Former FDFC Guv's Corner Part 4
29th November 2005 – Cautious, philosophical, fingers crossed we have turned the corner.
Ahhh! At last, our first win of the season in the league! It was not pretty but three points is three points and do we need those points.
My boys are now returning from long-term injuries and also they are all now starting to work together as a team after we went back to basics. This has been without doubt my most challenging season and the most worrying bit is we are not half way through it yet!
It was very disappointing at how we limped out of the Teck Cup against Chessington KC and I kept the players locked in the changing room after the game to tell them a few home truths. We improved against Woking Phoenix who are at the top of the Guildford Premier League and were unlucky to go out 2-1 due to some poor defending brought on by a lapse in concentration. We then had a classroom session before training on the following Wednesday and there was a huge turn out. We did some soul searching and came out with some renewed attitude.
I am under no illusions that we have a heck of a job to get through in securing our place in division one for next season as this Saturday will be our half way point in the league and we're second bottom in the league. Obviously I have had to alter my targets as the season has progressed on and now my target is to get us to safety but also become British Deaf Champions again.
I'll come clean with you all. The way we are playing right now, we will struggle against St John's in our scheduled British Deaf Cup quarter final on 28th January. We have just under two months to work on our strengths and erase our weakness out of our gameplan. I am quietly confident my boys will be up for the challenge but as you all know football is a funny game and anything could happen on the day. It is always eleven men against eleven men on the pitch at the end of the day no matter where they come from be it Old Trafford or Hersham RBL.
This Saturday – Hook Venturers who are flying high up in the table. What a good test for the lads and we will see if they rise to the challenge with their renewed attitude.
10th November 2005 – Highs and lows of football, don't you just love it all…?
Football is all about experiencing the highs and lows. Of course we would prefer the highs, winning the FA Cup, the Premiership, the European Cup or even the World Cup! Just think back to how close England came to winning Euro 96, and all the World Cups if it was not for the 'Hand of God' goal or Waddle's glaring penalty miss, etc. The list goes on but you get the drift.
A defeat is always hard to stomach. Moreover when you are up against it with injuries, dodgy decisions made against us (not that I am having a go at referees as they are human and does make honest mistakes) or by losing a match 4 – 3 with a 90th minute penalty after clawing back to level terms from 3 – 1 down with 25 minutes to go.
The last bit is exactly what happened to us last Saturday! The referee was quite right to award Refectory Sports a penalty in the last minute but still it was a bitter pill to swallow after watching the lads give it all to claw back with a magnificent fightback.
On a positive note, our performances are really improving each week and I now have players returning from their injuries who are looking sharp and hungry in training. With a bit of lady luck, we'll start getting some positive results and salvage this season with what we can get our hands on.
Meanwhile we will take a two weeks break from the league and concentrate on the two cups in the next fortnight. First up are Chessington KC in the Teck Senior Cup. On our current form, people will have written us off but we'll give it all and see what happens on the night. After all they say football is a funny game! Then the following week we will go to Woking Phoenix in the Surrey Junior Cup – our European Cup. I have always felt the lads love it when we're up against it and these two games provides that kind of test for us so let see what happens!
I was very pleased and proud of the lads when a large number turned up at training in the past few weeks despite our poor results of late. The lads have recognised there is a lot of work to be done and we only have ourselves to blame and therefore we must get out of this slump of a hole ourselves.
I think I can safely say that having found out we're up against St John's Deaf in the British Deaf Cup quarter finals, this will be a big game for us as we're overly keen to gain revenge against them for last year defeat in the British Deaf Cup final. It will be a real incentive for the lads to perform well from now until that match to gain a place in the starting line up against St John's.
And what's that I hear you're asking? You're asking how am I doing in the Telegraph Fantasy League? Sorry, there is a 6 years old child doing trick and treat at the front door 11 days late! Gotta dash…!
31st October 2005 – What a treat and not a trick for me to be unable to hear the doorbell tonight…!
Happy Halloween to you all! After our double header, we came away with mixed fortunes. Against Repton, we were desperately unlucky to be 0-2 down at half time although Repton deserved their win after full-time for their hard work and we got our just desserts for our poor teamwork. After kicking several tea cups and scones to the ceiling of the changing room, we travelled to Liverpool in the afternoon to prepare for our British Deaf Cup match against Everton Deaf.
The journey was a somewhat of a mixed occassion after our disappointing result and in the evening we all had a good talk about our disappointing start to the season. Some very honest viewpoints came to light and it was that that we retired to an “early night” with the knowledge of an extra hour sleep granted due to the clocks going back an hour overnight.
Our cup match against Everton Deaf was the wettest we ever experienced with torrential rain lashing down for a good 20 minutes during the first half. Crazy as it may sound, we went ahead in a match for the first time this season with a well taken goal from Shyloh and then consolidated our lead with a second in the dying seconds just before half time as the ball was slotted in by Drury.
The second half, tired legs crept into our game and so we settled for a goal apiece with Everton Deaf for the second half with Baz opening his account for us. I'd like to wish Gary Crofton a speedy recovery with his serious ankle injury (not got from us!) as he visit the specialist today.
19th October 2005 – I've gone crazy emptying my wallet!
Excellent job by Beesey in setting up the new look Fulham DFC Shop. Already there has been some doubters who think it is all a joke when it isn't. Yes, the prices are a bit steep but they are the best we can do with eQuisto, our suppliers. I've already put in a bumper order for loads of my “team talk” pillows to cushion the blow for next time I knock someone out!
Training tonight was good so am looking forward to Saturday match against Summerstown to see if we can carry the feel good factor onto the pitch.
16th October 2005 – Where's the coal mine?!
Apologies for another long absence from this column! Been ill in bed with tons of grapes and now on the mend. I missed yesterday win against Surrey Athletic, which turned out to be our first win of the season. I'm hoping this will be our turning point and I am looking forward to test our revived confidence against Summerstown next Saturday who are second top in the league. You might recall I was searching for the light switch to put things right.
Although I have not found the light switch, I've managed to find a gas lamp which gives us a glimmer of hope. I'll preserve and so will the lads. Back soon…
25th September 2005 – Stag hangover filters through Motspur Park
Apologies for the long absence from this column! First it was a stag weekend that kept me away from my manager duties and then it was a wedding! Then I returned yesterday and we came apart against a solid Heathfield side.
Clearly something has gone wrong in our start this season. No excuses, Westside and Heathfield deserved their points but we're disappointed at how we have fallen apart especially after going a goal down in both matches.
One point out of a possible nine is not exactly what I had hoped for especially with two big cup games coming up next month. The GB Deaf Champions Ball next Saturday gives us a bit of breathing space as we now have a free weekend. I will make the most of this opportunity to speak to several players and try to identify the root of the problem and then see how we can move on from here.
I guess it is a challenge to my role, a real test to my ability to bring things together and see how we can recover from this. I have no doubt whatsoever that the players I have are good players and we have not become a bad team overnight. It is just that we need a little tweak here and there but whereabouts, I have yet to find out. It is a bit like being in a dark room looking for the light switch to flick on in order to put things right.
Meanwhile I am delighted at how the Fulham Deaf Ladies have progressed in the league. Wow, what a start with a mighty 18-0 win and then reality has sunk in but they have worked hard in training and are relishing the challenge of moving up a level from 5-a-side football. Also the Fulham Deaf Youth who won in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. More about that will be on fulhamdfc.com soon.
Now if you will excuse me while I try to find the light switch…
8th September 2005 – Three days to the BIG kick off
After three friendlies, several experiments and eight weeks training, I can announce the squad is ready for this Saturday kick off and I will miss it! I'll be away to a stag weekend of an old school friend and so will leave the management this Saturday to my trusty sidekicks Ayad and Mark. I've told them I want three points nothing less!
Apart from two long-term injuries I am pleased to announce a strong squad for Saturday. I hope we fare better than England did last night against Northern Ireland!
Apologies for the delay in announcing our new signings – they will be announced on fulhamdfc.com by the end of next week, honest!
3rd September 2005 – Fulham Deaf come undone after some errantic experiments by FDFC Guv
With an ambitious line up to further test some new ideas, Fulham Deaf found themselves 0 – 4 down at half time with some well taken goals by the Casuals. After half time, some changes were made to try to salvage some pride but it just didn't happen for Fulham Deaf on the day.
Lampert scored a brief consolation goal but it was of little consolation. This game will be best remembered for FDFC Guv's post match hairdryer treatment and some harsh lessons learnt.
Final score: Fulham Deaf 1 – 8 Westminster Casuals 2nd September 2005 – FDFC Guv refutes St Johns' allegations against his assistant.
Extract taken from St John's website:
“Squad team player, Bassim Baz, decided not to renew his contract with … blah blah … It was agreed that it would be best for all concerned if Baz went elsewhere for first team football.
… Also on the move was Panmun Jacob-Lot, who has also joined Fulham DFC. An inquiry is underway after allegations of 'tapping up' by Ayad Sarraf, the Fulham assistant manager. Jacob-Lot, however, cites personal reasons for his departure … blah blah …
The investigation regarding the 'tapping up' allegations is currently ongoing.”
It is personally disappointing to read the above statement on the St John's website. What is happening here is a pretty sad pathetic attempt for a 'glorified sensational headline' story with more unproven sources – an unnamed accuser and/or an unnamed agent making allegations.
It is made doubly worse when an accused is named while the accuser remains hidden, safe under cover like a coward.
This is nothing more than a witch-hunt against Ayad and I for one will not bother to investigate into this matter. Nor will I offer any co-operation to St John's as they have already got a quote from the horse mouth, PJ who has clearly cited personal reasons for leaving St John's.
Double standards springs to the mind, wouldn't you agree? Let not waste any more time on this matter and concentrate on making our season more memorable than this scandalous trash. Meanwhile I wish Greg Beedie the very best of luck in his new managerial post across the river.
1st September 2005 – FDFC Guv extend welcome for the Casuals to Motspur Park.
Another good win last Saturday against Westside although it took a wake up call for us to get going. The passing was excellent in periods and I am looking to improve this to become consistent for throughout 90 minutes in a match. The last friendly match is scheduled for this Saturday against the Casuals.
Westminster Casuals will arrive at Motspur Park as last season treble winners with the KDFL Division One title, the Teck Cup and the Surrey Junior Cup. This friendly between Fulham Deaf and the Casuals is our very own Community Shield aptly named as the “Abi Titmuss Appreciation Shield”.
Unfortunately we did not get promoted alongside with them so this could be our last encounter this season unless we both get through in either the Teck Cup, League Cup or Surrey Junior Cup finals this season.
There is such intense rivalry between the two clubs that you can be sure that while this is a friendly match, it will still remain competitive. Despite the fierce competition between both clubs, there is a mutual respect between the players and managers of both clubs.
I am delighted to welcome Bassim Baz, PJ and Michael Roberts into the squad for 2005/06. With our new crop of players, the depth of the squad is at it's best that even Mourinho would turn green with envy if he ever found out about us. There is good competition for places here now. In years gone by, I don't think this was the case so much but the players we brought here in the summer will really keep the players on their toes.
Exciting times ahead. Let the season roll…
27th August 2005 – Fulham Deaf come from behind to win with a Lampert screamer
After a goalless first half dominated by a battle in midfield, Fulham Deaf went behind early in the second half thanks to a half volley from Westside number 9 out wide on the right. This in turn inspired a typical fight-back with an equaliser from Morally followed by a goal tapped into the net by Harewood on his second attempt.
Not wanting to be outdone by Morally and Harewood who have now scored in successive friendlies, Lampert broke through down the centre and unleashed a 30 yards screamer that sailed into the top left hand corner of the net to seal the win.
Final score – Fulham Deaf 3 – 1 Westside
21st August 2005 – FDFC Guv survives the snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks + bushfires but not the jetlag!
G'Day fellow Pommies! Had a great trip to Melbourne and Sydney. Nothing beats the Australian's hospitality and the grub down under was superb, especially the seafood dishes!
A big thank you must go to all the new friends I made down under for their kindness in enabling my stay in Melbourne and Sydney was memorable. It was a great experience to feel the fantastic atmosphere in the MCG especially in the member's section, watching my team Essendon play against Hawthorn. Unfortunately Essendon lost and then went on to register their highest ever score against Carlton with a 182 – 83 victory in the very next match!
Aussies Rules was good to watch but nothing beats football (soccer to you all down under!). Football is the worldwide most popular sport and rightly so as it is also the most exciting, gut-wrenching, unpredictable game to be involved in. Of course, while I was in Oz, I gave them all a hard time about the Ashes, how we destroyed them with our impeccable bowling in the second test and then in the third test they got away with a draw thanks to their hired Red Indian rain dance!
It's really good to be back and moreover to see the lads buzzing, itching, drooling for the new season to start. Yesterday friendly against Homerton Academicals provided several indications as to how we will work and progress together this season. Several of my ideas worked while an equal amount didn't but that's what friendlies are for – to test them, rather than during a major cup semi final. What an improvement from this time last season and we got a lot more out of the match than we could have hoped for.
My P45 will be waiting for me tomorrow morning now that we defeated my boss team!
I am delighted to announce the return of Safe Hands to Fulham Deaf as his presence has been sorely missed last season. As I write this, I am in the process of making several exciting new signings for the upcoming season. The new signings will be announced exclusively on fulhamdfc.com after the ink has dried on the registration forms.
Training as usual Wednesday night lads!
20th August 2005 – Fulham Deaf slams five goals in their first warm up match of the new season.
Fresh from his return from Melbourne, the FDFC Guv fielded a new look side to face Homerton Academicals, a quality side who defeated us in last year pre-season friendly 7 – 0. The line up shall remain under cover as several players were on trial and several impressed throughout the match.
Shyloh Morally, Ben Lampert and Kevin Harewood put us 3 – 0 up before half time and then several changes were made in true Sven experimental style. Ben Lampert got a second before Oliver Westbury broke his duck in three years. Richard Parker made an early claim to the save of the season with a stunning full reach out palm-over save, a repeat of Bank's save from Pele before Homerton netted a late consolation.
Final score – Fulham Deaf 5 – 1 Homerton Academicals
29th July 2005 – FDFC Guv has gone AWOL to Melbourne during pre-season
Yes, you read the headline right above! As you are reading this, I will be on the plane on my way to Melbourne (arrive Saturday BST 4.30am) flying 10,509 miles over Europe, Asia and Australia!
Much as I'd love to say I'm going to secure the signing of a red hot deaf Aussie footballer but hey we all know how bad Kewell is! That's the second lawsuit on way to me after Lineker! My Michelle has been over there for six weeks now and since the flat is now inhabitable after several weeks of late night parties, beers, pizzas, full ashtrays, old FHMs and the odd cup of cocoa, I thought I might as well go over and live it up down under, have a well earned break and also to get myself fresh for the upcoming season.
Three weeks into pre-season and I already bear some sad news to you all with Clive Campbell, Mark Gill, Richard Jeffers, Ewan McGreevy and Ben Stubbs all leaving Fulham DFC for pastures anew. The famous five were here with the club from the beginning in our inaugural season and played a part in our infamous treble season. Campbell has hung up his boots to manage his new football club 'Campbell City' with his fourteen children (no joke there – he really has got f-o-u-r-t-e-e-n children!) while Gill, McGreevy and Stubbs have joined other clubs to play nearer to where they live. Jeffers has moved to Derby with his new family and will play for a club up in the midlands.
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish them all well and to say that they'll always be welcome back to Motspur Park especially if they buy the first round! They'll all be missed greatly, Campbell's wry smile, Gill's clowning pranks, Jeffers' glint in his eyes, McGreevy's wicked temper and last but not least Stubbs' sports car taking up Coleman's parking space! The season has not started yet, but already I am missing their presence around the club. I (and I am sure all the lads would like to as well) wish them all well and can't wait to see them again to catch up on their news. (It is never the same with text messages)
McGreevy Senior, the ever faithful, who on his sheer vocal strength made it sound like 20,000 fans baying for blood each week will be greatly missed too! Not sure if the referees will agree with me on this one! Hopefully McGreevy Senior will drop by from time to time to provide some vocal support.
During the recent heat wave, my e-mail inbox flooded over with several enquiries from promising young deaf players wanting to join the club. After shifting through my inbox, eleven players has been selected for a trial at Motspur Park and here they will take their chances in training under my comrades' – Ayad and Mark – hawk-like eyes. On my return I will gather their thoughts on the new players and then test them out during our friendlies over 20th August to 3rd September before making my final decision on them all.
Already the pre-season training has got off at a pace with several of my lads really getting geared up for the big kick off. The new-found hunger is there again as if it has been reborn and expectations have risen back to a high level after our disappointment last season. Already after only three training sessions, I can see the determination in their eyes and that can only be encouraging to witness at such an early stage in the season.
I expect things will quieten down while I am away with the lads getting geared up for this season but you can bet your life savings there will be some sensational news announced on fulhamdfc.com once I return from Oz. Watch this space!
Let hope the Ashes gets better for us otherwise I am in for a lot of stick down under. Nevertheless, I shall defiantly wave the England flag proudly as I step off the plane wearing my union jack shorts, Guinness t-shirt, doc martin boots and a grade one haircut!
Well I would have if I was still 21 but I better not as I am on my way to the in-laws! Catch up when I get back – cheers!