Friday, May 25, 2007

The Fulham Review

I doubt anyone reads this blog who doesn't also read The Fulham Independant or Craven Cottage Newsround but just in case I have reproduced a message below from Richard, who writes CCN, about his season review book. I've had a look at the preview and it looks very professional and well worth a read. It also has something by me in it so it has to be good!

I've not really managed to write anything since the season ended and I'm off on holiday next week so for the next few weeks there won't be anything new appearing on this site. I will be posting on TFi when there's something interesting to read again, or you can subscribe to posts via the atom link at the bottom of the page, or if you're really clever you can use an RSS reader to see when something get's updated. Anyway over to Richard for the advert (nice cover don't you think?).

For a number of reasons a couple of us have made a book. We've called it the Fulham Review, and inside it there are:

  • Match reports from all the Fulham games this year, but also has the team news, referee, attendance, and basically everything you'd expect to find.

  • Sixteen essays. There are a couple by me (on Jan Lastuvka, our best central defensive pairings, and a few topics relevant to the time), a whole series on general footballing issues by my friend Martin, one by Chopper (the longest in the book, a cracking essay on Steed and Boa) and so on. It's good stuff.

  • Statistics. You've got a league table as it was every month, as well as final apps/gls/yellow/red cards.

And so on. It might not have been the most exciting season ever but still good to look back on, right? Or not? Who knows. Anyway, you can have a proper preview here. Should this sound interesting it couldn't be easier to get a copy. We've made these as Print on Demand books via So you can get a copy two ways. Either a printed version or an e-book. You can download the e-book for free off the Lulu website. We want as many people reading it as possible, so we figured the e-book costing absolutely nothing might help that. But if you do like it and would like a proper, bound copy, you can buy one from lulu for a fiver. It's about as cheaply as we could do it and the book's A4 size and is 84 pages long. It looks like a slightly thicker and slightly less well produced version of one of the old Wembley programmes.

So go here to see it on lulu (and buy a copy!). Lulu accepts all credit cards and also takes paypal. Or I could send you a copy in a month or so when I get my stock.We never really planned to do this until about February, but having got it done we're really pleased we did. Might not be to everyone's taste I suppose, but I reckon it's the sort of thing I'd like to read and for a fiver you can't go far wrong. We're not making money on this, the point was to make the thing and go from there. If it goes well we'll do it every year too. Hope you like it, and if you do, tell everyone you know.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BFTHE End of Season Awards

Someone posted a list of end of season awards on TFi, not many people replied but for what it's worth I thought I'd put mine on here as well. I've cut the list down a bit as there were a few too many, but please feel free to post your own in the comments section.

Player of the Season: Liam Rosenior - Liam's had a lot of detractors this season and he has had some moments but I think he's done well in a struggling side and has always given 100% and shown great enthusiasm for the game.

Young Player of Season: Elliott Omozusi - Made an F.A. Cup appearance for the first team and has been captain and a mainstay of the reserves defense this year.

Goal of the Season: Clint Dempsey v Liverpool - It has to be really, not just because I only actually saw two but because of how much it meant and for the way Clint created and finished it.

Moment of the Season: Ian Pearce returning to the pitch despite being clearly injured and then with his one remaining leg managing to score the equalizing goal.

Most Improved Player: Tomas Radzinski - Another player who's had a lot of flack, yet has put in some really impressive performances especially when asked to play out of position at left wing.

Most Disappointing Player: Collins John - It just never happened.

Most Underrated Player: Liam Rosenior - See above.

Player Performance: Moritz Volz in a number of games when having to play midfield due to our injury crisis, this coincided with some of our better results as well.

Team Performance: Home v Arsenal - I wasn't there but anytime a Fulham team manages to beat Arsenal has to be something special.

Best Opposition: Liverpool at Anfield were pretty impressive, also Blackburn at the Cottage.

Best Oppo Player: Henri Camera (Wigan)/Kevin Doyle (Reading) - Camera destroyed us for pace in the home game against Wigan, Doyle caused us all sorts of problems in both matches. Won and scored the penalty at the Cottage, created the goal at Reading.

Best Goal Celebration: Jan Lastuvka's at West Ham

Quote of the Year: "It is a dogfight and when you go into those you have to fight like dogs" Chris Coleman

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

End of Season Review

So having started this blog with a pre-season preview I thought I really ought to bookmark it with an end of season review. However the thought of going over the whole season again is not a particularly exciting one so to follow the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words ... here's a picture.

The chart represents my level of optimism at various points throughout the season. It's possibly not as easy to read as I'd hoped but you should get the idea. The key at the bottom works left to right and then top to bottom. I think it reflects quite well the highs and lows I've been through this year, which was kind of the point of the blog in the first place.

Keep the faith.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Game 38 - Middlesbrough 3 FFC 1

And so what has been a truly dreadful season draws to a close with yet another loss. Despite losing in one of the few games played today that really meant nothing I'm still over the moon. We are still a Premier League win all thanks to that fortuitous victory over Liverpool last week and have another chance to make the most of top level football. Had we lost last week it would have been us going down today, but thanks to that Clint Dempsey goal I'm looking forward to watching MOTD tonight to see the thrills of a pretty exciting final day. Special mention to the 2000 or so fans that made the trip to 'Boro today, especially the ones that went on the "Fulham Flyer" who apparently got struck by lightning on the flight up North. Everyone ok apparently, though if it was me I'd have been looking for the train times to get home!

The anger of West Ham's lack of punishment is bound to rumble on for a while, but I reckon it will ultimately prove fruitless. Sheffield United are the team to lose out and you have to feel a smidgen of sympathy for them, but to be fair any of the teams that failed to reach 40 points this year cannot complain if they end up dropping a division. There is no doubt we have been very lucky. I'm getting excited about next season already, had time to digest the decision to give Lawrie the job and can't wait to see the changes he makes to the team. If David Healy isn't our first signing I will be amazed.

I reckon I'll keep this blog going over the summer, probably keep an eye on the transfer rumours and I've got one or two other ideas about things to write so keep on checking.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sanchez Confirmed!

I'll give up trying to post topical stuff then! Sanchez has been confirmed as new Fulham manager on Its a full-time appointment so he won't be involved with Northern Ireland and he's got a one-year rolling contract much like Coleman had when he first took over. Good luck Lawrie hope you can do a good job for us. (Picked the right time to have my lunch though!)

Koeman for Fulham? Simon Morgan moves on

Quite excited (probably overly so) by the news today the Ronald Koeman is interested in the Fulham job. The Daily Mirror has run with the story which is reproduced on FulhamWeb and is also mentioned on BBC Sports. I had a quick check on his managerial record and found that he's done OK if not spectacularly. Three Dutch league titles and a cup with Ajax and PSV plus one Portugese cup win with Benfica, I'm still excited though. I'm not completely opposed to Sanchez being given a go, I think he is single-minded and ambitious enough to actually do quite well as a Premier League manager, but I have been disappointed so far in what he has managed with the team he inherited. My biggest concern is that it will be players like Philippe Christanval who end up missing out under Sanchez as he looks for players who will just do what he wants.

Also this week I found out (thanks Dad!) that Simon Morgan has left the club. Apparently there was a piece in Saturday's programme that said he was moving on to a similar role with the Premier League. Morgs became the epitome for me of the Fulham side that dragged itself from the bottom division to the brink of the Prem. Good luck Simon, hope we'll see you back at the Cottage again soon.

UPDATE: Damn just as I hit publish there's an update from Bert Wijchen, a Dutch Fulham (and NEC Nijmegen) fan who regularly posts on TFi. He says "Ronald Koeman is staying at PSV Eindhoven; there was a terrible fight between him and the chairman because they lost almost a 11 points lead in the league but he will be for 100% staying there for one year" but "His brother Erwin left Feyenoord a couple of weeks ago and he is available. Feijenoord had a terrible season although it has not much to do with his manager skills but the lack of decent players.Erwin is a great guy; one of the people and Ronald has a more arrogant attitude". Oh well guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fulham Programmes

I found this website whilst looking for a way of clearing out my huge collection of old programmes. Fulham is clearly a commercially run site but is nicely laid out. You can search season by season and for the most part they have a photo of each programme. It's quite a neat way of checking what games where played when an can also give you an idea of the value of your own programmes. I'm not involved by the way but I am hoping I can sell my back log of old programmes to them as my loft (and for that matter my Dad's loft) really cannot take the strain anymore!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fulham Men Staying Up - Fulham Women Relegated

So we can all finally rest easy as Charlton's loss to Spurs confirms our status for another season. Meanwhile our female counterparts have failed to maintain their Premier League status. I actually found this out before the Liverpool game but didn't have time to write about it. Despite being relegated, something that has been a certainty almost from the very first game of the season, the girls ended their season in some style. They played two games in a week and drew both. The first was against Charlton who were 2nd in the league and needed a 94th minute equaliser to prevent the Whites from registering their second win. They then managed another 1-1 with Blackburn who are currently 4th and pushing for European qualification. Prior to this the Whites also reached the final of the Surrey cup (beating their own reserve side 4-1 in the semi!) where they met Ch*lsea Ladies but disappointingly lost 1-0. They have one game remaining at Bristol Academy on 11th May but remain 6 points adrift of their nearest rivals. Best of luck to the girls next season, I have a feeling they will be much better prepared for life in a lower division, and I hope they see the success they deserve, and a swift return to the top division.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Game 37 - FFC 1 Liverpool 0

So at last, barring some spectacular bad luck, we are safe and to top it all I have finally broken my jinx. Eight games without a win ended on the very last home game of the season. I was not, however, feeling very positive at any point on Saturday. Unlike the Blackburn game there was no sense of excitement of the game to come, I didn't even feel especially nervous, just resigned to the inevitable. This feeling really struck home as the game began and stayed with me until the arrival of a certain Mr C. Dempsey. I don't think I was the only one affected, the atmosphere in the Hammy End was strangely muted as we huffed and puffed through a fairly turgid first half. We seemed to be containing Liverpool despite a couple of chances for Bellamy, both well saved by Niemi, but didn't have a great deal to offer in attack. Liverpool's pace was clear to see, and I lost count of the number of times a ball over the top left Bocanegra struggling to make up ground. Montella was not seeing much of the ball, and when he did it was rarely at his feet. He did manage one moment of sublime skill, when he executed a spectacular overhead kick which either struck a post or a defender before being cleared. The moment that really defined the first half for me was the glaring miss by Robbie Fowler inches from the goal line with Niemi well out of reach.

The second half did not start a great deal better and we were largely reduced to humping long balls forward in the direction of McBride. It was a mere 8 minutes in that Sanchez decided he had seen enough and pulled Montella off to replace him with Clint Dempsey. Montella didn't look best pleased and to be fair hadn't had a great deal of service, but Sanchez was obviously not getting what he wanted and acted swiftly. I had previously doubted that Dempsey could add much to our fight against the drop, but both Coleman and Sanchez saw something that kept him in the squad. As soon as he entered the fray you could tell that here was a player who actually wanted the ball. He had a couple of nice early touches and the belief from team and crowd seem to improve. There was a long delay as Sissoko received treatment after a Davies challenge and during this the atmosphere really started to build as the home fans got behind the team 100%. It was around this time I first noticed Airfix (a TFi poster) banging the Fulham drum in memory of his friend Graham Hooper. Graham was tragically killed in a car accident shortly after the Blackburn game, a game which had seen Graham bang the drum for the first time in several years. Airfix did Graham proud on Saturday and definitely played his part in getting the crowd response the team needed.

When the goal came it was Dempsey who created and finished a fine move. Receiving the ball just ouside the box he burst through the defence before sliding an acute pass out to Rosenior on the right wing. Rosenior played the perfect return pass and, as the Liverpool defence appealed for offside, Clint continued his run to meet the ball, fire past Reina and trigger mass hysteria in the Hammy End. All of a sudden the impossible task seemed achievable. The last twenty minutes were not easy to watch. Diop, already on a yellow, seemed intent on getting another as he put in a series of tough tackles on the Liverpool midfield. Steve Bennett, unusually the most officious of referees gave him a stern talking to after one challenge on Sissoko. Steve Finnan joined the field to a standing ovation from the Fulham faithful and a rendition of "There's only One Steve Finnan", before being booed as soon as he touched the ball - only at Fulham! There was one real heart-in-the-mouth moment as a Harry Kewell free kick was glanced in by Paletta, but thankfully it was ruled offside. With injury time ticking down Papa Diop made one last lunging tackle which finally saw him sent-off. No complaints about that, to be honest he could have gone a couple of fouls earlier, but by then he had already played his part and all on the day after becoming a father.

My Dad (attending his first game since I last saw a Fulham league win!) noted at half time that Liam Rosenior was the only one who wanted to pass the ball, an interesting comment considering the stick Liam's had this year for not passing to a white shirt. Liam had a very good game and yet I still found myself defending him as I chatted with someone on the way back to the car. Christanval is always a joy to watch and Knight is now playing at something like his best form. Boca was too often exposed at left back but is always going to be struggling for pace against the top teams. Diop, like Knight, is playing as well as I have seen, and was a big force in the centre. Brown worked hard throughout, although another moment of madness may cost us his services at Middlesbrough as well. Match of the Day seemed quite certain that he headbutted Xavi Alonso yet from the replays I saw there is a glimmer of truth in Brown's claim that Alonso squared up to him and they just clashed heads.

I may well head down the pub on Monday night to make sure the Spud's do us a favour and finish off Charlton for good. I will certainly be happier next Sunday if there's no chance of a nasty shock ending.

Another poor picture of the crowd at the back of the Hammy End who did so well leading the singing (Next year I'll take my real camera!)

Second Half free kick, which surprisingly was not fired low and hard into the wall.

TFi's Airfix doing a sterling job "banging the drum", we scored shortly after this photo was taken.