Defeat at Swansea for useless Fulham

If you think about the game in a vacuum it’s just a fairly bog standard away defeat: compete for much of the game, eventually sink when the pressure gets too much.

Of course this game isn’t a one off, but represents one of a terrible series of results in which Fulham, despite being surrounded by legions of equally dire teams, are thoroughly unable to put anything together. It still feels like the end of the road.

We can say the defeat was slightly unlucky but I can’t have been the only person who expected Jonjo Shelvey to eventually find his range. As has been the case for much of the season, the edge of our area was very much a peaceful no-man’s land, and if Shelvey’s goal took a couple of pings off Fulham defenders on the way in, well maybe someone should have been closer to the player when he shot? Harsh? Maybe, but that’s the difference isn’t it? You can’t charge down all shots from 20 yards but against that, you can charge down some.

Meanwhile, we again offered little going the other way. The 4-3-3 that seemed to have gained some traction has been sacrificed to accommodate various “good ideas” and here we are again looking terrible.

If the Hangeland Burn centre-back pairing was worth going to for psychological relief as much as anything, the same might be said of our forward line. A confident Marcello Trotta, no hoper though wise heads say he is, might still offer more vim than a demoralised Berbatov. Meanwhile, Darren Bent is thoroughly reinventing the notion of what it is to be a false 9. There is no point playing these people anymore.

There’s nothing much to say is there? Fulham are like one of those “Go Compare!” adverts: you see them once a week, you don’t like what you see, then there it is again. They come up with a bright idea to fix it and make it less annoying but it is what it is: it’s still an advert for Go Compare.

Downwards we go.

21 thoughts on “Defeat at Swansea for useless Fulham

  1. Was this article written by the same person who penned “Sympathy with the Board?!” Our decline is as a result of a serious lack of investment over the last few years not just this season and I regret to say that Mark Hughes’ “lack of ambition” comment looks to be very accurate. We seem to be sleep walking into the Championship with too many Chiefs on the sidelines!

    1. Agree. Yesterday was just a reaction to the message boards where people seem to think we can just clicl our fingers and acquire world beating players.

  2. Completely agree with your comments; Bent may be the worse player I have seen in a Fulham shirt and I include Terry Angus in that. We have far too many players who are past their prime or just not good enough etel Bent, Sidwell, Duff, Rise, Richardson, Karagounis, Berbatov, Bent, Tarabet, Rodallega, Senderos, Hughes, Zeverotic, which is massivly depressing.

    We also seem to have changed from a 433 to a 42211 with Berbatov who occasionally remembers he’s in a football match, searches for the ball in the centre circle passes it on then just stands there for ten minutes rendering us with no striker at all.

    Bring in two new strikers or as mentioned one new striker and bring Trotta back in the fold because he’s going to playing a lot next season when we’re in the championship!

  3. We have a team that is broken and can’t be fixed . We have not scored a single goal in the 8 away league defeats and only 2 clean sheets all season plus one draw . It tells it all .

    Once we are cut adrift from the pack – which will be within the next 3 weeks , then the optimists will have to face reality . I did after the home defeat to Sunderland .

    The blame lays at the door of our chief executive who should have taken advantage of a new wealthy owner and invested heavily in the squad, rather than trying to prove he’s a master at working on a tight budget .

    What a very expensive mistake it is going to be !

      1. You don’t but you can deduce from patterns. Since he’s been with us there have been two chairmen, four managers and s technical director. Yet the transfer moves have looked the same. Hence its fair to deduce its Mac.

        My bet is that he staked his reputation to his market acumen and thrifty philosophy, expecting youth to come good soon, and has been unwilling to advise otherwise lest he look a fool ( sticking with Jol the same). The chairman are happy to take his word on it because that’s ultimately what they want to hear. But they’d do something else and spend if advised otherwise (that’s what the CEO is for).

        With the striker news it seems like we’ve changed tack. And Mac should be praised for veering from the formula. But, as with the Job sacking, it feels a few weeks late.

  4. We’re in the mire! Ordinarily we wouldn’t have expected much from a trip to Swansea, and so it proved. This feels like a big week in every sense – we need 3 points from this week, which puts it all on beating a good Southampton side – and it doesn’t feel likely at present. Short of doing a Hodgson-esque run of wins in the last 5 games of the season, we need to get very close to 30 points come the end of March, and it’s difficult to calculate where those 10 points are going to come from, particularly if we don’t beat Southampton. So it really does make it a crunch game…..all brought on by a failure to do the right things against Sunderland, and countless other games earlier in the season.

    I’m still not convinced we’re getting back to basics enough – I understand that yes we need to have options to try to win games, but surely we need to get solid & hard to beat first…..Rene appeared to do this with the inclusion of Karagounis in a hard working, solid three in the middle of the park at the start of his charge. More recently we’re seeing Dempsey and Dejagah and Kaka in the side (overload?)…..the substitution of Darren Bent on early in games (changing the balance / carrying too many?)…..why has the managers approach appeared to change? At the moment we have to be realistic and take scrappy 0-0 at Swansea if we can get them, whereas we still appear to easy to play against with a belief that we need to have an overload of attacking options. I’m struggling to understand it.

    I had started the season with the belief that the squad was alright, definitely not one of the worst 5 or 6 in the division but it does feel that it’s a season too far for some of the legs on display. And indeed, perhaps there are so many very equal players in the premier league that it purely comes down to confidence over talent.

    Can the powers that be do anything about it in the 2 days remaining in the transfer window to mix it up somewhat?

  5. The way we allowed Shelvey space to keep shooting after he’d hit the bar in the first half (and, hell, after he did the same thing against us in the fixture at the Cottage) was absolutely infuriating. He’s got three league goals this season, two against Fulham, and I suspect this is because many other teams have the good sense to close him down rather than keep on letting him fire away from 20 yards out. This is what I’m on about when I say that Parker and Sidwell aren’t doing a very good job despite looking busy and convincing everyone that they “care” much more than all those non-Brits I see so many people complaining about. We really need A) a player in the middle who can create something, and B) someone to instruct Parker or Sidwell to actually play some responsible defense and protect the defenders.

  6. Hey so Tony Pulis has Palace 5 pts clear any planet that allows this to happen is not one I want to be on see y’all later!

  7. Maybe I am pushing it, but here’s a thought…. the new owner may not care about staying up that much for a couple of reasons.

    First, the prime asset he acquired was not the team, but the stadium, or even more specifically, the land it sits on. Unlocked, it is a worth a fortune. Now if you have deep pockets, and can wait a bit to get the right conditions to redevelop, either a stadium or say, some “mansions” at 150MM quid a pop, basement pools and 10 car garage for the Bentley collection included, why not? Then get another piece of (less expensive, per sqft) land for the team and to host NFL games, where you could build a larger stadium from which more revenue could be derived. There has to be some connection here with the NFL in London/Jaguars angle.

    Second, in any case, if we go down, clear out the dead wood, and come back up within a couple of seasons it’s a win financially.

    1. Your second notion makes a lot more sense than the first — which is however not novel but has often been discussed. You do break new ground though with talk of £150 million houses. Such a house would be the second most expensive in the whole of London and some 40 times more than the costliest neighbours in the Stevenage Road area of Fulham.

      The last time a property developer had a spec for the site, 12 years ago, it was for 300 flats, a sizeable proportion of which would need to be social housing — as would be the case in any permitted scheme. They were prepared to pay Fulham an eventual £50 million if planning permission were obtained. Multiply that figure to taste and you are still going to struggle (realistically) to reach the sum that Khan is reported to have paid for FFC. The “unlocking” would also be a lengthy, contentious process, far from guaranteed of success for many reasons, often discussed.

      1. Yes I don’t really see a return on investment on a 200m purchase of a football club. Villa sold for what, 80m? That’s a premiership team plus stadium. It seems reasonable to value Fulham so much higher because of the underlying value of the land. But where’s the profit? You have to develop the land, sell the property, buy new land and build a new stadium. Let’s say you do all that and generate a profit. Lets say alk in you walk away with 20m in your pocket and fulham in a new home. It really a lot of a cash rich multi-billlionaire? And is that really the most efficient way for him to make that kind of return on that kind of investment? I seriously doubt it.

        No. As with Mo Fulham represents the ultimate toy. You can throw 10-20m of your own cash at it a year, and rising west London land values (Fulham to the fore) will probably give most, if not all of it, back to you when you sell. And that doesn’t even factor in the possibility to offset losses there against gains in your profitable businesses!

        1. And just because I can’t sleep I’ll add: from what I’ve read Khan is worth about 2.5bn GBP. He is reported to have paid 200m GBP for Fulham, or about 8% of his net worth. That the equivalent of someone worth 1m GBP buying a brand new Range Rover. A big purchase, for sure, but not particularly extravagant. And Khan’s “Range Rover” won’t lose its value as soon as he drives it off the lot (unless of course we get relegated).

  8. Thanks for the good points. I think the land forms a good part of the valuation, but as you both note it would be hard to make a worthwhile return on what would be a pretty difficult redevelopment project. I just have this sneaky suspicion about the NFL angle that I can’t shake.

    1. If he wanted to vacate to a shared stadium, then of course the sale of CC would defray the cost. The thought isn’t outlandish (or new!). However, the price obtainable in the short term, with no permission for housing extant or guaranteed ever to accrue, would add peanuts to the equation by billionaire standards. There’s also the small matter of a site to find for the new stadium and after that all the public reactions arising. If that is really his dream, there will be many a nightmare along the way and he will also need to be very patient. The alternative is that what he has said so far is true.

      1. I think Khan has two good angles here:

        One, growing US/foreign ownership of Premier League clubs. At some point, when it’s too late, I suspect owners will get together and do something that many of us find slightly unsavoury. Effectively it will be about moving to a more American model where vast revenues are generated by the league and shared between franchises who, *without fear of relegation*, can afford to run more as a business. This might be tricky as UEFA/FIFA won’t just let them do this but I would be stunned if it doesn’t happen at some point. When it does, the riches these owners find in the NFL/MLB will more than be matched with the EPL’s staggering global reach.

        Second, the NFL / Jacksonville angle is not nothing. If Khan does move his team here, and he might, he’ll be well compensated by the league for doing this and if he can make it work, will have established a virtual monopoly in having the only team in this country, which presumably would have value, too. Fulham doesn’t make a lot of difference in this but there must be something in this somewhere that I can’t think of.

        1. Three. He’s a 61 year-old billionaire. He owns a US sports franchise. Many of his buddies who own US sport franchises are buying football clubs. Seems like fun and (as implied above) it’s actually a really good way to park 200m in a super-safe place. Not so easy to do that when you have that much money; it’s not like you can stash it in 2000 governement-insured bank accounts. And even if you could or something similar (govt debt) the interest you’d get would be minimal in comparison to the returns from increase in London land values. Seriously, why not? The tie-in with the Jaguars could just be a plus. But leave that (or presumed nefarious motives aside) and its still a bloody attractive proposition. If I had his money I’d do it, even if I were a fan.

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