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Thread: The Sir Bobby Robson Story

  1. #1
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    The Sir Bobby Robson Story


    I've had the idea for this story for quite a while, even before the sad passing of the great man, and have finally decided to start.

    What I plan to do is mimic the managerial career of Sir Bobby Robson, from when he started at Fulham, to his last position as manager of Newcastle. I will not only emulate his achievements with each of his jobs, but also eclipse them, by winning something he was never able to do, i.e. win the Premier Division with Ipswich, win a World or Euros with England.

    For the purpose of the story I'll be editing my nationality to ensure I get the continental jobs (P.S.V, Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona).

    Database: ODB February 2010 Update (Maximum Database)

    Leagues loaded: England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland and Spain.

    Below is Sir Bobby's Managerial CV:

    1968 Fulhamgggggggggggggggggggg
    19691982 Ipswich Townggggggggg
    19821990 Englandgggggggggggggg
    19901992 PSV Eindhoven
    19921994 Sporting CP
    19941996 Porto
    19961997 Barcelona
    19981999 PSV Eindhoven
    19992004 Newcastle United


    Note- This is my first attempt at a story so don't expect fireworks

  2. #2
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    So as above my first stop is English Premiership side Fulham. In Sir Bobby's brief stint as their manager he didn't achieve much, in fact he didn't achieve anything, seeing them relegated from the 1st division before he was sacked with them sitting 8th in the 2nd division.

    Obviously ensuring Fulham don't get relegated isn't much of a challenge, so instead I've set the aim of winning a trophy with them, be it League, UEFA, FA or League Cup, before I can move on to Ipswich.







    On taking control of Fulham, Chairman Mohammed Al Fayed told me of his expectations for the coming season, a respectable league position. Not too much of a problem, as I was hoping for a top 10 finish, and maybe even challenging for the European places. To aid me in my quest I was also handed 7.75m to spend, quite a generous amount.

    So with money in my pocket I looked at the squad under my control, and thought how I was going to spend it.
    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 09:59 PM.

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    This would be the squad at my disposal.



    My first thoughts were a few good players, especially Hangeland and Duff, however there was a real lack of squad depth, with not much quality either. Also, Dempsey and Johnson both had long term injuries, 8 months and 11 months respectively, which certainly didn't help my job.

    After much deliberation I decided to transfer list the following players, who wouldn't figure in my plans:

    Toni Kallio
    Kagiso Dikgacoi
    Robert Milsom
    David Elm

    And it didn't take too long till I managed to shift 2 of these on, first Milsom joined Welsh side Newport on a free, and he was followed out the door by Kallio who joined Swansea for 350k.

    I also recalled Diomansy Kamara from his loan at Celtic, and started scouring the transfer market for possible recruitments. After having bids accepted for both Toni, Bonera and Guti, all 3 rejected the opportunity to come to Craven Cottage, and I was further disappointed when Jorge Andrade decided to go to his homeland and play for Nacional. Finally on the 8th August I made my first singing, that of Bulgarian left winger Martin Petrov from Man City for 1.8m, and just a day later he was joined by Spurs left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto for the same fee.

    A look at my backroom staff, did not make good viewing. Apart from my one physio, and one scout, everyone else was sacked as none were of the standard I required. In the end I brought in a whole new backroom staff, including Peter Beardsley as a scout

    Once my scouts were in I sent them off to France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece to hopefully find me some cheap talent, and maybe even some youngsters for the future.

    With no more transfer activity we awaited our first game of the season, which would be against Stoke on Tues 21st August.
    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:00 PM.

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    August 2001

    Fixtures:
    Stoke (A), Man Utd (H)

    Monthly Summary:

    Just the 2 games in August both in the league, starting with Stoke away, which I felt could be a tough start to my tenure as Fulham manager, but we got a 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium, and was unlucky not to take the 3 points in a game we dominated.

    Next up was the Champions Man Utd at Craven Cottage, and I'd have been happy to take anything from this game, as their squad is much better than ours. We were handed the advantage after just 34 mins when Ryan Giggs picked up his 2nd booking of the match and he was sent off! Happy days I thought, and I was proved right when on the stroke of half time Kamara scored from the spot, after Rio Ferdinand had fouled Bobby Zamora, 1-0 to Fulham! However, even with 10 men Man Utd were having most of the play but couldn't make the break through, and just as I dreamt of a win over Man Utd, Ji-Sung Park levelled the scores on 78, just 15 mins after coming on as a sub, and the dream was gone. In fact Utd were unlucky not to find a 2nd when Rooney hit the bar, and the game ended 1-1. Still a point I would have taken before the game, but with taking the lead and playing against 10 men we should have won.

    Results:

    Stoke (A) 0-0
    Man Utd (H) 1-1 (Kamara Pen 45)

    Game of the Month:




    September


    Fixtures: Aston Villa (H), Everton (A), U. Craiova (A), Sunderland (H), Tottenham (A), U. Craiova (H), Wigan (H).

    Monthly Summary:

    After our 2 draws in the league so far I was still looking for our 1st win, however instead we experienced our first defeat going down 2-1 to Aston Villa, despite Etuhu putting us 1-0 up after just a minute, but Schwarzer then got sent off on 63, and we had slipped into the relegation zone. Next up was a tough trip to Goodison Park to play Everton who were flying high in 4th place. We got off to a bad start going behind after just 8 mins to a Fellaini header, and despite throwing everything at Everton, they held resolute and we went down 1-0. Things were going from bad to worse.

    A break in the league couldn't come at a better time, and the UEFA Cup 1st round draw pitted us against Romanian side Universitatea Coriva, and surely a good chance to get our first win of the season? Well yes it was, as we ran out easy 4-0 winners, the only bad news being Martin Petrov sent off, but with a 1 match ban ruling him out of the return fixture, I weren't too worried as we already had one foot and 3 toes in the next round.

    Could our win in Europe spur is on to our first win in the league? In short - No. Despite leading Sunderland 2-1 at home with mins to go, referee Mike Riley gave Sunderland the softest of penalties in the 89th minute, would justice be served? No, Kenwyne Jones blasted the ball past Mark Schwarzer, and the game finished 2-2.

    Spurs away, and another chance to finally land our first victory in the Premiership, although we'd have to be at our very best to get that, and I'd settle for a point. How wrong could I be? We turned in our best performance so far, and at half time we were 3-0 up, through goals from Zamora, Riise and Gera, surely we couldn't throw this away? 58 mins gone and 3 became 4, Martin Petrov scoring his first goal for the club, and astonishingly 4 turned to 5 on 62, Gera getting his 2nd of the game. Defoe pulled one back on 67, but it didn't matter, we finally had our first league win, and we were out the relegation zone.

    The 2nd leg of the UEFA Cup 1st round was just as routine as the 1st, as a complete reserve side ran out 3-0 winners, and we were through to the 2nd round, but who would our opponents be? The answer was FC Zurich of Switzerland, who had overcome Villarreal 4-2 on agg (winning 4-1 at home in the 2nd leg), so tricky opponents indeed.

    The last game of the month saw Wigan travel to Craven Cottage, and after our performance against Spurs I was confident of a home win, despite Wigan sitting 7th in the table, a full 10 places above us. But the team never clicked on the day and we went down 2-0. Luckily other results around us kept us in 17th place.

    Results:

    Aston Villa (H) 1-2 (Etuhu 1)
    Everton (A) 0-1
    U. Craiova (A) 4-0 (Murphy 5, 34, Zamora 21,90, Petrov S/O 82)
    Sunderland (H) 2-2 (Gera 60, Zamora 72)
    Tottenham (A) 5-1 (Zamora 16, Riise 29, Gera pen 45, 62, Petrov 58)
    U. Craiova (H) 3-0 (Kelly 4, Andranik pen 10, Gera 61)
    Wigan (H) 0-2

    Game of the Month:




    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:10 PM.

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    October

    Fixtures: Burnley (A), Wolves (A), Zurich (H), Blackburn (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    Just the 4 games this month, 3 in the league and the 1st leg of the UEFA Cup 2nd round against Zurich.

    First up was a relegation dog fight against 19th placed Burnley away, and we dominated the game winning 3-0, to push ourselves up to 15th and distance ourselves away from the relegation zone.

    A trip to Molineux next to play 10th placed Wolves, were I was hoping we could continue our good run on the road. Konchesky put us ahead on 21 with a screamer from 30 yards, but just after half time Andrew Surman levelled the game, and come 90 mins we had to settle for a point.

    Back to European business, and a good win at home would hold us in good stead heading into the return leg 2 weeks later, and we got off to a fantastic start, with us 2-0 up after just 3 mins! On 14 though Zurich were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty, up stepped Gashi, but he made a gash of it (sorry ), with Stockdale coming in for the injured Schwarzer saving it. Zamora made it 3-0 on 50, and with a commanding lead we took our foot of the gas and allowed Zurich a way back in to the tie when they scored in the 90th minute.

    The last game of the season was away at Blackburn who were just one place below us. It was a tight game but we managed to squeeze through 2-1, with Blackburn's goal coming in the 90th minute. We really need to stop these late goals!

    Results:

    Burnley (A) 3-0 (Gera 27, Riise 62, Murphy 86)
    Wolves (A) 1-1 (Konchesky 21)
    Zurich (H) 3-1 (Petrov 2, Murphy 3, Zamora 50)
    Blackburn (A) 2-1 (Gera 39, Petrov 65)

    Game of the Month:




    November

    Fixtures:
    Zurich (A), Chelsea (H), Hartlepool (A), Man City (A), Birmingham (H), Fenerbahce (A), Liverpool (A), West Ham (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    A busy and tough month which could quite easily make or break our season, seeing us competing in the Premiership, UEFA Cup and now the League Cup.

    We started with the 2nd leg against Zurich, with us 3-1 on agg, but still with it all to do after conceeding a 90th minute away goal. It was a nervy affair with not many chances, in fact there were only 3 shots on target all game, all of which we had, with one hitting the net from Zamora on 61, and we were through 4-1 on agg. Next up... Turkish Giants Fenerbahce another tough game.

    Back to league business, and Chelsea at home, and I'd be happy with a point, which is exactly what we got, with Anelka on 72 cancelling out Zamora's 41st minute opener. League Cup next and maybe our best chance of landing the silverware I desired. We would travel to League One side Hartlepool who were 7th in their division. Despite the chance of an upset and the fact I held the League Cup in high esteem, I put out my 2nd team, confident they could do the job. It was a close game but we edged through 1-0 thanks to Riise scoring just before half time, and we were through to the 4th round, where we would face fellow Premiership side West Ham at the Boleyn Ground.

    Man City away and another game that I'd quite happily settle for the draw. Remarkably, we completely outclassed the opposition, with 14 shots against their 3, and 11 on target compared to their 1. Unfortunately we found Shay Given in inspired form (receiving the MOTM and a 10 rating), and just as I thought the game would end a draw, on loan midfielder Jonathan "Jesus" Greening scored in the 73rd minute to hand us the 3 pts.

    Birmingham at home and unbelievably we were still looking for our first home win in the league! Birmingham had been in the relegation zone for much of the season so far and were in 19th when they came to Craven Cottage - surely we'd never have a better chance to get that elusive home win? Well no we wouldn't, and we finally won with a 3-1 win despite us going down to ten men on 44, and relying on 2 late goals on 75 and 90 to not compound us to a 1-1 draw.

    Off to Turkey for the 1st leg of our UEFA Cup 3rd rd, and what a game it was with 8 goals! We got off to a howler giving away a pen after just 3 mins, which was converted by Boral, but we hit back on 22 and 39, but before we got to half time, Fener levelled the game. Still 2 away goals put us in a good position in the tie. That position got even better 3 mins after half time with Gera finding the net, and we had 3 away goals! However, after that we collapsed and conceeded 3 goals in the 65th, 77th and 84th minute, and we lost 5-3. We now had to score at least 2 goals in the home leg to qualify for the 4th round.

    Returning from Turkey we could have done with an easy game to get our minds back on track with a win, what we got however was an away trip to league leaders Liverpool at Anfield We got off to a brilliant start though, Zamora scoring on 13, and then again on 44, and at half time we were 2-0 up away against top of the league! 8 mins into the 2nd half and Ngog pulled one back for Liverpool and I thought here comes the comeback, but no it didn't! In fact it was us who got the next goal, Zamora completing his hatrick in the 70th minute, and remarkably we had won 3-1!

    West Ham in the 4th round of the League Cup, and we kept up our good away form winning 4-1. We would face Arsenal in the quarters at the Emirates

    Results:

    Zurich (A) 1-0 (Zamora 61)
    Chelsea (H) 1-1 (Zamora 41)
    Hartlepool (A) 1-0 (Riise 43)
    Man City (A) 1-0 (Greening 73)
    Birmingham (H) 3-1 (Davies 8, Greening 75, Etuhu 90, Petrov s/o 44)
    Fenerbahce (A) 3-5 (Gera 22,48, Zamora 39)
    Liverpool (A) 3-1 (Zamora 13, 44, 70)
    West Ham (A) 4-1 (Zamora 4, Konchesky 77, Duff 80, Hangeland 84)

    Game of the Month:




    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:10 PM.

  6. #6
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    December

    Fixtures:
    Hull (H), Fenerbahce (H), Arsenal (A), Arsenal (A), Bolton (H), West Ham (H), Portsmouth (A), Man Utd (A), Aston Villa (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    We started the month well with a 2-0 win over Hull who were fighting for survival in the Premiership, despite having a man sent off after just 1 min. The big game against Fenerbahce was next, and a 2-0 win would put us through to the next round, but could we get it? No - In fact we won 3-0, all 3 goals coming in the first half and we were through to the 4th round to face German side HSV.

    Back to league business, and our good run was brought to a halt away at leaders Arsenal, as we went down 3-1. Arsenal away again was the next game but this was in the League Cup quarter final. However, luck was on my side as Arsenal fielded a youth side, and we took the lead after 59 mins, but Gilles Sunu equalised on 81, and we would go to extra time. With no further goals in extra time, we had the lottery of pens, and this is were Arsenal crumbled, with Eboue, Silvestre and Bendtner missing consecutive pens, and we were through to the semi finals, our opposition? Man Utd, with the 1st leg at Old Trafford.

    Back-to-back home wins in the league followed over Bolton and West Ham before we faced 3 away games in a row to complete the month. First up Portsmouth away, who despite their financial plight were challenging for a top 10 position. It was a drab affair with the first goal coming on 84 mins for us, however Portsmouth equalised in the 90th minute to steal a point. No surprise that David James received the MOTM award.

    Man Utd away, and despite nearly beating them early on in the season, I didn't have much hope in going to Old Trafford and getting anything. How wrong could I be?! 2 first half goals from that man Bobby Zamora gave us a 2-0 win, and we were into the CL places!

    We closed the month out with a trip to Villa Park were we shared 4 goals in a 2-2 draw.

    Results:

    Hull (H) 2-0 (Gera 32,36, Murphy s/o 1)
    Fenerbahce (H) 3-0 (Zamora 14,30, Etuhu 44)
    Arsenal (A) 1-3 (Hughes 68, Schwarzer s/o 90)
    Arsenal (A) 1-1 (Zamora 59)
    Bolton (H) 2-1 (Nevland 18, Etuhu 76, Hughes s/o 36)
    West Ham (H) 4-0 (Greening 8,50, Davies 22, Zamora 25, Gera missed pen 17)
    Portsmouth (A) 1-1 (Greening 84)
    Man Utd (A) 2-0 (Zamora 25,30)
    Aston Villa (A) 2-2 (Zamora 19, Greening 53)

    Transfer News:

    With only 3 recognised centre backs on the books (Hangeland, Hughes and Smalling), and with Hughes suspended and Hangeland and Smalling both picking up injuries I needed a centre back. Unfortunately, I only had 300k to spend, but Arsenal were willing to except just 210k for Sol Campbell, and after agreeing terms with him, I had my centre back.

    American striker Eddie Johnson finally left the club too, joining Russian side FK Rostov on a free.

    Game of the Month:




    League Table:



  7. #7
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    January 2002

    Fixtures:
    Burnley (H), Sheff Wed (H), Stoke (H), Everton (H), Hull (A), Man Utd (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    A good start to the new year with 4 home games in a row, including Sheff Wed in the FA Cup 3rd round, the 4th competition we are now involved in.

    First up Burnley, and we won 3-0, but it was late until we put the game beyond them. Onto the FA Cup and we continued our good performances winning easily 4-0. Back to league business, and Stoke at home, and it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, as we squeezed through a tight game 2-1.

    The big game next against Everton who were one place ahead of us in 4th, a win here and we'll go into the Champions League qualification places. It was a rollercoaster of a game as we went 1-0 down after just 14 mins from a goal by Leighton Baines. Despite our persistance to equalise, we went in at half time 1-0 down. However, within 15 mins of the 2nd half the complexion of the game had all changed. On 47 Riise equalised for us, but unfortunately it was short lived as Cahill put them back in the lead after just 2 mins. At half time I brought Kamara on for the unusually disappointing Zamora, and he repaid me by equalising for us again, and 8 mins later Hangeland put us in the lead for the first time in the match. We continued to dominate, but the match ended 3-2, and we were upto 4th!

    We closed the month out with 2 away games, in the FA Cup 4th round we would face Hull, and the 1st leg of the League Cup Semi Final against Man Utd. We got off to a great start against Hull finding ourselves 2-0 up after just 15 mins, but we through that lead away, and after 66 mins it was 2-2, Altidore and Marney scoring for Hull. However, it was us who had the last laugh with Riise scoring and we were through to the 5th round with a hard fought 3-2 win. The 5th round draw handed us a very tough tie away at Man City, but we had already beat them away in the league 1-0, could we do it again?

    Possibly my most important game since taking over, and the chance to make my first final with Fulham. Astonishingly we were 2-0 up after 20 mins against a strong Man Utd side (only Rooney missing), Zamora with a brace. But for a 2nd game in a row we let slip a 2-0 lead, and Berbatov and Gibson scored to level the scores. Both sides pushed for a winner but we both had to settle for a draw come the 90 mins. Before the game I would have quite happily settled for that result, but seeing we were 2-0 up after 20 mins I had to see it as an opportunity lost, with the 2nd leg still to come it was all to play for. Who would come out on top?

    Results:

    Burnley (H) 3-0 (Andranik 35, Davies 88, Dikgacoi 90)
    Sheff Wed (H) 4-0 (Zamora 51, 60, Gera 69, Greening 84)
    Stoke (H) 2-1 (Zamora 30, Riise 54)
    Everton (H) 3-2 (Riise 47, Kamara 51, Hangeland 59)
    Hull (A) 3-2 (Hangeland 12, Zamora 15, Riise 72)
    Man Utd (A) 2-2 (Zamora 6, 20)

    Transfer News:

    Young Belgian right back Dimitri Hairemans joined the club from De Graafschap for 130k. An attempt to sign his brother Geoffrey fell through as we could not afford the fee they wanted for him, and he joined Chelsea for 1.1m

    Game of the Month:



    League Table:



  8. #8
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    February

    Fixtures: Spurs (H), Sunderland (A), Wigan (A), Man City (A), Wolves (H), Man Utd (H), HSV (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    A tough month which saw us competing in all 4 competitions, and in the last week of the month saw us play 4 games in 8 days (including a semi final).

    We started the month of with 3 league games, hoping to carry on our good form and consolidate our position in the top 4. We got off to a good start with a hard fought win over a spirited Spurs side, who were looking for retribution after our 5-1 mauling of them at White Hart Lane earlier in the season. Next up Sunderland away, and despite having more shots on goal and on target we went down 1-0 after Kenwyne Jones scored in the 60th minute.

    Wigan away and a chance to get back to winning ways, and we did - eventually. We took the lead after 63 mins, but it was level after 77 with Rodallega scoring. Luckily a late show from Dempsey (his 1st game back since being injured for 8 months) and Zamora saw us win 3-1.

    Man City away in the FA Cup and a really tough game, and just like the match against them away in the league we dominated them, 10 shots on target to their 5, 5 on target to their 3, but their was only one statistic which counted and that was the score, and we lost 2-0, Tevez with a pen on 6, and Santa Cruz 43. No prizes for guessing their keeper Daniel Marcio Fernandes was awarded the MOTM award.

    Wolves at home in the league and a confidence boosting win followed with a 3-0 win, a good way to start 4 games in 8 days.

    The 2nd leg of the Semi final and once again Utd fielded a strong side, this time including Wayne Rooney, however with the Wolves game just 2 days before we couldn't say the same, and it was mostly a 2nd team I had to field. A tight game with no clear chances for either side developed and it was no surprise when we went to half time at 0-0. The game all changed on 62 when Nevland ran at the Utd defence and fired a shot at goal which Van der Sar saved but couldn't keep hold of it and Nevland put in the rebound, and we were 1-0 to the good. Man Utd kept coming at us and coming at us, but we stood solid, and we were through to the final! Liverpool awaited us there, could we win our first trophy?

    2 days later, and we found oursleves in Hamburg for the UEFA Cup 4th round 1st leg. It was a nervy game once again, and it was only in the last 15 mins it came to life. Joris Mathijsen was sent off for a professional foul on Damien Duff in the 74th minute, and 4 mins later Zamora put us 1-0 to the good. However, Hamburg hit back straight away, with Jarolim scoring on 79, and the game finished 1-1. Not a bad result to take back to Craven Cottage.

    Results:

    Spurs (H) 1-0 (Zamora 33)
    Sunderland (A) 0-1
    Wigan (A) 3-1 (Zamora 63, 90, Dempsey 84)
    Man City (A) 0-2
    Wolves (H) 3-0 (Murphy 43, Zamora 45, Gera 58)
    Man Utd (H) 1-0 (Nevland 62)
    HSV (A) 1-1 (Zamora 78)


    Transfer News:

    The month got off to a wonderful start off the field when I received this news:



    6.75m of this went towards my transfer funds, and I went shopping It didn't take me long to find the player I wanted, and after agreeing a 4m fee with Real Madrid and speaking to the player, I was pleased to announce the signing of Mahamadou Diarra.

    Game of the Month:



    League Table:



  9. #9
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    March

    Fixtures:
    Chelsea (A), HSV (H), Fiorentina (H), Man City (H), Fiorentina (A), Liverpool (N)

    Monthly Summary:

    We started the month off with our 4th game in 8 days, against London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. A big game which could determine who finishes the season in the CL qualification places.

    Chelsea were without the injured Cech and Essien, and were also missing captain John Terry through suspension, but they could still name a strong team with the likes of Drogba, Lampard and Anelka. We got off to a dream start when Zamora headed us into the lead after 19 mins, and our lead doubled on 43 when right winger Zoltan Gera was found by captain Danny Murphy in the 18 yrd box and the Hungarian internationalist made no mistake in slotting the ball home. Just after the break, right back Fredrik Stoor was sent off for a second bookable offence, but it mattered little as Chelsea couldn't make the break through, and we had 3 valuable points to take back to Craven Cottage.

    HSV at home next, and a decent 1-1 draw away from home was encouraging. This time with a packed Craven Cottage and a fully fit first team (minus Diarra who was ineligible), we took the game to HSV, and by half time we found ourselves 2-0 up through Etuhu and Dempsey, and we were almost there. HSV had different ideas though and pulled one back, Marcus Berg making it 2-1 on 58. Just when it looked like HSV were coming back into it, their keeper Frank Rost was sent off for bringing down Zamora in the box, and Gera stepped up to put the resulting penalty in the back of the net. A 3-1 win on the night and a 4-2 win on agg saw us through to the quarter final where we would meet Italian side Fiorentina.

    With us out the FA Cup, we had a week off till our next game, which was the 1st leg of the UEFA Cup quarter final against Fiorentina at home. We got off to a terrible start when Gilardino scored for Fiorentina after just 4 mins, but just when I expected an onslaught the Italians decided to sit back on the lead and try and take a handy looking 1-0 lead back home. We pressed and pressed and finally got the goal we deserved on 61, when Petrov wide on the left crossed in for Danny Murphy to shoot past Sebastien Frey in the Fiorentina goal, game on! As soon as we got the equaliser it was all us, but we couldn't find a winner, with Frey in good form (MOTM) and we had to settle for a 1-1 draw to take to Florence.

    League business, and another big game against Man City who were on the fringes of the CL places. We'd played them twice this season, winning once and losing once, but they were away and this was at home, and with having played the better in both games I was confident going into this match. Unfortunately, we had one of them European hangovers, and a brace from Bellamy gave Man City a 2-0 win.

    The 2nd leg in Florence, and there was only one team in it, with the stats reading 17 shots v 3 shots, 10 on target v 2 on target, we left Florence with a fantastic 3-0 win to send us into the semi finals. The draw for the semis included ourselves, Everton, Aston Villa and Wolfsburg, so a guaranteed English finalist, could it be us? We were first out the hat, followed by Everton, and it was Aston Villa v Wolfsburg completing the draw.

    The day had finally come, the League Cup Final against Liverpool at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff. 72,480 spectators packed the stadium to witness what could be a historical day in the history of Fulham Football Club who had never won a domestic cup. Just a wk before the final I was rocked by the news that defender Brede Hangeland would miss the final with a twisted knee, and also miss the next 3 wks, and 3 days later more bad news as skipper Danny Murphy had picked up a facial injury in training which would keep him out for 10 days. Sol Campbell was also cup tied so it meant playing my 3rd and 4th choice centre backs, just what I needed!

    Onto the game itself, and I announced the following team.

    GK - Schwarzer
    DL - Konchesky
    DC - A. Hughes (C)
    DC - Smalling
    DR - Stoor
    DMC - M. Diarra
    MC - Dempsey
    MC - Etuhu
    AML - Petrov
    AMR - Gera
    SC - Zamora

    Subs: Duff, Stockdale, Baird, Assou-Ekoto and Nevland.

    It weren't all bad news though as Liverpool were missing talisman Fernando Torres through injury and captain Steven Gerrard through suspension.

    It didn't matter for Liverpool as they started excellently, and only some poor finishing being their downfall, with Benayoun guilty of missing some glorious chances early on. Our injury problems continued when left back Paul Konchesky had to come off on 25 to be replaced by Assou-Ekoto. We were still reeling from Liverpool's start and things also most went from bad to worse when Mascherano hit the bar with a thunderous shot from 30 yrds out. Somehow we had managed to make it to half time with the score still at 0-0.

    I tore into my players at half time, telling them they were lucky to still be in the game, never mind at 0-0, although I decided not to make any changes just yet, as I had already had to use one sub for the injury to Konchesky.

    Moments into the 2nd half and Liverpool again hit the bar, this time from Lauri Dalla Valle the young Finnish striker playing instead of Torres. On 63 I made my change, Petrov who was disappointing being replaced by Damien Duff, who uptil now hadn't had the best of seasons, could he turn that around today in the biggest game of the season? He instantly ran at Glen Johnson the Liverpool right back and put in a wonderful, inviting cross into the area, where Zamora was waiting. Zamora jumped with Carragher but managed to beat the centre back to the ball, and send it crashing into the back of the net, GOOAAAALLLLLLLLL! 1-0 to the good in our very first attack. The goal changed the game, and we were in the ascendency, creating multiple chances, but this time Reina was the better of them, and the score stood at 1-0. With 90 mins up, I brought on Baird for Gera to tighten things up and waste a bit of time, but the lad had barely enough time to make a pass when the final whistle was blown! WE HAD WON THE LEAGUE CUP!

    I had my trophy, and gazed an eye at the Coca Cola Championship to see how Ipswich were doing. Unfortunately for me it was well, with them sitting in 6th placed, but in a real battle for the playoff places. I would have to wait my time for now, however, with a fight for the CL places and a UEFA Cup final spot to play for I didn't really mind.

    Results:

    Chelsea (A) 2-0 (Zamora 19, Gera 43, Stoor s/o 46)
    HSV (H) 3-1 (Etuhu 27, Dempsey 37, Gera 73)
    Fiorentina (H) 1-1 (Murphy 61)
    Man City (H) 0-2
    Fiorentina (A) 3-0 (Dempsey 41, Duff 73, Nevland 90)
    Liverpool (N) 1-0 (Zamora 69)

    Game of the Month:



    League Table:


  10. #10
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    April

    Fixtures: Everton (H), Blackburn (H), Bolton (A), Everton (A), Birmingham (A), Arsenal (H)

    Monthly Summary:

    The big matches just keep on coming, as we start April with the UEFA Cup Semi Final 1st leg against Everton at home, a good win here would put us in a decent position heading into the return in 2 wks time.

    What happened that Thursday night is arguably our finest performance of the season (tough decision with this and the Spurs away result), as we completely outclassed Everton in every department and finishing with a resounding result which effectively saw us through to the final. Assou-Ekotto got the scoring underway just before the half hour mark, and Gera added to the score just before half time. The second half kicked off and we continued our fine form, with Gera getting his 2nd on 59, before Zamora made it 4-0 just a minute later. Just as it looked like a 4-0 win on the night, Dempsey popped up with another on 88, and we had a 5-0 lead going into the return leg! In the other semi final it finshed Aston Villa 1 Wolfsburg 1.

    CL qualification was still on the agenda, and next up were 2 games against teams in the bottom half of the table, first up Blackburn at home, and goals minutes before and after half time gave us a 2-0 win. Bolton away next, and always a tough place to go, especially with Bolton fighting for survival. It was a very scrapy affair with neither side creating much, and it was no surprise when the game finished 0-0.

    To Goodison Park, and even with a 5-0 lead I didn't want to take any chances so I named my strongest possible side (minus Zamora who I rested). Nevland put us ahead after just a minute, and any chance of a comeback had to be over as Everton would have needed to score 7 now. John Pantsil made it even harder with a goal on 31, and with a 2-0 lead at the break, and a 7-0 lead on agg, I decided to rest both centre backs, so off came Campbell and Hangeland to be replaced by Baird and Kelly. Arteta pulled on back from the pen spot on 52, and Saha made sure they didn't lose on the night scoring in the last minute, but all the damage had been done in the 1st leg, and we were through to the UEFA Cup Final 7-2 on agg! The question was who would we play?

    An unbelievable game had developed in Germany with Villa recovering from a 1-0 deficit and 2-1 deficit, to equalise through Milner on 87 to put them 3-3 on agg but through on away goals. Astonishingly though it was Wolfsburg who had the last laugh, Obafemi Martins scoring his 2nd of the night in the 90th minute to put Wolfsburg through, and we had our opponent.

    We closed the month out with 2 league games, Birmingham away and league leaders Arsenal at home. The returning Zamora gave us a 1-0 win at St Andrews, in a hard fought game. Arsenal at home, a win for Arsenal would hand them the league, but I wanted the points just as much as we continued to press for CL qualification. Zamora scored after 31 mins, and we went into half time 1-0 up. I don't know if we got complacent or Arsenal just upped their performance, all I do know is we were blown away in the 2nd half, with Arshavin 51, Song 70 and van Persie 72, giving Arsenal not only a 3-1 win, but also the league.

    Hopefully going into the final few games of the season we can recover from that Arsenal game and finish in the top 4, and also add more silverware in the form of the UEFA Cup.

    Results:

    Everton (H) 5-0 (Assou-Ekoto 29, Gera 43, 59, Zamora 60, Dempsey 88)
    Blackburn (H) 2-0 (Davies 43, Zamora 48)
    Bolton (A) 0-0
    Everton (A) 2-2 (Nevland 1, Pantsil 31)
    Birmingham (A) 1-0 (Zamora 15)
    Arsenal (H) 1-3 (Zamora 31)

    Game of the Month:



    League Table:



  11. #11
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    May

    Fixtures: Hull (A), West Ham (A), Wolfsburg (N), Liverpool (H), Portsmouth (H)

    Monthly Summary:

    The business end of the season, would we finish in the CL places and win the UEFA CUP? Or would we lose the UEFA Cup final, and even out of the UEFA Cup places? Or somewhere in the middle?

    Hull away and a difficult game on paper as they were battling to stay in the Premiership, and that's how it turned out. Despite going 2-0 up within 25 mins, Altidore pulled one back and it was 2-1 at the interval. After the break both teams pushed for the next goal, and luckily it was us who got it, Petrov scoring on 67. Hull had some chances late on, but we held on for a valuable win.

    West Ham away and we've had some good wins against the hammers this season, winning 4-0 in the league and 4-1 in the league cup away so I was in high spirits for our trip to East London. We dominated proceedings, but found ourselves level at the break 0-0. The deadlock was broken in the 2nd half, when Gera opened the scoring on 53, but unfortunately despite our domination we couldn't find a 2nd, and on 79 we were hit by a sucker punch from Zavon Hines, and we had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

    UEFA Cup Final time, and a chance to make more history with Fulham. 42,185 people filled the Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, the bulk of them Fulham fans, as a sea of white took over the stadium. The following was the team I had picked to win me the trophy:

    GK - Schwarzer
    DL - Konchesky
    DC - Campbell
    DC - Hangeland
    DR - Stoor
    DMC - Murphy (C)
    MC - Etuhu
    MC - Riise
    AML - Petrov
    AMR - Gera
    SC - Zamora

    Subs: Kamara, Stockdale, Baird, Assou-Ekoto, Duff, Dempsey, Nevland.

    The game got underway, and it was us who had the early going, with Gera shooting over, and Petrov's long drive being brilliantly saved by Benaglio in the Wolfsburg goal. Just before half time though, Grafite was presented with a great chance after good work from Dzeko, but fortunately he headed over despite it looking easier to score.

    Half time, and I was happy with our performance despite the chance for Wolfsburg at the end of the half. I sent them out with the instruction of more of the same.

    It was Wolfsburg who started the better, but they couldn't put the ball in the net, and then we had a free kick from Petrov on 73 which was pushed out for a corner. The resulting corner came to nothing, but 3 mins later the opening goal came. Nevland who had replaced the quiet Zamora was found by Dempsey, and the Norwegian striker laid the ball off to Petrov who finally got his goal as he hit a low strike into the back of the net. 1-0! I made a couple of changes to hold on, and thought I had it sealed when Nevland scored on 88, only for it to be ruled out for offside. It mattered little though, as a few (long) mins later the final whistle had blown, FULHAM HAD WON THE UEFA CUP!

    We didn't have time to celebrate however, as just 2 days later we faced Liverpool at home in the league. With an unfit first 11, I had to name a completely different side to what had won the UEFA Cup. On no less than 3 occasions did we take the lead, but in the end it finished 3-3, Lucas scoring his 2nd on 87.

    The last game of what had been a remarkable season, was once again just 2 days after our last game. We still hadn't clinched a top 4 place, but that would be determined today. Portsmouth were the visitors to Craven Cottage, and I was determined to put on a good show to get that top 4 place, and finish the season off in style.

    2 Gera pens in the 3rd and 13th minutes put us 2-0 up, and Stoor added a 3rd on 30, and we were 3-0 up at half time. Danny Webber pulled one back on 65, but there was no come back, and Riise made it 4-1 on 84. The final score blew and we had finished 3rd!

    UEFA Cup Winners, League Cup Winners and 3rd place with possible CL football, what a season! Player of the season was without a doubt Bobby Zamora:



    Results:

    Hull (A) 3-1 (Diarra 17, Zamora 24, Petrov 67)
    West Ham (A) 1-1 (Gera 53)
    Wolfsburg (N) 1-0 (Petrov 76)
    Liverpool (H) 3-3 (Dempsey 20, pen 66, Zamora 52)
    Portsmouth (H) 4-1 (Gera pen 3, pen 14, Stoor 30, Riise 84)

    Game of the Month:



    League Table:



    Unfortunately despite being unable to guide Ipswich to a playoff place, with them finishing 9th, Roy Keane kept his job at Portman Road.

    The wait continues...


  12. #12
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    Pre Season 2002-03
    Part 1

    After the 4-1 win over Portsmouth, our last game of the season, I told the squad they can have the next few weeks to recharge their batteries. I on the otherhand had booked tickets to Japan and South Korea to take in the World Cup, and maybe identify some transfer targets. After a fantastic tournament with a fair few shocks (no Brazil or Argentina in the quarters, and Japan and Cameroon the other 2 semi finalists) it was France who took the trophy after a 2-0 win over U.S.A with goals from Diaby and Malouda.

    At the end of the season I targeted a few areas of my team I wanted to strengthen, namely central defence and central midfield. Taking each position in turn, with an ageing Sol Campbell and Chris Smalling's pre-arranged transfer to Man Utd (thanks for the 8m ), it left me with Hangeland and Hughes (who I thought couldn't cut it in the CL). Onto midfield, and despite, Dempsey, Etuhu and Riise performing admirably for me, I also had doubts over their abilities at CL level.


    Here where the transfers out during pre season:

    P. Zuberbuhler left on a free after his contract ran out.
    C. Smalling to Man Utd for 8m
    S. Kelly to Man City for 2.6m

    David Elm, Wayne Brown, Andranik, Elliot Omozusi, Kagiso Dikgacoi all left on a free as well.


    The new arrivals at Craven Cottage:

    Joe Lewis from Peterborough for 240k - Replacement for Zuberbuhler and with a bright future at just 22, should be challenging Schwarzer for the No. 1 Jersey.

    Dennis Appiah on a bosman from Monaco - 18 yr old French/Ghanaian centre back who's signing I had arranged earlier in the season. Another with a bright future.

    Tomas Rosicky from Arsenal for 4m - Just the midfielder I wanted, bundles of talent and should be a big player for us. Made just 17 apps last season, 5 as a starter and 12 from the subs bench.

    Phillipe Senderos from Arsenal for 1m - As outlined earlier strengthening central defence was a priority and being able to pick up Senderos for just 1m was too good an opportunity to turn down.

    Jermaine Jones from Schalke 04 for 2.5m - Competition for Diarra in the DMC role, and also with Murphy getting on, and Andranik leaving I needed someone else for the position.

    Christopher Samba from Blackburn for 5m - Another centre back, but a great player. Should be first pick alongside Hangeland in central defence.

    Andrea Ranocchia from Bari for 600k - 22 yr old Italian centre back signed after his relegation fee became activated, and looks a snip at that price.


    I'm still looking at a few signings, and hopefully I'll be able to pull them off. Despite agreeing a fee with Inter for Wesley Sneijder, I was unable to agree terms with him, and he has sinced moved to Liverpool


    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:26 PM.

  13. #13
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    Pre Season
    Part 2


    Usually I don't arrange pre season friendlies, but as I was approached by teams I decided to accept and see how some of my new signings got on.

    First up German side Stuttgart offered us a match at the Mercedes-Benz Arena (still Gottleib-Daimler-Stadion in game). Due to player fitness it was a bit of a mixed team with some first team players, squad players and reserve given a run out, with new signings Samba and Jones named in the starting line up. We won the game 2-0, but it was a dull affair with our goals coming from our 2 shots on target (only 3 in total), with Stuttgart only having 4 shots themselves (2 on target too).



    Next up Paris Saint Germain invited us to their "Friendly League" they had set up, alongside AEK Athens and Spartak Moscow. Our first match was against Spartak Moscow, and despite going 2-0 up with Rosicky scoring on his first appearance, we ended up drawing 2-2. The hosts next, and despite dominating the game we had to settle for a 0-0 draw. Lastly AEK, and we turned on the style running out 4-0 winners, to end the competition top of the league.



    Towards the end of last season I asked the board to expand the stadium and invest in the training facilities, and they agreed to both, so Craven Cottage now stands at 28,500 capacity and we now have Top Facilities plus a Youth Academy.



    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:13 PM.

  14. #14
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    August 2002


    Fixtures:

    Olympiakos (H), Wolves (A), Olympiakos (A), Chelsea (N)

    Monthly Summary:

    We open the new season with the Champions League Qualifying 3rd round, and a chance for Fulham to play in their very first CL campaign. Standing between us and that were Greek side Olympiakos, a tough test but one I felt we could overcome.

    I kept faith with the tactic that did so well for me, and I handed competitive debuts to Christopher Samba and Tomas Rosicky. We got off to a dream start after just 2 mins when Petrov opened the scoring, and 5 mins later we had doubled our lead through Diarra, and Zamora added a 3rd on 29, and at half time we were 3-0 to the good. The 2nd half we eased up, but we did add a possibly decisive 4th on 87 with Petrov getting his second. Unfortunately during the game Rosicky picked up an injury, ruling him out for a month.

    Wolves away kicked off our Premiership season, and again we took the lead through Konchesky, once again after just 2 mins. However, despite pressing forward for a 2nd we left ourselves light at the back, and Kevin Doyle levelled the scores on 33, and it was 1-1 at the break. In the 2nd half both teams pushed for a winner, but it was Wolves clinical finishing which was the difference, Doyle scoring again in the 54th and 84th minute to complete his hatrick, and we went down 3-1.

    The 2nd leg against Olympiakos was next, and I couldn't help feel we were half way there, although I couldn't be too complacent. Joe Lewis came in for his competitive debut. The game itself was a dour affair with us marginally the better side ( 6 shots to 1, 3 on target to 0), but it ended 0-0, and we were through to the CL! The draw for the 1st group stage would pit us against Dortmund, Benfica and Palermo, a tough group but one I felt we could qualify from, with 3rd place and Europa League football a minimum.

    We ended the month with the European Super Cup against city rivals Chelsea. Despite Chelsea only finishing 7th in the league they beat Liverpool on pens in the CL Final. Incidentally because of these events England had 5 entrants in the CL.

    Onto the game itself, and Jermaine Jones made his debut, and despite it being an even game, finishing once again was our downfall. Drogba opened the scoring on 15, and Malouda got a killer 2nd just on the stroke of half time, and our luck was further confounded when captain Hangeland scored an own goal 12 mins from full time.



    Results:

    Olympiakos (H) 4-0 (Petrov 2, 87, Diarra 7, Zamora 29)
    Wolves (A) 1-3 (Konchesky 2)
    Olympiakos (A) 0-0
    Chelsea (N) 0-3

    Game of the Month:



    Other News:

    Fulham have signed Belgian right winger Tom de Mul on a 3 month loan deal from Sevilla, and are also in talks with Spanish midfielder Antonio Longas after a 450k offer was accepted by his club Cartagena. Argentina legend Juan Roman Riquelme and Benin Internationalist Stephane Sessegnon have also been linked with the club as Robson continues to look for midfield reinforcements.

    Also, striker Andy Johnson is also rumoured to be on the way out of Craven Cottage. The 8 time capped England player who missed all of last season with a career threatening cruciate ligament damage injury, is believed to be surplus to requirements at the club, especially with the fine form of team mate Zamora, and the fact he picks up 40k p/w to sit on the bench.

    Away from transfer news, after 2 games in the Championship Ipswich sit 3rd with 2 wins from 2, with 4 goals scored and 0 conceeded. I could be in for a long wait.

    League Table:


    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:14 PM.

  15. #15
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    September 2002


    Fixtures:

    Dortmund (A), Man City (H), Palermo (H), Stoke (A), Benfica (A), Portsmouth (H)

    Monthly Summary:

    The time had come, Fulham's first ever CL game, against German giants Borrusia Dortmund who were runners up in the Bundesliga. They could boast the quality of Subotic, Kehl and Nelson Valdez, and a very astute manager in Jurgen Klopp, however, I felt we could give them a good game.

    We got off to a good start with American midfielder Clint Dempsey scoring a diving header after just 3 mins, but our lead was short lived as Dortmund skipper Kehl equalised on 14, and by half time the score remained at 1-1. Into the 2nd half and Dortmund took the lead through Hungarian midfielder Hajnal on 58, but 10 mins later substitute Zamora (coming on after a rare Andy Johnson appearance) drew us level after slotting the ball past Wiedenfeller in the Dortmund goal. Disaster struck on 79 though when Samba was sent off for a 2nd bookable offence, and with us down to 10 men, Dortmund surged forward in search of a winner, but we held on, and escaped Germany with a valuable away point.

    Next up Man City, who were top of the table although they had played 4 league games compared to our 1. Last season, we took the early advantage against City winning away at Eastlands in the league, but they gained revenge later in the season, knocking us out of the FA Cup, and beating us 2-0 at home in the league. I did not want a repeat.

    Longas and De Mul both came in for their debuts, and Rosicky returned to the side after his injury, as I was able to name my strongest XI. Zamora gave us the lead on 31, and he added a 2nd after the break as we ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

    2 days after our win against Man City, we met Palermo in the CL for Fulham's first home CL game, but could it also be our 1st win? Despite our domination in the first half we couldn't make the break through and at half time it was still 0-0. Into the 2nd half and we were hit with a sucker punch, Triuzzi scoring from the Italians first shot of the game, we needed an immediate response and that's what we got, Pantsil turning in a Jones cross, followed by another CL goal for Dempsey, and we had finally took a deserved lead. We weren't done yet though, and Jones and Johnson (another start due to Zamora's fitness) completed a 4-1 win, to send us top of our group.

    Back to league business, and high flying Stoke away at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke were having a good start to the season, and were sitting 3rd in the table when we came for our match, and I expected a tight game. How wrong was I?! De Mul scored his 1st for the club on 7, then Rosicky fired in on 20, before Petrov added a 3rd on 33, to put us 3-0 up at half time. However, we still had goals left in us, Longas scoring his 1st for the club, and De Mul completed a brace in the 2nd half, to hand us a magnificent 5-0 victory, inspired by Rosicky who scored a goal and got 3 assists.

    Benfica away and another tough game on paper, but since when has football been played on paper? Well this one could as we fell behind after just 5 mins, Saviola scoring for the Portuguese champions, but despite their lead it was us who had most of the play, but once again our finishing let us down. Just when it looked like we would have to concede defeat up popped Andy Johnson 5 mins from time to equalise, and we left Portugal with a point. Dortmund had beat Palermo 2-0 away to move us down to 2nd in the group.

    We closed the month out with Portsmouth visiting Craven Cottage. Portsmouth had had a bad start to the season, and we only but added to that with an easy 3-0 win, goals from Zamora 2 and Rosicky.

    Results:


    Dortmund (A) 2-2 (Dempsey 3, Zamora 68, Samba s/o 79)
    Man City (H) 2-0 (Zamora 31, 64)
    Palermo (H) 4-1 (Pantsil 55, Dempsey 63, Jones 78, Johnson 90)
    Stoke (A) 5-0 (De Mul 7, 69, Rosicky 20, Petrov 33, Longas 54)
    Benfica (A) 1-1 (Johnson 85)
    Portsmouth (H) 3-0 (Zamora 43, 78, Rosicky 53)

    Game of the Month:




    Other News:


    Fulham have agreed a 3.6m deal to sign Argentine midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme from Boca Juniors, and are currently waiting for a work permit for the talented veteran.

    Ipswich extended their unbeaten run to 7 games, before losing 2 on the bounce, but have since hit back with another win to sit 3rd in the Championship. They also squeezed past Crewe in the League Cup 2nd round after beating them on pens after a 1-1 draw.

    League Table:


    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:15 PM.

  16. #16
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    Fulham boss Sir Bobby Robson was infuriated today as the work permit application for Juan Roman Riquelme was turned down.

    "This is a lad that is a legend in his home country, who has represented his country on 54 occasions, and has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, including 5 yrs in Spain" Robson explained.

    "To deny the work permit of Riquelme is a travesty, and one I can't fathom" Robson added.

    With no chance of an appeal, Robson may look elsewhere for recruitments.

    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:16 PM.

  17. #17
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    October 2002

    Fixtures:

    Wigan (H), Blackburn (A), Benfica (H), Hull (H), Dortmund (H), Arsenal (A), Brentford (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    We started the month with 2 games in the league against mid table opposition, both of which we won but only by narrow margins, 2-1 against Wigan and 1-0 at Ewood Park, not the best of performances but enough to give us confidence going into a big game against Benfica in the Champions League.

    A win against Benfica would see us in a great position to qualify for the 2nd Group stage. The match got off to a frantic start with us pushing forward straight from the off, looking for an early goal to set us on our way, but we were met by a stubborn Benfica defence, and a keeper in Quim in great form, and it was no surprise when we went into the break at 0-0. The 2nd half started much like the first with us dominating but still no goal to show for our efforts. That all changed on 73, or so I thought, Zamora heading home a cross from Stoor but he was ruled offside, and just as I thought it would end in a bore draw, Saviola gave Benfica the lead with 4 mins remaining, there only real chance of the game. A body blow of a result, and one that left us with it all to do still in the group.

    We needed a good result against Hull to put all memories of the Benfica game out our minds, and get our confidence back up for the pivotal game against Dortmund in the CL, a must win if we wanted to compete in the tournament after Christmas. A great show from my team saw us 5-0 up at half time, with Hull down to ten men after 31, and that's how it ended as I rested players for the Dortmund game in 3 days time.

    The big match, and one that could shape our season. We got a good draw in Germany in our first ever CL game, but tonight I wanted a win. Just like the Benfica game we pressed from the off, but found no luck, and once again it was 0-0 at the break. Onto the 2nd half, and Dortmund came more into the game, but when they went ahead on 69 it was still a surprise, and certainly not a nice surprise. Riise came on for the disappointing Rosicky just after the goal, and it was an inspired sub, as after just 9 mins of coming on he levelled the score with a header, after good work from Diarra. Just as I thought it was going to end in a draw, it was our turn for a late winner, after Petrov scored from a free kick in the last minute to send Craven Cottage into mayhem, and give us the 3 pts and a good position in the table. Anything except defeat away at Palermo and we'd qualify, if not UEFA Cup football which was the bare minimum I expected at the start of the campaign.



    Next up a top of the table clash against Arsenal, and for about 80 mins we were getting battered, but then substitute Dempsey gave us an undeserved lead and we held out for a massive win, and we would end the month 3rd in the table, with a chance to go top if we won our games in hand.

    We closed the month out with our first game in the defence of our League Cup, and after a busy month I fielded an entire 2nd team for our visit to Brentford. It was enough though, with us winning 2-1, their goal coming in the 90th minute.

    Results:

    Wigan (H) 2-1 (Zamora 48, Hangeland 57)
    Blackburn (A) 1-0 (De Mul 40)
    Benfica (H) 0-1
    Hull (H) 5-0 (De Mul 7, Zamora 13, 41, Samba pen 32, Dempsey 37)
    Dortmund (H) 2-1 (Riise 78, Petrov 90)
    Arsenal (A) 1-0 (Dempsey 80)
    Brentford (A) 2-1 (Etuhu pen 26, Johnson 53)

    Game of the Month:




    Other News:

    Fulham have tabled a bid of 575k for Slovenian striker Rok Kronaveter. The 23 yr old forward has also attracted the interest of Championship Leaders Norwich.

    Harry Redknapp has been sacked by Spurs, after being knocked out of the League Cup at the 3rd round stage by Preston 1-0 at White Hart Lane. Spurs currently sit 16th in the Premiership table.

    Ipswich are down to 6th in the Championship table after winning just 2 league games out of 6 in October, but they are through to the 4th round of the League Cup after beating Premiership side Hull City 4-2. Hopefully Spurs will appoint Keane as manager

    League Table:





    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:17 PM.

  18. #18
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    November 2002


    Fixtures:

    Everton (H), Palermo (A), Bolton (A), Chelsea (H), Fenerbahce (H), Man Utd (A), Arsenal (A), Middlesbrough (H)

    Monthly Summary:

    We opened the month with a tough game against 2nd placed Everton, who had had an excellent start to the season. The game itself was a drab affair in the first half with neither side creating many chances, and we went into the break deadlocked at 0-0. Onto the 2nd half and we came out firing, having shot after shot, but Jan Mucha in the Everton goal was equal to all our efforts, and we had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

    Palermo in our final 1st Group stage game, anything but defeat would see us through to the next round, a defeat and we'd have to rely on Dortmund losing at home to Benfica to go through, or we'd go into the Europa League. The Italians started the much better side, and we fell behind after 11 mins, Triuzzi opening the scoring. After the goal Palermo continued to dominate, and we were lucky to go into half time just one down. Over in Germany, Dortmund and Benfica were tied at 1-1, Aimar putting the Lisbon side 1-0 up on 15, before Nelson Valdez levelled 4 mins later.

    At half time I tore into my players, and made one change, Baird on for the disappointing Samba. We performed better in the early stages of the 2nd half but still couldn't find an equaliser, with it still 1-1 all in Dortmund, I through caution to the wind and reverted to a more attacking 4-3-3, with Johnson coming on for Gera. The gamble paid dividends immediately, Johnson levelling the scores after being on the pitch for only 3 mins, and 2 mins later, Zamora gave us the lead after good work from Rosicky. Dortmund took the lead on 82, but it was too little too late, and we held on for a famous win.




    In the 2nd Group stage we would face Fenerbahce, Hannover 96 and Inter, not a bad group, one which I felt would be a fight for 2nd place behind Inter, and one I thought we could win, and thus a place in the quarter finals.

    After that European high, we had to concentrate on the league once again, Bolton our opponents and a trip to the Reebok Stadium. On the day there was only one team, and luckily for me it was us, with Bolton offering absolutely no resistance, and we ran out easy 3-0 winners.

    Another big game next, as Chelsea made the short trip to Craven Cottage, 1st against 3rd in the table. After internationals in the week, a number of players were short in fitness, with Diarra picking up an injury which would rule him out for a few days, so I had to make best use of my squad. The first half was an absolute bore, with just one shot on target, which was from ourselves but Cech saved it easily, and as has been rather common recently it was 0-0 at half time. Could the 2nd half be as bad? Yes it could, with us once again only mustering up the only shot of the half, and for the 2nd time this month we had to make do with a 0-0 draw.

    Our first game in the 2nd group stage would be against Fenerbahce at Craven Cottage, the same opposition we had an absolute amazing match in the Europa Legaue last season with. Despite another tight first half, Zamora spared us another 0-0 half time scoreline, scoring 8 mins before the break. Gera added a second on 56, before Diarra put the game out of sight on 82, and we had a good win in our first game in the 2nd group stage, enough to see us top of the group on goal difference from Inter, who had won 2-0 at home to Hannover.

    The big games just kept on coming as we made the trip to Old Trafford to play Man Utd who were 2nd in the table, with us 2 pts behind in 4th but with 2 games in hand on them. Just before the match De Mul's loan finished, although we were able to re negotiate the loan deal for another 4 months, after the right winger had scored 5 goals in 8 apps, with 1 assist. A draw would be a good result, and surprise surprise we made it to half time at..... that's right 0-0 With both teams only managing 3 shots in total, with Utd having the only one on target. That didn't last long in the 2nd half though, with Rooney breaking the deadlock on 49, and after the goal the match continued to create few chances, and we went down 1-0.

    The 4th round draw for the League Cup was unkind with an away trip to Arsenal, I just hoped they would field a youth side like they did when we placed them last year in this competition. Unfortuantely they fielded a full strength side, including Fabregas, Arshavin and Eduardo. Once again it was 0-0 at half time, however in the 2nd we fell apart, with Joe Lewis getting sent off and we went out of the League Cup after losing 5-1.

    We finished the month with 19th placed Middlesbrough visiting Craven Cottage, and after our terrible cup exit I wanted an easy win. Kronaveter came in for his debut. By half time we were 3-1 to the good, with Kronaveter scoring on his debut. Come 90 mins it was 7-2, Kronaveter with a hatrick.


    Results:

    Everton (H) 0-0
    Palermo (A) 2-1 (Johnson 71, Zamora 73)
    Bolton (A) 3-0 (De Mul 12, Zamora 24, Riise 90)
    Chelsea (H) 0-0
    Fenerbahce (H) 3-0 (Zamora 37, Gera 56, Diarra 82)
    Man Utd (A) 0-1
    Arsenal (A) 1-5 (Rosicky 80)
    Middlesbrough (H) 7-2 (Rosicky 12, Petrov 25, Kronaveter 35,48, 84, Dempsey 58, Assou-Ekotto 89)

    Game of the Month:




    Other News:

    Fulham have completed the signing of Slovenian striker Rok Kronaveter for 575k. Andy Johnson has been placed on the transfer list, with Everton believed to be interested in signing him.




    Tottenham have appointed Bayern Munich Manager Louis Van Gaal after sacking Harry Redkanpp.

    Ipswich are up to 2nd, losing just once in November, and are also through to the 5th round of the League Cup after beating West Ham 1-0, and now face Preston in the quarters. Hopefully the Boro manager will be sacked after my tonking of them, and Keane will move there. Well I can wish can't I?

    League Table:





    Last edited by AMC; 30-08-16 at 08:18 PM.

  19. #19
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    December 2002


    Fixtures:

    Hannover 96 (A), Plymouth (A), Tottenham (A), Aston Villa (A), Sunderland (A), Tottenham (H)


    Monthly Summary:

    After the mauling of Middlesbrough we came into the month with great confidence, and our first game saw us travel to Germany for our 2nd game in the 2nd group stage. This would be the start of 5 consecutive away games! The first half wasn't much until Slovakian defender Jan Durica was sent off for Hannover on 42, after shoving Zamora. We couldn't score from the resulting free kick, and we went into half time at 0-0. We started to dominate in the 2nd half but still couldn't score, and I brought Johnson and Davies on for Zamora and Gera, and 2 mins later we got our reward, Samba nodding home a Duff corner to put us 1-0 up. Unfortunately at the exact same time keeper Lewis got injured and had to be replaced by Schwarzer. After the game we were rocked by the news that Lewis would be out for a month with a twisted ankle. We managed to hold on to our lead and continued to sit a top of the table, with Inter losing 4-0 away at Fenerbahce. We meet Inter in a double header when the CL restarts in Feb.

    Plymouth away, and they were bottom of the table with just one point from 15 games, scoring just 7 goals and conceeding 38. Surely an easy win? We got off to a great start with Rosicky putting us 1-0 ahead early, his 5th of the season. However, Plymouth pulled one back through Gow, before Hangeland and Dempsey gave us a 3-1 half time lead, and Johson added a 4th in the 2nd half to cap off a 4-1 win.

    A trip to White Hart Lane next, were we ran out 5-1 winners last season, however I very much doubt we would come out with that result again. A tougher game it was too, with a tight first half, but just as it looked like yet another 0-0 scoreline at the break, Rosicky popped up to give us the lead jsut before referee Peter Jones blew the whistle. Spurs came into the game in the 2nd half, and we did well to protect our lead, Lennon having a lob cleared off the line, and then totally against the play Kronaveter made no doubt about the result a few mins from time.

    9th placed Aston Villa was our next game, and could we continue our good form after 4 wins on the bounce? Rosicky and De Mul had both picked up injuries ruling them out, Longas and Gera coming in to replace them, and it was Gera who fired us into the lead midway through the first half, which we took into the break. Both sides had chances to score in the 2nd half, but both keepers were in good form, and no further goals were scored, and we won 1-0.

    Our last away game of the year was a long trip to Sunderland who were 12th in the table, but 4th in the table for their home record. Unfortunately Rosicky and De Mul were still out, so I named an unchanged team. Just like the Villa game, Gera gave us the lead halfway through the first half, and once again we held onto the lead to the break. Dempsey gave us a 2nd on 53, and the only problem was the injury to Kronaveter, who was ruled out for 2 wks, as we ran out 2-0 winners.

    Two days later we finally had a home game, and our last of the year against Tottenham. I had to make a number of changes due to fitness from the Sunderland game, no less than 8 to the starting XI. Zamora scored after 23, and 9 mins later things got better when Modric was sent off. Former Spurs left back Assou-Ekotto scored before half time to give us a 2-0 lead at the break. Diarra added a 3rd before Dawson was sent off to leave Spurs with just 9 men. We should have added to the score but took our foot of the gas, but the result was not in question.

    What a month, a 100% record including 5 away games in a row. Hopefully we can take our form into the New Year.


    Results:


    Hannover 96 (A) 1-0 (Samba 76)
    Plymouth (A) 4-1 (Rosicky 6, Hangeland 34, Dempsey 41, Johnson 79)
    Tottenham (A) 2-0 (Rosicky 45, Kronaveter 87)
    Aston Villa (A) 1-0 (Gera 29)
    Sunderland (A) 2-0 (Gera 23, Dempsey 53)
    Tottenham (H) 3-0 (Zamora 23, Assou-Ekotto 40, Diarra 56)

    Game of the Month:





    Other News:


    Fulham face non league side Eastbourne Borough in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, after they overcame Shrewsbury in a reply.

    Fulham have completed the loan signing of Goalkeeper Scott Loach on loan from Red Bull Salzburg for the rest of the season to cover for the injury to Joe Lewis. Diomansy Kamara has moved to Malaga for 200k, the striker had not played at all this season. Johnson and Nevland are both attracting clubs but still no bids have been made for either of them.

    Newcastle manager Chris Houghton has resigned with the club sitting 17th in the Premiership.

    Ipswich are down to 4th, but did defeat Preston in the League Cup quarters to set up a semi final with Chelsea. In the 3rd round of the FA Cup they have an away trip to Liverpool. Hopefully they will be knocked out of both domestic cups and continue to slip down the table.

    League Table:


    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:27 PM.

  20. #20
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    January 2003



    Fixtures:

    Eastbourne Borough (H), Sunderland (H), Man City (A), Liverpool (A), Liverpool (H), Newcastle (H), Newcastle (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    We started the new year off with the FA Cup tie against non league Eastbourne Borough. With big games in the league coming up I named a complete reserve side, who eased to a 3-0 win, although it could easily have been more, Baird with a brace, and Etuhu with the other. Unfortunately Duff and Etuhu had to come off with injuries.

    Sunderland at home, a side we had beat just before new year away, and we were looking for another win over the Mackems. Petrov put us ahead just before half time, but Malbranque equalised early in the second half. Johnson (on as a sub) gave us the lead once again later on in the match, and we managed to hold on for our 8th league win in a row.

    Man City away next, and we had some battles with them last season, with them coming out on top, winning twice compared to our one victory. Unfortunately, we had an off day, especially from Goalkeeper Lewis, and we were 2-0 down at half time. Changes were made at half time, Loach on for Lewis, and Gera on for Dempsey. Within ten mins of the changes Riise pulled one back for us, but we couldn't find another. De Mul made way for Nevland as we changed to 4-3-3 but Tevez restored City's 2 goal lead, before Nevland gave us a chance with a goal in the last minute, but it was too late as we went down 3-2.

    We needed to pick ourselves up after that demoralising loss, but a trip to Anfield was not what we needed. We got off to a nervy start, but within the first quarter of an hour Liverpool had to make a double substitution with Gerrard and Steven Taylor picking up injuries, with Kyrgiakos and Carragher coming on to replace them. Things took a turn for the worst around the half hour mark as Assou-Ekotto was sent off for tripping Carragher, no more than a yellow in my opinion, but we were down to 10 men. Konchesky came on for Petrov to restore our 4 man defence, with not conceeding the aim now. Liverpool threw everything at us but couldn't find the breakthrough and somehow we escaped with a point. After the game our appeal for Ekotto's red card was succesful and he would be available for our next game, at home to Liverpool.

    In a carbon copy of the last game, Ekotto was sent off again around the half hour mark! This time for hacking down Kuyt with two feet but I still felt it a bit harsh, once again Konchesky came on, this time for Gera. Unlike the last game though it was us who dominated, but it wasn't till late on we got our reward, Diarra opening the scoring, and minutes later we made it 2-0 through Dempsey. Mascherano pulled a goal back for Liverpool, but it was too late, we had won 2-1. Once again we appealed Ekotto's red and again the ban was revoked

    A double header against Newcastle followed next, first at home in the league, and then away in the FA Cup. We made easy work of the league game, strolling to a 5-0 win, and we also won the cup tie, even if it weren't as easily, this time 2-0 with a brace from Kronaveter.


    Results:

    Eastbourne Borough (H) 3-0 (Baird 21, 70, Etuhu 30)
    Sunderland (H) 2-1 (Petrov 37, Johnson 79)
    Man City (A) 2-3 (Riise 54, Nevland 90)
    Liverpool (A) 0-0 (Assou-Ekotto s/o 33)
    Liverpool (H) 2-1 (Diarra 75, Dempsey 83, Assou-Ekotto s/o 36)
    Newcastle (H) 5-0 (Kronaveter pen 29, Riise 34, Petrov 42, Longas 79, 83)
    Newcastle (A) 2-0 (Kronaveter 3, pen 30)

    Game of the Month:





    Other News:

    Fulham face League One side Charlton in the FA Cup 5th round. "The Addicks" have beat Bristol City and Barnsley to make it to this stage, and face Fulham at Craven Cottage for a chance to make the Quarter Finals.

    Fulham have completed the bosman signings of Tomasz Kuszczak from Man Utd and Nikola Gulan. With Schwarzer's contract up in the summer, and Konchesky's age, Robson was keen for reinforcements. Gulan's contract is only for 90 a week too



    Newcastle have appointed Steve Coppell as manager.

    Ipswich are down to 5th, and lost to Liverpool 2-0 in the FA Cup. In the League Cup semi final against Chelsea they lost the 1st leg 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

    League Table:





    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:22 PM.

  21. #21
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    February 2003


    Fixtures:

    Wigan (A), Blackburn (H), Hull (A), Inter (H), Charlton (H), Inter (A), Stoke (H)

    Monthly Summary:

    Wigan away kicked off the month, and we continued on from our good form from the end of January, with a hard fought 2-0 win. Diarra opened the scoring after just 4 mins, but it was 4 mins into the 2nd half till we could celebrate again, with Kronaveter scoring from the spot.

    11th placed Blackburn at home, and I expected another win, however nothing went right on the day. Despite dominating possession, shots on and off target we couldn't score, and were hit by two late goals from Diouf and Julio Santa Cruz. We stayed top, but the lead at the top was down to just 2 pts.

    Hull away, who were on the fringes of the relegation zone, a tough game, but a chance to get back to winning ways. Kronaveter got the scoring underway after 18 mins, and Samba added a second in the 2nd half, to give us some breathing space, but James Forrest a summer signing from Celtic, pulled one back for Hull with 15 mins to go, and in the end we did well to hang on for victory, and stay top.

    February saw the Champions League start up again, with us sitting in a commanding position in the 2nd Group stage, with an important double header coming up next against Inter. The first of these 2 games, would be Craven Cottage, were hopefully we could pick up some more vital points in qualification for the quarter finals, unfortunately for us Inter were also looking for points. On the basis of the 2 teams that took the field, there was no doubt who were the better side, with the Italians able to rely on the likes of Milito, Eto'o and Quaresma, however I had confidence in my team.

    The first 30 mins was a stalemate, with not many chances for either side, but that didn't last long, when Miltio gave Inter the lead, and on the stroke of half time he got a 2nd, a killer blow. I made changes at half time, Kronaveter and Schwarzer on for Zamora and Lewis, and on 68, we pulled one back through Riise on 68, but a minute after bringing on our last sub, Samba had to go off with an injury, and we would play the last 20 mins with 10 men. We pushed on for an equaliser, but with a man less, we left ourselves open at the back, and Cambiasso got the decisive goal on 86. The result put us down to 2nd in the table, equal on points with Inter, 2 ahead of 3rd placed Fenerbahce, and 5 ahead of bottom placed Hannover 96.

    FA Cup time, and League One side Charlton travelled to Craven Cottage for a London derby in the 5th round. Charlton were flying high in League One, so we had to be careful not to experience a shock exit. We completely outclassed Charlton, but had trouble putting the ball in the net, taking just one of the 20 chances we created, but one was enough as we went through 1-0. The draw for the Quarter final pitted us against Wolves away.

    Onto Milan, and after the loss at home to Inter, I didn't expect anything other than defeat, obviously I didn't tell my players that! We started brightly, with Zamora looking more than a handful for the Inter rear guard, but Inter started to come more into the game, and at half time the two teams could not be separated, with the score standing at 0-0. The 2nd half continued much like the first with no clear chances, and I brought on some fresh legs to try and change things, Petrov coming off for Duff, and Zamora who had picked up a knock was replaced by Kronaveter. With 5 mins left, and it still goalless I brought on another sub to waste time, but a few mins later, in injury time, Hangeland took a free kick from the half way line, Kronaveter rose above the Inter defence and headed the ball past Julio Cesar, GOOAAAALLLLLLLLL! The travelling fans went crazy, the team went crazy, I went crazy! I instructed everyone back to protect the lead, and less than a minute later the final whistle was blown! Hannover beat Fenerbahce in the other game, so we looked like we had one foot in the quarters already.




    Stoke at home closed the month out, and we took the lead on 17 through the returning De Mul (ineligible for CL), and thats how the 1st half ended, with a 1-0 lead to us. Onto the 2nd half, and neither side got a foot hold into the game, and it was only on 80 when Arismendi was sent off we could relax a little more, but still no goal came, and the game finished 1-0. Just like the end of last month we had a 5 point lead at the top from Arsenal.

    Results:

    Wigan (A) 2-0 (Diarra 4, Kronaveter 49)
    Blackburn (A) 0-2
    Hull (A) 2-1 (Kronaveter 18, Samba 60)
    Inter (H) 1-3 (Riise 68)
    Charlton (H) 1-0 (Duff 12)
    Inter (A) 1-0 (Kronaveter 90)
    Stoke (H) 1-0 (De Mul 17)

    Game of the Month:



    Other News:

    Andy Johnson has joined Aston Villa for 7.75m. The former England internationallist who missed all of last season through injury was deemed surplus to requirements, with Zamora and recent signing Kronaveter both in excellent form.

    Fulham are in talks with Nigerian u21 forward Sani Emmanuel after agreeing a fee of 500k with Paysandu (URU) although a number of other clubs are interested in his signature.

    Ipswich are up to 3rd in the Championship, with a record of P5 W4 D1 L0 in the league for the month. They also had the 2nd leg of the League Cup Semi Final against Chelsea were they lost 2-0, and thus went out 5-0 on agg. Chelsea will face Man Utd in the final.

    League Table:



    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:27 PM.

  22. #22
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    Fulham have signed Brazilian and Juventus midfielder Diego on a 6 year deal, costing the Cottagers 5.5m

    Manager Robson was delighted with the signing, especially after missing out on Juan Roman Riquelme, "This is an exceptional signing, one that could push us on to even greater honours", Fulham are currently top of the Premiership, and still challenging in the Champions League and FA Cup.

    "Of course we were heart broken when the deal for Riquelme fell through, but what we have now is a younger, and potentially better player, at just a fraction more money".

    Fans of the club were seen racing to Craven Cottage to celebrate the signing of the Brazilian, as well as to try and catch a glimpse of him as he left the stadium.



    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:24 PM.

  23. #23
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    March 2003


    Fixtures:

    Portsmouth(A), Fenerbahce (A), Wolves (A), Hannover (H), Arsenal (H), Everton (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    We started the month with an early kick off with a chance of extending our lead at the top, and what a good chance against 19th placed Portsmouth. Things didn't go to plan, as Utaka put the home side 1-0 to the good after 21 mins, and despite pushing forward, and battering the Portsmouth goal, David James at 40 years of age was in inspired form, and we went down 1-0. An injury to Rosicky after 31 mins didn't help our cause, and he would be missing for the next 2 weeks.

    Fenerbahce away and anything except a defeat would see us qualify for the quarter finals. It was a real topsy-turvy clash, with Fener taking the lead twice in the first half, but at the break it was 2-2. Schwarzer replaced the disappointing Joe Lewis in goal, and I sent my team out for the second half. The 2nd half was in stark contrast to the 1st, with neither side creating many chances, but when it looked like honours even, Kronaveter scored another late winner, and handed us a 3-2 win, and thus qualification to the quarters!

    A third away game in a row, saw us face Wolves in the FA Cup quarter final. With our sides struggling for fitness, I had to name a 2nd string side, and unfortunately it was our downfall. Ebanks-Blake put Wolves ahead in the first half, but we equalised through Riise in the opening 10 mins of the 2nd half. We weren't level for long however, as Doyle gave Wolves the lead just 8 mins later, and we never looked like equalising again with our tired players. We were rocked by another injury, as Diarra was stretchered off, and was expected to be out for 3 weeks.

    Our last 2nd Group stage match was against Hannover, and having already booked our passage to the quarters as well as injuries and fitness worries facing the 1st team, I named a 2nd team for the match. It was no surprise then that we lost the game 1-0, with Hannover the hungrier side as they still had a slight chance of knocking Inter off 2nd spot, but unfortunately Inter won as well, and they had to settle for 3rd. Next up for us would be Liverpool in the quarter finals!



    A crunch top of the table clash now, and having lost to Portsmouth earlier in the month our lead was down to just 2 points, the game would also see Diego make his debut. Things got off to a bad start when Clichy scored from the penalty spot after just 9 mins to hand Arsenal the lead, and 6 mins later Jermaine Jones went off injured. We managed to get to half time just the one down, but it could quite easily have been more. It was in the 2nd half the game really sprung in to life. On 67 Fabregas extended Arsenal's lead, but a minute later we pulled one back through Dempsey. Former Arsenal player Rosicky scored an equaliser on 85, and just as I thought we'd got out of jail, we were hit with a sucker punch from Denilson. We needn't worry though as Dempsey equalised for us again, and we kept our 2 point lead at the top

    The last game of the month, saw a tough trip to Goodison Park. With the injured Jones and Diarra both out, I had to call up forgotten man Danny Murphy to fulfil the DMC role. He repaid my faith in him by getting himself sent off after just 11 mins, and I had to change my thinking from winning, to hanging on for a draw which would keep us at the top, even if Arsenal won, due to our better goal difference. As it was, Everton couldn't make use of their one man advantage, and we escaped with a 0-0 draw, in a very dour game.

    Results:

    Portsmouth (A) 0-1
    Fenerbahce (A) 3-2 (Kronaveter 30, 83, Duff 45)
    Wolves (A) 1-2 (Riise 55)
    Hannover (H) 0-1
    Arsenal (H) 3-3 (Dempsey 68, 90, Rosicky 85)
    Everton (A) 0-0


    Game of the Month:




    Other News:

    Sani Emmanuel agreed to join Fulham for a fee of 500k, but once again the club was hit with Work Permit heartache, as he was denied one.

    Ipswich are down to 8th in the Championship after losing all 5 league games in the month. Roy Keane's name is not on the job information screen yet, but things look like they are looking up

    League Table:




    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:28 PM.

  24. #24
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    April 2003


    Fixtures:


    Liverpool (A), Bolton (H), Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H), Middlesbrough (A), Aston Villa (H), Barcelona (A)

    Monthly Summary:

    A difficult trip to Anfield in the 1st leg of the Champions League Quarter Final got us underway for the month. My thoughts were that a draw would be a good result, or even a defeat with a one goal deficit, especially if we managed an away goal, and I didn't have to wait long for the latter. Johnson fouled Rosicky on the edge of the box, and Petrov stepped up to curl it past Reina in the Liverpool goal after just 9 mins. The lead was short lived however, as Aquilani levelled the scores from the penalty spot quarter of an hour later. Liverpool were in the ascendence after their goal, and we did well to make it to half time at 1-1. The complexion of the game changed 14 mins into the 2nd half, when Kyrgiakos was sent off having up-ended Zamora. It was us who began to dominate then, but Reina was equal to all we threw at him, and we left Anfield with a 1-1 draw.

    Back to league business, and we were looking for our first league win since February. Our opponents were 12th placed Bolton, and I knew a win was necessary to keep up our challenge for the league title. I needn't have worried as within 26 mins, we were 2-0 up, with Zamora opening the scoring, and Diego scoring his first goal for the club from the penalty spot. 2 became 3 early in the 2nd half from right back Stoor, before Holden gave Bolton a consolation goal with 3 mins remaining. The win was marred by an injury to captain Hangeland which would rule him out for the next 3 wks.

    Chelsea away, and a game that could make or break our Premiership title hopes. Things got off to a bad start when Kalou gave Chelsea the lead after just 6 mins, and 2 goals from Anelka before half time killed off any chances we had of getting something from the game. The striker completed his hatrick with 10 mins remaining, as Chelsea routed us 4-0, in the worst performance of the season. Our lead at the top was gone, Chelsea replacing us at the top, and we were down to 2nd, with only goal difference putting us above Arsenal, although they had a game in hand on us.

    The 2nd leg of the quarter final next, and I wondered how my players would react after the demolition job Chelsea inflicted on us. How they rallied though! Rosicky gave us the lead after 21 mins, before Riise and Kronaveter netted, to give us a 3-0 win on the night and 4-1 on agg. In the semis we were drawn against Barcelona with Arsenal and Inter in the other semi final.



    Boro away in a must win match if we wanted to keep up our fight for the League. Things got off to a terrible start when Jones had to come off after 18 mins, with an injury ruling him out for a month, and 7 mins later Duff was stretchered off, his injury even worse, side lining him for 3 months, his season was over A minute after Duff's injury, Boro took the lead through young striker Luke Williams, but 2 mins later Zamora levelled for us. On the stroke of half time, Williams got his second and we went into the break 2-1 down. After the hair dryer treatment at half time, we came out fighting, and we scored within 5 mins, Zamora with his second. We continued to press and were rewarded on 72, when De Mul (in his 3rd loan spell) nodded in. We hung on for an import 3 points.

    Aston Villa at home, and with Chelsea and Arsenal both winning their league games, we had to win again. Diego opened the scoring after a mazy run, and Warnock put past his own keeper to give us a 2-0 lead at half time. We added to the score just after half time, Diego with his 2nd, and the win was ours, although we did gift Aston Villa with an own goal with mins left on the clock.

    An unbelievably big game next, as we travelled to the Nou Camp to face giants Barcelona. My aims were no different to the 1st leg of the quarters against Liverpool, but I didn't feel as confident this time around. Henry, Messi and Ibrahimovic were all combining well in the first half, and it was only bad finishing and back to the wall defending that some how saw us go into the break at 0-0. I knew we couldn't carry on in this fashion, so I told my team to try and attack them more, and eleviate the pressure on the defence, my instructions worked a treat After a shot from Kronaveter, Valdes could only pary the ball, into the path of former Real Madrid midfielder Diarra and he made no mistake putting us 1-0 up, and we had a massive away goal. Things got even better just 3 mins later, when a flick on from Zamora found Petrov who drove at the Barcelona defence before neatly finishing past Valdes, 2-0!!! It was no surprise when Barca poured forward, but once again we stood firm, and astonishingly we had won 2-0

    Results:

    Liverpool (A) 1-1 (Petrov 9)
    Bolton (H) 3-1 (Zamora 11, Diego pen 26, Stoor 51)
    Chelsea (A) 0-4
    Liverpool (H) 3-0 (Rosicky 21, Riise 58, Kronaveter 70)
    Middlesbrough (A) 3-2 (Zamora 28, 50, De Mul 72)
    Aston Villa (H) 3-1 (Diego 24, 49, Warnock og 40)
    Barcelona (A) 2-0 (Diarra 61, Petrov 64)


    Game of the Month:




    Other News:

    Arsenal drew 1-1 with Inter in the 1st leg of the other semi final at the Emirates.

    Ipswich are down to 9th in the Championship after a record of P5 W1 D1 L3 for the month. Still no sign of Keane on the job information screen

    League Table:


    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:29 PM.

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    May 2003


    Fixtures:

    Newcastle (A), Barcelona (H), Man Utd (H), Plymouth (H), Inter (N)

    Monthly Summary:

    We started the final and most important month of the season, with an away trip to Newcastle. The Geordies were in a terrible state in the league, and were right in the relegation zone, and fighting for their lives. We got off to a bad start when Zamblera scored after just 5 mins, but 12 mins later, captain Hangeland equalised after heading in from a corner. The game changed 15 mins later though, as Dickson Etuhu picked up a 2nd yellow, and was off. A minute later we were 2-1 down, Jonas Gutierrez scoring from the resulting free kick. Guthrie added a 3rd for Newcastle midway through the 2nd half, and despite Mul scoring late on for us, we went down 3-2. All chances of the league finally gone now, as Chelsea would have to lose both games, as well as Arsenal dropping points, who with our defeat had gone above us into 2nd.

    Just like last month after the disappointing result against Chelsea, we had to bounce back for the 2nd leg of our Champions League tie. We got off to a bad start, and it was no surprise when Ibrahimovic scored after just 15 mins However, the goal woke us up, and we began to dictate the play, and we were in fact unlucky to still be behind 1-0 when the 45 mins was up. I told the players not to worry, as how we had reacted to going behind was encouraging, and we would still be in the final if the game stayed as it was. Onto the 2nd half and the first half an hour belonged to us, as we peppered the Barcelona goal, but we couldn't find an equaliser, which set up a very nervy last quarter of an hour. Barca had a couple of great chances but just couldn't find the net, and we were unlucky not to equalise in the final few mins, as Samba hit the bar, and Diarra missed a sitter. It mattered little though as we went through 2-1 on agg! Awaiting us would be our 2nd Group stage opponents Inter, who had beaten Arsenal 4-1 on agg.




    With a Champions League Final to look forward to, and our league challenge practically over, I decided to rest my entire 1st XI so they were fresh for the final, and so I named a 2nd team for my remaining 2 league games, both of which were home ties.

    First up was Man Utd, who still had a faint chance of finishing in the top 4, but had to rely on Liverpool slipping up. With Diego ineligible for the CL, he was instrumental for me in this game. After 21 mins, he put us ahead after good work from Longas, and the Brazilian got a 2nd just on half time. Rooney pulled one back late on in the second half, but just when a comeback looked on the cards, De Mul scored to give us back our 2 goal cushion, and that's how the game ended. On the same day, Liverpool overcame Arsenal 2-0 to ensure their place in the top 4, and it meant we were just 3 pts behind Arsenal, with a slight chance of 2nd still possible, but even more encouraging was Chelsea losing 2-0 away at Man City, which meant Arsenal were upto 1st, and we were still in the fight for the title!

    The final game of the season saw us take on already relegated Plymouth at Craven Cottage, and I named exactly the same team, confident they could give me a win over the pilgrims. The game was tougher than I thought, and it was only Diego's 6th goal in 9 games, that separated the teams, which came in the 75th minute. Was it enough to give us the title though? Unfortunately not, as Chelsea won 1-0 away at Anelka, which confirmed they would finish above us, but they needed Arsenal to slip up if they stood any chance of the title, so did they get that help? Arsenal just had to win away at Wolves, but like I had found earier in the season, Molineux was a tough place to go. In fact the game was determined by a late goal in the 88th minute, but who was it to? Eduardo ran at the Wolves defence but his pass to Van Persie was over hit, Wolves hit them on the counter attack and Ross Wallace squared to Kevin Foley, to give Wolves the win, Chelsea the title, and us 2nd place as our goal difference was superior to Arsenal's.

    The time had finally come, the Champions League Final between Fulham and Inter to be played at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. Fortunately I had no fresh injury worries, and it was only Duff who would miss out, but even he would have only been on the bench.

    I named the following side:

    GK - Joe Lewis
    DL - Paul Konchesky
    DC - Brede Hangeland (C)
    DC - Christopher Samba
    DR - Fredrik Stoor
    DMC - Mahamadou Diarra
    MC - Tomas Rosicky
    MC - Bjorn Helge Riise
    AML - Martin Petrov
    AMR - Clint Dempsey
    SC - Rok Kronaveter

    Subs: Baird, Schwarzer, Longas, Gera, Zamora, Assou-Ekotto, Jones

    Onto the game, and in the opening exchanges it was all Inter, Eto'o and Milito both going close. Eventually we cracked under the pressure, and midfielder Cambiasso gave Inter a deserved lead. Unlike in the 2nd leg of the Semi against Barcelona, going a goal behind didn't spur us on, and it was only some fine keeping from Joe Lewis that kept the score to 1-0 as we went in at the break.

    We were lucky to only be one goal behind, and I told the players this at half time. I decided not to make any changes yet though, as I hoped the current crop of players would heed my advice.

    It didn't take long for Inter to double their lead, Milito turning in an Eto'o cross, and we were now really up against it. I gave instructions for Zamora and Longas to get ready to come on, but just when they were waiting to enter the field, a header from Dempsey was spilled by 39 yr old Toldo, and Rosicky was first to react to give us a chance back in the tie. Just a minute after coming on, and 2 mins after Rosicky's goal, Zamora smashed the ball past Toldo, and we were all square again, GAME ON! Inter couldn't get near us now, Riise and Petrov both having good chances. On 82, Gera came on for the tired looking Dempsey, and within 5 mins he almost gave us the winner, his cross found Kronaveter in the box, but the Slovenian's header crashed off the bar and so the game went into extra time.

    I told the players they'd done amazing to come back to 2-2, but it would all be in vain if they didn't win now. Despite Inter still having a substitute left to make, they decided against it, and sent a very tired looking team back onto the pitch.

    We carried on from were we left off in the 2nd half, Longas in particular unlucky not to hit the back of the net. But then, Inter hit us on the counter attack, Quaresma skipping past a couple of our defenders, and he was one-on-one with Lewis his first shot was saved by Lewis but the rebound fell straight to him. Quite astonishingly with Lewis still on the floor, and no defence around, he hit a weak shot straight at Lewis who looked bemused. No time to rest though, as Lewis launched the ball upfield to Gera, who found Longas in space. Longas ran with the ball and then sent a delightful through ball to Zamora, who only had the keeper to beat. Could he? COULD HE? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! He'd only sodding done it! I went mad on the touchline, and practically sexually assaulted Assistant Manager Denis Holmark with all the hugging and kissing I gave him. The whistle blew as we had won on the Golden Goal rule.

    Results:

    Newcastle (A) 2-3 (Hangeland 17, De Mul 85, Etuhu s/o 32)
    Barcelona (H) 0-1
    Man Utd (H) 3-1 (Diego 21, 45, De Mul 90)
    Plymouth (H) 1-0 (Diego 75)
    Inter (N) 3-2 AET (Rosicky 56, Zamora 58, 105)

    Game of the Month:




    Other News:

    Arsenal got some retribution on Wolves by beating them 3-0 in the FA Cup Final.

    Roma won the UEFA Cup after overcoming Man City 2-1, coming from behind to win.

    Ipswich finished the season in 9th, but Keane still has a job What do I (or he) have to do for me to get the job?

    Final League Table:


    Last edited by AMC; 05-03-12 at 10:30 PM.

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