Thursday, 30 July 2009

Continental shift

Today sees Fulham embark upon their second ever European campaign against FK Vetra in Lithuania. This being Fulham, the game is not being televised anywhere in Europe it seems. However you can keep up to date via an online commentary from the Fulham website. We should be grateful for small mercies I guess.
It makes me wonder how it used to be in the old days before the explosion of the communications industry. When I was growing up there were only three English teams in Europe (when they weren't banned) so they tended to be thoroughly covered. Before that though, I guess you had to wait for the next day's papers to find out how your team performed away from home in Europe. Why does it feel like that today.
Frustratingly I'm outside London for the return leg, so it would be nice for Fulham to smoothly brush past Vetra and allow me to see at least one Euro Vase match. However Vetra's comeback against HJK shows they are not to be taken for granted and I think it will be a tough old game for the Effers.
Still it seems that Bobby Z will be spearheading the attack for this game and the rest of the season after turning down a move to Hull. I'm thinking this was mostly a geographical decision as old Bobby doesn't exactly have a great rapport with the fans. Either that or maybe he wants to prove something to them and more power to his elbow for that.
In other news Bjorn Helge Riise, younger brother of comedy own goal scorer John Arne, has joined the club on a three year contract in another example of a relatively underwhelming signing. Still I quite liked his big bro and hopefully he can add some steel and depth to midfield. It's been a relatively quiet close season for everyone in England (Man City aside) and I just wonder if one more transfer is going to trigger a whole host of rushed deals before the season starts.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

How do you solve a problem like Zamora?

You flog him it seems. This morning Fulham agreed a fee with Hull for Bobby Zamora.

This prompted a small email debate amongst us.

I don't know what it is about Hull, but they keep giving Fulham money. £5m for Bobby Z?
Stupid, stupid bastards. They couldn't get Owen on a free, so they spent £5m on Bobby four goals!
£5 million ?? My god, have Hull lost their mind ????
Arent fulham a bit stuffed? For the following reasons i think its a bit of bad business:
a) They are supposed to increase the size of their squad so they can cope with the Europa league, and
b) Booby came good (unexpectedly) on a few occasions
And so the door is opened for Drogba! Who that boy Dempsey made look shite.
Bobby needs to go and £5m is a ridiculous amount for someone who scored twice in the Premiership. Eddie Johnson and Seol (!) have come back from loan deals and Kamara returned well after injury. Fulham have been linked with a couple of strikers, but mainly midfielders for some reason.
There's talk about the money being put towards the £11m needed for Crouch. I'm not sure if the squad will get boosted unless Fulham make it into the group stages.
So as you can see, a mixed reaction, but only because Ish knows nothing about football. That's harsh, but as I've recounted on here several times over the last few months, Bobby Z doesn't seem to have a strong enough psyche to play himself out of poor form.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Fantasy Transfer XI

With the transfer window wide open, I thought I'd put forward a feasible squad of acquisitions for a Fulham team getting ready to improve their squad to push on through Europe for debate. The emphasis has been on value for money though, so it's more 'budget' than 'fantasy'.

GK - Joe Hart
Seemingly surplus to requirements at Man City, Hart is a good young keeper with plenty of character. England's U21 keeper may be available on a loan and would put some real pressure on the majestic, but 37-year-old, Mark Schwarzer.

EDIT - Just found out Hart has already gone on loan to Birmingham! How about Scott Carson from WBA then?

RB - Gary Neville
A controversial choice. He's not got many fans as a person - Comrade Neville is reaching the end of his career - but he is a proven winner. He's only played a handful of games in the past two seasons, but he will add some passion to a side that seems remarkably lacking in heart at times. He shouldn't cost too much either.

LB - Gareth Bale
A tidy player who scored against Fulham a few seasons ago, Bale isn't fancied by Harry Redknapp and would probably be available for £3m, which isn't bad for a 19 year old with 20 international caps. Famously he has played a record 24 Premier League games for Spurs without being on the winning side, but that's hardly the fault of the left back.

CB - David Wheater
An imposing force in the Boro back line last season, who went down because of a lack of firepower rather than a porous defence. He's not averse to scoring the odd important goal either. If he's not interested in a move, perhaps his partner Robert Huth fancies moving back to South West London.

CB - Sean St Ledger
The PNE centre half also has a gob on him, as shown in the Big Ron Manager programme, but he has matured a great deal in the past couple of seasons and also has the eye for a goal. He has won player of the season awards while at Deepdale and forced himself into the Republic of Ireland squad. Could be worth a tickle at £1.5m.

CM - Gary O'Neil
Can play on the right as well as in the centre, O'Neil has a Premier League pedigree and is keen to move back down south. He won't improve on what's there, but could be a good price squad player.

CM - Kevin Nolan

Yes, he's only just signed for Newcastle, but they need to clear their decks a bit. An eye for goal and a tidy passer, he could be a good foil for fellow scouser Danny Murphy in the middle of the park. I nearly went for Alan Smith, but I only rated him as a striker rather than a midfielder.

RW - Ross Wallace
Another Preston player, Ross Wallace was one of the best players in the Championship last season in my opinion. Tricky on the ball and a great dead ball taker, the only problem with his game is the suspensions he racks up after taking his shirt off celebrating goals. He's still got 4 years on his contract though, so could cost £4m.

LW - Chris Brunt
The annual shopping trip to the Hawthorns could do worse than come back with this winger who hits the ball so sweetly. A Northern Ireland international, Brunt will be another good addition to the squad.

FW - Eidur Gudjohnsen
With Barcelona looking to offload the Icelandic striker, it actually seems Fulham have a chance to sign a truly world class striker. Would transform the team, even if he was the only player to sign and give Fulham a genuine goal threat, although his goal tally in recent years, largely coming off the bench, are in the Zamora region.

FW - David Nugent
I was going to suggest Ruud van Nistelrooy, but I think his wages might be too expensive. Plus he's injury prone. So what about Nuge - the man with a 100% goalscoring record for England? I've always been a fan of Nugent. He's fast. He works hard and he can finish. It's not worked out for him at Pompey and he could probably do with a new challenge to kick start his career.

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