Fulham: Will They Realise Their Limitations?

Michael Jackson stayed but Mo Al-Fayed has been replaced by Shahid Khan. Philip Cornwall wonders if the new man will continue the old man's good work...

Last Updated: 08/08/13 at 13:15 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Football People On TV: Thierry Henry

30 comments

He's handsome, he's sexy, he was absolutely sodding amazing at the football...but our boys are a bit uncomfortable with default reverence. He's a pundit...

Football365's Backroom Staff Quiz

Post comment

You know everything about the managers but how much do you know about their coaches? Wo who's the Liverpool Academy Director who drew 0-0 with Man United?

All Articles

LAST SEASON

Premier League 12th FA Cup fourth round League Cup second round

Manager Martin Jol (since June 2011) Odds on being first out of his job 8-1 (2nd=)

Players in Maarten Stekelenburg (Roma, £4.75m), Fernando Amorebieta (Athletic Bilbao, free), Derek Boateng (Dnipro, free), Sascha Riether (Koln, £1.2m, from loan),

Players out Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea, free), Mladen Petric, Mahamadou Diarra, Chris Baird, Simon Davies (all released)

Club turnover in 2011-12 £79m (10th)

Handicap betting to win Premier League +38 points (14th=)

When Mohamed Fayed sold his football club to Shahid Khan, he stressed that the statue of Michael Jackson had to stay. But he slapped no preservation order on Fulham's more lifelike MJ and, with an unknown quantity as the owner, Martin Jol is now 8-1 joint second favourite to be the first manager out of his job.

There were six defeats in seven games towards the end of the season but it finished as another middling campaign for Fulham who, since Roy Hodgson saved them on the last day in 2008, have oscillated between seventh and 12th, where they finished again in May. That was enough for Fayed, who had long since abandoned his early Premier League dreams of challenging at the very top, even before a different class of plutocrat started to appear. Now such an owner has arrived at Craven Cottage in the shape of the American car-parts billionaire.

Khan is also the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, buying them in January 2012 at a point when they were without a head coach. His first appointment lasted only one season but it was the worst in the club's history, so we cannot conclude he is trigger-happy on that basis (nor should we read much into the fact of that one season of struggle as a reflection of his ownership). Khan may be bad news for Jol if he proves impatient, but on the other hand anyone he asks will tell him that Fayed did well to lure the Dutchman, who is well-placed to improve the squad with players who want to play a decent style of football in one of the game's most attractive locales. Still, Jol will be keen to make an early good impression and he would have been awaiting the fixture list with keener than usual interest.

Two trips to the north-east - with Sunderland on opening day - sandwich the visit of Arsenal. There are certainly worse starts available though he would really have liked either the Mackems or Newcastle at Craven Cottage. West Brom, Cardiff and Stoke are the next three visitors and Jol will expect to have assuaged any initial concerns Khan may have by the time that sequence is over.

Jol can point to the loss of Clint Dempsey, Mousa Dembele and Danny Murphy last summer as reasons why his team went off the boil; Dimitar Berbatov was reunited with his former manager at Spurs but the Bulgarian is more icing than cake. Sascha Riether was a good loan signing, now made permanent, and this summer's big loss, Mark Schwarzer, has been made good by Jol's compatriot Maarten Stekelenburg. Brede Hangeland has gone nowhere but acquired a partner in the Venezuelan Fernando Amorebieta, while Derek Boateng's arrival in midfield is a belated attempt to make up for what was lost in last summer's departures.

So far, not bad at all. Berbatov needs support, though, and Jol believes he is on the verge of bringing Darren Bent to Craven Cottage. If a price cannot be agreed with Aston Villa then there is still time to look elsewhere, though the fact that they are haggling between £4m and £6m suggests that Khan is not going to be too forward with his money.

Hodgson's remarkable feat of reaching the 2010 Europa League final was surely a once-in-a-lifetime moment for Fulham fans but his achievement in qualifying for Europe via the league may be repeatable, if Khan gives Jol reasonable backing and that striker can be found. The cups could offer a European route, too, if it is another season where lesser lights, such as Swansea and Wigan last season and Liverpool the year before, prosper.

Such is the competition for support in the capital that Fulham will always struggle to increase their base and one wonders what Khan has in mind for the long run. It has to be hoped that he realises the limitations and appreciates the charm of the club that, for all his myriad faults, Fayed served well.

Philip Cornwall

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

A

pparently Chiles has blamed Twitter trolls for his exit. Proof that even the worst things can get great results at times.

cheshire-gooner
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Scottish football: Charlie Telfer upbeat over Dundee United's cup chances this season

Charlie Telfer believes he could end his first season at Dundee United with at least one cup winner's medal.

Capital One Cup: Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough hopes to upset Tottenham

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough is keen to cause another upset and beat Tottenham to the Capital One Cup final.

Capital One Cup semi-final second leg team news: Chelsea v Liverpool preview

Team news for Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Mail Box

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

A Massive Mailbox On A Weekend Of Wonder

We unsurprisingly have plenty of mails on a wonderful FA Cup weekend, including thoughts on Palace, Van Gaal, Phil Jones, Chelsea, Mourinho and Yaya Toure...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company