Plenty has already been written about Ross McCormack swapping Leeds for Fulham in a big-money move since the transfer was confirmed this morning. Much of it is remarkably conventional: how Fulham, recently relegated, have paid way over the odds for a striker who – with the exception of last season – has proved pretty inconsistent, why McCormack’s hefty transfer fee proves that there’s a British premium in the modern transfer market and how the much mocked Massimo Cellino has proved his business credentials.

Shahid Khan isn’t known for great sporting success. His American football franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t pulled up any trees in the NFL and the less said about his debut season as Fulham’s ‘custodian’ as he described himself after completing his takeover from Mohamed Al-Fayed the better. Alistair Mackintosh came out of a bruising season with brickbats accompanying his every move. Many remain surprised that he is still in a job, but this transfer represents a huge statement of intent for the pair. Signing the Championship’s top scorer – and holding off Premier League interest in the process – shows that Khan isn’t scarred by January’s big-money move for Kostas Mitroglou and that Fulham, even the wake of relegation, can still attract talented players.

It might signal the end of Fulham’s approach to signings in recent seasons. With the exception of Mitroglou and Ruiz, Fulham’s recruitment largely centred on bringing in experienced players at the cheaper end of the market, with little re-sale. While that policy unearthed a few gems (Schwarzer, Murphy, Gera, Zamora), its ultimate result was an ageing squad that had none of the energy and pace to elevate a struggling side to safety. As the penny-pinching inched Fulham into profit and sustainability (something that seemed unthinkable in the early Al-Fayed era), the club quietly slipped out of the top flight.

McCormack joins a underwhelming list of Fulham big-money signings who struggled to live up to the hype. Steve Marlet, whose transfer ultimately saw the breakdown of Jean Tigana’s previously profitable relationship with Al-Fayed, struggled to adapt to the pace and power of the Premiership, quickly shuttling back to France just when he seemed to be ready to make his mark. Andy Johnson – the subject of similar summer transfer intrigue – never really recovered from being ‘literally banjoed’ against Amkar Perm as he appeared on the cusp of rediscovering the promise of his partnership with Bobby Zamora, whilst Bryan Ruiz’s silky skills recently on show in Brazil with Costa Rica, rarely lit up English football.

Time will tell if McCormack can repeat the heroics of last season with Leeds. His 26 goals did an awful lot to ensure one of England’s most illustrious clubs avoided relegation and show that he knows how to find a net in a league that requires far more than finesse. In a squad that doesn’t currently possess a natural goalscorer, McCormack ticks that most crucial of boxes. With Felix Magath set to a shape a new Fulham side, the Scot’s leadership qualities shouldn’t be underestimated. A popular figure with his team-mates at Elland Road, he was a success as a skipper and, with Fulham having released a number of seasoned professionals over the summer, his arrival is a timely one.

There are plenty of question marks ahead of a new season in a new division: one that has changed markedly since Tigana’s team stormed to success with a short, slick passing game. But, after McCormack’s move this morning, nobody can question Fulham’s ambition. There are plenty of pieces of the jigsaw still missing but, for me at least, this is a promising start.

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Fulham ease past East Fife

by Dan on July 6, 2014

Fulham began their preparations for life in the Championship with a comfortable victory over East Fife in the Scottish sunshine yesterday afternoon. Second half goals from Elsad Zverotic, Hugo Rodallega and Cauley Woodrow gave an experimental looking Fulham side victory over their part-time hosts, with Felix Magath’s side likely to face a stiffer test next weekend against Motherwell.

Magath handed Fulham debuts to three of his summer signings at Bayview with full-backs Kay Voser and Tim Hoogland getting their first taste of action in a Fulham whilst Shaun Hutchinson, who recently arrived on a free transfer from Motherwell, looking comfortable and commanding at the heart of a Fulham defence that remained largely untested save for a couple of long-range free-kicks. Magath also gave three triallists – who we believe to the former Notts County and Norwich midfielder Mark Fotheringham, Moroccan winger Adil Chihi and Greek defender Kostas Stafylidis - opportunities to impress alongside some of the members of last year’s outstanding under-18 side, including American midfielder Emerson Hyndman.

Welsh winger George Williams – capped in last month’s pre-World Cup friendly with the Netherlands – caught the eye in the first half and perhaps should have scored just before the break, but elected to try and round goalkeeper Dylan Rooney rather than taking on the shot. Magath changed the entire eleven ahead of the second half and it took some time for the new-look eleven to find their rhythm but Fulham eventually went ahead seven minutes after half-time.

The energetic Ryan Tunnicliffe fed Cauley Woodrow inside the penalty area and the young striker turned his man and drove a low shot towards the bottom corner. Substitute goalkeeper Allan Fleming did well to palm it away, but the rebound fell to Zverotic who was left with a simple tap-in. Woodrow, whose emergence last season was one of the few bright spots during a miserable campaign, looked lively and eager up front, linking the play and making several intelligent runs.

The home side spurned a good chance to level the contest six minutes later when an instinctive effort from distance by Kevin Smith saw Jesse Joronen scrambling across his goal to save before Fulham’s superior fitness and quality told in the closing stages. Woodrow and Zverotic were to the fore, creating the second goal with some lovely link-up play down the right before the Macedonian international crossed for Hugo Rodallega to nod home from close range and, with nineteen minutes left, Woodrow got the goal his impressive performance deserved. The striker expertly brought down a fine through ball from Lasse Vigen Christensen and thumped a powerful finish beyond Fleming.

EAST FIFE (4-4-2): Rooney (Fleming), Mullen, Naysmith, S. Smith (Honeyman, Maskrey), Walker (Wallace); Moyes (Wooley), Brown (Falconer), McAteer, Beaton; Barr, K. Smith. Sub (not used): McShane.

FULHAM (4-3-2-1): Rodak (Stockdale); Voser (Zverotic), Kacaniklic (Hoogland), Hutchinson (Grimmer), Burn (Tunnicliffe); Parker (B. Trialist), Hyndman (Christensen), R. Williams (C. Trialist); G. Williams (Mesca), A. Trialist (Woodrow); Dembele (Rodallega).

REFEREE: Brian Calvin.

GOALS: Zverotic (52), Rodallega (61), Woodrow (71).

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Fulham’s Roadmap to Regeneration: Part IV – Potential Transfer Targets

June 7, 2014

Tweet The fourth and final step on the roadmap to Fulham’s regeneration will be the targeted acquisition of a select few players who can complement those left in place and promoted from the academy. With our relegation, our list and spectrum from which to select those targets will have shifted. We are unlikely to be […]

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Thank You: Saying Farewell to Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes

June 3, 2014

Tweet With the news of Brede Hangeland’s apparently callously handled release by email emerging this evening, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Tomorrow will be the time to question another mishandled episode in communication and a now unsurprisingly classless personnel manoeuvre; but for tonight, we must say farewell to a Fulham […]

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Fulham’s Roadmap to Regeneration: Part III – Promoting the Youth

May 24, 2014

Tweet Round Three on the Roadmap to Regeneration is by far the most exciting one for Fulham Football Club and its fans. Having first determined exactly who will be making decisions and followed that up by deciding which of the first team should be let go, the next step will be to decide which of […]

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Fulham’s Roadmap to Regeneration: Part II – The First Team: Going, Going, Gone

May 18, 2014

Tweet With Part 1 in this series discussing the need to first sort out Fulham’s structure off the field, the next set of decisions must come about those on it. Before any transfer dealings or youth call-ups can take place to help reconstruct the first team, Fulham must first take stock and then exorcise the […]

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Fulham’s Roadmap to Regeneration: Part I – The Future of the Boardroom

May 11, 2014

Tweet This was originally intended to be one article detailing four key steps Fulham must take this summer to commence the journey to return to the Premier League. However, after writing the first two points and ending up at thesis length, it seemed evidently obvious that such issues require proper discussion and not just sound […]

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Reflections on Relegation

May 9, 2014

Tweet Writing the article that has been in my head for the last eight months is proving quite difficult. After a season of consistent and ever more discombobulating failure the appropriate way to sum it all up has somewhat escaped my grasp. Instead I will tell my story from last Saturday. Unable to be at […]

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Al Fayed on why Fulham were Relegated

May 6, 2014

Tweet   Terrible performances, no structure, no consistency and too much activity in terms of new managers have all been put down as reasons for Fulham’s relegation this year, but one Mohamed Al Fayed has had a different idea. Our charismatic former owner says that he warned Shahid Khan not to get rid of his […]

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Reasons for Optimism

May 4, 2014

Tweet I think it’s fair to say that yesterday was one of the worst days that I have ever had as a Fulham fan. It wasn’t just the fact that we were relegated but rather the way in which we were relegated. Stoke completely turned us over! We couldn’t get the ball and the few […]

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