Friday, March 31, 2023

Fulham must prepare the hard landing looming in the Championship

The summer was a time of excitement and optimism for Fulham.

After an impressive 23-game unbeaten s..

By Sunday Herald Team , in Sports , at April 3, 2019

The summer was a time of excitement and optimism for Fulham.

After an impressive 23-game unbeaten streak and fairytale play-off final win at Wembley, the club set about expensively assembling a squad it thought could not just avoid the drop the following season but thrive in the Premier League.

Thanks to the deep pockets of billionaire owner Shahid Khan, over a £100m was shelled out to give manager Slavisa Jokanovic the best possible chance. Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri cost a club-record £25m. Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic was made permanent from Newcastle for an initial fee of £22m. Swansea received £20m for defender Alfie Mawson.

Money and momentum

In total 12 new faces came through the door at Fulhams Motspur Park training ground last summer. With money and momentum behind them the season was supposed to mark a new beginning.

Instead, after one player arrest, two managers sackings, 23 league defeats and 72 goals conceded the Cottagers find themselves preparing for life back in the Championship – the league they spent four seasons so desperately trying to escape.

Jean Michael Seri cost a club-record £25m but has contributed to just three goals this season (Source: Getty)

Its certainly been eventful. Striker Aboubakar Kamaras explosive departure may have had less of an effect than Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieris departures, but they all speak of chaos behind the scenes at the club.

With Fulham 16 points adrift of safety with six games remaining, on a staggering eight-match losing run in which theyve fielded a completely different side in each game, thoughts surely now must turn to salvaging the best of this mess.

Bleak outlook

Caretaker manager Scott Parker is trying his best to rectify the on-pitch shambles. “We know the predicament we are in but we need to finish the season strongly,” he said manfully after Saturdays 2-0 defeat by Manchester City. But its off the pitch where things could be even bleaker.

Analysis by football finance expert Kieran Maguire of the clubs accounts for the 2017-18 season show the extent of their gamble to reach the Premier Leagues Promised Land. Fulham lost a staggering £1.14m per week during their Championship campaign – a period in which they paid out £142 in wages for every £100 of income received.

Fulham have lost 11 of their last 12 Premier League games (Source: Getty)

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