Rich has a post up at Craven Cottage Newsround suggesting that we should expect a bit of a slump next season if recent history’s anything to go by. It’s a good read but I don’t really grant his premise.
Of the teams listed, there are only six that have had catastrophic follow-up seasons. The way Roy Hodgson approaches his management, with real attention to detail and astute planning, I think he’ll be considering how to approach next season in the back of his mind already. The higher we finish up the table, the more revenue we take in from league prize money. We’ve still got an outside shot of a European place, which would be a real carrot to dangle in front of potential signings come the summertime.
The squad – as it currently stands – is too light to even contemplate European football. It would need a serious mount of work done to it to get us ready for the UEFA Cup/Europa League in time for next August/September, but then Roy’s already shown he’s not afraid of an overhaul. Factor in the emergence of some of the youngsters (you would think that Wayne Brown, Robert Milsom and Chris Smalling would be a little further down the line to breaking into the first-team set-up) and there’s plenty to be excited about.
People cite our only previous venture into European competition as one of the reasons why we might have to look nervously over our shoulders come the end of next season. Personally, I think that boardroom unrest and the rapid breakdown of the relationship between chairman and manager was more of a cause of our alarming loss of form than our earlier UEFA Cup exploits.
I still don’t think we’ll make Europe – and I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s just a hunch. Let’s hope I’m wrong. This season’s proved that we’re got nothing to fear except fear itself.