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2025/26 Season Preview - Fulham - Premier League

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Transfers

Media Prediction: 12th

Title Odds: 300/1

Board expectation: Top half

Captain: Aleksandar Ignjovski

Vice-Captain: Henri Posada

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I ended last season listed as an 'under-fire manager', which I thought was a bit harsh, given I inherited a side 20th and finished 13th. They were similarly harsh this season, with the lowest expectation available to finish in the top half, meaning a slow start could cost me a job. The media were slightly more realistic, picking us to finish around the same spot as last season.

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While we spent more than we regained in terms of transfer fees, the important thing was we reduced the wage budget significantly, and all up are spending more £100K less on wages per week than when I took over. It was also a focus on youth to freshen up an ageing squad, with the oldest player signed just 21.

Dusan Lazovic - A key player for Rangers the past two seasons, the Serbian international looks a fine defender with plenty of room for improvement too.

Elvis Rasic - Another outstanding physical specimen, he also has the work rate and attitude to excel, and will be looking to prove Middlesbrough wrong after they released him.

David Lovell - With 29 goals for Exeter in the Championship last season, he deserves his chance at the top level. Labelled 'the next Darren Bent', although this far into the game every second teenager seems to be the next someone or other.

Marco Seufert - We signed a few prospects on frees, and this guy looks the best of the lot.

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The season starts with a home grudge match against Chelsea, which would be a fantastic way to build momentum.

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Next, Kenny Coton was promoted to captain, and despite having made 229 club appearances and served as vice-captain for the past two seasons, the predictable "feels he is being put under pressure by being appointed captain at such a young age" message came up. You're 22 princess, toughen up.

LOL!! Love your man management style!

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This season's youth intake has been fruitful, with Pat Byfield the pick of the bunch...

fulpatbyfield.jpg

Listed as a 'promising midfielder' and 'the next Danny Murphy'.

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Point taken and agreed with. Some of the 'touted as the next...' are just bizarre. I have an Italian youngster who is being called the next Diego De Ascentis, a mid/lower table Serie A journeyman who only represented Italy at the Olympics. It's like calling someone 'the next Sean Derry'. Who cares?

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2025/26 - Fulham - Premier League

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League Table - Finances - Graph - Transfers

Season Review

The board wanted a top half finish and we duly delivered, despite some alarming patches of inconsistency. In keeping the third most clean sheets in the league, we always gave ourselves a chance at picking up points. While we only improved on last season by three places, we grabbed 19 more points and finished with a positive goal difference, +26 better than last campaign.

Our best showing was in the League Cup, where we were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by eventual winners Man City. My old employers Forest Green knocked us out of the FA Cup in the 4th round, made the semis, and then were promptly relegated.

Goal of the Season

[video=youtube;rggO1UhJQfI]

A magical late winner from our best player.

Key Men

Rafael Ţigănaş - No wonder the club was in such dire straits when I took over, given they loaned this guy out without a recall clause. He was sensational all season, both scoring and creating and playing all across a front three and finishing runner-up in the league young player of the season award.

Alex Sellars - Now England's first choice left-back, he has been our most consistent defender for the past two seasons. Very rarely beaten, he will be rewarded with the captaincy next campaign.

David Lovell - A wonderful first season in top flight football for the youngster, bagging 15 goals and an average match rating of over seven. Unfortunately, in typical FM fashion, his season ended prematurely with a torn calf muscle.

Next Season...

We need to score more goals really. While the league's top scorer was busy bagging 42 goals in 34 matches (again, just annoying), we only scored 52 as a team. Consolidating top half will be the aim, and we need to bring in at least two quality centre-halves.

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Swindon Supermarine

2011/12 - Evo-Stik Southern Premier - 1st (promoted as champions)

2012/12 - Blue Square South - 2nd (lost in play-off semis)

2013/14 - Blue Square South - 2nd (lost in play-off semis)

2014/15 - Blue Square South - 4th (play-off and FA Trophy finalists)

2015/16 - Blue Square South - 1st (promoted as champions)

2016/17 - Blue Square Premier - 9th (resigned)

Forest Green Rovers

2017/18 - Blue Square South - 1st (promoted as champions)

2018/19 - Blue Square Premier - 1st (promoted as champions)

2019/20 - League Two - 1st (promoted as champions)

2020/21 - League One - 8th

2021/22 - League One - 3rd (promoted via play-offs)

2022/23 - Championship - 7th

2023/24 - Championship - 1st (promoted as champions)

Fulham

2024/25 - Premier League - 13th

2025/26 - Premier League - 10th

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2025/26

Charity Shield: Chelsea (West Ham)

Premiership: West Ham (Aston Villa, Forest Green, Ipswich)

Championship: Bristol City; Brighton, Blackburn (Portsmouth, Gillingham, Colchester)

League One: Watford; Swindon, Cambridge Utd (Luton, Blackpool, MK Dons, Plymouth)

League Two: AFC Wimbledon; Chester, Crewe, Stockport (Eastleigh, Oxford)

Conference Premier: Stafford; Boston Utd (Chelmsford, Droylsden, Farsley, North Greenford)

Conference North: Guiseley; Stevenage (Worksop, Stalybridge, Vauxhall)

Conference South: Hayes & Yeading; Ebbsfleet (Billericay, Bath, Farnborough)

Ryman Isthmian Premier: Carshalton; Wealdstone (Braintree, Ramsgate, Ashford, Brentwood)

Evo-Stik Northern Premier: Hyde; Nantwich (Alfreton, Goole, North Ferriby, Grantham)

Evo-Stik Southern Premier: Kidderminster; Brackley (Taunton, Maidenhead, Daventry, Dorchester)

Ryman Isthmian Division One North: Needham Market; Ilford (Harlow, King's Lynn)

Ryman Isthmian Division One South: Horsham; Corinthian-Casuals (Merstham, Walton & Hersham)

Evo-Stik Division One North: Radcliffe Boro; Retford (Prescot, Bamber Bridge)

Evo-Stik Division One South: Curzon Ashton; Eastwood (Carlton Town, Belper)

Evo-Stik Division One Central: Banbury; Hitchin (Barton Rovers, Leighton)

Evo-Stik Division One South/West: Ware; Biggleswade Town (Poole Town, Clevedon)

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FA Cup: Chelsea (West Ham)

League Cup: Chelsea (Man City)

Johnstone's Paint: Salisbury (FC United)

FA Trophy: Dartford (Hendon)

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Champions League: Benfica (Chelsea)

Europa League: Lille (Rangers)

Super Cup: FC Porto (West Ham)

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Socceroos_Logo.jpg

Under 19s

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This has been fun. It's been a tough gig as all the good u19s players are promoted to the u21s or even the senior squad on occasion, so I've had to try and fixture friendlies that don't clash, and also trawl A-League youth squads for prospects that may have slipped through the cracks.

We qualified fairly comfortably for the Asian U19 Champs and that will be my first chance at international silverware.

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Thoughts?

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I can rule out the USA, as it's four years from the next World Cup so the job doesn't really interest me. The African Cup of Nations is coming up in January, so that would be a chance at a trophy with both Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, while Ireland are in a Euro group with Croatia, Romania, Andorra and Lithuania, so qualification there is achievable.

Nigeria are 15th in the world, Ivory Coast are 19th, Ireland are 22nd and the US are 24th.

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Great save you've got going on here. What you have done with Forest Green has been phenomenal, shame you jumped ship during the 1st Prem season, but you seemed to have made the right decision.

I'd go for Nigeria or Ivory Coast, neither would be a bad choice.

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Hey, CityandColour. Just catching up and definitely been a good career! I'd say Ivory Coast would be an interesting choice :)

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Thanks all, update on my next international move to come...

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2026/27 Season Preview - Fulham - Premier League

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Transfers

Media Prediction: 10th

Title Odds: 200/1

Board expectation: Top half

Captain: Aleksandar Ignjovski

Vice-Captain: Alex Sellars

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While we spent a fair bit more than we received in terms of transfers, this was more than balanced out by the fact that we got rid of the last of the highly-paid squad players from when I took over and bringing in players on smaller wages, resulting in the second lowest wage spend in the league. Thierry Henry left the club after his contract expired, and was replaced as my assistant by Brede Hangeland, joining ex-teammates John Arne Riise and Danny Murphy as members of staff.

I probably paid slightly over the odds for Denovan Pastrana, however he is fairly young and has plenty of international experience for a squad rotation option. Jon Bamber never came on after I signed him at Forest Green, and gets a second chance. Arsenal were sniffing around Sellars, but while I asked for £13.5M, they wouldn't go over £10M.

Scottish international Craig Husband looks a fine player just coming into his prime, and former Italian u21 international Giovanni Garroni was not needed by Parma, despite eye-popping physical attributes.

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We again start the season with a big home tie, hosting defending champions West Ham in what should be a sell-out.

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It doesnt sound right when you say defending champions, West Ham.

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It doesnt sound right when you say defending champions, West Ham.

Agree, but we beat the bastards.

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Republic Of Ireland

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I ended up taking this job purely as I want to have a good crack at Euro qualification. The African CoNs is the only international tournament I've won on any version of the game and I don't fancy a January full of club and country fixtures, so Ireland it is.

Things got off to a pretty good start as well, going to Montenegro and coming back with a 7-0 win, which included a hat-trick and a brace for two debutants. A trip to Sweden next month should provide a sterner challenge before the first round of qualification matches begins.

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I've just gone and made this guy the highest paid player at the club...

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It's a bit of a risk. He was a hot prospect at Real Madrid but he never made the breakthrough there. He also doesn't speak English and will need to get match fitness. However, at 23 he is young for a 'keeper, and my word does he had wonderful attributes for the position. Currently my first choice is Alex Smithies and he hasn't missed a league match since he joined, but he is 36 years old now.

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He'll do very well for you.

Especially if he keeps the mohawk/earring thing he had going on.

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Nice choice with Ireland :)

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Jimenez looks a very good goalkeeper :).

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Yep, apart from the 18 for aggression. I await the 'run out of his box and fly kick' with interest...

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Fulham

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We've certainly taken advantage of a fairly easy schedule in the first quarter of the season, with the only matches against contenders being West Ham (2-0 win) and Man City (1-1 draw). It's all been down to our defence too, conceding only two goals in 10 league matches. We have a pretty torrid run coming up of Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea coming up, so if we can get through that okay then a Champions League spot may be the revised goal.

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Republic Of Ireland

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A slow start to qualifying. Croatia deservedly beat us 0-1, however the Romania game was infuriating. We absolutely battered them (seven clear cut chances) but could only get the one goal. We then conceded an own goal for a corner, and then they scored in the last five minutes from probably their only other attack. A 4-1 win in Andorra restored some confidence, and a win against Lithuania will put us right back in the hunt. The home tie against Croatia looms as vital already.

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Especially if he keeps the mohawk/earring thing he had going on.

It certainly works for Ţigănaş.

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I've just read through this entire thing in one sitting. Great career you've got going here. I was wondering though, with you struggling for goals, have you put a bid in to newly relegated Forest Green for that German kid, Wagner (?) ? Surely he would do well for you?

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East start or not, good going with Fulham, hope Ireland picks up.

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I've just read through this entire thing in one sitting. Great career you've got going here. I was wondering though, with you struggling for goals, have you put a bid in to newly relegated Forest Green for that German kid, Wagner (?) ? Surely he would do well for you?

I would, but we only play one up top now and I'm fairly happy with our striking options.

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Pity about that tough run of games, well maybe not Norwich, but some of the ones just after.

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Nine games to go, and we're somehow still in a title race, despite averaging less than two points per game...

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We still have to play Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea again so I would be shocked if we're anywhere near the summit come the final day, but more importantly we're 10 points ahead of 8th.

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Seven to go...

fultitlerace3.jpg

Can we pull off a quite remarkable title?

Next four are Liverpool away, Arsenal and Man Utd at home and then Chelsea away. Our goal difference is by far the worst of the top six.

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fultitlerace5.jpg

The trip to Anfield was tough and we just didn't perform, with a deserved loss and a very disappointing result against a team that is only just in the top half. We bounced back against Arsenal, with an 89th minute Ţigănaş strike enough to take the points in an even game. We then dominated the match against Man Utd, and despite conceding from their only three shots on target, our front three all registered a match rating of at least 9.0 as we ran riot up top.

So that leaves the table looking like this...

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I still feel we'll fall short of the title, but European football is all but guaranteed, and we've also established a mini-gap over 4th and 5th. A trip to Stamford Bridge holds even more emotion than usual too, as any sort of result there will make a top four spot almost certain.

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Ended up being pipped on goal difference, after two costly draws in the final three...

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However have decided to leave this save for a while as I have a few different things I want to try. Will leave the thread open though if I do resume.

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Wow. What a season. So unlucky just missing out on the title.

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Actually Man City played West Ham on the last day, so it was a crazy scenario where I couldn't win the title whatever the result, despite being two points off the top.

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