Fulham End Of Season Review: Awful But At Least We Had A Laugh
What’s going right?
Do I have to answer this? It's been an awful season, full of negatives. However, if I'm being pushed for a positive, I would have to say the emergence of several youth players has been a highlight. Yesterday's 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace saw Chris David and Cauley Woodrow put in solid performances, both ending with a goal each. It gives me hope that we are starting to build a good squad for the future.
How long do you have? From start to finish, it has been nothing short of a shambles. Having three managers does not help proceedings, but when the same issues surface under each and every manager, you begin to realise it is a player problem. A majority of players just haven't put in the work required to stay in league. The lack of desire and effort is what has seriously gotten to me. Some of the performances by the squad this campaign have been nothing short of an embarrassment, and we deserve to go down.
We held onto Jol for too long, who's presence was toxic towards the end of his reign. Long-term player Brede Hangeland explained that he felt our demise was on the cards, which says a lot about what was occurring behind closed doors. When you concede nearly 90 goals in 38 games, there is only one outcome. Defensively we have been horrific, and conceding a set-piece felt like conceding a penalty more times than not. I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist of it.
Got the right manager?
Personally, I think we are moving in the right direction with Felix Magath. One can only imagine where we would be had we appointed the German after Martin Jol's dismissal. In no way is this an attack on Rene Meulensteen, but the lack of stability has been nothing but a negative influence. Magath seems committed to the cause, which is refreshing, and we have seen signs of improvement since he took over the reigns. Granted this is not his squad, I think he's done well so far. He seems to echo the idea of utilising our abundance of talented youth players in the Championship, and I am confident he can start a realistic promotion push next season.
I am split between both Steve Sidwell and David Stockdale, of whom are two people in a very small handful of players who can exit this dreadful season with any dignity. The former has demonstrated his love for the club, with consistent determination on the field, along with failing to give anything else but 100%. The latter has deposed Maarten Stekelenburg, which is no mean feat, and has now firmly established himself as our number one goalkeeper. Not only has Stockdale put in a number of fine displays over the last couple of months, he's been vocal in the players taking the blame. Whilst the majority have sat back and kept quiet, he has taken the hit and apologised on several occasions. He shows a real passion for the club, and I hope he remains for a long time.
Who would you like to sell in the summer?
This could take a while. First of all, the end of Darren Bent's loan will be met with rapturous applause. The day his name is removed from the squad profiles on the official website will be one to savour, that's for sure. Never have I seen a poorer excuse for a footballer than Mr. Bent, and I've seen Shefki Kuqi in a Fulham shirt. In general, I'm looking forward to removing the obscene amount of mercenaries from the club. I'll be here all day if I were to name them all. Our Championship endeavours will start the beginning of a mass overhaul and spark a transition period. It is something we have needed for a number years now.
Who do you want to sign?
I would love to see Jordan Rhodes in black and white. He's been a player we have chased for a number of years now, and he is someone we have been craving. For years we have been crying out for a goalscorer of his calibre, and I'm hopeful that he'll be on our list of targets. To prevail in the Championship, we will need to sign a number of players prepared to the league. It is one of the hardest leagues to get out of, and players of which are used to the intensity and unpredictability of it will be crucial. Throwing money at your squad will not guarantee automatic promotion, so we have to be careful as to how we approach our targets and spending. To be frank, I think new players are needed in every position, and names haven't really come to the forefront as of yet.
Best chant so far?
Funniest chant, for me, came back in October when we faced Southampton at St Mary's. Having witnessed the worst 78 minutes of football, we had failed to register a shot either on or off target. When the first shot was screwed horribly wide, there were loud cheers from the away end. The Fulham faithful responded with the chant "we want two, we want two". Despite one of the worst performances in Premier League history, we still found humour in our abject display, which soon became the theme of the season.
Best opposition player/team you’ve seen?
Best opposition player would have to go to Luis Suarez. The man is an obscene talent. However, what ruins it for me is his persistent need to playact, which isn't needed for a man with his talent. Having seen him at Craven Cottage this season, his ability to create something out of nothing, and terrorise defences is quite a sight. The best opposition team I've seen this season would probably be Liverpool. They completely laid into us at Anfield and gave us next to no chance that day. At that point, back in November, I genuinely thought they could launch a title challenge, and I was laughed at.
Biggest w***** of the season?
Darren Bent. Next.
Funniest Moment of the season?
Darren Bent thinking he could be crucial in keeping us in the Premier League.
Next season's prediction?
For me, it all depends on the squad we go into the Championship with. A lot of external factors will play a part in our exploits next season, such as adapting to the league. If I'm to be pushed for an answer, I would have to say that, without a doubt, we will be amongst the promotion contenders. Whether it be the automatic spots or play-off positions is another question. I look forward to seeing how we cope.