Tag Archives: Fulham

The Managers: Chris Coleman

Premier League Clubs Managed: Fulham (2003-2007)

After a testing year experiencing relegation with Sunderland in 2018, Chris Coleman was recently trying to reboot his managerial career in China with Hebei China Fortune. However, this venture came to an end recently. Coleman’s peak moment came three years ago when he led Wales famously to the semi-finals at the 2016 European Championships.

In the Premier League, he played for Crystal Palace and Blackburn Rovers in the 1990s and spent four years as boss of Fulham, keeping the west Londoners comfortably in the mid-table reaches during that period.

Born in Swansea, Coleman’s first professional contract as a player was at Manchester City aged 16. However, he never made a senior appearance for the Citizens and left after just a year on their books citing homesickness as the reason for his departure.

Playing days at the Palace

He signed for his hometown club Swansea and spent four years with them, making nearly 200 appearances. He moved in 1991 to Crystal Palace and it was with the Eagles that he made his Premier League debut, featuring on the opening weekend in their thrilling 3-3 draw with newly-promoted Blackburn Rovers.

They reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in that campaign but were relegated in the Premier League on the final day of the season. Promotion from the First Division followed in 1994 but relegation came a year later for the second time. In December 1995, he bought his time at Selhurst Park to an end and signed for the Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers in a £2.8 million deal. He made 143 appearances for Palace, scoring 16 times which included five goals in the inaugural Premier League season of 1992-1993.

Coleman’s career at Blackburn never really took off. A persistent Achilles injury restricted him to 28 league appearances and he took the brave decision to drop down two divisions to continue his playing days at Fulham. Signing for the Cottagers in 1997, it began a 10-year association with the club as player, coach and eventually manager.

Fulham were in the Second Division on his arrival but had Kevin Keegan as manager and were owned by the Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed. Keegan quickly appointed Coleman as club captain and he led Fulham to the Second Division title in 1998-1999.

When Keegan left to take the England post in March 1999, he would be succeeded by Jean Tigana and he kept Coleman as skipper. However in January 2001, his professional career as a player effectively ended in a serious car accident in Surrey just days before an FA Cup third round tie with Manchester United. Coleman broke his leg in the accident and although he did play one reserve match in 2002, it was clear to Chris that he wouldn’t recover sufficiently to continue his playing career. In October 2002, he announced his retirement and took a place on the club’s coaching staff.

Flying at Fulham

In April 2003, Tigana left Fulham after contract negotiations broke down. Coleman was given the opportunity to take caretaker charge of the first-team for the final five matches of the season. At the time, the Cottagers still had an outside chance of being dragged into the relegation dogfight.

In his tenure, Fulham won three games and only lost once away to Leeds United. Finishing clear of danger in 14th place, he became the youngest permanent manager in the Premier League when he was given the job permanently by Al-Fayed.

Many pundits tipped them to struggle but Fulham were flying in his first full season at the helm, finishing in a creditable ninth place in the Premier League table. The west Londoners won 3-1 away at Manchester United and the goals of Louis Saha had them shooting towards potential European football before he joined the Red Devils in the 2004 January transfer window.

Andy Cole, Claus Jensen and Tomasz Radzinski were among the new arrivals in the summer of 2004 but Fulham couldn’t build on the success achieved by Chris in his first season. They finished 13th in 2004-2005, despite thrashing Norwich City 6-0 on the final day of the season.

Under his tenure, Fulham became a tough customer to play on home soil. Liverpool FC, Chelsea and Arsenal all tasted defeat during his managerial spell with the club but away from home; they became far too easy to play against. They achieved just one away victory in both the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 campaigns. Before the end of the 2007 season, he was gone.

A seven-game winless run saw the club hover only four points above the relegation zone in April and beaten 3-1 at home on Easter Monday by Manchester City. The decision was taken to relieve Coleman of his duties and he was replaced by Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez.

A club statement read: “Chris has provided a fantastic service during his 10 years at the club, but as a team and organisation Fulham Football Club has goals to attain and success to achieve – and by no means can this be compromised.”

From the wilderness to Wales

For five years after his departure from Fulham, Coleman’s management career threatened to end up in the wilderness. He went abroad first to Spain to manage Real Sociedad in July 2007 but only stayed in the post for six months, resigning after disagreements with the club’s president over the vision and direction they were heading in. At the time, Sociedad were playing in the second-tier of Spanish football.

He then returned to England, replacing Iain Dowie as boss of Coventry City in February 2008. He only managed to win 34 of his 117 matches as manager of the Sky Blues and was sacked at the end of the 2009-2010 season after a disappointing 19th place finish in the Championship. In May 2011, it was back on his travels to AEL in Greece in a stint that lasted a meagre 12 games. His career in the management game looked to be in danger of slipping away until the national job with his country came up in the most tragic of circumstances.

In November 2011, the British football world was stunned by the sudden death of Wales’s first-team manager Gary Speed at the age of just 42. The Welsh team were experiencing an upturn in their fortunes and eventually, Coleman, who had won 32 caps for his country in his playing days, agreed to take the position two months after Speed’s untimely death.

His first game was an international friendly defeat in New Jersey to Mexico in May 2011. Things didn’t start well and he became the first Welsh manager to lose his first five matches with the nadir being a 6-1 away defeat in Serbia. This meant qualification for the 2014 World Cup finals was never likely but a 2-1 victory over Scotland in October 2012 was the galvanising effect required for his management.

Reaching eighth in the FIFA World Rankings three years later, Wales qualified for the 2016 European Championships – their first major tournament appearance since the 1958 World Cup finals. Led by Ashley Williams with heroic performances from the likes of Joe Allen, Sam Vokes, Aaron Ramsey and of course, Gareth Bale – Wales went further than anyone could have expected. They topped their group ahead of England before beating Northern Ireland and Belgium in the knockout rounds. A 2-0 defeat to eventual champions Portugal in the semi-finals was no disgrace. It had been a tournament to remember for Welsh football and put Coleman back on the radar of many clubs following his management here.

He stayed in the Wales post with the aim of getting them to their first World Cup finals in 50 years. Sadly, it didn’t work out. Serbia dominated their qualifying group and a shattering 1-0 home defeat in their final group game to Republic of Ireland meant they even missed out on a play-off spot. Coleman resigned a month later.

He took over at struggling Championship club Sunderland in November 2017 but couldn’t halt the Black Cats’ slide into League One. He was relieved of his duties just before the 2017-2018 season concluded due to a board takeover.

Coleman wasn’t out of the game for long. In June 2018, he moved to China, succeeding West Ham-bound Manuel Pellegrini as the manager of Hebei China Fortune. They finished sixth in the 2018 Chinese Super League and have Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano among their squad. However, after just five points from nine matches in the new season and an early exit from the Chinese FA Cup by Chongqing Lifan, Coleman left the club in May 2019.

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Premier League Files: Claus Jensen

Premier League Career: Charlton Athletic (2000-2004), Fulham (2004-2007)

Claus Jensen spent over a decade playing in England and had seven seasons playing in the Premier League solely in the capital. The midfielder, who had a strong eye for goal played for four seasons at Charlton Athletic, playing a big role in their best-ever Premier League finish of seventh in 2003-2004. He also spent three years playing for Fulham.

On the international stage, Jensen won 47 caps for Denmark, scoring eight goals. He played for the Danes at the 2002 World Cup finals and the European Championships in 2004, reaching the quarter-finals in the latter.

Jensen made his breakthrough in Denmark, playing for Næstved BK in November 1995. Næstved BK were relegated at the end of his first season in senior football but he earned himself a move to Lyngby in the summer of 1996, joining Dennis Rommedahl at the club. Rommedahl would play alongside Jensen for Denmark too and would ironically turn out to be his replacement at Charlton in 2004.

After 14 league goals in 62 appearances, Jensen left the Danish club game behind in July 1998, joining Bolton Wanderers who were attempting to rebuild after their Premier League relegation a few months earlier. Bolton paid £1.8 million for his services and Jensen became an immediate regular in their midfield, only missing six league games across two seasons. In that time, Bolton made the play-off final but lost to Watford and therefore, missed out on an immediate return to the top-flight. Claus also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup before the Trotters lost on penalties to Aston Villa.

In July 2000, he moved down south to Charlton Athletic for £4 million. Charlton were looking for a bit of playmaking quality on their return to the top-flight and he became a very popular figure, featuring in every single game in 2000-2001, scoring five goals as Charlton finished in a very impressive ninth position in the table. His best season at Charlton and in the Premier League was in 2002-2003. Jensen scored six times in 35 appearances, including a couple of impressive goals against Manchester United although both goals came in losing causes against the Red Devils.

One of his last main acts for Charlton was being involved in the most dramatic finish to any Premier League game in the 2003-2004 season. Charlton were at home to Blackburn Rovers and had let a two-goal lead slip which had seen Rovers goalkeeper Brad Friedel scoring the equaliser! Seconds later, Friedel had conceded a late winner thanks to one of Jensen’s trademark long-range specials.

It was slightly surprising to see Charlton sell him to London rivals Fulham for just £1.25 million in July 2004. Claus spent three years in west London but was unable to replicate his form from his Charlton days. Across three seasons, he made just 35 appearances, scoring four goals. When Lawrie Sanchez replaced Chris Coleman as Cottagers manager in April 2007, his long-ball tactical approach didn’t suit Jensen’s game so it wasn’t much of a shock to see Jensen not included in Sanchez’s Fulham plans going forwards. He was released days after the 2006-2007 season concluded and in August 2007, elected to retire from the game due to the niggling injury problems he had suffered with throughout his time at Craven Cottage.

He returned to Denmark after retiring and is now a match analyst and commentator for Danish TV on their Premier League coverage.

Premier League Files: Steed Malbranque

Premier League Career: Fulham (2001-2006), Tottenham Hotspur (2006-2008), Sunderland (2008-2011)

Steed Malbranque might have started his professional career with Lyon and would finish his footballing playing days in France but he spent the bulk of his time in English football. He became a firm favourite with fans of the clubs he represented in the Premier League; Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland. He also was liked by a certain British Prime Minister too.

Malbranque made his professional debut in 1998 with Lyon and would play 96 times in all competitions in his first spell with the club. This included 19 appearances in European competition, scoring twice in the UEFA Champions League. It was clear that there was talent in Malbranque’s game and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger sent scouts to look at him. However, no move to the Gunners materialised.

In the summer of 2001, he did move to the Premier League and also to London but it was to top-flight newcomers, Fulham for a fee in the region of £4.5 million. He made his debut in the exciting 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford against reigning champions Manchester United and went on to score eight goals in his debut Premier League campaign.

Fulham fans loved Malbranque and he would score 44 goals in all competitions for the Cottagers during an impressive five-year spell with the club. One of his finest displays came in October 2003, when Fulham pulled off a brilliant result to defeat Manchester United 3-1. This was among a string of productive performances that saw him called into the full French international squad by Jacques Santini in March 2004 for a friendly against the Netherlands. However, he remained an unused substitute during the goalless encounter and he would never win a full international cap for Les Bleus.

In November 2005, British Prime Minister Tony Blair came onto the BBC’s lunchtime magazine show, Football Focus and was asked to name his favourite Premier League players. He picked Teddy Sheringham, Arjan de Zeeuw and Malbranque. Possibly boosted by having such a high-profile fan, Malbranque would score both goals later that afternoon in a 2-1 victory for Fulham over Manchester City. This would be his last season in west London. Despite having extensive talks over a new contract, these discussions broke down and with just one year left on his current deal, Fulham elected to cash in on his services.

There was plenty of interest in the summer of 2006 for Malbranque. The likes of Everton, Reading and Middlesbrough all made bids for him but he elected to stay in London and join Tottenham Hotspur on transfer deadline day for around £2 million. A groin operation delayed his debut for the Lilywhites until November 2006 and he would score 12 times in his 18 months with Tottenham in all competitions. Part of the last Tottenham squad to win silverware (the 2008 League Cup), Malbranque’s work ethic was also widely praised by Spurs supporters. In 2007-2008, he ended up in the top five for tackles made and tackles per minute across the whole Premier League.

In July 2008, he surprisingly followed Pascal Chimbonda and Teemu Tainio to Sunderland, signing a four-year contract. He struggled to replicate his Fulham and Tottenham form during his days on Wearside, although he did play in a different position as a winger. He then dropped into a deeper role in the 2010-2011 season to accommodate Danny Welbeck into the team. Welbeck was on a season-long loan from Manchester United. He featured prominently that campaign and his work ethic was again clear to see. He made his 100th appearance for the club in February 2011 against Chelsea but manager Steve Bruce decided to make him surplus to requirements at the end of the campaign. It was decided that removing him from the wage bill would help fund new summer signings too for the Black Cats.

Malbranque joined Saint-Etienne but made just one appearance for them before asking for his contract to be terminated. After a year away from the game, he returned to Lyon for four seasons before winding down his playing days with SM Caen and Monts d’Or Azergues who play in the Championnat National 2.

A tireless worker, Steed Malbranque won’t feature on the list of greatest French players to have played in the Premier League but he is fondly remembered by the clubs he played for and his best spell on these shores was definitely at Fulham, where he had a canny knack of scoring crucial goals.

Premier League Files: Steve Finnan

Premier League Career: Fulham (2001-2003), Liverpool FC (2003-2008), Portsmouth (2009-2010)

Republic of Ireland right-back Steve Finnan has a unique feat of being the only player to have played in the World Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Intertoto Cup, all four levels of English league football and the Conference. Known predominately for his tremendous ability to cross the ball and flying forward to help out attacking situations, Finnan was a quality defender and a fans favourite at both Fulham and Liverpool FC. He was often one of the unsung heroes, especially during Rafa Benitez’s tenure at Anfield.

Finnan began his career in the youth system at Wimbledon but was released by the club at the age of 16 and had to work his way up from non-league level with Welling United. It was Birmingham City who helped him turn professional in 1995, paying Welling United a fee of £100,000 to sign him. Steve would move on to Notts County in March 1996, initially on-loan where he helped them reach the Second Division play-off final, losing to Bradford City. His impressive loan period with them was enough for the club to offer Birmingham £300,000 for his services in October 1996.

After a relegation to Division Three and an instant promotion at County, future England boss Kevin Keegan took Finnan to Craven Cottage in November 1998 for £600,000. Fulham’s promotion to Division One meant he enjoyed back-to-back promotions and in 2001, this became three promotions in four years when he appeared in 45 of the 46 league matches under Jean Tigana’s stewardship.

In his debut Premier League season, Finnan impressed both Fulham supporters and his peers who voted him into the PFA Team of the Year for 2001-2002. He was also the club’s choice as Player of the Year. Victory in the UEFA Intertoto Cup that summer meant he got his first experience of European club football in 2002-2003 as Fulham played in the early rounds of the UEFA Cup. By the summer of 2003, many of England’s top clubs were scouting and showing interest in Steve’s services.

Fulham sold him to Liverpool FC for £3.5 million but it was a rocky start. His first campaign on Merseyside was disrupted by injury and when Benitez arrived to succeed Gerard Houllier as manager, Finnan’s time at Anfield looked like it would be brief. It wasn’t helped when Rafa’s first signing was a right-back in the shape of Josemi. Hard work, determination and proving a point helped him win over any doubts the manager might have had.

In September 2004, he would score his one and only goal for the club against West Bromwich Albion, meaning he shares a record with Jimmy Willis of scoring in each of the five highest divisions of English football. He saw off the threat of Josemi and established himself as Liverpool’s first-choice right-back for the next three-and-a-half years. In January 2006 after producing another fine cross for Harry Kewell to smash home a winner against Tottenham Hotspur, Benitez admitted: “Finnan is a player who will always play at a consistent level. He will be seven, eight, nine or even ten out of ten every week. This is really important for the team. Some players find a good level for individual games, but don’t do the same every week. Finnan does it for a whole season.”

The 2004-2005 season ended with Liverpool FC’s unbelievable comeback in the UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan. They trailed 3-0 at half-time but scored three goals in six second half minutes and the heroics of Jerzy Dudek in-goal saw the Reds triumph in the penalty shootout. For Finnan, it was bittersweet. A thigh injury forced him to be substituted at half-time.

He was an ever-present in Liverpool’s 2005-2006 Premier League campaign as the Reds finished third with their highest points tally at the time for a Premier League season of 82. He claimed more medals with the UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup both heading back to the club by the end of the season. With Josemi gone, Jan Kromkamp arrived for competition but he was another player who failed to usurp Finnan from the right-back role.

It looked like Alvaro Arbeloa would head in the same direction when he arrived midway through the 2006-2007 campaign. It was Finnan who got the vote to play again in another UEFA Champions League final. This time, he lasted 88 minutes before being subbed, this time in a 2-1 defeat to AC Milan in Athens. That summer, he agreed a two-year contract extension to stay on Merseyside.

He featured 35 times in 2007-2008 and took his total appearances for the club past the 200 mark. However, a few niggling injuries saw Arbeloa get his chance and when the Reds went on a winning run with him in the side, Steve couldn’t force his way back into the team when he recovered from injury. When another full-back arrived in the summer of 2008 in the form of Philipp Degen, Finnan knew his time at Liverpool was coming to an end. It looked like he would join Aston Villa as part of a deal that would see Gareth Barry go to Liverpool. However, the clubs couldn’t agree a fee on Barry’s transfer which meant his proposed switch to Villa Park collapsed. Instead, he moved to La Liga to join Espanyol on transfer deadline day in September 2008.

His time in Spain was a wretched experience. He made just four league appearances before his contract was mutually terminated after a succession of injuries. This also saw a potential move to Hull City collapse. In July 2009, Finnan returned to English football, signing a one-year contract with Portsmouth who were in severe financial peril. He made 21 Premier League appearances for Pompey who went into administration during the campaign, guaranteeing relegation at the end of the season. After playing in the FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea, Finnan was released and never played professional football again.

He won 53 caps for The Republic of Ireland between 2000 and 2008, playing a prominent role in Mick McCarthy’s squad at the 2002 World Cup finals, scoring his penalty in the shootout defeat to Spain in the round-of-16. Since retirement, Steve worked in The Gambia, providing irrigation for impoverished children before moving into property development back in the UK.

Seasonal Stories: Fulham (2003-2004)

Breaking into the top ten

Fulham’s third full Premier League campaign saw the Cottagers break into the top half of the table for the first time. Under the guidance of Chris Coleman, who was enjoying his first full season in management, the west Londoners picked up some impressive results early in the season, including a marvellous 3-1 away victory at Old Trafford in October.

Their form levelled out when top scorer and star player Louis Saha was sold to Manchester United in the January transfer window. Nevertheless, it was an impressive season for all connected with Fulham as they prepared to return to Craven Cottage for the following campaign after continuing to groundshare at Loftus Road with Queens Park Rangers.

Squad: Edwin van der Sar, Mark Crossley, Moritz Volz, Zat Knight, Martin Djetou, Alain Goma, Jerome Bonnissel, Carlos Bocanegra, Ian Pearce, Adam Green, Jon Harley, Dean Leacock, Zesh Rehman, Andy Melville (Left in January 2004), Sylvain Legwinski, Sean Davis, Lee Clark, Steed Malbranque, Junichi Inamoto, Mark Pembridge, Bobby Petta, Malik Buari, Darren Pratley, Luis Boa Morte, Brian McBride, Collins John, Barry Hayles, Facundo Sava, Louis Saha (Left in January 2004), Steve Marlet (Left in August 2004)

Saha makes an impact

With Craven Cottage still being redeveloped, Fulham continued to groundshare at Loftus Road with Queens Park Rangers and had a new permanent manager to start the 2003-2004 season. After impressing in his five-game reign at the end of the previous campaign, former club captain Chris Coleman was given the chance to prove his credentials as a manager on a full-time basis.

It was a quiet summer for the club in the transfer market. The only notable arrival was Mark Crossley for £500,000 from Middlesbrough. Crossley would fill the gap as a deputy to Edwin van der Sar. It was a couple of defenders though who would make more of a mark on Coleman’s first-team plans. Frenchman Jerome Bonnissel arrived on a free transfer from Rangers and Moritz Volz joined on an initial four-month loan deal from Arsenal also this would later turn into a season-long loan arrangement with the Gunners.

Among those leaving was Maik Taylor on a season-long loan switch to Birmingham City and Republic of Ireland international Steve Finnan, who switched to Liverpool FC for around £3.5 million. Steve Marlet started the season and scored in the opening day 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough. However, he wouldn’t see August out and moved to Marseille on-loan after a largely disappointing two-season spell on these shores.

After that opening victory, Fulham got a rude awakening in their first away fixture of the season, trailing 3-0 at half-time to Everton before eventually losing 3-1. However, they enjoyed their short trip across the capital to White Hart Lane a week later. Barry Hayles scored twice and Luis Boa Morte also found the target in a 3-0 success at Tottenham Hotspur which piled the pressure on beleaguered Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle.

Louis Saha scored in the opening day victory over Middlesbrough and in September, he started to make a real impact on Fulham’s campaign. It started with a 2-2 draw away at Birmingham infront of the Sky Sports cameras with the Frenchman scoring twice. One of those goals came in the very first minute. Saha scored four goals in the month and Fulham ended September with just one defeat from their opening six games. Better was to follow with an October visit to Old Trafford.

Van der Star at Highbury

Fulham travelled to Manchester United in high spirits but their supporters went there more in hope of gaining a positive result. The team put in their best performance of the entire campaign. Skipper Lee Clark gave the Cottagers the dream start with a goal inside three minutes. Diego Forlan did equalise on the stroke of half-time but Fulham bounced back brilliantly from this setback. Marvellous goals in the second half from Steed Malbranque and Junichi Inamoto helped them record a stunning 3-1 victory. This was a real statement victory for Coleman who seemed to be finding management an enjoyable and easy task.

November began with back-to-back defeats to Liverpool FC and Charlton Athletic before Saha rediscovered his goalscoring touch after a four-game drought with two quick-fire first half goals to sink Portsmouth 2-0.

The month ended with a trip to Highbury to face unbeaten Arsenal who were on their own crest of a wave following a 5-1 midweek rout of Inter Milan at The San Siro in the UEFA Champions League. Fulham’s goal took a beating but Edwin van der Sar put in a simply heroic display. He made seven first half saves and despite 27 shots on-goal, Arsenal couldn’t find a way through. Fulham earned a 0-0 draw and ended the month in the UEFA Champions League qualifying positions. It was some achievement for a team that looked like being a relegation struggler in pre-season.

However, fresh investment was coming for the team in the January transfer window.

TABLE ON 30th November 2003

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 14 11 2 1 28 9 +19 35
2 Arsenal 14 10 4 0 28 10 +18 34
3 Manchester United 14 10 1 3 25 9 +16 31
4 FULHAM 14 6 4 4 24 18 +6 22
5 Charlton Athletic 14 6 4 4 20 17 +3 22
6 Liverpool FC 14 6 3 5 21 15 +6 21

Louis departs for Manchester United

December was a mixed month for the club with two wins and three defeats. Chelsea came to Loftus Road and left with all three points thanks to Hernan Crespo’s second half header and there was also a bad performance and result at Villa Park, going down 3-0 to an ever-improving Aston Villa side.

Saha was still banging in the goals though. Two more arrived in a 2-0 win on Boxing Day over Southampton and he now had 13 Premier League goals for the campaign. It became clear in January 2004 that Fulham were going to struggle to be able to persuade Saha to stay at the club.

Manchester United were on the search for a new striker with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer out long-term with injury and Ruud van Nistelrooy not quite displaying his devastating form he’d shown in his first two Old Trafford campaigns.

They got their man towards the end of January in a £12.8 million transfer although the way Saha left the club left a bitter taste in the mouths of some Fulham supporters. Coleman immediately started to reinvest the squad with the funds from the transfer. Brian McBride arrived from the MLS having previously auditioned in the Premier League in a loan spell with Everton in the previous campaign. Collins John also arrived on an undisclosed fee from Dutch side FC Twente whilst Volz’s loan switch from Arsenal became a permanent move having impressed greatly in the right-back role.

Regrouping for the future

Saha’s departure ultimately had a damaging effect on Fulham’s chances of a shot at European contention. The likes of Liverpool FC and Newcastle United, who had underachieved for much of the campaign, started to take command of the Champions League qualification battle and their main challengers turned out to be from the Midlands in Aston Villa and Birmingham City rather than from London in Fulham and Charlton Athletic.

Saha scored on his first return to Fulham just a month after his departure but he couldn’t help Manchester United to victory as they were held to a 1-1 draw. There was also an excellent point gained at Anfield where Van der Sar saved a penalty from Steven Gerrard in the second half.

The Dutchman had his best campaign but he was still prone to the odd costly error. In Fulham’s last home match of the season against Arsenal, he stupidly attempted to dribble around Jose Antonio Reyes, who simply stole possession from him and put the ball into an empty net to give Arsenal a 1-0 victory in their penultimate match of ‘The Invincibles’ campaign.

Fulham finished their best-ever Premier League campaign to this point with a 2-0 win on the final day away at Bolton Wanderers with McBride endearing himself to his new supporters with a brace. A 9th place finish was fair reward for an exciting campaign and just five points behind Newcastle United in fifth was a good basis for seasons to come under Coleman’s shrewd and calm management.

FINAL 2003-2004 TABLE – 6th to 11th  

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
6 Aston Villa 38 15 11 12 48 44 +4 56
7 Charlton Athletic 38 14 11 13 51 51 0 53
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 14 11 13 48 56 -8 53
9 FULHAM 38 14 10 14 52 46 +6 52
10 Birmingham City 38 12 14 12 43 48 -5 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 9 16 44 52 -8 48

The Managers: Roy Hodgson

Premier League Clubs Managed: Blackburn Rovers (1997-1998), Fulham (2008-2010), Liverpool FC (2010-2011), West Bromwich Albion (2011-2012), Crystal Palace (2017-PRESENT)

Few in the management game have a CV that is as globalised as Roy Hodgson. He has managed 16 different teams in eight countries in a management career that has spanned over 40 years. It began in Sweden with Halmstads BK in 1976 and continues today as manager of Crystal Palace. Hodgson has also managed the Switzerland, Finland and England international teams, as well as the likes of Malmö FF, Inter Milan, Fulham, Udinese and Liverpool FC.

The Swedish connection

Roy Hodgson’s playing career wasn’t one filled with much success. He was in the youth setup at Crystal Palace but never quite broke through into the first-team. He spent time in the non-league with the likes of Tonbridge, Maidstone United and Gravesend & Northfleet. However, he was already into coaching and he started his managerial career in Sweden with Halmstads BK in the top-flight. His success there is considered as one of the biggest surprises in the history of Swedish football. When he took over, Halmstads were a team fighting against relegation on a regular basis but in his five seasons with them, he guided them to league championships in 1976 and 1979.

After an unhappy time in England with Bristol City which included a brief four-month spell as caretaker manager, he returned to Sweden in 1982, managing lower-league sides Oddevold and Örebro. In 1985, he took over at one of the biggest teams in the country and enjoyed his best win ratio rate of his career at Malmö. He led the team to five consecutive league championships and two Swedish Cups.

On the continental stage, the club’s biggest achievement was knocking out Italian champions Inter Milan in the first round of the 1989-1990 European Cup season, helped by drawing 1-1 at The San Siro. Malmö crashed out in the next round to Mechelen of Belgium. Due to his successful time with the club, he is still greatly appreciated by the supporters who have unofficially named a section of the stadium “Roy’s Hörna.”

Swiss factor

In July 1990, Roy moved to another country to manage, starting a five-year association with Switzerland. First up was unheralded club side Neuchatel Xamax, guiding them to third and fifth place finishes in his two seasons managing in the top-flight. In January 1992, Hodgson took over as manager of the national team, replacing Uli Stielike, who replaced Hodgson in the vacancy created by his departure from Neuchatel Xamax.

Switzerland had been absent from major international competition for nearly 30 years but under him, they qualified for the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States, coming ahead of Portugal and Scotland in a tricky qualification section. He also took the Swiss to their highest-ever position in the FIFA World Rankings of third.

With no home nation involvement, Roy was one of the few Englishman at the 1994 World Cup and his team were drawn into Group A, together with the hosts, Romania and highly-fancied Colombia. The opening match against the United States was the first World Cup game to be played indoors at The Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan. They drew that game 1-1 and finished runners-up in the group after an impressive 4-1 victory over Romania. Elimination followed in the round-of-16, losing 3-0 to Spain.

Under Hodgson’s tenure, they easily qualified for the 1996 European Championships, losing just once in 10 qualifying matches. However, Hodgson left after qualification was assured as he had already accepted a position as manager of Italian giants, Inter Milan. At Inter, he guided them away from relegation danger on his arrival to seventh place in 1995-1996 and third in 1996-1997. He managed the likes of Youri Djorkaeff, Paul Ince and Javier Zanetti on a run to the UEFA Cup final, where they played FC Schalke 04 in the final. It was the last year where the final was played over two legs and after two 1-0 home victories, the final went to penalties. Schalke triumphed and Inter fans were furious, pelting Hodgson with coins and lighters afterwards. It was his last match in-charge of the Italians and he returned to England for his first crack in the Premier League.

Blackburn downfall

Blackburn Rovers had won the Premier League title in 1995 but had slipped to 13th just two seasons later and Jack Walker had persuaded Hodgson to come to England and attempt to steer the Lancastrians back in the right direction. Things started well. Blackburn were second on Christmas Day 1997 and he won two Manager of the Month Awards in the process. In Chris Sutton, he had a player who knew where the back of the net was and his 18 goals meant he shared the Golden Boot with Dion Dublin and Michael Owen. Blackburn eventually finished in sixth place and qualified for the UEFA Cup.

His second season was unsuccessful. Numerous injuries, talk of unrest in the dressing room and the failure to find a suitable replacement for Scottish defender Colin Hendry, who had joined Rangers in the summer combined to a season of struggle. After a 2-0 home defeat to Southampton in November 1998, Blackburn dropped to the foot of the table. Moments after the game, Walker sacked Hodgson after Roy had refused the opportunity to resign. He later admitted: “To Blackburn’s honour, Jack Walker wanted me to resign; he wanted to still pay for the rest of my contract. I refused to do that, arrogant of course as I was in those days. I thought if they stuck with me I’d save them from relegation. I gave him no choice but to sack me.”

After Blackburn, he returned to Inter Milan as technical director before returning to Switzerland to coach Grasshoppers Zurich for a season. In October 2000, Kevin Keegan resigned as England manager and Hodgson was shortlisted for the job. However, he was ruled out of the running when he agreed to take over in Denmark at FC Copenhagen. In his one season with them, he guided them to their first Danish championship since 1993 and they won the Danish Supercup too. He left them in the summer of 2001 to take up a post with Udinese which lasted less than six months with the club only ninth in the table. He has admitted it was a mistake to leave Copenhagen for Udinese.

After spells managing the United Arab Emirates international team and Viking FK in Norway, he became the national coach of Finland in January 2006. Finland had never qualified for a major tournament and narrowly failed to qualify for EURO 2008, finishing fourth in their group with 24 points and only missing out on automatic qualification by just three points.

Then, it was back to English football in a slightly surprise appointment in west London.

Saving Fulham

In late December 2007, Hodgson accepted the post of manager of Fulham who were sitting 18th in the Premier League table and had mustered just two wins in the entire campaign. His first game in-charge ended in defeat to Chelsea and he immediately looked at strengthening the squad, with Brede Hangeland being one of his key signings. The pair had worked together at Viking FK. Initially, results did not improve. Fulham were dismissed out of the FA Cup on penalties by League One outfit Bristol Rovers and in his first 13 league matches, the Cottagers amassed a meagre nine points.

At half-time against Manchester City in April 2008, Fulham were 2-0 down and seemingly destined for relegation to the Championship but some galvanising words at half-time saw a stirring second half fightback. A late goal from Diomansy Kamara helped Fulham to a 3-2 victory and spearheaded a dramatic recovery. Wins over Birmingham City and Portsmouth in the final two games saw Hodgson’s side achieve unlikely survival at the expense of Reading and Birmingham.

In the summer of 2008, the experienced Mark Schwarzer arrived on a free transfer from Middlesbrough and Hodgson also completed a permanent move for Danny Murphy, signed teenage defender Chris Smalling and strikers Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson. He guided Fulham to a fantastic seventh place in the table which remains the club’s highest-ever finish in the top-flight and ensuring qualification for the new UEFA Europa League.

In 2009-2010, Fulham’s Premier League form was inconsistent throughout the campaign but Roy still enjoyed notable victories over Liverpool FC, Everton and Manchester United, collected two Manager of the Month Awards and a solid 12th place finish, just four points behind Birmingham City in ninth. The main attention of Fulham’s campaign was saved for their historic run in the UEFA Europa League. The Cottagers eliminated holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian superpowers Juventus, German champions VfL Wolfsburg and former European Cup winners Hamburger SV in the knockout rounds. The win over Hamburg took Fulham to a major European final for the first time in their 130-year history. They would visit Hamburg’s ground for the showpiece event against Atletico Madrid. The final went to extra time at 1-1 before Diego Forlan scored the winning goal for the Spaniards. It had been an epic run which ended in cruel disappointment.

After winning the LMA Manager of the Year by a record margin, Hodgson left Fulham in the summer of 2010 to take over the vacancy at Liverpool FC following the departure of Rafa Benitez.

Anfield villain turns Baggies hero

When Hodgson turned up at Anfield, it came against the backdrop of an unstable period. The club’s owners had put the Merseysiders up for sale and the takeover went through in mid-October during his reign. Also, news broke that club legend Kenny Dalglish had applied for the vacancy and been turned down. As soon as the faithful found this out, Hodgson was never going to win the supporters over.

Poor results didn’t help matters. Liverpool were knocked out of the League Cup on penalties at Anfield by League Two strugglers Northampton Town and a 2-1 home defeat by Blackpool in early October saw the club drop into the bottom three of the top-flight for the first time since September 1964. He admitted afterwards that Liverpool were potentially facing a relegation battle.

There was a 2-0 victory over league champions Chelsea and progress into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League but more alarming displays and defeats to Stoke City, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers left him on borrowed time. After a 3-1 reverse at former club Blackburn in early January, his ill-fated spell was brought to an end by John W. Henry. He won just seven out of his 20 Premier League matches and left with the club in 12th and just four points above the drop zone.

A month later, he was appointed as West Bromwich Albion boss, replacing Roberto Di Matteo. West Brom had the worst defensive record in the league, lost 13 of their previous 18 outings and were only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. He immediately tightened up the backline and five wins and five draws took the Baggies clear of any danger, finishing in a creditable 11th position.

He went one position better in 2011-2012 with some impressive away performances which included a 1-0 victory at Anfield and a 5-1 thrashing of Black Country rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers. Now, his national side was calling him. England needed a manager ahead of EURO 2012 and Roy answered the emergency call.

The England experience

After Fabio Capello had resigned as England manager in February 2012, it was widely anticipated that Harry Redknapp would take the job but FA chairman David Bernstein insisted only Hodgson had been approached for the position. He agreed a four-year contract.

England were just a month away from competing at the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, so expectations were low going into the tournament. However, they won their group with two wins from three matches before bowing out to Italy via a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.

The Three Lions then produced an unbeaten qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup finals and Hodgson was praised for giving several youngsters and newcomers a chance in the international setup. The likes of Andros Townsend, Adam Lallana, Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Rodriguez all won their maiden caps during his tenure in the international post. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was a major disappointment. Defeats to Italy and Uruguay saw England eliminated before the first week of the competition was complete. A dire goalless draw with Costa Rica ensured England finished bottom of Group D. Whilst the group was one of the toughest, a total of one point was not good enough for all concerned within the England setup.

Worse was to come at the 2016 European Championships. England went into the tournament considered as one of the favourites to go into the latter stages, especially after a stirring friendly victory in Berlin over Germany a few months before the competition got underway in France. However, it never seemed like he knew his best line-up, his best tactical system and he stayed far too loyal to underperforming players. Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling were among those to have a terrible individual tournament. Having been beaten to top spot in the group by Wales, England put in a diabolical performance in the round-of-16 match against Iceland. England led but lost the lead through poor tactics at a throw-in and a goalkeeping error. Iceland won the game 2-1 to provide Hodgson with his biggest humiliation in his career. He promptly resigned shortly after the full-time whistle.

Revival at Palace

After a year on the sidelines to reflect on the Iceland defeat, Hodgson came back from what appeared to be the managerial scrapheap to take charge of his boyhood club, Crystal Palace. Palace were in big trouble, having lost their first four matches without scoring a goal and had sacked Frank de Boer. Although he lost his first three matches by a margin of 10-0, a surprising 2-1 victory over league champions Chelsea in October 2017 started a revival in form.

No team had previously survived relegation from the top-flight after losing their first seven games but a revitalised Palace achieved this feat fairly comfortably. Leicester City were beaten 5-0 for the club’s biggest-ever Premier League victory and they eventually finished 11th, just one place below their best Premier League finish of 10th, achieved during Alan Pardew’s tenure in 2014-2015.

It looks like the Eagles will be involved again in a relegation battle in 2018-2019 but recent home victories over Burnley and Leicester City suggest the club are finding their best form at Selhurst Park again and with Hodgson’s experience in the game, they will always feel confident of achieving the minimum target every season which is survival and plenty more top-flight football to come in south-east London.

Premier League Rewind: 15th-17th March 2008

Results: Arsenal 1-1 Middlesbrough, Derby County 0-1 Manchester United, Liverpool FC 2-1 Reading, Portsmouth 2-0 Aston Villa, Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea, West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers, Fulham 1-0 Everton, Wigan Athletic 1-0 Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Birmingham City 1-1 Newcastle United

With eight games left in the 2007-2008 Premier League season, there were still fine margins between three of the all-time Premier League heavyweights. Arsenal went into the weekend still on top of the table but Arsene Wenger’s exciting side were beginning to falter. They had drawn three successive matches and had reigning champions Manchester United right in their slipstream.

The Gunners seemed to be struggling with the psychological trauma they’d gone through a month earlier at St Andrew’s when Croatian striker Eduardo suffered a horrific leg fracture against Birmingham City. Questions were being asked above their resolve and mentality. Those interrogations would get bigger after Middlesbrough earned themselves a 1-1 draw at The Emirates. It could have been even better for the visitors, who were four minutes away from claiming a league double over the Gunners. Kolo Toure’s late equaliser rescued a fortunate point for the home side.

By the end of Saturday’s play, they had been usurped from top spot by Manchester United on goal difference. The Red Devils were nowhere near their best away at bottom-placed Derby County but left Pride Park with all three points. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory. Derby would be relegated just a fortnight later.

Chelsea had been through early season turbulence but the quietly-minded Avram Grant was keeping them on the coattails of the top two. The Blues extended their unbeaten run to 12 Premier League matches with a 1-0 victory at Sunderland. Captain John Terry scored the decisive goal for the Blues after just 10 minutes. Chelsea were now just three points off top spot.

Liverpool FC opened up a three-point cushion on Merseyside neighbours Everton in the battle for a Champions League place. After a poor January, Rafa Benitez’s side had been playing catch-up but made it six victories from seven outings with a narrow 2-1 home victory over struggling Reading. Liverpool did fall behind to a cracking effort from Marek Matejovsky inside five minutes. Javier Mascherano equalised with his first LFC goal before a Fernando Torres header sealed all three points for Benitez’s side.

Everton lost 1-0 at Fulham 24 hours later. Brian McBride’s goal saw the Cottagers enjoy just a second league victory for Roy Hodgson since he took over at Craven Cottage in January 2008. Despite the win, Fulham remained four points adrift of safety. Bolton Wanderers remained in the bottom three after a 1-0 loss to Wigan Athletic which made it five successive defeats for the Trotters. Having finished in the top 10 in each of the past four seasons, Bolton’s Premier League place now seemed to be in severe jeopardy.

Kevin Keegan was finding the going incredibly tough in his second spell as Newcastle United manager. He was still awaiting his first victory as Magpies manager after this weekend. They drew 1-1 in the Monday night encounter with Birmingham City and were just four points clear of the bottom three. With just eight points between Fulham in 19th place from Wigan Athletic in 12th spot, it was still too close to call at the wrong end of the table.

What else happened in March 2008?

  • Over 500 flights are cancelled after problems with the IT system at the opening of London Heathrow Terminal 5.
  • At the inquest of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the coroner confirmed The Duke of Edinburgh would not be called into court to give evidence over the deaths that Mohammed Al-Fayed was accusing him of ordering.
  • Former ITN newsreader Carol Barnes dies aged 63 after suffering a stroke in Brighton.
  • 39-year-old Michael Donovan from Yorkshire is arrested for the kidnap of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews.
  • A plane crashes into a row of houses in Farnborough, killing five people, including former British Touring Car team boss Richard Lloyd and runner-up driver David Leslie.
  • Alistair Darling unveils his first Budget since becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer under Gordon Brown’s premiership.
  • Ex-Hearsay singer Suzanne Shaw edges out Hollyoaks heartthrob Chris Fountain to win the third series of the ITV skating series, Dancing on Ice.

 

Great Goals: Anton Ferdinand – WEST HAM UNITED vs. Fulham (January 2006)

In January 2006, West Ham United were enjoying a decent first campaign back in the top-flight after two seasons in the Championship. They played Fulham in a London Derby and produced a corking opening goal from Anton Ferdinand.

From a set-piece, Antti Niemi fisted the ball away but not far enough from danger. Marlon Harewood managed to win an aerial duel with his marker and next to him was centre-back Ferdinand. Watching Harewood’s movement, he swivelled on the edge of the penalty area and produced a cracking volley which left Upton Park in complete awe. It was the kind of finish you would expect from a creative midfielder, not a tough-tackling central defender.

Anton’s brother, Rio Ferdinand had scored a stoppage-time winner for Manchester United against Liverpool FC 24 hours earlier. Rio’s goal might have been more crucial but Anton’s was definitely the better goal of the weekend.

Seasonal Records: 2013-2014

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2013-2014 Premier League campaign. The title remained in Manchester again but it was City’s turn to finish as kings of the top-flight, pipping a stern challenge from Liverpool FC on the final day of the season.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester City 38 27 5 6 102 37 +65 86
2 Liverpool FC 38 26 6 6 101 50 +51 84
3 Chelsea 38 25 7 6 71 27 +44 82
4 Arsenal 38 24 7 7 68 41 +27 79
5 Everton 38 21 9 8 61 39 +22 72
6 Tottenham Hotspur 38 21 6 11 55 51 +4 69
7 Manchester United 38 19 7 12 64 43 +21 64
8 Southampton 38 15 11 12 54 46 +8 56
9 Stoke City 38 13 11 14 45 52 -7 50
10 Newcastle United 38 15 4 19 43 59 -16 49
11 Crystal Palace 38 13 6 19 33 48 -15 45
12 Swansea City 38 11 9 18 54 54 0 42
13 West Ham United 38 11 7 20 40 51 -11 40
14 Sunderland 38 10 8 20 41 60 -19 38
15 Aston Villa 38 10 8 20 39 61 -22 38
16 Hull City 38 10 7 21 38 53 -15 37
17 West Bromwich Albion 38 7 15 16 43 59 -16 36
18 Norwich City 38 8 9 21 28 62 -34 33
19 Fulham 38 9 5 24 40 85 -45 32
20 Cardiff City 38 7 9 22 32 74 -42 30

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1052
European qualifiers Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Everton (UEFA Europa League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League)

Hull City (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 11 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest unbeaten run 16 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest winless run 9 games (Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion & Fulham)
Longest losing run 7 games (Crystal Palace)
Highest attendance 75,368 (Manchester United vs. Aston Villa)
Lowest attendance 19,242 (Swansea City vs. Stoke City)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC)
PFA Young Player of the Year Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Football Writers’ Award Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC)
PFA Team of the Year Petr Cech, Gary Cahill, Vincent Kompany, Seamus Coleman, Luke Shaw, Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure, Adam Lallana, Eden Hazard, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez
Manager of the Year Tony Pulis (Crystal Palace)
Premier League Goal of the Season Jack Wilshere (ARSENAL vs. Norwich City)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Luis Suarez Liverpool FC vs. West Bromwich Albion 4-1 26th October 2013
Luis Suarez (4) Liverpool FC vs. Norwich City 5-1 4th December 2013
Adam Johnson Fulham vs. Sunderland 1-4 11th January 2014
Samuel Eto’o Chelsea vs. Manchester United 3-1 19th January 2014
Eden Hazard Chelsea vs. Newcastle United 3-0 8th February 2014
Andre Schurrle Fulham vs. Chelsea 1-3 1st March 2014
Yaya Toure Manchester City vs. Fulham 5-0 22nd March 2014
Luis Suarez Cardiff City vs. Liverpool FC 3-6 22nd March 2014

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Luis Suarez Liverpool FC 31
2 Daniel Sturridge Liverpool FC 22
3 Yaya Toure Manchester City 20
4= Sergio Aguero Manchester City 17
4= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 17
4= Wilfried Bony Swansea City 17
7= Edin Dzeko Manchester City 16
7= Olivier Giroud Arsenal 16
9= Romelu Lukaku Everton 15
9= Jay Rodriguez Southampton 15
11= Eden Hazard Chelsea 14
11= Loic Remy Newcastle United 14
13= Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC 13
13= Rickie Lambert Southampton 13
15 Robin van Persie Arsenal 12
16 Emmanuel Adebayor Tottenham Hotspur 11
17= Aaron Ramsey Arsenal 10
17= Christian Benteke Aston Villa 10
19= Alvaro Negredo Manchester City 9
19= Raheem Sterling Liverpool FC 9
19= Samuel Eto’o Chelsea 9
19= Danny Welbeck Manchester United 9
19= Adam Lallana Southampton 9
24= Oscar Chelsea 8
24= Lukas Podolski Arsenal 8

 

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City 2nd November 2013
Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur 24th November 2013
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal 22nd March 2014
Hull City 6-0 Fulham 28th December 2013
Manchester City 5-0 Fulham 22nd March 2014
Tottenham Hotspur 0-5 Liverpool FC 15th December 2013
Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City 29th January 2014
Liverpool FC 5-1 Norwich City 4th December 2013
Liverpool FC 5-1 Arsenal 8th February 2014
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Sunderland 7th April 2014

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal 14th December 2013
9 Cardiff City 3-6 Arsenal 22nd March 2014
8 Stoke City 3-5 Liverpool FC 12th January 2014
7 Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City 2nd November 2013
7 Liverpool FC 4-3 Swansea City 23rd February 2014
7 Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea 4th December 2013
7 Aston Villa 4-3 West Bromwich Albion 29th January 2014
6 Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur 24th November 2013
6 Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal 22nd March 2014
6 Hull City 6-0 Fulham 28th December 2013
6 Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City 29th January 2014
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Norwich City 4th December 2013
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Arsenal 8th February 2014
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Sunderland 7th April 2014
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Stoke City 26th December 2013
6 Fulham 2-4 Manchester City 21st December 2013
6 Manchester City 4-2 Cardiff City 18th January 2014
6 Southampton 4-2 Norwich City 15th March 2014
6 Everton 3-3 Liverpool FC 23rd November 2013
6 Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool FC 5th May 2014

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Adam Armstrong Fulham 1-0 Newcastle United 17 years, 1 month, 5 days 15th March 2014
Patrick Roberts Manchester City 5-0 Fulham 17 years, 1 month, 17 days 22nd March 2014
Moussa Dembele West Ham United 3-0 Fulham 17 years, 4 months, 18 days 30th November 2013
Chuba Akpom Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal 17 years, 11 months, 5 days 14th September 2013
Tom James Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea 18 years, 26 days 11th May 2014
Luke Shaw West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Southampton 18 years, 1 month, 5 days 17th August 2013
Declan John West Ham United 2-0 Cardiff City 18 years, 1 month, 18 days 17th August 2013
Jordon Ibe Liverpool FC 5-1 Arsenal 18 years, 2 months 8th February 2014
Serge Gnabry Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City 18 years, 2 months, 8 days 22nd September 2013
Sam Gallagher Newcastle United 1-1 Southampton 18 years, 2 months, 29 days 14th December 2013

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Brad Friedel Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Newcastle United 42 years, 5 months, 23 days 10th November 2013
Mark Schwarzer Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea 41 years, 7 months, 5 days 11th May 2014
Ryan Giggs Manchester United 3-1 Hull City 40 years, 5 months, 7 days 6th May 2014
Kevin Phillips Crystal Palace 1-4 Fulham 40 years, 2 months, 26 days 21st October 2013
Steve Harper Aston Villa 3-1 Hull City 39 years, 1 month, 19 days 3rd May 2014
Jussi Jaaskelainen Fulham 2-1 West Ham United 38 years, 8 months, 13 days 1st January 2014
Thomas Sorensen West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Stoke City 37 years, 10 months, 29 days 11th May 2014
Kelvin Davis Southampton 0-3 Chelsea 37 years, 3 months, 3 days 1st January 2014
Georgios Karagounis Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham 37 years, 1 month, 13 days 19th April 2014
Sylvain Distin Hull City 0-2 Everton 36 years, 4 months, 25 days 11th May 2014

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1= Petr Cech Chelsea 16
1= Wojciech Szczesny Arsenal 16
3 Tim Howard Everton 15
4= Hugo Lloris Tottenham Hotspur 14
4= Artur Boruc Southampton 14
6 Joe Hart Manchester City 13
7= David de Gea Manchester United 12
7= Julian Speroni Crystal Palace 12
7= John Ruddy Norwich City 12
10 Vito Mannone Sunderland 11

The Clubs: Fulham

All-Time Premier League Record

(Upto start of the 2018-2019 season)
Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
494 150 136 208 570 697 -127 586 13

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Brede Hangeland 217
Aaron Hughes 196
Clint Dempsey 189
Steed Malbranque 172
Mark Schwarzer 172
Danny Murphy 169
Luis Boa Morte 166
Zat Knight 150
Brian McBride 140
Simon Davies 137

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Clint Dempsey 50
Steed Malbranque 32
Brian McBride 32
Luis Boa Morte 26
Louis Saha 26
Collins John 20
Bobby Zamora 20
Dimitar Berbatov 19
Danny Murphy 18
Damien Duff 15

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Fulham 6-0 Norwich City 15th May 2005 2004-2005
Fulham 6-0 Queens Park Rangers 2nd October 2011 2011-2012
Fulham 6-1 West Bromwich Albion 11th February 2006 2005-2006
Fulham 5-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4th March 2012 2011-2012
Fulham 5-0 Norwich City 18th August 2012 2012-2013
Fulham 5-2 Newcastle United 21st January 2012 2011-2012
Fulham 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 17th August 2002 2002-2003
Newcastle United 1-4 Fulham 7th November 2004 2004-2005
Crystal Palace 1-4 Fulham 21st October 2013 2013-2014
Fulham 3-0 Bolton Wanderers 23rd April 2002 2001-2002

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Hull City 6-0 Fulham 28th December 2013 2013-2014
Fulham 0-5 Manchester United 21st December 2011 2011-2012
Manchester City 5-0 Fulham 22nd March 2014 2013-2014
Liverpool FC 5-1 Fulham 15th March 2006 2005-2006
Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006 2006-2007
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Fulham 26th December 2007 2007-2008
Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Fulham 15th December 2001 2001-2002
Fulham 0-4 Blackburn Rovers 7th April 2003 2002-2003
Fulham 0-4 Arsenal 4th March 2006 2005-2006
Liverpool FC 4-0 Fulham 9th December 2006 2006-2007

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Jean Tigana 2 16th April 2003
Chris Coleman 5 10th April 2007
Lawrie Sanchez 2 21st December 2007
Roy Hodgson 3 30th June 2010
Mark Hughes 1 29th June 2011
Martin Jol 3 1st December 2013
Rene Meulensteen 1 13th February 2014
Felix Magath 1 18th September 2014
Slavisa Jokanovic 1

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Fulham 1-2 Aston Villa 11th February 2004 28,500 2003-2004
Fulham 1-1 West Bromwich Albion 1st February 2012 27,689 2011-2012
Fulham 0-1 Arsenal 26th September 2009 25,700 2009-2010
Fulham 3-1 Liverpool FC 31st October 2009 25,700 2009-2010
Fulham 3-0 Manchester United 19th December 2009 25,700 2009-2010
Fulham 1-1 Aston Villa 6th November 2010 25,700 2010-2011
Fulham 1-4 Manchester City 21st November 2010 25,700 2010-2011
Fulham 0-0 Aston Villa 13th August 2011 25,700 2011-2012
Fulham 0-5 Manchester United 21st December 2011 25,700 2011-2012
Fulham 2-1 Arsenal 2nd January 2012 25,700 2011-2012

 

Intro

Fulham enjoyed 13 seasons in the Premier League between 2001 and 2014. The Cottagers were guided into the big time by the owner of Harrods, Mohammed Al Fayed and he ensured the club remained a stable figure in their first decade at this level, which peaked with a seventh-place finish in 2009 under Roy Hodgson’s stewardship. They slipped out of the top-flight after a messy 2013-2014 campaign which saw three managers fail to guide them out of danger. However, after four seasons away, they returned to the promise land in-time for the 2018-2019 campaign.

 

2001-2002

Fulham’s 104th season in professional football was their first in the Premier League. They were led into this new environment by Jean Tigana, who had guided them to the First Division title in the previous season.

Among the high-profile arrivals was Dutch no.1 goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar from Juventus and owner Mohammed Al Fayed even boasted they could win the title! It was a totally unrealistic ambition but it gave fans the chance to dream. In the end, the Cottagers coped well in their debut season and finished in a solid, if slightly unspectacular 13th place in the final standings. They also reached the FA Cup semi-finals before losing to west London rivals Chelsea.

 

2002-2003

With Craven Cottage requiring redevelopment work to fit Premier League safety requirements, Fulham began this season in a temporary home, ground-sharing for two seasons with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Four wins in their first eight games including a dramatic comeback from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 had them flying high in fourth but the league campaign quickly nosedived and contract disagreements between Al Fayed and Tigana led to the Frenchman’s abrupt departure in April 2003. Former skipper of the club, Chris Coleman, took charge on a caretaker basis and steered Fulham to safety and his 10-point haul from five games was enough to give him the job permanently.

Fulham finished 14th, just six points clear of safety but did experience a European campaign for the first time through success in the Intertoto Cup. They reached round three of the UEFA Cup before bowing out to Hertha Berlin.

 

2003-2004

Now the youngest manager in the top-flight, Chris Coleman impressed greatly in his first full season. The Welshman took Fulham into the top half of the table for the first time in their Premier League life, finishing in ninth position.

The Cottagers enjoyed a fabulous 3-1 victory at Old Trafford in October and a starring performance from Edwin van der Sar kept Arsenal out at Highbury a month later. Coleman had to deal with the blow of losing top goalscorer Louis Saha in the January transfer window to Manchester United but the west Londoners finished just four points shy of fifth-placed Newcastle United and with a positive goal difference.

 

2004-2005

With the likes of Andy Cole, Claus Jensen and Tomasz Radzinski arriving in the summer of 2004 and a return to Craven Cottage on the horizon, hopes were high for Fulham to build on their impressive 2003-2004 season. It didn’t quite materialise like that as Coleman found out how tough life was at the highest level.

Fulham finished eight points and four positions lower than their 2003-2004 tallies but were in no relegation danger throughout and their 6-0 thumping of Norwich City on the final day ultimately relegated the Norfolk side.

 

2005-2006

Fulham’s home form ensured another mid-table finish. They won 13 of their 19 matches at Craven Cottage with champions Chelsea and Liverpool FC among their victims. Unfortunately, they were restricted to a 12th place finish because of a diabolical away record.

Coleman’s team mustered just one away victory all season (2-1 at Manchester City) in April, whilst they were one of only three sides to lose during the season to bottom-placed Sunderland.

 

2006-2007

Despite a 5-1 loss on the opening weekend to Manchester United, Fulham started the season well, taking eight points from their next four matches. That was despite losing their big summer signing, Jimmy Bullard to a horrific knee injury in a 2-1 away win at Newcastle United.

The success on Tyneside was Fulham’s only victory on the road and a ghastly run of one win in 18 Premier League matches saw Chris Coleman sacked in mid-April after a 3-1 home loss to Manchester City. Lawrie Sanchez replaced him, dovetailing his commitments with Northern Ireland and he managed to secure their Premier League status after a 1-0 victory over an under-strength Liverpool FC side in their final home match of the season. Sanchez was given a three-year permanent contract in the summer.

 

2007-2008

2007 was a shocking calendar year for Fulham. Just four league victories across the 12 months and a fortune squandered in the transfer market by Lawrie Sanchez saw them really struggling to avoid relegation. Fulham parted company with Sanchez after a 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle United in mid-December and in came Roy Hodgson for his first managerial appointment in England in nine years.

There wasn’t an instant bounce, despite Bullard returning from his knee injury and scoring in a win over Aston Villa. There were just two wins in Hodgson’s first 13 league matches and when Sunderland won 3-1 at Craven Cottage in early April, Fulham looked doomed. Then, they produced their version of ‘The Great Escape.’

They won four of their last six matches, including a dramatic comeback victory at Manchester City when Diomansy Kamara fired home an injury-time winner. On the final day, Danny Murphy’s header defeated Portsmouth at Fratton Park and ensured Fulham’s safety; ensuring victories for Reading and Birmingham City were made academic. It remains one of the greatest survival stories in Premier League history.

 

2008-2009

Fulham were one of the success stories of the season and qualified for the newly-titled UEFA Europa League by finishing in a stunning seventh-place in the table. Hodgson inspired an improvement of 18 points and 10 places on the previous campaign.

Despite club captain Brian McBride leaving in the summer, the arrivals of Mark Schwarzer and Bobby Zamora made the Cottagers a more exciting and secure side. There were fantastic home victories over Arsenal and Manchester United and their position could have been higher but for their Achilles heel to strike again. Hodgson’s side scored just 11 goals away from home and mustered only three victories from 19 away games.

 

2009-2010

The 2009-2010 season was all about Fulham’s incredible journey in the UEFA Europa League. They produced some outstanding performances on the continent to knock out the likes of Serie A heavyweights Juventus, reigning holders Shakhtar Donetsk and Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg.

After defeating Hamburger SV in the semi-finals, Fulham reached Hamburg’s stadium for the final against Atletico Madrid. They matched the Spanish giants throughout the contest but were agonisingly beaten in extra-time by Diego Forlan as Atletico won 2-1.

It was another solid season in the Premier League with 11 victories on home soil including a 3-0 rout of Manchester United in mid-December. They finished in 12th place but lost manager Roy Hodgson in the summer. The newly-crowned LMA Manager of the Year would take the vacancy at Liverpool FC.

 

2010-2011

Hodgson’s replacement as Fulham manager was the former Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City boss, Mark Hughes. Despite drawing 16 games in the Premier League, it was a successful season for Hughes and Fulham as the club finished eighth, the second-highest position in their Premier League history. It was a good recovery as the Cottagers ended Boxing Day in the bottom three after a 3-1 home defeat to bottom club West Ham United.

Hughes resigned though shortly after the season concluded, citing differences in the club’s direction for his decision.

 

2011-2012

It was Martin Jol who was the new manager for the start of the 2011-2012 campaign and Fulham enjoyed a couple of huge victories, beating west London rivals Queens Park Rangers 6-0 in October and Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-0 in March.

Fulham also managed to record a league double over Liverpool FC and inflicted a 5-2 loss on Newcastle United in January. Jol’s side finished in the top 10 again, coming ninth and with a better points tally than the previous season. They were helped by 16 goals from the outstanding Clint Dempsey, who filled the void vacated by Zamora who moved to QPR in the January transfer window.

 

2012-2013

Fulham’s 12th successive Premier League campaign did see them finish 12th but it flattered to deceive what was a concerning campaign for the hierarchy at Craven Cottage. A 3-0 final day victory at Swansea helped Martin Jol’s side leap up three positions in the final standings. Conceding 60 goals was a real worry but Dimitar Berbatov was a successful signing. The Bulgarian scored 15 times in his first season with the west Londoners after joining from Manchester United.

 

2013-2014

With the worst defensive record in the division, it was no surprise to see Fulham relegated on the penultimate weekend of the season. They shipped 85 goals, won just nine games and went through three managers as their 13-year stay in England’s top-flight ended rather meekly.

Martin Jol started the campaign but looked a man under pressure from an early stage and a 3-0 loss to West Ham at the end of November saw him pay the price with his job. Former Manchester United coach, Rene Meulensteen was given the job but he was dismissed in mid-February. He managed just three wins in 13 games, presiding over their worst-ever Premier League defeat too, being beaten 6-0 by Hull City in December.

Former VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath came in far too late to save the sinking ship and a 4-1 defeat to Stoke condemned them to relegation in a season of nightmarish dreams for the supporters.

 

2018-2019

After beating Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium, Fulham returned to the Premier League for the start of the 2018-2019 season. Over £100 million was spent in the summer transfer window, with the likes of Alfie Mawson, Andre Schurrle and Jean-Michel Serri among the new recruits.

They started with back-to-back defeats before overcoming Burnley 4-2. Serri’s first strike saw him win the first Goal of the Month vote from Match of the Day viewers for the season. A 2-2 draw away at Brighton ensured Fulham’s first away point of the season. It is early days but the Cottagers look set for an exciting campaign back in the top-flight.

Premier League Files: Maik Taylor

Premier League Career: Southampton (1997), Fulham (2002-2003), Birmingham City (2003-2006, 2007-2010)

Goalkeeping has been a part of Maik Taylor’s professional football life. He kept goal for the likes of Fulham and Birmingham City during a career that was underrated but enjoyable. Since 2014, he has been the goalkeeping coach for the Northern Ireland international football team, a country that he served for 88 times as a player between 1999 and 2011.

Born in Hildesheim in Germany to a German mother and English father, Taylor spent his early infancy in Germany but moved to England as a schoolboy and made his Football League breakthrough in June 1995 when he signed for Barnet for a fee of just £700 from Farnborough Town. Southampton and in particular, Graeme Souness were impressed with his displays at Underhill and they made a move for him in 1997, prizing him away from Barnet for £500,000.

It showed the confidence Souness had in him straightaway that he put Taylor straight into the first-team on his arrival, displacing veteran Dave Beasant in the process. Maik kept a clean sheet on his debut in the 1-0 away victory at Middlesbrough and remained the first-choice keeper for the remainder of the season as Southampton narrowly avoided relegation. When Souness left, Dave Jones replaced him and signed Paul Jones from his former club, Stockport County in the summer of 1997. Jones immediately took the no.1 goalkeeper jersey and Taylor was restricted to warming the bench.

Kevin Keegan knew a talent was there and bought Taylor to Fulham in November 1997 for £800,000. It did mean a drop of two divisions but the guarantee of first-team football. He helped the Cottagers win the Second Division title and remained the first-choice goalkeeper even when Jean Tigana arrived to succeed Keegan in the Fulham hotseat. Taylor’s consistency in the 2000-2001 season helped Fulham win a place in the Premier League as Division One champions. However, when Tigana saw the opportunity to snap up experienced Dutchman Edwin van der Sar from Juventus, he wasn’t going to see that chance slip away. As frustrating as this must have been for Taylor, he simply couldn’t compete with someone with world-class abilities that Van der Sar possessed.

Maik stayed with Fulham and actually played a bulk of their 2002-2003 games when Van der Sar sustained an injury in December 2002 at St James’ Park that would keep him on the sidelines for a few months. However, it was Taylor who would move in the summer of 2003 to Birmingham City. The deal was initially a loan period but his outstanding displays saw Steve Bruce waste no time in triggering a £1.5 million buying fee in March 2004. Taylor’s performances were recognised by his peers and he was in the running to be included as the goalkeeper in the PFA Team of the Year before losing out to Manchester United’s Tim Howard.

Taylor remained the regular first-choice for Bruce at Birmingham for the next four seasons and despite experiencing two painful Premier League relegations, his knowledge of the Football League was vital in Birmingham ensuring they won two instant promotions under the guidance of first Bruce, then Alex McLeish. However, he spent the 2009-2010 campaign  playing second-fiddle again after McLeish signed Joe Hart on-loan for the season from Manchester City. Taylor would only play two league matches that season – both games against City as Hart was ineligible to play against his parent team. They were to be his final top-flight appearances.

He remained a squad member in 2010-2011 but never played as Ben Foster had joined from Manchester United to take the first-choice goalkeeping position and Maik was released following their third Premier League relegation. He had spells with Leeds United and Millwall before hanging up his gloves in May 2013. Two months later, he moved into coaching with Northern Ireland.

Memorable Matches: Portsmouth 4-3 Fulham (August 2004)

Goalscorers: Eyal Berkovic 19, Yakubu 22 PEN, 28, 72, Andy Cole 39, Luis Boa Morte 41, Carlos Bocanegra 75

Teams:

Portsmouth: Shaka Hislop, Arjan de Zeeuw, Linvoy Primus, Dejan Stefanovic, David Unsworth, Nigel Quashie, Eyal Berkovic (Lomana Lualua 79), Steve Stone, Patrik Berger, Yakubu (Matt Taylor 88), Ricardo Fuller

Fulham: Edwin van der Sar, Carlos Bocanegra, Alain Goma, Zat Knight, Moritz Volz, Papa Bouba Diop, Sylvain Legwinski (Brian McBride 77), Claus Jensen, Luis Boa Morte, Andy Cole, Tomasz Radzinski (Collins John 68)

Referee: Barry Knight, Attendance: 19,728

Portsmouth were still awaiting their first victory of the 2004-2005 season as they welcomed Fulham to Fratton Park. Pompey had played a game less than most teams, so their position was slightly false ahead of kick-off whilst Fulham had one victory, one draw and one defeat to their name from their first three games of the season.

A feverish first half on the south coast saw five goals and a stunning opening 30 minutes from the home side. The pace of Yakubu would trouble Fulham’s backline all evening and this created the opening for the first goal, scored by Eyal Berkovic in the 19th minute. Three minutes later, Luis Boa Morte clumsily challenged debutant Ricardo Fuller and a penalty was given by referee Barry Knight. Yakubu made no mistake from 12-yards.

Fulham’s horrific opening spell continued on 28 minutes. Fuller put Yakubu through and with his right-foot shot; he defeated Edwin van der Sar once again. At this stage, it looked like a case of how many Portsmouth might end up with. However, one thing Chris Coleman had installed into his team was resolve and they weren’t going to lie down without a fight.

Six minutes before half-time, Boa Morte floated a tremendous cross from the left-wing over the head of Arjan de Zeeuw. Andy Cole made the most of the chance to beat Shaka Hislop and score his third Fulham goal since arriving in the summer from Blackburn Rovers.

Two minutes later, the Cottagers were right back in the contest. Claus Jensen played Boa Morte through and the Portuguese winger’s dramatic first half was concluded with his name joining those on the scoresheet. His shot managed to sneak through Hislop’s legs.

The end-to-end action continued in the second half. Berkovic nearly got his second of the evening with his goal-bound shot blocked by Moritz Volz whilst Boa Morte shot across the face of goal on 59 minutes having once again got the better of Linvoy Primus.

With 18 minutes left, Yakubu completed his hat-trick, firing home from close-range. Three minutes later, Carlos Bocanegra’s header at the back post saw Fulham get within a goal once again. However, they couldn’t find a way through again and Pompey held on for all three points.

Manager Harry Redknapp could raise a smile at the full-time whistle but by the end of November, he had left Portsmouth after disagreements with the club’s owner, Milan Mandaric. He took over at south coast rivals Southampton but ended the season with his first top-flight relegation. Fulham finished in 13th place.