Another happy Monday morning after another solid away performance. For all Villa’s pressure on Saturday, they only forced Schwarzer into one save and we might have nicked it had Clint Dempsey struck his shot a little further away from Friedel’s near post.
It’s funny how two different people can see the game and the league completely differently. Over on this Villa site, they describe Fulham as ‘mid to low table team’ which might well turn out to be true come May but does our recent improvement a disservice. Even after Sunday’s results, we still sit in 10th place after eight points and no defeats in November. And, it’s not so long ago, that Villa were a mid to low table team having to starve off relegation.
Those of you not familar with Teletext might frequently miss the hilarious page where fans text in their views on the games or football in general. Usually it’s the sie of childish arguments between Liverpool and Manchester United fans over who are the better side or have the greater history, but very ocassionally you get a Fulham-related pearler. The guy who texted in complaining that we played with 11 goalkeepers on Saturday clearly missed Dempsey’s two shots that brought fine saves out of Friedel and our respectable amount of possession.
A few days ago, we bemoaned the fact that a change of country and team seemed to have done little for Collins John’s attitude. He’d been at NEC for the best part of three months and hadn’t threatened to get near the first team. Despite the coach’s prediction that he wouldn’t play before the winter break, John made a brief substitute’s appearance as NEC recovered from their UEFA Cup defeat by Spurs to thrash FC Volendam 6-1. And coach Mario Beem was impressed:
Although it was clear that he lacks match sharpness, he did show his qualities. He always found space, but just arrived in situations a bit too late. He is not yet playing at 60% of his abilities and that can only increase. The substitution of Collins John is a sign for the squad. We have a very big and good group. That gives a great feeling, looking to the future.
I feel we should bring you up to date on one of our former players who proved very popular in his time at the club. We’ve Carlos Bocanegra to thank for a late header that sealed a lovely home victory over Spurs a few years ago and that memorable last-gasp equaliser that got us a draw at Stamford Bridge. We think it was the lack of a guarantee of first team football that saw the US national captain turn down a new contract and leave on a free at the end of last season, but he’s moved onto Rennes and had quite an impact.
He’s been playing mostly at left back rather than centre back for the Brittany side (as he did at the start of his Fulham career) and has been a crucial part of a Rennes side that on an impressive fourteen match unbeaten run. Guy Lacombe’s side beat PSG 1-0 on on Sunday night to move into second place, five points behind the leaders Lyon. Boca – who popped up with plenty of important goals for the Whites – even scored the winner in a UEFA Cup win over Steve McClaren’s FC Twente back in September. Keep up this form and we could see him in the Champions’ League next year!
It looks like Lee Clark could be following his former team mates Chris Coleman and John Collins into management. Clark made more than 150 appearances for Fulham, winning promotion to the top flight under Jean Tigana, between 1999 and 2005, before rejoining his beloved Newcastle first as player and then reserve team coach. He was then appointed assistant to Norwich manager Glenn Roeder, but is apparently the favourite to take charge of Huddersfield Town.