It was a very much ‘getting-to-know-you’ day in the 2-1 defeat to Ipswich. Getting to know eight debutants and a new habitat. However, the final taste was deja vu: how many times in the last 14 years have we seen the boys play pretty stuff, fall behind and rally in the last quarter – which was very much the story of this match?
The jury is still very much out as to whether manager Magath is the man to turn us around. He now has assumed all the reins of power, so if he fails it’s entirely down to him. He has a tendency to blame publicly everyone but himself for the debacle of last season – and especially the players. With all the redundancies Motspur Park, where the non-football staff work and the playing staff train, must be a gloomy place.
He had three players that had succeeded in the championship – Stockdale, Burn and Kacaniklic – and none were playing yesterday. Those he recruited, notably Shaun Hutchinson , did not look up to the job. Like many who dish out criticism, he is not so ready to receive it and he has now made a important and implacable enemy in the press for daring to criticise him for picking so many youngsters. The criticism I perceive is the lack of opportunity given to English youth. Of those who played, one was an American (Emerson Hyndman), another a Belgian, the keeper a Finn and the two English talents, Roberts and Woodrow, did not start. Add to this more public criticism of the fitness of the most expensive player (Ross McCormack) signed in the Championship and the story becomes sorrier.
One of my persistent criticisms of this regime is the lack of connection with Fulham supporters The late Dennis Turner would have told them that the history of managers coming in, determined to change everything, without sensitivity to the club culture – Sanchez, Campbell and Buckingham – is dire.