Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...  (Read 1258 times)

Offline whitejc

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Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« on: June 07, 2021, 07:48:07 AM »
Bournemouth plotting surprise swoop for Championship boss with Woodgate ‘facing axe’

Bournemouth manager Jonathan Woodgate is facing the ‘axe’ this summer, with Fulham boss Scott Parker is ‘top of their wanted list’ as per a report from The Sun.

Bournemouth are set to dismiss Woodgate after the Cherries’ failed promotion bid. The former Middlesbrough boss replaced Jason Tindall on an initial deal until the end of the season just gone and despite securing a play-off spot, disappointment is rife after their exit to Brentford.

They actually won the first leg but were beaten 3-2 in the second to eventual winners Brentford. Now the Cherries look set to refocus their attention on Parker who, as per The Sun was a managerial target following Eddie Howe’s departure last summer.

Alan Nixon writes that there ‘will be a second attempt’ from Bournemouth to lure Parker to the south coast and that the 40-year-old ‘may decide to move on’ after his side’s second relegation from the Premier League in three seasons.

Thoughts?

There must be some sympathy shown towards Woodgate – he performed well above expectations during his time in charge having landed the job in a rather uncommon fashion, and at a difficult time in the season.

In the play-offs as well, his side beat promotion-winners Brentford in the first leg and looked good to do likewise in the second until Chris Mepham’s red card.

Parker would obviously be a strong appointment but the question remains whether he’d swap Fulham for Bournemouth, especially after having brief interest from Spurs in the Premier League.

A difficult one to see happening but if the money is right for all parties then it could quickly happen.



https://the72.co.uk/238249/bournemouth-plotting-shock-swoop-for-championship-boss-with-woodgate-facing-axe/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2021, 07:49:24 AM »
‘He’d be brilliant’ – Many Bournemouth fans react as Championship boss emerges as managerial contender

Scott Parker has been eyed up by AFC Bournemouth as a potential replacement for Jonathan Woodgate, according to The Sun.

The Cherries are reportedly set to part ways with Woodgate, with his contract at the Vitality Stadium running out at the end of the season.

Bournemouth failed to join Watford and Norwich in sealing an immediate return to the Premier League this term, losing to eventual winners Brentford in the play-off semi-finals over two legs.

The club are said to be in the closing stages of their managerial recruitment process, though, with Parker well in the club’s sights.

Parker has been in charge of Fulham since they were relegated from the Premier League in 2018/19, before guiding the club to promotion from the Championship the following season.

He was unable to prevent them from avoiding the drop back down this season, but is undoubtedly a promising young coach who the Cherries admire.




https://footballleagueworld.co.uk/hed-be-brilliant-many-bournemouth-fans-react-as-championship-boss-emerges-as-managerial-contender/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2021, 07:50:27 AM »
ongoing Championship transfer news: QPR working ’round the clock’ in attempt to secure permanent move for Fulham’s Stefan Johansen

QPR remain locked in talks with Fulham over a permanent deal for midfielder Stefan Johansen, talkSPORT understands.

Rangers are working round the clock in an attempt to finalise a move for the 30-year-old, and while positive talks have taken place to date no imminent announcement is expected.

Securing Johansen’s signature has been one of the club’s main priorities this summer, with the Norwegian starring during a loan stint in the second half of last season as Rangers went from relegation candidates to comfortably securing a top-half finish.

He has a year remaining on his contract at Craven Cottage, but is not short of interested suitors – hence Rangers’ increased efforts to tie up a deal sooner rather than later.

Johansen’s potential arrival would be a strong signal of intent from the Championship club, who have already clinched deals for Jordy de Wijs, Sam Field and Charlie Austin this summer.

The club are also exploring the possibility of signing a back-up goalkeeper to stalwart Seny Dieng, with Liam Kelly’s long-term future in W12 uncertain.

Motherwell want to sign Kelly, who impressed during a loan spell at Fir Park last season.

Kelly is highly rated by Rs boss Mark Warburton, but has told the club he has no intention of sitting on the bench next season as he wants to play regular football.



https://talksport.com/football/efl/891046/


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2021, 07:52:16 AM »
Sheffield United: German club could ‘disrupt’ Blades contract plan – Fulham, Swansea City also linked

Sheffield United have offered Kean Bryan an extended deal at the club but now Schalke have joined the race – Burnley, Fulham, Swansea City and Watford have been linked with the defender.

Bryan, 24, was a reported target of Burnley, Fulham, Swansea City and Watford earlier in the year (Sun on Sunday 11.04.21, pg. 67).

The defender is in the final month of his contract at Bramall Lane and set to depart in the coming weeks, but the Blades have moved to put a stop to that.

The Sun’s Alan Nixon wrote on Twitter this morning:


Also joining the transfer race late on is German outfit Schalke who, as Nixon writes could make a ‘late move to disrupt’ United’s contract plans.

Slavisa Jokanovic is the man who’ll lead the last-placed Premier League club into the Championship, and the two-time promotion winner with Fulham and Watford has given the fans a timely boost ahead of the summer.

For the Serb, keeping hold of players like Bryan who are young and energetic, and able to compliment his style of play for next season is hugely important.

His arrival might be part of the reason why Bryan was offered a new deal earlier in the week, but the club might yet have left it too late with Schalke presenting an exciting opportunity for the Englishman and obviously with interest coming from elsewhere in the Football League and the Premier League.

A potentially eventful few weeks facing Bryan now, with some big decisions to be made.



https://the72.co.uk/238311/sheffield-united-german-club-could-disrupt-blades-contract-plan-fulham-swansea-city-also-linked/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2021, 07:52:47 AM »
QPR continuing Johansen negotiations

QPR are ‘working around the clock’ to try and finalise a deal with Fulham for midfielder Stefan Johansen, according to talkSPORT.

The two west London clubs remain locked in talks after the terms of a permanent deal for the former Norwegian international, who enjoyed a successful loan spell in Shepherd’s Bush during the second half of last season. Johansen is Rangers’ top transfer target after they brought back striker Charlie Austin, who also starred on loan last year.

The near neighbours are understood to be some way apart in their valuation of Johansen, who has a year to run on his current Craven Cottage contract. The 30 year-old made 21 appearances for the R’s last season, scoring twice and providing three assists, as Mark Warburton’s men finished the campaign strongly. Rangers want to get a deal done as quickly as possible with Johansen also attracting interest from across Europe.

The experienced midfielder has spoken about his need to play regular football having been left out of Scott Parker’s 25-man squad following Fulham’s promotion to the Premier League. The Cottagers are not prepared to compromise on their valuation of the energetic midfielder, who has been part of two promotion-winning campaigns with Fulham, and remains a proven performer at Championship level.

Johansen has made 136 appearances, scoring 21 times for Fulham since signing from Celtic for a fee of around £2.5m in August 2016. His departure would leave the Whites light on central midfield options ahead of the new season.



https://hammyend.com/index.php/2021/06/qpr-continuing-johansen-negotiations/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2021, 07:54:31 AM »
‘Few better options out there’ – Fulham eyeing move for Newcastle United man: The verdict

This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Fulham will be aiming to bolster their squad in key areas of the field this summer as they aim to bounce back from their relegation to the Championship.


One area that Fulham are going to need to improve is upfront. They were linked with a potential move for Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle during the January transfer window, but in the end, he remained at St James’ Park for the second half of the season.

However, the latest report from Chronicle Live has now revealed that Fulham are now interested in making a fresh attempt to bring him to Craven Cottage. That comes with the forward being a proven goalscorer in the Championship.

It is believed that Newcastle could look to cash in on players such as Gayle this summer in order to improve their own transfer budget to strengthen their squad.

With Fulham back in for Gayle, we asked our FLW writers whether they feel it would be a good signing for them to make this summer…

Jordan Rushworth

This would be a brilliant signing for Fulham this summer and one that has been on the cards for a while now given their interest in him in January. The forward is a natural goalscorer and at Championship level his record speaks for itself and mark him out as one of the best finishers at that level.

Gayle needs a move now away from Newcastle and he needs to go somewhere he can command a regular starting role after finding himself down the pecking order under Steve Bruce. He would be sure to be a regular for Fulham in the Championship and that would make the move a promising one for him.

The forward has not played in the Championship since the 2018/19 campaign where he fired home 24 goals in 40 appearances on loan at West Brom. That shows that if he is given a lot of regular service he will be able to guarantee around 15 to 20 goals in the English second tier.

Fulham need a new forward given their scoring issues last term in the Premier League. What they lacked was a real finisher upfront and there are few better options out there for them to address that this summer than Gayle.

Toby Wilding

I do think that this would be a very good signing for Fulham if they are able to pull it off.

With the future of Aleksandar Mitrovic seemingly set to be the subject of much speculation this summer, and Josh Maja only on loan at Craven Cottage, it does seem as though they may need to add to their attacking ranks during the market.

Given his proven ability to score the goals in the Championship from his time with the likes of Newcastle and West Brom, Gayle could be a decent candidate to fill that role, and he would surely relish the opportunity of more game time following a frustrating few years at St James’.

However, with Newcastle seemingly set to hand Gayle that new contract, it may be hard for Fulham to get this one done, since Newcastle will be in a strong position to negotiate any offers that do come in for him.

George Harbey

This would be an excellent signing for the short-term.

Gayle isn’t getting any younger, of course, but he has proven to be an excellent goalscorer at this level before with Newcastle and West Brom.

In that respect, it would be a top signing as Fulham look to secure another immediate return to England’s top-flight, and having a striker capable of scoring goals is always a bonus.

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s future remains up in the air, too, so there is scope to bolster attacking options and bring in someone else this summer.

Whilst it may not be one for the long-term, it would be a top signing for the short-term.



https://footballleagueworld.co.uk/few-better-options-out-there-fulham-eyeing-move-for-newcastle-united-man-the-verdict/


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2021, 07:56:18 AM »
Bournemouth: Major update on Cherries’ pursuit of Fulham boss

Bournemouth missed out on joining fellow relegated sides Norwich City and Watford in an instant return to the Premier League.

Bournemouth’s problem was that they could not match the Canaries and Hornets consistency across the season and lost in the play-off first round to Brentford.

This was all done over the last few months of the season under the guidance of former Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate who replaced the sacked Jason Tindall – the latter being in charge for just six months.

Late yesterday evening, the Sun’s Alan Nixon reported that Bournemouth was considering a move for rival manager Scott Parker who is currently in charge at newly-relegated Fulham.

That was earlier, the latest news on that scenario that comes from talkSPORT who have tweeted the following update:


Parker has just overseen Fulham’s 2020/21 campaign, the Cottagers being relegated after just one campaign in the Premier League after returning there following their 2019/20 play-off final win.

Whilst he has largely failed to shine as a Premier League boss, Parker has Championship pedigree as the man in charge at Craven Cottage.

Whilst in charge of the Cottagers, Parker has a record of managing 49 Championship games (W25/D12/L12) – this gives him a win rate of 51% and a result rate (win plus draw) of 75.5%.

According to talkSPORT’s ‘sources’, Parker is open to a switch from London to Hampshire to take charge of Bournemouth. He would inherit a side well stocked ready for a second charge at promotion from the Championship.

Obviously, Parker will want to bring in his own team and players so a quick move might be best for Bournemouth with the transfer window set to open this coming Wednesday.



https://the72.co.uk/238327/bournemouth-major-update-on-cherries-pursuit-of-fulham-boss/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2021, 07:57:08 AM »
Manchester City plotting shock summer swoop for rising Premier League star

According to the Sun, Manchester City are targeting a shock move for Fulham left-back Antonee Robinson during the summer transfer window.

Antonee Robinson, 23, fared well in what was his debut Premier League campaign, making 28 appearances. However, he was a part of the Fulham side that suffered relegation at the end of the 2020/21 season.

The Cottagers’ relegation hasn’t done much harm to Antonee Robinson’s reputation as an attacking left-back, with Manchester City interested in securing his signature.

The Sun claim the USA international would cost around £10 million, which the Sky Blues would be prepared to pay.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants to reinforce his backline during the upcoming summer transfer window. The Cityzens had the best defensive record in the Premier League last season, conceding just 32 goals.

The centre-back partnership of Ruben Dias and John Stones was the foundation behind a successful season for Manchester City. Goalkeeper Ederson proved once again why he’s arguably the best goalkeeper in the English top-flight, while Kyle Walker was extremely consistent at right-back.

However, the same cannot be said about the left-back position, which lacked stability and forced Guardiola to constantly chop and change players.

Benjamin Mendy has been in and out of the team due to his constant injury problems and poor form. Joao Cancelo did well at times at left-back but was not chosen to start the biggest game of the season, with Guardiola giving the nod to Oleksandr Zinchenko in the Champions League final.

Thus, it is crystal clear the left-back position needs addressing this summer and the latest player to be linked with the English champions is Antonee Robinson. Rightly so, Robinson has performed well for Fulham since joining from Wigan Athletic a year ago.

The 23-year-old, who can also operate as a wing-back, has attracted City’s attention with his pace and athleticism, the report state. The USA international is a promising young player who will certainly improve City’s options at left-back.

He won’t be a guaranteed starter initially, but with the left-back position requiring stability at the Etihad Stadium, there is every chance for Robinson to make the position his own under Guardiola. Rumoured to be available in the region of £10 million, the Fulham defender could be a snip for Manchester City.



https://mancitysquare.com/2021/06/06/manchester-city-plotting-shock-summer-swoop-fulham-star/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2021, 07:58:34 AM »
Manchester City: Citizens eye shock move for Antonee Robinson

Manchester City have been linked with a shock move for Fulham left-back Antonee Robinson, as reported by The Sun.

After an astounding Premier League campaign, the champions will be looking to recruit efficiently ahead of 2021/22. Always on the lookout for smart acquisitions, the recruitment axis of manager Pep Guardiola has become a hallmark of the domination his side have exerted over English football in recent years.

Newly-relegated Championship clubs can be an excellent mechanism of acquiring Premier League quality players for cut-price fees. Having previous experience of this market following the signing of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth last summer following their top-flight demise [BBC], City now seem set to follow a similar trajectory in the pursuit of United States international Robinson.

The Latest: £10m reported fee for Antonee Robinson

Manchester City are now set to move for Robinson after the Fulham defender enjoyed an encouraging debut Premier League season in 2020/21.

Making 32 appearances across the season for the west Londoners [Transfermarkt], he has now been earmarked as a prospective squad player for the reigning champions.

Available for around £10m, the former Wigan left-back could provide cover for positional counterparts Benjamin Mendy and Oleksander Zinchenko [The Sun].

Verdict: Robinson would be an excellent signing

Surprising as the link may seem, Robinson could be an excellent signing for Manchester City if they do business.

Despite suffering relegation with Fulham, the 23-year-old successfully completed 1.8 dribbles per game last season, demonstrating his applicability within an attacking style of play [WhoScored]. Bound to see far more of the ball if he moved to the Etihad Stadium, Robinson could develop into an elite Premier League left-back with the correct coaching.

He comes with glowing praise from current boss Scott Parker, who has said of the American: “He’s done incredibly well. [He’s] a boy with a big, big heart and a boy with a fearless attitude that embraces and takes things on a daily basis, same as in the games.” [football.london]

These tendencies, coupled with his modest price tag and room for long-term development, could see Robinson have a tangible impact at the Etihad if he joins the champions. City should be doing all they can to get this cut-price deal over the line.



https://www.footballtransfertavern.com/premier-league/manchester-city/manchester-city-citizens-eye-shock-move-for-antonee-robinson/


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2021, 08:00:11 AM »
Comment: Fulham should ‘sweep up’ West Brom managerial miss if Parker leaves this summer

Fulham’s Scott Parker is being closely linked with the Bournemouth job, with the Cherries having had a long-term interest in the 40-year-old.

Bournemouth look set to part ways with Jonathan Woodgate following the side’s play-off exit and Fulham boss Parker is being tipped by The Sun to replace him.

Upon Eddie Howe’s departure last summer, Bournemouth were first linked with Parker but Fulham being a Premier League team scuppered their hopes of bringing the former West Ham enforcer to the south coast.

Now though, with Parker’s side suffering relegation from the Premier League for a second time in three seasons, there could be change at Craven Cottage in the next few weeks and talkSPORT have today claimed that Parker would be interested in leaving for Bournemouth:

The managerial merry-go-round is well underway in the top-two tiers of English football and one club who are currently looking for a new permanent boss is West Brom

Former Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was the man tipped to takeover but after talks seemed to stall, Football Insider reported that the Baggies had moved on in their interest of the 53-year-old – would he then become a candidate to then over at Fulham should Parker depart?

Likely. Any available manager with Wilder’s pedigree is going to be linked with any and every Championship job that becomes available but for Fulham, this might be a better fit than meets the eye.

He played largely entertaining football at Sheffield United which was equally effective on his side’s climb into the Premier League. He undoubtedly struggled in the top flight but his side over-achieved in their first season back in the top flight, finishing in 9th-place of the 2019/20 table.

Given the time and the funding, Wilder would be a great candidate to take any job but for Fulham, with their Premier League ambition and what will be a burning desire to return their at first ask, Wilder might be their best option should Parker move on.



https://the72.co.uk/238331/comment-fulham-should-sweep-up-west-brom-managerial-miss-if-parker-leaves-this-summer/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2021, 08:00:52 AM »
'It was a very good game' - Fulham's Cameroon star on win against legendary rival Nigeria

Zambo Anguissa expressed his delight after the Indomitable Lions' narrow 1-0 win against Nigeria in an international friendly staged at Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Austria on Friday, June 4.

The Super Eagles clearly dominated the game, especially in the opening minutes, only for Anguissa to net what proved to be the match-winning goal against the run of play.

The decisive moment arrived in the 37th minute when the Fulham midfielder latched on a loose clearance by William Troost-Ekong to fire a low shot beyond the desperate hands of goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

It was Nigeria's first loss against Cameroon since they were beaten on penalties in the final of the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.

Speaking to Fecafoot TV via Camfoot, Anguissa said : "It was a very good game. We wanted to win against one of our legendary rivals.

"It went well, because in the end we come back with a victory. But I think there is still room for improvement; we will try to learn from our mistakes to win more games".

The Super Eagles will face Cameroon again at Stadion Wiener Neustad on Tuesday, June 8 , starting from 1700 hours.

Ifeanyi Emmanuel



https://www.allnigeriasoccer.com/read_news.php?nid=40087

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2021, 08:02:18 AM »
Scott Parker “top of the wanted list” for Bournemouth job

Scott Parker impresses in debut season

Scott Parker is the latest name to be linked with the Bournemouth hotseat as they search for a permanent manager.

The English boss took over from Claudio Ranieri in the latter half of the 2018-19 season on an interim basis, but was unable to keep Fulham up.

The board kept faith in the ex-Tottenham midfielder however, and he rewarded them by sealing promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking in the 2019-20 season.

Scott Parker impressed in his first full season as a Premier League manager, despite ultimately failing to keep his Fulham side up.

In fact, he left such an impression that he emerged as a surprise candidate for the vacant Tottenham Hotspur role, which has been unfilled since the club sacked Jose Mourinho in April 2021.

Bournemouth the latest club linked:

From potential European football to Championship football, Parker is rumoured to be top of Bournemouth’s list for new managers.

The Cherries endured a disappointing season, failing to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and ultimately finishing the Championship season in sixth place, before losing to Brentford in the play-offs.

Parker’s ex-teammate Jonathan Woodgate is currently operating as caretaker manager of the south-coast outfit.

Woodgate performed well, picking up six wins from seven games at the end of the season, enough to earn him the manager of the month award.

However his contract is up this summer, and The Sun report that the club would like to see Parker at the helm for the coming season as they chase promotion.

Bournemouth are still yet to properly replace Eddie Howe, who left the club in August 2020 after failing to prevent relegation. However, the Englishman kept the Cherries punching well above their weight in the Premier League before his ultimately fateful final season.

The club hierarchy will be hoping that in Parker, they will land another Englishman capable of the same.

This article was edited by Josh Barker.




https://www.101greatgoals.com/news/scott-parker-top-of-the-wanted-list-for-bournemouth-job/


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2021, 08:04:30 AM »
2 pros and 2 cons to AFC Bournemouth appointing Scott Parker as manager

Scott Parker is being eyed up by AFC Bournemouth to become their new manager, according to The Sun.

Following their failure to get past Brentford in the Championship play-off semi-finals, the Cherries board are looking to replace Jonathan Woodgate, who was only contracted to the end of the campaign.

And they’re looking at Parker to come in in his place, who has been in charge at Fulham since 2019 and in that time he was unable to save the Cottagers from relegation to the Championship, but then got them back to the top flight through the play-offs.

Of course this past season ended in misery again for the London side as they were relegated once again and Parker may be tempted with a move – let’s look at two pros and cons to the 41-year-old potentially going to the Cherries.

PRO: Plays attractive football
If you’ve watched Fulham at all in the last year, you’ll know that Parker likes to adopt a possession-based game – even against the bigger teams the Cottagers tried to keep the majority of the ball.

Parker will rarely have his teams go direct despite having a unit like Aleksandar Mitrovic on the books, instead his centre-backs will bring the ball out from the back and feed the midfielders and overlapping full-backs.

Bournemouth definitely have a squad capable of playing in that way – the likes of Lloyd Kelly and Steve Cook are perfectly comfortable with the ball at his feet and they’re players Parker could easily work with.

CON: Would potentially cost a lot of money
Parker is on a deal at Fulham until 2023, having penned that following the play-off final success in the summer of 2020, so because he’s under contract that means compensation would have to be paid to Fulham.

It’s doubtful that Fulham will want to lose Parker considering he’s a highly-promising coach and he’s been able to get them into the Premier League and out of the Championship already, but a lot of managers now have fixed fees in their deals for when other teams are interested.

Bournemouth could probably meet that or whatever price Fulham would ask for if they really wanted, but there will be cheaper options out there who may fit the bill more in terms of experience.

PRO: Tactically adept
Parker isn’t a man with just one plan – he proved to have many different formations at his disposal last season.

He started off the 2020-21 campaign using a 4-2-3-1 but then switched to a three centre-back system for a number of weeks, eventually reverting back to the original formation in February.

Parker seems to be very comfortable in switching his plans up and there were even a few times where he went with a 4-4-2, and that’s a system in which got a 1-0 victory at Anfield against Liverpool.

Bournemouth have a squad from last season which could play with three centre-backs or a back four, so Parker would be arriving at a club – providing that the best players aren’t sold – with a squad that has the capabilities to fit into his systems.

CON: Still relatively inexperienced
Parker has only been a manager for two years but he’s already achieved one promotion but also two relegations.

The former England midfielder was thrown into quite a big job for his first time in management and he’s already gone through some steep learning curves, and his relative inexperience in the managerial game may not be what Bournemouth need right now.

The Cherries had two relative novices in Jason Tindall and Jonathan Woodgate at the helm last season, and to have the best chance of getting promoted back to the Premier League maybe a bit more experience is needed in the dugout – someone of Sam Allardyce’s ilk if he’s willing to drop down to the Championship.



https://footballleagueworld.co.uk/2-pros-and-2-cons-to-afc-bournemouth-appointing-scott-parker-as-manager/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2021, 08:05:45 AM »
Manchester City Eyeing A Move For This Fulham Defender: Should Pep Snap Him Up?

In a recent report, The Sun has stated that Manchester City are eyeing a move for Fulham defender Antonee Robinson this summer. It is believed that the Premier League champions are lining up a surprise move to bring the Cottagers left-back to the Etihad Stadium in this off-season (via The Sun).

Robinson’s Difficult Season At Craven Cottage

It has been a tough and gruelling season for Robinson as he failed to help the London outfit avoid relegation from the Premier League. The 23-year-old has featured in 32 matches this term, picking up four yellow cards in multiple competitions.

However, the Milton Keynes-born sensation has been a consistent performer down the left wing as he averaged 1.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 1.9 clearances, 1.0 crosses, 1.0 key passes and 1.8 dribbles per game in this Premier League campaign. However, he needs to work on improving his accuracy when distributing the ball after completing 74.9% of his attempted passes in the English top tier (stats via whoscored).

Robinson is yet to hit his prime, so there is still plenty of time for him to turn his career around for the better. The Etihad Stadium could be a dream destination for the player as he will be able to compete for some major silverware at the highest level if Pep Guardiola decides to bring him to Manchester this summer.

Should Man City Snap Robinson Up This Summer?

Robinson is a quick and agile full-back who can make some dangerous runs with the ball down the left flank. He has got a good work ethic and can deliver some pin-point crosses into the opponent’s penalty area.

The United States international has matured into a decent defender at the back as he has got the hunger to win possession back for his team. Plus, he hardly gets beat in a 1v1 footrace, so he could be a shrewd addition to Pep Guardiola’s squad if Man City can figure out a way to get a deal over the line for him during this summer transfer window.

At 23, Robinson has still got a lot of time to prove his worth at the highest level. Hence, Guardiola should consider snapping the 11-time Unites States international up this summer as he could unlock the best out of him in the coming seasons.



https://the4thofficial.net/2021/06/manchester-city-are-eyeing-a-move-for-robinson/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2021, 08:06:29 AM »
Tim & Jedi: Nations League Champions

Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson are CONCACAF Nations League Champions after the United States won a thrilling Final 3-2 against Mexico.

The States twice had to come from behind to claim the inaugural trophy on home soil in Denver, and also survived a penalty given against them at the end of extra-time.

Things started badly as Jesus Corona gave the Mexicans the lead after just 63 seconds. They thought they had doubled their advantage midway through the half, but Hector Moreno’s header was ruled out for offside following a VAR review, with Ream getting his lines just right.

Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna then levelled things up to ensure the sides were on an even keel at the break.

Diego Lainez put his side back in control in the 79th minute, but it was a short-lived lead thanks to Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie who nodded in Reyna’s corner.

Into extra-time, and VAR again came to the US’ aid. Christian Pulisic initially wasn’t awarded a penalty when he went down in the area, but after the video review reversed the decision, the captain stepped up to convert emphatically from 12 yards.

The drama wasn’t over, though, with VAR awarding Mexico a spot-kick of their own in the 124th minute of the tie. Manchester City’s Zack Steffen had been forced off with injury earlier in the night, and so substitute Ethan Horvath – a Colorado native – was the hero was a stunning low save to deny veteran Andrés Guardado.

Ream played 81 minutes of the Final before being replaced by Tyler Adams of RB Leipzig, while Robinson was an unused substitute on this occasion, having started the Semi-Final.



https://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2021/june/Tim-Jedi-Nations-League-Champions/


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2021, 08:07:49 AM »
Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Season Review 2020/21

POSITION: 18th in the Premier League

POINTS: 28

GOALS SCORED: 27

GOALS CONCEDED: 53

NUMBER OF CLEAN SHEETS: 9 (in the league)

PLAYER OF THE SEASON: There was only one man in the squad this season who could walk into any team in Europe; only one man who was truly and consistently world class. Alphonse Areola pulled on his gloves for Fulham with no honeymoon period and the benefit of hardly any doubt and kept us in matches again and again with his magnificent saves. His skill, agility, focus and commitment put him up there among the best keepers Fulham have ever had

NON LOAN PLAYER OF THE SEASON: Harrison Reed was a bright spark in the ever gathering gloom. Always full of hustle and bustle, energy and endeavour, our midfield terrier ran the show when Fulham were playing well and just never stopped running when they weren’t

CAPTAIN OF THE SEASON: the promotion of a loan player to captain might have been controversial but Joachim Andersen is such a natural leader that he was an obvious and assured choice. If he could have kept his adoptive team up through will-power and determination alone then he would have done

GOAL OF THE SEASON: Lemina at Liverpool

OUR FAVOURITE GAMES: Liverpool home and away, Everton and Leicester away

OUR LEAST FAVOURITE GAMES: nearly all the others. West Brom away and Wolves at home were particularly frustrating

HIGHLIGHTS: drawing with Liverpool at home and being there to see it, Scott’s wardrobe, the progress of the Riverside Stand redevelopment, Fabio Carvalho

LOWLIGHTS: not being able to go to matches and having to put up with amateurish, repetitive TV “commentary”, not being able to celebrate goals until they were checked by VAR, the “super” league fiasco, the missed penalties, RLC and other words beginning with R

EMOTION OF THE SEASON: resignation

The last time most Fulham fans watched Fulham play live, we were in the Championship. The next time most Fulham fans watch Fulham play live, we will be in the Championship. A whole season of Premier League football has passed with almost no one seeing the team in the flesh. It’s like it never happened. It was the season which never was.

It began only 5 weeks after Fulham battled to victory at Wembley and it was a Fulhamish season in every way - a rollercoaster ride with far more lows than highs which ended in disappointment long before the final whistle was blown. Looking back, the outcome feels inevitable - a pattern that began in September was repeated over and over - a dark and difficult thread which wove through every match, sometimes hidden from view, but never fading out.

IF ANYTHING CAN GO WRONG, IT ALMOST CERTAINLY WILL

Things started badly. Scott Parker allowed our Championship team to play the season opener against Arsenal and the familiar team made familiar mistakes - in particular giving the ball away too cheaply. There was a method in Scott’s miscalculation - he wanted to introduce the new signings gradually as well as give the old-timers a chance but they were undone by naivety and bad luck and we looked dangerously unprepared for the challenges of the Premier League.

A trip to fellow promotees Leeds followed and a 7 goal thriller which Fulham were on the wrong end of. We matched Leeds for pace and endeavour but our defending was woeful. This was Areola’s first game and must have been his worst nightmare. It is also notable as the only match in which we scored more than 2 goals - probably the most damning statistic in a season where nearly all the figures sneered at us.

Against Villa the blue print became clearer - we couldn’t score and our defending was first inept then chaotic and finally non-existent. The off-pitch narrative began to develop too - this was the first time the war of words between Scott Parker and Tony Khan reached fans’ ears.

At the beginning of October we played Wolves and small signs of improvement were a welcome sight for sore eyes. Antonee Robinson and Ola Aina were part of a more solid and organised back line, Tom Cairney dictated the rhythm of the game and Ademola Lookman made his first league appearance - the way the ball stuck to his feet as he jinked around defenders and sprinted into the box promised a kind of magic which never really materialised but kept us hoping. We lost the match but, for the first time, looked like a Premier League team.

We got our first point on the board, belatedly, against Sheffield United. There was a new dynamism and a new structure - a strong, disciplined, high line at the back, pace through the middle and an attack which was no longer the repetitive and ineffective cross-and-hope-for-the-best. This was a debut for Tosin - we were impressed with his energy and composure - and also RLC. We described him as a “slow burner” which was praise indeed compared to the terms we used later.

The Blades match was the first all round decent team performance. But the dark thread didn’t go away - the old mistakes were still there and, ominously, Aleksandar Mitrovic missed a penalty - our Championship hero already looked less than flammable - more just singed around the edges.

If we left Sheffield feeling like a corner had been turned, it was only into a door which was slammed in our face. Fulham played well but not well enough against a team managed by wily Roy Hodgson. Palace sliced open the defence with ease while our strike force was emasculated - Mitro was out of sorts, RLC was already showing a tendency to fade out when the going got tough, and although Tom Cairney scored a scorching last minute consolation goal he was off the pace for most of the match.

Our first victory of the season came, fortunately, in the first of many Must Win Games. It was the first clean sheet too - coinciding with the introduction of Joachim Andersen. Against West Brom, Fulham looked assured, dominant and balanced. Tom was the best player on the pitch, combining expertly with Frank Anguissa at his nonchalant best. There was a long way to go, and nothing was certain but Fulham’s season had finally come to life.

The next two matches showed the team was still a work in progress and repeated the pattern - Fulham played well but ended up with no points. Against West Ham we were dynamic and pacy, counter attacking with flair and conviction but the Hammers were better at both ends of the pitch. This was a match we were capable of winning and should have drawn - Lookman threw the point away with his travesty of a penalty.

We had Everton pinned back and time wasting to hold on to all 3 points despite having conceded on 42 seconds and missed another penalty. We displayed our pin point passes, good use of space and some clever ideas but we lost every 50/50 ball and some which were weighted in our favour. But the team fought to the end and it kept 10 Everton players to hold us off (and 4 of those were for Mitro alone). At this stage in the season, we looked as good as the teams we played but time after time we just missed out on the points. Scott Parker talked a lot about fine margins. It was tedious, but he was right.

JUST WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT, JUST WHAT YOU LEAST EXPECT

There are few things more Fulhamish than a good result which comes out of nowhere - remember Slav’s team beating Burnley 4-2? Remember when Scott Parker out-tacticked Professor of Tactics, Marcelo “Tactics” Bielsa to beat Leeds 2-1 on the back of 3 dire defeats? The victory over Leicester surpassed either of those on every level - watched over by the late Papa Bouba Diop Scott directed a tactical master class and his team transformed into a white clad hoard marauding down the pitch of a top 4 side. There was no faffing around at the back, no slow safe possession, only a lightning fast, dagger sharp attack and a tough and resilient defence.

Cav, our most recent penalty misser, bravely stepped up to take and score another. Lookman was scintillating, BDR was BAE at RWB, Joa was visibly proud of his promotion to captain. This was one of the best games any Fulham team has played since we were beating European giants. It should have been the spark which fired us up the table. Instead, it was a shooting star - burning bright then lost in the dark.

At the beginning of December we suffered a respectable loss to Man City. We looked untidy but not slow or disorganised and we showed tenacity after conceding an early goal. They wanted to go the rampage but we didn’t let them.

We came away with our pride in tact and our goal damage largely unscathed feeling better days lay ahead. To a degree, we were right but the pattern of just falling short was now ingrained; Mitro barely made the team and whispers of ructions behind the scenes continued.

SNATCHING A DRAW FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY

There are no easy matches in the unforgiving world of the Premier League and the Champions v the Championship Play-Off Winners was always going to be one of the hardest. But Fulham had a secret weapon - spectators were allowed at the Cottage and the crowd of 2,000 spread around our special old ground sounded like 10 times that number. On the pitch, Fulham contained Hurricane Liverpool - Mario Lemina stepped up with an expert display of blocking, intercepting and challenging while Joa demonstrated both his defensive dexterity and his commanding leadership.

We would have won but for the machinations of VAR but we were pleased with the point and delighted with the display of more aggression than possession.

More draws followed, including the first 0-0 at the Cottage for nearly 10 years. Against Brighton, Joa showed he could do scrappy, desperate defending as well as the stylish, efficient kind and Tosin was beginning to look like his trusted lieutenant. The team displayed its competitive edge and physicality in a nervy, hard fought game but our old faults were coming back as a familiar motif reasserted itself - muddled passing, flustered thinking, goal mouth scrambles and of course we couldn’t score. The best chance fell to RLC who fluffed it and Mitro was allowed only a brief cameo as a sub.

The Newcastle game was another we should have won - we were robbed that time by a combination of a cheating opponent, an unprofessional official and a dubious computer. The team played well both before and after Joa’s iniquitous red card and showed a strength of character to deal with adversity - particularly Tosin whose assumption of leadership at the back was effortless and Frank who somewhat randomly ended up with the captain’s armband. We were proving the doubters wrong and fighting bad luck and bad decisions, but whilst the defence was looking reliable the attack were their own worst enemies in front of goal.

Proving that 0-0s at the Cottage are a lot like buses, we drew with Southampton next. We were organised and industrious but never looked like scoring. Scott had made the team very hard to beat but at the other end, our attacks fizzled out. Mitro leached dynamism from the team but we couldn’t score goals without him. By Christmas we were going into every match unafraid and expecting a result, but that result was a draw.

The Craven Cottage Irregulars scraped an FA Cup win in extra time against QPR at the beginning of January but then the team was back to drawing ways in the league again. COVID caused disruption but we managed 1-1 away at Spurs after the game was rearranged on 48 hours notice with Scott Parker having to counter mind games and Fulham unable to play a full strength team. The match was a true London derby - fast paced and entertaining. Ivan Cavaleiro scored a well crafted goal but too often proved that hard work and attacking instincts do not a striker make.

MAKING LIFE DIFFICULT FOR OURSELVES SINCE 1879

The run of draws showed a solidity which had been unimaginable at the start of the season. Our soft centre had hardened and we were no longer easy pickings. But that was only any use if we could score more than one goal every couple of games. And we couldn’t.

The loss to C*****a was all the more disappointing because it was self-inflicted. Antonee’s red card was unlucky but not unjustified. This was the third game in 7 days for a team still feeling the affects of COVID and a lack of training. The defence stayed compact and composed but Cav missed a sitter and Mitro was MIA.

Manchester United were the first team in months to look significantly better than us but even then we clung onto a one goal lead for a while thanks to the indefatigable Kenny Tete and the hustle and bustle of Harrison Reed. Man U had about 5 strikers on the pitch and we had none but when we eventually went behind to a wonder strike the the team tried to wrestle back a point as if their lives depended on it.

The Craven Cottage Irregulars had another cup appearance to forget - an inauspicious loss to fellow league strugglers Burnley in which the Triangle of Doom reappeared and our flickering hero was given a start to prove himself - but proved only to be slow, heavy and despondent. The message at the end of the alarming performance was clear: sign a striker in what remained of the January window or we were going down.

We stopped the rot with another 0-0 draw with Brighton. Our Champions League defence was balanced with a Vanarama National League attack and the score would have been the same had Areola been the only Fulham player on the pitch. The others showed no creativity or composure - we had too few chances, and wasted them all.

West Brom away was probably the most game of two halfy game in the history of football. In the first half Fulham were strong, dominant and creative. Frank was in magisterial command of the midfield, Mitro was back at the heart of the attack and we looked in total control. But we ended the half only 1-0 up when it should have been more and the team which came out after the break looked like they’d never played football before, never mind played it together. What was odd and worrying was that a team which had fought and beaten more dangerous opponents encountered one hint of trouble and crumbled. We ended up grateful for a draw but this was two points squandered - another Must Win Game that we didn’t win. Scott was getting a lot right but his blind belief that being hard to beat was worth settling for was losing credibility; those fine margins were stretching into a gulf to safety.

Things got worse when we played Leicester at the Cottage - there was no sign of the team that had tested and teased the foxes earlier in the season. No longer could we go toe to toe against a top 6 team and come away proud if goalless. We offered nothing in the final third except weak kicks and stupid tricks. Andersen was trying to lead but no one was following. Mitro looked out of his depth, Lookman a shadow of his former self and Frank was fading fast. It felt the like there might be no way back, like it would be best to write off the season there and then and admit the Premier League wasn’t for us. But Fulham, in that way they have, proved us wrong.

CLASS IN BLACK AND WHITE

When we played West Ham we wanted a reaction to the defeat to Leicester and we got one. We wanted the players to attack with intent and verve and they did. We wondered if there was any fight left in a team teetering on the brink and were answered with a resounding yes. But, once again, a team which dominated and made few mistakes with the ball (except trying to shoot with it) came away with a draw when it should have been more. This felt like a wasted opportunity and a reinforcement of the message: you don’t get points for playing pretty football. You have to score goals to survive.

But Scott Parker, undermined and under pressure didn’t know when he was beaten. On Valentine’s Day we went to Goodson Park and made a good Everton team look clueless with our flawless play and indestructible self-belief. Josh Maja scored twice and hinted that he might be the link we were missing. Never mind the record for the longest ever losing away streak against a single club in England, Harrison Reed broke the record for the number of interceptions in a match while Lemina toiled hard and effectively beside him.

Scott picked the same line-up to play Burnley but in true Fulhamish fashion it was like watching a different team in an ugly, gritty battle of head tennis and Chuck Yourself on the Turf Moor. As usual, we should have got more than a point but Burnley capitalised on one of our few mistakes and, as if by design, we couldn’t score more than one goal.

That was enough against Sheffield United though, in our next MWG. We looked scrappy and desperate, chaotic at times. Frank showed that his silky skills don’t include shooting but Lookman’s goal was a triumph of perseverance over frustration and was assisted by a pin point accurate pitch long pass from Andersen. Unlike at Everton, the team won with guts and spirit not with grace and style; we were 3 points from safety and we’d given ourselves a chance.

Our last 0-0 of the season came, appropriately, against Palace. It was a cagey game, both managers having set their teams up not to lose. Fulham displayed an impressive press and, particularly in the case of Harrison Reed, a phenomenal work rate. We looked dangerous and there were lots of shots but, of course, no goals.

At the beginning of March, Spurs, knowing they were facing one of the best defences in the league brought a frighteningly strong line-up to the Cottage. They won through luck not judgment though, and we were robbed of a point when VAR insisted that the laws of football overrode the laws of nature and Maja’s goal was ruled out.

Our best win of the season was also our last - a swan song which we didn’t recognise at the time. We thought that a team which could beat a world class Liverpool side at Anfield was on the way up, not about to crash and burn. In a season of stats, this game contained the most remarkable - Fulham had more shots at Anfield than any visiting team since 2000. This was the last time the team looked perfectly balanced and the last time every component looked efficient and effective. Andersen’s long passes spun and arced and dipped while in front of him the Reed/Lemina Axis of Tenacity was wearing Liverpool down. For a while, we couldn’t make the hard work count then Liverpool failed to clear a corner and Lemina fired in a low, lethal shot. We had to hold them off for the whole of the second half but even when Jurgen Klopp, sparking teeth gnashing, threw on bigger and bigger names our defence just absorbed the pressure.

Fulham had gone from chaotic to solid to unlucky to amazing. We had crawled our way back to within a hair’s breadth of safety and the Great Escape 2.0 looked to be on. But somehow after the scenes of jubilation and unity on the Anfield pitch it went horribly, Fulhamishly wrong.

THE STATE OF RUING CHANCES NOT TAKEN

No one expected us to get anything out of the match against Man City which should have meant no one was disappointed when we didn’t but, although we started fast and furious, we never threatened their goal and there were malevolent portents in the way our most defensive line-up of the season buckled under pressure and conceded 3 goals in 15 minutes. With no strikers on the pitch there was, of course, no way back.

The season turned on the next few matches - all easier on paper and all MWGs. We had 3 chances to climb out of the bottom 3 but we didn’t take any of them, despite some unexpected help from VAR. It was as if safety was now so close the players were scared of it. Against Leeds we looked disjointed, nervous and naive. They were full of energy and brashness and we couldn’t counter their pace, trickery or physicality. We fell back on all our old weaknesses - giving the ball away and wasting chances. Andersen’s only goal for the Club was the highlight but it wasn’t enough.

When we went 1-0 up against Villa, thanks to a reignited Mitro, we were briefly 17th and believing again. But the pressure was too much to bear and the team unravelled - losing the ball in dangerous positions, passing nervously, tackling badly and ultimately collapsing. They weren’t helped when Scott delayed bringing on much needed reinforcements. It was as if neither he nor the players could deviate from the template. No one would take a risk, play with flair or try something different.

Against Wolves we didn’t start like a team desperate for 3 points and we didn’t get them. Other than Antonee Robinson who played with purpose, grit and positivity the players looked off balance and, despite Mitro’s recent form for Serbia, he was erratic in front of goal. Wolves’ last minute winner was the final insult, not that a draw would have done any good.

We conceded another last minute goal against Arsenal a few days later, largely as result of the callous negligence of RLC, but only after Josh Maja had scored the best penalty any Fulham player has taken for years. Until Harrison Reed came on full of industry and intent, we didn’t play like we were fighting for survival and in the absence yet again of Mitro, a second goal was unattainable.

Ironically, now the writing was well and truly on the wall, performance levels went up against C*****a and we started ambitiously and aggressively. Players flung themselves into the fray but it wasn’t enough - C*****a’s first goal was easy, their second effortless and the long drawn our agony of waiting to be relegated continued.

Burnley put us out of misery a few days later. In our final MWG of the season we were outplayed and outfought by the team one place above us in the table and we ended up going down without a whimper. There was no urgency, no creativity and no end product. Just when we needed him to be strong, Andersen became lacklustre. Mitro was plodding and ponderous, Lookman hesitant and selfish. Our once mighty defence imploded despite the heroic efforts of Lemina who played every outfield position on the pitch and most of them well.

The one highlight of a dull, going-through-the-motions loss to Southampton was Fabio Carvalho’s first goal for the first team. In true Fulhamish fashion the following game against Man U, which fans were expecting to lose badly even before the bizarre line-up was announced, was full of highlights including a last hurrah for Tim Ream as captain, an exquisite goal for Joe Bryan and a barn storming performance from Lemina. We were robbed of victory by a VAR decision too outrageous to revisit but showed that we hadn’t just been making up the numbers.

In a parallel universe, the season went down to the wire and the final game against Newcastle, in front of 2,000 fans at the Cottage decided our fate. In fact, it was a dull and dismal game in which the players couldn’t even put on a show for a live audience. They couldn’t score either so the season ended as it began, with a defeat and no Fulham goals at the Cottage.

Between those two matches were moments of hope and hours of despair but nothing really changed: the defence was sometimes good enough but the attack never was. The successful games now look like chance events - nothing was learnt, winning ways were forgotten and the habit of falling short, of being on the wrong side of a fine margin, couldn’t be broken. It was a season of near misses in so many ways.

THE RECKONING

We don’t want to lay blame, but the events which led to our third relegation in recent years are worth examining.

The first issue is that being promoted to the Premier League via the playoffs is very rarely a recipe for success. Two seasons ago, the Khans accidentally spent £100,000,000 on the wrong players, Slav couldn’t mould a team out of them for a myriad reasons and the whole season felt like a failed experiment.

This time, the Khans tried to buy and borrow more wisely and Scott tried to integrate the acquisitions more subtly and, as an approach to Premier League survival that made a lot more sense.

The next issue is therefore the personnel. Our Championship team weren’t quite just that - they were too good for the Championship but not, as an entity, good enough for the Premier League. Some individuals were, or were on the cusp. Frank had gone on loan as a clumsy boy but returned to Fulham as a powerful man ready to take the league by storm - its never been confirmed by the Club but it feels like only COVID prevented that. Harrison Reed, always snapping, grappling and battling, looked at home in the top flight but was plagued by injury. The same could be said for Tom Cairney although, even when fit, he continues to divide the critics as to whether he is good enough to play in, let alone captain, a Premier League side. Bobby Reid, by application, sheer hard work and a willingness to be versatile, more or less made the step up. Joe Bryan was never given the chance and Cav, although his work ethic cannot be questioned, is simply not the man to lead the line against the best defences in the country. And this is the heart of the matter - we thought that the man who won the Championship Golden Boot, who became during the chaos of Fulham’s season, Serbia’s all time top goal scorer, would, if not excel in the Premier League, at least fight tooth and firy nail to keep us in it.

Most of the new arrivals were wise, even inspired, acquisitions. Of the loanees, Areola is peerless but Joa comes a close second with his commanding presence, calm authority and the Nordic roughhouse spirit we Fulham fans appreciate. After some teething troubles Aina slotted in and gave his absolute best for the Club. Lemina went from dangerously casual to wickedly effective. Both they and Lookman were playing for a home to call their own. People have talked about Loan FC and a coterie of mercenaries but we didn’t go down because these players were on loan - we didn’t go down because of them at all.

On the basis that Josh Maja wasn’t given much of a chance to show us what he could do and certainly wasn’t offered up as a proven Premier League player he too is exonerated. The only loan player who contributed, Frankly, less than nothing was C*****a’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek - a player with no place in a team of grafters and no appetite for a relegation dogfight. He thought he was too good for Fulham, when of course the reverse is true. Oh, and he didn’t contribute nothing - he won that throw in at Newcastle.

On the permanent signings front, Kenny Tete was a shrewd buy as was Tosin - yes, he’s not quite the finished article but another season in the Championship and he will be. We like Antonee Robinson but we’re not sure if he offers more than Joe Bryan (and this is a compliment to both of them). Kongolo unfortunately seems to be made of eggshells rather than flesh and bone but he looked good when he played and, if all the Khans’ horses and all the Khans’ men can put him together again, he’ll be a very useful player in the Championship.

So we played most of the season with a world class goalkeeper, a solid defence and a decent midfield. The big issue was the attack and in a game which is all about scoring goals, our deficiencies in that department meant our days were numbered right from the start.

THE MITRO MYSTERY

Three and a half years ago, Aleksandar Mitrovic arrived at Fulham unwanted elsewhere, bruised by his experiences and tainted by his reputation. He was looking for a home and he had a point to prove. He worked hard, he scored goals, he proved that point and he fell in love. The feeling was mutual. He stayed, he fought, he showed what he could do in the Premier League. When that season ended in disappointment and failure he could have moved on but he chose to stay and fire us, once again, to promotion - our hero and talisman.

It sounds like a story which is guaranteed a happy ending but something has gone wrong. Between the injuries and uncertainty, among the missed penalties and off pitch infringements Mitro has gone astray.

Mitro is many things - troubled, emotional, hot-tempered on the debit side, unselfish, loyal and a grafter to his credit. He can be a battler, a predator, and a force of nature. We have seen all those qualities in his time at Fulham but this season we saw different, darker ones. Mitro was often out of sorts and sometimes out of condition. We were always desperate to see him play, but when he did we were disappointed. Yes there were flashes of brilliance - the goal against Villa, for example - but they were few and far between.

From very early on in the season, way before Mitro broke the COVID rules, he and Scott seemed to be in a downward spiral of mistrust and mismanagement. If Mitro played he was ineffective so he was dropped or only used as a sub. Therefore, he didn’t get the game time he needed to get his fitness and sharpness back. He didn’t combine well with Maja, but they rarely played together. He didn’t score enough goals, but when he did play he didn’t get the service he needed.

And yet, during every international break (except for the one where, ominously, he missed that decisive penalty against Scotland) he was on fire for Serbia. He was used, perhaps, to preferential treatment and didn’t react well to not getting it. When Slav was manager, Mitro was first among equals. But those days are long gone.

The conundrum was never unscrambled. Somehow, Mitro ended up second choice to Cav like a Hollywood star playing understudy to a soap opera actor. But how did it come to this? What happened to consign Serbia’s top scorer to the bench of a team with a dearth of strikers? Is Scott not a good enough manager to incorporate either Mitro’s personality or his skills in the team? Or is Mitro just too hard to handle?

And, let’s not forget, that whilst both Scott and Mitro could have managed their own relationship better, neither is at fault for the fact that it was the only game in town. If the Club had signed a proven top flight striker either last summer or in January things could have been very different.

THE PARKER PLAYBOOK

We like Scott Parker and for most of the season our motto was Stick With Scott. We like the way the Club is always the focus of his thinking, we like how he wears his heart on his sleeve. We like the genuine, honest, polite way he faces the world. We appreciated his 2021 spring collection but Scott is more about substance than style. When his tactics worked (Leicester, Liverpool, Everton) they were brilliant. When they didn’t work he could still inspire a team to get by on grit and guts (Sheffield United) and all the time he threw praise on the players and took blame for himself.

He is understated to the point of it being an endearing quality. He celebrated the winning goal against Leicester like a fan, then quickly neatened his hair and went back to pacing the touch line. He was bursting with jubilation at the win over the Blades but he commiserated with their bench before he let his happiness show. And it was clear, for the most part, that the players loved him. They couldn’t wait to share the victory at Liverpool with him - they were literally queuing up for a handshake and a hug after the full time whistle.

But of course it wasn’t all jubilation or guts and glory. One of the riddles of the season is the fact that Scott could be tactically astute against top sides but had little idea how to counter the teams around us. The default setting was not to lose - a dull, possession based game in which the ball is passed out from the back (often suicidally), overplayed to point where it is just a waste of time, passed backwards and then the whole process is repeated. At some point an attack might materialise but, if it did, it would probably come to nothing.

There is also a tendency for unexpected, confusing and inconsistent line-ups, players playing out of position, and subs being brought on much too late. As an example, Joe Bryan and Antonee Robinson played well together against Wolves but then were never seen together again. Most of the squad played right back at one time or another and Scott never seemed to work out what his best line-up was. We can forgive him for constantly picking RLC because it became clear as that he was contractually obliged to but we can’t condone the way Scott talked up a player who is clearly lacking in most departments and we can’t forgive RLC being brought on against Burnley when we had 15 minutes left to save the season.

Having said that, we don’t envy Scott his job - as a young, inexperienced coach trying to manage a blended squad of loanees, newbies and old timers, big reputations and big egos, those with something to prove and those with a lot to learn, those to whom we owe a debt and those on whom we are taking a chance. All with an impenetrable management structure above him and in the toughest league in the world.

But he knew we needed goals and he should have found a way to get Mitro to work with the system. He should have revised his playbook as the season went on so we were actually trying to win games instead of trying not to lose - pretty passing and getting to half time at 0-0 might be an identity but it doesn’t cut it as a strategy to stay in the Premier League.

YOU KHAN’T BE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE

Wikipedia defines a director of football as a senior management figure - "the exact nature of the role is often unclear and causes much debate in sports media".

The theory is that a director of football, who is usually an experienced football person, acts as an intermediary between the manager and the board, allowing a manager to focus on on-pitch performance. The role covers a multitude of sins from the fairly innocuous acting as a figurehead or club ambassador, through being a go-between or buffer to all out power behind the scenes - control over everything except coaching and team selection - including budgets, transfers and targets.

The reality, however, is that overlapping roles can frequently lead to tensions arising, particularly with regard to control over transfer policy. And when a club’s director of football is the owner’s son, not a football man at all and who has a portfolio career those tensions are exacerbated and provide unhelpful background noise in an already stressful season.

Man Utd's recently appointed Football Director has been working at the top end of English football for over two decades and has significant experience in a variety of roles including player development at other clubs. Alongside this DoF there is a separate Technical Director (who has player experience) and a Director of Football Negotiations. Both the Football Director and Technical Director will be present at the training ground and will work with the manager on a day-to-day basis on recruitment and other strategies.

Of course, we’re not Man U but perhaps we need to start thinking like them to achieve even a modicum of their success. Tony Khan doesn’t have to involve himself with transfers, he should leave that to people with the necessary experience. He could concentrate his energy on being a great ambassador for the Club.

But Tony doesn’t seem to be the type to step down lightly.

THE ETERNAL TRIANGLE

So against a backdrop of COVID, VAR and empty stadiums our season was defined by 3 men - the former England Captain, Serbia’s all time top goal scorer and a wrestling promoter. Like a wrestling show itself the enmity switched from Scott v Mitro to Scott v Tony with no hope of harmony being restored.

Fulham were relegated because we didn’t score enough goals. That isn’t one person’s fault but everyone involved in the sorry saga of this season needs to take some blame and change their ways.

It seems unlikely that all 3 men will still be at Fulham in August particularly now Slav has returned to England. But this is football and stranger things have happened. Of course relegation brings changes - the loanees have all departed as has Kevin McDonald, with our very best wishes. There will be many more comings and goings before the start of next season, possibly some at a high level. As for players, have probably reached the end of the road with Frank, but in Rodak, Tosin, Tete, Kongolo, Bryan, Reed, Reid, Onomah, Robinson and our New Hope Fabio Carvalho we have most of a very strong Championship side which needs to be nurtured and developed.

As for the fans, it will just be fantastic to be back at the Cottage with the sun slanting across the pitch or the moon rising behind the gable of the Johnny Haynes stand. Let’s put this surreal season behind us like it really didn’t happen and get back to enjoying football in each others’ company.

We are Fulham Football Club. We have fallen before. We will rise again.



https://werdsmith.com/p/4z9RwWhSw29VX

Offline RaySmith

  • Gentleman Jim
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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2021, 09:02:22 AM »
Great analysis of the season by Jack and Loz, witty and evocative as  always, and really capturing the bitter/sweet, and often very frustrating, especially this season, feeling of supporting Fulham.

I've enjoyed their post game reviews this season, even if I might not always agree with all their conclusions.

Offline filham

  • Moritz Volz
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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2021, 10:41:23 AM »
Gayle from Newcastle is a name that has appeared regularly on our transfer window rumour list for a good few years now, we have never signed him.
The name is again mentioned above, is he not now past his sell by date.


Statto

  • Guest
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2021, 10:54:31 AM »
PRO: Plays attractive football
PRO: Tactically adept

My word do these 15-year-old aspiring journos at Football League World ever watch a single Fulham game? (Rhetorical question)

Literally those are Parker's two biggest weaknesses and they've picked them as his "pros"

 :doh:
« Last Edit: June 07, 2021, 10:56:38 AM by Statto »

Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 07/06/21...
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2021, 11:09:42 AM »
Gayle from Newcastle is a name that has appeared regularly on our transfer window rumour list for a good few years now, we have never signed him.
The name is again mentioned above, is he not now past his sell by date.

The modern day David Bentley or Carlton Cole  :003: