Thursday, 27 December 2012

Mike Dean has offside issues

I've been catching up with last night's Match of the Day and watching the United v United match when Newcastle's hotly contested second goal sent me back a couple of years to a game at Craven Cottage. The link? Referee Mike Dean awarding a goal despite a player in an offside position interfering with play, and overruling his linesman to do so.
While on first viewing it wasn't readily apparent that Cisse had anything to do with the goal, on subsequent watches you can see how it can be argued that it was his presence that made Johnny Evans have a brainfart and put it into his own goal.
Tommy Huddlestone's strike, however, was clearly illegal from the Hammy End. Mind you, as the comments section on that post attests, it wasn't so cut and dried. At least this suggests a little consistency from Dean in that he seems to need a player to touch the ball in order to be active.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Final handshake

With the passing of Mark Hughes (RIP QPR) from his ambitious club (who knew his ambition was to manage in the Championship?) I decided to relive his glory years - ie those as a player which had originally given me so much pleasure.
However as I was scouring YouTube I came across this, which seemed appropriate for this blog:

It's not as catchy as the ridiculous John Arne Riise sandwich song (which still keeps me up at night occasionally) but worth a watch, if only for the Martin Jol drawing.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sponsored by BetButler - FUL 1 - 1 CHE

Today's post is sponsored by BetButler. Knowing I would be down in the south over Easter I called in some favours and persuaded Fulham's betting partner to score me a pair of tickets for the Easter Monday derby with Chelsea. And they did. With gusto. I was only expecting a pair of common or garden tickets, but instead they furnished me with the full on Craven Cottage corporate experience, providing two tickets that individually would have cost more than any one of my Fulham season tickets.
We were let in at 5.30 at the Stevenage Road reception and walked through the stand to walk around the pitch to get to the Riverside. It was actually quite nice being in the empty stadium (apart from the stewards getting a pep talk in the stands) and Colin and I were reminiscing about the goals we had witnessed on the pitch (Dempsey v Juventus in particular).
We were 'hosted' by former Fulham player Fred Callaghan, which really entailed two short trips to our table to talk about the game. In fairness to Fred, with 75% of our table being Chelsea fans I can understand why he didn't bother with us too much. Still the champagne was provided freely as we looked onto a rather high and grim looking Thames and the food, when it came, was fine albeit a bit rushed. I would have been disappointed had I paid for it (but BetButler did - what a great idea for a company).
Our seats were in the 'directors area' which in truth, were just behind the proper directors area when Mo usually sits - although I didn't see him at this game. We did see a couple of Chelsea reserves sitting near us - Paulo Ferreira and Henrique Hilario. Strangely both seemed to be in training gear and tracksuits, as if they arrived at the Cottage with a chance of being in the squad.
Anyway the view from the directors area was superb - there's even a little TV in the roof where you can watch action replays. Actually it was more like action plays, as the TV was around 20 seconds behind the action right in front of us.
As for the game itself, well I was disappointed that Ruiz got injured at weekend, as he was one of the few players I hadn't seen live, but the cameo from Kerim Frei more than made up for it. A desire to run with the ball which is only usually seen by a) the young and fearless or b) the supremely talented and assured (Dembele) was extremely entertaining. The only problem was that because Fulham had lined up in a more traditional 4-5-1 to counter Chelsea's 4-5-1, there was not many options open to the young Austrian/Turk/Moroccan/Swiss winger once he had ghosted past Ivanovic (and Ramires) once again. Jol clearly fancies Frei against Chelsea for some reason - this was the young lad's third start against them this season and he didn't let his manager down. Several times crosses came in and they were easily mopped up at the front post by Cahill or Terry.
The first half saw Fulham rather comfortable and in control, albeit with no real danger on Chelsea's goal, so when Clattenberg awarded Chelsea a pen, it was even harder to take. On watching it live I thought it was no way a penalty. Watching it 20 seconds later, I thought it was a penalty. Then watching the action replay, I wasn't so sure again. But of course everyone was looking at Danny Murphy's challenge, not Stephen Kelly's. No-one apart from the ref realised Kelly was anywhere near. Which he wasn't.
Anyway Lampard put away the penalty (the only thing he really did all night) and took the opportunity to celebrate in front of the Hammy End, which was fair enough given the amount of times they called him a fat bastard when he went to take a corner. Fans have got to be bale to take it as much as they can give it. I've seen Frank have a laugh with that corner of the ground before now, so it's a love/hate relationship really.
The goal gave Chelsea confidence and they started the second half actually playing nice football and controlled the game for about 15 minutes. Credit to Fulham, they played their way back into the game and when they scored it was from a little sustained pressure. Cech made an astounding save from Hughes from a corner by pushing the defender's barnstorming header over the bar. However Dempsey was quick to retrieve the ball and throw it back out to Duff for a second corner which found the American completely unmarked. Goal machine Dempsey's header somehow found its way through the throng and bounced in at the far corner, Chelsea paying the price for not marking Fulham's top goalscorer.
BetButler also paid the price - I had a fiver on Dempsey to score the last goal. I love BetButler - it's the firm that keeps on giving. Also a special mention for FXPro through whom I also manged to get four free tickets for this game, although Jarrod was a bit upset to find their seats in the Putney End among the Chelsea fans than the Riverside, which is where we expected them to be.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Not paying the penalty

Just been watching the highlights of last night's game on the official Fulham website and it seems that the Fulham back line did a good job of holding out, one missed header by Brede Hangeland aside, and had a fair few chances themselves, albeit of the long range variety.
We no longer have Sky so I was getting updated by the BBC Sport website and on the 89th minute when it said 'Fulham have a strong appeal for a penalty...' I was furiously bashing refresh to find out the outcome. Looking at the highlights I would say it is a penalty - not a stonewaller as some like to claim - but Michael Carrick does clip Danny Murphy's ankle.
However also looking at the highlights, you can tell why referee Michael Oliver doesn't give it. Irrespective of it being the 89th minute at Old Trafford, there is a copse of legs making it hard to clearly distinguish the action and the ball clearly moves in the direction that Carrick is kicking, suggesting he took the ball. He didn't and the referee got it wrong, but he got it wrong for the right reasons in my opinion.
While Fulham fans on the whole seem mainly sanguine about the decision, it has enraged fans of other clubs who don't want United to win the league - claiming the Old Trafford bias was in action again, despite the fact there there have been penalties against United at OT this season, some of which should not have been allowed. But the lot of the football fan is selective memory, through conscious or subconscious means, through stereotype reinforcement. City fans (rightly) laugh at United's claim for a first half penalty for handball when Patrice Evra fired a cross that hit an oblivious Stephen Kelly on the arm, but how many care to recall their very similar awarded penalty just two games previously against Chelsea? And Fulham fans won't have forgotten the Adam Johnson 'trick' where he kicked Chris Baird on the way down for another soft City penalty. But it is swings and roundabouts - I can remember Senderos fouling someone in the box at the Cottage and getting away with it. Referees can make mistakes as easily as the defenders making accidental fouls.
Anyway it's all getting a bit tense at the top and while the managers might be able to handle the pressure; it's telling on some of the fans. Just witness how quiet the crowd can be at both the Etihad and Old Trafford until their team scores.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Driving attendances

Bought a new car last week. Goodbye sexy convertible VW Eos, hello sensible KIA Ceed hatchback with 7 year warranty. Why's this of interest? Only because the company we bought the car from 'Premier Kia' are sponsors at Boundary Park and offer holders of its loyalty card two free tickets to Oldham Athletic games. I'm not sure if this applies to every game, but I've already secured tickets to watch two of my teams face off - Oldham v Preston in what is likely to be a drudge of a game in the bottom half of League One on 21 April. I say I have secured tickets, I've been given an A4 sheet asking the ticket office to give me two adult tickets to any game. I don't think they are that choosy at Oldham at the moment - they just want to get bums on seats. Indeed, the club has recently launched a promotion selling seats at five home matches for a total of £15.
I've also secured tickets for the West London derby, also as a freebie, via Fulham's betting partner BetButler. My only other game of the season was another free one - the dull Everton v Manchester United game back in October. Next season I shall start paying for games again, I promise. Unless I'm going to start going to Boundary park regularly!
As for tonight, another of my two favoured teams are playing. As I'm still refusing to give the Glazers any of my money, I shall have to follow this game on the wireless. And looking at the table, I want Man United to give Fulham another shoeing for the 'greater good'. Fulham are 11 points and five places from the drop and safe. United need to turnaround the four goal deficit on City before the Manchester derby at the end of next month. However United tend to be at their most vulnerable when they are at their most overconfident and given Fulham's dreadful away form (only QPR and Wolves are worse) they are overconfident now. As they were before getting beaten at Old Trafford by Blackburn Rovers.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What's a decade between fans?

A Sheffield Wednesday fan is understandably impressed at how his Owls tattoo has come out. Unfortunately, The Wednesday were actually established in 1867.

The club was a cricket club when it formed in 1820 as The Wednesday Cricket Club (named after the day of the week when they played their matches). A meeting on the evening of Wednesday 4 September 1867 at the Adelphi Hotel established a footballing side to keep the team together and fit during the winter months. They played their first match against The Mechanics on 19 October the same year.

Still, as football tattoos go, it is nowhere near as bad as some examples out there. Manchester City fans in particular seem to have a bad ink habit.
At least the only people who will know this is wrong is Sheffield Wednesday fans and even then, QED, they might not be totally sure when their club was formed.

EDIT: It appears it's a fake! Ha! Thought the tattooist had made a good job of making those 7s look really similar. I'll put this in my box of reasons to dislike Sheffield Wednesday along with the 1991 League Cup final and an ex-girlfriend hailing from the city.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Further press releases from Rangers' administrators

7th March 2012


Duff & Phelps, the Administrators of Rangers Football Club, today issued the following statement.

David Whitehouse, Joint Administrator, said: “We are announcing today we are accelerating the sale of Rangers Football Club.

“The Club is in a perilous financial situation and that should not be under-estimated. Regrettably, we have been unable to agree cost-cutting measures with the playing staff on terms that will preserve value in the business.  We understand the players’ position as the scale of wage cuts required to achieve these savings without job losses were very substantial indeed.  

“In view of this, we are faced with a situation of making redundancies within the playing staff on such a scale that would materially erode the value of the playing squad. We are striving to strike a balance where cost-cutting measures can be implemented but do not destroy the fabric of the playing squad to the extent that it will inhibit the prospect of a sale.  

“However, no one should be in any doubt that in the absence of sufficient cost-cutting measures or receipt of substantial unplanned income, the Club will not be able to fulfil its fixtures throughout the remainder of the season. 

“As a result, we are expediting the sale process and over the next few days we will be holding discussions with prospective purchasers who have declared their interest. The Manager, Ally McCoist will play an integral part in these discussions.    

“If however it becomes apparent that the sale process cannot be accelerated there will be no choice but to implement very severe cost cutting-measures at the Club.”

 7th March 2012


Duff & Phelps, the Administrators of Rangers Football Club, today issued the following statement.

Paul Clark, Joint Administrator, said: “As regards the Club playing in European competitions next season, there is no realistic prospect of the Club being able to fulfil its obligations prior to the March 31 deadline set by UEFA.

“There are four main reasons for this and they lie in the stewardship of the Club prior to going into administration. First, as we have stated from the outset, the likelihood of the Club being able to emerge successfully from administration before this deadline as indicated by the Chairman was, at best optimistic given the perilous financial situation at the Club at the time of insolvency.

“Second, the company accounts cannot realistically be signed off by auditors in a manner that would meet the criteria required by the footballing authorities. Even if the audited financial statements are issued prior to the end of March 2012 we would expect them to be qualified by the auditors such that under UEFA requirements the Club will have to satisfy a going concern test confirming how it will continue to be funded until the end of next season. Without knowing who will be the owner of the Club at 31 March, it is impossible to provide suitable comfort in this respect.

“Thirdly under UEFA regulations the Club must have paid or come to a satisfactory settlement with all social taxes that were outstanding at 31 December 2011. We estimate those social taxes (being PAYE and NIC) to be at least £5m. We cannot now see a scenario where those taxes will have been paid or compromised to the satisfaction of HMRC by the end of March 2012.

“The final major hurdle is that the Club must have paid or compromised all of its outstanding "Football Creditors" prior to the deadline of 31 March 2012. That issue is again extremely unlikely.

“As administrators, we will make every effort to seek dispensation from the footballing authorities given the extraordinary circumstances in which the Club has been placed.

“There has, perhaps inevitably, been speculation about Rangers Football Club facing liquidation. As we have stated previously, we remain very confident that Rangers will not cease to exist and the team will continue to play at Ibrox.
“If a Company Voluntary Arrangement is not possible for any particular reason, any buyer of the Club and its assets would complete that purchase through a sale by the Administrators allowing the Football Club to continue to operate with the old company then being placed into liquidation prior to dissolution.

“We are, however, doing our best to ensure the Company trades viably during administration and this will require a rigorous cost-cutting programme. Our preferred option remains to reach a point where a Company Voluntary Arrangement is reached and the Club can emerge from administration as a viable business within its existing corporate shell. As stated there is a possibility that if a new buyer is identified a financial case may be made to sell the business and assets of the old company, but that is not our preferred approach at this time. 

“We are aware of the statement from Mr King. We note his comments regarding the Ticketus arrangements but as this issue is subject to on-going discussion and examination, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

 8th March 2012


Duff and Phelps, administrators of Rangers Football Club, issued the following statement today.
David Whitehouse, joint administrator, said: “As part of the financial recovery process we made an emergency application to the High Court in London last week to secure money held in the client account of a firm of solicitors, Collyer Bristow, who had acted for the purchaser of the Club in May 2011. 
“Following the court hearing last week Collyer Bristow paid approximately £3.6m to our lawyers, Taylor Wessing, to be held securely by Taylor Wessing until the High Court decides whether or not it is the Club's money. 
“We are very pleased with the decision by the High Court today to order a further hearing on this matter on March 30 and I am sure that all Rangers Football Club supporters will be encouraged that this issue will be dealt with as speedily as possible.
“If we are successful in retrieving these funds that will help the recovery process of the Club and will be an important step towards the Club emerging from administration.
“No-one should be in any doubt however about the overall financial situation of the Club and every effort is being made to ensure its survival.
“We are continuing to meet prospective purchasers over the next few days. This does not mean that the Club has to be sold within the next 24 hours – we are establishing how quickly we can get to that point.
“There has been much speculation in recent days about the administration process.
“We should at this point repeat that, as administrators, our preferred strategy is that we work towards achieving a Company Voluntary Arrangement through which the Club can emerge from administration.
“There has also been comment on the decision-making process and whether so-called tough decisions should have been taken earlier in the process, such as making players redundant.
“This would not have been a tough decision – it would have been folly.
“The scale of the cost-cutting required is very substantial indeed – and making a few players redundant along the way would not have achieved the necessary savings.
“Furthermore, we are striving to strike a balance where we retain valuable assets of the business such as players, both for their performance and their potential value and this strategy is understood by major stakeholders.
“We continue to reach agreement with the players on cost cutting measures that will be a real benefit to the Club – the players themselves want that but they are being asked to make big sacrifices.
“These are difficult choices but the survival of the Club is of paramount importance.
“As administrators, we believe that most Rangers supporters will understand that from the moment the Club went into administration every effort has been made to keep the business alive.
“The reality is that the perilous cash position of the Club meant that even staging games was a major challenge and required a substantial collaborative effort between the administration team, the Club staff and suppliers who have certainly gone the extra mile.
“In addition to this, there has also been a heavy focus on retrieving funds that we believe belong to the Club and we are making good progress in this area as today’s proceedings at the High Court in London indicate.
“These are unquestionably difficult times for Rangers but we can assure all those involved we remain wholly committed to achieving the best outcome.”

Monday, 27 February 2012

All shook up

From the always entertaining Football365:

Shakin' Sparky
One of the great blights of our game resurfaced over the weekend. One of those things nobody likes to see. An awful sight that sickens the soul and seems to happen all too often these days.

Yes, once again, Lord have mercy on our souls, somebody inadequately shook Mark Hughes's hand.

Martin Jol was the culprit this time, with Sparky visibly pi**ed off after the post-match pleasantries.

"I offered my hand and he shook it readily," said Hughes.

"I took exception because I thought he was going to tap me on the head, which I deemed to be slightly patronising so I brushed his arm away."

Of course, this isn't the first time Hughes has objected to the way someone has pressed his flesh.

After Arsene Wenger disappeared down the tunnel rather than shake Sparky's hand in December 2009, he said: "It's his choice, but I have been on the end of a 6-2 defeat at the Emirates and I shook hands. There is a certain protocol to observe, so it's a shame because I have huge respect for Arsene."

After Tony Pulis refused Hughes's hand in December 2010, he said: "He is probably getting his own back, because I did a similar thing last time in the League Cup because I was a little bit aggrieved one of his players had taken out Moussa Dembele when it was unnecessary."

After Fulham played Manchester City last February, Hughes said of Roberto Mancini: "I had to offer my hand and do it with sincerity when my team was beaten 4-1 by Roberto's. I was disappointed but I acknowledged that his team was better and he deserved a handshake with sincerity.

"Maybe I misread it, but I just didn't think Roberto acknowledged the efforts of my team and how well we'd done, by the way he offered his hand."

So, in summary, after a QPR game, a manager must definitely shake Sparky's hand, but crucially must look deep into his eye and not - repeat, not - pat him on the head.

Hopefully that's clear now, and we can put this whole sorry business behind us.
Mark Hughes is a very proud man. It's just a shame that his pride makes him act like a prat. Oh Sparky, what has happened to you?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Neville on Tevez

Reading through Gary Neville's fascinating Red autobiography and just got to the chapter where he discusses Carlos Tevez. With Tevez's return to the UK and apology to the person he upset (take note Mr Suarez) I wondered if there was an insight as to how the City players would take to the returning prima donna.

First off Neville says that he rates him as a player and 'likes him as a person', despite the very public spat whihc Neville describes as 'handbags'. So that bodes well for re-integration into the team.

However Neville also reveals that the squad didn't think that Tevez was trying as hard in his second season at United: "He'd become very fond of a massage," rather than training. If Tevez feels he has a point to prove then he will no doubt pushing everything to make that point, then he will soon win over the players and the fans. However if he is just going to sulk for four months and 'toss off training' like he did at United then there will be few benefits for City.

Neville also said that Tevez is someone who 'needs to feel the love'. He's unlikely to get that from Mancini.

Given that he is generally liked, he is unlikely to upset the apple cart in the Man City dressing room (although there are some big egos in there, Mancini can generally get them to toe the line). Whether City will actually get some return this season from the £250,000 a week they are paying him will be down to Tevez's reasons for returning.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Song for Europa

So the Europa League starts again tonight with no Fulham, but the two Manchester clubs and all three sides are perceived to have failed in Europe this season. It is really disappointing that the late goals conceded by Fulham against Twente and Odense tipped them out of the cup, especially considering the FA Cup exit as well. Still Fulham didn't underestimate their opponents quite as much as Manchester United did. In a perceived 'easy' group, United only beat the whipping boys Otelul Galati meaning that both Benfica and Basle progressed at their expense. But now you have the ridiculous situation of bloating the Europa League with Champions League also-rans. Is the Europa League really more prestigious with underperforming 'big' clubs in it? UEFA seems to think so. Lest we forget, in Fulham's glorious 'almost' season, Fulham were the only team in the last four who actually started the season in the competition. At least Porto's win over Braga last year stopped it feeling like the Champions League wooden spoon competition.
But I can't have it all ways. I'm genuinely excited for this evening's game as it is against Ajax - another Champions League drop out. I've always liked Ajax. No idea why. While at school I actually had an Ajax shirt because I love the fact that the sponsor was vertical rather than horizontal. Although having looked back, it seems that I was a bit older than I expected as it appears to be the shirt worn by the all conquering 1995 side.
I suppose I was a bit of an odd one at school. I also had a Southampton shirt - you don't see many of them in East Manchester. I just liked it. God knows why. maybe it reminded me of the Denmark shirt in the 1986 World Cup, after all it's practically the same design and that Denmark team boasted my first favourite player - Jesper Olsen. Which brings us nicely back around to Manchester United and the club's opportunity to join Ajax, Bayern Munich and Juventus as the only teams to win all three European trophies (RIP Cup Winners' Cup). It all depends on how seriously Ferguson takes the competition - he has yet to win a UEFA Cup match as United manager; I think he has drawn all four and gone out on penalties or away goals. Of course the primary motivation for Manchester United fans and Manchester City fans in this competition is to stop the other lot from winning it, which is a bit arrogant considering there are another 30 teams still in the competition.
The pretentious theme music of the Champions League has been played so often now over nearly two decades that it now has a Pavlovian effect - even the players remark about getting goosepimples before a match when they here the music. However the Europa League theme, albeit only three seasons in, is not nearly as awe inspiring. I've even been to a Europa League final and have no memory of this piece of music at all.
It comes across as a diet version of the Champions League version, which is fine if you consider that is what UEFA seem to want the Europa League to be as well. But if they want something more memorable, why not try something a bit more, well, individual. The song I remember being played in Hamburg is the Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling, which was everywhere at the time. But if the Europa League could get its own World in Motion, or even God forbid a Three Lions, then it would be one step closer to getting its own personality and actually achieving some respect and standing on its own two feet. But when it is undermined by 'Big Cup' to such an extent that next week's Man City home tie against Porto has a 5pm kick off to avoid clashing with Champions League matches, respect for the competition from within UEFA seems sorely lacking - so why should anyone else respect it?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Rangers' administrators press releases

Somehow I am on a list to receive press releases from Duff and Phelps - the firm dealing with Rangers' administration. As I am not au fait enough with Scottish football (I'll leave my belief that it should move to summer to another time) and my father's a Celtic fan, I just thought I'd post these for posterity/interest.

 14th February 2012
Statement from Duff and Phelps on Rangers Football Club

Duff and Phelps has been engaged by the directors of The Rangers Football Club plc (RFC) to assist its negotiations with HMRC, and possible restructuring options.

As a result the inability of RFC to conclude negotiations with HMRC the board of directors have filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators. 

The purpose of this notice is to provide a moratorium against potential creditor actions. 

Meetings are due to take place with HMRC in relation to the tax position of the company.

Management remain hopeful that with the assistance of HMRC a consensual and solvent solution can be found.  In the meantime RFC is continuing to trade as usual.

All further enquires should be addressed to RFC press office.

 14th February 2012

Duff & Phelps appointed Administrators of Rangers Football Club

Paul Clark and David Whitehouse, both of Duff & Phelps, the corporate financial advisory firm, have been appointed Joint Administrators of Rangers Football Club, as of today, 14th February 2012.

The appointment follows a petition for administration presented to the Court of Session in Edinburgh today by HMRC following the non-payment of circa £9m PAYE and VAT following the takeover of the Club in May 2011.

Paul Clark, partner, Duff & Phelps stated: “HMRC have been working closely with the Club in recent months to achieve a solution to the Club’s difficulties.  However this has not been possible due to ongoing losses and increased tax liabilities that cannot be sustained,”

“We are working together with management and its major creditors including HMRC to achieve a solution to the financial problems which will ensure the ongoing survival of the business, which is of paramount importance to all concerned,” he added.

Paul concluded: “We would like to take the opportunity of thanking the fans for all their past and present support and hope we can rely on them in the future. Rangers has a long and proud sporting tradition – one we all wish to see continue. All stakeholders involved with Rangers are working hard to ensure the long-term future of this national institution. We will be making a further more detailed statement later in the week,” he added.

 15th February 2012

Paul Clark and David Whitehouse, of Duff and Phelps, said: “We can report we have made very good progress within the first 24 hours of being appointed administrators over Rangers Football Club.

“Our first priority has been to ensure that the football club continues to function and this is being achieved with the help of staff, players and management at the Club.

“In particular, we would like to thank the Club’s business partners who are going the extra mile to ensure that Saturday’s home match against Kilmarnock goes ahead as scheduled. We had extremely constructive discussions with Strathclyde Police and we can confirm the match will take place.

“We fully recognise this is a difficult time for players and staff at the Club and are extremely appreciative of their reaction to the situation. We will be holding meetings with the staff on a weekly basis at least to inform them of developments.

“We are also in the process of speaking to representatives of supporters’ groups and that will be an ongoing process.

“In broad terms, supporters can be reassured that Rangers will continue as a football club and we hope to reach a stage as soon as possible where the Club can emerge from administration.

“We have had expressions of support across the political spectrum in Scotland within the last 24 hours and there is clearly a desire to see Rangers come through this situation successfully.

“The Club has, however, taken the decision to postpone the Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards Ceremony scheduled for this Sunday (19 February, 2012) at the Glasgow Hilton as holding the event at this time was not considered appropriate. 

“The event will be rescheduled for a later date and all table sales and sponsorship commitments will be honoured at that time. Rangers would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to supporters, sponsors and clients and we will ensure details of the rescheduled event will be communicated as soon as possible. The Club would also like to thank the Glasgow Hilton for their understanding.

“If anyone has booked places or a table at the event and have any questions, the Events Department can be contacted on 0141 580 8613. 

There had been widespread publicity and speculation regarding the financial affairs of the football club.

“For clarity, the cost structure of the Club and ongoing losses were such that the Club had outstanding liabilities to HMRC. These were the subject of discussion and clearly HMRC wished to see them resolved as a matter of urgency.  We are involved in dialogue with HMRC and will work with them constructively, as is the case with all other key stakeholders.”

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ode to Bobby Z

It's farewell then and good luck, Bobby Z
You made us eat our words, including me.

With a hand to the ear, you made sure we heard ya
Especially that one fan with a hamburger.

In Europe we marvelled at what you did.
Had you been fit we may have beat Madrid.

Although you still acted a bit of an arse,
We somehow made money selling you to the Rs.

At ambitious QPR I'm sure you'll work hard
But take a look at the case of Jimmy Bullard.

England caps and acclaim from those who know
Until a transfer for money brought him down low

If it doesn't work and you end up feeling sad
Reflect that little Fulham may be the best you've ever had.

In the meantime the whites need to replace your assists
Or next year we could both be playing in the Championship

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Mind games

Fabulous little interview at the always thought provoking Craven Cottage Newsround with football pyschologist Dan Abrahams.

A snippet:
It seems to me that football is a game of momentum. How can players change a game’s momentum?

I need a whole book to answer this one. From a football psychology perspective you must plan to deal with momentum before playing. Specifically preparing the strategies you are going to use to deal with momentum both for and against. Examples of cognitive strategies I’ve used with players include deliberately keeping focus in the present moment, positive and confident self-talk no matter what, and verbal cues related to sticking to role and responsibilities. Behavioural strategies include visual cues, deliberately playing with fun and freedom, maintaining positive body language and being more vocal.
Great question given that momentum seems a difficult thing to stop, other than feigning injury and creating a break in play - artificially curtailing momentum. It's a shame that it's such a technical answer - would love to see some real examples of this.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Money, money, money

Just seen this in the Guardian.

One of those players was the then 19-year-old RubĂ©n Rochina, who was signed for €450,000 (£372,000) from Barcelona. His agent, Manuel Salamanca Ferrer, received a £1.65m fee

I guess the astronomical wages of players make football's administrators believe that these kind of payments are justifiable? I just find it all depressing.

Monday, 9 January 2012


A combination of a six month old daughter, a 200 mile relocation, my biggest work deadline of the year and the complete ineptitude of BT means I haven't seen much football nor been online much in recent months. I get the feeling I'm certainly going to struggle to keep up with Fulham from the top tip of Derbyshire.
But there are odd games that I can catch. I saw the last 20 minutes or so of the victory against Arsenal for example - ie the best bit. What I don't understand is bad loser Arsene Wenger's point about it being obvious that Fulham were targeting Djourou - if it was that obvious, maybe he should have done something about it by subbing him?
The red card did highlight one of the lovely things about Craven Cottage - the 'tunnel' positioned in the corner of the pitch. If an opposition player is sent off in front of the Hammersmith End then there is an awfully long, and lonely, walk back to the Cottage and the changing rooms within. You don't even get the chance to walk back along by the dug out for some moral support, as you would in other stadia with tunnels at the corner, such as Old Trafford and Villa Park. The layout of the Cottage also provides the funny instances of managers holding up the start of the second half as they attempt to get to the dug outs by cutting across the pitches - I believe this also happened in this match!
Meanwhile Fulham have won another London derby - with my man Clint dispatching Charlton with a hat-trick:

Also in London, it seems Mark 'strange man' Hughes has decided to stop looking like an arse defending Carlos Tevez from the pundit's chair and will replace Neil Warnock at QPR. Here's hoping the Rs have the requisite ambition for Mr High and Mighty, but Sparky should know that it is a decision that will move him away from his dream job of managing Chelsea - Loftus Road is twice as far away from Stamford Bridge as Craven Cottage.

Rich Text