damien Francis on Craven Cottage thrashing, winning Division One and if he’s remembered fairly

Damien Francis spent two years at Norwich City, during that time, he won the First Division title and impressed in the Premier League.

When he signed from Wimbledon, then manager Nigel Worthington was hoping he would add dynamism to a midfield set-up that already included the tenacious Gary Holt.

His box-to-box style made him a pivotal component of the City side that gained promotion to the top-flight, but it is in the Premier League where Francis left his mark.

The former Canaries midfielder now works in player agency as he looks to utilise his experience and knowledge of playing in the professional game.

Here are some of the key quotes from our chat with the former City man:


“I can really say that there was a great togetherness. There were no egos, and everyone was really professional. They wouldn’t hold back on digging you out if you weren’t pulling your weight, it was a good blend of players.

“It was evident to see that there was a backbone in the club. There was an identity in the squad and in a way, it was easier for me to integrate into the squad because I was that way inclined. I wanted to win and work hard. I had accountability and, in that respect, it was a really good group.

“We hadn’t necessary spoke about what we were going to do but I remember around Christmas time, I think we were top of the league, but there were a few rumblings in the group and the boys I’d speak to said ‘we’re going to do this’. That’s when we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the goal.

“It was an amazing day and it was incredible to see how many fans came out to celebrate with us. Looking back, as a player you always want to win something and, as a young player, I was privileged to win a quite few things at youth team level but when you turn pro, that doesn’t stop and you want to win.

“I still have my medal and I can show my kids that I won something, and I have something physical I can show. What an accomplishment for the club and personally, really rewarding.


“Even though we weren’t winning, we were still in games. It’s just about margins in the Premier League and taking your chances when they do come, or you can get punished for those. Ultimately, that’s what happened with us.

“Once we got the first win and more confidence, we were there or thereabouts. The difference between the Championship and Premier League is the margins are so much finer. You don’t get a second chance and that is what differentiates the top players from the very good players.

“We were good enough to stay up, I believe but it can be a harsh place. We all enjoyed playing in the Premier League, it’s incredible and I felt 100% at home in the Premier League. It’s the only place to play your football if you can do.

“It was a pleasing season personally, but I feel I could’ve done more. I have high standards for myself and when you look back on your career you always think ‘I should have scored this goal or done more’.

“I really enjoyed the season and I would’ve loved to stay up with Norwich, but I knew at the end of that year when we went down that I wanted to stay in the Premier League. You have to look after yourself, it’s a short career and every player aspires to play at the top level.

“A lot of people got to see what I was really about, and I got a few decent mentions. I look back on that as a really good season.”


“It’s one of the worst days of my football career, in all aspects. One, my performance, two, the scoreline and it was a lacklustre, crappy performance. As a team, we just didn’t turn up.

“As an integral player in that team, I should have done more on that day, but football is not black or white. Of course, we would’ve loved to have won and stayed up, but we didn’t not try or anything like that. Sometimes, everything doesn’t work out in football and you can’t put a finger on exactly what it was.

“I can only speak about myself but I was carrying an injury on my foot but I was always planning to play because we needed to stay up and I wanted to do everything I could to stay on the pitch. I didn’t feel myself.

“It was an embarrassing performance. For it to fizzle out and end on that note was really hard to take. The fans, looking at it, probably thought a few players threw the towel in or weren’t trying but I take all the criticism on that day. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying, even if it looked like we weren’t trying.

“Every footballer looks back a one match they played in and think ‘wow, what a nightmare that was’ and that, for me, was mine.


“It’s possible that I’m not really revered maybe in the best light, because they’ve never really heard from me. I’ve never really said anything, I always fairly quiet anyway. I just got on with my job. Then suddenly, they’re hearing about Damien Francis leaving the club and that’s it.

“I can see why some fans may think a certain way about me, but I think most fans respected me as a footballer and the way I played. I hope they have that in their heads rather than the way things were when I left the club with them not knowing the detail or what happened in the background when I left.

“From my perspective, my two years were very positive. The fans were incredible to me and I’m really grateful for that. Football is an emotional game, it provokes emotion from people and when they see a player acting in a certain way to a club, or a player, manager; then they’re going to take the side of the club. That I understand.

“I can say that wasn’t the case when it comes to myself. It was just an unfortunate situation that I didn’t respond through press or talking. I hope I’m seen in a positive light with most fans, but you can’t please everybody. Hopefully it’s like that, when I see Norwich fans, the majority of them are pleased to see me and we speak about the good memories.”