Summer signing Jimmy Bullard has had a knee operation in the States where he will stay for the next seven to ten days to check all stays well. The midfielder injured his knee in the win over Newcastle after accidentally colliding with Scott Parker and is expected to miss most of the season after scans revealed extensive damage to his crucial knee ligament.
Fulham’s medical men will work out his rehabilitation programme on his return to the UK.
Coleman calls for ‘life ban’
Fulham boss Chris Coleman has called for any manager found guilty of taking illegal payments to be banned from football for life. With the Premier League and FA currently investigating claims made by the BBC’s Panorama documentary, UEFA have vowed to take a tough stance. Coleman agrees that the harshest punishment possible should be dished out should the taking of ‘bungs’ be proven.
‘The game is being tarred at the moment by the stigma of bungs, which are very difficult to prove,’ he said.
‘We all get paid enough anyway without having to take a bung, so if it can be proved someone has taken one then I agree they should be kicked out forever – and that’s that.
‘If you’re banned for two years then it’s a wrap on the knuckles. I feel if you’ve done it once then you’ll do it again, so I totally agree with UEFA.’
Coleman in trouble after Halsey outburst?
Chris Coleman may have to answer a Football Association charge for his outburst against the referee Mark Halsey after an inquiry was launched at Soho Square yesterday. The Fulham manager is likely to receive a letter asking him to explain his tirade following Saturday’s home defeat to Chelsea.
Coleman called for Halsey to be removed from future Fulham matches because of his involvement in previous controversies at Craven Cottage and implied the referee was biased towards bigger clubs such as Chelsea.
The manager’s comments were rooted in history. Halsey’s coercion by Arsenal players into changing his mind about awarding Fulham a penalty two years ago resurfaced on Saturday when he denied spot-kick claims from the home side but gave one to Chelsea in their 2-0 win.
The Fulham manager said he hoped Halsey would not be appointed again ‘against Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea’. He added: ‘For his sake and ours, he shouldn’t be here.’
Coleman’s comments will be a test of the FA’s determination to eradicate excessive criticism of match officials and his demand not to have Halsey again is certain to be rebuffed by the referees’ chief, Keith Hackett, whose determination not to be influenced is likely to rebound on the manager.
Hackett has shown a tough streak this season. The plea by the Sheffield Wednesday manager, Paul Sturrock, for Premiership referees to be barred from the Championship after Steve Bennett’s performance in a defeat to Leeds was met by the selection of another elite official, Alan Wiley, for the next game at Hillsborough.
Hackett, however, has also demonstrated that officials are more accountable than ever. The linesman Barry Sygmuta, who failed to flag when Shola Ameobi was in a clear offside position as he gave Newcastle the lead against Everton on Sunday, is likely to face some form of disciplinary action for his aberration. Sygmuta could find himself temporarily withdrawn from the Premier League.
Its just another example of a smaller team manager getting put through the mangle for daring to speak up against a ref’s decision, other ‘bigger club’ managers say what they want.