Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...  (Read 659 times)

Offline whitejc

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Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...
« on: April 23, 2021, 12:43:58 AM »

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Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2021, 12:45:21 AM »
ESL: Football fans can't have it both ways

When Mohamed Al Fayed owned Fulham FC, the billionaire Egyptian would appear on the pitch before every home game, waving a scarf in the team’s colours and rapping “we’re not Real Madrid, we’re not Barcelona, we are Fulham FC, and Al Fayed’s the owner” to the tune of Volare.

There was something amusing about the spectacle of the Harrods tycoon fooling around. But we fans did not find the words especially funny: we yearned for our football club to be like Real Madrid or Barcelona. The fact it had a super-rich proprietor who was not prepared to invest accordingly, to make Fulham so illustrious, and then sang along to that effect, merely grated.

It’s this conflict that lies at the heart of the controversial - and now aborted - plan disclosed this week by some of Europe’s top clubs to form their own Super League. The mooted ESL was instantly and widely condemned as being about a group of “greedy” high rollers attempting to become even richer, ripping out the “soul” of football, trying to “steal” the beautiful game.

The ESL’s collective public relations were dreadful. They offered no real explanation for the scheme, they seemed to assume that because of who they are the idea would be accepted. It may be no coincidence that two main drivers were the Agnellis at Juventus and the Glazers at Manchester United, owners who are used to getting their way without much hard work being involved.

There was no “softening up”; the news was just sprung without warning. The TV companies that pay and partner with them did not know. They failed, miserably, to get the advance backing of influential figures – possibly for fear of leaks – but it meant they were left gasping when the likes of Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, were critical. Star players, too, joined in the opprobrium.

Neither did they appear to have thought about how the sport’s snubbed governing bodies might react, nor that the authorities would bar players at the ESL clubs from playing for their national teams.

And they were clearly not expecting the furious reaction from governments, especially in the UK, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson, always seeking an opportunity to push his “levelling up” agenda, seized on the open goal they presented and rushed to join in the chorus of vitriol. They were betraying ordinary people, he said. Mr Johnson promised to drop a typically unspecified “legislative bomb” on the proposal.

Within 48 hours of its unveiling, the ESL saw the withdrawal of the six English participants. In the future, the league may well be taught at business schools as a case study in how not to launch something. It really was that terrible.

Yet the schism that drove the clubs to form their own “super league” remains. Fans of European clubs dream of their team sitting atop the domestic league or holding aloft the European Champions League trophy. If someone comes along with wads of cash and buys the club and sets about acquiring superstars, they’re thrilled.

They don’t stop for a second to question how those wealthy people and companies became rich and what actually motivates them. How many Liverpool supporters welcomed a US tycoon like John W Henry swooping in to purchase their club and thought: why?

Mr Henry is not doing it out of the goodness of his heart. For some owners, a passionate love of the sport will always be the primary motivation for taking over a football club. But for him, Liverpool is not a charity and this definitely is not pro bono. Profit is his imperative, as it is for the Glazers and other proprietors. For them, the team is one more addition to their worldwide investment portfolio.

Fans and owners share a common bond: they want their club to do well. But for many businesses and corporates behind the biggest, most commercially successful and internationally marketable teams, that is a means to an end – a step towards making even more money. So, when that objective is exposed by the blueprint for the ESL, something called “the football community” reacts in horror.

That community includes Prince William and now the British Prime Minister. Quite how Mr Johnson, an avowed free marketeer, believed he could justifiably intervene in a scheme put together by private organisations is unclear. But then there are votes to be had.

Some of those who railed loudest against the exclusivity of the ESL are the very same who prospered hugely from the development of the Premier League in England and the wider growth of European club football, courtesy of soaring TV rights. Gary Neville, the Sky Sports pundit, did not hold back in his broadside. Yet, this is the same Gary Neville who played for Manchester United when they put an international club match, complete with worldwide TV audience and royalties, ahead of participating in the time-honoured English FA Cup. Neville has made his name and been paid handsomely by Sky, the subscription-only TV channel that more than any other has boosted the amount of cash coming into the professional sport.

Likewise, another outspoken opponent of the ESL, Gary Lineker, called upon fans to “stand as one against this anti-football pyramid scheme”. He is the highest-paid BBC television presenter, whose Match of the Day programme usually begins with games involving the same “Big Six” clubs who tried to form the ESL. Lineker, possibly not content with his seven-figure BBC package, also pops up on the subscription-only BT Sport channel to host their European Champions League fixtures.

Lineker used to play for and still supports Leicester City, a club that has enjoyed considerable success in recent years, most famously when it came top of the Premier League thanks in part to its mega-rich Thai backers. When Leicester were building a formidable team and attracting big-ticket managers in Claudio Ranieri and Brendan Rogers, Lineker was not complaining.

For a clutch of funders to strive to go further and to seek greater profits is entirely natural. It’s what they do and it’s why they’re rich.

It was also completely predictable after the Football Association in 1991 advocated the formation of a new Premier League. At the time, 12 clubs said they would join initially, among them what was then the “Big Five”: Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham.

The Football League was against the move but powerless to resist. A year later, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky stole a march by winning the TV rights to live Premier League football in a five-year, £304 million deal. When that was renewed for £670m over four years in 1996, the sport was changed forever and the cash truly flooded in.

The ESL is only an extension of what began back then – and what the likes of Neville, Lineker and the rest were only too happy to go along with.

Critics maintained that what especially rankled this time around was that the new super league would not have relegation. The 12 founders were guaranteed 23 years of membership. But is this such a surprise given several of these clubs are financed by Americans, who come from a system that does not allow teams to drop out of major sports?

We’re keen for their money, yet we’re not prepared to ask ourselves whether we would be comfortable investing if we faced losing millions in the event that a player missed a sitter, a goalie had an off-day, a star player drank too much the night before or the referee made a wrong decision. There is a clue as to their thinking and reasoning, as well as their wish for greater certainty, in the ESL planning document where it discusses a new set-up using “technology-enhanced rule implementation”.

The weight of expectation that we place on owners is enormous, whatever the level. In 2014, a friend of mine, Paul Casson, bought my hometown club of Barrow in the north-west of England. He’d made a lot of money in telecoms in the US, had watched the team as a boy and felt as if he was giving something back, saving what was then a struggling club from bankruptcy.

The fans and the town were delighted. But then they demanded more. The supporters called for fresh signings; the local Labour council would not go 50/50 with him on a new stadium, even though he said they could use it for schools and societies outside match days – the councillors argued he could afford it and that he should pay. In the end, Paul bowed out.

One call now being made is for the scuppered ESL to become a watershed, for club ownership to be handed to the fans. How would this work in practice? Would it be any different? It ignores the reality that two of the would-be ESL participants, Barcelona and Real Madrid, already belong to the fans.

The “football community” and governments and politicians and some sections of the media have got their way – the owners have not got theirs. The ESL clubs are licking their wounds, but the point has been made. They may receive an even greater share of the TV proceeds as a result of this but that may not be enough to pacify them. In which case, no one should be shocked and disappointed if some of them walk away, to put their capital somewhere else.

Their opponents can’t have it both ways.

Chris Blackhurst is a former editor of The Independent, based in London

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2021, 12:46:19 AM »
Berbatov endorses Tottenham boss links to rival PL manager

Scott Parker’s name has been mentioned as a contender to succeed Jose Mourinho at Tottenham and his credentials are glowing.

After Daniel Levy pulled the plug on Mourinho’s spiralling tenure on Monday, a number of contenders were quoted in the media to replace him. Julian Nagelsmann and Brendan Rodgers remain the most popular, but The Atheltic did mention Fulham boss Parker. The 40-year-old has put Fulham in with a chance of Premier League survival and the former Spurs man is well liked.

The source claim Daniel Levy is also an admirer, however they note the Spurs chairman is also looking for a big-name replacement. They may well be keeping their options open. have reported similar regarding Parker, who played for Spurs for two years.

Gareth Southgate has also emerged as a potential option, according to a report in The Guardian (via Football Transfer Tavern).

They say that Southgate’s understanding with Harru Kane could see him considered. It is unclear whether that is a ploy from Levy to convince the striker to stay amid ongoing speculation over his future.

What’s more, they add that Southgate would be open to a return to club football. He has not taken charge of a club since 2009, when he was sacked by Middlesbrough.

Ryan Mason has been placed in interim charge until the end of the season. It’s unclear whether he could be a genuine, permanent contender even if he won the Carabao Cup and got Spurs into Europe.

Parker though remains a good option, according to Dimitar Berbatov.

“Scott Parker is working at Fulham. I used to play with him. Great appointment in my opinion. Yes Fulham are struggling but he’s doing a great job. Mikel Arteta at Arsenal also, the same example,” Berbatov told

“It doesn’t have to be the guy who was playing for your club before but in my opinion he has to be young and in full power of his ability and wake up every morning to say ‘let’s go, let’s go, let’s crush it’.”

Andersen raves over Parker

Fulham loanee Joachim Andersen, a player Tottenham are believed to be interested in ahead of the summer, is also a fan.

The Telegraph claim Lyon want £25m for Andersen this summer and he has revealed his admiration for Parker.

“I spoke with him a lot before signing,” he told 90min last year. “I’ve only had good feedback on him and his coaching. I was told he belongs to the new wave of talented coaches.

“In the first training session, I was impressed by his preferred style of play. He took the time to explain his playing philosophy to me and how he wanted me to play. It reinforced my decision to sign here.”

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2021, 12:46:58 AM »
Melvin Tenner – your tributes

We were delighted and moved by your response to our tribute to Melvin Tenner, who passed away recently. Thank you for all your thoughts and memories, which we have collected below to share with the Fulham family.

    We were so very sorry to hear of Melvin’s passing. We remember well his quiet grace and determination during the Fulham 2000 years, and were it not for his efforts and the dignity and strength that he carried himself with, who knows what would have become of Fulham FC?  We’ve fond memories of the mail out envelope stuffing sessions upstairs at the Crabtree during the early says of our courtship, the work that he and Eva put in was immense. Sending love and strength to his family and friends at this sad time. With best wishes.

    Lynn and Daniel Wicks

    I’m sorry to hear that Melvin is no longer with us. I can not completely recognise him by face, but knew that name more than any other (Like a Ken Coton, Dennis Turner or David Lloyd). The club has come so far, since the days of fans throwing coins onto a bed sheet at the Cottage or purchasing a wooden seat from the Stevanage Road. I am forever grateful to all that you guys do. Keep up the good work. Standing on the shoulders of giants indeed.  RIP Melvin.

    Luke Gale

    As a younger fan I’m thankful to people who fought so tenaciously to keep the club I’ve grown up able to love in existence and at our home. The warmth with which Melvin has been remembered today speaks volumes.

    Owen Smith

    What a great guy, gave so much to his beloved Fulham may he rest in peace.

    Brian Longhurst

    I was sorry to hear of the sad passing of Melvin Tenner.

    I did not know Melvin personally but, as someone born in the same year, could not fail to be aware of his presence and of the hard work he contributed to keeping the club alive.

    Rest in Peace Melvin

    David Elliott

    Really sad news to hear that Melvin Tenner has passed away – a man of patience, humour and dogged determination who put so much into saving Craven Cottage in the dark days – when just about everybody else had given up (including the then owners) – have a lot to thank him for. RIP.

    Tom Greatrex

    I never had the honour of meeting you but because of you there is an FST to be a part of. Thanks for everything you did for our club. You will not be forgotten

    Miriam Busani

    Too many times in the lifetime of our Club we’ve had to fight for its very existence at Craven Cottage. At such times we’ve relied on brilliant supporters to lead the way and Melvin was one such person. RIP Melvin.

    Ian Clarke

    Didn’t know Melvin but reading Sue’s appreciation I am deeply thankful for his immense contribution to saving the club and beyond. Supporters Club, Fulham 2000 and the Trust, what a legacy contribution to our future.

    Des O’Callaghan

    Although I did not personally know Melvin, I was fully aware of his huge efforts during the Fulham 2000 campaign which helped result in us staying at Craven Cottage and stay in existence. My sincere condolences go to his family and friends.

    Gordon Thumwood

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2021, 12:49:32 AM »
£9m fee shouldn’t put Gers off record breaking striker linked last summer

Rangers will no doubt be looking for potential options to supplement their forward line next season, especially if both Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe leave, and one former target could be the ideal man to fill the shoes left behind by El Bufalo.

Josh Maja is currently breaking records on loan at Fulham and although they have an option to buy clause for £9million, their precarious position in the Premier League means that they are more likely to be cutting costs rather than spending money if they go down.

This would open the door for Rangers to return for a player they were heavily linked with last summer when it looked certain that Morelos would be heading to Lille, £9m may seem like a lot of money but if you are to compete in the Champions League, you need players that are capable of playing at that level and Maja has shown that in his time in Ligue 1 with Bordeaux and in the Premier League.

He has two years left to run on his contract in France and it is obvious that they are looking to offload him from their wage bill given the deal that has already been agreed with Fulham, if the London-based club go down though, the striker will quickly find himself in footballing limbo – we are no strangers to a loan-to-buy deal ourselves and it is something that should be considered in this instance.

Ross Wilson will have a list of names prepared for the day that Morelos decides to leave or if we receive an offer that is too good to turn down – every man has their price and all that – however, it may be that he can keep the cheque book locked away for now, if reports surrounding the Colombian international’s desire to stay at Rangers and extend his own contract are to be believed.

As always, it’s all ifs buts and maybes, but what transfer window isn’t?!

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2021, 12:52:19 AM »
Do we have a problem with conceding late goals?
Dan Cooke takes a look at our tendency to ship late heartbreakers.

The late goals we conceded against Wolves and Arsenal were devastating. It made me wonder – Was this just a two-game blip or is it part of a bigger problem?

The Whites were infamous for conceding goals in the first 10 minutes of games at the start of the season. It became almost comical, to the point that we’d celebrate not conceding that early. However, as we have seen throughout Scott Parker’s tenure, he managed to fix it; but did it just create an issue elsewhere?

Shipping early goals
In our first six games this season, we managed to concede four goals in the opening 10 minutes. It was clearly an issue, and Scott managed to put a stop to it. Over the course of the next 27 games, we only conceded twice in the first 10.

I’ve mentioned it before, but when looking at us this season it almost seems pointless analysing our first six games. We were woeful and unrecognisable to the team we are now – only one player in our starting XI against Arsenal started in the reverse fixture on the first day of the season. Therefore, I’m proposing a new metric – it’s called “Post Palace” (PP). Crystal Palace at home was our sixth game of the season and the final game we played before Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo were paired together. From then on, we completely changed as a side.

This piece will be written in line with the Post Palace metric and will allow a better look at when we concede, without the opening six games skewing the data.

When do we concede?
We can firstly break this down by seeing how many goals we concede in each half.

Clearly, we concede a larger proportion of our goals in the second half of matches. We’ve let 18 past us in the second half, compared to 11 in the first.

Quite impressively, 14 of our 27 matches have been goalless at half time. The sort of stat that would make a neutral think twice about watching any of our games. However, from a Fulham perspective, there’s a positive in here.

We have kept ourselves in games much better than we did at the beginning of the season. By going in at 0-0, we set ourselves up well to try and take points from a game and I’m sure that’s part of Scott’s thinking. Yet, we’re cemented in the bottom three, so we all know that there’s a problem.

For a start, it’s a good job that we concede more goals in the second half, because we have a terrible record when we concede in the first. This is perhaps unsurprising as we’re not a free-scoring side, so the mere fact that we’re conceding means we are probably unlikely to get points from a game.

We’ve kept a clean sheet in four of our five wins this season. Five of our 12 draws have been goalless. We know we have goal-scoring issues, so getting anything out of a game becomes a lot more unlikely when the opposition score. It’s hard to write that without sounding like Michael Owen: “They hardly ever win when they don’t score”, but I do think there’s an important point in here. Not being able to come from behind and win games is an issue, because you put so much pressure on yourself not to concede first.

Late heartbreak
The current topic of discussion though is: do we have an issue with late goals? To put it bluntly – yes, we do.

Nearly a third of the goals that we concede come in the final 15 minutes of matches. There is obviously no such thing as a good time to concede, but the later you concede, the less chance you have to respond. There’s also the psychological element. We’ve seen the impact late goals have had on the team. To be clichéd, it’s hard to pick yourself up off the canvas with that little time left in the game.

It’s interesting to see that we concede 76% of our goals within three separate blocks. It’s hard not to make general assumptions based on these numbers, especially because you have to concede at some point, so there’s a danger of overanalysing. That being said, when pairing the data with watching our games this season, I do have my opinions as to why we concede when we do.

We are very cautious starters, most likely because of our early season issues. We try to keep it simple early doors, never being too adventurous. Realistically, you can’t play risk-free football for 90 minutes. I think as we start to try and impose ourselves more on the game, we make ourselves more vulnerable. In itself, I don’t think it’s a bad thing (apart from when we concede), but it may help explain why we concede more goals between the 16th and 30th minutes

Although we’ve conceded six goals shortly after half-time (46th-60th minute), half of those goals were scored by Manchester City in the same game. Perhaps slightly forgivable, but it does still irk me how slow we seem after the restart. It may be naïve but it would be nice to see us come out aggressively, like West Brom did in our 2-2 draw. Instead we seem to start in exactly the same way as we start the first half.

And finally, the big one. I’m sure there are many factors involved and it is hard to phrase this without it sounding like Parker bashing. However, I think we concede these goals due to our mentality in the last 15. So often in games, we have had our backs to the wall, desperately trying to cling on. In the Championship, parking the bus worked, fans may not have liked it, but we more often than not held on. The Premier League is a different matter, and teams have found a way through us.

A combination of tiring legs, dropping deeper and deeper and not having an option on the counter has meant we are just highly prone to conceding late on. Do I blame Scott? Yes and no. It’s foolish to think that on Sunday we should’ve been hunting for a second goal to kill the game. Our only real chance of the game came from the penalty spot, gung-ho football would’ve been suicidal. The week before against Wolves, we were desperate for a goal and it left us wide open.

Scott isn’t wrong to try and park the bus and hang on, but the execution seems wrong. Loading the pitch with more defensive-minded players doesn’t instantly mean you’ll be better defensively. We had so many men in our own box against Arsenal that it felt confused and they had several chances because of this.

Pressure is also a factor. We have a young squad, full of passion, but you can see the impact the pressure has had on us. It’s led to defensive errors, scrappy games and tears. You’d of course rather have a squad that cares about the club over one that doesn’t, but I do think it increases the nerves on the pitch when we enter the closing minutes of a game.

How bad is the problem?
Analysis of when goals are scored means little without knowing the context of the game. We scored in the 95th minute against Palace, but it was merely a consolation goal. Similarly, Leicester scored in the 85th minute against us, but we still won 2-1. So how do these goals translate into points?

It’s not a pretty graphic. To have lost 10 points in the dying embers of games is incredibly significant. On the flip side, we’ve only gained a point by scoring late on. It’s hard not to ponder what difference those 10 points could’ve made (we’d currently be 14th, a point above Southampton). Football is rarely that simple, but we have thrown points away late on, and over the course of a season it adds up.

People can and will apportion blame in different ways, but my overriding emotion when writing this was that this is another example of where we’ve just not quite been good enough. The Wolves and Arsenal games aren’t the reason that we’ll go down, but they are a snapshot of the bigger issues that we have; issues that have repeated themselves throughout the season, and ultimately, that’s why we are where we are.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 23/04/21...
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2021, 12:53:28 AM »
West Ham United: Irons ecstatic as ExWHUemployee shares goalkeeper news

According to reliable club insider ExWHUemployee, via West Ham News, the Irons also have West Bromwich Albion keeper Sam Johnstone in their sights for the summer alongside Alphonse Areola.

The latter shot stopper is a target for David Moyes after Ex shared news the club are interested in signing him, but the in-the-know Hammers source has now claimed that Johnstone is also a target.

Both keepers have earned praise for their performances this season, especially Johnstone, with England boss Gareth Southgate recently handing him his first international call up.

His exploits at the Hawthorns, according to Ex, have prompted the Irons to take note as they scour the market for possible future successors to Lukasz Fabianski.

The Poland ace recently signed a contract extension until 2022, but Moyes and co arguably need to start theorising when they bring in a suitable new shot stopper, given Fabianski is 36 years old.

Flocking to this Ex update that West Ham are interested in both Areola and Johnstone, many Irons were ecstatic, with one even calling it the ‘best news’ he’s heard in a while.