Shooting from the Lip

Posted by Phil Mison

I've been squirreling material away from the wacky world of football, waiting for a slow week to share some bizarre stuff with you. Just as my in-tray fills to the brim, more nuggets spill from the screen. Hello, my name is Bobby Zamora. With my team rock bottom in the table I've decided now is the time to go public and trash my old club Fulham.

You little dazzler! I've wondered since January when Zamo might break cover to comment on his last half season at the Cottage. Footballers usually wait until well into their dotage before laying bare all the feuds, disputes and bad feeling that inevitably litters any high profile career. Best not to rock the boat while you're still active. Attracting a reputation for trouble is never advisable when who knows what future transfers lie ahead, or when today's detested enemy may be tomorrow's trusty team-mate. Take stock of the current English born players for instance contracted just to Premier League clubs within London, and suddenly you're down to a relatively small gene pool from which to pick your buddies. Bobby for instance is said to be very pally with John Terry. Er, yes – more on him later.

Various papers report the non-news that Jol 'doesn't get on' with most of the Fulham squad. “We did not see eye to eye,” BZ underwhelmingly states. Nothing wrong with that statement, except use of the present tense. That Jol had issues with last season's squad should surprise no one. His brief from the top was to lower the age of the side. His 'project' as sold to the board when interviewed, was to induce a more fluid and exciting style of football while establishing the club firmly as a top ten team. His mandate was to attempt the above conscious of operating within the strict financial controls dictating club transfer policy.

And that is what he's done. The 30 plus brigade have been shipped out, all for valid reasons, and it's hard to see what any of them have to complain about. We have replaced one ageing striker with another. But considering Berbatov signed for roughly the same amount we banked from QPR for Zamora, ask anyone in football who they think came off best in that exchange! The club had no latitude to manoeuvre over the loss of Dempsey and Dembele. But the money's banked and the club's play to date is on a par - if not superior to that of last season. We don't need an armoured Brinks van to deliver the weekly payroll as I see trundling down South Africa Road to the ramshackle 'Loft' every Friday, nor are we sitting in the relegation places.

Bobby, I loved you on the pitch when fit and bursting with confidence. Your link up play often went unappreciated. Clint more than anyone was the beneficiary of your running off the ball and deft touches. When I need cheering up I pull out the vid of the Newcastle second half from January last. Your contribution to that magnificent five goal bonanza after half-time? Immense! An assist for all three of Clint's goals in open play and your penalty blaster to round things off. Little did we know at the time, but that was your last appearance in the white shirt. Clint took the headlines with his hat-trick, but you too had a valid shout for Man of the Match. That's how we want to remember you. Now you'd better knuckle down to hauling your new employees from the mire, because you Hoops are heading for another relegation battle, and yet another change of manager. While your old club, where the bulk of the side are 'at odds with the manager,' will finish well above you in the table.

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