One of the columns I enjoyed reading when I first visited this website nearly two decades ago as a teenager was entitled ‘The Silly Season’. Born out of the conviction that the tabloids didn’t really care about Fulham and would fill their pages with any old tittle tattle, Nick and Dan would deconstruct the transfer rumours in a bilingual round-up that offered a smidgeon of sanity as we worried about which one of Chris Coleman’s key players would leave that summer.

I never thought I’d be writing articles of my own for the site that always starts my browsing in the morning and ends it at night. But I’ve enjoyed being part of the hammyend family in the eight months or so since I started and I feel it is only right to carry on the tradition. The silly season started earlier than usual when Fulham announced their season ticket renewal prices. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that the average increase would be almost double the rate of inflation at 18.5% and found Shad Khan’s attempts at speaking human (when he said he did the groceries too in an interview with Ally Rudd of the Times) particularly pitiful.

The idea that Fulham will suddenly become sustainable by putting roughly £200 our season tickets is laughable. The club’s biggest earning boost comes from the latest Premier League TV deal and the advent of the delayed Riverside Stand, which was always going to be the most expensive part of Craven Cottage following the decade-long rebuild. That Fulham have opted to level this eye-watering increase during the worst cost of living crisis in modern British history seems staggeringly tone deaf but the senior suits know that the day trippers and tourists will pay whatever for the Premier League experience.

The most egregious element of all this is that the matchday experience for those in the Hammersmith End has not only got worse as crowds have increased, but it is now dangerously unsafe in the crush at half time. Using the toilets is fraught with danger and pushing through hundreds of people to find some breathing space is no one’s idea of a good time. The club claimed that they would tackle these issues once the Riverside Stand was completed, but have done little to demonstrate that they value their loyal supporters. The Fulham Supporters’ Trust’s letter to the chairman asking for a rethink on pricing appears not to have been granted the courtesy of a reply.

If this seems a sour note to start an article about Fulham’s future plans, that’s because it is. All through the pandemic we were told that fans were the lifeblood of the game – but there is a price to loyalty, especially when some families are still having to make the toughest budgeting decisions around what to buy and what to leave behind in the supermarket. Many of the fans now priced out by this increase first bought their season tickets when the club asked them to help secure Fulham as a going concern in the early 1990s, plenty more were part of Fulham 2000 – whose efforts in safeguarding Craven Cottage are commemorated in a plaque on Stevenage Road – and hundreds helped the ‘Back to the Cottage’ campaign end the club’s exile at Queens Park Rangers. Marco Silva himself has spoken of the importance of fanatical home support: it is a real pity the memo didn’t reach Florida.

Fulham’s first season back in the top tier was fantastic and far beyond even the most fervent fans’ wildest expectations. There is even a nagging doubt at the back of my mind that without a run of questionable VAR decisions and the meltdown at Manchester United, Marco and the boys might be preparing for European football. But football moves on quickly and there is no doubt that the second season will be much tougher, as our opponents will be much better prepared to nullify Silva’s style.

You can tell the Whites had a wonderful campaign because already the press are doing the best to sell our best players. West Ham were preparing a £40m bid for Joao Palhinha a couple of weeks ago. The Irons were confident of getting their man apparently. There must be some mistake. Firstly, Joao’s volleyball skills aren’t as strong as most of David Moyes’ men and the fee quoted wouldn’t be enough to entice Meoaw Palhinha, the lovely little cat that’s made Motspur Park home over the last seven months, to the Olympic Park. Palhinha has four years to run on his Craven Cottage contract, loves playing for Silva and his family are happy in London. The man himself ended any doubt about his future in an interview with Eleven Sports this weekend.

I also appreciated the Sun’s story on Friday that Liverpool were eyeing up ‘a cut-price move for Kenny Tete’. I think the days of Jurgen Klopp pinching some of Fulham’s brightest talent might well be over. The Sun stated that Tete was moving into the final year of his deal, acknowledged that the Whites held an extension option, and then plucked a £10.5m fee out of the air. Do me a favour.

Fulham’s finest right back since Steve Finnan, who also departed for Anfield, won’t be leaving for double that and he probably wouldn’t move to Merseyside in any case. There was an interesting moment when Tete was warming up on the touchline during our defeat to Liverpool last month: he hugged and chatted convivially with Fabio Carvalho, who was making a rare appearance on Klopp’s bench. If there’s ever an example of the pitfalls of the big move, it is poor old Fab who has played just five Premier League minutes since November.

I’ll end with perhaps the most hilarious one of all. Frank Lebeouf wrote in all seriousness seemingly that Mauricio Pochettino should make Aleskandar Mitrovic one of his first signings at Stamford Bridge, comparing him to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Whilst it is nice to see our Serbian talisman being valued at last, there’s no chance he’ll be moving to the other half of SW6 to become one of their surfeit of under-used strikers. Mitrovic is loved at Fulham and holds a real affection for the club. If you haven’t listened to his Fulham Fix interview, you should. It gives a great insight into the man himself. He’ll fancy breaking Gordon Davies’ club goalscoring record before probably heading home to Belgrade.

The bad news is that was the first weekend of what will be a long summer. There are nine more before the boys kick off the next season – hopefully, we’ll survive the sensationalism together.