Fulham with one game left are one place above the three relegation places. Once this would be a cause for celebration as Fulham the great escapologists of the sixties and of season 2008-09 might evade relegation once again. Although we were mathematically safe after yet another inept performance, a home defeat by Nottingham Forest last weekend, there was no celebration or cause for such as this has been a shambles of a season. On Saturday we travelled down the A4 to Brentford and were three down by half time. I remember after another licking last season an old school friend who follows Brentford put up on his blog that he covered QPR as a reporter after they were relegated, they strolled around complacently as if they were too good for the Championship and he detected the same with Fulham. Another pal who follows Fulham and has managed at high level has made the same observation.
So what’s the answer? One is not to replace the head coach, Slavisia Jokatonic. We have already had in less than 3 seasons Jol, Meulensteen, Magath, Symons, Gray and now SJ. Another coach with his own tactical style, playing preferences and time to get his boots under the desk is untenable. Not that SJ has convinced. He does not seem to know his favoured style, changes the team every week and has not sorted a defence that has conceded 78 goals.
Off the pitch I would like to some new faces more attuned to Fulham fans the group who have suffered most. At half time there was a chant of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt”. There’s talk of of demonstration at the last home game v Bolton, more likely our fans will vote with their feet and not turn up.
One of the few successes of the season is the number of the successful academy player in the team: Bettinelli, Christensen, Hyndman, and on Saturday and for some reason young Dembele was dropped . If Cawley Woodrow is played then a core of young players fit to wear the short is emerging. Southampton dropped down as far as League One, played their kids and are now an established Prmier side. As one of our better players Tom Cairney is 24 there is a more youthful future. I would add Dan Burn the big central defender but his form has suffered from being in and out of the team
I often speak to Ivan and can only marvel how Chris Hughton has turned around his team. He kept them up with the players he inherited, be bought in wisely with Kayal, Bong. Rosenior and when he needed to improve the goal threat he acquired Skalak and Knackaert. I hear he made an impressive interview but one member of the Fulham appointments committee was contrarian. I wonder if he is contrarian now.