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Day: July 27, 2011

The Twohundredpercent Premier League Previews: Fulham

It has, in general terms, been a summer of poor career decisions but, in football terms, if there was to be a winner for this particular award over the last three months, it would be difficult to argue against the winner of said award being Mark Hughes. Hughes departed Craven Cottage at the start of the summer, according to common belief, in full anticipation of landing the then-vacant managerial position at Aston Villa, only for Villa to decide that he wasn’t the man for them and award the position to Alex McLeish instead. Time will tell whether Villa made the right decision regarding McLeish. Fulham, meanwhile, appointed Martin Jol as their manager and quietly got on with the job of preparing for their tenth consecutive season in the Premier League. It’s worth pausing a moment to consider what an achievement this is. In 1997, Fulham were in the bottom division of the Football League. Such a lengthy stay in the Premier League hasn’t been without its occasional close shaves, but Fulham are still there, merely getting on with the job of being many peoples second favourite team. Roy Hodgson took them to the final of the UEFA Cup in 2010 before being – arguably unwisely – poached by Liverpool, but Hughes continued the good work and took the club to eighth place finish at the end of last season....

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Down the Southern Road: End of the Line

One of the more unhinging moments for summer visitors to the Deep South might be when they lay down for sleep. Attempting to rest their heads on pillows for a quiet night’s sleep after a day full of eating beignets and touring antebellum plantation homes, they likely first notice that annoying symphony of cicada song that is anything but tranquil. After a time, the din becomes a simple white noise easily ignored, but those initial late summer nights touring the southern United States can be rather sleepless. Around this time last season, though, that cicada song sounded a touch sweeter, as it was singing the Baton Rouge Capitals on to their journey through the Southern Conference finals and on to the championship semifinals of the Premier Development League. The cicadas still persist in their midsummer cacophony for 2011, but the sound is anything but pleasant, as it will not be joined with the sounds of celebration from supporters of the Black & Red. Following a gritty 1-0 away win at Nashville on what is considered to be one of the poorest pitches in the PDL, Baton Rouge traveled once again to the Pan American confident they could take a further 3 points on the road against derby rivals New Orleans. While there had yet been an impressive offensive explosion from the Capitals, results that could have seen them sneak...

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