Sunday, April 21, 2019

Fulham have been a mess since promotion

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 3 Apr 2019

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On Tuesday night, Fulham suffered relegation from the Premier League after a 4-1 thumping by Watford at Vicarage Road. The defeat means that the Cottagers have now lost their last nine matches in the top-flight.

Last night’s victory may have mathematically confirmed the Cottagers relegation, but in truth, they have been all-but relegated for months. The team’s problems started way back in the summer.

Terrible summer investment

Fulham’s unexpected promotion under Slavisa Jokanovic forced the club from the capital into strengthening their squad, as the squad that won promotion was not big enough or good enough to survive in the Premier League.

The Cottagers splurged £100million last summer bringing in a host of new players, including Alfie Mawson, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Jean Michael Seri and Aleksandar Mitrovic. In reality, most of their signings were overpriced and unproven in the Premier League.

Fulham had to spend money to recruit new players. However, their approach of quantity over quality has brought about terrible results. I understand they were short on players, but the players that arrived have not worked out for some reason.

Seri, for example, had previously been linked with moves to Manchester United and Arsenal. Fulham must have believed they had pulled off a coup in signing him. However, the midfielder has completely flopped at Craven Cottage. I doubt the big boys will be calling any time soon for 27-year-old.

Mitrovic has arguably been the only summer signing that comes close to enjoying a successful season at Fulham. He is probably along with Ryan Sessegnon the only Fulham player likely to remain in the Premier League next season.

Having three bosses in one season not a great move

Fulham are now on their third boss of the season in caretaker boss Scott Parker. The clubs previous two bosses Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieri have both enjoyed varying degrees of success in the English game.

Fulham’s promotion was the second that Jokanovic has achieved from the Championship after also previously winning promotion with Watford. The sacking of Jokanovic of the Serbian in November came as little surprise due to the modern nature of football. By all accounts the Cottagers were awful in the first months of the season, though

However, results failed to improve under Ranieri, who took over from the Jokanovic and suffered a similar fate to his predecessor in February. By then the team were as good as doomed, as the Italian won just three of his 17 matches in charge of the Cottagers.

Ranieri’s former assistant Parker took over when the Italian left. The 38-year-old has since lost all five of his games in charge. It would be slightly harsh to blame Parker for the current mess, as the major damage happened long before his appointment.

Fulham will have to start again next season

The Cottagers now have to go through the motions until the end of the season. They will need to start all over again next season. Most of their costly stars are likely to exit the club. Luckily enough many of their signings are only on loan, so they will not have to worry about their wages next season.

A new permanent boss will likely takeover at Craven Cottage too. It may not seem it at the moment, but relegation could well prove a blessing in disguise. The Cottagers ragtag collection of players were never good enough to keep them up.

Maybe in the next few seasons, they can build a team better set up for life in the top-flight. As their relegation suggests they were certainly not set up for life in the Premier League this season.

Do any Fulham players deserve credit for their performances this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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