Comparing Pre-seasons

by Lydia on July 31, 2015

If you have ever been part of a sports team you will know just how critical it is to have a good pre-season. It needs to get players up to standard physically, technically and mentally before the season kicks off. I have not-so-fond memories of doing hill sprints and step work several times a week before the local hockey season kicked off! But I know that if you don’t have the right start then your whole season can be thrown off course leaving you with nothing but regrets wishing you had run a little harder during the summer months! In a recent interview with Marcus Bettinelli and Lasse Vigen Christensen it really struck me that both players admitted that the atmosphere around the Fulham camp was noticeably different from the same stage last season. Both players commented on how there is a better togetherness in the squad that just wasn’t there last season for a number of reasons. I’ll be honest, at the time I thought Fulham’s pre-season last year was of good quality and that the players seemed happy and focused but in hindsight it seems that there were a lot of underlining issues that had a very negative impact upon the squad.

Felix Magath

 

Similarly to this year’s pre-season, in July/August last year Fulham had just finished their pre-season camp in Austria but with Felix Magath in charge rather than Kit Symons. A lot has been made of Magath’s extremely tough training regime and this alongside his complete lack of man management skills, the bizarre transfer activity and the number of big egos in the squad will have taken a much bigger toll on the squad than we perhaps realised last season. Magath’s style didn’t suit Fulham at all and he unfortunately instilled the wrong attitude right from the beginning. Apart from the likes of Ross McCormack, the transfers completed last summer were completely illogical and just became a list of unknowns. Too many members of the squad were not good enough to compete for the first team so there was a distinct lack of competition for places- never a good thing for a side supposedly aiming for promotion.

The pre-season fixtures last season also weren’t of good enough quality to really test the squad. It is important to ease the team into pre-season but the fixtures actually went downhill in quality rather than getting harder and harder as the start of the season drew nearer. Looking back on it, it really wasn’t a good way to prepare for the Championship and will probably have played a part in the terrible season we had to endure.

Friday_09

However, this pre-season has been a complete contrast from last year. As the boys said in the interview, the squad are much more focused on the same goal and the players who have joined up are of a much better standard. Symons has targeted the right calibre of player and we have some of the best attacking players statistically speaking from last season’s campaign in Cairney, O’Hara and Pringle. The competition for places is high now which is necessary for a team who wants to push for promotion. The standard of the pre-season friendlies have also been much higher than last season with the only opposition team outside a top league being Crawley Town. Instead of East Fife, DC United and Caykur Rizespor, Fulham have faced Aston Villa, Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and then face Crystal Palace at the Cottage tomorrow. These teams have been a real test physically and technically for Fulham over the past month and the match tomorrow against Palace should give us a really good idea of how the team will play in the first game of the 15/16 campaign against Cardiff.

Hertha_01

Overall I really do believe that everything that has went on throughout this year’s pre-season has been significantly better than last season which be a real source of optimism for the fans. From the togetherness in the squad that Bettinelli and Christensen spoke about in their interview to the signings that have come in and the quality of the teams Fulham have faced throughout the month it is clear that the team is in a much better place physically and mentally than last year. It should provide a solid platform to continue to build and will hopefully be the start of a much more successful season than the last. Here’s to less tears and more cheers!

#COYW

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Ryan Williams joins Barnsley

by Dan on July 26, 2015

Australian winger Ryan Williams has left Fulham and signed a two-year permanent deal with League One side Barnsley.

Williams enjoyed a successful loan spell at Oakwell last season, impressing during his six first-team appearances, and moves to south Yorkshire for an undisclosed fee. The 21 year-old signed for Fulham from Portsmouth back in January 2012 after impressing during a trial game for Fulham’s reserve side, but he struggled to make an impact at Craven Cottage, playing just two first-team games for the club under Felix Magath at the start of last season – in the defeats by Wolves and Derby.

Williams told Barnsley’s official website this afternoon:

I’m delighted to have joined Barnsley Football Club on a permanent basis, as I much admire the playing philosophy of Lee Johnson. I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with Lee Johnson on a daily basis and to have the platform of this great Club with its wonderful supporters to showcase my talent and skills.

One of the integral reasons for my decision to join Barnsley was that lots of other young and talented players, such as Marc Roberts and Alfie Mawson, have also decided to come and play for Lee and to work under him even though they had opportunities to join Championship clubs. This was further enhanced when you see gifted young players such as Ben Pearson also choose to join Barnsley on loan ahead of Championship clubs.

I’m very much looking forward to getting to work on the training ground, with Lee, the staff and the players as soon as possible.

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Eintracht Frankfurt edge out Fulham in friendly

July 25, 2015

Tweet Fulham were beaten for the first time during their pre-season preparations as they went down to a narrow defeat at the hands of Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt this afternoon. They were slightly unfortunate to lose a largely even contest, which was decided by a dubious refereeing decision when the official decided to penalise Andy […]

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Fulham sign Garbutt on season-long loan

July 25, 2015

Tweet Fulham have this morning confirmed that they have completed the capture of Everton defender Luke Garbutt on a season-long loan. The Whites successfully fought off competition from a number of their Championship rivals, including QPR, Rotherham and Ipswich Town, for the England under-21 international’s signature. The young left back is highly rated as the […]

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A Glimpse of Mitroglou

July 24, 2015

Tweet If you have looked closely at the various photo albums that Fulham have put on the official website throughout the pre-season tour of Austria you will have perhaps spotted Kostas Mitroglou in the ranks. Having seemingly been close to transfers to a number of different clubs, including Sporting Lisbon and Olympiacos, already this summer […]

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Marcus Bettinelli, Stockpiling and Why a Move to Chelsea isn’t out the Realms of Possibility

July 24, 2015

Tweet News this morning that Chelsea have bid £2.5m for Marcus Bettinelli is enough to make the blood boil if you stop and think about it. This is yet another example of a big club using their financial weight to stockpile young talent. There is nothing in the law book that says stockpiling is wrong. […]

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Chelsea offer £2.5m for Bettinelli

July 24, 2015

Tweet Chelsea have tabled a £2.5m bid for Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, according to a report in this morning’s Times. Jose Mourinho has long been rumoured to be interested in the England under-21 goalkeeper, who broke into the Fulham first team last season and enjoyed an excellent debut season despite his side’s struggles in the […]

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Fulham closing in on Garbutt capture

July 23, 2015

Tweet Fulham have fought off a number of Championship clubs to clinch a deal to sign Everton full-back Luke Garbutt on loan, according to reports this afternoon. Everton manager Roberto Martinez has identified a loan as being crucial to Garbutt’s development after he played in all three of England’s group matches at this summer’s European […]

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Eisfeld set for Fulham exit

July 23, 2015

Tweet Thomas Eisfeld’s Fulham career appears to be over as Kit Symons will not stand in the way of the German midfielder leaving Craven Cottage, according to a report on GetWestLondon this afternoon. The former Arsenal midfielder, who spent the second half of last season on loan at German second division side Bochum, had suggested […]

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Brighton turn down Fulham’s £4m bid for Dunk

July 22, 2015

Tweet Brighton and Hove Albion have rejected Fulham’s £4m bid for their central defender Lewis Dunk, according to reports on the south coast this evening. The Argus newspaper revealed that the Seagulls have rebuffed Fulham’s improved offer for the 23 year-old centre back and are adamant that they will not sell Dunk to a Championship […]

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