Fulham Fans’ Season Preview: Steady Growth And A Shot At Glory

With the jolly Dutchman Martin Jol in the dug out and Bobby Zamora returning to the pitch steady improvement and a decent cup run will do for this Fulham fan.
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With the jolly Dutchman Martin Jol in the dug out and Bobby Zamora returning to the pitch steady improvement and a decent cup run will do for this Fulham fan.

Fulham fans would have viewed the departure of ex-Chelsea man Mark Hughes with a rye smile. He never really fitted in at Craven Cottage and 'Mark Hughes' Black and White Army'  didn't flow naturally from The Hammersmith End. Mo' Fayed's patience with a man who could have been sacked after a home defeat to West Ham sent us into the bottom three on Boxing Day 2010 curdled into a relationship breakdown that has at least seen the arrival of Martin Jol. Early season Europa games have confirmed that this loveable bear of a man  - who still comes across like an under cover Dutch narco' cop - should continue promoting a similarly expansive style of football that had begun to seep through under Hughes.

Last season blossomed into something quite promising with Fulham playing some lovely football at times, particularly in a 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham in the FA Cup.  Convincing away wins at Stoke, Sunderland and Birmingham hinted that the woeful travel sickness that has blighted our stay in the top flight may be abating and Bobby Zamora recovered from a nasty early season injury to terrorise defences with renewed vigour. Moussa Dembele showed flashes of brilliance but must do it every week to achieve the inevitable bid from Harry Redknapp.

The club could yet enjoy another momentous season of Thursday nights on Channel 5 but a repeat of the Hodgson inspired heroics of 2009 will be hard to pull off.

After waltzing passed the fodder of the Europa League's early qualifying rounds, Fulham drew the short straw in the final pre-group stage play-off lottery by pulling the Ukrainians FC Dnitro out of the bag.  But our recent pedigree in the competition should see us through and who knows, the club could yet enjoy another momentous season of Thursday nights on Channel 5 but a repeat of the Hodgson inspired heroics of 2009 will be hard to pull off.

In line with a minimal transfer budget that may or may not have prompted the flouncing out of Mr Hughes, Fulham have opted for a long-term transfer policy, purchasing two of the better players from the recent Euro-U21 Champions, snaffling the tasty looking Pajtim Kasami from Palermo and Czech starlet Marcel Gecov from Slovan Liberec.  Premier League pedigree comes in the shape of John Arne Riise from Roma.

A new right back is essential following the departure of self styled fan's favourite John Paintsill and a front line of the immense Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson (who's looked sharp in pre-season following an injury ravaged couple of years) and the inconsistent Moussa Dembele could do with some support too.

It's high time Fulham reached the latter stages, nay a final of a major cup competition and this combined with a top ten finish, a Europa League run and wins over Walham Green and Willseden Rovers would do very nicely indeed.

COYW!

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