Tag: Fulham

Triumph of the Middle Class?

As another Premiership campaign winds down, most of the attention turns to those pitched battles near the bottom of the table, where clubs play a game of Musical Chairs to see who is the last one standing, or at the top where last gasps are exerted in the pursuit of shiny mugs festooned with ribbons. In a season that might very well end in Manchester United’s remarkable achievement of securing a 19th first division title, the general feeling has been that this was by and large an unremarkable year. Even during United’s extended unbeaten run to begin the season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side was slightly derided for winning ugly, being lucky, and in general benefiting from a reduction in quality out of other title contenders. The current behemoths of the Premiership appeared to be decidedly weaker than in previous years. Fielding players who were still a bit tired from last summer’s exertions in South Africa, clubs like Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal failed to exude that aura of invincibility when other clubs visited their grounds. As the season progressed, the Anfield outfit improved remarkably from a dreadful start but not quite enough to reclaim its world beater credentials. Arsenal found difficulty in taking full points off sides far down the table, thus obtaining a license to dispense and lid beverages. Carlo Ancelotti obviously lost the ability to manage when he sat his earthquake-proof arse on last season’s title-winning whiteboard as...

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Match Of The Week 2: Fulham 3-0 Blackpool

Perhaps it was inevitable that it would come to this in the fullness of time. The worlds of football, celebrity and cloying sentimentality have been slowly moving towards each other for the last ten years or so. At Craven Cottage this afternoon, though, a nadir has been reached. There is so much wrong with the statue of Michael Jackson that now stands, some might say creepily, outside Fulham’s ground that it is difficult to know where to start, even if we allow for Mohammed Al Fayed’s friendship with the late singer, chimpanzee maintenance man and moonwalker. Firstly, there is the statue itself. Seemingly based on a design submitted by a reasonably artistically talented seven year-old, it is a statue seemingly made of Play-Doh, a design that would have been rejected by Madame Tussauds on the assumption that the wax had partially melted. It is startlingly bad, really alarmingly so, and, football supporters being football supporters, it seems inconceivable that it won’t lead to Fulham supporters – who, of course, were not consulted over this – being treated as laughing stocks the length and breadth of the nation for a while. Then there is the small matter of the fact that Michael Jackson has no links with Fulham Football Club, apart from his friendship with Al Fayed and having visited Craven Cottage once. If Al Fayed was so desperate to...

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2010: A Football Financial Review

You could frame it. If you wanted a short, pithy representation of all that has been wrong with football finance in 2010, you could do no better than quote a Plymouth Argyle fan known as “Sensible Surfer” on the BBC Football website over the Christmas period. “Ridsdale set to take control… good news,” he/she said, a phrase which would sit nicely as an explanation of irony…except that it didn’t appear to BE irony. And it served as fair comment on Argyle’s current state that, relatively, Peter Ridsdale – the failed former Leeds and Cardiff chairman and serial over-borrower – IS good news for the cash and panic-stricken South Westerners, with the heaviest possible emphasis on the word ‘relatively.’ If professional football entered 2010 in a state of moral and financial bankruptcy, it is leaving it in much the same manner. Certain football problems have been “solved.” Some more have emerged. While others, hello Portsmouth, look set to run forever. The “greater fool” theory still underpins much of the game’s financial strategies. The theory is about as scientific as it sounds – buying something in the belief that you will be able to sell it again for a higher price (to a “greater fool”), regardless of what has happened in the meantime (increased debts, usually), or even whether the original price was rooted in reality. Finding a “greater fool” is...

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The Premier League 2010/11 Previews, Part 9: Fulham – After The Lord Mayor’s Show

So, just how do you follow an act like Roy Hodgson? Since Fulham’s own chairman appears unable to express any appreciation for just what he did for the club over the course of two and a half seasons, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves just how good a job he did. Arriving midway through the 2007/08 season with the team apparently destined for relegation, he kept them up with a terrific late season run. The following season he steered them to seventh and qualification to the Europa League, then last season of course he took them all the way to the final of it and to within a few minutes of a penalty shoot out that might have won it for them. All achieved on a relative shoestring – at least insofar as there is such a thing in the Premier League these days.

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Greed Or Unity: The Football League Must Decide

Amongst the fulsome tributes offered in the direction of Fulham over the last twenty-four hours or so in the wake of their Europa League win against Hamburg, it was mentioned more than once that they were in what is now League Two as recently as 1997. Even though Fulham’s ascent was largely funded by Mohamed Al-Fayed (and other such rises, as well as more numerous less successful attempts at emulating likes of Fulham) have more often than not been funded such money, such tributes tell a fundamental truth about the inner beauty of English football. In principle, the sky is the limit for any club, anywhere. It is one of the glories of our version of the game but the the door has been slowly closing for many years since the formation of the Premier League, and now the final push to close it altogether could be upon us. When the likes of Manchester City’s Gary Cook and Bolton Wanderers’ Phil Gartside put forward their proposals for a revolution in the organisation of the top of English football (both of which, coincidentally, specifically benefitted the exact circumstances of their clubs at the time), they were rightly laughed out of court. Now, however, the Premier League is, with the willing assistance of twenty-three out of twenty-four clubs in the Championship, trying to force through a change to the financing of...

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