Fulham can’t find it in their hearts to stock valuable and important Ashwater Press products (nor indeed my own book for that matter) but they sell crap like this.
IT MAY NOT be sunshine on the pitch right now, but Ashwater always provides something to lift the Fulham spirits.
This year it’s…FULHAM STRIKERS.
We have decided to produce a LIMITED EDITION on a first come, first served basis. It is possible that this will be the FINAL Ashwater publication, so if you want another great piece of written Fulham history – then please don’t leave it too late! We think it’s the best book we’ve done, and it will sell out It’s an ideal Christmas present for three generations of Fulham fans, young & old.
Here’s just a teaser ………………..
The book is a quality hardback publication
A4 size (8.5” x 12”)
In an eight-decade sequence
With 272 pages and in full colour
It contains well over 250 pictures
A number of which have never been previously seen.
The book will detail one hundred ‘number 9s’, centre forwards and principal goalscorers from the Second World War until the end of last season – ‘From Beddy to Berbatov’. For all of the principal seventy-five players, it will detail their youth career, careers at previous clubs, concentrating obviously on their time at Craven Cottage. Also included will be their playing careers after leaving Fulham including non-league and, if known, what they did after leaving the game. Their history will include clubs abroad and their international careers.
Their Fulham period will detail highlights, hat-tricks and special matches and anecdotal material, and will also analyse what kind of player he was, his attributes and style. Each player will have playing statistics and will be illustrated with Ken Coton/Ashwater pictures augmented by some newspaper and private images.
Our list of principal strikers includes all those you’d expect to find, such as Maurice Cook, Vic Halom, Gordon Davies, Leroy Rosenior, Mike Conroy, Geoff Horsfield, Barry Hayles and Brian McBride, and some names that may be less familiar, such as Allan Jones, Dave Metchick, George Johnston, Dale Tempest and Tony Thorpe. In between is a whole host of players from Bedford Jezzard to Bobby Zamora, from Jackie Henderson to Steve Marlet.
For a complete list of all seventy-five principal strikers in the book - please see the ‘here’ link on the Ashwater website
The book will also give cameo details of twenty-five less prolific forwards who have worn the number 9 shirt for the Whites, such as Alf Stokes, Steve Milton, George Georgiou, Kevin Betsy and Karl Heinz Riedle.
The book is completed by a number of intriguing statistical tables, facts and figures.
FULHAM STRIKERS is at the printers now and should be ready for delivery around the end of November.
It’s ready to pre-order now via
Using PayPal, credit or debit card
or you can contact the Ashwater order line on 01344 – 624231.
If you require any further information, reply to this e-mail, or e-mail
We would truly appreciate it if you would forward this e-mail onto all the other Fulham supporters you know and you think might be interested, and tell others by any media or communication you have.
THANK YOU for your loyal and continued support
The new era continues to make us happy.
What I quite like with Meulensteen is that he appears to be in the business of fixing issues, rather than hoping they might go away.
A good example here is his midfield setup yesterday. Midfield has been our unspoken horror this year: everyone’s been piling on the defence and the attack but neither of these units can make a fist of things without some support from midfield. It’s why midfield is a very hard place to play; failure here can be unforgiving.
We’ve all been calling for Derek Boateng to come in and help out but Meulensteen’s opted for Giorgios Karagounis instead, which is fine. Having three men there means that if Sidwell goes wandering it’s not Scott Parker against the world; if Parker decides he can only really give 150% by attacking as well, there’s more chance of someone being able to defend if there are three men in midfield than two.
It’s also quite fashionable these days to talk about ‘winning’ an area by having more men there. By deploying three central midfielders we don’t cede control of the pitch like we have been all year.
It plays to Sidwell’s strengths as well. We have been quite negative about our curious looking ballwinner but he has one big strength that the team needs: he can score goals. His strike, or shovel, on Sunday, was a fabulous example of pure Sidwellian drive: a) he got beyond the last defender, b) he got to the ball first when doing so looked pretty tricky and c) he managed to slide and divert the ball into the far corner of the net in one delicious manouever. It won’t win goal of the month but in its own way it was dead impressive.
Now, would Sidwell have made that run as part of a midfield two?
We also have a balanced attack. I have been a bit critical of Dejagah and Riether in the past but there’s no doubting that they work well together. Yesterday the top passing combination in the game was Riether to Dejagah, 30 in all, double the next highest combo. On the other side Kacaniklic and Riise don’t really work together directly, but both offer a bit of directness and vim. Between the two flanks we’re now giving teams a bit to think about, and of course, and this is the huge thing, this’ll open up more space in the middle of the pitch. (a feature of Jol’s teams was their ability to create congestion in exactly the areas where you want a bit of space). The diagram below also shows how Karagounis was playing quite an aggressive interpretation of his role: if Parker was patrolling the halfway line, and Sidwell was box-to-box, then Karagounis was a sort of battering ram playmaker, charging forward like a mad thing, looking either to make the defence nervous or draw a foul.
Without even mentioning Berbatov we can see several Fulham players making constructive, QUICK attacking contributions. Again: Meulensteen isn’t waiting for some good players to gel into a team; he’s making a team and letting good players show themselves within this framework. It didn’t take long, did it?
Which is not to say we’re out of the woods. You can’t ignore a year of failure and assume that a magic wand can be waved and suddenly everything’s fine. Good though Meulensteen may be, football tends not to work that way. And Villa were in many ways a perfect opponent. It was noted before kick off that they are happy to cede possession and hit teams on the counter, which Sky Sports’ wise men thought might be a problem for Fulham’s slow defence. Well maybe but this year’s Fulham have struggled in the main with teams… well, with teams who attack with the ball (everyone). By taking such a reactive approach Villa neatly skirted our glaring weakness.
We also got a bit of luck. This season has been dire and direness brings a lot of gut punches: late winners, long range screamers, etc. Against Villa the right things happened at the right times. Benteke headed wide when well placed, Kacaniklic got a penalty when a lot of refs would have waved play on; Villa’s own shouts for a penalty were ignored. We earned luck in many ways but the referee had a big impact on the game as well.
There are lots of encouraging signs though. When things are going badly there’s an exponential ripple throughout the team: we were bad in almost all ways. Now there’s a structure and, oh look, the defence looks good again. In football context is everything and Senderos and Hughes will be sleeping easier knowing that they’re getting some help back there. John Arne Riise has a career again. You can imagine Motspur Park is a different place already.
Okay, just for the sake of it, here’s the Hodgson Great Escape Monte Carlo’d up. In short if I’d created the model at the time Hodgson took over I would have predicted between 32-34 points.
We ended up with 36, and then only with that silly late run. So you can say that Hodgson gained the team one win over what the model expected. This isn’t trying to do Hodgson a disservice: we all know that we’d have gone down without him. But this is exactly the point. The model says that Hodgson basically got the team back to a reasonable level and then some, which took an awful look of hard work. That’s the challenge: not making us good, but getting us back to where we should be. The current model says that doing this, which is what Meulensteen can achieve, will still perhaps not be enough.
What I think this shows is that even with a new coach who knows what he’s up to, it’s very hard to change a team’s trajectory that much. This is why I think the earlier model for the current team is important. It takes in the team’s established level and says what it’s likely to do. The argument that we don’t know the team’s level because of the new coach is valid but over-estimate’s a coaches ability to change a team. That would take a great deal of money in addition to basic team organising.
It’s also worth noting that Meulensteen has effectively the same task ahead of him as Hodgson did. The model for now sees greater possibilities ahead than it did for Roy’s escape but it amounts to the same thing: the model things we’re destined for a points total in the lowish 30s. Hodgson beat it by the narrowest of margins. Can Meulensteen?