Tuesday 13 November 2012

The Beautiful Game

In Martin Jol we have a Manager that believes the game should be played in a certain way.  For me its the way it should be played, fast, flowing, passing, attacking, skillful players, etc.  But with that sometimes it comes with a downside, we are going to be more open at the back.  If we are not on our game in the attacking third we might be on the end of a 3-0 loss (West Ham).  

We pick our team we support for a number of reasons and for the majority that will be your team for life, what we don't do is pick the way our team plays.  Lets face it watching Fulham play in the early 90's (when I started going) wasn't for the sexy football!!! We did it because it was our team.  Bringing it back up to date, the 8 months or so Sanchez had with us was as depressing a watch as those times back then, but we still went to the games.  

As a Fulham fan (like most) I don't expect us to win anything and the ultimate target at the start of the season is to get to 40 points asap, beating a few of the "big boys" on the way is a bonus.  However this season is different, I've not been looking forward to the next game so much since the Tigana days.  We are a bloody good side to watch and with the promise of further new recruits to come in Jan now is a great time to be a Fulham fan.  We have a player in Berbatov that makes my season ticket worth the money on his own, a player that I keep getting told would walk (swagger) into pretty much any side in the Prem.  We also have the likes of Ruiz, Diarra, Kaca, Petric, Dave, Duff, Dejagah, flying attacking full backs in Riether and Riise.....  there will be times when Berba will look lazy and Ruiz will frustrate but there will be times this season when they will simply take your breathe away.  If someone offered me guaranteed 7th gaining Europa football next year with Allardyce/Pulis in charge or 10th with Jol at the helm playing the game the way we are.... I loved the Europa nights but give me proper football all day long.  Our defence has not changed, has Hangeland become a bad player overnight? No but we have changed the way we play and with scoring more goals we have to accept we will concede more.  This side is 1 or 2 players away from being the best I've ever seen at the club.  with Roy in charge and a more rigid system we finished 7th, with Liverpool, Spurs, Newcastle and Arsenal not being the teams they were who knows what we could achieve with this more individually talented crop.

One thing that is for sure is that Saturday won't be our last high scoring game of our season, some will go in our favour some won't but one thing is for sure is we will look good in the process!!  Now is the time to enjoy being a Fulham fan, enjoy the entertainment, enjoy Berba and Ruiz.  Long after Jol, Berba and Ruiz are gone we will still be here and god knows who will be in charge or what his thoughts are on style of play.  Roll on next Sunday..... I want to be entertained! 

Tuesday 2 October 2012

A different view of things......

After the Man City game I left the ground content with the performance, disappointed that we conceded so late but pleased that we did ourselves proud.  My personal view was that Sidwell was our weakest player and Ruiz was comfortably our best.  So you can imagine my surprise when after visiting a couple of forums many not only saw it differently but in fact the complete opposite!  And its this that has got me wondering, apart from any pre-conceived ideas we may have about certain players does the the way we like the game to be played really effect our opinions of players and performances?  I admit, I'm a Ruiz fan but I'm also quick to say so when he has had a bad one.  I like to think that I enjoy "the beautiful game", one-touch football, good movement, skill, etc. but at the same time obviously understand the need to put the boot it where it hurts.  From what I got from the various posters was that they think that Ruiz gives the ball away alot and doesn't get stuck in enough.  My view on that is that he was the only player trying to take risks with forward passes which of course won't always come off.  With regards to him getting stuck in, I don't exactly want him to not make any challenges but I don't necessarily or expect him to be jumping into 50-50 balls with Yaya Troure, let alone winning them.  It appears that he loses points for this with some of our fans.  So I guess its he opposite for someone like Sidwell, winning a tackle or blocking a shot as important as it ultimately is he still needs to be able to pass the ball over 10 yards but again I guess due to things outside of the game (transfer fee) maybe players like Sidwell get more rope than others.  One thing it has taught me is that football is a game of opinions and I for one need to realise that people will value different facets of the game differently to me. 

As a whole its been a good start for us.  Berbatov coming in has somewhat softened the blow of losing Dempsey and the fantastic Mousa (would have loved to seen those 3 in the same Fulham side).  Although Richardson and Dejegah also made moves to the Whites on the last day of the window the feeling was that we expected more, especially a central midfielder to replace the number we saw depart. Since the window we have signed a short term fix in the mold of Karagounis and apparently at the time of writing we are set to sign another free agent.  I understand the need to have cover but this is surely not the answer and it frustrates me even more when I hear that "we ran out of time to complete the deal" on the last day.  Sorry, but the window was open for 3 months, time should not have been an issue for key reinforcements.  I always feel that we are in a period of transition, if its not trying to reduce the age of the squad its replacing the good players we have sold or waiting for a player to settle.  Under Hodgson we had a period that for some reason we were settled, we didn't yearn for new signings nor did we sell our better players and we all know what happened over those 2 seasons.  At the moment I actually think we are quite a way from having that again, I fully expect Jol to spend some of the money we must have due to the sales over the last 12 months (or is that paying for the new Stand??).  Maybe this time we can "kick on" but something tells me that we may face the same challenges next summer with the likes of Hangeland out of contract, 1 step forward 2 back springs to mind.  Then again, am I being realistic?  Could we do a Newcastle? do we have ambitoins to challenge for a top 6 spot? or is our board happy for us just to exist in the Prem?  I'd like to think its the former but I'm not so sure.


twitter:  @JamboHunt

Monday 1 August 2011

Summer (transfer) Madness!

Every single year its the same, in just a few weeks of the season ending all that's wrong at our club is forgotten and the hope and anticipation of signing a new team, rebuilding and starting well fools us into believing things will be different this season.  For me the transfer window is just a license for journos to fill column inches with mainly ill-informed or poorly judged speculation about the movements of pretty much any player with less than 24 months to run on his contract.  What makes it even more frustrating is that we (optimistic fans) believe everything we read!!  If I was to pick up a red top tomorrow to be greeted with the headline "Jol bids for E'to" I would be texting,calling facebooking everyone I know about our reported new arrival.  The chances of if actually happening is zero but as fickle (and hopeful) fans we cling on to just the thought of it being true as reason alone for being excited.

Having read in early June that Jol would be given a £25m war-chest we have been linked with Osvaldo (£12m), El Hamadoui (£7m), Jeffren (£7m) but to date have signed someone called Gecov (£700,000), Kasami (£3m) and JA Riise (£2m).  This is not a dig at the 3 players we have signed but just highlighting that the transfer window for Fulham fans is rarely exciting and not since AJ have we spent more that £7m on 1 player and the players that we get linked to I'm sure are stories planted by agents to force moves to other/"bigger" clubs.  Bottom line is..... there is no war-chest, just a carefully put together budget that Jol must work to.

And then we have Deadline day when Skysports news (Jim White mainly) will count down by the second to the point when the "window SLAMS SHUT!", unless your name is Harry Redknapp who seems to have a habit of crow barring the window open for an extra day to finialse another dodgy deal! For Fulham fans the deadline cannot come quick enough.  I'm pretty sure that we all break out into cold sweats when we think back to the "Shefki Kuqi" moment!  Another example where the thought of signing Jermaine Defoe was replaced with a much more realistic target.

With a month still to go I would say that we still need 2 more players added to the squad which does ,on paper at least, lack a little depth.  A striker (as I write we have been linked to Cameron Jerome..... not sure how I feel about that) and a winger, who will that be??  I'll let the papers guess and Jol bring me back to Earth.