Fulham: Cowardly, Pathetic & Disgraceful End To Our Survival Hopes
Is it strange to feel a sense of relief following our relegation? Whilst tears streamed down my face leaving the Britannia Stadium, I could’t help but feel our horrific ordeal was finally over, despite the unsavoury outcome.
For weeks now, I have given up trying to dissect what exactly went wrong. Anyone possessing even the most distant signs of sanity would agree that we were shambolic. Luckily for the boys, it was quite the fitting act to confirm our relegation from the top flight.
This season has been nothing short of a disgrace in my eyes, and one of the benefits of falling through the trap door will be the departure of several pathetic excuses for professional footballers. We have catered for a toxic squad this season, and quite frankly, I hope it will be the downfall for many of their careers.
Darren Bent. Where do I start with this mercenary? There are many things wrong with this world, but Bent picking up a weekly pay cheque for playing football tops them all. Words can’t describe my anger towards his contribution this season. Saturday’s performance summed it all up really, ending with 3,000 disgruntled Fulham fans chanting “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” at the striker.
Despite my hatred of abuse towards players, at that point, enough was enough. I would normally refrain from such actions, reasoning that it doesn’t help the cause, but the cause was so far gone that it felt right. Bent looked like a lost child in a supermarket, and had next to no idea what he was doing on the field.
The worst incident I witnessed came at full-time, when only a select few players came over to clap and embrace the away following. It really hit home who cared, and who didn’t. For me, seeing the majority of the squad swiftly filter into the tunnel was cowardly, pathetic and disrespectful. With fans spending the majority of their disposable income on miserable and abject displays throughout the season, some players didn’t see fit to applaud them for their efforts. It was nothing short of ridiculous.
Our downfall this season rests in many hands, but if we are to look at it from a footballing point of view, it has been a player problem. Many people will fixate upon Jol, Meulensteen and Magath, but the bottom line is that when you sieve through three managers, and the same issues continue to prevail, it must be a player problem. A lack of concentration and desire has continued to crop up, almost like clockwork. Add the inability to defend set-pieces, stay in position, close out a game, or just defend really, and you have a recipe for disaster. There is only so much a manager can do, and when players disregard instructions and simply do not perform, then the inevitable is always going to occur.
However, with that said, Magath got it all wrong against Stoke. Seeing Dan Burn get turned inside out at right-back by Assaidi was painful. The poor youngster was played horrifically out of position and had a torrid time. When you decide to play a six-foot-seven centre-back out of position in a do-or-die fixture, then issues are bound to arise.
The way we were set up does not excuse our woeful attempt to show any form of determination. We deserve to go down this season, and it would have been a farce had we managed to maintain our status. Sunderland have shown exactly what we should have done in this predicament, but we decided to continue in the same light, and therefore have duly delivered what has been expected for a while. There was no heart, no to drive to succeed.
It’s just sad to see all the hard work we have undertaken in the last few years go to complete waste. Only four years ago we were lining up against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final. Now we find ourselves relegated from the Premier League, whilst our opponents that day have a Champions League final to look forward to, along with a possible La Liga title.
We do have a lot to look forward to next season, such as many new away outings, the possibility of winning a few games, and seeing some youngsters emerge. However, you can’t help but feel upset about how things have panned out. After 13 years in the best league in the world, it’s hard to leave it behind. I just hope we can return one day. All the best.
Follow Jaik on Twitter, @JaikBFenton