The Tanner Report
In all the years I have followed Fulham I have never renewed my season ticket with a heavier heart. Indeed even in the darkest days when we might have fallen out of the league altogether it would have been unthinkable not to renew. In those bleak days of the early 90s I was reassured that the board was composed of Fulham men, all supporters and in the case of Jimmy Hill and Tom Wilson ex-players and we could do our bit to keep the club going. Then came Mr Al Fayed and two promotions, a cup semi final, a European final and 13 years at the top table. The club was very well run. For the first time we had a chairman who had a vision, defended our corner, invested in the club and chose successful managers. Beneath him were a board composed of Fulham supporters for whom the welfare of our club was paramount and underneath them an efficient CEO. Sadly this command structure was dismantled when Shahid Kahn bought the club.
Reading the various articles on Fulham finances I am oddly reassured inasmuch as Khan must be an astute businessman to amass the fortune he has and must therefore realise to get any return on his £170m investment he needs us to be back in the premier. Added to this the second parachute payment, potential revenue from selling Patrick Roberts and Marcus Bettinelli and we could have a substantial war chest. What has been conspicuously lacking in his chairmanship is a manager that can deliver success. Kit, nice guy, who initially did well after such an awful legacy, did not seem to know his best team, failed to shore up a leaking defence and the injection of his young charges from the academy was blocked by a series of loanees.
Sam Allardyce’s name is mentioned. I would prefer to see Mark Warburton, who understands the division, brought considerable success to Brentford and advocates attractive football. Although the cost of a season proportionate to supporter’s wealth is probably less than the owner’s funding of Fulham in relation to his worth, the mood I am picking up on renewal is that one year’s support will be given but if we finish up in the bottom half playing dire football then it will take far, far more, than the slick packaging and endless emails of exhortation to make many fans renew.