It occurs to me that the chairman’s spending has come in bursts, and when Premiership survival was under threat.
http://www.transferleague.co.uk/premiership-transfers/fulham-transfers.html (for full details)
Big splurges (Premier League era):
On promotion to the division
When Chris Coleman’s team nearly stumbled out of the division and Lawrie Sanchez was given money to overhaul things
When this didn’t work, Roy Hodgson got money to overhaul things
Since then we’ve been in tick-over mode. A little here and there, but since Hodgson’s first summer we’ve really not spent much, Damien Duff being the single big commitment (fee plus wages), players like Sidwell and Dembele probably not far off. Mark Schwarzer came on a free but will have been paid good money. John-Arne Riise has seen the big time and will not be here on the minimum wage. Equally, I’m sure that in this time the squad, having proven itself, has not gone without the odd pay-rise and extension, but running down that list it’s noticeable that we really haven’t bought a big name for an eternity. The star-player-down-on-his-luck approach has worked extremely well. If we look at our current first team and their reputation when we signed them:
Schwarzer – good goalkeeper who could have been at a bigger club than Middlesbrough. Mike Kelly played a part in his decision to come here.
Hughes – goodish defender struggling to escape from the journeyman ranks.
Hangeland – good player from Scandinavia so not known. Prior relationship with Hodgson helped.
Senderos – good player at Arsenal but had struggled with injuries and deemed surplus to requirements.
Riise – good player in his day, still playing at the top level with Roma.
Dempsey – up and coming player from the US, previously wanted by Everton and Charlton but very much a gamble by Coleman.
Murphy – struggled at Spurs (death of his father hadn’t helped), hadn’t set the world on fire at Charlton. Reputation nothing like it is now.
Etuhu – reserve player at Sunderland.
(Sidwell – good player, good enough that Chelsea signed him from Reading. Then couldn’t get into the Villa team).
Duff – five years removed from being a key player in Mourinho’s wonder team, found himself playing left-back in an awful Newcastle side.
Zamora – decent player who hadn’t really pushed on. Not much was expected.
Johnson – living a bit off reputation even then, AJ had been fantastic at Palace but David Moyes had started to play him wide on the right.
A funny old lot when you go through them one by one. There’s no real pattern there besides not buying at the top of the market. We don’t have a reputation for paying well but I suspect that this is slightly misleading, as most of the above are now established Premier League players with strong reputations and will surely be remunerated accordingly.
So given the stability of the above side, the only thing is to get younger. This Jol has done, relatively cheaply, and now an ageing squad has players around the edges to phase in. But reading this, thinking about this, it seems much more likely that we’ll see a few more bit part players to make up the numbers and maybe turn into something, because it’s not a squad that’s obviously crying out for investment *if you consider past spending sprees*.