Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Christmas Everyone

Kept it going for a while but life's been far too busy for me to keep writing this thing. Hopefully over Crimbo I can fill in a review of the games not covered so far. If you're looking for news on Fulham the best place to look is still TFi and if you want to read a well written Blog then Craven Cottage Newsround is the place to go (links to both on this page). Best wishes to the New Year and a more regularly updated Blog.

Come on you Whites!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Game 9 - Villa 1 FFC 1

We seem to be beating all our hoodoos this season, winning on Sky, winning away, not losing at Villa Park. A cracking point and another hard working performance. Cookie seems to have got the team spirit going and whilst our squad maybe looks a bit lacking in stars maybe we really have gained a depth we didn't have before. It's hard to not get over excited when you think how well we are doing without so many key players but it's still going to be a long hard season. Points from today - Zat & Pearcy looking solid in central defence, Brown being a nuisance in midfield, Voltz & Boca performing miracles out of position, and Radz finally finding a bit of form. Final word has to be for Mr Mortiz Voltz - a cracking first Premiership goal today - better dig out that pumpkin & prawn soup recipe again it must have done the trick!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Game 8 - FFC 2 Charlton 1

We really need to win games like this just to stay up, and certainly if we have any allusion to a top 10 finish. Yet again I'm reduced to occasional peaks at BBC online text to see how we're doing. Fairly drab 1st half means I don't need to get too concerned - sounds like Charlton were on top but at least we stayed solid. 2nd half swung our way and then a minor miracle happens. Claus enters the fray at around the hour mark and within 5 minutes has created one goal and scored a second. Bang! All over? Not quite - a 78th minute strike from Darren Bent gives us a typically nervous last 10 minutes, but we hold on for a well earned victory. Definitely a big three points tonight - puts us in tenth which is fantastic considering the injuries we've had to deal with and puts Charlton firmly in the mire with a (frankly rubbish) 3 points from 8 games. Something there for us to build on and also a good confidence boost for the team. Villa away next which is bound to be tricky and then my next proper match at home to Wigan. Can't wait.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Game 7 - Watford 3 FFC 3

A chance to build on that great away win at St. James Park and banish any thoughts of being poor away from home. To be honest I'd have been happy with a point before the game. Stuck at home so "watching" the game via BBC text update (the new Teletext!).

Defending throw, defending throw, attacking throw, defending throw.
Goal kick, foul, defending throw attacking throw. What the hell?
Goal Watford (1-0) - Flippin' heck that's gonna make it hard.
Half time - Phew at least we can sort ourselves out now and make a few changes.
Goal Watford (2-0) 15 seconds in! Oh dear, that's it then, all over what a miserable game.
1 hour mark, Routledge, McBride and Radzinski on for Bocanegra, John & Voltz, at least we're gonna have a go.
65 minutes - Start checking TFi for any posts that might give me hope.
71 minutes - Think I'll turn on 5 Live as well and have a listen.
72 minutes - GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLL McBride! (2-1) YES! Come on Fulham!
83 minutes - GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLL Helguson! (2-2) Get in there! We've rescued a point!
87 minutes - GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLL Francis O.G. (2-3) I can't believe it that's all 3!
89 minutes - Goal Watford (3-3). Sod it.

Despite the feeling of having blown 3 points, have to say that's a great result. Last season we wouldn't have come back from 2 down, disappointing we couldn't defend for the last couple of minutes but Watford will take a point of better teams than us at Vicarage Road.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Game 6 - FFC 0 Filth 2

So my whole reason for writing this Blog was to do reports of the games I actually went to a la Alex Ferguson, and then when I finally make a game it takes me 7 days to write about it. This was always going to be tough, with half our 1st team injured and the Chavs still smarting from last seasons defeat, I couldn't see anything better than a hard earned draw and that pretty much proved to be the case. Coleman fielded a similar side to the one that faced Spurs, but with CJ as a lone striker with Routledge adding width and guile to our midfield.

Overall I felt it was a great team performance, everyone playing as well as they could in the role they were given. Most of our attacking success stemmed from Queudrue and Routledge on the left, but Brown worked tirelessly all day and despite another horrible 2 footed lunge at Ashley Cole late on was probably my man of the match. Zat also put in an excellent performance, taking on the Captains armband (for the first time that I'm aware) and the extra responsibility seemed to raise his game. The Filth were nothing special (at least for the first hour) lacking width, and were largely held to shots from distance. Our best chances though came in the 2nd half. Rosenior was getting into great forward positions, and linked up well with Volzy to fashion a good chance, but delayed just a bit too much allowing Lampard to charge down his shot. Then Collins John showed great effort to beat Carvalho to a cross field ball, and received a bruised thigh for his troubles. The resulting freekick was swung in by Franck and somehow PBD managed to place his header wide of the gaping net. We also had a fair shout for a penalty as Michael Brown slid in on Cech who never had control of the ball, and was then clearly hauled back by the giant keeper. Cerebral Halsey took the percentage choice and opted for a foul on the keeper, and to be honest I think it was a fair decision. Likewise the decision on 72 minutes to award a pen to the Chavs. Rosenior stumbled trying to keep tabs on Kalou (who had replaced the ineffective Robben) and caught the ball with his hand. You could tell from Liam's reaction he knew what he'd done, and that was the goal that sealed the game. McBride and Helgusson replaced John and Bocanegra as we reverted to a straight 4-4-2 (Obi Mikel replaced Shevchenko though I can't say I noticed at the time) but with limited options in midfield we really didn't create much more. Lampard scored again with ten minutes left as our midfield struggled to compete, and despite another penalty shout for a push on Diop in the box we'd really run out of steam. Nice touch from Mourinho to bring Bridgey on in the last minute, he received a well deserved ovation from the Fulham end, I'm sure it won't be long before he moves to a better class of club for good. Having put in a good performance against tough opposition we need to get results in our next two matches at Watford and home to Charlton. It won't be easy with our casualty list but we need at least 4 points to avoid getting sucked in to the lower reaches. I'm feeling pretty positive though, the team spirit seems to be back and I reckon if we can dig out some results our confidence will grow. COYW!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Game 5 - Spuds 0 FFC 0

What a fantastic result, with a depleted midfield against a Spurs side desperate for a win I couldn't have asked for more. Really pleased to see Coleman/Keane taking the sensible route and filling the side with defensive experience to ensure another away point. After last seasons shambles away from home we need to get everything we can, and I felt before the match even with most of our creative options missing we could get something out of this. A Thursday night game in Prague can leave little time for recovery, and I'm sure Spurs will find it hard to win after European exertions. Another bad injury though (Boa Morte - fractured cheek bone) will mean our midfield will be looking strange for several weeks. It seems to be a season of bad injuries for big name players throughout the leagues, maybe a sign of how much football is played particularly in a season following a World Cup. Anyway four games without loss sets us up nicely for the visit of the Filth next Saturday, surely we can't repeat last seasons glory - but at least we can sing songs in praise of the man in the green pants!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Craven Cottage Newsround

Not that anyone other than me actually reads this stuff, but on the off chance someone does I've added a link to a much better Blog than my own wittily titled "Craven Cottage Newsround". It's everything mine aspires to be but isn't, a great article on there about a trip to see Slavia Prague, and lots of good info about Super Fulham.

Game 4 - Newcastle 1 FFC 2

An unexpected result that was comletely overshadowed by the injury to Jimmy Bullard. A mere three games in to his career and Jimmy has already established himself as the new cult hero and has been the driving force behind everything creative the team has achieved. I can't remember feeling so gutted about a player being injured before, it's expected Jimmy will miss the rest of the season now and I can't help feeling our season cannot be anywhere near as good as if he was playing. I guess the important thing is that he recovers well, I want to see him playing in black & white next season, with Fulham still in the Premiership.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Steeeeed & Leggy & six keepers

The only really good thing about the current transfer windows are when they close, you at least know you can forget about players coming or going for a few months and concentrate on the football. I fairly pleased with our success this window, we've filled the problem areas in the team, and had a good clear out of players who weren't going to make it with us. Our only outstanding problem is finding an intelligent centre back with leadership qualities, between now and January the current crop can try and prove we don't need one! Also slightly bizarre that with five goalkeepers officially on our books we go and buy another one. Jan La┼ítuvka is a Czech Republic goalkeeper described as "understudy to Petr Cech", strangely Jaro Drobney who we released having never played a competitive game for us was also described as "understudy to Petr Cech" when we paid £500k for him just over a year ago. Maybe that's just the fate of all Czech goalies whilst the mighty Petr stays fit.

So the Steed saga finally ends and I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. From a business point of view I think Fulham did the right thing, they got £2.3 Million for a player that could have walked for nothing in a years time. However, from a footballing point of view we've lost one the best players I have ever seen in black & white. There has been a steady traffic of Tigana era players leaving the club and I am sure the main reason for this was the contracts agreed at the time when money was flying around, rather than the quality of football. Steed has been vilified by the club and by many fans - but I don't think he really deserves it. Football clubs as a whole need to take more responsibility in the contracts they offer. I wish Steed well with Spurs (except against us) and I will be clapping him on any return to the Cottage for 5 years of magic and style.

Sylvain Legwinski also moved on, another Tigana player who fell foul of the good contract he was given. Leggy never gave us less than 100% whenever he played, and always made the effort to show his appreciation to the fans at the end of each match. Its been a tough year or so for him, as he has clearly not been in CC's plans at all, so I'm glad to see him get the chance to revive his career elsewhere.

Game 3 - Fulham 1 Sheff Utd 0

Finally back in the land of Broadband. First game I've seen enough off to really assess Fulham's performance and, despite the result, it wasn't promising. Sheffield Utd. looked poor, I thought they would at least give us some problems with their work rate and physical approach but really we should have won by more.
Jimmy Jimmy Bullard is already firmly established as our new cult hero, and without him we would have looked equally bad. JJB was everywhere on the park, and adds the spark of creativity we used to get from Steed. What a great free kick, I haven't seen one like that since Micky Adams stopped playing!
We seem lacklustre at present, which would be disappointing at any time in the season, but especially so at the start. There's some difficult games coming up (Newcastle & Spuds away, Chav$ki at home) and its hard to see us getting much out of any of them. I'd settle for another 1-0 win over the Filth though.
The last few seasons have seen our quality players leave one by one (Finnan, Davis, Saha, Van Der Sar & Malbranque) to be replaced by grafters. Maybe that's harsh as the direct replacements for those players were Voltz/Rosenior, Diop, John, Niemi & Bullard, but overall the squad does seem to be more dour than when Tigana left.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Game 2 - Fulham 1 Bolton 1

Parent sitting in sunny Bexhill (the place that people from Eastbourne go to retire) so not really in touch with the outside world. My impression gleaned from Sky Sports News and TFi is that this was another poor game, which was looking for all the world like being our second defeat and setting us off to the worst possible start. A late late Jimmy Bullard penalty saved our skins and maybe covered over the cracks. We had won all 5 previous Premiership encounters with the thugs from Bolton, and there was no way that could continue much longer, so being pragmatic I guess a point is OK. Right now I'm not feeling so positive about Coleman in charge, its not the results that matter, its the apparent lack of fight or quality. We seriously need to improve our game if this is not going to be a season (and a Blog) of misery. Sheff Utd on Saturday is looking a tough prospect - and my first proper game is not until September (The Filth) which seems a very long way off. At least the old man gets Sky Sports so I'll have the chance to see decent highlights on Football First instead of the inevitable 2 minutes just before midnight on MotD. Joy.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Game 1 - Man Utd 5 Fulham 1

Bollocks ...

I can't remember a worse first game of the season*. A frankly puzzling 4-1-3-2 formation left us far too narrow and gave Giggs and Ronaldo all the space they wanted to cut us to shreads. Another dreadful two footed challenge from Michael Brown, for which he should have walked, and only Jimmy Bullard can stake a claim to any credit. Very very poor and best forgotten about as soon as possible, the next two games really matter now.

* Having just checked soccerbase, since 1983 when we lost 3-0 at Barnsley - soccerbase didn't go back far enough to find a 4 goal reverse!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Season Preview

Football's back, like it ever really went away, and I'm excited. Coleman seems to have hacked back the squad quite severely this summer whilst bringing in some quality signings. It really does look like we have 2 players for every position, with the only area for concern being the right wing. "The Steed Issue" is obviously hampering our chances of signing a decent replacement as it seems until we've sold Steed we won't be able to buy someone new. It's all got a bit messy but we have another 2 weeks until the window closes so no need to panic quite yet. Jimmy Bullard is the real Steed replacement and we'll need him to provide the creativity in the centre of the park that will pretty much decide how well we do. I expect Diop and Brown to be doing the donkey work behind Bullard, with Boa pushing on the left. The right sides gonna be the problem - in a 4-5-1 I suspect Collins John will be asked to play the wide role, but in a 4-4-2 maybe Brown will get the job. Neither ideal, but I'd rather we spent our money wisely and got a genuine right winger than buy cheaply to fill the gap.
We've finally signed our first proper left-back (ignoring Bridgey's loan spell) since Rufus departed, and I think Franck Q will be a great player for us. Looks like Ian Pearce and Phillipe Christanval will start in the centre, but Boca, Zat and Zak will all be pushing for a starting role. If we had the money an intelligent and experience CB would be a welcome addition, but I think we can improve of last years shockers thanks to a resurgent Pearce and a fit again Christanval. Liams probably in front of Volzy for right back, but we're lucky to have two great players in this position and either can do a job for us.

Up front I think we'll be looking at McBride on his own for the trip to Old Trafford, but hope we'll revert to 4-4-2 when at home and that CJ will get a decent run in the side. Heider Helgusson is likely to be a regular substitute, and Bjorn Runstrom looks an exciting prospect, so hope to see something of him as well.

Sneaky feeling we can nick a point at OT, and if all goes well we can get a top 10 finish, and if my prayers are answered a Cup Final appearance. Bring it on!