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Re-building Fulham FC


stnick88

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Ever since Roy Hodgson departed Fulham for Liverpool, they have been a club on the slide. Martin Jol managed to keep them up before a bad start to the season cost him the job. What followed was a disaster. A short spell in charge for Rene Meulensteen didn't change the clubs fortunes and brought about the arrival of Felix Magath, who ultimately saw Fulham relegated. He somehow managed to keep his job but less than 10 games in to the season, with Fulham winless, he was gone. Kit Symons took over the reigns and temporarily steadied the ship but a year later he was gone after failing to climb the table with Fulham. Slavisa Jokanovic improved the side but another lowly finish left Fulham fans inspired.

 

Step up the new man stnick88. With little budget to work with but a decent squad with the arrivals of the likes of Chris Martin, Thomas Kalas and Floyd Ayite, there is a feeling of optimism at the club. Promotion is the target, but it could be tougher than ever with Newcastle, Villa, Brighton, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday in the division.

 

August

I decided no signings were required as the squad was already quite large and with a small budget available, I thought I would save it for January. First up was Newcastle at home and a close game was edged late on by the away side, 2-1.

Then it was away to Preston, and a first win for FFC, a 2-1 win. This was followed up by a loss a 2-0 loss at leeds, not the best start. However, back to back wins at home to Cardiff and away at Blackburn ended the month on a positive. Floyd Ayite and Neeskens Kebano were the standout players.

September

Birmingham at home first up which ended in a 1-0 win. A comfortable 3-0 win at home to Burton followed. Cauley Woodrow was amongst the goals and keeping Chris Martin on the bench. On paper, two straight forward games away at Wigan and home to Bristol City both ended in losses. Inconsistency was apparent for Fulham this season and saw them floating in and out of the playoffs early on. A 5-2 thrashing of Notts Forest proved this inconsistency, with Woodrow getting a hatrick.

October

This was a mixed month which again highlighted the inconsistency. Losses at home to QPR and home to Norwich disappointed the fans. But a draw at Barnsley and wins at Villa and home to Huddersfield kept Fulham in and around the playoffs. An 6 month injury to Woodrow against Huddersfield was a blow as he had notched up 10 goals. Time for Chris Martin to step up. There was also some unrest with a couple of players. Michael Madl and Jozabed had not seen much gametime and voiced their displeasure. Both were told they could leave in Jan. With McDonald, Parker, Cairney and Johansen the main 4 men competing for the midfield 3 places, Jozabed was struggling. Madl could not break the Kalas/Sigurdson partnership with Tim Ream also ahead in the pecking order.

November

A morale boosting away win at Brentford was a great start, with Martin on the scoresheet. This was followed up by a solid home win against Sheff Wed, Martin again finding the back of the net. November ended with a 3-0 defeat at Brighton, but a debut for Ryan Sessegnon as Malone was injured. Matt Smith voiced discontent at not getting game time which prompted me to begin the search for a striker to be back up for Martin whilst Woodrow was out.

December

A draw with Reading at home was followed up by a loss at Wolves 1-0. A bad start to a busy month. This got worse with two late goals conceded against both Rotherham and Ipswich meaning Fulham dropped down to 12th. The board were unhappy and issued an ultimatum, 9 points from the next 5 games. I felt this to be harsh as I was only 3 points off the playoffs. Two away games up first, but both ended in narrow victories at Ipswich and Reading. Surely one win in the next 3 was achievable?

January

January started with the signing of Nick Blackman from Derby for £700K. A loss at home to Brighton and draw at home to Barnsley, where Blackman scored on his debut after being on the pitch for only 15 mins, left me needing a win at, who else, QPR. Blackman earned a start but was forced off with injury early on. This didn't rock us though and a 2-0 win kept me the job. Martin was doing enough in front of goal and Floyd Ayite was chipping in and scored his 10th goal of the season from left wing. Unfortunately, Blackman was out for a month, which meant Matt Smith was back on the bench. The win at QPR spurred us on to two more victories in Jan over Blackburn at home and Burton away. These games saw the return of Jozabed for the first time since September. Some solid displays from the Spaniard has brought him back in to contention. January ended with us in 5th place. It is very tight with the playoff positions changing all the time. A 7 mil bid for Ayite from Swansea was turned down, he has been vital and we cant let him go now we are in a play off battle.

 

Overall, a solid start. We need more consistency and to put a bit of daylight between 7th place. Newcastle, Brighton, Leeds and Norwich are the top 4 and will be difficult to catch.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Forgot to update this, but in summary we got promoted to the Prem along with Newcastle and Huddersfield. In came Assombalonga, Mings, Curtis Davies, Knockaert, Tom Ince and we got Kalas on loan for another year.

Ended up fighting relegation but staying up over Huddersfield on the last day of the season. Assombalonga was OK but didn't score enough and we were a bit ropey at the back, especially in goal. Knockaert had a great second half to the season after a very slow start. Likewise Ince.

A lot of changes were made in pre-season. in came Pickford, Maffeo, McGuire, Van Aanholt, Diame, Defour, Clayton, Lallana, Andre Gray. out went Mings (wanted to leave), Button, Davies, Kebano, Parker (retired), Fredericks.

After a great start, we have hit a bad patch and have slipped to 15th, still 10 points clear but with 8 games to go and without a win in 8. Assombalonga wanted to leave for European football and went to Leverkusen for 10 mil. I decided not to replace him in January as there was no-one who caught my eye so Gray and Woodrow will do till end of season when I can hopefully sign a better striker as neither are quite prolific enough.

The current first choice lineup is

Pickford

Odoi, Sigurdson, McGuire, Van Aanholt,

Defour, Diame, Johansen

Knockaert    Ince

Gray

Ayite, Woodrow, Lallana, Clayton are fighting for spots.

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He didn't do well and I ended up selling him to Villa after 1 season.

 

Finished 16th in my second season in the Prem and had another pre-season to strengthen the squad.

 

Out went Lallana to Villa, Johansen back to Celtic, Pickford to West Ham (he wanted to leave unfortunately), Woodrow to Brentford, Clayton to Sunderland.

In came Kasper Schmeichel and Simpson from Leiceister (they were relegated), Lascelles from Newcastle, Gunnarson from Bordeaux, Sissoko from Tottenham, Ings from Swansea .

 

Doing slightly better this season, currently sitting around 12th. Struggling to break in to the top 10! my aim was to get Fulham back in to Europe but it is proving difficult.

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