So far Fulham have done a decent job of strengthening the squad for the upcoming season, especially since the transfer window doesn’t officially open until 1st July. After an extremely disappointing first season back in the Championship, so many questions have been asked about the commitment of a number of Fulham’s players as well as the coaching staff. Kit Symons has experienced a rocky first term as a first team manager and most fans had called for his sacking at the close of the season. However it seems that Khan has had enough of switching managers and appears to be content with Symons for now at least. I think it is important to give managers time and I reckon giving Symons the chance of having a full preseason and transfer window to put his stamp on the squad could prove to be wise. He needs the chance to show that he has learned from the mistakes made last term from when he took over from Magath and hopefully this will be a fantastic part of his football education as a manager. With all jobs, the learning and developing of a person cannot stop. We always must look at the outcomes and results we are achieving and reflect on what we are doing well and where there is room for improvement.
The success Symons had throughout the youth squads at Fulham shows that he has ability as a manager but as with any promotion comes new challenges and areas where we may be tested for the first time. Symons came in at a time when the squad was unbalanced and filled with a lot of youngsters who had their confidence more or less destroyed from playing under Magath. The defeat at Derby finished with many of our players in tears and it was clear that the man management skills of Magath were non-existent. It was a mess but what Symons did very well to begin with was create a togetherness that you need in all teams. The performances, even when the results still weren’t quite there, were better than they had been under Magath and the players, especially the youngsters, clearly looked happier. This was step one on the road to success for Fulham. The club still has a very long way to go, but it seems that the foundation work of returning to the days when Fulham was filled with players absolutely thrilled to be playing for the club has started. Three new players in already and all have mentioned how thrilled they are at signing for Fulham. The purchases of Ben Pringle and Tom Cairney especially show a desire to get Fulham filled with proven players who have been the top players at their last clubs in the recent past. In his last interview Symons was very honest about how much needed done with the squad and he has wasted no time in getting started. The area where I feel that Symons needs to focus on most is his tactics. There are some quality players at the club but tactically the team was weak. Once Symons gets his formation right then the team will be much harder to break down.
With the Fulham defence having the 2nd worst record in the Championship last year it is crucial that the formation and structure is sorted. I don’t think it was a matter of our players all round not being good enough, more that the team wasn’t set up right. Once Symons cracks this, the team will be on the rise.
Despite the disappointment of last season and the discontent amongst the fans, I’m sure that the business done so far shows that Fulham will be a more balanced squad come August.
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