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Fulham (a) (FA Cup)
#1
Eddie’s pre-match press conference:

https://youtu.be/qvkZj8Y52s0?si=QmCmTaRFjweRfUqI
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#2
Not specifically Fulham related but tied to the press conference...

I am scratching my head with erverything going at the club at the minute. If we were in all competitions and everything was going well, there would be no talk of selling any player, regardless of age or contract length. The season has turned into an unmitigated disaster, and despite being told there was a plan in place for the club, all of the noise and rumours suggests we are going to rip a lot of it up this summer and almost start a fresh.

Say we had finished the season with the League Cup and another top 4 finish, would we really be looking at Trippier, Joelinton, Lacelles, Bruno, Almiron and Wilson all leaving in the same window? I understand the need to sell and I have resigned myself to the fact that Bruno will be sold in the summer to make way for 2 or 3 players to keep within the (fucking bull shit) rules of FFP. I can also understand the need to replace Almiron, who had the club recruited properly last summer, would also be surplass to regular first team requirements. To rip it all up and effectively start a fresh, after a season of major under achievement, tells me that this long term plan has been ripped up and they are already looking at a different route to achieving long term success. There will be a need to adapt along the way when plans fail, but adapting and tweaking is very different to what feels like is going to happen this summer.

Should we believe everything we read? Of course not, but equally there is no smoke without fire, and there is far too much noise about the players mentioned above for there not to be some truth in it, even the stories about the club touting some of these players to force them out of the door, there has to be some truth in this, and it all stinks of panic behind closed doors.

I hope I am wrong and I am putting 2 and 2 together and landing on 5, but what happened to staying composed and sticking to the plan without panicking? A whole sale clear out of our better/most experienced players, just over 2 years into the project, doest not strike me as part of the original plan, and that makes me worried about what is currently going on behind the scenes. A combination of a terrible summer window last time around, failing to address glaringly obvious weaknesses, whilst signing players we are not even using, alongside what can only be described as a catastrophic fuck up with the medical department, and a squad struggling to cope with Howe ball should not result in tearing the long term plan and starting over, these issues are addressable without open heart surgery.

Howe did his usual thing of answering the questions in as dignifed a manner as possible, but I also got a distinct feeling from some of his comments that he was in the dark about some of the things going on behind the scenes. As for the game, we have no chance of winning the cup, the squad is on its arse still, pinning the remainder of the season on injury prone players coming back and performing miracles. I think we will win tonight, playing a Fulham side that had a tough game on Wednesday night, but I can't say I am all that fussed whether we win or lose, I just want this shit season to end so we can regroup in the summer and hopefully have a better campaign next time around.
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#3
[Image: IMG-3285.jpg]
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#4
Official line:

Almiron - illness
Lascelles - injured

Zip It!
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#5
(27-01-2024, 06:52 PM)GhostfaceKillah Wrote: Not specifically Fulham related but tied to the press conference...

I am scratching my head with erverything going at the club at the minute. If we were in all competitions and everything was going well, there would be no talk of selling any player, regardless of age or contract length. The season has turned into an unmitigated disaster, and despite being told there was a plan in place for the club, all of the noise and rumours suggests we are going to rip a lot of it up this summer and almost start a fresh.

Say we had finished the season with the League Cup and another top 4 finish, would we really be looking at Trippier, Joelinton, Lacelles, Bruno, Almiron and Wilson all leaving in the same window? I understand the need to sell and I have resigned myself to the fact that Bruno will be sold in the summer to make way for 2 or 3 players to keep within the (fucking bull shit) rules of FFP. I can also understand the need to replace Almiron, who had the club recruited properly last summer, would also be surplass to regular first team requirements. To rip it all up and effectively start a fresh, after a season of major under achievement, tells me that this long term plan has been ripped up and they are already looking at a different route to achieving long term success. There will be a need to adapt along the way when plans fail, but adapting and tweaking is very different to what feels like is going to happen this summer.

Should we believe everything we read? Of course not, but equally there is no smoke without fire, and there is far too much noise about the players mentioned above for there not to be some truth in it, even the stories about the club touting some of these players to force them out of the door, there has to be some truth in this, and it all stinks of panic behind closed doors.

I hope I am wrong and I am putting 2 and 2 together and landing on 5, but what happened to staying composed and sticking to the plan without panicking? A whole sale clear out of our better/most experienced players, just over 2 years into the project, doest not strike me as part of the original plan, and that makes me worried about what is currently going on behind the scenes. A combination of a terrible summer window last time around, failing to address glaringly obvious weaknesses, whilst signing players we are not even using, alongside what can only be described as a catastrophic fuck up with the medical department, and a squad struggling to cope with Howe ball should not result in tearing the long term plan and starting over, these issues are addressable without open heart surgery.

Howe did his usual thing of answering the questions in as dignifed a manner as possible, but I also got a distinct feeling from some of his comments that he was in the dark about some of the things going on behind the scenes. As for the game, we have no chance of winning the cup, the squad is on its arse still, pinning the remainder of the season on injury prone players coming back and performing miracles. I think we will win tonight, playing a Fulham side that had a tough game on Wednesday night, but I can't say I am all that fussed whether we win or lose, I just want this shit season to end so we can regroup in the summer and hopefully have a better campaign next time around.

There is a lot to unpick in this post.  The first thing to say is that what you read in newspapers is stories.  Simple as that.  Some stories have a basis in truth, some are complete fiction, i.e. totally fabricated, and some (very few in my experience), are a completely accurate reflection of reality; I'm talking about football here, but, sadly, the same is true with regards to things far more important, things that really are a matter of life and death.  The press are cunts and liars and they know it and think that we are suckers for believing them.

Unlike you Ghostie, I don't see panic at the club in all of this.  I see a manager, in Eddie Howe, who has had a reality check forced upon him by what I will call more grown-up elements at the club.  For goodness sake, Eddie Howe thinks he can run the same 11 players at maximum speed and mental intensity for two seasons in a row without there being any repercussions in respect of injuries and application.  I hope that he has now learned his lesson (because I still believe he can take us forward).  I think that part of that lesson must be that he can't keep this ageing and underperforming set of players together forever and that the way forward is to trade players in such a way that new ones can be brought into the club to improve our ability to behave like a 'big' club, whatever that actually means.

I think that the club have done the right thing in sending out the message that we are willing to sell, but also to maintain that the price has to be right.  I don't think that this is deviating from or ripping up any plans or strategies that the club has in place.  I believe that part of the problem has been that the club hierarchy have been too loyal to Eddie Howe in the past - why the fuck are Dummet and Ritchie still here? - and that that is beginning to change.  Eddie has had his way and it hasn't gone well this season, so others have stepped in and are being the grown-ups in the room.  It is to the club's credit that they allowed Eddie to try it his way and also that they have now decided that concerns other than loyalty to favourites and an inflexible approach to on-field matters must be put aside for the sake of a bigger, more long-term project.

I'm with you in that I don't really care about tonight's game (we could be knocked out of the FA cup by anybody still in it, on the strength of our season so far), and I can't wait for this season to end.  We are going through a process, despite what it looks like, I don't think that process has proven itself to be wrong, yet.  And would somebody please put in a bid for Sean Longstaff.
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#6
I thought it was interesting that Eddie admitted he hadn’t been involved in the big meeting of Directors & Owners at Alnwick Castle last night.

Mick
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#7
These cockney commentators on ITV4 were a joke.

Apparently we were “terrible” - makes you wonder how the feck we won 2-0

scratch
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#8
Is tonight’s result what is called ‘Winning Ugly?”
A good result in terms of building confidence but not a convincing performance by any means.
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#9
The performance was bloody awful.  We can thank the arrogance of Marco Whining Man-Baby Silva (yes, he's one of them), that he thought Fulham's reserves would be good enough to beat a shit Newcastle side.  They weren't, because any PL side's first team is good enough to beat Fulham's reserves.

What has been wrong with Newcastle's performances for most of the season, was wrong with their performance tonight.  That is to say that, despite having two weeks to rest and prepare for this match, Newcastle still looked tired and unprepared.  That makes me question my faith in Eddie Howe's abilities a lot more than I had up to this point.  He is increasingly looking like he is out of his depth at this level - and I mean THIS level, not the level we aspire to.  Make no mistake, this season is the norm; not last season with all the good fortune that we had in terms of injuries and other team's poor showings against us and others.  We were very lucky last season, but Eddie Howe has failed to capitalise on that, use his squad, rest players, adjust our approach to games and bring in the right new players (why, EXACTLY, didn't we sign Maddison and why DID we sign Tonali who I predict will be a disaster at our club?).

I'm sick of the undeserved deification of Eddie Howe from a large part of our fanbase, because he doesn't deserve it.  The team is in a rut and he doesn't appear to have a clue as to how to lift it out of it.  That is not a good football manager.
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#10
I agree Eeeeen about Howe needing to take responsiblity for his part in the current plight. The one leveller that was put on him from his time at Bournemouth was that he didn't have a plan B, he went and attacked teams, sometimes he won, sometimes he didn't, and this was why they were capable of putting 5 past good teams and equally conceding 5 against lesser teams. We were led to believe his time out of the game, travelling Europe, watching training sessions at other clubs and generally improving his coaching, made him broader minded and showed him different ways he could coach and set the team up. Up until recently, he hasn't done that, he has ran a group of players into the ground week in and week out, and coupled with some pretty awful work from the medical team, has left us with these injuries. There has been the odd unfortunate injury, but a lot of the muscle injuries are just a consequence of the high intensity. I do think, through being forced, that this has changed slightly, we saw it again yesterday, we didn't play well and were happy to play on the counter attack, similar to the Citeh game. We haven't got the players to press the same way each week and this might be our way of playing in some games until the summer window.

Howe himself said after the Chelsea defeat, he would now have time on the training pitch to work with the players, and the extra time off would also rejuvinate the tired legs. We haven't seen this materialise. We were dominated in large parts in terms of possession by a Fulham side making 7 changes to their starting 11. I go back to what I have said for a while now though, Bruno, Longstaff and Miley as a collective are not good enough. They all have individual merits (although Longstaff is very much back to the old longstaff) but collectively the balance is awful. It's also shit that despite needing to adapt the 3 of them, they play flat across the middle, and that has been glaringly obvious since the Villa game pre-season where time and time again in that match, there was a gaping hole behind Tonali and Bruno, and here we in February and no one has been adapted to play that position in front of the back 4. The summer window was absolutely awful and as a result all of the good work done last season has been undone and I feel like we are going to have to press reset and start again if we want to get back into the top 4 discussion over the coming seasons. I have certainly had my own reality check as I thought we would stay largely consistent with our performances, but we have been unrecognisable for most of this season so far.

The joke about his invite going missing or words to that effect were strange Mick, it felt like a bit of a dig more than a joke, a risky game to play when things aren't going well.
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