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The Last Word on Patrick Roberts’ Transfer to Manchester City

When Southampton sold a 17 year old Gareth Bale to Tottenham back in 2007, they received a fee of £5m up front with a further £5m in potential add-ons. Tottenham ended up settling the add-ons at only £2m due to Southampton’s cash crisis in 2008. At the time of his transfer, Bale had made 45 first team appearances scoring 5 goals, was a full international and was the reigning Football League Young Player of the Year.

On Sunday, Fulham sold 18 year old Patrick Roberts to Manchester City for a reported £5m up front with a further £6m in add-ons and a reported 20% sell on clause. Roberts’ entire Fulham career amounted to 22 appearances, of which only 3 were starts, and no goals.

Of course it is flippant to simply compare Bale’s transfer with Roberts’, not least with 8 years between them meaning the transfer market is a different place. Yet, on the face of it, this was a pretty good piece of business from Fulham, given the entirety of Roberts’ value is in his potential.

When you take into account that Roberts’ had only one year remaining on his contract and had handed in a transfer request, the transfer begins to look like quite the bounty under the circumstances.

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Ignoring the financial and logical aspects of the transfer for a moment, I am sad Roberts has gone. Like when Dimitar Berbatov or Mousa Dembele left, there is always going to be a disappointment when an entertainer leaves. The sadness of Roberts leaving is compounded as the player was genuinely home grown, having been at the club since he was 13.

Clubs like Fulham don’t often produce players with Roberts’ potential for excitement and if they do they are normally snapped up before they make the first team. For example, Roberts’ new team mate Raheem Sterling left QPR before kicking a ball at first team level.

However, truth be told, Roberts was never likely to develop into the player many of us think he can become at Fulham. Look at the best creative and attacking players in the world, how many of them became great at a non-elite club? Or at least not at a top club in any particular country? Messi has been at Barcelona since he was a boy. Ronaldo learnt his trade at Sporting Lisbon before joining Manchester United. There are countless others.

Attacking football and footballers need talent around them and space to operate in. It is a lot easier to make mistakes and get away with them when your 10 teammates are still good enough to get results. Clubs like Fulham don’t have that luxury, hence Roberts’ lack of substantial minutes last season.

He may be some way from featuring regularly for Manchester City’s first team, but in an environment where he is surrounded by world class attacking players on a daily basis, Patrick will be given every opportunity to learn and develop. At Fulham, he was already one of the most dangerous attacking players. Had he stayed this year, every appearance would have been met with increasing expectations to deliver.

There is, of course, a fear that the move to City is for the wrong reasons [money], and that he is only there to make up the homegrown quota as required for UEFA’s competitions.

The transfer is a catch 22 situation. Whilst game time at Fulham would have brought its challenges, it would at least be game time. It is not inconceivable that in four years’ time we will be reading headlines of a 22-year old Roberts moving to Sunderland, Stoke or Aston Villa having failed to make an impression on the star-ridden first team at Eastlands.

However, Roberts was not guaranteed game time even if he stayed. As alluded to earlier, Fulham do not have the luxury of being able to carry players simply to aid their development. In the marathon Championship season every point and every game count. Players need to perform or they won’t play. This mantra, like it or not, was why Kit Symons chose to leave Patrick on the bench more often than not last season.

It is easy to get emotional over the transfer of a home grown player of Roberts’ talent. He was so exciting when he did get the odd 5 minutes, that it was easy to want more. The few minutes when Roberts, Christensen, Woodrow and McCormack were on the field together were some of the most exciting we saw all season.

Indeed I was told about halfway through last season that Roberts himself was growing frustrated and wanted more game time. That this was followed by an allusion that he would look to leave if it wasn’t forthcoming was no real surprise.

Whilst I do subscribe to the theory that he was under-used and thus his exit was somewhat expedited, I find it hard to really blame anyone. Had he played more, there is no guarantee he wouldn’t have been sold, and the impact of more minutes on his price could have gone either way.

Our league position was so precarious last season that playing someone of Roberts’ inexperience and stature would have constituted a risk that perhaps wasn’t worth taking. On the rare occasion that he did start, his impact was marginal.

Given that we survived and have now received a transfer windfall regardless, the whole situation is hard to criticise. It is merely disappointing that we didn’t get to see more of Patrick before he left, even if they could only have been cameo appearances.

In the academy system Fulham are attempting to develop, there will probably need to be a significant sale every summer. Funds can then be appropriated to the academy to enable the ongoing development of players and also be used to strengthen the first team with battle ready players from elsewhere.

What happens next will be crucial for the likes of Emerson Hyndman, Moussa Dembele and Lasse Vigen Christensen. If the money received enables greater resolve to be applied to the stance on these players should suitors come calling then Roberts’ departure may have served the greater good. After all, no one prospect is greater than the club.

Should we return to the Premier League, then there is also a greater prospect we can retain our best young players.

For now, I wish Roberts well in his next chapter. We can all look on proudly as he develops, my hope being that Manchester City allow him to do so. It’d be nice to see that sell on clause grow too.

COYW

P.s Fulham today released a fascinating video interview with Mike Rigg explaining youth development and by inference the Roberts transfer. It’s must watch stuff and can be viewed here

The FFC Draft 2015: A Look at Fulham’s Young Players

18. This is the number of players aged 22 or under who are named in Fulham’s First Team Squad. That doesn’t include loanees and those other young players who either spent part of last season out on loan or just below the first team. For all but a handful of those who were named in the first team squad, 2014/15 was their first full season in the senior professional ranks. Before writing any of them off or hailing anyone the next anybody, let’s just remember that fact.

In honour of this weekend’s NFL Draft, where the best young players are selected by the pro teams, I thought it would be a novel concept to use a draft concept to analyse how Fulham’s youngsters progressed this season, and who we should look forward to watching in the next campaign and beyond. The order of the picks represents who showed the most potential this season or whose raw skills have the biggest potential to develop, along with taking into account this season’s performance.

So without further ado, with the first pick in the 2015 FFC Young Player Draft, I would select:

1. Lasse Vigen Christensen, Centre Midfield
Age: 20
2014/15 Apps: 29
2014/15 Performance Grade: B
Potential: A
Analysis: The Dane was the only younger player to make an impact on the Fulham first team where you didn’t have to qualify it by saying “for a youngster” afterwards. Though his season came to an abrupt end in February, the midfielder made 25 appearances, scoring 5 goals. He looks a genuine box-to-box talent and will likely play a key role next season. His initial hamstring injury was actually biomechanical and related to an issue with his back that the club now believes they have solved. He’s an energizer bunny type of player with probably the best engine of any player at the club and good technical attributes to back that up. He’s a consensus starting XI player next season and scored a contender for goal of the season at home to Sheffield Wednesday in December.

2. Patrick Roberts, Attacking Midfield
Age: 18
2014/15 Apps: 19
Performance Grade: C+
Potential: A
Analysis: The reason you’d take Roberts in the top two picks in simple, he has the highest ceiling of any player at the club. Good, tricky young players can be a dime a dozen, so Roberts needs to be developed in the right way, and it’s important his ego gets held in check. However, he is undoubtedly a special talent. Unfortunately, his performance grade this season can’t be any higher than a C+ as he’s just not played enough. His development appears to have been poorly managed this season with only 19 appearances (3 starts) totaling a paltry 450 minutes. At 18 he has still looked undersized for senior football but the management’s reluctance to use him off the bench has been equally baffling and frustrating for Roberts and fans alike. He is Fulham’s most exciting offensive talent so needs to make an impact soon. Ideally he’d have been ready to make an impact as a starter come August but that might be too much too soon. He also won’t stay at Fulham for long, hopefully lack of game time won’t be the reason he leaves.

3. Emerson Hyndman, Central Midfield
Age: 19
2014/15 Apps: 11
Performance Grade: C+
Potential: A-
Analysis: Like Roberts, Hyndman is a potential over performance pick. He is technically the best passer of the ball at the club and will only get better with age and physical maturity. Already a senior international, Hyndman’s season was cut short through a broken collarbone sustained whilst starring in the US Under-20s run to qualify for the upcoming Uder-20 world cup. Hyndman was certainly a player who was rushed into the first team too quickly as a result of our relegation. Another year with the Under-21s would have allowed a more natural development curve. That being said, his 89% pass completion rate was the team’s highest, albeit in only 9 league games. Hyndman is someone I am still very high on and expect to play an increasing role as next season progresses.

4. Marcus Bettinelli, Goalkeeper
Age: 22
2014/15 Apps: 44
Performance Grade: B
Potential: B+
Analysis: By far and away the young player with the most experience this season was goalkeeper Bettinelli. He started the season as the 3rd choice but was quickly installed as the Number 1 once Kit Symons replaced the German despot as manager. However, he suffered from having a leaky defence in front of him and eventually he looked like a man suffering a crisis of confidence. Unfortunately without a decent back up he had to stay in for the entire season when he clearly could have done with a mental break. 8 clean sheets in 38 league games is not a bad outcome considering he’s had 24 different back four combinations in front of him. He’s at a good stage in goalkeeper development terms and looks to have a very bright long future ahead of him. 3 penalty saves were the highlight of his season but he needs to stop punching/flapping at crosses, something that will hopefully improve once Kiraly leaves and he has a decent mentor and back up.

5. Cauley Woodrow, Striker
Age: 20
2014/15 Apps: 34
Performance Grade: B/B-
Potential: A-/B+
Analysis: With a pair of strikers going as 5 and 6 in my FFC Draft, I’d choose Woodrow over Dembele as he is ready to contribute more immediately next season. His ceiling might not be as high as Dembele’s, but Cauley’s technical attributes as a back to goal striker are virtually faultless and he’s approaching the size and strength required to properly utilise them. 5 goals in 15 starts isn’t a great return but Woodrow doesn’t play a black and white goalscorers game and as he gets stronger, and hopefully faster, he should be able to forge a good strike partnership with McCormack or Dembele.

6. Moussa Dembele, Striker
Age: 18
2014/15 Apps: 15
Performance Grade: C
Potential: A
Analysis: Moussa Dembele is a physical freak in the respect he’s 18 and a grown full size man. He has a jumping ability that wouldn’t look out of place in the NBA. The one thing he doesn’t have is experience. Dembele only played 575 minutes all season, which, like Roberts again harks to him being slightly mishandled this season, our relegation coming at the wrong time. That being said, the club presumably has a plan for him and I’d guess that him not going out on loan was deliberate. He’s the goalscorer and an ideal partner for Woodrow.

7. Chris David, Midfield
Age: 22
2014/15 Apps: 7
Performance Grade: B-
Potential: A-
Analysis: Just a total waste/misuse of talent. For whatever reason, Kit Symons decided Chris David shouldn’t be a Fulham player and he ended up spending the second half of the season back at former club FC Twente. He’s undeniably talented with a killer pass that is probably only bettered by Bryan Ruiz at the club, however the chances of him still being in South West London come August must be low.

8. Jack Grimmer, Right Back/Centre Back
Age: 21
2014/15 Apps: 17
Performance Grade: B-
Potential: B+
Analysis: Scottish defender Grimmer is a bit of a marmite character amongst Fulham fans. Some wish he’d have played all season or at least that Jazz Richards was unnecessary, others think he’s not up to scratch. I’m in the pro camp and think he’s going to be a first teamer and international. Whether that is at right back I’m not sure, he might end up being a Chris Baird like player who actually plays better centrally. Grimmer excelled on loan at Shrewsbury in the first half of the season before being recalled after Tim Hoogland’s injury. I expect him to start at right back next season.

9. Dan Burn
Age: 22
2014/15 Apps: 21
Performance Grade: B
Potential: B+/B
Analysis: English centre half Burn is one player who seemed to regress over the course of last season. Perhaps it was part of never having regular game time or a stable partner at the back and a manager who obviously isn’t his biggest fan, but Burn just never took the leap we all thought he would this season. He’s too slow off the line and often relies on his long legs to get him out of trouble, but he is a decent defender with good instincts. His best hope of becoming a regular starter again is forging an on-field partnership with Scott Hutchinson as the pair appear good friends, chemistry cannot be over-rated and this looks to be Dan’s best bet.

10. George Williams, Winger/Forward
Age: 19
2014/15 Apps: 16
Performance Grade: C+
Potential: B+
Analysis: Wales international Williams made great strides initially after Symons’ appointment. 8 starts and 8 substitute appearances puts him ahead of Roberts in game time, but unfortunately for him he seemed to fall out of favour, mainly due to Symons’ ongoing tactical lack of wingers. This resulted in a loan to hometown club MK Dons where he lasted 4 games before an ACL injury ended his season. It remains to be seen whether a player who relies on his dribbling ability will be able to recover from such a serious injury, but at only 19 he should be given time and not rushed.

11. Ryan Tunnicliffe, Midfield
Age: 22
2014/15 Apps: 23
Performance Grade: B-
Potential: B
Analysis: Utility midfielder Tunnicliffe is a surprise inclusion on this list as it’s easy to forget the former Man Utd youngster is only 22. He’s reasonably low down the list because it’s hard to feel that he’s not already at about his peak level of performance. So while he contributed more to Fulham this season than some, the impact of those named above has the potential to be greater long term. Tunnicliffe’s best asset is his engine. He’s a tireless runner, probably only second to Christensen for energy, and never gives up – a quality that cannot be over valued. However, his technical skill is someway off some of our homegrown players and should we get some more experienced players in over the summer his role may be reduced to that of versatile squad player. In Ryan’s defence, he was often played out of position on the left of the diamond often employed by Kit Symons following his recall from loan at Blackburn Rovers.

12. Sean Kavanagh, Left back/Left midfield
Age: 21
2014/15 Apps: 22
Performance Grade: C+
Potential: B/B-
Analysis: It’s hard to believe Kavanagh is 21, as you could be forgiven for thinking he’s a teenager given his size and baby face. It’s this lack of physicality that will be Sean’s biggest obstacle to becoming a decent pro. His pencil thin legs seem to remain straight at all times which is a recipe for injury at some point, while he’s also not strong or quick enough to hold down a midfield berth long term. Technically he’s a gifted player, with textbook crossing ability and a decent football brain and he has 1 goal to his credit. He may get a chance back at his native left back spot, but I’m not convinced Kavanagh will make it in the Championship without some major gym work. He’s also never had a loan spell so this season was a true baptism of fire.

13. Cameron Burgess, Centre Back
Age: 19
2014/15 Apps: 4
Performance Grade: C
Potential: B-
Analysis: Giant Aussie/Scot Burgess had a bizarre season. 12 months ago he was playing in the FA Youth Cup Final alongside Liam Donnelly at centre half and was the lesser tipped of the pair to make a go of it this year. Well, while Donnelly has spent the year recovering from injury in the Under-21s, Burgess found himself starting the opening game at Ipswich in the unfamiliar position of central midfield. Yes, Felix did it again, like Dan Burn at right back at Stoke the year before, and almost ruined a young player with a foolish positional switch. Burgess coped admirably considering, but soon got dropped and was never seen again. A loan to Ross County followed, along with an injury that ended his season. He appears to have the attributes to make a contribution going forward, but this was a bizarre and mostly lost season for the 19 year old.

14. Jesse Joronen, Goalkeeper
Age: 22
2014/15 Apps: 4
Performance Grade: C+
Potential: B-
Analysis: Like Burgess, Joronen was another in-favour for a short time under Magath. The Finnish keeper was the victim of team mistakes rather than individual ones but soon found himself ostracised and in exile. Eventually he followed Marcus Bettinelli’s path with a loan to League Two side Accrington Stanley where he made a bright start. Unfortunately, like several players above, he suffered a season ending injury, in this case a dislocated knee cap. I still expect big things from Joronen but he needs a full pre-season and game time before he challenges Bettinelli for the Number 1 spot.

15. Adam Taggart
Age: 21
2014/15 Apps: 0
Performance Grade: N/A
Potential: Unknown
Analysis: Now we’re into the unknown picks. Players with potential, but that we just haven’t seen enough of. The first of these is Australian striker Taggart. He arrived as the A League’s top scorer fresh from the World Cup, but he then spent the entire season on the physio’s table. Taggart looks a good player, but 2014/15 was literally a lost year so he has to hit the ground running or he’ll simply run out of time. As it stands he’s 5th choice striker going into 2015/16, so something will have to change before he gets any game time, the first thing of which has to be a return to fitness in time for pre-season.

16. Tiago Casasola, Centre Back
Age: 19
2014/15 Apps: 0
Performance Grade: N/A
Potential: Unknown
Analysis: Well, what do we know about Casasola? He signed from Boca Juniors on a 3 year deal and he plays for Argentina’s Under-20s. Apart from this we know very little about him. Named in the first team squad but never appeared, he sounds a prize prospect. Whether we will ever see him in the first team remains to be seen. He could have a sky-high ceiling, but until we see him play he’s a high risk pick.

17. Thomas Eisfeld, Midfield
Age: 22
2014/15 Apps: 9
Performance Grade: C
Potential: C+
Analysis: German midfielder Eisfeld arrived from Arsenal’s academy amidst much excitement. Unfortunately he never lived up to the hype and ended the season on loan at German second division side Bochum. When he did play for Fulham he didn’t look particularly good, but the sample size was very small. At 22 he doesn’t have much time left to make a good impression and I’d be surprised if he’s with the team come September.

18. Ryan Williams, Right midfield
Age: 21
2014/15 Apps: 3
Performance Grade: D
Potential: C+
Analysis: Aussie winger Williams’ best accomplishment this season was looking like a pirate. 3 appearances in the first team was all he had under Magath before being farmed out to Barnsley. He was played out of position as a defensive midfielder by Magath so he’s another who never really had a chance in his proper spot. Will he get that chance at Fulham? Doubtful.

Part 2 of the FFC Draft: Notable Players below the first team

19. Ange Freddy Plumain, Attacking Midfield
20. Liam Donnelly, Centre back/defensive midfield
21. Larnell Cole, Midfield
22. Jordan Evans, Left Back
23. Josh Passley, Right Back
24. Magnus Norman, Goalkeeper
25. Marek Rodak, Goalkeeper
26. Jonathan Buatu, Centre Back
27. Stephen Arthurworry, Centre Back
28. Solomon Sambou, Central Midfield
29. Josh Smile, Midfield
30. Luca De La Torre, Central Midfield
31. Mesca, Attacking Midfield/Winger
32. Raheem Sheckleford, Right Back

COYWs

The Alternative Fulham End of Season Awards

With the final blow of the referee’s whistle at Carrow Road on Saturday, Fulham’s tumultuous maiden season in the Football League Championship will draw to a close. It has not been one of heroes, but largely of ignominy and ingloriousness. Misfortune is a cornerstone of comedy and at times this season there has been little left to do but look back and laugh. So here are my Alternative Fulham End of Season Awards

Worst Managerial Appointment of The Season

Has any club been mismanaged quite as badly as Fulham recently? Yes. Several actually. One of them happens to be Wigan, who were officially relegated to League 1 last night only two years after dropping out the Premier League. However, whereas they exited the top flight as a harmless club punching above their weight in a town dominated by a passion for rugby league, they fall from the Championship as a shambles nobody is particularly sad to see the back off. The reason for this was the midseason appointment of former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay. Mackay, in case you were living under a rock for the past year or so, was sacked by Cardiff City after he was exposed to have sent offensive text messages that in this age of super political correctness were actually very offensive. In doing so he managed to undo all of the goodwill he’d bought for himself whilst working stoically under maniacal super-villain lookalike Vincent Tan. What people forgot in the whole episode was that Mackay was tactically as adventurous as a building society branch manager and was on for the sack from Cardiff anyway. Wigan’s appointment of Mackay made no sense from both a political or footballing sense. Compounded by the fact that selling their best player to the MLS in January also somehow went wrong, Wigan have paid the price and will play next season a division down.

The Oxymoron Award for Best Loan signing

This is a tough decision as they’ve nearly been failures to some degree. The nod probably goes to Michael Turner, whose 9 appearances towards the end of the season helped to steer us to safety. Would you welcome him back next season. Probably, yes. Can the same be said for any of Ashley Richards, Kostas Stafylidis, Seko Fofana, Richard Lee or Danny Guthrie? No not really. Maybe Guthrie on a good day. Fofana looked bright in patches and supplied on of the few feel good moments of the season up at Huddersfield but you always felt we were developing someone else’s player by giving him games. The exception to the above is James Husband. The young left back who joined from Boro in a loan swap with Fernando Amorebieta looks to have real potential. Should Boro wish to part with him, I’d gladly send Mr Khan’s money up to Teeside to get him back.

27FB9F2F00000578-0-image-a-66_1429980396622The Village Idiot Award

Kostas Stafylidis – for his absurd two yellow cards in less than a minute red card against Leeds. This minute of madness has likely cost young Kostas any chance of converting his loan from Bayer Leverkusen into a permanent transfer. On the subject of discipline, this season has been very un-Fulhamish (if you’ll excuse the phrase). 7 red cards in 45 games is a poor showing by anyone’s standards and a long way off the Fulham that got into the Europa League via fair play. Red cards cost you points and we had too many cards and not enough points.

The Richard Osman Award for Most Pointless Transfer of the Season

Richard Lee. A goalkeeper on the verge of early retirement due to persistent injury joined from Brentford in March on loan deadline day. Why? I’m not even sure he knows.

(Although I do quite like the rumour that he’s actually an advance scout for Mark Warburton in the event Warburton joins as manager in the summer)

The Michael Ricketts Award

Amongst the legacies from Felix Magath’s reign of doom will be his scattergun approach to transfers. A couple of the more random ones have been semi successful – Tim Hoogland & Nikolay Bodurov, but there is a large contingent that have not been. There’s the aforementioned Fotherinham, pyjama bottomed goalkeeper impersonator Gabor Kiraly, the lesser spotted Thomas Eisfeld, the even lesser spotted Kay Voser and the never spotted Dino Fazlic. However, the award for the greatest of the one hit wonders goes to Adil Chihi. The lumbering winger made a solitary substitute appearance against Cardiff City in August and actually didn’t look atrocious (that’s not to say he was good), however he was never to be seen of again. Presumably he’s been busy phoning Giles Barnes and Jari Litmanen for advice on what to do after a non-playing Fulham career.

Adil_Chihi

 

The OMG That Was This Season, I’ve Already Blocked That Out Award

Two words…Mark Fotheringham

The Chris Baird Award for Player Who Made a Catastrophic Start but Might Actually Be Quite Good

Shaun Hutchinson. The defender had a nightmare start to his Fulham career being largely at fault for both Ipswich goals on opening day. Subsequent appearances were hardly any better and included a sending off. However, given time and despite a rotating cavalcade of partners at the back, Hutchinson is now slowly resembling a decent centre back. There are still holes in his game and he is living proof of how poor Scottish football is as preparation for the real world but I have a feeling Hutchinson might yet prove an astute piece of scouting and become a future lynchpin of our defence.

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The Tutti Fruiti Award for Flavour of the Month

Football manager can probably only be topped by Government Minister for the title of profession where public opinion can spiral out of control against you in a worse manner. Poor old Kit Symons came on the scene as the all-smiling warm hug of a manager we all wanted to replace Felix Magath back in the autumn. Having been recommended by the Five Man Panel of Shared Responsibility to Shahid Khan, Kit was temporarily in vogue as a veritable Mr Fulham until the shine wore off and his tactics didn’t show any sign of getting better. Unfortunately for poor old Kit, a series of dire results and lacklustre tactical performances culminated in all sides of the ground uniting against him in the draw at home to Rotherham a few weeks ago. Hopefully, Kit will eventually find a happy middle ground and perhaps stay on in a role at the club even if he leaves the top job, however he is the latest in a long line of managers to suffer their rise and fall over a short period of time.

The Surprising Thing I Miss About The Premier League Award

Being last on Match of The Day? No.
Losing every week? We still do that.
Having good players? Debateable.
No the thing I miss the most is the referees. The standard of refereeing down here is just so bad. I actually miss the likes of Clattenburg, Moss and Oliver sometimes making semi-logical decisions, though it is nice to not really have any big team bias go against you.

The Abdesalam Ouaddou Award for Most Mispronounced Name

This season saw Ivan Berry replace Diddy David Hamilton as the Cottage’s man on the mic. Poor Ivan hardly had the best of starts to his new career with barely a goal to announce in his first few games and he has got steadily better over the course of the season. What he lacks in gravitas, he does make up for in enthusiasm. However, he has a very annoying habit of mispronouncing two of the simplest names at the club in Hoogland and Hyndman. Ivan over emphasises the “land” in Hoogland as if his name was double barrelled and the over emphasis on “man” in Hyndman would make you thing young Emo is a burgeoning superhero. You probably never noticed, so, well, sorry about that but now you will.

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The Adidas Infra-red Award for the Worst Use of the Colour Orange

This season’s home kit was just not good. Grey and White vertical stripes with bright orange trim. Along with the bizarre kit, Adidas gave us black training kit with white and gold shoulders. Hoping we wouldn’t notice, they also gave the same training stash to all of their other template kit teams, so when we played Brentford you had the odd scenario of two teams playing each other with the coaches in identical kit. Hopefully next year’s offering will be white with black trim. It’s not that hard.

The Star Wars Episode VII Award for Excess Hype

Prize wunderkind Patrick Roberts has played so infrequently under Symons you’d be forgiven for wondering if he was still at the club. However this hasn’t stopped several national papers from proclaiming him “the best young English player” and linking him to every club under the sun. It really doesn’t seem to take much to convince a paper someone is worth £15m as Roberts, for all his potential, is yet to justify the proposed price tag when he has played. I’m sure he will, but perhaps the horses need to come back to the stable for now.

The Laughing Cow Award for Best Cheese To Treat an Injury

You’ll have to ask Brede Hangeland. Personally I’d go for some cheddar melted over ham, though perhaps I’m only saying that because it’s lunchtime.

That’s all for Part 1 of the Awards Special. In Part 2 I’ll crown the Fulham Player of the Season.

COYWs