A few things have caught my eye today as the week meanders along.
There’s a timely look back at one of the sorrier episodes in Fulham’s history which makes most fans get more than a little hot under the collar. Our failure to gain promotion in 1982-83 when Malcolm MacDonald had assembled a decent young squad playing some fine football can’t be blamed entirely on the last day fiasco at relegated-threatened Derby (when Fulham’s players were subjected to horrible abuse and the referee called a halt to play with five minutes left) and the subsequent farcial refusal by the FA to grant a replay but it certainly left an unsavoury taste in the mouth. There’s a few errors in the piece (I’d certainly contend that we were as good value for promotion as Leicester) but, for those of you – like me – who weren’t around at the time, it’s worth a read.
It’s as good a time as any to laud Mark Schwarzer’s fine form since he joined us from Middlesbrough. On MOTD2 the other day, Danny Murphy said he hadn’t made a mistake yet this season. We might have been a little critical of the big Aussie’s decision-making against West Ham but you’d be exceptionally harsh to disagree with the statement. Now, the Australian national goalkeeping coach reckons Schwarzer’s getting better with age and that the move to Fulham has improved him even further.
Before and during the game last week he was a focal point for the team. He definitely wants to go to another World Cup and he is very determined. He makes every sacrifice to play for the national team, and is always willing to travel anywhere to any game. Mark is very cool under pressure, he knows his own game and he has a very high level of personal expectation which keeps him striving.
Schwarzer’s understudy, David Stockdale, has been speaking about his debut for on loan Rotherham, who lost at Bradford on Saturday. It’s also interesting to see how pleased he is to have joined Fulham and the difference between playing for a Premier League club and the League Two side. Hopefully, as Roy says, he’ll get some useful first-team experience under his belt.
Remember back on transfer deadline day when we couldn’t work out whether we’d got rid of Collins John for good or whether he had just been loaned out? Well, it seems NEC are beginning to share our frustration with the infuriatingly-talented young striker. Apparently, he’s a long way off match fitness, has played just a couple of reserve games, won’t be in the squad for the Spurs game tomorrow night and isn’t expected to play before the Eredivisie takes it’s winter break. Perhaps when CJ actually gets on the pitch we’ll discover if he’s learned how to stay onside.
As we’d predicted, Gabby Zakuani has completed his permanent move to Peterborough. Zakuani’s two appearances since we spent a cool £1m on bringing him from Leyton Orient came in the Carling Cup, but he might have a bit more success at the club managed by Ferguson Jnr. The fee is undisclosed, but we believe it is around £300,000.
There was a timely meeting between our reserve side and Aston Villa ahead of our Premier League game at Villa Park on Saturday. Fulham were saved by a late equaliser from young Lewis Smith and drew the game 1-1. It was an interesting side put out by Billy McKinlay (yes, Cookie’s mate is still the reserve team coach) which included Freddie Stoor, Toni Kallio, new signing Dickson Etuhu – who played the whole game, Leon Andreasen, Julian Gray and Seol Ki-Hyeon.