This is how I saw things. Sometimes my opinions are awful. Sometimes they aren’t.
Maarten Stekelenburg – 6/10
David Stockdale – 6/10
I don’t think there was a lot between them. Stekelenburg made that howler against Sunderland but had generally performed well for us. As did Stockdale, who of course came into his own as an ambassadorial type in the run in, becoming the Fulham player best able to connect with fans. Honestly, though, I don’t think it mattered which of the two was on the pitch, the problems were in front of them. This, of course, underscores the absolute idiocy of paying £4m plus big wages for a goalkeeper we didn’t need.
Johnny Heitinga – 6.5/10
Arguably our best player in the Magath era. International quality and it showed. If we can hang onto him it would be a huge coup.
Brede Hangeland – 4/10
Hangeland was probably made to look better than he actually was by Roy Hodgson’s approach, but was still a fantastic player for us. This season he had injury problems and a disastrous team in front of him, which made him look worse than he is. The bottom line is that we needed him to step up, to take a stand, to bring about some kind of defensive presence, and he absolutely didn’t do this.
Dan Burn – 6/10
He’s very young but there’s a lot to like here and I hope he’s our first choice CB on opening day next season. Yeah he had a couple of hairy games but so did everyone else who tried to play centre-back in this shambles. The positives outweighed the negatives for sure.
Fernando Amorebieta – 4/10
Seemed to have an uncanny ability to be on the scene of the crime when bad things happened. Magath seemed to have found a decent role for him which might have been interesting to develop had we been safely in mid table, but as things stand we didn’t get what we needed here. Probably a pretty good player but like all defenders in this Fulham side, not given the cover a defence needs, and not able to rise above the chaos. I suspect he’ll be off sharpish.
Philippe Senderos – 5/10
Tried his best. None of the defence played well this year, ill-protected by a team structure that was not geared towards keeping the opposition away from our goal. I imagine he was delighted to get the move he did. I don’t know that Fulham particularly missed him, but at the reincarnation of Bobby Moore would have struggled to perform in this team.
John Arne Riise – 3.5/10
At this juncture it’s not clear what he’s bringing to the side beyond a good CV. He’s not a conventional ‘solid’ full-back and he doesn’t add much going forwards. If he was called Steve Brown and we’d got him from Grimsby we’d all be reasonably sure he wasn’t up to it.
Kieran Richardson – 6/10
One of the pluses. When he got fit he showed pace, desire and an eye for goal we didn’t know he had. Keep.
Sascha Riether – 4/10
I don’t know. I didn’t rate him when he was all the rage, so what do you expect now? When your defence is giving up 25 shots a game and 2/3 goals a game then the last thing you need is a full-back who thinks he’s a right winger. I doubt he’s stupid and in the right hands I’m sure could be a huge asset. I mean, it’s not like we had a lot of width without him so I get that. But at some point surely someone had to say “Look, we’re awful defensively. Absolutely awful. Shall we concentrate on foundations, getting a solid back four?” In addition to the positional issues we had a couple of glaring individual mistakes, which to be fair most defenders made this year, but Riether’s penalty against Liverpool and that crossbar challenge of doom against Hull will stick in the memory. I suspect he’ll want to go back to Germany now, too.
William Kvist – 5/10
Not much in evidence and displayed an alarming ability to confuse a football with a hot potato, but I liked his approach and his ability to do the unselfish defensive midfielder thing that nobody else seemed prepared to do. I’m probably alone in thinking he’d be a good idea for next year.
Mahamadou Diarra – 5/10
Ah, tantalising! You could see the class and you could see why it took until we were basically prepared to try anything before we gave him the call. Absolutely astonishing performances considering, but really he only had about 45 minutes in him didn’t he? I’d keep him around if possible on the off chance he can teach the youngsters something by osmosis, but as a player he looks gone doesn’t he?
Steve Sidwell – 6.5/10
I’ve criticised Sidwell quite a lot and do think that his relative deification has been a bit much. I continue to believe that the midfield’s job is to support defence and attack and I don’t think either group would feel that the midfield did this very well. It could very well be that we just had lots of bad defenders and lots of bad attackers, it certainly is the case that the team didn’t play as a unit until Meulensteen was about to get the heave-ho. But it feels like our midfield this season was a lot of nothing, that it was too slow and undisciplined defensively, too slow and uncreative offensively.
HOWEVER, credit where it’s due. He has scored important goals, and appears well respected as a senior figure within the squad. He does a lot of things right and it’s not his fault his teammates weren’t better. I think the latter is the key point: a team where Sidwell is playing a supporting role where his strengths are emphasised can do perfectly well. A team that almost seems to stand or fall by how well Steve Sidwell performs is doomed.
It’s hard to express this without coming over all contrary, and I must be clear: Sidwell is my player of the season. But with reservations. (Which is almost inevitable in a team this bad, eh?).
Georgios Karagounis – 5/10
As you read through the midfield’s names it becomes more and more of a bad joke doesn’t it? 5 years ago we’d have had a midfield to take on all comers. Now we’re about two seconds slow to everything, which is why we’re going down so spectacularly. Karagounis is terrific as far as he goes but it’s pretty clear we went a bit far with this ageing superstar model, didn’t we?
Scott Parker – 4.5/10
See all of the above really. Obviously a good player, felt like a good idea at the time, in retrospect wasn’t a good idea at all and we’d have been better off had he opted for QPR instead. I feel nuts typing this as I’ve a lot of time for Parker, but he was clearly not what we needed and part of the problem rather than the solution.
Damien Duff – 5/10
Well, yeah, again, a good player, just the wrong side of useful. Still capable of contributing (he is still our joint highest assist maker with Ruiz and Holtby) but as with others, at this point you can’t have a team full of people at this stage in their career.
Ashkan Dejagah – 5.5/10
If we had stayed up it would have been on the back of Dejagah’s work, but he couldn’t sustain his purple patch, couldn’t deliver when he was starting, and left us all wondering what really he is all about. There’s clearly something here but how does it work and how do we get at it more often? May be half useful playing through the middle. A keeper for next year, if possible, anyway.
Alexander Kacaniklic – 4.5/10
Well I like him a lot as a player but we can’t pretend he delivered this year. Mucked about by the team’s lack of coherence and by being dropped and reinstated every other week again. With young wingers you either back them or let them be someone else’s project, I suspect. Kacaniklic could be fabulous next season and I really, really hope we keep him, but I wouldn’t blame him at all if he wanted a new start somewhere else. Oddly, always seemed to be the only player on Berbatov’s wavelength, and I’m not sure what that tells us.
Pajtim Kasami – 4.5/10
Oh I don’t know. Sometimes I think his all action style is great. Sometimes I wish he’d contribute something more tangible. Ultimately you’re not going to blame a season like this on a young player so he gets a ‘wait and see’ but he frustrates me. With Kacaniklic I can see the player he might become, but what is Kasami, really? I have no idea.
Bryan Ruiz – 4.5/10
We know he played through a bad back and we know he didn’t do very well (like everyone else). Statistically he was dispossessed 2.6 times a game, which is about once more a game than the norm. On the one hand, not that often really; on the other, he’s therefore starting a counter attack for our opponents 100 times a season, which feels dangerous. I think he’s a gifted player who needed a little less chaos around him. Potentially our best player, he became the player fans turned on most. A watercolour painting of the seaside when the curator had expressedly asked for some gritty urban art.
Lewis Holtby – 5/10
Looked a world beater under Meulensteen, a shadow of this under Magath. You’d like him to stick around, but he’ll be back at Spurs now. Shame. He had the skills we needed, but probably when we needed him to really step up I don’t know if he really did.
Hugo Rodallega – 6/10
Actually had a pretty good season if you look at the time he had on the pitch (not much) and what he did when he was on the pitch (a fair bit). Will probably be an important player next season, which is no bad thing.
Dimitar Berbatov – 4.5/10
Darren Bent – 3/10
The most disappointing player I can remember. I imagine he tried but rarely has a player been so divorced from everything going on around him. Just never involved in the game. True, he needed some supply, but, well, what can you say? Just no use to us at all.
Konstantinos Mitroglou – not worth of a number
Oh dear. What an absolute shambles. In a multi-million pound industry situations like this can’t occur. You could just go on and on here. I can’t be bothered. What a shambles.
Cauley Woodrow – 6/10
See how a young player gets 6/10 when an old, over the hill equivalent would get 5/10? Right, well there’s a clue for next year, Fulham. Woodrow didn’t seem likely to change the world but played his “dog just let off the lead” role well and was involved in some pretty good moments when he was in the team. I saw a lot to like. Well done, Cauley Woodrow.