It’s always an exciting moment when the fixtures are released.
Fulham open their account entertaining Liverpool, as stern a test as we might wish.
At this stage I only pencil the fixtures into my diary as so many will be altered for television.
In the first few months we play Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City. These matches are less important – exercises in damage limitation – as to survive we need to take points off our peers (Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Leeds, Everton, Crystal Palace, Brentford, Brighton and Southampton).
Given that Norwich were promoted with 97 points and were relegated, as we were after two promotions, the Cottage mood is not that optimistic.
Much will depend on Marco Silva and the recruitment. Hopefully he can unearth some Portuguese gems.
Overarching, architecturally and financially, will be Fulham’s £150m new Riverside stand.
I came across the handbook for the 1971-2 season when the old Riverside Stand was constructed.
It enlarged the number of seats to 9,000 but costs spiralled and it all but bankrupted the club.
Fortunately owner Shahid Khan has deep pockets and ambitions for the stand which will contain a Michelin star restaurant, a boutique hotel, a member’s club and premium seats on its 5 levels.
Because of Covid, asbestos and logistical problems only the bottom level is finished.
The hope is that it will eventually prove an attraction and not just on match days. We shall see.