In what will be a regular post before every game, Hammyend will be interviewing opposition fans to preview the next opposition to play Fulham.
Our first set of questions was answered by Michael Dilley, who used to be the editor of the Norwich City Vital Football blog until the end of last season. Here is his take on the upcoming encounter between the two sides:
Will:Hi Michael and thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. Firstly, How long have you supported Norwich for?
Michael A:Well first up unlike a lot of people I’m not a lifelong City fan, and have only really followed them since about 2000. There’s a fairly long and convoluted story as to why that is, which I wrote about on for Vital several years ago - http://www.norwich.vitalfootball.co.uk/sitepage.asp?a=96998
Q:You lost Paul Lambert to Aston Villa this summer- do you think this is a significant loss in Norwich and will affect your season a lot?
A:There’s no doubt that Lambert leaving is a huge loss for us, he was our most successful manager for years – something he never tired of reminding us – but how if will impact us this year remains to be seen.
Q:Chris Hughton has come in- do you think he is the right man for the job?
A:Absolutely, yes. He was the man most supporters wanted when Lambert walked, and the board moved quickly to get him. He’s likely to be given time too which could prove critical if things go south.
Q:How has your pre-season gone, both fixture and transfer-wise?
A:We’ve bought in what look like a good mix of experience (Whittaker) and prospects (Butterfield, Snodgrass) and more importantly haven’t lost anyone key from last season to bigger clubs. The friendly matches have largely gone the way you’d expect, although some are concerned that we haven’t exactly been hitting the back of the net on a regular basis.
Q:Many clubs suffer from “second-season syndrome”, where they perform much more poorly than they did in the first season. As a club that performed quite well last season, do you think you will suffer from this?
A:We had an incredible season last season, and it’s going to be extremely difficult to replicate that points tally and finish this year, so if that constitutes “second season syndrome” then I think it’s inevitable. I genuinely don’t think we’ll go down though, and we’re still very much in that “anything above 18th would be a good season” space – although a lot of people would rather not think like that, which could prove interesting down the line.
Q:Do you have any players in the Norwich squad who you think will make a real impression on the Premier League this season?
A:We’ve got an excellent young squad (if memory serves ours was the youngest squad in the Premier League last season) and several stand out, but I think this could be an excellent year for Jonny Howson. He arrived from Leeds in January and immediately looked the part, and after a solid pre-season should be a big, big player for us.
Q:Who is the Norwich danger man that Fulham should be watching out for in the match?
A:Other than Howson, Anthony Pilkington is one to keep an eye on – and of course we’re all waiting to see if Grant Holt can reproduce his heroics of last year.
Q:If you could take one Fulham player for the Norwich Squad, who would it be?
A:Clint Dempsey is a quality player, but I’d go for Hugo Rodallega. Any striker with the sort of pace he has would be lethal in our side with the way we pass the ball around.
Q:How do you see Fulham’s season going?
A:To be honest I think it’ll be a fairly uneventful year for you guys. I can’t see you realistically challenging for Europe, but I’d be very surprised if you were in the relegation shake-up. I’d expect a solid mid-table finish.
Q: And finally, of course, your prediction for the match?
A:We don’t exactly have a great recent record at the Cottage, but with a new manager at the helm and new players eager to impress on the opening day I’m going to be very boring and go for a 1-1 draw.
Thanks for answering the questions and may the best team win. Good luck with the new season!
Fulham play Norwich City on Saturday at Craven Cottage in a 3pm kick off. You can follow me on Twitter (@willfulham) for more Fulham related news, opinions and rambles.