Monday, November 30, 2009

The beautiful game

Some things I learnt from Saturday's visit of Bolton to the Cottage.

There are days when playing the beautiful game just isn't enough. Sometimes you have to work hard and grind out a result. Fulham dominated the game for long stretches but struggled to find a way to goal. At times our final ball was poor but when we did find the target Jaaskelainen was equal to most of our efforts and when he wasn't there always seemed to be a Bolton head or foot to stab the ball clear. In the end we were lucky to rescue a point.

Gary Megson deserves some credit for recreating an exact facsimilie of Sam Allardyce's Bolton team circa 2003. I'm not the most tactically astute but it doesn't take a genius to understand the Big Sam/Ginger Meg master plan.
1. Kick 'em early and kick 'em hard.
2. Keep kicking them until you can't get away with it any more.
3. Take every opportunity to win a free kick or a corner.
4. Once you've won a dead ball lob it in the box and win it in the air.
5. In the unlikely event you take the lead, defend like billy-o.
It's not pretty but it is effective.

Had Kevin Blom been refereeing this game I doubt Bolton would have finished with more than 8 men. Steve Bennett managed to book 6 Wanderers for a succession of crude and reckless challenges (and Jonathon Greening for an equally poor lunge at Klasnic) but became more and more lenient as the game progressed. The building frustration from our lack of a goal and the unpunished thuggery began to take its toll. On my language if nothing else.

Hodgson era Fulham are no walkovers. This was not a vintage performance but the team deserve credit for their persistance and hard work. We missed the presence of Zamora up front. Dempsey works very hard but doesn't seem to get the rub of the green when he's the lead man up front. We were rescued by a touch of class from Damien Duff and a deflection off Gary Cahill's knee. I celebrated the 75th minute equaliser the way I might have done a winner in any other game.

A sigh of relief at the end, Bolton deserved their point but we fought hard to preserve our unbeaten home record against them since we were both promoted in 2001.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slight return

spo·rad·ic Pronunciation
(sp-rdk, spĂ´-) also spo·rad·i·cal (--kl)
adj.
1. Occurring at irregular intervals; having no pattern or order in time.
2. Appearing singly or at widely scattered localities, as a plant or disease.
3. Isolated; unique:


Hello again. It's been a while but I've been pondering a return to writing about Fulham for some time and the Rome trip just might have provided the catalyst for this. I'm not going to get into regular match reports or trying to keep up with the daily news but if I have something worth saying and I can get it done in a resonable time frame I figure I might as well put it on here. We'll see how it goes.

While I'm here I thought I'd add my weight to the Craven Cottage Newsround campaign to introduce a F*ckupbuzzer to alert Refs to match changing errors. Actually, CCN haven't started a campaign as such but I figured if I started calling it one it might pick up some momentum and force a change.

I've been involved in quite a few heated debates in the wake of the Henry handball. It seems to me there are two issues here. Firstly, what can we do to help officials out and ensure we avoid the sort of mistakes that ruin the game and secondly, how much responsibility should the players take. I'm firmly in the camp of making the most of technology to ensure a fair result. I'm fed up with the media circus that follows a major cock up and would really just like to see something implemented quickly. I also believe players should start accepting their responsibility to make the game more honest. If money is considered more important than fairness and principles there's something very wrong with the world.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rome in a day

Looking back over my 35 or so years following Fulham there are many milestone games that stand out. These are matches that live long in the memory and often indicate how well (or how badly) we were doing at the time. The home draw against Lincoln in 1982 that confirmed our promotion (and the first since I'd been going) to Division 2. The travesty at the Baseball ground that ended our hopes of returning to the top flight in 1983. Relegation at the Vetch Field, promotion at Carlisle (even though I wasn't there), the FA Cup victory at Villa park and the subsequent loss at Old Trafford.

There are more of course, some possibly unique to me. I still vividly remember a home game against Walsall when Ian Branfoot had taken over. Possibly our first game in the basement division and one we were losing 1-0 going into the final ten minutes. When Kevin Moore's late header crashed into the net I celebrated like we'd won the league and shed a tear that might have been welling up inside me since that long journey home from Swansea the previous season. I've no doubt that, despite the result, this trip will be another one of those special games.

Me and my friend Mark had booked ourselves on the Fulham flyer. The easy option and, based on our fairly inept attempts looking for independent alternatives, not massively over priced (turns out lots of people found decent deals. Maybe next time!). We left Shepperton at a hideous time in the morning and, once we'd navigated the barrage of Gatwick security (belts off? shoes off? at this hour in the morning?), found ourselves with a couple of hours to kill mooching about the airport shops. I was just admiring the impressive collection of hugely expensive malt whiskey when a familiar face appeared. I knew Rob, of Following the Fulham, was going to be on the flyer and it was great to meet up for the first time in person. This was to be a theme of the trip, meeting people we half knew from the Cottage or making new friends with people we didn't. It's part of what makes Fulham special. Most of us are surprised and delighted to meet someone else who supports the Whites (it didn't used to happen very often). I'm sure this isn't the case if you're a Man Utd supporter.

On arrival in Rome we had an early introduction to Italian driving. After a short pause to watch the baggage handlers look quizzically at an empty luggage hold we began an erratic journey from plane to terminal. Our bus driver seemed uncertain of the exact route to take. We were tooted by one airport driver who we'd just cut up then managed to jump a queue of traffic as our man decided to take the direct approach rather than follow everyone else. Once disembarked, our route through the terminal and onto the coaches was marked by a string of armed Italian police. Maintaining their steely glares there was a hint of bemusement as 300 or so quiet and well behaved Fulham fans strolled past them. I imagine they were expecting something quite different from a visiting English football team. This didn't prevent them from throwing themselves into the role. We had a police escort all the way into town (flashing lights and everything) which seemed, in many ways, to only draw attention to the fact we were there.

Once we reached the drop off point at Villa Borghese we were free to explore. Three hours in the city centre didn't leave much time so we made a whistle stop tour of the main attractions. Spanish Steps - tick. Trevi Fountain - tick. Coliseum - tick. Rob had got to know Tim on the plane who, as a regular visitor to Italy, briefly acted as our guide before being hijacked by a man who claimed he ran the best restaurant in Rome. On our way down to the Coliseum we bumped into the two blokes who sit in front of us in H7. Meeting so many people we half knew or had something in common gave the whole day a slightly surreal feel. Having done the tourist thing we set off in search of food and drink. With nearly all aspects of the trip providing no alcohol (dry flight, dry coach, dry stadium, dry return journey!) the chance to have a pizza and a couple of peronis was gratefully accepted.



Trying to look Italian in front of the Coliseum whilst the ever present Silvio Berlusconi looms in the background

We had a strict return time of 15:30 to catch the coaches into the stadium. This had always seemed unnecessarily early and inevitably, despite the suggestion they'd leave no later than 15:35, it was some time before we even got on the coach. This did enable us to meet more neighbours from H7. Val, Bernard and Henry had got a £2.99 flight from East Midlands airport and were staying over night. There was a huge Police presence and we apparently had to wait for them to search everyone before we boarded. They seemed in no rush to get started and I couldn't help wonder if Fulham had got their time zones confused. After a good hour of posing and looking tough they finally completed a half-hearted search and we were piled onto the coaches. Another long pause before we made our way through town (more flashing lights and sirens) to the Stadio Olimpico. Driven straight into the away fans enclosure we saw no sign of any Roma fans and little evidence that there was a game on at all. We filtered off the coaches towards the Distinti Nord Ovest entrance and at last it felt like we were at a football match. Fulham fans singing and joking as we shuffled our way through the turnstiles.


Police at Villa Borghese

The Stadio Olimpico is deceptively sized. It doesn't dominate the skyline from the outside and whilst clearly large when you're inside there's a different sense of scale that may be a result of its Olympic history. It's still an impressive stadium but I didn't get the same impact I felt the first time I went to Villa Park or Old Trafford. A huge expanse of empty seats probably didn't help, the crowd of 20,000 swallowed up by the 76,000 capacity venue. It's a ground with history though. This is where Liverpool won the European Cup twice (against Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1977 and A.S. Roma in 1984), where West Germany beat Argentina to win the 1990 World Cup, and where F.C. Barcelona humbled Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League Final. A special place and a rare chance to see Fulham play there.


Nice stadium, if it was full

I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck as the two teams came out for kick-off. This was what it was all about. Fulham settled down quickly and the early exchanges suggested we were in for a tightly contested match. We looked comfortable on the ball but lacked a bit of composure with the final ball. Roma were slow off the blocks but had moments of great touch that hinted of more to come. A long ball to Dempsey who then played a wonderful ball into the box for Kamara to chase, a tap on the ankle and down Joe went. Surely not? But yes - a penalty kick. Diomansy dusted himself off and fired home the spot kick to the mass delight of 2000 travelling supporters. Blimey, 15 minutes gone and we're winning 1-0 in Rome.


Kamara's PK hits the back of the net in blurry vision

We comfortably held our own until the break. The joy we felt at half time was short lived. With less than 5 minutes gone in the second half Nevland (on for the injured Kamara) made an ill judged challenge on De Rossi. A poor tackle for sure, but one that would have got a yellow card in the Premier League. As referee Kevin Blom pulled out the red card 2000 hearts sank as one. We were still 1-0 up but with over 40 minutes to play we all knew the task had just got very much harder. Inevitably, despite stubborn resistance from the Fulham defence, Roma found a way through. A deflected bullet from Roma's Riise followed by an unchallenged header from the brilliantly named Okaka Chuka. 2-1 Roma and they shut up shop.


Roma Ultras, or at least those that could be bothered to turn up

The boys on the pitch did us proud though. They never gave up and, as the final minutes ticked past, created a few half chances to keep us on the edge of our seats. Another straight Red that should have been Yellow saw Konchesky leave the field, but even then we would not bow. Hangeland pushed himself forward and we almost scrambled a late goal. We certainly deserved it but there was no fairy tale ending. The away fans cheered the team off. Hangeland and Paintsil made the effort to come down to where we sat and applauded our contribution (JP kicking the match ball into our reach for someone to claim as a souvenir). As they trudged back to the dressing room it was clear the hurt was as bad for them as it was for us.


Schwarzer fires off a bomb of a goal kick

The last time I'd been made to wait behind after the game we'd just drawn 4-4 with Pompey. This was not quite so fun but still dealt with in good spirit by the Fulham faithful. Most of the Roma fans must have been tucked up in bed with a coco by the time we were allowed to head home but yet again we were met by a variety of armed Italian law enforcers. Back onto our coach (No.3 which had gallantly led the way all day), more flashing lights and an escort all the way to the terminal. A long wait at an apparently deserted Fiumicino Airport before a turbulent flight back to blighty. I eventually crawled into bed at three in the morning. A very long day and one that hadn't fulfilled all my dreams but a journey to remember.




Who's that team we all adore?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Farewell Sir Bobby

A Fulham legend and all round footballing good guy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This Is The End ...

OK, I know I've said this a few times before but it's time for me to take a break from blogging about Fulham. I've not really had the time to do this blog justice and I need to focus on some other stuff for a while. It might be back at some point in the future but only if I think it can add something worthwhile to the mass of Fulham related discussion that exists elsewhere.

In the mean time I recommend you point your browser at some of these fine Fulham sites.

Craven Cottage Newsround - A great Fulham blog that covers all aspects of the club (though taking a well earned break right now).

HammyEnd.com - The place to look for daily updates of all the Fulham news and some well thought out articles as well.

Friends of Fulham - My current favourite message board (though you can never completely ignore TiFF)

Or any of the sites linked from my sidebar (the place you'll also find Gordon Mills' excellent nostalgia series)

I'll still be writing my Top 5 blog (though maybe not quite so frequently), I've got some big decisions to make on the work front and a big list of jobs to do at home. If all that goes well, I may even get around to learning how to play the guitar properly!

Enjoy Fulham in Europe - Come on you Whites!



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HEC 2008-09 End Of Season - Optimism Chart

Long term readers will be familiar with my optimism chart. This is my attempt to sum up the season with a graphical view of how optimistic I felt (the blue line) as the season progressed. Our actual league position is shown by the red line. Last years chart is here if you want to compare.



That's a pretty flat line which is partially down to, what turned out to be, a fairly comfortable season. I think it also has a lot to do with Roy's football philosophy rubbing off on me. We're going to have good days and bad days but we shouldn't get over excited or massively concerned about either. That said, I couldn't help but be enthusiastic after the Man Utd win and the brilliant finish!

Monday, June 08, 2009

HEC 2008-09 End Of Season - Awards

My view on what has been a fantastic season from start to end. There were lots of tough choices to make which is a good sign of how well things went. Although these awards identify individuals for praise the success we achieved was all about how we performed as a team. The sum of our parts was greater than the separate components and that's down to Mr Roy Hodgson.

Player of the Season: Brede Hangeland - This was really tough to choose which is probably one of the reasons our season turned out so well. For me it was between Brede and Danny Murphy. Both had exceptional seasons and were key players in getting the results we achieved. Up until a week go I was going with Murphy but I think I may have just got so used to Hangeland doing what he does I almost took it for granted. Strong in the air, comfortable on the ball and intelligent with his movement, Brede is all you could ask for in a centre back. (Last season: Simon Davies)

Young Player of Season: Wayne Brown - Well there weren't many options in this category. I've watched Wayne play a few times for the reserves and liked what I saw. He seems to have made progress this season and got a brief taste of Premier League football (albeit just four minutes) when he replaced Zoltan Gera at Old Trafford. His recent loan move, to TPS Turku of Finland, can only be good for his development. (Last season: Elliott Omozusi)

Best New Signing: Mark Schwarzer - Another contender for player of the season. Schwarzer was our first signing of the summer, filling that Edwin van der Sar shaped gap we've been struggling with for some time. He has been fabulously consistent all year and has rightly been identified as one of the best keeper's in the League. (Last Season: Paul Konchesky)

Goal of the Season: Zoltan Gera v Man Utd - We've not scored many spectacular goals this year. Paul Konchesky's at West Ham is the only one that really stands out. Zoltan's overhead volley wasn't the most technically brilliant of goals but it meant so much and felt so sweet. (Last Season: Diomansy Kamara v Spurs)

Moment of the Season: Finishing 7th and reaching Europe - It's actually been a season of great moments; the home wins against Arsenal and Man Utd, Dempsey's equalising header against them and being safe from relegation in March. They were all signposts along the route to; our best ever finish in the top flight, the most points we've ever achieved, our highest final position and qualifying for the inaugural Europa League. Brilliant. Bloody brilliant. (Last Season: Kamara's double v Man City)

Most Improved Player: Dickson Etuhu - I had no great expectations for Dickson when he arrived. There had been some strong words of opposition on TFi before he came but that apart I don't think anyone thought he'd be much more than a squad player. When a mop haired midfielder left and Dickson stepped up I thought it was only a temporary fill. He did OK but nothing to suggest he could hold down a regular place. But he did just that. He grew in confidence as each game went by and before long it was clear he WAS going to be a regular and a good one at that. He's become one of my favourite players, anchoring the midfield, freeing Danny Murphy and just playing simple but effective football. Dickson? SHOOOOOT! (Last season: No award)

Most Disappointing Player: No award - Yet again I don't think there's anyone who hasn't tried their best for the club this year. It may not have gone as smoothly for some as they would have liked but they've given it their best shot. (Last season: No award)

Most Underrated Player: Aaron Hughes - Can a player be underrated two years in a row? To be honest I think we all know how important Aaron is to our defence. He's one of the reasons Hangeland looks so good. Always there to tidy up at the back, cover for someone who's out of position or put in a late block. He's only underrated because there are so many other players around him getting the plaudits. A top bloke and a smashing footballer. (Last season: Aaron Hughes)

Player Performance: Murphy v Swansea City - Having scraped through the first game by the skin of our teeth, we found ourselves a goal down at home in the replay. We weren't playing badly but we were running out of ideas. Danny entered the fray on the hour mark and totally turned the game around. He's been running our midfield all season but this was spectacular proof of his all round ability. (Last season: Jimmy Bullard v Aston Villa)

Team Performance: Home v Man Utd - Quite possibly the best Fulham performance I've ever seen. Just two weeks after United had brushed us aside in the F.A. Cup this was the Hodgson team at its very best. A brilliant atmosphere from start to finish. A classy Danny Murphy penalty. Ridiculing the World and European footballer of the year. A winning goal from a remarkable over head kick. Great times. (Last season: Away v Reading)

Best Opposition: Manchester United - This for their 4-0 victory at the Cottage in the cup. For 20 minutes we seemed to have their measure but they were in determined mood that day. Stepped it up a notch got a bit of good fortune and took us to the cleaners. I was also very impressed with Everton on the last day of the season, even more so considering they had the F.A. Cup final on the horizon. A special mention for Swansea who were excellent in both cup games, and Sunderland who caught us on a very bad day but certainly didn't look like relegation candidates. (Last season: Tottenham Hotspur)

Best Opposition Player: Stephen Piennar - Strong running, intelligent midfielder. Did a lot of the hard work for the Toffees and proved too much for us to handle. Enabled players like Cahill and Leon Osman the opportunities to cause us all sorts of problems. (Last season: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool))

Best Goal Celebration: Zoltan Gera v Man Utd - It's been a difficult season for Zoltan and there was real joy in his eyes as he peeled away and ran towards the Johnny Haynes stand. (Last season: The whole team at Pompey)

Quote of the Year: Roy Hodgson "Do you want to go down the (Jamie) Redknapp route - only England, Italy and Spain count? Are we going to say 'You're from Spain, you might be just about okay but the rest of you, Switzerland, France, Poland, Russia, Austria, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, you don't count?' It's nonsense" - It's unusual for Roy to criticise anyone specifically which makes his response to Jamie Redknapp's suggestion about European Refs all the more cutting. As always Roy sees the bigger picture.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Famous Fulham Fans - The Definitive List


UPDATE 17th Feb 2011 - This list is now hosted and maintained at Friends Of Fulham and available from THIS LINK. I'll keep this page here though as a staging point.

This is my latest attempt to provide a "definitive" list of famous (or at least reasonably well known) Fulham supporters. The longer the list gets the more likely it is to include people who may not really be "proper" Fulham supporters. Don't get too upset by this, my original aim was to produce as long a list as possible, so as far as I'm concerned if you've been once its enough!

I began keeping track of these names when, in searching the Internet to find just such a list, I only found two web page links ... and both were blank. I constructed my own list and then posted it on TFI to see who I had missed. This resulted in a massive response which initiated the much larger list which you will find below. The list is in no particular order and almost certainly contains "much which is apocryphal or, at the very least, wildly inaccurate". It certainly includes a number of celebrities who have now passed on, both figuratively and literally.

Subsequently I have found this site The Famous Football Supporters Page which includes a decent attempt but is by no means exhaustive. I will endeavour to maintain this list as the "official FFC Famous Fans list" and would be happy to hear from any one with information about other famous Fulham fans or corrections to the current list. Either post a comment or send me an email and I'll consider the change. Better still, if you are a famous person on the list and aren't actually a Fulham supporter, drop me a line and I'll happily take you along to a game. Hell, who wouldn't want to be on a list that includes Pussy Galore, Pope John Paul II AND The OXO Dad!

The Definitive List Of Famous Fulham F.C. Fans
Last Updated: 10th July 2010

Actors
Ray Brooks (Eastenders, Robbie Box in Big Deal & Narrator of Mr Ben)
Michael Redfern (The OXO Dad)
Hugh Grant
Liz Hurley (has apparently been spotted since splitting with Hugh)
Iain Fletcher (DC Rod Skase in The Bill)
Neil Dudgeon (BBC's Messiah - pretty sure he used to sit near me in block H3)
Sharon Duce (Now a Brighton regular but surely deep down still Fulham)
Dominic Guard (Sharon Duce's partner)
Christopher Guard (Dominic's brother & Cathy Shipton's partner)
Cathy Shipton (Nurse Duffy in Casualty)
Sue Pollard
Keith Allen
Willie Rushton
Nigel Havers
Liz Frazer (Carry-On Films)
Sam Kydd
Bella Emberg (Russ Abbott sidekick)
Pierce Brosnan
Kevork Malikyan (Greek bloke off Mind Your Language & many films)
Fulton MacKay (Mr MacKay in Porridge)
Tony Booth (Father of Cherie Blair)
Tony Curtis
Ben Chaplin (Game-On and a film with a long title)
Patrick Mower (currently Emmerdale)
John Woodvine
Ewen MacIntosh (Big Keith in "The Office")
James Villiers
Ian Cuthbertson
Hugh Laurie

Nigel Planer (The Young Ones)
Neil Pearson (Drop The Dead Donkey)

Robin Askwith (Confessions films)
George Selway (Beryl's Lot)
Maurice Kaufman
Honor Blackman

Peter Vaughan
Geraldine McKewan (Miss Marple)
Benicio Del Toro
Jack Coleman (HRG from Heroes)
Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders)
Martin Wimbush

Television Celebrities
George Lamb (TV presenter & Radio DJ)
"Nasty" Nick Bateman (Big Brother)
Georgie Thompson (Sky Sports News presenter)
Isobel Lang (BBC Weather)
Emily Maitlis (BBC News)
Scorpio (from Gladiators)
Tim Ewart (ITN Sports Editor)
Des Lynham (Brighton supporter but regular attender at FFC for 2005/06)
Kirsty Gallacher (Presenter - Really a Liverpool fan but has attended in the past possibly due to her Dad)
Nick Ross (Presenter, BBC Crimewatch)
Keith Chegwin (Presenter, Chegger's Plays Pop)
Richard Parks (Fame Academy)
"Handy" Andy Kane (TV Handyman)
Janet Street Porter (Various)

Joel Defries (Blue Peter presenter)
James McQuillan (from The Apprentice 2009)

Musicians
Michael Jackson (for one game at Home to Wigan in 1997)
Ralph McTell
Dave Parsons (Bass Guitarist from Bush)
Lily Allen
Alex James (Bass Guitarist from Blur & pal of Keith Allen)
Sam Jeffers (Drummer with Fridge)
Kai Stephens (Bass Guitarist in Hard-Fi) or it could be Ross Phillips (Guitarist in Hard-Fi)
Les Gray (Singer in Mud)
Sade
Richard Drummie (Go West - though it might be Peter Cox)
Paul Roberts (Singer, The Stranglers replacing Hugh Cornwall)
Dusty Springfield
Example (Rapper)
Billy Franks (Singer, The Faith Brothers)
Kate Nash (Singer & friend of Lily Allen)
Jamie T (Singer)
Alan Price
Derek "The Draw" Hussey (Singer with The Blockheads)
Patrick Mascall (Singer & Guitarist with Von Tramp & former FFC programme editor)
The Rapture (US Dance-Punk band)
Crispian Mills (Singer with Kula Shaker)

Felix White (Guitarist with The Maccabees)
The Lurkers (Band whose debut album was "Fulham Fallout")
Mark Baron (Another Level)
Swervedriver (Indie Band)
Don Hymel (The Tim & Bob Show)
Neil Cowley (The Neil Cowley Trio)
Kylie Minogue
Ortise Williams (JLS)

Other Arts & Entertainment
John O’Farrell (Author & Broadcaster)
John Henry Ellen (Author)

Alex White (Author)
Dennis Turner (Author)
Martin Plumb (Author)
Peter Thompson (Author)

Ken Coton (Photographer)
Alex Ferguson (Famous Fan & Author)
"Diddy" David Hamilton (DJ)
Dennis Potter (Playwright)
Tommy Trinder (Comedian and ex-Chairman)
Johnny Speight (Writer of "Til Death Us Do Part")
John Sullivan (Writer of "Only Fools & Horses" and "Citizen Smith")

Eric Thompson (Writer of "The Magic Roundabout", Actor & Presenter)
Steve Steen (Comedian)
Danny Robins (Comedian)
Arthur Smith (Comedian)

Richard Kauffman (Radio 5 presenter)

Fictional
Wolfie Smith ("Citizen Smith" played by Robert Lindsey)
Terry McCann ("Minder" played by Dennis Waterman)
Ronald "Budgie" Bird ("Budgie" played by Adam Faith)
George ("Men Behaving Badly" played by Ian Lindsay)
DC "Dangerous" Davies ("The Last Detective" played by Peter Davison)
Mod ("The Last Detective" played by Sean Hughes)
Dougal ("The Magic Roundabout" in one hard to find episode)

Detective Inspector Jack Regan ("The Sweeney" played by John Thaw)
Detective Sergeant George Carter ("The Sweeney" played by Dennis Waterman)
Matty Cole ("55 Degrees North" played by Jaeden Burke)
Butch Harry ("The Italian Job")

Politicians
Steve Norris MP (was Everton but now a FFC regular)
Steve Pound MP
Martin Linton MP
Andy Slaughter MP

Sports
Jimmy Hill (ex-Player, ex-Chairman, TV Presenter & part time linesman)
Bernard Gallacher (Golfer)
Paul Duggan (Mountaineer)
Andy Woodman (Journeyman Goalkeeper - suggested he may be a Palace fan)
Jamie Moralee (Footballer)
Nicky Bailey (Footballer)
Dario Gradi (Football Manager)
Alan Smith (Football Manager)
Gary Johnson (Football Manager)
Graeme Banyard (Football Manager)
Jim Gregory (Football Chairman)
Malcom MacDonald (Former Football legend and Fulham Manager)
Sarah Lindsay (Speed Skater)


Journalists
Danny Fulbrook (Daily Star)
Frank Keating (Guardian, Observer)
Dave Kidd (The People)
Chris Blackhurst (Financial Ed, Evening Sub-Standard)

Ian Hawkey (Sunday Times)
Joe Posnanski (The Kansas City Star)
Eleanor Preston (freelance Sports Journalist)

Others
Paul Kenny (General Secretary of the GMB)
Max Clifford (Publicist)

Micheal Cole (Former Harrods spokesman)
The Bloke Karate Kicked by Eric Cantona (Assumed he was a Palace fan but apparently he was a regular at Fulham)
Keith Castle (1st British Heart Transplant patient)
Pope John Paul II (Pope)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Last on Match of the Day - Fulham victorious

How typically Fulhamish. In our best ever season we manage to be last on Match of the Day more times than anyone else except Wigan. Mike Whalley's excellent site has been tracking this for the last two seasons. Last season we came joint 2nd behind the frankly massive 13 appearances Derby County mustered. This season it was a much closer affair with us and Wigan managing nine appearances each but Fulham claiming the title thanks to the Gubba difference.

Mike Whalley's - World of Sport "Last on MOTD"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fulham 0 Everton 2

The pre-match omens were almost too greatly in our favour; a fixture that has been won by the home side on the previous 15 occasions, an Everton side that would surely have one eye on the F.A. Cup final, a Fulham team that still needed a point to secure European football and were keen to end our best ever season on a high. In the end it was too good to be true and we found out just how big the difference is between the team that finishes 5th and the team that finishes 7th.

Everton were very good today. They seized on our weaknesses, gave us no time on the ball, cut out the threat of Murphy and took their chances when they came. Saha was excellent in the solo front man role, hit the crossbar early on and reminded us all of what we lost when he left. It was Steven Pienaar though, who proved to be the driving force. Surging forward time and again, and eventually capitalising on a mix up between Hangeland and Paintsil to find Leon Osman, who slotted home to give the Toffees a half time lead.

Fulham tried hard to find a way back in the second period. Dempsey, who had looked our best player in the first 45, had a number of efforts blocked. Paintsil pushed on more and more, one tantalising run ending with a shot that we all hoped might fly in but ended up veering wide of the post. Hangeland also started to try and force the game our way. A sliding tackle to prevent a breakaway left the opposition player on the floor, whilst Brede picked himself on and continued to charge forward. A neat pass to Dempsey (I think) led to a fee kick which we unfortunately wasted. If this does turn out to be Brede's last game for the club it at least gave us another glimpse of how important the Norwegian has become. I got the impression he really wanted another win today.

A series of subs saw Zamora replace the flagging Nevland. Given more time he might have made a difference, but he didn't do a lot for his reputation slicing one effort hopelessly wide and firing a decent effort straight at Tim Howard. Dacourt replaced the erratic Gera to make what may be his last professional appearance and Chris Smalling replaced Aaron Hughes. Hughes receiving a well deserved ovation as he left the pitch. The game was over when that man Osman neatly collected a cross from the right wing, danced his way through the centre of our defence, and then sent a curling left foot shot crashing past Schwarzer. A goal worthy of winning any game.

Despite the result the party atmosphere remained (helped slightly by the news filtering through from Anfield) and we had the chance to applaud a team that has achieved our highest finish in the top flight.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes (Smalling 77), Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Murphy, Etuhu, Gera (Dacourt 73), Nevland (Zamora 68), Kamara
Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Gray, Stoor, Baird

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Baines, Neville (Gosling 79), Cahill, Rodwell, Pienaar (Vaughan 86), Osman, Saha (Castillo 79)
Subs not used: Nash, Jo, Jacobsen, Fellaini
Goals: Osman (45, 88)

Bookings: None

Attendance: 25,497

Referee: M A Riley (W. Yorkshire)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Newcastle 0 Fulham 1

Best Season Ever.

I listened to the last twenty minutes of yesterday's game via the intermittent reception of Radio 5 Live as I travelled back from seeing my Dad in Bexhill. The tension at the ground came through loud and clear. Newcastle throwing all they could muster at us and finding out exactly why we've got to the very fringe of European qualification.

By then Newcastle were down to ten men and we'd already taken the lead. Danny Murphy riding a wild challenge in centre midfield before threading another perfect pass for Eric Nevland to run on to. Nevland timed his run perfectly, Steven Taylor woefully misplaced failing to catch the Norwegian offside, and surged into the box. Eric's magic feet then drew Steve Harper out of his goal then left the 'keeper stranded and helpless as he played a gentle pass sideways to the waiting Kamara. Diomansey had time to polish his boots, adjust his position and smile for the camera before firing into the top of the net.

It could have been a very different story for Newcastle. Martins hit the post early on and Viduka had a goal harshly disallowed (though I'd say Kevin Nolan got his just reward for a lifetime of infringing goalkeepers) in the second half. Dickson Etuhu also made a remarkable goal line clearance. Then it was Schwarzer's turn to take the plaudits making two outstanding saves, first reacting quickly to a lunging effort from Nicky Butt, then saving smartly from a ferocious shot from Obafemi Martins.

Another clean sheet on the road and another composed team performance. We sit proudly 7th placed with only Spurs capable of catching us. Even if they do we won't finish lower than 8th and with a new record points tally of 53 we've already achieved our best ever finish. One more game to go and, whatever happens, it's going to be a party at the Cottage next week.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

F.A. Vase journey comes to a close

My mate Andy's trail in following the F.A. Vase from the opening rounds to it's conclusion at Wembley came to an end on Sunday as Whitley Bay beat Andy's home town team Glossop North End 2-0 in the final. Well worth a read if your interest in football isn't solely focused on the media bun fight that is the Premier League.

Chasing The Vase - Game 12 Glossop North End 0 Whitley Bay 2

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eric Cantona

It seems the beautiful game is the new hot topic for the film industry. "The Damned United" has already taken it's share of plaudits and criticisms and here comes the new Ken Loach film "Looking for Eric". The film is being promoted by a Fulham supporter and features Eric Cantona - now there's a player I'd have liked to see in the white of Fulham.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

London Premier League - Final standings (corrected version)

OK. Let's try that again. I'm blaming Google Docs conversion from my original spreadsheet! Corrected table below, hopefully right this time. Quite funny to see how many Spurs fans took this really seriously.

London Premier League - Final standings

This had seemed a good idea early in the season. We were flying high with wins against Arsenal and Spurs and Chelsea were languishing at the bottom of the table. Typically these things even themselves out and the final table makes disappointing reading. Still, I figured I ought to finish what I started and publish it anyway.

NUTS! I cocked that up - will fix it and come back with the correct table later. Soz.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fulham 3 Aston Villa 1

Following a poor game against Stoke and a disappointing result against Them I was starting to wonder if our season was going to peter out. This has been a truly great season though, and Fulham, as they have managed to do so often this campaign, returned with a performance full of skill and fight and perseverance to take all three points against a very dangerous Villa side.

A bright start saw both teams have chances, Agbonlahor collected a header from John Carew but screwed his shot wide and Nevland reacted quickly to a blocked Kamara shot but sent his header over the bar. We didn't have to wait long for a goal though. Dempsey did good work in a tight space and fed a ball towards Kamara who took a tumble when well placed to score thanks to a push in the back from James Milner. Murphy's record from the spot was maintained as he coolly slotted past Friedal who guessed correctly but couldn't prevent it going in. Villa were full of pace though and a typical counter attack saw a loose cross from the right flank evade several Fulham defenders before finding Ashley Young in space to fire home the equalizer.

The game seemed to be tightly balanced, both sides showing the ability to score more goals. Then, with the second half only 27 seconds old, and many of us still settling into our seats, Joe Kamara woke us all up with a smart shot from the edge of the box that found its laser guided way into the far corner. Fulham played some great football. Crisp passing, good movement, everyone knew their role and everyone played their part. It's a joy to watch. Villa are a very good side. Carew looked troublesome up front (though Hangeland was immense and Hughes, as ever, mopped up everything else) and Ashley Young caused Paintsil a few headaches in the 1st half (though oddly switch to the opposite wing in the 2nd half where he seemed less involved). Their main problem was they didn't see much of the ball. Fulham were really careful with possession and looked comfortable and assured on the ball.

The game was effectively ended on the hour mark. Hangeland won the aerial battle to head down ferociously and Kamara was perfectly placed to audaciously backheel the ball between Freidal's legs. Villa threw the dice by taking off both full-backs and replacing them with Emile Heskey and Nigel Reo-Coker. It didn't work. Fulham comfortably saw out the game and the home crowd had time to exult the virtues of Roy Hodgson. A cry of "There's only one Roy Hodgson" was extended as Hodgson kept a close eye on the action before acknowledging our cheers. This was followed by an emotional "Stand up for Roy Hodgson" that saw the whole ground rise as one to give our master manager a standing ovation. Marvellous moments. We saw out the last ten minutes with a series of subs that gave us a chance to applaud our hard working heroes. Nevland off for Zamora, Dempsey off for Julian Gray and Etuhu off for Dacourt. All three players had worked their socks off for the cause.

We've reached 50 points and are back up to seventh. Europe is a tantalising proposition, but either way it's been an incredible turn around in fortune from this time last year.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Gera, Murphy, Etuhu (Dacourt 89), Dempsey (Gray 85), Kamara, Nevland (Zamora 83).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Stoor, Baird, Smalling.

Booked: Murphy.

Goals: Murphy 6 pen, Kamara 46, 60.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young (Heskey 64), Knight, Davies, Shorey (Reo-Coker 64), Milner, Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Carew, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Sidwell, Delfouneso, Gardner, Clark.

Goals: Ashley Young 14.

Att: 25,660

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Foundation History of Fulham Football Club

I thought I ought to move on from the gloating just to balance out my karma ahead of the Villa game. Only spoken to a couple of Chelsea fans since and they were both genuine fans and decent blokes so I've been feeling a little bit guilty (though, with Drogba and Ballack both doing pretty good impressions of spoilt 7 year olds, not for very long).

Anyway, over at Friends of Fulham LBNo11 has just started a series of posts that will make Henry Shrimpton's “Foundation History of Fulham Football Club” available for the first time online. This should be a fascinating read about the very early days of the club. I recently bought Morgan Phillips' "From St Andrew’s to Craven Cottage" which examines the clubs earliest days as a church cricket and football club and it's eventual rise to something much bigger. Phillips' book (still available here) refers to Shrimpton's work quite a bit so it's a great chance to read the original source.

I'll keep this page updated as each part appears.

Foundation History of Fulham Football Club part I

Foundation History of Fulham Football Club part II

Foundation History of Fulham Football Club part III

Foundation History of Fulham Football Club part IV

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Champions League? You're having a laugh!

I couldn't be happier. Barca! Barca! Barca!



Picture courtesy BBC Sport http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/8010840.stm

The 50 Greatest Fulham Players

This has been out for a while now but I re-read it today and wanted to draw attention to it, if only for my Dad's benefit. Compiled by Richard from Craven Cottage Newsround who has done a fabulous job at attempting to resolve the relative merits of players from different decades and divisions. You might not agree with every player or with their position on the list but it's an interesting read all the same and will bring back your own memories about those you saw play.

Times Online - The 50 Greatest Fulham Players

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Nostalgia - Tony Macedo

Article written by Gordon Mills

The home game against Bristol City in December 1957 was rendered unforgettable by the explosive introduction onto the scene of goalkeeper Tony Macedo. In an unforgettable display of agility, anticipation and vibrant watchability, the young man from Gibraltar, who was still completing his national service at the time, transformed our expectations of Fulham goalkeepers for ever. He leapt for crosses, he plunged at the feet of onrushing attackers, he threw himself spectacularly across his goal to save long shots and he quickly distributed the ball with unerringly accurate throws to the feet of Fulham players still catching their breath from the last Bristol City attack.

That was the season that saw George Cohen establish himself in the team, Roy Bentley withdraw to a midfield role and Johnny Haynes lead the side to the top five in the old second division and to the semi-final of the cup. From the moment he stepped into the team, Macedo was integral to its success. He barely made an error and was absolutely outstanding in the unexpected 5th round victory at West Ham and in a number of league games that cemented the promotion push. In the famous semi-final against the Munich decimated Manchester United Macedo kept Fulham in the game with a series of blinding saves, one of which I can still see in my mind’s eye as he twisted to tip a Bobby Charlton thunderbolt over the bar. Fulham actually led this game with a few minutes to go to half-time but Charlton scored his second while Fulham were down to 10 men with Langley off and undergoing treatment.

The second-half saw a feast of goalkeeping from Macedo and Harry Gregg, who was not far behind the Fulham keeper in outstanding saves. But 2 – 2 it stayed and on we went to the replay at Highbury. Imagine our shock when our super hero proved fallible and human after all and was directly responsible for three of the United goals in the 5 – 3 defeat. He just didn’t seem capable of catching the ball on that cold, damp afternoon and United took full advantage, sending in long shot after long shot which Macedo struggled to keep out. To give him his due though, I doubt any other goalkeeper would have got anywhere near some of the crosses and shots he dropped but the defeat was doubly hard to take because we missed Wembley and our goalkeeper was found wanting in the most important game of his life. (We missed promotion too, thanks to a fixture pile-up at the end of the season.)

The next season he was back to his best much of the time but I always felt that something had happened to him at Highbury that afternoon because he was never quite the same again – some of the confidence and self-assuredness had gone. However, he was a vital part of our promotion to division one and he went onto play with spectacular flair and agility for a number of seasons in the top flight. In one memorable game, against Wolves I think, he hurt his shoulder and returned to play on the wing, his arm strapped to his side.

Unfortunately, he will be remembered for one or two terrible errors that he committed during the first division days, the most inexplicable being the gifting of the ball to Jimmy Greaves when he just rolled it to him on the edge of the area as if Greaves were a Fulham player – Greaves slid it home to tie the game - and another when he wasn’t really paying attention and a Mullery back pass almost directly from the kick off eluded him and set Fulham off to a 6 – 1 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

But I choose to remember the courageous, other worldly dives and saves, the prodigious leaps to claim crosses and corners and the outstanding positional sense that meant so much to his colleagues and to us on the terraces.

There is a story that when England were on a summer tour to South America and going down to a bad defeat against Peru or Colombia, Eddie Hopkinson, the incumbent between the post let in a soft goal and Haynes, who had been back helping the defence, retrieved the ball from the back of the net and said to Hopkinson, “Tony Macedo would have saved that one easily.”
Unfortunately, the Under 23s was where Tony’s international career ended but he would not been out of place in England’s goalie’s yellow sweater.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Them 3 Fulham 1

A disappointing result and performance against a side we'd all hoped would be preoccupied with the Champions League and between two tough games against the best attacking side in Europe. To their credit they fielded a very strong starting eleven and brushed us aside a little too easily.

A goal down after 52 seconds we responded quickly when Eric Nevland evaded the offside trap and collected Murphy's sumptuous through ball before sending an accurate (though seemingly saveable) shot past Petr Cech. Unfortunately we conceded again and then lost Nevland following an industrial challenge from John Terry. They scored again early in the second half and the contest was effectively over.

With the teams around us all winning we slip to 9th but the race for the final European spot remains tight.

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Alex (Ivanovic 46), Terry, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Essien (Ballack 46), Mikel, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba (Di Santo 84).
Subs Not Used: Hilario, Kalou, Belletti, Mancienne.
Goals: Anelka 1, Malouda 10, Drogba 53.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Etuhu, Murphy, Gera, Zamora (Dacourt 76), Nevland (Kamara 35).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Gray, Stoor, Baird, Smalling.
Booked: Murphy.
Goals: Nevland 4.

Att: 41,801.

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Hilarious

I don't normally bother with posting about links I've seen. Dan & Nick at the HammyEnd.com are doing a fabulous job of picking up on most of the news stories of interest already but there were a couple of things that tickled my fancy this week.

First the news that long term club historian Dennis Turner has been made a non-executive director. I've never met Dennis in person but I've read a lot of his books and realise he's a Fulham man through and through. It's lovely to see the club recognise the benefit of having genuine fans involved in the decision making and a wonderful reward for all the efforts Dennis has made in keeping the clubs history alive and recorded.

Meanwhile it's the second SW6 derby of the season this weekend and the club have confirmed that Andy Johnson will be unavailable due to the injury he picked up against Stoke. This should give Eric the Great another chance to show us his stuff which is an opportunity he deserves. Zamora should be able to partner Nevland having recovered well from his "back" problem last week.

Finally Alex Ferguson threw a bit of a hissy fit over the size of our dressing rooms and had a bit of a rant about minimum requirements for Premier League clubs. We weren't the only club the red nosed one was upset with, apparently Everton's are too narrow. You can't help but chuckle. If I was in charge of the club I'd ensure we made the away side a little bit smaller next year, maybe add in a few additional storage cupboards to make it a tighter squeeze. I think United should be made to play a season in a Sunday League and see if they feel the need to complain after that.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fulham 1 Stoke City 0

Thank heavens we don't have to watch Stoke play more than twice a season. This wasn't pretty. Fulham always looked to be in the driving seat and coped remarkably well with the physical aspects of the game (though we did lose three players to injury) but we failed to kill the game off with a second goal and Stoke remained a danger to the end.

The solitary goal was a moment of beauty and worth the entrance fee on its own. Nevland, on for Zamora after a mere twenty minutes, collected a clearance deep in our own half and set off on a charge up field. He almost lost the ball on the half way line, but fought to retain possession before sending a pass out to AJ on the right wing. Eric continued his run into the box where he was perfectly placed to fire home AJ's excellent cross. Fast, efficient, counter attacking football.

Johnson didn't play any further part in the game, limping off shortly after the restart to be replaced by Diomansey Kamara. Kind of strange that we've been so lucky this season to avoid any major injuries to our starting eleven and then lose both starting strikers in the same half. Despite this we almost put the game to bed before the turn as Murphy and Konchesky combined with a neat training ground free kick and Dickson Etuhu somehow scooped the ball over the bar from six inches.

I'm struggling to remember anything of significance from the second half other than a few moments of comedy from John Paintsil. At one point he executed a neat turn to shrug off the attentions of a Stoke midfielder, looked up to see few options and sent the ball straight into the enclosure. Konchesky limped off late on to add to our injury concerns. Gera deserves a mention providing a very adequate replacement for Simon Davies. Whilst he didn't quite find a way through the Stoke defence he tried as hard as anyone. Referee Lee Mason also made an impression as the most pedantic ref I've seen this season and did his best to interupt the flow of an already slow paced game.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky (Baird 82), Dempsey, Murphy, Etuhu, Gera, Zamora (Nevland 20), Johnson (Kamara 34).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Dacourt, Gray, Stoor.
Booked: Nevland.
Goals: Nevland 29.

Stoke: Sorensen, Kelly (Sonko 83), Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Pugh (Dickinson 87), Lawrence, Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Fuller, Cresswell (Camara 83).
Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Olofinjana, Cort, Tonge.
Booked: Lawrence, Shawcross.

Att: 25,069

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poetry

Thanks to TiFF I just discovered the genius of Fulham poet Ron Dixon. He has three works available at FootballPoets.org including the following rather wonderful ode to that special word I used as part of the address for this site.


"Fulhamish"

My fondest wish would be to see,
Included in the OED,
A certain word (they're hard to find)
That well describes a state of mind.
Etymologically rich...
Its an attitude; a way in which
to view the world: maybe express
(with a former telegram address)
That some things happen we can't explain
Yet we know they'll come around again
When things happen out of their context
and you wonder what will happen next
When things will fall, instead of rise...
Are upside-down... not quite clockwise...
When you're out of step with all the rest,
And know it'll turn out for the best,
You'll know the word for which I wish,
Without a doubt, its......Fulhamish.


© Ron Dixon 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Middlesbrough 0 Fulham 0

Another beautiful 0-0 draw away from home to add to our collection of "perfect matches" this season. After six goals in the last two games I'd almost forgotten our normal routine but that's our seventh 0-0 on the road so far.

Middlesbrough are in a similar position to ourselves last year and fought tooth and nail for what would have been a massive three points. Schwarzer was equal to everything his former team could throw at him showing why he won player of the month for March and is Opta's current number one 'keeper in the league. At the other end we had good chances to claim a third away win on the trot. Zamora had the ball nicked of his toes by Brad Jones. Andy Johnson saw his deflected shot ricochet of the post and bounce along the line. Late on Kamara set up Dempsey whose shot rebounded back to Zamora who had his shot charged down. Great effort all round.

Middlesbrough: Jones, McMahon, Wheater, Huth, Taylor, Aliadiere, Sanli, Bates, Downing, King, Alves (Adam Johnson 83).
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Hoyte, Riggott, Digard, Emnes, Shawky.
Booked: McMahon, Sanli, King.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies (Gera 70), Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson (Kamara 87), Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Dacourt, Stoor, Baird.
Booked: Konchesky.

Att: 30,389

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire
)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Manchester City 1 Fulham 3

A deuce from the Deuce and a rocket from Etuhu senior seals our second away win of the season and pushes up to 8th in the League. We seem to like playing at Eastlands, only losing once in six visits and winning three of the last four. There's a bit of fortune in the timing, City almost certainly drained from the football lesson Hamburg gave them last Thursday and with one eye on the second leg next week, but then that's been the story of our season. Lucky Fulham pulling off unlikely wins against better teams who just happen to be having an off day. I'm happy for that myth to continue if we keep getting results like this.

A deflected Stephen Ireland shot had given City the lead, largely against the run of play. Zamora had our best chance of the first half, finding himself with only Shay Given to beat after an error from Richard Dunne but firing his shot against the keeper's shins. An early goal in the second half got us back on level footing. Zamora lost the ball as he ran towards goal but Dempsey arrived from deep to smash home the loose ball. We took the lead after another piece of half hearted defending allowed Dickson Etuhu to collect the ball in a similar position to Dempsey's effort. He sidestepped a challenge and sent a gorgeous dinking shot into the top left hand corner.

The points were wrapped up following a lovely bit of football from Zamora. Collecting the ball on the halfway line, he turned sharply, left the unfortunate Dunne hopelessly out of position, surged forward and played a perfectly weighted pass into Clint Dempsey's path. The American slotted home between Given's legs to confirm the points and complete another man of the match performance.

Man City: Given, Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Garrido, Etuhu (Sturridge 64), Zabaleta, Ireland, De Jong, Petrov (Robinho 63), Bojinov (Evans 55). Subs Not Used: Hart, Elano, Fernandes, McGivern.
Goals: Ireland 28.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy (Dacourt 89), Dempsey (Gera 86), Johnson, Zamora (Kamara 86). Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Stoor, Baird.
Booked: Konchesky.
Goals: Dempsey 50, Etuhu 59, Dempsey 83.

Att: 39,841

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Fulham 0 Liverpool 1

So close to another great result against one of the top four. This wasn't a classic match by any stretch of the imagination. Neither side played to they're full potential and as the final minutes ticked down it looked like we'd done enough. We rode our luck too often, Liverpool hit the crossbar three times and the post once in the first half alone. We had too many moments of questionable decision making and it was exactly that, Clint Dempsey opting to run the ball out of defence and getting caught, that led to Benayoun's injury time goal.

I blame the international break. Both sides looked jaded and the game never really flowed for either. Murphy's replacement was probably a defensive move but it robbed us of what little creative spark we had managed. Too many Whites were having an off day at the same time and against a side like Liverpool it was only going to end one way. On the plus side we showed how difficult to beat we've become and the players never gave up. They were upset at the end and received a deserved ovation at the end. We can chalk this one down to experience and move on to the next game.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Murphy (Dacourt 76), Etuhu, Davies (Gera 79), Zamora, Johnson (Nevland 87).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Kamara, Kallio, Baird.
Booked: Pantsil, Gera.

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Alonso, Lucas, Kuyt (Benayoun 76), Gerrard (Agger 90), Dossena (Babel 65), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Riera, Mascherano, Ngog.
Booked: Babel, Skrtel.
Goals: Benayoun 90.

Att: 25,661

Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Top 5 moments from the 2-0 win over United

I've had a frustrating week one way or another. Had lots of things I wanted to say about the cracking result last Saturday but didn't have any time to write. Even in the few moments I've had to think about it I wasn't sure how best to express my thoughts about the game. A game to remember. One that will stay with me for the rest of my life. When in doubt ... do a Top 5!

5. Waving bye-bye to Wayne Rooney - I've no axe to grind with Rooney. He's a great player and made a big difference when he replaced Berbatov at half time. Even with ten men we all knew United were capable of beating us and for a while in the second half I couldn't quite believe they weren't. Our second goal was too much though and Rooney's frustration was the physical evidence that the game was up. It was the final pantomime moment in a game that had made me laughing as hard as I cheered.

4. Danny Murphy's perfect penalty - My admiration for Danny Murphy right now knows no bounds. I'll be the first to admit I didn't rate him too highly last season but I've realised the error of my ways. He's been a revelation this season (the best midfielder in the Premier League?) and seems to get better every week. He does the simple stuff brilliantly and yet again was the conductor at the heart of a majestic team performance. As he stepped up to take the penalty I felt the buzz of my phone as a text arrived. It was from a Spurs supporting friend who later said he knew Murphy wouldn't miss. He was right.

3. 20,000 Fulham fans calling Ronaldo a wanker - That might seem childish and puerile but it confirmed a growing belief in my stomach that we were going to win the game. United, already a goal and a player down, were clearly getting frustrated with the Ref's refusal to fall for their attempts to win free kicks or get Fulham players sent off. I've often joked with my pals about "Fortress Cottage" and proposed ways to turn our ground into the Galatasary of south west London. Craven Cottage is not the most intimidating of grounds yet, as Ronaldo stood pleading with Phil Dowd for yet another fictional offence, we made our feelings clear. As he sulked off away from the home end it was clear we had got to him. The supposed "best player in the world" and he couldn't handle a barracking from nice little Fulham. For all his tricks and flicks he's got a lot of growing up to do before he can really show he's good enough to stand alongside the greats of the game. Maybe if he'd focused on his football he could have made a difference.

2. Sensing the big match atmosphere as we entered the Hammy End - Maybe familiarity breeds contempt but I wasn't particularly excited about playing United before we arrived. The traffic was bad and we cut it a bit finer than we'd have liked so the match was seconds from kick-off as we climbed the steps into the Hammersmith End. As I stepped into the stand the sense of anticipation was tangible. This was a massive game, a real big match atmosphere. My mood changed instantly and I felt strangely optimistic for a good result. A good game at least. That feeling never left me. A great day.

1. Zoltan Gera's overhead volley - Zoltan Gera hadn't won my sympathy in the way Bobby Zamora had. Whilst I could see he was going through a difficult settling in phase I didn't feel moved enough to really support him. His arrival against United was a necessary change coming at the point where Dempsey's willingness to chase every ball was finally overcome by his bout of food poisoning. We needed a fresh pair of legs. He did well in the build up to the second goal, collected it from Dickson Etuhu, played a good pass to AJ who almost got a shot in before returning the ball. As Gera chipped it up off his toe the first thought through my mind was - oh Zoltan, you've messed that up. Then something incredible happened. The ball hung in the air, Gera twisted his body in an unlikely shape and pulled off an amazing overhead volley into the far corner. A goal! A really great goal! A goal that was going to beat Manchester United! Hooray for Zoltan! Zoltan, destroyer of worlds!.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

When the Whites Go Marching In

Got lots I'd like to talk about following yesterday but not sure when I'll have time to do it. It's Mother's Day and I've promised Mrs Chopper I'll wash the floor in the kitchen and hoover the rest of the house. Half way through but lots to do. Cooking a roast too - I'm so New Man!.

Anyway, to tide you over read
this excellent report from Dan at HammyEnd.com. While you're there you might want to bask in the glory with Roy's praise of a great team performance and Dickson's reaction.



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fulham 2 Manchester United 0

Let me just say that again. Fulham 2 Manchester United 0. Brilliant. Today was what playing in the Premier League is all about. Fulham were on top of their game from the start and United couldn't cope.

Short report. Fulham pushing forward. Scholes hand ball. Straight red and a penalty. Murphy slots home as he always does. 1-0 Fulham. United frustrated. Ronaldo pathetic. Murphy pulling the strings. Hangeland imperious. Everyone playing well. Half time began preparing for the inevitable siege.


Fulham still in charge. United bring on Rooney for ineffective Berbatov. Begin to force us back around the hour mark. Shots flying in from all angles. Schwarzer collects everything. Dempsey covering every blade of grass. Etuhu immense. Murphy off with potential achilles. Dacourt fills the gap. Zamora replaced by Kamara. Restricted to long punts down field. Kamara chases everything. Gera on for Dempsey. AJ through on goal. Shot saved. Finds Gera. Overhead volley. GOAL! 2-0! Delierium. Rooney throws away ball. Second yellow. Rooney strops off. United down to 9 and beaten men. Whistle goes. Very Happy.

Forty points. Premier League future confirmed. Up to 8th. Very Happy.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey (Gera 81), Murphy (Dacourt 67), Etuhu, Davies, Johnson, Zamora (Kamara 77).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Stoor, Kallio.
Booked: Pantsil, Dempsey.
Goals: Murphy 18 pen, Gera 87.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea (Tevez 70), Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher, Scholes, Park, Giggs, Berbatov (Rooney 46).
Subs Not Used: Foster, Neville, Anderson, Carrick, Fabio Da Silva.
Sent Off: Scholes (18), Rooney (89).
Booked: Evans, Evra, Ronaldo, Rooney.

Att: 25,652

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nostalgia - Fred Callaghan

It's been a while since I posted any of Gordon's nostalgia. This arrived via Rich@CCN the other week who also recently posted this rather excellent piece about baseball and sporting history and vintage Fulham footage.

Article written by Gordon Mills

When Fulham inexplicably and shockingly sold Alan Mullery to Tottenham one March Saturday in 1964, many of us felt much as Bobby Robson did – rumour has it that after the game with Liverpool which Fulham won 1 – 0 thanks to a Reg Stratton goal, and the players heard the news of the transfer in the changing room, Robson had to be physically restrained from barging into the directors’ room and sorting them out. The transfer left a gaping in the Fulham midfield that was partially filled by local St Marks alumnus and self-confessed hard man, Fred Callaghan.

Fred had often been part of our games on the gravel of Hurlingham and South Parks and we had all been proud to name him as friend when he was offered terms at Fulham. We had sometimes been chased off the Richmond Park golf course by him and some other apprentice professionals too.

He had been captain of a very strong Fulham Youth team that included John Dempsey and Rodney Marsh and was an abrasive, tough tackling wing half with, paradoxically, a very cultured left foot. We looked forward to his promotion to the first team with high expectations.

A bunch of us travelled to Aston Villa the following Saturday to witness Fred’s debut in the number 6 shirt and what an inauspicious start he made! It seemed that every time he went near the ball in the first half he fouled someone – and these were unintentional fouls not the usual clattering Fred tackle - and at least four of his “tackles” were so late that he even missed the Villa man in possession. To say that the pace of the old Division 1 was a bit too much for him was a gross understatement. However, he gradually found his feet and actually managed to pass the ball to a fellow white shirt a couple of times in the second half and began to regain his stature after being withered by a few stares from captain J Haynes. Fulham drew the game and so began Fred’s career as Fulham player.

He kept his place in the midfield for a while but his great days came after he switched to left back when Jim Langley moved to QPR. He quickly established himself as a solid defender who made up for a certain lack of quickness on the turn with good positional sense and was ever willing to support the attack with marauding, swashbuckling runs down the wing that usually concluded with a dangerous cross towards Allan Clarke or Steve Earle. He was an excellent partner for George Cohen on the other flank.

He stayed with Fulham through the dreadful relegation years at the end of the sixties and, ironically, was a member of the team when Alan Mullery returned in 1972. Unfortunately, he didn’t feature in the team in 1975 when Fulham reached Wembley.

My recollections of Fred after this are vague – I think he had some association with Brentford and also managed Carshalton and I think he’s working for Fulham in some hospitality capacity now...

NOTE: Gordon's right. Fred is the Matchday Host for the Riverside Restaurant (details here) and also has a small section in the programme.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bolton 1 Fulham 3

What a difference 90 minutes can make. Things were looking particularly grim after Wednesday night. I was staying positive but the apparent loss of Aaron Hughes and an imposing set of fixtures did weigh heavily on my mind. A week ago we were a game away from a Wembley semi-final and on the fringe of European qualification now we were out of the cup and looking nervously at the teams below us.

Last year me and my mate Gibbo had talked about going to this game. We fancied an away trip and thought this looked as good a chance of seeing a win as we were likely to find. We realised we weren't going to be able to make it (work commitments and important birthday parties being our main obstacles) a while ago and on our journey home after the Blackburn loss it seemed pretty unlikely we'd be missing anything special. We did joke that it would be typical that we'd end up missing a goal fest and an away win - but didn't really believe it.

I sat in a Merit Tyre shop just before kick-off and watched Sky Sports News with Jeff Stelling cracking jokes about our away form. They showed a montage of all our goals away from home this season - Seol at the KC Stadium, Clint Dempsey at Portsmouth and Konchesky's January goal of the month - it didn't last very long. Stelling informed us that the previous lowest ever total for away goals was six - suggesting we had no hope of passing even that measly total. I spent a lot of the afternoon avoiding the football. A sneaky peak just before half-time showed us 1-0 up and (according to TiFF) well in control. Andy Johnson had shown some real striker's instinct to chase down Andy O'Brien and take advantage of his dreadful back pass to poke home from six yards. As I was trying to take this all in though Bolton equalised. Kevin Davies being a handful on the edge of our box and steamrolling through our defence to level the score just before the break.

I left it a good 10 minutes after full time before I dared check the score again. I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw the result. Simon Davies had restored the lead firing home a rebound after Danny Murphy had hit the crossbar from a tight angle. Diomansey Kamara confirmed the points collecting a neat pass from Dempsey before sending in an acute daisy cutter.

We've put some ghosts to rest here. Put an end to a run of defeats, picked up that first away win and scored enough goals to make sure we won't be holders of an unwanted Premier League record. We're three points away from that important 40 point marker and I'm feeling very happy indeed.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel (Riga 74), Taylor, McCann, Mark Davies (Muamba 68), Gardner, Kevin Davies, Elmander.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Puygrenier, Makukula, Shittu.
Goals: Kevin Davies 45.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson (Nevland 90), Zamora (Kamara 84).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Gera, Dacourt, Stoor, Smalling.
Goals: Johnson 42, Davies 56, Kamara 88.

Att: 22,117.

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fulham 1 Blackburn Rovers 2

We caught Blackburn cold scoring after just 90 seconds. Clint Dempsey took down a high through ball and bundled through the defence before poking his shot past former England 'keeper Paul Robinson. Blackburn, who looked awful at times in the first half, kept scrapping and in the end it was their desire to win that gave them the points. Diouf scored after a high ball into the box caused chaos in the Fulham defence. This gave Rovers the boost they needed and we never looked like responding. Five minutes from time Jason Roberts out muscled Tony Kallio (on for an injured Aaron Hughes) and fired home the winner. Fulham are starting to look tired after three weeks of double fixtures and it's times like this when the size of our squad is a concern.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes (Kallio 77), Konchesky, Davies (Nevland 90), Etuhu, Murphy, Gera (Kamara 80), Dempsey, Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Dacourt, Gray, Stoor.
Booked: Murphy.
Goals: Dempsey 2.

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Andrews (McCarthy 56), Kerimoglu (Mokoena 82), Warnock, Diouf, Roberts, Pedersen (Dunn 86).
Subs Not Used: Bunn, Khizanishvili, Villanueva, Simpson.
Booked: Diouf.
Goals: Diouf 69, Roberts 85.

Att: 22,259

Ref: Rob Styles (Hampshire)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

F.A. Cup Quarter Final: Fulham 0 Manchester United 4

Manchester United really are a very good team aren't they? Maybe it was the detachment of watching the game from home on TV but I really didn't feel any of the anguish I'm reading on the Fulham message boards. I thought we played quite well, certainly showed signs of being able to surprise United in the opening twenty minutes. We just came up against the best team in the world in an unforgiving and determined mood.

Alex Ferguson indicted his intent with a strong starting line up and an early effort from Carlos Tevez pulled a good save from Schwarzer and required a clearance from an alert John Paintsil. United looked less confident at the back. Andy Johnson got his foot to a long through ball and directed it without any real venom towards goal. This caught van der Sar out of position and created a moment of comedy as Vidic only just won the race against a very slowly rolling goal bound ball. Still a moment of promise. Zamora (who I thought looked much more positive than he had midweek) sent in a great cross from the right wing which found Dempsey at the far post. The American's header was well directed but just a fraction too high. AJ and Zamora then interchanged passes on the edge of the box but having broken through the defence Bobby Z sliced his shot well wide of the post. Maybe we could get something out of the game?

United won a corner. Wayne Rooney flicked on from the near post and Tevez was left unmolested at the far post to head home the first goal at close range. A soft goal which you couldn't help feeling we could have avoided but a goal none the less and now we had a lot to do. Tevez received the ball in midfield and went on a run. Etuhu did well to get back on goal side and attempt to hold up the Argentine but then fell over. Neither centre back had got close enough to him to stop the shot that curled past Schwarzer's outstretched hand. 2-0 down at half time and we needed a miracle.

Fulham started the second half brightly enough but then a poor clearance from Hangeland was collected by Tevez who set Rooney free. A run, a jink and a powerful shot into the far corner. 3-0 down and game over. Nothing happened of any great interest for about half an hour as the flow of the game was disrupted by a series of substitutions from both sides. Then a loose pass from Gera set Ji-Sung Park free to run at goal and his shot into the far corner completed the rout.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy (Dacourt 57), Dempsey, Zamora (Gera 67), Johnson (Kamara 60).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Stoor, Kallio.
Booked: Pantsil, Dacourt.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea (Eckersley 52), Ferdinand (Evans 46), Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Park, Rooney (Welbeck 64), Tevez.
Subs Not Used: Foster, Berbatov, Giggs, Scholes.
Goals: Tevez 20, 35, Rooney 50, Park 81.

Att: 24,662

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Fulham 0 Hull City 1

If that had been a boxing match the ref would have stopped it half way through the second half and awarded it to Fulham on points. Almost inevitably, after 75 minutes of outplaying the opposition we ran out of ideas and paid the price. With men committed forward we made a mess of retaining the ball then made a mistake at the back and allowed Hull to get a ball across goal which somehow evaded Schwarzer and two defenders leaving Man Utd loanee Manucho to side foot home.

There's a lot I could talk about - How bad is Zamora since he scored those goals? Why is Roy so reluctant to use subs when the game is clearly crying out for them? Why did Hull wear their change kit? - I'll leave them for another day, maybe.


In the reversal of a popular saying, now we can concentrate on the Cup.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora (Kamara 89).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gera, Dacourt, Stoor, Kallio.
Booked: Hangeland, Etuhu, Davies.

Hull: Duke, Zayatte, Turner, Gardner, Kilbane, Mendy (Garcia 89), Ashbee, Ricketts, Geovanni (Barmby 90), Fagan, Cousin (Manucho 76).
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Hughes, France, Halmosi.
Booked: Geovanni.
Goals: Manucho 90.

Att: 23,051

Position: 10th

Ref: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Arsenal 0 Fulham 0 (micro post)

An incredible week just keeps getting better as the Whites put in a stoic performance to claim another goalless draw away from home. I'm starting to enjoy these nil-nils as much as home wins, despite having scored a paltry 3 goals on the road we've picked up 7 points.

The Arsenal fans I know were moaning about our lack of ambition but the highlights showed we didn't just defend. Andy Johnson had a great chance to score early on and, whilst we only managed one effort on target to Arsenal's four, we matched them for efforts off target (11 each). The BBC even stated "Fulham deserved (the draw) for a performance full of attacking ambition and dogged defensive resilience". That's four points we've claimed from the Gunners this season and lord knows how long ago we managed that.

The lack of Saturday games ensured that we stretched our lead in Mike Whalley's Gubbometer. We also picked up another point in the inter-London league and I'll try and update that sometime next week.


Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna (Eboue 70), Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Arshavin, Denilson, Diaby, Nasri, Van Persie, Vela (Bendtner 63).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Song Billong, Djourou, Gibbs.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird (Stoor 46), Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey (Gera 88), Johnson, Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Kamara, Dacourt, Kallio.

Att: 60,102

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Woo Hoo!

Happy! Happy! Happy!

We beat Arsenal Reserves 3-0 last night. There's a proper report here. I caught glimpses of the game on Arsenal TV in between the ad breaks of a "Relocation, Relocation" repeat.

The team saw a nice mix of fringe first teamers and up and coming youngsters. I'm getting over excited but can't help feel that players like Wayne Brown, Rob Milsom and Junior Omozusi could actually break into the first team. Not to mention Giles Barnes!

Whoop! Whoop! Woo Hoo!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sing When We're Winning

I’ve had a brilliant day today. Can’t stop smiling. Fulham stand 8th in the top flight of English football and have reached the quarter final of the F.A. Cup. Makes me happy just to type that, how far we’ve come. Last night brought back memories of midweek games in less confident times, the hustle and bustle of a well contested cup match, a sparse crowd (though 12,000 would have been a decent turnout back in the day) and an excitement about what might happen next I've not felt for some time.

“Super, Super Dan, Super Danny Murphy!”

If anyone still doubted it, the last two matches have been as startling a piece of evidence of Danny Murphy’s importance to Fulham as you’re likely to find. He ran the game on Sunday from start to finish and it wasn’t a big surprise Roy chose to rest him. Olivier Dacourt took his place in the starting eleven and I felt confident he could do a decent job for us. Olivier had a stinker though, we’ve seen hints that he’s a quality player but as the pace of the game increased he couldn’t keep up. A series of misplaced passes and tumbles suggested it just wasn’t going to be his night. Murphy was already changed and waiting when Dacourt took the knock that saw him hobble of the pitch. Hopefully nothing too serious and just a bad night at the office for Dacourt. Murphy’s arrival was spectacular though. 1-0 down at the time Captain Dan was the catalyst that turned the game in our favour. His passing and movement were as exemplary as ever but he also worked incredibly hard in the centre to win back possession when we lost it.

I’d not been particularly excited when Lawrie Sanchez signed him back in August 2007. It seemed a purchase born of desperation. He played well enough at times but I felt he’d struggled to impose himself too often. Even under Hodgson I doubted his qualities. Had I been picking the team he wouldn’t have got in – that will be one of many reasons why I’m not earning a living as a professional football manager. The purple patch that saw us achieve the great escape began to show me the error of my ways but even then I could never have imagined a scenario where Danny could change the shape of a game so effectively and rapidly as he did last night. He really is a quality player and it’s a joy to see him play for us right now.

“He scores with his left, he scores with his riiii-ght, that boy Clint Dempsey makes Drogba look …”

You know the rest. Dempsey impressed me again last night. He worked his socks off and looked genuinely spent when he was subbed near the end. He’s earned the right to be in the starting eleven and seems happy to play in whatever position he’s given. He showed great desire to reach Simon Davies corner and head home the opening goal and almost grabbed a second minutes later.

“Bob, Bob, Bobby Zam-orrr-ra!”

Bobby had a hatful of chances and there were moments when I began to lose patience with him. I’ve been a pretty firm supporter of Bobby Z thus far but found his performance last night frustrating. He turned up trumps in the end crashing home the second and match winning goal less than five minutes after Dempsey’s opener and celebrating in style.

“Come on you Whites”

Dickson Etuhu hasn’t got his own song yet. He might never get one as it’s a tricky name to scan but he’s fast becoming a cult hero at Fulham. Despite Dacourt’s personal nightmare, Dickson continued to provide the anchor for our midfield. Despite a needless booking from “Cerebral” Halsey very early on, Dickson was imperious throughout and even managed another cannon bolt shot from distance, though this time he didn’t find the target.

Arsenal on Saturday, Hull next Wednesday then United arrive for that quarter final and a chance to play at Wembley. Let’s enjoy it while we can, I’m off to do more cartwheels down the corridor.