NBCSN aired a 30 minute special this weekend following Goal Zone where they spent a day with Roberto Martinez at Everton & conducted an interview. They talked about several interesting topics like when exactly he decides on the first XI for a match, whether the post match glass of wine still happens between managers and what they say to each other on the touchline. But the one thing that caught my attention was a question about motivation. It started with the old quote that a good manager can improve a team by 10% while a bad one can hurt it by 30%. Martinez feels a manager can't really affect player motivation. Obviously different players have different things that motivate them and it's usually a combination of variables. He felt the most important aspect for success in that regard was camaraderie and players playing for each other and he said that ultimately comes from the guys in the team. You commonly hear successful teams here in the States talk about enjoying playing with each other, about bonds & brotherhood, etc. Makes sense. Which got me to thinking about Fulham. We've beaten the "how we got here" horse to death and I'm not trying to dig that up again. The point is that as fans we're quick to point to changing managers and players but I think this actually could be our Achilles heel. We obviously had that bond in spades for several years and we finished 7th, made it to a European final and regularly punched above our weight. Then in 2012 we saw the departures of Dempsey, Dembele, AJ, Zamora, Murphy and Etuhu. Simon Davies didn't officially depart the club until the next year, but he got hurt in the 11-12 season & never featured again for the club. That was a massive hit to the core of the team. That 12-13 season is when we started noticing the team quitting on matches and, at times, never even showing up. QPR away comes to mind as the most egregious example. And it's continued since, through 4 managers. I've heard Kit refer to Parker as an inspirational figure at the club, but the efforts of the team on the pitch make that statement pretty condemning. I don't know who we should buy this summer beyond positions. Obviously, we aren't good enough in a number of positions, midfield in particular. But I hope we put as much stock in leadership, character & work ethic as we do in talent when bringing in new players. Getting that right will likely go a lot further toward righting the ship than any £10M forward or new manager could.