Monday, August 11, 2008

Review of the summer - The Goalkeepers

A week to go until the action starts and so I thought I'd take a look at the changes Roy has made to the playing squad. At the end of last season, the playing staff consisted of some 44 players. Clearly there was a lot of dead wood but whilst it was easy to see who we could let go there was also a need to improve the quality of players. I'm planning to take a look at each area in turn to see where we are and what we might still need. Roy didn't waste much time sorting out the number one position so it makes sense to start with the Goalkeepers.

Rank Season 2007-08 Season 2008-09
1  Kasey Keller    Mark Schwarzer
2  Antti Niemi    David Stockdale
3  Tony Warner    Pascal Zuberb├╝hler
4  Ricardo Batista   Antti Niemi

Mark Schwarzer arrives from a successful career with Middlesbrough to claim the number one shirt. He's a proven Premiership 'keeper with a decent track record. It's been clear for a while that Antti Niemi is not having the best of times and whilst he stays on our books for the time being it's likely he'll be on his way fairly soon. Niemi has picked up another injury which might end up delaying his departure until January but I very much doubt we'll see him in a Fulham shirt again. Other new signing David Stockdale (22 year old signed from Darlington) seems to be considered good enough to be the second choice keeper, and we've brought in veteran Swiss stopper Zuberb├╝hler to provide a bit of experience if it turns out he isn't.

Ricardo Batista moved to Sporting Lisbon on a permanent deal which must be good news for him. I think I only saw him play once in a very entertaining Carling Cup game against Lincoln which we eventually won 5-4. He was clearly very nervous that night and had a complete nightmare. In fact I don't think I've ever seen a worse performance from a 'keeper. At the time I posted on TFi to say how poor he was and was taken to task by someone who correctly pointed out how young he was. Felt bad about that ever since so I wish him all the best for the future.

Tony Warner moves to Hull where he has a chance to put in his regular first game of the season blinder and embarrass us in our opening fixture. Tony definitely played his part in Fulham history. He had some bad days but some very good ones too.

Kasey Keller has apparently been released. His contract expired at the end of June but as far as I could tell the club never listed him as a player released. Poor manners from the club there, Keller made a significant contribution to our escape from relegation and deserved an official thank you at the very least. He wouldn't have been happy with being a 3rd choice keeper so no great surprise really. There's been talk that, like Brian McBride, he planned to return to his home town and play for Seattle in the MLS.

Almost a complete change in personnel then for this key position but some sound decisions from my point of view. I feel comfortable with Schwarzer being able to do a good job in the number one jersey and early reports suggest that Stockdale is decent as well.

No comments: