This morning I ran a quick survey to see what Fulham fans thought of the squad. It’s not meant to provide any great insight into the world, but I did think it would be interesting to see how players are perceived, and the extent to which these views are held. We got 100 responses (the most allowed by the survey system without having to pay) and the results are as follows. The first question takes the Football Manager squad designations for simplicity.
What, if anything, does this tell us?
That we’re quite well set as a squad. Hangeland, Zamora, Dempsey, Hughes and Murphy are seen as the squad’s Key Players (in that order), with an impressive group of Schwarzer (who’d be more ‘key’ if Stockdale wasn’t around, I’m sure), Dembele, Sidwell, Baird and Duff all seen as First Team regulars.
That’s pretty strong. There are notable gaps, though: we only have one centre-forward clearly of first team standard, and full-back is iffy (we knew this without having to do a survey, of course, but the data underlines the fact quite nicely).
If we look how results have gone, another way might be:
Untouchables (undisputed key players): Hangeland and Zamora
Key first team players (either key or first team): Dempsey, Hughes, Murphy, Schwarzer, Dembele
Good regulars (mainly first team and some rotation): Sidwell, Baird, Duff, Davies, Etuhu
Squad player (others expected to contribute): Johnson, Senderos, Gera, Greening, Salcido, (Stockdale)
It’s quite a nice little breakdown of where we are as a squad.
Hangeland and Zamora are miles ahead of everyone else;
Salcido (and his uncertain status) divides opinion (who knew?);
Greening’s late run has persuaded people he’s worth his squad place;
A decent number of people think Senderos is going to step up into the first team;
Sidwell has grown on people fast; he’s the clear winner over Etuhu in midfield, and many already see him as a key player.
In a secondary poll I wanted to find out what to do with Dembele and Dempsey.
The poll doesn’t really help. Both would ideally be playing off the centre-forward. Dempsey is a decent bet for the left-flank, but people really don’t want to see him at centre-forward (surprised so low – I think he’s okay there).
Finally, I asked where people thought Fulham would finish next year. The answer: 8th.