An English Thing or a Football Thing

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by AggieMatt, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Alamo City, Texas
    With criticism of Khan pervading every thread elsewhere in the Fulham universe, it got me to thinking about whether we do this in other sports, if it's a football issue or is it just part of being English (or British).

    I'm an Orioles fan and we blamed Peter Angelos for plenty for a while, but once he stopped meddling and let his baseball people do their jobs, things improved and the criticism came to a halt.

    Criticism of Jerry Jones is pretty much a staple of being a Cowboys fan, but then he brings so much of it on himself by insisting on being the GM and being so visible. As a Ravens fan I don't hear any complaints about Bisciotti, but the franchise has been successful mostly. There was a little over the Ray Rice scandal but that had more to do with who knew what.

    As a Caps fan, I see almost no criticism of ownership. Our previous GM bore the brunt of fans' disappointment. And as a Spurs fan, well, we're a mile from having anything to bitch about.

    Looking around at other teams it appears to be similar. Teams that struggle and have ownership that are perceived to be meddling catch criticism, otherwise it's reserved for players, coaches or management. Steinbrenner & Al Davis got a lot of grief, but I couldn't even tell you who owns the Jets and they're a laughingstock.

    Which brings us to Fulham. I won't rehash the complaints, but some seem reasonable, some seem absurd and many leave me wondering if people have any clue what they're talking about or how the club is run. Yet as soon as we struggle, the criticism rears it's head. Is this rooted in paranoia of other clubs being wound up? Have clubs been dismantled for flats elsewhere? Or is this a byproduct of ownership making up all or parts of Boards who then run the club? I'm not sure that really exists much at the higher levels today, but it used to & is probably more prevalent in the lower leagues. Maybe it's just part & parcel of a relegation league where a bad run can be very costly. On the flipside, fans will sing songs celebrating an owner in times of success, so the credit is there, negative or positive.

    Guess I'm asking for a brief history lesson here, but it was just something that has crossed my mind more than a few times over the years.
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  2. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Louisville, KY
    I think the proliferation of social media has exaggerated the criticism leveled at professional and revenue proucing college sports. You can blast somebody anonymously online and feel good about yourself. Vent those childhood or psychiatric issues right out through that cable. Cheaper than a real shrink. People here consistently criticize Pitino and Calipari. All they've done is win....big. And Cardinal fans are always badmouthing Bill DeWitt. They were merciless in their condemnation of Tony La Russa. Why? All they've done is win. There are some legitimate criticisms out there, to be sure. But there's more than one blueprint for success in the realm of pro sports, I believe. I don't think the average fan has a clue about what goes on in the executive suites of owners and boardrooms. More to your point, I'm probably not qualified to provide your brief history lesson, but the drumbeats are louder and the pressure far more pronounced than ever due, in part, I feel, to the unrelenting march of technology. It allows for an unmitigated assault of opinions when things are obviously not going as well as people feel they should be on the pitch, field, court, rink, et al.
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  3. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Alamo City, Texas
    Cardinals fans badmouth their owner? That's remarkable considering they've been one of, if not the most successful franchises in baseball over the last 15 years. Maybe my perception is wrong then and it is universal across sports.
  4. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Mar 4, 2014
    Jump, you asked all of the same questions I've had on my mind. I'm a Jaguars fan and the Jags have been about as successful under Khan as Fulham. However, I don't hear many Jags fans begging for new ownership. Usually the worst I hear is that they don't trust Khan when he says he isn't going to move the team. When the Jaguars have a stinker of a season it is the players and the coaches that rightly get most of the criticism. In the NFL they have a salary cap so there isn't an endless bucket of money that could be poured into player salaries, so that might remove most owners from direct criticism.

    I see Fulham fans saying we should be paying money for Premier League quality players. I really have no idea if Khan is being stingy and I don't know what kind of options he really has. It seems like there are players that are always in the Championship and those that are always in the Premier League. When we went down a number of players stayed up and when teams go up they attract new players from that level. Who from the Premier League are we supposed to coax to come down and play for us? As for Championship players, it seems like we have made an effort to get good players with this summer's signings (as opposed to last year's head-scratchers).

    Khan did make a mess of the managerial position the first year, but I can't fault him for staying with Kit. Kit turned around a disaster of a team last year and he's made what seemed like good signing this year. The first four games have stunk, but changing a manager right now would seem like the actions of a bad owner that is easily panicked, not a good steady leader.

    I'm not optimistic for our season right now, but also don't think there is a savior on a white horse to come riding in to fix everything and get us promoted. There are 23 other teams that want to get promoted who are fighting for the same talent we are.
  5. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Matt, first a little context. There WAS an idea floated in the 1980s, to sell Craven Cottage for development and have Fulham ground share with QPR -- at the time a much more successful ground. There was later an idea that the clubs would be merged into Fulham Park Rangers.

    Both ideas were rubbish, of course, since THE Craven Cottage is a national landmark, and can't be razed, but just like today, what people believe may happen is much more powerful than what can or could happen.

    I have debunked time after time on British sites the idea that Khan wants to move the Jags to London. I've pointed out that:

    (a) -- CC's pitch is miles too small for an NFL team, and that with 40-50 guys standing on the sidelines, there would be about 10,000 of the best seats with no view at all.
    (b) -- the travel time and the havoc time difference would make with television schedules mitigates against an NFL franchise in London -- for the same reason that there's not a franchise in Honolulu.
    (c) -- that the EU's regulations about employee movement would label the NFL's business model what it really is: a criminal enterprise.
    (d) -- Nobody is going to give NFL owners the incredible tax breaks and blackmail payments they do over here [not familiar with blackmail payments? I give you the Rams, Colts, Raiders, Saints, Titans, etc. etc.]

    So, if they've paid attention to that, what's left is that Khan is a foreigner -- TWICE. He's an American, and he's of Pakistani heritage. And, lest we forget it, our British friends are twice as racist as we are -- and that's quite a feat.

    or, as I like to say, your mileage may vary
  6. timmyg

    timmyg Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    It's an International Sport thing. Let me explain:

    For this argument, what plays into this is how there really isn't a "free press" in England. You see this with all the constant transfer speculation over rumors or nebulous "reports". It's a combination of access (where there is none) and crazy libel laws that only work to silence reporters (yet conversely create a wackadoodle tabloid market but that's another conversation). A lot has been written about comparing the US & English/European access, and how lover level teams like Swindon are barring all press.

    Basically, no one has *any* idea what is going on in each soccer team. We all like to think we do but compared to following the Orioles or Ravens or another sport that has several daily reporters for several different outlets, who actually get to interview and be around players and coaches, we know next to nothing about what is going on. We can only rely on in-house made videos from the manager and psychoanalyze every word and participle.

    So fans pick and choose their heroes and villians because they simply don't know any better. Not in a naive way, just there's little other option for them. It's easy to direct your ire toward the chairman for not "splashing the cash" when you know next to nothing about why Player X's negotiations fell apart.
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  7. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

    Jan 16, 2015
    Blame for the owner does seem to be an especially English thing, but I'm sure it happens elsewhere in the soccer world. What makes it unique (I think this is what Timmy is referring to) is that is seems come up when there's no logical reason to blame the owner. It's one thing to blame an owner when it's clear they are running a club on the cheap, or even stripping resources (Blackpool comes to mind), but to criticize an owner when results haven't gone the right way for a few games is crazy.

    In our case, the criticism for Khan is obviously nonsense, and I think most of our fans know that. Unfortunately, our fans as a whole are often represented by a few morons on Twitter that react like the cottage will implode any time we lose, then start throwing out baseless accusations. As HD points out, there hasn't been a single shred of evidence to back up any of the rumors about Khan's intentions. I don't think the criticism against Khan is overtly xenophobic, but I can't help but wonder if he would be getting the same stick if his was an English white guy.

    There's nothing organizationally wrong with the club. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's in better shape than it was at the end of Al-Fayed's ownership. It's certainly a lot more transparent. I think the quality of players we've been able to bring in this summer is a testament to the leadership that Khan has put in place (Rigg especially). There's only so much Khan can control.
  8. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Alamo City, Texas
    Excellent point Timmy, and one I hasn't considered.

    I'm not sure there's nothing organizationally wrong with the club. I hope there isn't, but Murphy's comments on Talksport yesterday would suggest otherwise. I agree that many of our fans didn't grasp the depth of the rebuild we were facing. I said when we went down it would take 3-5 years at minimum to get back up. Given our budget, FFP and being a Championship team, it was always going to take time to replace the rot, whether you used our youth or the transfer windows to turn over the squad. That said, I do feel we've underperformed which doesn't help supporters' attitudes.

    Paranoia does seem to be an English trait and you see a lot of that in the criticism of the owner, as Don mentioned.

    Lot of good points made.
  9. LogicalmanUS

    LogicalmanUS Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    CC, quite right in the sense that the club is organizationally better than when MaF sold us, though he did leave us in a pretty poor state, so I think there might be a little more room for improvement still, notwithstanding the strides Khan has made in the past couple of years.

    I can also understand the thoughts regarding xenophobia and Khan, though we need to take into account that MaF was Egyptian and never managed to become a Brit (however hard he and Dodi tried), so I don't believe that is the real issue, but the fact he is from a country where Footie isn't the national sport lends itself to those that are narrow-minded about such issues to claim it's because he knows nothing about football that makes the difference. The real difference is when you have a manager that knows nothing about footie, but I won't get into that.

    I think Khan knows the difference between NFL and English footie, and has finally got a managerial team in place at the Cottage to advise him better on such nuances of the transfer market and wages, in the same way as he would have at Jax. His taking the reigns was a good thing for the club, it was in stagnation with an owner that could not afford to support it much further, and relegation was always on the cards under MJ, since the heady days of 2010 we had not improved or even kept pace. MaF was a legend for the club, and will always be remembered for everything good (and some bad) he did, and I hope that Khan rides out this criticism he is facing and helps the club move onwards and upwards, and will finally be remembered, with affection, as a great owner as well.
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