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Merry Christmas Fulham Fans! Don’t Panic

kyle-bonn
ANALYST
610   //    25 Dec 2012, 10:40 IST

A frustrated and exhausted Martin Jol has become a much more common sight on the touchline the last few weeks. Sure he doesn’t smile much, but there hasn’t been much to tempt him recently either.

Hey Fulham fans. First things first: I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas. I hope you all get what your hearts desire, whether it be material, physical, emotional, or anything else you’re looking for.

Like, for example, a Fulham win. You’ll have to wait an extra day to see if the boys are going to grant that wish, but either way, just remember not to panic.

Any idea where Fulham were in the table last year on Christmas Day? Yup. 13th. Any idea how many points they had? 19, if you were wondering. They have 20 this year. Know how many points the relegation zone happened to start at last year? 14. It’s 15 this year. Any idea how last year finished out? Pretty good.

So there’s always that to remember.

Also, note this: How many teams in the previous 10 years that were 13th or above on Christmas ended up relegated? Three. Reading in 2007/2008 from 12th position, Newcastle in 2008/2009 from 12th, and Blackpool in 2010/2011, who were up in 10th on Christmas Day. So it doesn’t happen too often.

Don’t get me wrong people, I’m not saying all is fine and dandy with this team. I’m watching the same miserable performances you are. The midfield is a wreck, the creativity is lacking (putting it lightly) and the defending is futile. It’s not a shock that Dimitar Berbatov is visibly frustrated on the pitch.

But it’s not as bad as it could be.  Remember what happened just a few days before the transfer window ended.  A few key guys left (Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey), which left Martin Jol and company practically no time to replace them with quality.  Now, there’s no one left when Bryan Ruiz goes down with an injury like he has so many times before.

Speaking of injuries, those haven’t helped either.  Ruiz has been the biggest one, but Mahamadou Diarra, Mladen Petric, Dimitar Berbatov, Damien Duff, Kieran Richardson, and Alex Kacaniklic have all struggled at some point with injuries this year, and the list seemingly continues to grow. Such shuffle can’t be good for team chemistry, and it’s leaving the front men to scrap for chances as the link dries up.

This wasn’t supposed to be a transition year, but as soon as Dempsey and Dembele went elsewhere, it became just that. The beginning of the year saw fabulous form, but that shouldn’t have been expected to continue. This club needs to figure out how to move on from those two key men, as well as how to get significantly younger. The age of the squad is an issue, and they know it.

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But don’t expect to see a smashing January window.  It’s next to impossible to lure successful and high quality players from their clubs in the middle of the season, especially since players in good form don’t want drastic changes that might impede that form, either personally or team-wide. They’ll fill gaps temporarily. It won’t get us top-7 again, but it will be enough to survive, and then make wholesale changes in the summer. It’s funny, since we said last year’s summer transfer window was the most important in club history, but it very well may now be the next one that steals that label.

Either way, this year shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not pretty, but it will do until something can once again be done about the massive holes in the club. Changes must be made, but more importantly the club must scrap its way to the time when those changes can be made. They don’t have any other choice.

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