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A Fulham View of Chelsea

A Fulham View of Chelsea
1. Has your season gone as expected?

At the start of the season I actually felt Fulham would really struggle after a terrible spell at the end of last season. It is almost as expected in terms of form, but to be honest, there are not many Premiership sides that could boast players with the capabilities of Malbranque, Boa Morte and of course, Diop.

2. What changes would you like to see made?

Some have been saying that Coleman isn’t good enough. This is a manager who
has only been in the game with Fulham 3 or 4 years. It is his first job and I think he has done exceptionally well. He hasn’t had the means to splash out like Jean Tigana and Kevin Keegan before him as Al-Fayed now runs a tighter ship. The defence needs some work though. Zat Knight at times is a liability and the back four are rarely consistently playing together. Up front Coleman needs to look closely at the age of his strike force and maybe buy for the future.

3. Do you admire the way Mourinho has managed Chelsea?

I think he has come from a club with pressure, but small time pressure. To come into the riches of Abramovich’s wealth and spend almost at will has made his job easier. However, you can have all the money in the world but if you can’t keep the players together, contented and working as a unit you stand no chance. He has been first class and made a few friends as well as enemies both within the game and in the press.

4. Select a mixed Chelsea / Fulham XI (Ratio 6:5 or 5:6)

Cech, Rosenior, Terry, Gallas, Bridge, Lampard, Makelele, Boa Morte, Malbranque, Gudjonsen, Helguson

5. Who would you prefer to sign - Terry or Lampard?

It has to be Terry every single time. An absolute rock, Chelsea’s and England’s best and most consistent centre-back, and weighs in with a few goals as well. No disrespect to Lampard, but without Essien and Makelele doing his dirty work for him in midfield, he wouldn’t score h6. Should Al Fayed invest more of his dosh in Fulham?

It is a difficult one to call coz if you look at Fulham’s average attendance it is less than Wimbledon’s or Crystal Palace’s when they were in the Premiership. I think there is a much bigger emphasis in the football league’s now on managing as a stable business rather than throwing everything at the time and risking going bust. Fulham pull in just over 17,000 per home game which is poor. Al-Fayed is barely getting his money’s
worth, and yes, although he is rich, Coleman has done quite well out of it. If he has needed funds Al-Fayed has most often given the go ahead.

7. Should Abramovich speak out more or is the silent way the best?

Abramovich is image conscious and rightly so. To speak out would rarely be to his benefit. He is looked at from two perspectives, one of the richest men in the world and as the owner of Chelsea Football Club. He lets his business do the talking and Mourinho’s players do the talking on the pitch. His reactions to every goal scored for or against Chelsea tell the story. He has no need to add anything himself.
8. Is our bad media image a result of being successful?

The success adds some degree of jealousy on top of the piles of money Chelsea have spent to normal football fans. But just the success? No, there is a bigger problem here. One of extraordinary arrogance by Chelsea’s players, Drogba claiming to be a better striker than Raul will not do him any favours. The amazing boasts that I see going on from Mourinho, from Drogba, from Makelele and from Essien do nothing positive for a public image. These comments divide plain and innocent humour and confidence, from
arrogance and self-importance. It is not media friendly unless it is Mourinho saying it I am afraid. He has an aura about him and adds humour to it, that is why he can get away with it and still get respect.

9. Facilities – Craven Cottage or Stamford Bridge?

Every time you would have to say Stamford Bridge. Bigger stadium, nicer area, better training facilities and medical staff. You have everything that a club like Fulham needs to move forward.
10. Biggest gripe about Chelsea?

I have already said it. The arrogance. The money. The fact that without Abramovich you might have been bankrupt as a club and company. Call it jealousy if you like, I would gladly admit to it.

Our thanks go to Ollie the Fulham Vital editor for taking the time out to answer our questions.
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Date:Friday May 5 2006
Time: 3:53PM

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