Reading between the lines, it doesn’t look like Collins John will be putting on a Fulham shirt again. Several well connected sources have suggested that we farmed him out to NEC to try and put him in the shop window for a move and – after an uninspiring start – John seems to be making quite an impression back in his native Holland.
The striker has been restricted to substitute appearances since he returned to match fitness last month but he made a telling contribution in tonight’s crucial UEFA Cup tie. NEC had to win and hope that Spurs did them a favour against Spartak but with the London side 2-0 down at half time and their game with already qualified Udinese all square, coach Mario Been decided to bring on John for the ineffective Saidi Ntibazonkiza.
He nearly scored with his first telling touch but shot from an acute failed to bring reward after a mazy dribble. John, who picked up a yellow card for his trouble, did get off the mark for his new club in the 74th minute, however, as his speculative shot from outside the box flew in with the help of a deflection off Marco Motta. NEC made sure of the win four minutes later when Johnny Van Beukering reacted quickest to score from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
Our Dutch friends qualify as third placed team from Group D alongside Udinese and Tottenham. They will go into the draw for the round of 16 which will be made at 12pm our time in Nyon tomorrow afternoon.
UPDATE: You can watch Collins John’s goal here. It wasn’t the most sweetly struck shot in the world and did need the help of that hefty deflected to outfox the goalkeeper. Not sure about his new hairstyle either.