Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...  (Read 566 times)

Offline WhiteJC

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Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« on: March 29, 2020, 09:10:26 AM »
The best Fulham XI since the Millennium – wingers

With Anthony Knockaert and Ivan Cavaleiro regulars out wide this season, Fulham have often been particularly blessed with attacking talent on the wings.

Utilising a 4-4-2 formation for much of their time in the Premier League, the Cottagers’ primary wingers needed to offer output most offensively and defensively, while contributing in terms of build up and creativity.

With football suspended until April 30 at the earliest, we have taken a look at the four Fulham wingers that had the biggest impact over the past 20 years.

Luis Boa Morte
Made over 200 league appearances for the club between 2000 and 2007, scoring 44 goals in the process.

Primarily played from the left, he could also play through the middle, and earned a reputation for his tough and determined approach.

Simon Davies
A classy operator from the right, Davies was not a prolific goalscorer but offered creativity and balance.

A good dribbler and passer, he scored the club’s only goal during their 2-1 Europa League final defeat.

Damien Duff
Joined the club aged 30, but still managed 173 appearances during a five-year stint at the club.

Previously a tricky dribbler at Blackburn Rovers and then Chelsea, he became known for his intelligence and quality at Fulham as he also played a part in their 2010 Europa League run.

Ryan Sessegnon
An academy graduate, Sessegnon was brilliant in Fulham’s 2017/18 promotion campaign, with 15 league goals.

Has since moved on to Tottenham Hotspur, where he has not been able to recapture his best form.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2020, 09:12:01 AM »
3 Fulham players who have far exceeded expectations this season

Fulham will be amongst the clubs who are desperate to see this season finish properly as they push for an immediate return to the Premier League.

The Whites sit in second place and although they are six points adrift of the top-two they would have still fancied their chances of narrowing the gap, with matches to come against both Leeds and West Brom.

However, there is not much they can do at the moment, so we have taken a look at THREE of their players who have far surpassed expectations this season…

Marek Rodak
The Slovakian shot-stopper was not even in the picture for a starting spot at the beginning of the season, having spent the previous campaign out on loan with relegated Rotherham.

So it would have been hard to believe that he’d have the position sewn up by March, but that is what has happened.

Marcus Bettinelli was unsurprisingly given the role early on, but some dodgy performances quickly led Parker to lose patience and Rodak was their to move in against Luton Town at the end of October.

Aboubakar Kamara
Plenty of Fulham fans probably expected the winger to be sold in the summer after a controversial spell in the Premier League.

But Parker clearly saw something he could work with and Kamara has repaid that faith with an impressive season, even if it has been predominantly as an impact substitute.

He has netted four goals and assisted four more as well, proving a secret weapon in the Whites’ push for an immediate return to the Premier League.

Joe Bryan
Bryan’s prowess in the Championship was well known before this. His spell with Bristol City was what persuaded Fulham to buy him after promotion to the Premier League after all.

But he was largely innefective in the top-flight and question marks still remained over whether or not he would be able to recapture his form in the second-tier at Craven Cottage.

Any doubters have been proven emphatically wrong, however. Bryan has been the Whites best defender throughout the current campaign, providing a goal and seven assists going forward, whilst also being a solid presence at the back.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2020, 09:15:11 AM »
The truth about Aleksandar Mitrovic's time at Newcastle United and why fans still argue over his sale

Things ended sadly for Aleksandar Mitrovic but if ever a player was capable of getting the crowd ignited it was the big Serbian

Everything about Aleksandar Mitrovic screamed: "Newcastle United centre-forward" during his three years on Tyneside but for a whole bunch of complex reasons the Serbia international's stay on Tyneside will always be a case of what might have been.

He loved the Geordie crowd and they loved him.

When Mitrovic bounced up and down to his terrace chant of: "Mitro's on fire", it looked like a love affair from heaven but the man who we were told would bring some "devilment" to Newcastle was on his way to hell and back.

As Mitrovic's time at United started to stumble to a deeply disappointing end, the conspiracy theories that the Press on the NUFC beat were against him raged on Twitter.

The truth is you could not find a better subject from a journalist's point of view and this seasoned hack was desperate to see him grasp his opportunity on a stage in St James' Park that was made for him.

He wasn't a boozer, and one Belgian journalist told me the day he was unveiled: "Maybe he will find a good place here to have a hot chocolate or something!"

Down the years we've seen rough diamonds find a loving home on the hallowed turf when other sections of society spat them out.

Joey Barton, Lee Bowyer, Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy all had brushes with the law but managed to produce the goods once they crossed the white line and entered the hallowed turf beneath the Cathedral on the hill as some people like to call it.

As a kid in Smedervo, he openly admits that part of his youth was spent hurling rocks at trains that were making the journey from country to country in the Eastern Bloc.

Yet those who spoke to Mitrovic during his stay at Newcastle will tell you he was softly-spoken and determined to do well for the Geordie masses.

It was his emotions that used to get the better of him, but take that away and you wouldn't even have half the player.

My mind takes me back to the moment I first found out that Mitrovic was set to be unveiled as a Newcastle player.

The Magpies were at the end of a gruelling multi-city tour of the United States in 2015 and at 3am in the morning in Portland of all places, a Newcastle insider called me and simply said: "Mitrovic - it's done, get your computer fired up again!"

Mitro's £13million deal had fallen short of Alan Shearer's record fee and came just a week or so after Gini Wijnaldum's £14.5million arrival from PSV Eindhoven.

But his purchase from Anderlecht was still an exciting one in many ways and a lot of money for Mike Ashley to splash out at that time.

Mitrovic said the next day: "I also know about the famous players who have played for Newcastle United, like Alan Shearer, who is a hero of mine. I hope I can play like him for this club. It will be an honour."

Then he said: "There will be pressure here, for sure, but I like pressure."

As time ticked by Mitrovic was right and wrong on his last statement.

There was plenty of pressure as Newcastle quickly became embroiled in an ugly relegation battle, but whether Mitro was revelling in that cauldron was highly debatable.

Mitrovic was fired up for his debut against Southampton when he replaced Papiss Cisse after 75 minutes but within three seconds he was booked for a challenge on Matt Targett that Southampton coach Erwin Koeman claimed could have put the Saints man in hospital.

Afterwards, Steve McClaren, who'd spoken about channelling the "devil" in Mitrovic, admitted it could have been a red card.

Perhaps it had just been opening day nerves? A one-off? A rush of blood?

Days later, Mitrovic was cautioned again, this time for a rash challenge on Neil Taylor in a 2-0 defeat at Swansea City!

Mitrovic followed it up with a shove on Wayne Routledge and was lucky to stay on the field within seconds of coming on as sub.

McClaren remarked after the game: "He's a physical player and we can't take that away from him. One thing we learned from last Saturday, you've got to learn about emotional control."

Fast forward to Mitrovic's next game and his reputation had walked on to the field ahead of him.

Referees already had his number and in his first start at St James' Park a crunching challenge on Francis Coquelin against Arsenal arrived after just 16 minutes, resulting in a red card.

Mitrovic looked shocked but in his first month at Newcastle he'd picked up two bookings, one dismissal, a three-match ban and no goals.

Goals in wins against Norwich and Spurs suggested he could still come good given time, but a tally of three goals was hardly the stuff of dreams.

Mitrovic's time at Newcastle was right at the start of the "football board" days at St James', a panel that consisted of McClaren, chief scout Graham Carr and Bobby Moncur.

But the cracks were starting to show before the January window.

Like a lot of first-team bosses under Ashley, McClaren had breezed into the job thinking he could charm the Sports Direct magnate and those around him into getting his way with signings.

To be fair to him, he'd done it before in the North East under Steve Gibson at Middlesbrough when he'd played the role of fantasy manager almost in luring Gaizka Mendieta, Bolo Zenden, Fábio Rochemback, Mark Viduka and Michael Reizeger to Teesside.

Winning the League Cup and reaching the UEFA Cup final before taking the England job, McClaren had a decent reputation.

What he had underestimated though was the power of Carr at Newcastle at this time.

Carr had clashed with Alan Pardew for long periods during the rise and fall of the Londoner on Tyneside.

Pardew lost control of the transfer kitty after a decision to bring in players like Gabriel Obertan and Davide Santon.

McClaren went into the job agreeing to proceed with pre-arranged deals for Wijnaldum and Mitrovic, but things turned sour after the last game of 2015 after Newcastle lost 1-0 at West Brom.

They were third-bottom and sinking in the Premier League and McClaren made a plea to his board to bring in a new striker, stating Mitrovic hadn't been his idea and he needed his own stamp on the team.

McClaren only won half the battle in January 2016, he was allowed two of his own picks in Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend, but the striker he so desperately wanted in Charlie Austin was overruled, and instead he was handed Seydou Doumbia on loan from AS Roma.

Looking back, it was the critical moment in McClaren's stint as boss.

Doumbia was nowhere near fit enough but more of that later.

To cut a long story short, McClaren took one look and knew he had to turn back to Mitro.

He'd slotted home a penalty to boost his confidence against Man United in a crazy 3-3 draw but his last goal for McClaren came against West Brom at a point where there was at least some hope.

There were 32 minutes on the digital clocks at St James' when new signing Shelvey swept a defence-splitting pass through the centre before Mitrovic calmly side-footed the ball from outside the box past the advancing keeper Ben Foster.

Days earlier Newcastle had looked done and dusted for the season at Everton after an easy 3-0 win for the Toffees on a night when Jamaal Lascelles was sent off before storming down the tunnel and mouthing: "Nobody gives a ****".

Whatever McClaren said to them that week though seemed to work with 19 goal attempts against West Brom and Mitrovic's winner. The Serbian striker said: "We showed we'd learned something from the other night."

It could have been the start for McClaren and Mitrovic at Newcastle, instead, it was the beginning of the end.

McClaren wouldn't win again as Toon boss in the Premier League.

Newcastle were stuffed 5-1 at Chelsea before McClaren's last roll of the dice came with what was supposed to be the last roll of the dice in the shape of a trip to La Manga for a training camp and morale-boosting sunshine break.

Only the sun wasn't really out and on a cloudy afternoon, Newcastle edged a 2-1 victory over Lillestrom in a mid-season friendly.

By this point the right-hand didn't know what the left-hand was doing, Newcastle didn't send a Press officer on the trip and told the Chronicle McClaren wouldn't be conducting interviews.

Were they gagging the man in charge of first-team affairs?

But McClaren would break ranks: "Yeah, I'll do a piece with you."

McClaren said: "Look, it's still in our hands despite the Chelsea defeat."

And so on to Stoke, on a grim night in the Potteries, Mitrovic started but didn't shine, Newcastle lost 1-0 to set up a "must-win" against Bournemouth at St James' Park.

The end was nigh for McClaren and he dropped the former Anderlecht man for transfer flop Manu Riviere.

Newcastle were a goal down by half-time and McClaren performed a U-turn as Mitrovic was thrown back into the fight.

By full-time, McClaren had been hit with chants of: "You don't know what you're doing" and Moussa Sissoko had been cheered OFF the field after being subbed.

A 3-1 defeat left Newcastle - in Alan Shearer's words on Match of the Day - "in a mess".

It took Newcastle five days to sack McClaren with the former England boss finding out through Twitter he'd been relieved of his duties.

Confirmation came via a phone call from United but there was no face to face contact from the Magpies.

Just this year, McClaren stated in an interview on Sky Sports why things didn't work at United for Mitro, he said: "He was immature and wasn’t ready for that.

"Hot-headed at the time.

"He got sent off. Discipline.

"He got frustrated and got down. And it’s a different level."

In Rafa Benitez, Mitrovic was presented with a manager who'd worked with the best in the world from Ronaldo to Fernando Torres to Samuel Eto'o and a host of others in a decorated career in the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga.

Things started well between Benitez and Mitro as he scored the equaliser to spare blushes in the Tyne-Wear derby.

A bullet header at the Gallowgate End saw the roof come off and Newcastle keep hopes of survival intact.

Mitrovic was knocked out before the end of the game and fought with club doctor Paul Catterson and after the game Match of the Day commentator Guy Mowbray summed it up for the big striker: "He's got everything, all the attributes."

Benitez responded: "We have to play better, help him and give him more deliveries and crosses, then he will score more but team has to improve and we will need confidence."

What would happen days later though didn't help Mitrovic's cause at United.

He scored a bit of an own goal with Benitez just days after the Spanish boss had taken one look at Doumbia and effectively asked who had decided to sign the Roma striker and why.

It was the first tear of what would prove a delicate relationship with the Serbian and Benitez.

Mitro invited freelance striker coach Allan Russell to the training ground to work on one on one after training, a move that didn't go down well with the former Liverpool boss.

What could Russell do differently to his tried and tested coaching staff?

Mitrovic did grab two goals at Norwich in the next game but a 93rd-minute winner from Martin Olsson meant the fact he'd scored as many goals in his last two games (three) as the previous 18 was swept to one side.

By the time Mitrovic scored again he'd been dropped from the team and Newcastle had been relegated.

His season would end in the same controversial manner it had started in.

His goal in the 5-1 demolition of Spurs was well-taken in his first start for weeks but an awful tackle on Kyle Walker resulted in a straight red card.

Mitrovic was banned for the first four games of the next season.

As he walked out of St James' Park that night he told me he would be staying at the club - regardless of relegation to the Championship.

That was something, but Benitez was already exploring other possibilities just in case he couldn't rely on Mitrovic in the future.

Dwight Gayle and Daryl Murphy arrived that summer as Benitez started to rebuild.

Mitrovic was training well at the start of pre-season but couldn't play due to his lengthy ban.

The meticulous Benitez wanted him to follow orders at Benton during tactical sessions, but others were doing it better.

Benitez said at the time: "Mitro is emotional but there was never a personal issue.

"There was a situation where he wanted to play so had to go because I couldn’t guarantee he would play.

"You have a vision, and you see the stats.

"But I can analyse the games, the way that he was playing, and also every training session with us."

Even an injury for Gayle in the second half of the season did not result in regular game-time for Mitrovic in the Championship, starting just 11 times in the second-flight.

As Newcastle were guided to the title the sub-plot of the campaign was whether Benitez was right or wrong to play the Serbia star.

Benitez later said: "Were we right or wrong? We got promoted, we won the Championship, we were right."

Nevertheless, Benitez took another look at Mitrovic ahead of Newcastle's return to the Premier League.

I sat with Mitrovic at Carton House that summer during the club's pre-season tour of Ireland, ahead of a World Cup year, he said: "This is a big season for me for club and country."

Three goals in pre-season suggested he was maturing as he scored against Preston, Bradford and Wolfsburg but choppier waters were ahead.

A Chronicle poll that summer revealed 65% of fans wanted him to stay and that proved to be Benitez's decision.

Rafa found himself under fire on social media for not using Mitrovic in the first two matches in the top-flight with both games ending in defeat.

Mitrovic did score in a 3-2 defeat against Nottingham Forest then again in a 3-0 win against West Ham.

He was in hot water within minutes after coming off the field as a case for retrospective action began instantly and he was banned for three games for elbowing Manuel Lanzini.

Benitez had already signed Joselu from Stoke by now and the trust issue was still in full swing.

After that suspension, he made just five more appearances for Newcastle.

A loan deal at Fulham followed and his critics were convinced it was a mistake to let him go after he scored 12 goals in 15 games as the Cottagers won promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.

Was he about to return to United for one last crack?

By then Benitez had made up his mind, and after Mitrovic had scored in the World Cup against Switzerland and did OK in the tournament in Russia, a huge bid from Fulham was being worked on.

It was during Newcastle's pre-season tour in a taxi heading back from a training session in Braga that the first indication flickered on to my mobile.

The What's app message read: "Mitro on his way. £23million accepted."

The Serbian star had no grudges and even said: “Mike Ashley is a good guy, I understand why people at Newcastle don’t like him but I had a good relationship with him.

"He was good to me."

As the goals started to flow for Mitrovic in the Premier League a new debate started on the pundit circuit as four goals in four games handed him the perfect start back in the big time.

Jamie Redknapp said on Sky Sports: “Newcastle will be looking at Aleksandar Mitrovic now and thinking ‘maybe we should have persevered with him'.

“What a talent he is! He has got so much ability.

“When clubs are looking for a top striker, Aleksandar Mitrovic ticks all the boxes.

“You can go directly into him. He can play with his feet, He ticks every box.

“At £23million, Mitrovic is an absolute bargain.”

Yet Mitrovic couldn't maintain that type of form and ended up going down again and netting just 11 goals.

Benitez didn't alter his stance on selling Mitrovic, saying in 2019: "Is he a good player? Yes. Can he score goals for Fulham? Yes. But, for us, maybe we needed something different.

"We finished 10th - so we were right.

"Now, we are ahead of Fulham - so, at the moment, we are right.

"We are doing well without him."

Benitez left Newcastle last summer and Mitrovic got on with life with Fulham in the Championship.

Some said Mitrovic did well at Craven Cottage as he had Slaviša Jokanović alongside him who understood him better.

Yet Mitrovic scored goals for Claudio Ranieri too and he can't stop scoring under Scott Parker.

As the season was halted due to the virus pandemic he was in sparkling form this season.

His 31 goals in 39 matches for club and country had Fulham pushing for promotion and Serbia aiming for the Euros in the play-offs.

At 25 he seems to be growing up, he missed a penalty, saved by Freddie Woodman, against Swansea recently but kept fighting before scoring a winner at the death.

Parker said: "I talk about mentality more than anything, about building a never-say-die attitude.

"There was an option for Mitrovic to feel tonight was his moment and not to have the desire and the mentality."

Mitrovic has racked up over £40million in transfer fees so far but is six goals shy of 100 career strikes.

Mitro had no hard feelings after Newcastle and, now settled in London, he said: “I will always love Newcastle and I will always be a Newcastle fan.

"I had a great time there."

Sometimes in life, some things just aren't meant to be, like Mitro's stint at Newcastle.

But whether the Magpies were right to sell him, with the club still struggling for goals in that area, or persevere is still a debate that takes place to this day in pubs and clubs on Tyneside.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2020, 09:16:26 AM »
Transfer market collapse could affect Huddersfield Town in unexpected ways

The Terriers have players they want to get off the books whose values would be diminished, but that might not be such a terrible thing

It was no secret throughout January that Huddersfield Town's capacity to bring in new playerswas limited by whether or not they would be able to clear room on the wage billby moving on several unwanted players.

Permanent transfers could not be found for Terence Kongolo, Adama Diakhaby, Isaac Mbenza or Reece Brown but all four were sent out on loan to Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Amiens and Peterborough respectively; while Florent Hadergjonaj's desire to play regular first-team football to prop up his international credentials with Kosovo meant he went out to Turkish side Kasimpasa.

Danny Cowley explained: "Phil [Hodgkinson] inherited a club that was a Premier League club with a significant wage bill and we've got to make sure the wage bill going forward is one that we can sustain. We've all seen football clubs that spend more than they can afford and we all know how that ends up."

The next job is to try to turn those loans into permanent deals, either with their current loan sides or elsewhere, and recoup as much of the money they spent on those players as possible.

That could be much easier said than done given that many clubs are feeling the financial pinch of the current delays to the season, of course. Clubs across the world - from Birmingham and Leeds United to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund - have started to ask their players to to voluntary pay cuts to protect their cashflows and stop themselves from going out of business.

Once the football world is back up and running as normal, one might expect even the biggest and wealthiest clubs to be reluctant to spend anything like as freely as they did before - not just because their cash reserves will need topping up, but because this crisis has served as a (potentially quite welcome) reminder of how precarious the entire football industry is. Have we mentioned that Championship clubs have racked up a combined £1.2bn of debt?

Town showed their ability to drive a hard bargain even with an unwanted player with the fee north of £15m they got from Bournemouth for Philip Billing last summer, but a collapse in the market would likely mean even the shewdest negotiator would struggle to recoup anything like the millions they have spent on some of those wantaway players: a reported £9m for Diakhaby, £11m for Mbenza and a club record £17.5m for Kongolo: a combined outlay of £37.5m. That is to say nothing of the wages those player would continue to earn if they stayed on the books past the end of their current loan deals.

Here's the thing though: every other club would be in exactly the same position, and that means Town would also be able to pick up players for less money than they might previously have expected to have to spend.

That would make any losses on their existing players somewhat easier to swallow, and should - in principle - leave them in much the same net position as they would have been in anyway: as the club found in their Premier League years, having a lot money is only any good if you don't then have to spend it.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 09:17:35 AM »
Watford scouted 26-year-old Fulham star – Should they make a summer move for the player?

Why Watford should make a move for Fulham left-back Joe Bryan

Back in January, Sky Sports had claimed that Watford were scouting Fulham left-back Joe Bryan.

Joe Bryan, 26, who joined Fulham from Bristol City in the summer of 2018, has been a regular fixture for Scott Parker’s side this season, managing 35 appearances in the Championship so far. He has bagged a goal and eight assists across all competitions.

The 26-year-old has been one of the key cogs in Fulham’s surge for promotion in the second-tier this term. With Bryan enjoying an impressive campaign at Craven Cottage, Watford must revive their interest in him when the transfer window opens.

The Hornets have endured a difficult campaign in the Premier League and are currently 17th in the table. Before the Premier League season was suspended, they had registered just one win in last five games.

Under Nigel Pearson, who masterminded Leicester City’s remarkable bid for survival during the 2014-15 season, the club have enjoyed victories over Manchester United and Liverpool but there are a lot of shortcomings in the squad.

One of those is the lack of defensive stability, with Watford conceding 44 goals in 29 games. Regardless what the club’s status is next season, the Hornets certainly need to beef up their defensive unit. Signing a new left-back is an absolute necessity, considering that Jose Holebas is 35 and not getting any younger and Adam Masina is yet to fully convince in that position.

That being said, Joe Bryan would be a viable option to consider for Watford. Prior to joining Fulham, Bryan racked up over 230 appearances for Bristol City, netting 21 goals and supplying 29 assists. For Fulham, he has registered two goals and nine assists in 67 appearances, which include 28 Premier League outings from last term.

Despite the Cottagers suffering relegation at the first time of asking, Bryan was one of the few players to come away with some genuine credit along with strikers Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ryan Babel.

So, he has got a taste of top-flight football and is already a proven Championship material. At 26, the Englishman is entering the prime stages of his career and a move to Watford should make complete sense, considering that he still has a lot to offer.


With Holebas set to turn 36 in June and Masina yet to adapt to the demands of English football, the arrival of a proven player like Bryan would certainly bode well for Watford.

He would definitely strengthen the left-back position, whilst bringing in competition for Masina in the squad. Thus, the Hornets must complete a deal for the 26-year-old in the summer.

Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2020, 09:19:57 AM »
Raith Rovers wonderkid Kieron Bowie discusses the biggest challenge facing him when he joins Fulham

KIERON BOWIE cannot wait to embark on his giant adventure in the Big Smoke.

The Raith Rovers wonderkid is gearing up for a life-changing move to London after Fulham thrashed out a £150,000 deal for the precocious forward.

While the transfer was agreed in January, he will formally join the Cottagers in June – capping a truly remarkable rise from the Fife Elite Football Academy to English Championship giants in the space of a whirlwind 18 months.

He will primarily be seen as an academy prospect at Fulham but there will be scope for Bowie, on occasion, to work under Craven Cottage boss Scott Parker and share a training pitch with star names like Aleksandar Mitrovic, Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney.

Nevertheless, he admits that the biggest upheaval will be swapping sleepy Kirkcaldy for bustling London.

Speaking about the switch to Fulham for the first-time, Bowie said: “It’s an exciting mix – I’m really looking forward to it but it’s only natural that there are some nerves as well.

“It’s a big upheaval aged 17, moving away from home for the first time and adapting to a new club and country.

“It’ll be my first time away from my parents, so there’s the usual things like cooking and cleaning and living on your own that you need to get your head round.

“Plus there’s the fact that London is a wee bit different from Kirkcaldy! It’s bigger, louder, faster and, after growing up in a Scottish town, it’ll be strange living down there. But you’ve got to be excited; got to embrace it.

“Regardless of what city I’m in, my main focus will be on the training pitch and I’ll be looking to make a positive impression.

“The idea of working under a guy like Scott Parker and getting a few sessions with players like [Aleksandar] Mitrovic is amazing. I can’t wait. My time at Raith has been a dream and there’s still part of me pinching myself that I’ve got this opportunity.”

Before saying farewell, Bowie’s intention was to fire John McGlynn’s men to the League One title – they lead Falkirk by a point – and win lift the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup final against Inverness, which was due to take place on Saturday.

However, he is now facing up to the increasing likelihood that he may have played his last game for the club amid major doubts regarding whether the 2019/20 campaign will be completed.

Should that prove to be the case, it would leave the precocious attacker with a pang of regret.

Bowie rued: “If I don’t play for Raith Rovers again, this would be a rubbish way to end things.

“I owe the club so much, they’ve given me so many opportunities and I wanted to finish on a real high by winning the league and lifting that trophy.

“We would have had the [Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge] Cup final on Saturday as well, which was another occasion all the boys were buzzing for.

“It’s disappointing for myself and the rest of the boys, but more so for the fans.

“These big matches and occasions are for them – and it’s a shame they are missing out.”

Nevertheless, Bowie struggles to articulate the debt of gratitude he owes Rovers and, in particular, manager McGlynn.

The former Hearts and Livingston gaffer saw enough potential in the raw, but physically explosive, apprentice to hand him a first-team debut against Montrose in February 2019. Bowie was 16 years of age at that point.

He has not looked back since, getting 39 senior games under his belt and rippling the net 10 times already.

“My progress has been down to the manager and his willingness to put me in the team, work with me and help me improve my game every day,” lauded Bowie. “He was brave enough to give me a chance in the team at 16 years old, which not all managers would.

“His man-management has been great. There have been times when he has taken into account my age and not been as tough on me but, when it’s needed, he’ll make it clear that he expects better.

“The gaffer has high standards that he wants me to meet, he knows how well I could do in the game – so it all comes from wanting me to reach my potential. I owe him a lot.”

Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2020, 03:15:02 PM »
As usual, Thanks for yours efforts John,
I am now up to date


Offline WhiteJC

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 29/03/20...
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2020, 04:44:02 PM »
As usual, Thanks for yours efforts John,
I am now up to date


you might need to read this lot again tomorrow as there's been little news so far this Sunday...