Fulham : The Next Level

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by Andersons11, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Andersons11

    Andersons11 Member

    Jul 6, 2012
    Fulham: The Next Level.

    The next level is a phrase that has been bandied about in multiple interviews regarding our new Chairman, Mr. Khan in regards to his ambitions for his new club, Fulham FC. What could the next level for Fulham be? As the club is moving into its thirteenth consecutive season in English Top Flight, you could argue that it is time for the scenic club by the Thames to push on.

    Thirteen seasons in the Premier league, widely considered the best in the world (though that could be in question with the rise of the Bundesliga) is no mean feat. Fulham have gone from dead cert relegation candidates in the papers to pundits easy pick from 16th-9th depending on the season and the clubs which have come up from the Championship. While most clubs would balk at these predictions, it seems certain individuals in the media have it out for Fulham, or could care less. Where should Fulham go? “They have Berbatov now, put them uhhh here lets go with 11th”

    However the next level for Fulham is one which we have been familiar with. It is not immediately challenging for a top six spot, or even a Europa league place, while the latter is very plausible for a squad such as Fulham’ s. Fulham’ s next level is solid top 10 finishes with the elusive good cup run thrown in the mix.

    If one was to look at the current Fulham first team, you could say it is a very solid side. One could say that it is a giant 25 man puzzle with a piece missing. This piece has been identified by supporter and pundit time and time again as a center midfielder. In the past, Fulham have had three options. The first, often demonstrated quite well, is to take an older player and bring them in for cheap. The second is to find a younger player, let them develop and wait for the inevitable poaching by a bigger club. The third, which seems to have been the clubs policy as of late, is to shop the bargain bin of free transfers and loans. All three policies have worked quite well for Fulham and it is a testament to Fulham’ s coaching staff to get results out of “has beens” from other clubs and turn them back into the performers they once were.

    We live in an age of immediacy and entitlement. Transfers are announced by social media and other outlets ages before the club releases an official statement. This mentality has slowly crept into some supporters mentalities unfortunately. Instead of appreciating what we have, some were puzzled as to why we hadn’t spent loads on a new player, as we had the “Dembele and Dempsey” money “available” The same goes for the new chairman. It is human nature to be curious as to the kind of influence a new member of a vitally important part of your life will take. However one has to be realistic at the kind of expectations to take, particularly in the upcoming season. Mr. Khan has promised support to the squad. He also has been very wise in stating that he really has a lot to learn about football and will surround himself with those that have helped make the club what it is. Remember, the man just spent an astronomical sum of money to purchase the club and will be very prudent with any sum that is going to be spent this season. Though he is officially “worth” more than two times than Mr. Al Fayed, would you be willing to spend more than you needed to after parting with that sum?

    Fulham well and truly have emerged from those dark days in the lower leagues and have taken the right approach to running a club and steady will eventually win the race. The Cottage will continue to be an iconic ground and while other clubs trade in their history for concrete mega structures; our ground will continue to stand out. Mr. Khan stated that he aimed for a viable option for both the Club and the Cottage. What that means for our future that will have to be addressed when the next level is reached.

    If one were to put a ladder out and label it with Fulham’ s next levels to achieve once the current one was reached, it would probably go as the following. (1) Continued top 10 finishes with good cup runs. (2) Solid top 10 finishes with SUCCESS in the cups. (3) A constant Europa place with good cup runs and success as well (4) Top six finish along with the good runs in the cups. (5) Begin to displace the current top sides and finish the Champions league spots (6) The most ambitious of the lot, to win the League.

    While some of the above could seem impossible at the current moment, but if done right, which is quite possible the way the club has been run it is very possible to see this happen years down the road. Building a successful club over time would strengthen the fan base and minimize the amount of supporters only out for silverware. Fulham can achieve the next level with patience, perseverance and the right attitude.

    We may even reach a level where supporters are actually allowed to die in peace, having actually seen their club win something!
  2. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    A City by a Bay
    Some interesting thoughts and thanks for the post. I think the point of Khan's parting with a huge sum this year probably does mean the purse strings will not be opened as much as supporters may have hoped - but, on the other hand, the man needs to keep Fulham in the top flight this year and that will require some additional investment as I see it.

  3. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Newburgh, IN
    A good read. Stepping up to the Everton level is certainly not a bad goal.
  4. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Walnut, CA
    Very interesting reading Andersons11 and thanks for posting. In my mind the correct 'level' given the league circumstances is a combination of paying attention to today and a keeping an eye on the long term stability of the club. As far as the latter is concerned, I think the Fulham has done a top notch job IF (and notice that's a big IF) the new stand proceeds. They have done a tremendous job of taking advantage of where they are located in London to attract talent and build the Academy into something all Fulham fans can be extremely proud of.

    As for where the club is presently heading into the new season, you made reference to the club relying of late on bargain bin players and loans. As HD correctly pointed out this strategy was implemented in order to help with the sale of club. However, one only has to look at how poorly the team was playing (the Swansea win on the final day, put some lipstick on that pig of a last quarter of the season) to know that it won't work. I genuinely believe that unless there is one or two serious additions (by serious I mean able to step into the starting XI) it will be a grind to avoid the drop. Do I expect Khan to deviate from the solid business model the club has in place? No, but unless there is some money infusion this window, he can be wondering why he spent this much money on a NPower Championship team.

    The toughest pill to swallow if you grow up an American sports fan and you choose to support a club the size of Fulham is the loss of hope. We've said it before, but it bears repeating that the Premier League is a caste system. Unless you are owned by a Billionaire that is willing to spend hundreds of millions the thought of ever competiting for a league title is laughable or for that matter a Top 4 finish (I like to mock my 2 ManUre buddies when they and their team falls over itself in celebrating a Prem title, 'Congrats, there was one or two other teams that had a chance').

    That leaves the elusive FA Cup run, hell we would all take a "whatever it's called" League Cup run. While the furtherest I've seen as a fan is the quarterfinals, the club is capable of making a run, but there is a few factors involved. Wigan was greatly aided by the luck of the draw. Go back and look at who they beat up to the Final and they took full advantage of upsets in there half of the draw and only had to beat Millwall in the semis. The other huge thing that must not be overlooked is where a team is in the league standings. For Wigan, winning the FA Cup was both a blessing and a curse. It will be accomplishment that will live forever in the supporters memories, but I honestly believe if that had been knocked out earlier they would still be in the top flight. Unless Wigan jumps right back up, which is doubtful that is a loss of 60 million pounds of tv revenue after the parachute payments are done.

    Is there another level that reasonable and logical Fulham supporters can aspire to? I'm not sure if we haven't already attained the highest level unless Mr. Khan decides he doesn't mind losing millions, and even then placing in the Top 6 on a consistent basis is unlikely.
  5. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Jul 29, 2005

    Everton had David Moyes, and now that he is gone, I am curious to see how Everton and its players move on without him. One has to wonder how Jol gets on with the players and his ability to attract and maintain good relations with the squad he has. So far, I think he's a big reason Berbatov came here...but, did he have a part in pushing players out last summer? I'm hesitant to say so for the majority of players, but there was that cryptic tweet from Dickson Etuhu.

    As far as Fulham stepping up to the next level, I agree it would have to be in incremental steps. I doubt Khan will do what Man City or Chelsea did a few years ago and pay ridiculous amount of money to players to win titles immediately. I do believe he will do whatever is necessary to keep the squad in the Prem to make a return on his investment, what he does beyond that will be seen soon enough.
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