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CFuller

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CFuller last won the day on January 23 2023

CFuller had the most liked content!

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3,740 "These go to eleven"

Biography

  • Biography
    30-something Essex lad who used to like Football Manager. You'll mainly find me on FMS or OTF.

About Me

  • About Me
    https://fullerfm.com/

Interests

  • Interests
    Football (duh), darts, snooker, cats, indie/alternative music

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Arsenal and Millwall

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    Retired from FM24

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  1. CFuller

    25 Years

    I am now more than halfway through this story. Thanks for your continued support throughout this journey so far. But that first season in the Premiership will have to wait a bit longer, as I'll be taking another lengthy break. All being well, I will FINALLY be moving house at some point later this year, so I'll need to focus on sorting all that out. "25 Years" will resume in the summer once things have settled down. As of right now, I've already played and written the next four seasons of this story - meaning I still have eight more to go. I might have time to complete another season or two before the house move, but I'll see how things go. As some of you might know, I've lately become disillusioned with playing Football Manager, and burnt out with writing FM content, which I've now been doing for the best part of a decade. Unless FM25 wins me over by actually delivering some vital improvements to a stale franchise, I will probably stop playing FM altogether. At any rate, it's very unlikely I will ever write another FM story again - certainly not on the same scale as my previous works on here. However, these recent events has only made me enjoy revisiting the Championship Manager games even more. I feel like I can play CM at a steady enough pace and write about it without any deadlines or time constraints. Even the struggles and quirks in this save are fun to write about. I've also just started a new Championship Manager 3 story with Napoli on my blog, in case anyone wants to follow that. That'll be all for now. See you again soon. Chris
  2. CFuller

    25 Years

    WORLD CUP REVIEW: NORWAY/SWEDEN 2014 GROUP A 11 June (Oslo, Norway) Spain - 0 (Daniel Aranzubia s/off41) Serbia & Montenegro - 2 (Andrija Delibasic 31, Mateja Kezman pen41) 11 June (Malmö, Sweden) Ghana - 0 Colombia - 0 17 June (Halmstad, Sweden) Serbia & Montenegro - 1 (Mateja Kezman 49) Ghana - 1 (Aziz Ansah 50) 17 June (Norrköping, Sweden) Colombia - 1 (Falcao 21) Spain - 0 24 June (Stockholm, Sweden) Spain - 2 (Mikel Arteta pen5, Pablo Torres 90) Ghana - 0 (Richard Kingson s/off4) 24 June (Oslo, Norway) Serbia & Montenegro - 1 (Andrija Delibasic 7) Colombia - 2 (Carlos Eduardo Yepes 13, Sergio Darío Herrera 38) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q Colombia 3 2 1 0 3 1 7 2nd Q Serbia & Montenegro 3 1 1 1 4 3 4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Spain 3 1 0 2 2 3 3 4th Ghana 3 0 2 1 1 3 2 GROUP B 12 June (Halmstad, Sweden) Iran - 2 (Arash Bajat 48, Andranik Teymourian 71) Ivory Coast - 3 (Siaka Chico Tiéné 60, Didier Dao 66, Mamadou Coulibaly 89) 12 June (Trondheim, Norway) Russia - 0 Brazil - 3 (Moacir da Rosa 4,20, André Amorim 18) 18 June (Oslo, Norway) Brazil - 3 (Moacir da Rosa 1,8, Elano 32) Iran - 1 (Arash Bajat 89) 18 June (Malmö, Sweden) Ivory Coast - 0 (Serge Konan s/off90) Russia - 2 (Alexandr Kerzhakov 17, Anzor Agapov 85, Igor Morev m/pen90) 24 June (Norrköping, Sweden) Iran - 1 (Mohammad Rahimi 26) Russia - 4 (Igor Morev 39, Yury Sergeev 48, Aleksey Eremenko 70, Andrey Arshavin 81) 24 June (Oslo, Norway) Ivory Coast - 0 Brazil - 3 (Robinho 34, Moacir da Rosa 57, Ricardo 60) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q Brazil 3 3 0 0 9 1 9 2nd Q Russia 3 2 0 1 6 4 6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Ivory Coast 3 1 0 2 3 7 3 4th Iran 3 0 0 3 4 10 0 GROUP C 13 June (Molde, Norway) Guatemala - 0 (Luis López s/off56) Chile - 2 (Manuel Carreño pen57, Luis Ignacio Quinteros 76) 13 June (Stockholm, Sweden) Sweden - 0 Holland - 3 (Rafael van der Vaart 32, Robin Van Persie 43, Dirk Kuijt 75) 19 June (Oslo, Norway) Chile - 0 Sweden - 3 (Zlatan Ibrahimovic 33, Johnny Andersson 56, Kim Källström 71) 19 June (Trondheim, Norway) Holland - 2 (Robin Van Persie 16,42, Rafael van der Vaart m/pen76) Guatemala - 0 25 June (Halmstad, Sweden) Holland - 0 Chile - 0 25 June (Göteborg, Sweden) Sweden - 0 Guatemala - 0 Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q Holland 3 2 1 0 5 0 9 2nd Q Sweden 3 1 1 1 3 3 4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Chile 3 1 1 1 2 3 4 4th Guatemala 3 0 1 2 0 4 1 GROUP D 13 June (Malmö, Sweden) England - 4 (Chris Worthington 3,45, Jermaine Jenas 9,16) Honduras - 0 14 June (Norrköping, Sweden) Wales - 0 (Danny Collins s/off45) France - 4 (Frédéric David 45, David Queiros 48, Djibril Cissé 52,69) 21 June (Oslo, Norway) Honduras - 0 Wales - 2 (Jason Barton 42, Rob Griffiths 55) 21 June (Stavanger, Norway) France - 0 England - 2 (Matthew Simmonds 41, Craig Ward pen48) 25 June (Trondheim, Norway) England - 0 Wales - 1 (Craig Bellamy pen70) 25 June (Molde, Norway) Honduras - 0 France - 5 (Patrice Evra 3,9, Frédéric David 27, Djibril Cissé pen45,85) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q France 3 2 0 1 9 2 6 2nd Q England 3 2 0 1 6 1 6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Wales 3 2 0 1 3 4 6 4th Honduras 3 0 0 3 0 11 0 GROUP E 14 June (Göteborg, Sweden) Angola - 1 (Sérgio Pereira 71) Turkmenistan - 2 (Azat Kerimow 36, Mekan Nasyrow 43) 14 June (Oslo, Norway) Argentina - 2 (Javier Saviola 36, Martín Díaz 63) Bosnia & Herzegovina - 2 (Zvjezdan Misimovic 17, Ivan Katic 30) 21 June (Halmstad, Sweden) Bosnia & Herzegovina - 2 (Ismet Milosevic 13, Admir Halilovic 24) Angola - 0 21 June (Stockholm, Sweden) Turkmenistan - 0 Argentina - 2 (Lionel Messi 32, Emanuel Villa 72) 26 June (Stavanger, Norway) Argentina - 2 (Martín Díaz 24, Javier Saviola 50) Angola - 0 26 June (Oslo, Norway) Bosnia & Herzegovina - 1 (Mirsad Bajramovic 56) Turkmenistan - 1 (Azat Kerimow pen65) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q Argentina 3 2 1 0 6 2 7 2nd Q Bosnia & Herzegovina 3 1 2 0 5 3 5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Turkmenistan 3 1 1 1 3 4 4 4th Angola 3 0 0 3 1 6 0 GROUP F 15 June (Oslo, Norway) South Korea - 0 Burkina Faso - 1 (Beli Moumouni Dagano 25) 16 June (Stavanger, Norway) Portugal - 3 (Cristiano Ronaldo 33,pen59, Nuno Coelho 90) Italy - 3 (Mauro Capuano 24, Filippo Sarti 39, Sergio Zani pen53, Christian Abbiati s/off58) 22 June (Molde, Norway) Burkina Faso - 2 (Mamadou Zongo 5,58) Portugal - 0 22 June (Göteborg, Sweden) Italy - 3 (Filippo Sarti 14, Mauro Capuano 31, Matteo Brighi 58) South Korea - 0 26 June (Norrköping, Sweden) Burkina Faso - 2 (Mamadou Zongo 15, John Pelu 49) Italy - 3 (Salvatore Annunziata 35, Filippo Sarti 38, Matteo Brighi 45) 26 June (Malmö, Sweden) South Korea - 1 (Kim Lee 80) Portugal - 0 Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q Italy 3 2 1 0 9 5 7 2nd Q Burkina Faso 3 2 0 1 5 3 6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd South Korea 3 1 0 2 1 4 3 4th Portugal 3 0 1 2 3 6 1 GROUP G 16 June (Stockholm, Sweden) Norway - 1 (Trond Fredrik Ludvigsen 79) Croatia - 2 (Ante Nago 59, Vladimir Simic 76) 16 June (Göteborg, Sweden) Nigeria - 2 (Julius Aghahowa 22, Yakubu Aiyegbeni pen45) Saudi Arabia - 0 23 June (Malmö, Sweden) Croatia - 3 (Ante Nago 13, Drazen Kalinic 15,61) Nigeria - 2 (Yussuf Ayila 33, Victor Anyemene 38) 23 June (Trondheim, Norway) Saudi Arabia - 0 Norway - 2 (Dagfinn Sæter s/off15, Rune Wiken 47, Sigve Hoseth 87) 27 June (Molde, Norway) Croatia - 3 (Ante Nago 12, Drazen Kalinic 33,90) Saudi Arabia - 1 (Abdulrahman Al-Bishi 50) 27 June (Oslo, Norway) Norway - 1 (John Carew 29) Nigeria - 1 (Joseph Yobo s/off45, Julius Aghahowa 71) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q Croatia 3 3 0 0 8 4 9 2nd Q Nigeria 3 1 1 1 5 4 4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Norway 3 1 1 1 4 3 4 4th Saudi Arabia 3 0 0 3 1 7 0 GROUP H 15 June (Trondheim, Norway) Paraguay - 0 United States - 2 (Landon Donovan 46, Paul Schweitzer 70) 15 June (Molde, Norway) Belgium - 0 Germany - 0 (Sven Peters s/off61) 21 June (Norrköping, Sweden) United States - 1 (Kelly Gray 68) Belgium - 0 22 June (Stavanger, Norway) Germany - 1 (Uwe Henning 36) Paraguay - 0 27 June (Halmstad, Sweden) Paraguay - 0 Belgium - 2 (Thomas Buffel 6, Birger Maertens 43) 27 June (Göteborg, Sweden) United States - 0 Germany - 1 (Robert Huth 29) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Q Germany 3 2 1 0 2 0 7 2nd Q United States 3 2 0 1 3 1 6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Belgium 3 1 1 1 2 1 4 4th Paraguay 3 0 0 3 0 5 0 ROUND 2 28 June (Stockholm, Sweden) Colombia - 2 (Carlos Alberto Rodríguez 52, Falcao 68) Russia - 1 (Alexandr Kerzhakov 90) 28 June (Stavanger, Norway) France - 1 (David Queiros 20) Sweden - 0 29 June (Oslo, Norway) Germany - 2 (Uwe Henning 20,68) Nigeria - 1 (Yakubu Aiyegbeni pen35) 29 June (Molde, Norway) Argentina - 4 (Lionel Messi 18,62, Javier Saviola pen31, Gustavo Arce 83) Burkina Faso - 1 (Bureima Maïga 28, Rahim Ouédraogo s/off30) 30 June (Trondheim, Norway) Holland - 0 England - 1 (Jermaine Jenas 82) 30 June (Halmstad, Sweden) Brazil - 0 (Luís Carlos s/off56) Serbia & Montenegro - 1 (Danko Lazovic 70) 1 July (Oslo, Norway) Croatia - 0 (Mato Neretljak s/off17) United States - 0 (Landon Donovan m/pen17) [after extra-time, Croatia win 4-2 on penalties] 1 July (Helsingborg, Sweden) Italy - 2 (Salvatore Annunziata 12,37, Mauro Capuano s/off85) Bosnia & Herzegovina - 0 QUARTER FINALS 4 July (Norrköping, Sweden) Argentina - 0 Germany - 1 (Jürgen Mohr 59) 4 July (Oslo, Norway) Colombia - 0 France - 4 (Frédéric David 14, Jérémy Toulalan 20, Djibril Cissé 68, Franck Andenas pen73) 5 July (Göteborg, Sweden) Italy - 2 (Agostino Piccolo 27, Matteo Brighi 78) Croatia - 1 (Hrvoje Olujevic 71) 5 July (Stockholm, Sweden) Serbia & Montenegro - 2 (Ranko Djukic 45, Danko Lazovic 48) England - 1 (Ashley Cole pen80) SEMI FINALS 8 July (Stockholm, Sweden) France - 1 (Bernard Aristouy pen32) Germany - 1 (Sven Peters s/off31, Jörg Kretschmer 60) [after extra-time, France win 8-7 on penalties] 9 July (Oslo, Norway) Serbia & Montenegro - 0 (Sladjan Jankovic s/off95) Italy - 1 (Filippo Sarti s/off10, Cristiano Viganò 95) [after extra-time] 3RD-PLACE PLAY-OFF 12 July (Stavanger, Norway) Serbia & Montenegro - 0 Germany - 1 (Ilan 75) FINAL 13 July (Oslo, Norway) France - 2 (Djibril Cissé 22, Bernard Aristouy 89) Italy - 3 (Agostino Piccolo 27, Salvatore Annunziata 76,86) FRANCE (4-3-2-1 Narrow): Sebastien Frey [C]; Bernard Mendy, David Queiros, Eric Abidal, Djimi Traoré (Franck Andenas); Julien Sablé, Jérémy Toulalan, Francis Leclerc (Gaël Givet); Bernard Bouger, Bernard Aristouy; Djibril Cissé. BOOKED: Givet. ITALY (4-4-2): Marco Amelia; Cristian Zaccardo, Nicola Barbieri (Daniele Baffoni (Maurizio Domizzi)), Cristiano Viganò, Matteo Ceragioli; Arnaldo Calderoni, Matteo Brighi (Franco Semioli), Mauro Capuano [C], Lorenzo Venturini; Agostino Piccolo, Salvatore Annunziata. BOOKED: Zaccardo. Top Goalscorer - Djibril Cissé (France): 6. Most Assists - Salvatore Annunziata (Italy): 4. Highest Average Rating (at least 4 matches) - Moacir da Rosa (Brazil): 9.00.
  3. CFuller

    25 Years

    OTHER LEAGUES FRANCE Ligue 1 Top Three: Marseille (1st), Sedan (2nd), Monaco (3rd). Relegated: Auxerre (18th), Nîmes (19th), Lens (20th). Promoted from Ligue 2: Reims (1st), Sochaux (2nd), Rodez (3rd). Top Goalscorer - José Luis Fernández Pérez (Marseille): 25. Most Assists - José Antonio Reyes (Marseille): 13. Highest Average Rating - José Luis Fernández Pérez (Marseille): 8.24 Coupe de France: Monaco 3-0 Paris-SG. Coupe de la Ligue: Marseille 3-2 Troyes. GERMANY 1. Bundesliga Top Three: VfB Stuttgart (1st), Werder Bremen (2nd), Dortmund (3rd). Relegated: SVW Mannheim (16th), Saarbrücken (17th), Mainz (18th). Promoted from 2. Bundesliga: Düsseldorf (1st), Rostock (2nd), Greuther Fürth (3rd). Top Goalscorer - Van Linh Tô (Kaiserslautern), David Villa (Dortmund): 23. Most Assists - Martín Franco (VfB Stuttgart): 13. Highest Average Rating - Maksim Tsyhalka (FC Bayern): 8.13. DFB-Pokal: SC Freiburg 1-0 Rostock. DFB-Liga Pokal: VfB Stuttgart 2-0 M'gladbach. HOLLAND Eredivisie Top Three: PSV (1st), Feyenoord (2nd), Ajax (3rd). Relegated: Volendam (17th), Groningen (18th). Promoted from Eerste Divisie: Cambuur (1st), TOP (3rd). Top Goalscorer - Ahmed Jafar (De Graafschap): 18. Most Assists - Diego Jongen (RKC): 13. Highest Average Rating - Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (PSV): 7.96. KNVB Beker: Ajax 3-2 Feyenoord (aet). ITALY Serie A Top Three: Lazio (1st), Juventus (2nd), Genoa (3rd). Relegated: Sampdoria (15th), Palermo (16th), Udinese (17th), Chievo (18th). Promoted from Serie B: Venezia (1st), Gualdo (2nd), Napoli (3rd), Salernitana (4th). Top Goalscorer - Cláudio Leite Ribeiro (Juventus): 20. Most Assists - Aleksey Eremenko (Milan): 15. Highest Average Rating - Adriano (Inter): 7.88. Coppa Italia: Lazio 4-0 Inter (aggregate). PORTUGAL Primeira Liga Top Three: Porto (1st), Sporting (2nd), Benfica (3rd). Relegated: Leixões (16th), Leiria (17th), Sporting Covilhã (18th). Promoted from Segunda Liga: Aves (1st), Lourosa (2nd), Barreirense (3rd). Top Goalscorer - Mauricio Moreno (Leixões): 28. Most Assists - Mário Amorim (Salgueiros/Beira-Mar): 17. Highest Average Rating - Rogério Batista (Porto): 8.37. Taça de Portugal: Sporting 2-1 Campomaiorense. SCOTLAND Premier League Top Three: Celtic (1st), Rangers (2nd), St Mirren (3rd). Relegated: Forfar (12th). Promoted from Division 1: Clyde (1st). Top Goalscorer - Scott Dawson (Dundee Utd): 28. Most Assists - Michael Doyle (Motherwell): 12. Highest Average Rating - Gordon Weir (Celtic): 8.34. Scottish Cup: Hibs 3-0 St Mirren. League Cup: Celtic 3-0 Aberdeen. SPAIN La Liga Top Three: Barcelona (1st), Levante (2nd), Celta (3rd). Relegated: Las Palmas (18th), Racing Santander (19th), Tenerife (20th). Promoted from Segunda División: Rayo (1st), Salamanca (2nd), Villarreal (3rd). Top Goalscorer - Lionel Messi (Barcelona): 27. Most Assists - Râzvan Cocis (Levante): 11. Highest Average Rating - Lionel Messi (Barcelona): 8.34. Copa del Rey: Barcelona 2-1 Alavés (aet). CONTINENTAL & INTERNATIONAL CLUB Champions League: Chelsea 3-1 Wolfsburg - in London. UEFA Cup: Barcelona 1-0 Porto - in Copenhagen. Super Cup: Lazio 2-1 Marseille. Club World Cup: Lazio 2-0 Internacional. FIFA World Player of the Year - Robinho (VfB Stuttgart & Brazil). World Footballer of the Year - Cristiano Ronaldo (Chelsea & Portugal). African Player of the Year - Samuel Eto'o (Real Madrid & Cameroon). European Player of the Year - Cristiano Ronaldo (Chelsea & Portugal). South American Player of the Year - Moacir da Rosa (Fluminense & Brazil). Oceania Player of the Year - Harry Kewell (FC Bayern & Australia). LEADING TRANSFERS (Premiership) DATE NAME POSITIONS FROM TO FEE 03/07/13 Andrew Nixon AM RC Celtic Chelsea £14.25M 17/09/13 Michael Essien DM C Nürnberg Man Utd £13M 30/07/13 Michael Dawson D C Dortmund Arsenal £12M 30/11/13 Alexander Farnerud AM RLC Liverpool Middlesbrough £10.75M 22/08/13 Niko Kranjcar AM LC Southampton Stoke £9.75M 19/08/13 Dave Nugent S C West Ham Leeds £9.5M 29/08/13 Jermain Defoe S C Stoke Leeds £8.25M 03/07/13 John Nicol AM C Preston Everton £7.75M 06/08/13 Francis Leclerc M C Nîmes Chelsea £7.5M 12/09/13 René Evald F C Man Utd Sheff Wed £7.25M LEADING TRANSFERS (not including Premiership) DATE NAME POSITIONS FROM TO FEE 01/06/14 Fernando Torres S C Atlético Madrid Marseille £18M 07/08/13 Jorge Pérez S C San Lorenzo Celtic £16M 30/12/13 Alexandr Kerzhakov F C 1.FC Köln Rangers £16M 01/06/14 Ricardo Quaresma AM RL Atlético Madrid Marseille £16M 02/01/14 Guy Levi F LC Roma Juventus £15.75M 21/08/13 Salvatore Annunziata S C Porto Lazio £15M 17/07/13 Julius Aghahowa F C Schalke 04 Leverkusen £14.75M 02/01/14 Carlos Diogo D/M R Espanyol Milan £14.75M 01/07/14 Andrey Arshavin AM/F RLC Dortmund Hertha BSC £13.75M 11/07/14 Julio César Lemme S C Hertha BSC 1.FC Köln £12.5M
  4. CFuller

    25 Years

    SEASON REVIEW 2013/2014 ENGLAND NOTE: All goals and assist records relate to league matches only. PREMIERSHIP Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Chelsea 38 13 5 1 44 12 11 3 5 34 29 80 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2nd Burnley 38 16 1 2 45 9 4 8 7 14 18 69 3rd Crewe 38 11 6 2 42 25 7 5 7 21 25 65 4th Man Utd 38 9 4 6 35 25 10 3 6 28 20 64 5th Middlesbrough 38 13 3 3 35 18 7 1 11 21 30 64 6th Everton 38 12 3 4 29 17 5 4 10 9 17 58 7th Sheff Utd 38 10 1 8 28 21 7 4 8 19 20 56 8th Sheff Wed 38 9 5 5 23 14 6 5 8 24 27 55 9th Southampton 38 12 1 6 28 17 4 6 9 21 29 55 10th Liverpool 38 9 5 5 31 24 6 5 8 22 30 55 11th Bolton 38 10 4 5 23 11 5 3 11 15 29 52 12th Arsenal 38 10 4 5 39 26 3 6 10 21 30 49 13th Leeds 38 8 7 4 25 14 4 6 9 23 32 49 14th Crystal Palace 38 6 3 10 20 26 8 4 7 21 23 49 15th Ipswich 38 10 7 2 30 18 3 2 14 11 43 48 16th Blackburn 38 8 3 8 25 26 5 4 10 24 32 46 17th Torquay 38 8 4 7 28 27 3 4 12 23 43 41 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 18th R Newcastle 38 6 5 8 27 26 4 5 10 18 33 40 19th R Stoke 38 6 6 7 21 17 4 3 12 14 37 39 20th R Notts Co 38 3 7 9 8 17 1 3 15 7 39 22 Top Goalscorer - Cristiano Ronaldo (Chelsea): 33. Most Assists - Andrew Nixon (Chelsea): 10. Highest Average Rating - Cristiano Ronaldo (Chelsea): 8.55. PFA Player of the Year - Cristiano Ronaldo (Chelsea). PFA Young Player of the Year - Barry Buxton (Blackburn). DIVISION 1 Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Preston 46 13 6 4 47 33 15 5 3 37 23 95 2nd P Charlton 46 17 3 3 46 22 10 7 6 41 28 91 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd P Fulham 46 14 5 4 42 17 11 7 5 43 29 87 4th Nottm Forest 46 15 5 3 45 16 10 3 10 34 33 83 5th Aston Villa 46 15 5 3 40 13 8 4 11 27 31 78 6th Norwich 46 14 3 6 53 34 10 2 11 38 41 77 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7th West Ham 46 14 4 5 30 15 7 9 7 27 23 76 8th Wolves 46 15 4 4 59 34 7 5 11 33 44 75 9th Man City 46 12 6 5 50 33 8 5 10 43 49 71 10th Birmingham 46 11 6 6 40 23 7 8 8 29 36 68 11th Grimsby 46 14 7 2 39 21 4 6 13 25 34 67 12th Sunderland 46 11 5 7 32 25 7 7 9 37 46 66 13th Huddersfield 46 13 5 5 43 30 4 8 11 32 46 64 14th Gillingham 46 14 5 4 52 28 2 9 12 27 41 62 15th Reading 46 13 3 7 43 26 4 5 14 28 42 59 16th Macclesfield 46 11 5 7 40 33 4 5 14 20 42 55 17th Bradford 46 8 7 8 31 28 5 7 11 19 30 53 18th Carlisle 46 12 4 7 42 34 4 1 18 28 60 53 19th Oldham 46 10 4 9 41 40 3 6 14 24 48 49 20th Rochdale 46 9 4 10 40 39 4 4 15 24 48 47 21st Coventry 46 11 3 9 37 42 3 2 18 24 59 47 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 22nd R W.B.A. 46 8 6 9 32 37 5 1 17 21 44 46 23rd R Tottenham 46 6 10 7 36 38 3 4 16 23 55 41 24th R Chesterfield 46 6 6 11 35 42 0 1 22 19 63 25 DIVISION 2 Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Brentford 46 18 4 1 42 15 10 5 8 20 17 93 2nd P Bristol City 46 17 2 4 48 23 11 6 6 44 33 92 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Kidderminster 46 14 6 3 44 24 11 5 7 42 33 86 4th Peterborough 46 17 2 4 57 34 6 10 7 46 48 81 5th Blackpool 46 14 3 6 43 26 11 2 10 39 40 80 6th P Wigan 46 15 4 4 44 23 8 5 10 41 42 78 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7th Barnsley 46 15 3 5 57 36 7 6 10 27 38 75 8th Stalybridge 46 9 7 7 39 27 10 3 10 49 48 67 9th Swansea 46 13 4 6 44 31 6 5 12 31 39 66 10th Leyton Orient 46 11 9 3 43 30 7 3 13 30 41 66 11th Shrewsbury 46 15 5 3 38 13 2 7 14 16 35 63 12th Cambridge Utd 46 13 5 5 44 31 6 1 16 29 55 63 13th Swindon 46 9 6 8 43 34 6 10 7 37 39 61 14th Millwall 46 11 9 3 44 32 3 9 11 26 40 60 15th Darlington 46 8 11 4 31 23 6 6 11 25 32 59 16th Derby 46 14 6 3 39 16 2 4 17 20 48 58 17th Morecambe 46 12 7 4 45 25 4 3 16 20 46 58 18th Doncaster 46 12 3 8 40 35 4 7 12 24 39 58 19th Stockport 46 10 7 6 30 25 3 8 12 14 33 54 20th Bristol Rovers 46 13 3 7 34 25 2 6 15 12 37 54 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 21st R Bury 46 8 5 10 39 46 6 7 10 35 46 54 22nd R Dag & Red 46 6 6 11 29 44 3 6 14 31 51 39 23rd R Wrexham 46 7 4 12 33 36 2 5 16 26 51 36 24th R Luton 46 4 8 11 28 42 2 0 21 12 47 26 DIVISION 3 Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Hull 46 17 4 2 36 12 8 5 10 26 29 84 2nd P Q.P.R. 46 10 11 2 47 34 12 4 7 36 28 81 3rd P Rotherham 46 14 4 5 50 35 8 6 9 35 38 76 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4th P Colchester 46 11 8 4 47 34 9 7 7 43 42 75 5th Wycombe 46 12 6 5 43 32 9 4 10 38 43 73 6th Oxford 46 10 5 8 36 26 11 4 8 33 28 72 7th Watford 46 13 5 5 38 23 8 3 12 34 40 71 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8th Tranmere 46 11 9 3 27 14 6 9 8 20 27 69 9th Port Vale 46 13 7 3 40 22 4 10 9 36 45 68 10th Mansfield 46 12 3 8 38 25 8 3 12 32 37 66 11th Leicester 46 12 4 7 39 26 7 5 11 33 40 66 12th Scunthorpe 46 14 6 3 46 23 5 3 15 26 45 66 13th Exeter 46 11 5 7 28 19 5 10 8 15 22 63 14th Plymouth 46 11 4 8 34 19 5 10 8 20 27 62 15th Walsall 46 8 8 7 19 21 7 9 7 18 21 62 16th Cardiff 46 11 6 6 37 29 4 9 10 23 34 60 17th Rushden 46 11 7 5 37 27 5 4 14 18 33 59 18th Telford 46 10 7 6 22 16 4 7 12 21 35 56 19th Northampton 46 12 5 6 34 28 3 5 15 30 54 55 20th Northwich Vics 46 11 9 3 47 29 2 6 15 19 42 54 21st Bournemouth 46 6 10 7 15 17 3 11 9 11 25 48 22nd Hartlepool 46 10 4 9 25 22 2 6 15 14 36 46 23rd Bath City 46 7 9 7 50 50 4 3 16 19 41 45 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 24th R Portsmouth 46 6 4 13 17 29 0 7 16 12 40 29 CONFERENCE Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Harrow Borough 42 16 3 2 43 15 9 3 9 35 37 81 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2nd Salisbury 42 13 7 1 33 12 9 8 4 24 21 81 3rd Cheltenham 42 12 3 6 35 25 12 5 4 42 26 80 4th Boston Utd 42 10 4 7 37 26 12 7 2 47 30 77 5th Lincoln 42 11 6 4 33 21 10 4 7 29 23 73 6th Scarborough 42 10 4 7 23 19 9 4 8 41 32 65 7th Slough 42 14 5 2 44 21 4 4 13 29 46 63 8th Burton Albion 42 11 4 6 40 25 7 3 11 32 35 61 9th Barnet 42 11 6 4 29 16 5 7 9 31 41 61 10th Runcorn 42 10 6 5 26 20 7 3 11 20 30 60 11th Nuneaton Borough 42 9 8 4 34 24 5 4 12 28 43 54 12th Hereford 42 12 3 6 37 26 3 5 13 23 42 53 13th Merthyr Tydfil 42 8 6 7 27 27 5 8 8 22 30 53 14th Canvey Island 42 9 4 8 36 33 5 6 10 17 22 52 15th Gainsborough 42 8 7 6 45 43 6 3 12 25 39 52 16th Clevedon 42 11 7 3 39 20 2 5 14 12 36 51 17th Tamworth 42 6 6 9 27 30 7 5 9 26 33 50 18th Burscough 42 10 4 7 30 29 2 8 11 10 22 48 19th Maidenhead 42 7 4 10 28 36 5 5 11 10 22 45 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 20th R Dorchester 42 5 6 10 17 24 4 8 9 21 31 41 21st R Worksop 42 5 7 9 34 43 2 7 12 26 41 35 22nd R Farnborough 42 7 6 8 25 27 1 4 16 12 40 34 Promoted to Conference: Dulwich, Folkestone, Spennymoor. FA Cup: Middlesbrough 2-0 Everton. League Cup: Chelsea 4-1 Man Utd. Community Shield: Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal. Football League Trophy: Oxford 1-0 Port Vale.
  5. How far were you into the season when this started happening? It's quite possible that opponents are now taking your team more seriously - especially if you started the season strongly and/or are above expectations. The AI cannot 'figure out' your tactic, but it can switch to a more defensive tactic, which might not give your attackers as much space as they probably had before. This change usually happens about halfway through a season.
  6. CFuller

    25 Years

    ELSEWHERE IN FOOTBALL... Vicente del Bosque retires as Real Madrid manager after 15 years in charge, following a dismal 8th-place finish in La Liga. Former Sporting head coach Dong-Keun Lee leaves Botafogo to take over at the Santiago Bernabéu. After being snubbed by Real, current Sporting boss José Mourinho sulks, "But I'm the special one! I've just won my second Taça de Portugal!" Celta qualify for the Champions League after coming 3rd in La Liga, and excitement for next season grows when Los Celestes announce the £8.25million signing of 18-year-old Fluminense wonderkid Moacir da Rosa. Of course, it helps that Brazil legend Roberto Carlos happens to be a first-team coach at Celta. Moacir then takes the World Cup by storm as he scores FIVE goals in the Group Stage... only for Brazil to crash out to Serbia & Montenegro in Round 2. Spain are the first World Cup holders since 1966 to be eliminated at the Group Stage. La Roja feel 'La Furia' of their fans after losing their first two group games against Serbia & Montenegro and Colombia. 2010 runners-up Wales also suffer an early exit, though Craig Bellamy's penalty ensures that they sign off with a 1-0 win over England. The Three Lions then avenge their Euro 2012 defeat against Holland to reach the Quarter Finals. Ligue 1 champions Marseille add even more Iberian flair to their team, paying Atlético Madrid a combined £34million to sign striker Fernando Torres and winger Ricardo Quaresma. Les Phocéens also bring France goalkeeper Sebastien Frey back home, as he ends his 13-year stay at Parma with just a single trophy - the 2013 Coppa Italia. Former Italy and Roma captain Francesco Totti retires aged 37, having finished his playing career in Germany with 1.FC Köln. Ex-France striker David Trezeguet also calls it quits at 1860 München, though he'll never stop reminding Totti about Euro 2000. Ex-England boss Kevin Keegan retires from management after 13 years in the Scottish leagues with Elgin City. IN OTHER NEWS... Juan Carlos I - who had been King of Spain since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 - abdicates the throne at the age of 76. He is succeeded by his only son, who is crowned King Felipe VI. Barack Obama considers taking military action against the Islamic State jihadist group, who begin an offensive through northern Iraq and attempt to overthrow the country’s government. The United States still have troops in Afghanistan, by the way. Comedian and actor Rik Mayall suffers a heart attack after a morning jog and dies suddenly, aged just 56. Mayall was a pioneer of British alternative comedy in the 1980s, appearing on “The Young Ones”, “Filthy Rich & Catflap” and “Bottom” alongside his regular screen partner Ade Edmondson. LeBron James and the Miami Heat bid for a third consecutive NBA championship, as they meet San Antonio Spurs in a repeat of the 2013 NBA Finals. This time, the tables are turned when Kawhi Leonard inspires San Antonio to a 4-1 series win. A sports team called Spurs that actually wins championships - how novel!
  7. CFuller

    25 Years

    JUNE 2014 A week after leading Fulham to victory in the Division 1 play-offs, my status as the Premiership's newest manager was confirmed with a new, long-term contract. Chairman Richard Bailey was delighted enough to double my salary too! I wouldn't be the only Cottager to get a pay rise. Winger Wayne Cable and top scorer Peter Devlin had already signed new and improved contracts, and they were soon followed by centre-back Peter Mitchell and captain Florian Schneider. Left-back Arnar Guðmundsson extended his contract until 2020, though his salary remained at £15,000 per week. And here's something you probably couldn't have foreseen back in October - even John Forde signed a new contract. The excellent Irish goalkeeper was a little reluctant to renew his contract after our previous bust-ups, but he eventually agreed to a new deal that'll earn him £20,000 per week for the next six years. He's now overtaken Cable as our second highest-paid player behind Alan Stewart, but that just shows how important I feel John is to this team. Sadly, after only playing 19 games in the past two seasons, there would be no new contract for Jerel Ifil... at least not at Fulham. The injury-prone centre-back ended his three-year stay at Craven Cottage to complete a £500,000 transfer to Division 2 runners-up Bristol City, who will be back in Division 1 next season. I hope Jerel has better luck there than he did with us. Christian Weber won't be going up to the Premiership with us either. After just one year at Fulham, the Austrian holding midfielder will in fact be dropping down to Division 2! Despite being a decent signing on the pitch, Weber had a rather strained relationship with me off it, so I reluctantly agreed to let him join newly-relegated West Brom for £1.7million. Reserve duo Jamie Davey and Stephen Richardson will also be in the third tier next season, as they respectively joined Darlington and Rotherham on free transfers. Veteran defender Markus Heikkinen was released at the end of his two-year deal and is now considering retirement. And despite enjoying a brilliant season at centre-back, Clint Hill decided that winning the Playoff Final at Wembley was the perfect way to bow out. At the age of 35, Hill announced his retirement from professional football, ending a 17-year career that saw him make 586 league appearances across seven different clubs. Thank you for your service, Clint. We also bade farewell to 30-year-old striker Paul Hayes, who returned to Everton at the end of his loan spell. Though the 11 goals he scored in his 15 appearances were undoubtedly vital to us securing a play-off place, I doubt I'll be buying him permanently. Then again, Devlin originally joined Fulham as a loanee - and he's just been named the Fans' Player of the Year for a second season in a row! So don't rule out a similar comeback for Hayes just yet... Four Fulham youngsters returned to the club after spending time out on loan in the Conference. Forward Douglas McNeil had a great time at Slough, getting 12 goals and 11 assists, while defensive midfielder Chris McDonald was also excellent for Maidenhead. Sadly, defender Seán Lynch wasn't quite consistent enough to inspire Cheltenham to promotion, and Craig Price literally could not save Farnborough from relegation. In the backroom, we parted with coach Jon Goodman - who wished to spend more time on his acting career - and scout Martin Ling. I replaced them with a couple of familiar faces from my previous clubs. Technical coach Andy Peake came in from Kidderminster, while former Dagenham right-back Michael Walsh joined our scouting team after working with the Greek club Panachaiki for three years. And now we get to what you've been waiting for - the new signings! Of course, getting into the Premiership meant a huge influx in TV revenue and season ticket sales, and so the board allowed me to invest up to £18million into the squad! If we were to stay in the top flight, I would need to invest that wisely. Naturally, I kicked off our spending spree with a free transfer. 33-year-old South Africa stopper Aaron Mokoena will add plenty of grit, intelligence and strength to the centre of our defence - not to mention a vast amount of Premiership experience - following his arrival from Everton. He has also previously played for Ipswich. Daniel Johnson is another new addition to our backline, arriving from Nottingham Forest for £2.5million. Though we beat his Forest side 3-0 in the Playoff Final, I was very impressed with the 26-year-old's man-marking and tackling. Getting a big move to the Premiership must have seemed unthinkable for Johnson 12 months ago, when he was playing part-time for Leigh RMI after being released by his hometown club Darlington! Mokoena and Johnson are joined by a couple of international left-backs. First up is the energetic and selfless left-back Erwin Maas, whom we poached from Eredivisie side Sparta for £2.7million. The 24-year-old made his Holland debut earlier this year and is currently in Scandinavia as part of their World Cup squad. On the other side of our defence, we've been boosted by the arrival of England right-back Nicky Hunt, who cost us £2.2million from Bolton. The 30-year-old is a calm and reliable presence at the back, with his excellent decision-making and passing skills catching the eye in particular. Hunt has won 19 caps for England since his debut in 2011, though he wasn't selected for the World Cup. Don't worry - I've not forgotten about our attack! Though I'm confident that our current crop of attacking midfielders and forwards can perform in the Premiership, I am looking for another centre-forward to be Devlin's backup. There's a striker in South Africa that I really like the look of, and we're hoping to get him a work permit next month. Thinking further ahead, we brought in the explosive young forward Ian Donaghy from Cambridge United for £250,000. At the tender age of 17, the Northern Irish prodigy has already played in 80 Football League matches for Cambridge, scoring 28 goals. Ian is probably not ready for regular Premiership football, so he'll start off in our reserve team before maybe going out on loan next year. We also signed a 17-year-old Scottish left-winger called Brian Lindsay, who looks pretty quick and skilful. Lindsay's arrival means we now have nine Scots on our books - four in the first-team, and five in the reserves. And coming straight from our youth team is a new midfielder - 16-year-old set-piece specialist Ivan Lynch. And no, he isn't related to Seán Lynch, who also emerged from our academy a few years ago. While Seán is Irish through and through, Ivan is a local boy whose mum is half-Croatian. With plenty of money still in the bank, I'm sure there'll be more signings before the big kick-off. Our first game back in the Premiership - and my first ever match as a top-flight manager - will be at Elland Road against former champions Leeds on 16 August. Four days later, we will play our first home game of the season against... Arsenal! I can't wait!
  8. This thread has long run its course, and SI really should have nipped it in the bud a long time ago. It really should have been closed after Santy and Rashidi explained very clearly that it doesn't happen in everyone's saves, and that player-controlled goalkeepers can overperform too. But as ever, it's an arrogant and very vocal minority who insist that their experience of the game screwing them over is the same as everyone else's. What we have here is a bunch of self-entitled whining crybabies who will not take any responsibility for their decisions, and will literally blame SI and FM for every bad thing that happens in their saves. They WILL NOT accept the fact - which has NEVER been disproven - that the ME cannot tell the difference between AI and human. They WILL NOT consider the possibility that it might be their tactics leaving their defences vulnerable. They WILL NOT bother to understand what "expected goals" really means. It's NOT how many goals a team should have scored in a game. It's one thing that they will stick their fingers in their ears going "la la la I'm not listening la la la". But when their language turns into passive aggression towards the developers, and they get hostile towards any person who even dares to counter their arguments... that's not acceptable. That should not be acceptable on these forums. But it appears that in 2024, abusive behaviour towards developers and other users isn't just tolerated on the SI Community - it's actively encouraged. And if this is the road SI and their (ahem) moderators are happy to go down, then it's not a community I want to be involved in anymore. For the record, I did have problems with underperforming goalkeepers on my last FM24 save - with a team that was comfortably the best in the Polish 4th division. It wasn't that extreme (our shot conversion rate was actually higher than our opponents') but I was worried enough that I sought advice on the tactics forum. Our struggles were not because my tactics were too aggressive - if anything, I was perhaps too conservative. Their advice helped, but not enough. I gave up on FM24, just as I'm about to give up on this toxic SI community.
  9. CFuller

    25 Years

    FULHAM PLAYER STATISTICS (2013/2014) Goalkeepers Apps Con Asts Yel Red MoM Av R ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Forde, John 46 45 0 0 0 2 7.46 1 Hudson, Wayne 7 7 0 0 0 0 7.14 Outfield Players Apps Gls Asts Yel Red MoM Av R ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 21 Cable, Wayne 31 (9) 5 7 0 0 2 7.13 8 Cooke, Daniel 25 (11) 3 5 1 0 1 6.89 9 Devlin, Peter 43 (9) 31 11 2 0 11 7.79 * Disler, Adrian 9 (5) 1 1 0 0 1 6.93 * Edwards, Graham 2 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 6.75 26 Friberg, Thomas 23 (10) 0 1 3 0 0 7.18 2 Gibson, Grant 36 (3) 2 2 0 0 0 6.97 15 Guðmundsson, Arnar 41 (2) 1 8 3 1 1 7.23 11 Hall, Jordan 15 (9) 5 4 0 0 1 7.04 20 Hayes, Paul 10 (5) 11 1 0 0 3 7.60 4 Heikkinen, Markus 3 (9) 0 0 0 0 0 6.92 17 Hill, Clint 46 (1) 2 0 11 1 2 7.64 28 Hogg, Gary 0 (4) 0 0 0 0 0 6.50 5 Ifil, Jerel 9 2 0 2 0 0 7.11 7 Iversen, Atle 10 (13) 3 1 2 0 0 6.65 * Magnusson, Halldór 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 7.00 39 Márquez, José Luis 0 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 6.00 29 McIntyre, Derek 11 (12) 2 3 0 0 0 6.78 12 Mitchell, Peter 43 (3) 2 2 2 0 5 7.22 19 Numme, Henning 31 (12) 2 6 2 0 1 7.05 36 Ryan, Colm 0 (5) 0 0 0 0 0 6.40 6 Schneider, Florian 42 (2) 5 6 12 1 2 7.14 18 Scott, Greg 20 (1) 6 6 2 0 2 7.52 3 Simpson, Terry 12 (9) 0 0 3 0 1 6.71 10 Stewart, Alan 38 (2) 10 9 2 1 3 7.50 37 Sturridge, Phil 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 7.00 14 Weber, Christian 30 (12) 1 5 6 0 0 7.07 * [Player not currently at club]
  10. CFuller

    25 Years

    DIVISION 1 TABLE (End of 2013/2014 season) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Preston 46 13 6 4 47 33 15 5 3 37 23 95 2nd P Charlton 46 17 3 3 46 22 10 7 6 41 28 91 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd P Fulham 46 14 5 4 42 17 11 7 5 43 29 87 4th Nottm Forest 46 15 5 3 45 16 10 3 10 34 33 83 5th Aston Villa 46 15 5 3 40 13 8 4 11 27 31 78 6th Norwich 46 14 3 6 53 34 10 2 11 38 41 77 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7th West Ham 46 14 4 5 30 15 7 9 7 27 23 76 8th Wolves 46 15 4 4 59 34 7 5 11 33 44 75 9th Man City 46 12 6 5 50 33 8 5 10 43 49 71 10th Birmingham 46 11 6 6 40 23 7 8 8 29 36 68 11th Grimsby 46 14 7 2 39 21 4 6 13 25 34 67 12th Sunderland 46 11 5 7 32 25 7 7 9 37 46 66 13th Huddersfield 46 13 5 5 43 30 4 8 11 32 46 64 14th Gillingham 46 14 5 4 52 28 2 9 12 27 41 62 15th Reading 46 13 3 7 43 26 4 5 14 28 42 59 16th Macclesfield 46 11 5 7 40 33 4 5 14 20 42 55 17th Bradford 46 8 7 8 31 28 5 7 11 19 30 53 18th Carlisle 46 12 4 7 42 34 4 1 18 28 60 53 19th Oldham 46 10 4 9 41 40 3 6 14 24 48 49 20th Rochdale 46 9 4 10 40 39 4 4 15 24 48 47 21st Coventry 46 11 3 9 37 42 3 2 18 24 59 47 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 22nd R W.B.A. 46 8 6 9 32 37 5 1 17 21 44 46 23rd R Tottenham 46 6 10 7 36 38 3 4 16 23 55 41 24th R Chesterfield 46 6 6 11 35 42 0 1 22 19 63 25 ELSEWHERE IN FOOTBALL... Chelsea are confirmed as Premiership champions with two games to spare, as Cristiano Ronaldo finishes the season on 33 league goals - and 55 in all competitions. Burnley finish runners-up and will make their Champions League debut next season alongside 3rd-placed Crewe. Phil Neville's Middlesbrough are also celebrating, as penalties from Shola Ameobi and Alexander Farnerud clinch their second FA Cup at the expense of Everton. Chelsea and Wolfsburg battle it out at Wembley in their maiden Champions League Finals, after overcoming first-leg deficits to beat Lazio and VfB Stuttgart respectively in the Semi Finals. Titus Bramble's 3rd-minute opener for the Blues is quickly cancelled out by Duaij Naser Abdulla, but further strikes from Franck Ribéry and Nihat secure Chelsea a 3-1 win - making them the first London club to lift the European Cup. Newcastle and Stoke are relegated from the Premiership on the final day, following an awful Notts County team who scored a record-low 15 goals. Mainz fare even worse in the Bundesliga and finish with just SEVEN points... which is at least one more than they managed in 2008/2009. VfB Stuttgart regain the German title by winning their final four games, including a 6-1 demolition at Bayern München in which Søren Larsen scores FIVE goals! Barcelona finish 19 points clear of surprise La Liga runners-up Levante, as they join Chelsea in completing a memorable treble. Captain Mikel Arteta's 32nd-minute strike wins them the UEFA Cup in Copenhagen against Porto, before an extra-time strike by Lionel Messi secures the Copa del Rey against Alavés. After Celtic storm to their first Scottish Premier League title since 2010, manager Dermot Keely is poached by Leeds. Bhoys fans are shocked when Keely's successor at Parkhead is unveiled as ex-Rangers chief Alex McLeish... who was sacked by Leeds last month! Brian Little takes the reins at Rangers following Rafa Benítez's defection to Zaragoza. IN OTHER NEWS... Dutch country singers and Polish milkmaids take to the stage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen... but Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst rises like a phoenix to defeat them all. Conchita's win is Austria's first at Eurovision since 1966, ending 48 years of hurt. Is that a positive omen for England at the World Cup? Rahul Gandhi - son of Rajiv, and grandson of Indira - is defeated in his bid to become the next Prime Minister of India. The general election is won by Narendra Modi - a right-wing Hindu nationalist. Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson retires from rugby union in style. The 2003 World Cup winner scores 11 points as his French club Toulon defeats Saracens 23-6 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to lift the Heineken Cup - union's equivalent of the Champions League.
  11. CFuller

    25 Years

    MAY 2014 Back in May 2006, my Dagenham & Redbridge faced off against Port Vale in a promotion decider on the final day of the Division 2 season. The Daggers won 2-1 and got an automatic ticket to Division 1 - one of my biggest achievements in management so far. Eight years on, that momentous win over the Valiants is now sadly a distant memory for the Daggers, who have just been relegated to Division 3. But incredibly, I had found myself in almost the same position with my current club Fulham. The 2013/2014 Division 1 season reached its big climax at The Valley, where my Cottagers entertained Geraint Williams' Charlton for the right to join league champions Preston in the Premiership next season. Charlton were one point clear and only needed a draw to secure automatic promotion. Fulham needed to win. As the bookmakers saw it, this match was far too close to call. Charlton had won five of their last six matches, but we were unbeaten in our last 13. The Addicks had the best home record in the division, but we had the second-best away record. Only three teams had scored more goals than Charlton, but only two had conceded fewer than us. If the hosts did have the edge in one department, it was that they had virtually their whole squad to choose from - only their right-back James Austin was injured. By contrast, we were missing three regulars - striker Paul Hayes and playmaker Greg Scott were injured for the season, and left-back Arnar Guðmundsson was starting a three-match ban. All Fulham eyes were once again on Peter Devlin, who had netted 27 league goals this season and was almost certain to finish as Division 1's top scorer for a second season in a row. Could our Irish hero fire us back into the top tier of English football... or would we have to battle through the play-offs? 4 MAY 2014: Charlton Athletic vs Fulham Wayne Cable and Peter Devlin both posed a major threat to the Charlton defence in the opening stages. After just three minutes, Devlin delivered an excellent right-wing cross to the near post, which Cable unluckily headed the ball against. Four minutes later, though, the pair had rather better luck from their next attack. Cable's weighted pass played Devlin through on goal, and though Addicks goalkeeper Shaun Goodall managed to stop the first shot, he couldn't keep out the rebound. Would Peter's 29th goal of the season be the one that secured us automatic promotion to the Premiership? No, it wasn't. Don't be silly. In the 18th minute, Charlton midfielder Scott Douglas had a header saved by John Forde. The loose ball fell to Ross Gallacher, but the Addicks' leading scorer couldn't find the space to shoot, so he instead laid it back to Douglas, who powered past a despairing Forde. 1-1. After a lull in proceedings, the first half ended with a flurry of Charlton attacks. The hosts got plenty of joy down the flanks, where our full-backs Terry Simpson and Thomas Friberg were both struggling. In front of goal, however, they lacked the killer touch as several Forde saves kept us level at the break. Of course, a 1-1 draw would not be enough for us, so we had to go on the attack in the second half. That was easier said than done, as Charlton's tough-tackling centre-back Paul Davis was in excellent form. In the 47th minute, Davis made a vital interception to stop Cable from flicking Alan Stewart's free-kick on to Peter Mitchell, who was wide open in the Athletic box. Davis' partner at the heart of the Charlton defence was also a formidable force. In the 58th minute, Damien Delaney charged forward to beat our defenders to a corner delivery from winger Kevin Hughes - and blast in his sixth goal of the season! Charlton were 2-1 up, which meant we now needed TWO more goals to go up automatically! As we chased those two goals, I decided to throw half-time substitute Derek McIntyre up front alongside Devlin. Sadly, the 19-year-old didn't get a sniff at goal before he went down clutching his thigh. The sub had to be subbed off, and Atle Iversen came on in a final act of desperation. It wasn't to be, however, as we barely threatened Charlton in the closing stages. Clint Hill had our best chance after 84 minutes, when the centre-back's header from Cable's corner grazed the crossbar. At the other end, Addicks duo Gareth Jeffries and striker Richard May also hit the woodwork in their attempts to kill the game off. They needn't have worried, as the final whistle sent them - and over 20,000 home fans - into ecstasy. Charlton's eight-year sabbatical from the Premiership was over, but our nine-year absence would continue... hopefully for only a few more weeks. Charlton Athletic - 2 (Douglas 18, Delaney 58) Fulham - 1 (Devlin 7) Division 1, Attendance 26,487 - POSITIONS: Charlton 2nd, Fulham 3rd FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Friberg, Mitchell, Hill, Simpson (Hogg); Numme, Schneider; Stewart, Cable, Hall (McIntyre (Iversen)); Devlin. Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Preston 46 13 6 4 47 33 15 5 3 37 23 95 2nd P Charlton 46 17 3 3 46 22 10 7 6 41 28 91 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Pl Fulham 46 14 5 4 42 17 11 7 5 43 29 87 4th Pl Nottm Forest 46 15 5 3 45 16 10 3 10 34 33 83 5th Pl Aston Villa 46 15 5 3 40 13 8 4 11 27 31 78 6th Pl Norwich 46 14 3 6 53 34 10 2 11 38 41 77 We had blown it. Automatic promotion would have been ours if we had just held our nerve at The Valley... or even in any of the three games before this. But we couldn't wallow in self-pity or let our heads drop. We still had one more chance to go up through the play-offs - my final chance to prove that I could take this great club back into the promised land. The Playoff Semi Finals pitted us against Norwich, who won four of their final six games to sneak through in 6th place - and who almost defeated us as well during that run-in! Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa would meet in the other Semi after finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Unlike in Divisions 2 and 3, where the lower-ranked teams always play at home in the first leg, the order of the Division 1 playoff legs is determined randomly. That meant that despite being the higher seeds, we would host Norwich in the first leg on 10 May, putting us under even more pressure to get a result before heading to Carrow Road four days later. Injured forward Derek McIntyre joined Guðmundsson, Scott and Hayes on the list of absentees, but all our other stars were thankfully available. 10 MAY 2014: Fulham vs Norwich City The game's first talking point arose after just two minutes. Fulham defender Peter Mitchell got a firm tackle in from behind to dispossess Norwich forward Stefan Jónsson in the penalty area. Jónsson went to ground, but the referee waved away City's penalty appeals. The Canaries were feeling even more annoyed by the 13th minute. Peter Devlin dribbled skilfully past three Norwich defenders, and then rounded off a superb solo goal with an ice-cool low finish. The Irish beast had finally hit the 30-goal milestone in this campaign, having fallen just one goal short last season! An ambitious overhead kick from Alan Stewart went high over the bar in the 17th minute, but the super Scot made a more significant impact when we next attacked in the 33rd. Stewart intercepted a header from Norwich midfielder Lee Brown deep in their half, and he then swung in a right-wing cross that Wayne Cable nodded over the line for a 2-0 lead! Norwich pushed hard to peg at least one goal back before the break, only to be met by some stubborn Fulham resistance. This continued not long after the break, as Forde's fingertips kept out a dangerous header from Brown. The 28-year-old midfielder might have netted twice against us last month, but he wasn't having any luck this time around. Canaries captain Darren Kelly was also struggling in front of goal. Kelly had three shots at goal, but two missed the target completely, and the other one after 75 minutes cannoned off the bar before falling into Forde's hands. Forde was then called into action twice more over the next minute, brilliantly denying Wales midfielder Mark Lloyd and substitute defender Billy Nicol. Thanks once again to our rock-solid defence, we preserved our clean sheet and took a decent lead into the second leg. Mind you, we did finish the first leg a man light, as substitute forward Jordan Hall came off injured just moments after young midfielder Colm Ryan had replaced Florian Schneider as our final sub. Fulham - 2 (Devlin 13, Cable 33) Norwich City - 0 Division 1 Playoff Semi Final Leg 1, Attendance 27,580 FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Gibson, Mitchell, Hill, Simpson; Numme, Schneider (Ryan); Stewart (Iversen), Cable, Cooke (Hall); Devlin. It was advantage Fulham after a nervy first leg, but Jordan Hall missed the return fixture in Norfolk after gashing his leg. Despite that, the 11 players who'd started for us at Craven Cottage all kept their places at Carrow Road four days later. So... could we now finish off the Canaries and book a season-defining date at Wembley? Or would my Fulham tenure end in one more horrific collapse? 14 MAY 2014: Norwich City vs Fulham All the onus was on Norwich to strike first, and they didn't waste much time before going on the offensive. Captain Darren Kelly had their first shot after eight minutes, but John Forde parried it behind. Kelly's strike partner Stefan Jónsson also came close to scoring from the subsequent corner, only being denied by a vital block from our left-back Terry Simpson. Meanwhile, Peter Devlin was determined to strengthen our lead. He tried a couple of ambitious shots from distance at around the quarter-hour mark, but neither of them got particularly close. Devlin also looked a yard slower than usual, as Norwich goalkeeper Dembo Touray easily beat him to claim Grant Gibson's right-wing cross in the 44th minute. After enduring more frustration in front of goal late in the first half, Norwich started getting more desperate in the second. Midfielder Lee Brown stretched hard to try and turn a through-ball past Forde in the 49th minute, but John once again showed his brilliance to tip the ball away. Tensions then started to boil over in the 62nd minute, after Devlin had a counter-attacking shot saved by Touray. City defender Richard Sinclair argued that Devlin had barged into him while running towards goal - and retaliated with a petulant kick at our striker! Despite our players' protests for a red card, the referee decided to issue Sinclair with only a yellow. From our perspective, Clint Hill and Florian Schneider also went into the book later on, following on from Simpson's caution just before half-time. Schneider in particular had a reputation for overstepping the mark - but this time, the captain led by example and kept himself on the pitch until full-time. Having created a bevy of scoring chances without success, the Canaries' wings fell off in tn the closing stages, and this Playoff Semi Final ended in a bit of an anti-climax. Not that I was complaining, mind! We had followed up an impressive home win with a hard-fought away draw... and we were now on our way to Wembley! Norwich City - 0 Fulham - 0 [Fulham win 2-0 on aggregate] Division 1 Playoff Semi Final Leg 2, Attendance 21,052 FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Gibson, Mitchell, Hill (Friberg), Simpson; Numme, Schneider; Stewart (Weber), Cable (Iversen), Cooke; Devlin. BOOKED: Simpson, Hill, Schneider. Job done. Just like in 2009, I was taking a team to a Playoff Final at Wembley - and just like with my Kidderminster team of five years ago, John Forde took a lot of the credit! Fulham were now just 90 minutes away from returning to the Premiership for the first time since 2005... and our opponents would be a team who had graced the top flight as recently as last season. Nottingham Forest had won the first leg of their play-off 2-0 at Aston Villa, before seeing out a 1-1 draw at the City Ground to join us at Wembley. Despite drawing a blank at Carrow Road, Peter Devlin had enjoyed the season of his life, producing 30 goals and 10 assists in 51 matches - with potentially more to come. The Irishman's excellent form was rewarded with a new four-year, £12,500-per-week contract, ensuring that he would stay at the Cottage for some time to come. There was also a new contract on the table for Wayne Cable. Having already made 109 Fulham appearances before his 20th birthday, the Welsh winger agreed to a long-term deal worth £17,500 per week. Only Alan Stewart on £22,500 per week was now earning more than Cable. Whether I would also sign a new deal at Fulham would hinge on the outcome of the Final. If we failed to win, my 184th match in charge of the Cottagers would also be my last. Remarkably, Nottingham Forest were already looking for a new manager by the time we crossed swords on Monday 26 May. Shortly after seeing off his former club Aston Villa, manager Brian Little agreed a deal to take over the vacant job at Rangers. The Forest board were so incensed that they sacked Little on the spot, with his assistant Ian Bowyer being placed in caretaker charge for the big day. The Tricky Trees were missing two of their biggest attacking threats. Teenage striker Brian Steer had picked up a shoulder injury in training, while the mercurial playmaker Tonton Zola Moukoko had been out since November after tearing his ACL. As far as we were concerned, we were still without Scott and Hayes, while Hall failed a late fitness test. However, I did make one change to the starting line-up that had seen us past Norwich, as Guðmundsson returned from suspension to replace the unfortunate Simpson at left-back. The man who'd scored Kidderminster's winning goal in their 2009 Playoff Final would have to watch this one from the sidelines. So here it was... the richest match in English football. By the end of it, either Fulham would be in the Premiership... or I would be out of work. 26 MAY 2014: Nottingham Forest vs Fulham During my pre-match team talk, I urged my players to attack from the first whistle and not allow Nottingham Forest any space to breathe. After just eight minutes, they responded with the perfect start. Captain Florian Schneider carved the Forest defence open with a through-ball to Peter Devlin, who curled a first-time cross to Daniel Cooke on the left wing. The ambipedal attacking midfielder skilfully controlled the ball with his left foot, then shimmied past a Forest defender before blasting it home with his right! 1-0 Fulham! From that point, Nottingham Forest struggled to get themselves back in the game. A promising move from captain Andy Reid in the 11th minute fizzled out when his low cross was intercepted by Cottagers defender Clint Hill. And despite having a team stuffed full of quality midfielders, none of them could get any service to lone striker Kent Clausen, who looked a forlorn presence for the first half-hour. Our opponents looked rudderless on the pitch... and things were even worse on it. Caretaker manager Ian Bowyer didn't seem to have a coherent gameplan or any confidence in his starting line-up, as he had already made two tactical substitutions by the 31st minute. He even replaced Clausen with veteran defender Mike Simpkins, leaving Forest without a single recognised striker! Unsurprisingly, we dominated the rest of the first period - and that dominance translated into a second goal just before the interval. Devlin won a free-kick 20 yards from goal after being tripped by Simpkins, who was booked for his troubles. Cottagers captain Florian Schneider had not been overflowing with confidence in recent weeks, but he still managed to float a lovely free-kick beyond goalkeeper Andreas Högström for a 2-0 lead! I'll admit it was surprising to see Högström in the Forest goal, rather than the more experienced and more established Matthew Ramsey. Even so, the 20-year-old Swede still looked worthy of gracing the Wembley turf. One particularly impressive save from a Devlin volley in the 59th minute showed Högström's desire to spare his team from utter humiliation. I use the word 'humiliation', as that must have been what the Forest fans were feeling. Their 'attackers' looked so utterly clueless that John Forde broke hardly any sweat in the Fulham goal. By contrast, Högström's jersey was virtually soaked come the 74th minute, when he produced another fantastic save to stop Alan Stewart adding a third and surely decisive goal to our tally. After 82 minutes, though, it really was all over. Schneider delivered another fantastic free-kick, from which Stewart cushioned a header to a criminally unmarked Peter Devlin. The Irishman lashed in the 31st and final goal of his best ever season, and Fulham had an insurmountable 3-0 lead! The army of Cottagers fans who'd made the short trip across west London could now start the party early. Just over nine minutes later, Fulham's nine-year wait to return to the top division was finally ended by the referee's final whistle! WE WERE GOING UP! Nottingham Forest - 0 Fulham - 3 (Cooke 8, Schneider 45, Devlin 82) Division 1 Playoff Final, Attendance 81,987 FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Gibson, Mitchell, Hill, Guðmundsson; Numme, Schneider; Stewart, Cable (Weber), Cooke (McIntyre); Devlin (Iversen). Wow. We did it. WE BLOODY DID IT!! You know just how much flak I've given this team over the last four years or so, but that was literally THE perfect performance. 10 shots on target, no shots allowed, 57% possession. We didn't just beat Nottingham Forest - we destroyed them! Patience had paid off. The rebuild had reaped the rewards. Fulham will be playing Premiership football in 2014/2015 - and I will be delighted to lead them there!
  12. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  13. CFuller

    25 Years

    DIVISION 1 TABLE (End of April 2014) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st C Preston 45 12 6 4 45 32 15 5 3 37 23 92 2nd Pl Charlton 45 16 3 3 44 21 10 7 6 41 28 88 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Pl Fulham 45 14 5 4 42 17 11 7 4 42 27 87 4th Pl Nottm Forest 45 14 5 3 43 16 10 3 10 34 33 80 5th Aston Villa 45 15 5 3 40 13 8 4 10 27 29 78 6th West Ham 45 14 4 5 30 15 7 8 7 27 23 75 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7th Wolves 45 15 4 4 59 34 7 5 10 32 42 75 8th Norwich 45 13 3 6 48 33 10 2 11 38 41 74 9th Man City 45 11 6 5 46 32 8 5 10 43 49 68 10th Sunderland 45 11 5 7 32 25 7 7 8 37 44 66 11th Birmingham 45 10 6 6 38 23 7 8 8 29 36 65 12th Grimsby 45 13 7 2 37 21 4 6 13 25 34 64 13th Huddersfield 45 13 5 5 43 30 4 8 10 31 44 64 14th Gillingham 45 14 5 4 52 28 2 8 12 25 39 61 15th Reading 45 13 2 7 43 26 4 5 14 28 42 58 16th Macclesfield 45 11 5 7 40 33 4 5 13 20 40 55 17th Carlisle 45 12 4 7 42 34 4 1 17 27 58 53 18th Bradford 45 7 7 8 29 27 5 7 11 19 30 50 19th Oldham 45 10 4 9 41 40 3 6 13 24 46 49 20th Coventry 45 11 3 9 37 42 3 2 17 23 54 47 21st Rochdale 45 9 3 10 38 37 4 4 15 24 48 46 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 22nd W.B.A. 45 7 6 9 30 36 5 1 17 21 44 43 23rd R Tottenham 45 6 10 7 36 38 3 4 15 22 51 41 24th R Chesterfield 45 5 6 11 33 42 0 1 22 19 63 22 ELSEWHERE IN FOOTBALL... Chelsea see off a brave Celtic team in the Champions League Semi Finals. They then move to the brink of retaining the Premiership when Cristiano Ronaldo's 51st goal this season secures a late 2-1 win over Southampton. However, their quadruple dreams are shattered in the FA Cup Semi Finals by Middlesbrough, whose 17-year-old striker David Robinson sends the Boro through to a Wembley date with Everton. Arsenal and Leeds will both miss out on Europe next season after slipping into the bottom half of the Premiership. Leeds' 2012 title-winning manager Alex McLeish is unceremoniously sacked by chairman Peter Ridsdale, who makes some frantic phone calls to his financial advisers. Lazio successfully defend the Serie A scudetto again, and move a step closer to doing likewise in the Champions League. A spirited 0-0 draw at Real Madrid follows a 2-0 home win and takes the Biancocelesti into a Semi Final with Chelsea. VfB Stuttgart and Wolfsburg will meet in the other Semi, as they battle past Marseille and Lille respectively. There are no shocks in the UEFA Cup Semi Finals. Two goals from Maxi López fire Barcelona to a 5-1 victory over Hibs, while Porto battle back from 3-2 down at Brøndby to win 5-3. After securing their fourth straight Primeira Liga title a few days later, Porto boss Pedro Reis gloats at his Sporting counterpart José Mourinho, "Who's the special one now?" It's business as usual across most of the major European leagues. Marseille stave off Monaco to retain the Ligue 1 title, PSV win their third Eredivisie in four years, and Barcelona ensure they will win La Liga once again by at least 15 points. At least Stuttgart's battle with Werder Bremen for the Bundesliga might go down to the final day... IN OTHER NEWS... Bob Geldof says he is "beyond pain" after his 25-year-old daughter Peaches is found dead at her home in Kent. An inquest finds that the tragic TV personality passed away after a heroin overdose, which was exactly how her mother Paula Yates died 14 years ago. The most famous streak in professional wrestling is over. After winning 21 consecutive matches at WWE's annual Wrestlemania showpiece since 1991, The Undertaker is finally beaten by Brock Lesnar at this year's event in New Orleans. Welcome, welcome, welcome! “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” - a new comedy talk show hosted by the British-born funnyman - makes its premiere on American network HBO. Donald Trump is very excited. Just over 20 years after Kurt Cobain’s death, Nirvana are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Other inductees include Peter Gabriel, who promises that his next album “I/O” will be released “very, very soon”.
  14. CFuller

    25 Years

    APRIL 2014 After three-and-a-half years, my project to get Fulham promoted to the Premiership was entering its closing stages. With just six matches remaining, the Cottagers were 2nd in the Division 1 table behind Preston. We were three points clear of Aston Villa and Charlton, five ahead of Wolves… and six ahead of Nottingham Forest. Below them, West Ham and Norwich were the only teams who had any real hope of gatecrashing the play-offs. For once, everything seemed to be in our favour. We were unbeaten in our last eight games, taking 22 points out of a possible 24. Our run-in also looked quite attractive on paper, even if each match got progressively tougher: 5 April: vs Bradford (H, 19th) 11 April: vs West Brom (A, 22nd) 14 April: vs Birmingham (H, 12th) 19 April: vs Norwich (A, 8th) 26 April: vs Manchester City (H, 10th) 4 May: vs Charlton (A, 4th) To secure a play-off place at worst, we only needed a maximum of eight points from those final games. But I did not agree to stay at Fulham for a fourth season just so we could sneak into the Premiership through the play-offs. I wanted us to win automatic promotion. The run-in began with what in theory should have been our easiest game. We had won our last five league matches at Craven Cottage, while Bradford had failed to win any of their last five matches on the road. The Bantams were also battling to avoid another relegation, just two years after falling out of the Premiership in humiliating fashion. After missing the whole of March with a groin injury, we welcomed Alan Stewart back to the Fulham team at right wing. However, we were without our captain Florian Schneider, who began a two-match ban after picking up too many yellow cards. Winger Wayne Cable and right-back Thomas Friberg were also absent through injury. 5 APRIL 2014: Fulham vs Bradford City Bradford's goalkeeper Andy Bryant had been in mediocre form… so naturally, he decided to produce his best performance of the season at Craven Cottage. The tone of this match was set in the first 20 minutes, when the former Everton man stopped a couple of excellent efforts from Peter Devlin and Alan Stewart - the first of TEN saves he would make. There was some controversy in the 24th minute. Bradford defender Danny Shittu had clearly wiped out Derek McIntyre with a crunching tackle, but the referee nonetheless allowed play to continue! Thankfully, another big decision did go in our favour in the 35th minute. Experienced forward Patrick Agyemang thought he had volleyed the Bantams into the lead against the run of play, but the referee's assistant had flagged him offside. Bryant made another incredible save to deny Stewart just before half-time, but Alan was determined to get his way shortly after the interval. On 55 minutes, Devlin dribbled into the City area and then played the ball through to Stewart, who finally made the breakthrough! Though Bryant's brilliance prevented us from scoring again, that single goal would be enough to take victory. The closest Bradford had come to equalising was in the 78th minute, when substitute Stephen McPhee's shot was dropped by John Forde, only for defender Peter Mitchell to hack it clear. Fulham - 1 (Stewart 55) Bradford City - 0 Division 1, Attendance 17,049 - POSITIONS: Fulham 2nd, Bradford 19th FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Gibson, Mitchell, Hill, Guðmundsson; Numme, Weber; Stewart, Scott (Ryan), McIntyre (Cooke); Devlin (Hayes). That might not have been the prettiest win, but we were now just one more away from securing a top-six finish... Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Pl Preston 41 11 4 4 39 28 15 4 3 37 23 86 2nd Fulham 41 14 3 4 40 15 10 6 4 38 24 81 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Charlton 41 14 3 3 39 20 9 6 6 37 27 78 4th Aston Villa 41 15 4 2 40 12 8 3 9 25 26 76 5th Wolves 41 15 2 4 55 30 7 5 8 31 37 73 6th Nottm Forest 41 13 4 3 39 14 9 2 10 31 31 72 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7th West Ham 41 13 3 5 27 13 6 7 7 23 21 67 8th Norwich 41 12 2 6 43 29 9 1 11 33 37 66 The PFA held its annual awards ceremony a week later. It was a night to remember for goalkeeper John Forde, defender Clint Hill and top scorer Peter Devlin, who were all named in the Division 1 Select XI. Nottingham Forest and Norwich were the only other clubs to have more than one player in the XI - but leaders Preston didn't have any! Next up was a Friday night to The Hawthorns, where we famously put six goals past West Brom last season. If we could batter the struggling Baggies again, we would be safely through to the play-offs. 11 APRIL 2014: West Bromwich Albion vs Fulham Just like in that 6-1 demolition last year, Stefanos Kotsolis was keeping goal for West Brom. The experienced Greek had a rather less stressful day this time around, as we mustered just the five shots on target. The first of them - from Peter Devlin in the 4th minute - was confidently pushed away. It was a case of second time lucky for the Cottagers. Alan Stewart broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute, heading in Greg Scott's cross to notch up his 10th goal of the season. Having lost their playmaker John Newton to a knee injury just moments before that goal, the odds were now well and truly stacked against Albion. We had three more shots in the second half - two from Devlin, and one from substitute Daniel Cooke - but Kotsolis resisted them all. Once again, though, one goal was all we needed. John Forde's only save was from a deflected Zatyiah Knight free-kick in the 51st minute. Our only other scare came seven minutes from the end, when young Baggies midfielder Bradley Howe headed against the woodwork. West Bromwich Albion - 0 Fulham - 1 (Stewart 33) Division 1, Attendance 26,227 - POSITIONS: West Brom 21st, Fulham 2nd FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Gibson, Mitchell, Hill, Guðmundsson; Numme, Weber (Heikkinen); Stewart, Scott (Cooke), Hall (Hayes); Devlin. BOOKED: Hill. That was the first objective completed. Now we could everything into securing automatic promotion. Of course, it would help a lot if the teams below us slipped up over the weekend... Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Pl Preston 42 12 4 4 42 29 15 4 3 37 23 89 2nd Pl Fulham 42 14 3 4 40 15 11 6 4 39 24 84 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Charlton 42 15 3 3 41 21 9 6 6 37 27 81 4th Aston Villa 42 15 4 2 40 12 8 3 10 26 28 76 5th Nottm Forest 42 14 4 3 42 15 9 2 10 31 31 75 6th Wolves 42 15 2 4 55 30 7 5 9 32 39 73 Charlton didn't. It looked like they were the only team who could realistically bump us out of the top two. It could well all come down to that final-day showdown at The Valley... Our next home game was on Easter Monday against our bogey team Birmingham, who needed a win to have any chance of staying in the play-off hunt. Schneider and Cable were both back in the Fulham starting line-up, while Paul Hayes went up front at the expense of Devlin. 14 APRIL 2014: Fulham vs Birmingham City I'm afraid was a day to forget for Paul Hayes. After having two shots saved in the first 19 minutes, the 30-year-old loanee went down with what looked like a serious knee injury. Hayes was stretchered off, and Devlin was given another chance to rediscover his scoring touch. It wasn't a great afternoon for Devlin either, as a rock-solid Birmingham defence didn't even let him have a sniff at goal. At the other end, the Blues' Italian hotshot Fabio Campese had a couple of chances to put them ahead before the break. One of them forced John Forde into an awkward save, but Peter Mitchell once again defended superbly to spare his colleague's blushes. Mitchell wasn't going to let us down... but after 59 minutes, another of our back four did. Our usually placid left-back Arnar Guðmundsson was the last person I expected to pick up a red card, so I had no idea what he was thinking when he lunged two-footed on Birmingham's teenage winger Douglas Ryan. Arnar's first career red card left us having to play the final half-hour with only 10 men. We switched our focus from chasing victory to avoiding defeat, with attacking midfielder Greg Scott coming off so that Terry Simpson could fill the left-back vacancy. The plan worked, as we battled hard to secure a 0-0 draw - and Simpson defended so well during his half-hour cameo that he was named 'man of the match'! Fulham - 0 Birmingham City - 0 Division 1, Attendance 16,861 - POSITIONS: Fulham 2nd, Birmingham 11th FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Gibson, Mitchell, Hill, Guðmundsson; Schneider, Weber (Numme); Stewart, Scott (Simpson), Cable; Hayes (Devlin). BOOKED: Simpson. SENT OFF: Guðmundsson. And so the great Fulham collapse begins. Hayes' knee injury was worse than first feared, and it was unlikely he would play for us again. As for Arnar Guðmundsson, his three-match ban ruled him out of our potential promotion decider at The Valley, as well as both legs of a potential play-off Semi Final. Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Pl Preston 43 12 5 4 43 30 15 4 3 37 23 90 2nd Pl Fulham 43 14 4 4 40 15 11 6 4 39 24 85 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Pl Charlton 43 15 3 3 41 21 10 6 6 40 27 84 4th Nottm Forest 43 14 4 3 42 15 10 2 10 33 32 78 5th Aston Villa 43 15 4 3 40 13 8 3 10 26 28 76 6th Wolves 43 15 3 4 58 33 7 5 9 32 39 74 And Charlton won 3-0 at Oldham. The Addicks were now just one point behind us. Guðmundsson's moment of madness did impress at least one person, as Southampton made an offer worth £2.1million for the Icelandic left-back later in the week. As annoyed as I was with Arnar, he was still an important player in my eyes, so I told Mark Hughes to spark off... or words to that effect. We then moved on to Norwich, facing a Canaries team who were still battling hard to gatecrash the play-off places. They had a pretty mean attack, so if anyone could disrupt our run of clean sheets, it would probably be them. 19 APRIL 2014: Norwich City vs Fulham After a bright start to proceedings, we opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Peter Devlin was back on target after five goalless games in a row, heading in a well-taken free-kick from captain Florian Schneider. Our early lead would only last for a dozen minutes. The Canaries were singing again when midfielder Lee Brown struck a sweet left-footed volley from a magnificent Stefan Jónsson cross. That left the match nicely poised heading into the second half... ...and then Norwich struck again. Their first goal had come from the left side of their midfield, but the second came from the right. Former Newcastle midfielder Mark Lloyd - already an established Wales international at only 20 years old - played a first-time ball to experienced winger Danny Pugh, who powered City into a 2-1 lead. Having witnessed one moment of brilliance from a Welsh youngster, the Carrow Road crowd saw another in the 69th minute. Fulham wonderkid Wayne Cable showed why he was once dubbed 'the next Ryan Giggs' with an incredible solo goal, dribbling past several Canaries before firing into the top corner... and with his 'weaker' right foot too! The scores were level once again! But after 80 minutes, this incredible match saw yet another momentum shift. Norwich captain Darren Kelly won a corner after his fierce strike was pushed behind by John Forde. We struggled to clear the danger after left-back Steven Fenwick delivered the set-piece, and within moments, Brown had restored City's lead with his second goal of the night. That looked to have secured Norwich all three points... until a Fulham substitute served up the game's third and final equaliser in the dying moments. Jordan Hall might not have featured all that often lately, but the 30-year-old winger showed great trickery to nutmeg Pugh before powering home for 3-3! In fact, there was still just enough injury time for us to try and win the game! A handball from Pugh gave us a free-kick in a promising free-kick, but Florian Schneider's effort was tipped behind by Canaries keeper Dembo Touray. The referee then blew his final whistle, ending a breathtaking six-goal thriller! Norwich City - 3 (Brown 23,80, Pugh 46) Fulham - 3 (Devlin 11, Cable 69, Hall 90) Division 1, Attendance 20,876 - POSITIONS: Norwich 8th, Fulham 3rd FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Gibson, Mitchell, Hill, Simpson (Guðmundsson); Schneider, Weber (Numme); Stewart, Cable, Cooke (Hall); Devlin. Despite Jordan Hall's late equaliser, there were lots of miserable faces in the away dressing room at full-time - and with good reason. Charlton had continued their relentless form with a fifth straight win, putting three goals past Macclesfield without replay. And that meant... Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Pl Preston 44 12 6 4 45 32 15 4 3 37 23 91 2nd Pl Charlton 44 16 3 3 44 21 10 6 6 40 27 87 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Pl Fulham 44 14 4 4 40 15 11 7 4 42 27 86 4th Nottm Forest 44 14 5 3 43 16 10 2 10 33 32 79 ...Charlton had leapfrogged us into 2nd place by one point. Now there really was a whole bunch of pressure on our penultimate game against Manchester City. A win or even a draw would take this promotion battle all the way to The Valley... but defeat would potentially give Charlton the chance to secure promotion by beating West Ham. Before that, we had another midweek international break. Guðmundsson (Iceland) and Stewart (Scotland) were the only Cottagers to add to their senior caps, though Peter Mitchell did make his Scotland B debut, and winger Atle Iversen joined Henning Numme in the Norway Under-21s squad. Then Saturday came, and Craven Cottage opened its doors for what would hopefully be the last time this season. Expectations were high against Sam Allardyce's Citizens, who could no longer win promotion despite being the second-highest scorers in the division. For most of the season, Devlin had been in a personal duel with City's Darren Reid for the Division 1 Golden Boot. Devlin was now up to 28 league goals - even with that three-month drought - but Reid was 'only' on 24 after also hitting a second-half slump. Reid had missed our previous meeting at Maine Road due to injury, but he was fit to play in this one. 26 APRIL 2014: Fulham vs Manchester City In this long-awaited battle between Devlin and Reid, the first great scoring opportunity fell to... Wayne Cable. The Welsh starlet - now back on the left wing after playing in attacking midfield at Norwich - was only denied a 6th-minute opener when his excellent shot hit the crossbar. While we were battling for an opener, we got word that Robert Earnshaw's 9th-minute penalty had given West Ham an early 1-0 lead against Charlton. We were now set to go above the Addicks on goal difference - but if we could break the deadlock, we would go two points ahead. After 33 minutes, the deadlock was indeed broken at Craven Cottage... by Manchester City. A clumsy foul from Florian Schneider copped our captain a yellow card and gave away a dangerous free-kick, which German playmaker Andreas Eller swung in for Darren Reid to head home his 25th league goal this season. The half-time scoreline remained at Reid 1 Devlin 0, as Peter Devlin put a swerving effort well over the crossbar in the 41st minute. By the time we returned to the dressing room, Tranquillo Barnetta had scored an equaliser for Charlton at West Ham. If the Addicks could score again in the second half, and if we didn't get back on terms in our game, the promotion race would be all over. Three minutes after the break, it went from bad to worse. John Forde might have done well to push behind a strike from City wing-back Tommy Wirtanen, but he could not keep out Eller's header from the subsequent Alan Shields corner. We were now 2-0 behind, and our fans in west London were hoping for our claret friends in east London to do us a favour. With Charlton in ruthless form, we did not expect West Ham to hold onto a draw at Upton Park. We had to do anything we could to peg City back - so in the 51st minute, our centre-backs decided to turn into centre-forwards. Clint Hill's fierce left-footed strike was blocked by a Citizens defender, but Peter Mitchell thundered in the rebound to give us fresh hope. But after 62 minutes, disaster struck. A crunching tackle had left Greg Scott writhing in agony and unable to continue. Atle Iversen came on to replace our stricken playmaker - and while I was at it, I brought on young holding midfielder Colm Ryan to replace Schneider, with Forde taking over the captaincy. Five minutes after that setback, we were back on the offensive. Wayne Cable tried an ambitious volley from out wide, which left City goalkeeper Michael Hill having to make a difficult save. The Citizens defence were slow to react... but Iversen wasn't. His vicious strike had pulled us level from 2-0 down! Unfortunately, that was as far as our comeback got. Devlin didn't get another sniff at goal, though he did get a yellow card in the 68th minute for a mistimed challenge on visiting midfielder Derek Boateng. Reid was unable to restore City's lead either, and so another fierce contest ended in a draw. Fulham - 2 (Mitchell 51, Iversen 67) Manchester City - 2 (Reid 33, Eller 48) Division 1, Attendance 19,133 - POSITIONS: Fulham 3rd, Man City 9th FULHAM LINE-UP (4-2-3-1): Forde; Friberg, Mitchell, Hill, Guðmundsson; Numme, Schneider (Ryan); Stewart, Scott (Iversen), Cable (Hall); Devlin. BOOKED: Schneider, Hill, Devlin. So there we have it. Our final match of the season will be a promotion decider. Charlton drew 1-1 at West Ham, but it wouldn't have mattered if they'd won, as the scenario would still have been the same. Charlton only need a draw at home to go straight up alongside Division 1 champions Preston. Only an away win will be enough for Fulham, otherwise we're heading into the play-offs. Naturally, there was a sense of disappointment that we'd only drawn our last three games, especially considering that we had chances to win them. If we had, we would have already secured automatic promotion... but at least our fate was still in our own hands. Now... about Greg Scott's injury. He's only gone and torn a groin muscle. We will head into the most important game(s) of our season without one of our most important creators.
  15. CFuller

    25 Years

    DIVISION 1 TABLE (End of March 2014) Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Preston 40 11 4 4 39 28 14 4 3 34 21 83 2nd Fulham 40 13 3 4 39 15 10 6 4 38 24 78 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Aston Villa 40 15 3 2 39 11 8 3 9 25 26 75 4th Charlton 40 14 3 3 39 20 8 6 6 33 26 75 5th Wolves 40 15 2 3 54 26 7 5 8 31 37 73 6th Nottm Forest 40 13 4 3 39 14 9 2 9 30 28 72 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7th West Ham 40 13 3 4 26 11 6 7 7 23 21 67 8th Norwich 40 12 2 6 43 29 8 1 11 31 36 63 9th Grimsby 40 12 6 1 32 16 4 6 11 23 29 60 10th Man City 40 10 5 5 42 29 7 4 9 39 44 60 11th Sunderland 40 10 4 7 30 24 6 5 8 32 40 57 12th Birmingham 40 9 5 6 34 20 6 6 8 25 34 56 13th Gillingham 40 13 4 4 47 26 2 5 12 22 36 54 14th Huddersfield 40 10 5 5 35 28 4 7 9 29 41 54 15th Carlisle 40 12 2 7 39 31 4 1 14 25 50 51 16th Macclesfield 40 9 5 6 35 31 4 5 11 19 35 49 17th Reading 40 11 2 7 37 25 3 4 13 25 39 48 18th Coventry 40 11 3 6 36 36 3 2 15 22 49 47 19th Bradford 40 7 7 6 28 23 3 7 10 16 29 44 20th Oldham 40 8 4 8 36 35 3 5 12 21 41 42 21st Rochdale 40 7 3 10 33 36 4 2 14 21 44 38 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 22nd W.B.A. 40 6 6 8 28 34 4 1 15 17 37 37 23rd Tottenham 40 6 9 5 32 32 2 4 14 19 48 37 24th Chesterfield 40 5 5 9 31 37 0 1 20 17 58 21 ELSEWHERE IN FOOTBALL... Chelsea secure the first part of what they hope will be an unprecedented quadruple. Gilles Borbiconi gives Manchester United the lead just nine minutes into the League Cup Final, but the Blues rally to win 4-1 at Wembley. Cristiano Ronaldo, Thomas Kahlenberg and French youngster Vincent Mercier are all on target as United concede all three shots on target, as well as an own goal from captain Wes Brown. Chelsea are also the last English team left in the Champions League - and they face a Quarter Final showdown with Celtic, who edge out Parma on goal difference. Arsenal and Rangers both drop out after the second group phase, while Hajduk are finally Split from their European dream. With a fifth straight La Liga title almost secured, Barcelona shift their focus to the UEFA Cup. Goals from Lionel Messi and Alejandro Domínguez are enough to eliminate Sparta and tee up a Semi Final tie against Hibs, who come through an all-Scottish Quarter Final with Aberdeen. Former runners-up Bologna are surprisingly knocked out by Danish side Brøndby, who will meet Porto in the other Semi. The Serie A title race turns into a Lazio procession, as victories over Parma, Roma and Milan propel them 12 points clear at the summit. The Biancocelesti also close in on a second domestic double in three years, with Andrea Barzagli and Salvatore Annunziata giving them a 2-0 lead over Inter after the first leg of the Coppa Italia Final. Nürnberg go on a four-game winning streak that pulls them away from relegation danger, but it's not enough to save Ralf Rangnick's job. Rangnick is sacked after midfielder Keijo Huusko and defender Matjaz Lunder are both sent off in a 2-0 home defeat to Hertha BSC. Incidentally, that result also saves Hertha boss Nigel Winterburn from the sack. IN OTHER NEWS... Russia invades and annexes the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. The international community responds with anger, as Russia are kicked out of the G8... and replaced with Paul Gascoigne. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears from radar while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. It starts the most expensive search in aviation history. “12 Years A Slave” - a biographical drama about the African American abolitionist Solomon Northup - wins three Oscars at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its British director Steve McQueen is the first black man to receive the Best Picture statuette in the ceremony’s 86-year history. Britian's first same-sex weddings take place after gay marriage is officially legalised in England and Wales. One couple celebrates by staging a musical wedding on Channel 4 - featuring Stephen Fry, Boy George, and Erasure’s Andy Bell.
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