Thursday, 4 July 2013

New kit - new sponsor

Kit is a bit, meh and the new sponsor Marathonbet (big Russian bookmaker) is an interesting one.

Fulham Football Club is delighted to welcome Marathonbet as its Main Team Sponsor.  The deal, which is the biggest in the Club’s history, will see the Marathonbet logo displayed on the playing shirts worn by the Club’s First Team and its U21s for the next two seasons, with an option on a third year. Today’s announcement is also the first time the Club’s new adidas home kit has been revealed to fans.

Established in 1997, Marathonbet offers great odds and great prices, and is fast becoming the global sports-book of choice. offers customers a wide range of live sport betting, with an unrivalled number of in-play markets to choose from.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Fulham safe - relegation impossible.

A dismal run of one point out a possible 21 means Fulham should still be in with a very real chance of relegation. While the fixture list hasn't been exactly kind in this final leg of the season, with traditionally tricky games, it's almost a scandalous position to be in, the nadir being the home loss to an already relegated Reading. Reading who are crash bottom of the away performances league.
On the flip side of the coin, the fixture list has been kind. Because Wigan and Aston Villa play each other on the last day of the season, one of those teams will definitely finish below Fulham. The likelihood is it will be the People's Wigan Athletic, who need to win twice to avoid relegation and one game is at Arsenal who are top of the form table.
With Sunderland facing a trip to White Hart Lane, it is unlikely that the Black Cats will get the point they need to jump Fulham, but not unfeasible. And given the dismal run of form Fulham are in, is there any expectation of them getting anything from the last game at Swansea?
Therefore a 17th place finish is a very real prospect. Conversely, a good enough win and results going in their favour, could see Fulham finish in the top half.

So- on the outcome of one round of matches Fulham can finish anywhere between 10th and 17th. Can any judgement be made on finishing positions from this situation? Probably not. It does appear to have been an underwhelming season at Craven Cottage though. The question is has Jol done enough to keep his job? There was a strange rush of bets on him to be sacked in January. But when was the last time Mo sacked a manager in the summer?

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

When do clashing shirts not clash?

A week or so ago, I felt compelled to write to the Premier League with a bit of a whinge. I tried watching the QPR v Stoke City game on Match of the Day and found it very difficult to differentiate between the two strips from the distance of the TV camera gantry.
As a still picture, it is obviously easier to differentiate between red and white stripes and blue and white hoops, but in motion it really isn't so simple. Check it here.
This happens surprisingly often. The week before, the black and white stripes of Newcastle United met the red and white stripes of local rivals Sunderland which was again painful to watch. In the return match earlier this season, Newcastle felt compelled to wear their away kit, so why didn't Sunderland for the exact same clash? Sunderland wore their stripes away from home against West Brom, Wigan (although Wigan's kit is predominantly blue with two white stripes on the front), QPR and Reading. Most of these, while irritating, were not an insurmountable problem for watching on TV. But when the two opposing teams are ALSO wearing the same colour shorts, then things get a bit silly. Certainly for me it makes it almost impossible to follow the match. There's no need for it.
What I don't understand is the rule that the Premier League has sent to me regarding shorts.
Where the colour of the shorts worn by two teams is identical, the Rules currently give the away team the choice of either changing to a different colour or keeping the same colour.

This Rule has been existence since the Premier League began in 1992 when it was felt that it was important to supporters that they were able to see their team play in their traditional colours as often as possible.
Why is it so important to allow supporters to see their team play in traditional coloured shorts? In the early 90s I remember Man United playing in black shorts almost as often as white. Didn't make any difference to me. And gave the Red Devils another merchandise line. Given the PL makes more money from TV than attending fans, you would have though that a simple rule to stop shorts clashing (why is it clashing? two identical colours can't clash - you actually want a clash) would solve a problem. If you really want to do something for the fans PL, why not more 3pm kick offs please?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Goodi boo hoos - EVE 2 - 0 MCY

Despite a recent new addition to the household (my son James is now 6 weeks old), I was able to accept a kind offer from the Football Pools and attend Everton's home match against champions Man City. I've always had a soft spot for Everton because they are not Liverpool (I remember willing on Stuart McCall in the 1989 FA Cup Final). Despite now being the main competition for Man United, I also don't mind City. I've been to see the blues a few times both back in the Maine Road days and at COMstad - after all they are a Manchester team, although, like United, they don't quite feel like it these days.
Still I was firmly behind the Toffees for this game, understandably, but was pessimistic about the team's chances after the previous week's four minute capitulation against Wigan. However Everton are very much City's bogey team.
I've since read that City started the game with three at the back, but that didn't seem readily apparent. Certainly there was no early pattern to the game apart from one of petulance, sparked by Edin Dzeko's bizarre reluctance to approach the ref for a talking to. The ref ended up having to call the captain Zabaleta from full back just to bring the forward to him. This attitude seeped into the game in general with Everton players picking up niggly yellow cards - Pienaar in particular picked one up after shouting in the ref's face after being pienaar-lised for a foul.
The first bit of real goal mouth action occurred when Mirallis brought down a ball in the area and immediately SPANKED it into the corner of the goal, but this was called offside. A very marginal call as it happened. After that City got their act together a little and had one or two half chances, one after a particularly good bit of close control from Dzeko. However they were all gobbled up quite easily by Mucha in goal.He didn't quite look the part Mucha, I think because we're used to seeing the Everton keeper jersey filled out by the ripped Tim Howard. However Mucha is of a far slighter build and the shirt just kind of hung off him.
City were well policing Baines at left back, but it seemed that the focus on that side of the park opened up space for Seamus Coleman on the opposite side and he was exploiting it. It was his square pass that found Leon Osman, who hit a sweet curling effort that bamboozled Hart at the last minute, and nestled in the goal to the roar of the crowd.
The needle on the pitch had translated into a buzzing atmosphere in the stands and the needle twitched even further when Pienaar tangled with Garcia. It was a late tackle with studs, so Pienaar could be lucky he didn't get a straight red rather than a second yellow, but Garcia's Ronaldo impression on the floor provided the crowd with a sense of injustice. Performance levels did improve after the red card, but only in the crowd. City played with the same lack of intensity, but the extra space on the pitch did allow them to be more incisive; there seeming to be an extra man on their right side on several occasions, leading the maligned Mucha to make a handful of impressive and important stops.
During this pressure, City should have had a penalty when Fellaini blocked a shot with his hand above his shoulder. But the linesman and referee gave a free kick outside the area. In fairness to the ref, everyone in our box, including the City fan, assumed it was the right call in real time, so it was a bit of a surprise to see that the Belgian was so far inside his box when the infringement occurred. Given he had earlier been denied a penalty himself when being held back in the City area, it was karmically evened up.
Everton's best player, marginally, was Darren Gibson. He stepped up when Everton were down to ten men and appeared everywhere. Even Anichebe had a good game; full of selfless running. Kolo Toure panicked every time the striker bore down on him. But it was his replacement that brought the house down.
Injury time and the ball breaks to Fellaini with City overcommitted. We were cheering the attack like a horse at Cheltenham and the ball made its way to Jelavic whose shot looped in over Hart and sent Mancini down the tunnel to stew. It wouldn't have made much difference anyway as the angry Italian only seemed to watch two thirds of the play anyway. In contrast Moyes was like an exasperated father, moaning to the bench whenever Baines went over to take a corner despite Everton being down to 10. But the Scot on his 11th anniversary as Everton boss had got the upper hand on Bobby once again.
I'm not sure if it's a song they play at the end of every match, but Goodison Park rang out at the tune of 'Baby, Give it up' after full time. A point being made to the visitors' title challenge, perhaps?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pixel that one out

Just came across this site - and they have recreated a lot of emotive goals on there. The only one for Fulham is Simon Davies' sensational equalizer against Hamburg. Oddly it looks even better when rendered in Sensible Soccer. Wonder what Dempsey's Juve goal would look like - or Murphy's at Pompey?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Scotland: bonkers

Having seen that the Scottish Premier League has voted for the new three tier system, I just thought I'd opine on how bonkers the new set up is that they have settled on.

The top two leagues, called the Premier Division and the Championship, will have 12 teams each and the third division of 18 teams will be called the National League. So far, so straightforward.

However the abominable league split that was introduced back in 2007 - nominally to provide more Old firm games without needing to play 44 matches - remains, despite the peculiar look that it had when seventh place accumulated more points than sixth.

This time, it's even more complicated.

After 22 matches the top two divisions split into three divisions of 8 teams; for clarity (fat chance) I will call these A, B & C.

League A consists of the top eight teams in the Premier Division. They will play each other twice and battle it out for the title and any other European places up for grabs.

League B is the 'Play-off' League. The bottom four clubs of the Premier Division and the top four clubs of the Championship all come together with a zero points tally and will play each other twice. At the end of the mini-season, the top four teams in League B will start the following season in the Premier Division, while the bottom four will start the next season in the Championship.

League C is the pointless league. The bottom eight clubs of the Championship play each other twice in order to ascertain who will drop down into the National League. At the moment it doesn't seem clear how many promotion/relegation spots there will be between League C and the 18-team National League, but if it is fewer than three than this could be a really, really dull league.

As you can see it totally shits on any history of any 'champions' of lower leagues by completely doing away with the concept.

The whole set-up still needs the support of the Football League, which has its own proposals for a 16-10-16 league structure and a member in Rangers who will no doubt like to be heard considering their likely spot at the top table before too long.

If I were the SPL I would switch the league to a summer season. Sky in particular is usually desperate to show some football over the summer and it's not as if Scotland have qualified for any major tournaments recently that would cause an issue. If anything it might encourage teams to field more Scots if their mercurial Croatian winger gets called up for a European Championships in the middle of the season. Follow the timetables set out by the Norwegian and (I think) Russian leagues. Get more for a TV deal as there is less competition and it also opens the door for more possible loan deals between the English league and Scotland (as the recent trend for MLS stars doing a couple of months in the Premier League has demonstrated). Plus there would be better weather and fewer postponements.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Jol sack odds slashed

Received this press release this morning:
Paul Lambert is 6/4 favourite (from 4/7) at BetVictor to be the next PL manager to lose/leave his post after a steady trickle of bets for Martin Jol who has been cut from 20s to 3/1 this morning.

Spokesperson Charlie McCann: “The gamble has taken us by surprise to be honest and we don’t really understand why Jol has suddenly become of interest to punters; Paul Lambert, as a result, is out to 6/4 from 4/7 despite Villa’s poor run of form in recent weeks.”

Next Premier League manager to lose/leave his post:
P lambert                     6/4 (from 4/7)
M Jol                           3/1 (from 20/1)
N Adkins                    6/1
16s Bar

While I thought the draw against Wigan could suck Fulham into the relegation battle, I was surprised to see how many teams were still below them. In such illiquid markets, movements such as this might not indicate much money being put on Jol, but 20/1 was a quite attractive price considering the situation.

Doesn't Mo usually sack managers when they are closer to the relegation zone?

Rich Text