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Besides the Europa League final in 2010, the Cottagers have had little success in terms of actually winning trophies. They have been back in the top flight since 2001 and bar a few nervy run-ins with relegation; they have for the most part been a safe bet to always stay in the league. A closer analysis however, is brought to you by Gavin Nolan.

Players see Fulham as the safe option because of this. They believe that Fulham will always be in the league so there’s no fear of relegation. But they also know that Fulham won’t be that competitive up the top of the table so it won’t be that hard to break into the team.

This has led to mainly two types of players coming to Craven Cottage throughout the last decade or so. The first type is relative unknowns that want to come to the Premier League. These players usually cost next to nothing due to the fact that no one knows them. They usually are just brought to the club to fill a specific role and will only stay for one or two seasons. Occasionally they discover a gem of a player and will sell them on for a profit. Examples of these types of players are Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele.

The second type fills up the majority of the London club’s squad. Players who are nearing the end of their career start to dip in the quality of the performances they are able to put in so are not always regulars for their club anymore. Knowing they can’t play at the same level they used to but not wanting to drop down divisions, they go to Fulham where they can get their game and still in the Premiership. These are usually Premier League veterans who have entered the twilight of their career and are released by their club. Examples of these players are Dimitar Berbatov, Damien Duff, Philippe Senderos, John Arne Riise, Scott Parker, Danny Murphy and Darren Bent.

Under Martin Jol they tried to spend a bit more money to bring in a higher quality of player that are more in their prime with the £10million signing of Bryan Ruiz and £5million for Pajtim Kasami. This looked like a step in the right direction for Fulham as they were trying to bring in better, younger players to move the club forward from just being a ‘safe bet’ in the league. Unfortunately this has to be the season were things are finally looking they’re worst for Fulham.

Currently sitting 19th in the league with the same amount of points, things are looking bleak for the Cottagers. They have lost the most games of any team in the league 16 in total. There have been many reasons thrown about for why this has happened. The easy one was to blame the manager but they’ve relieved Jol of his position and the results still haven’t picked up. Another reason, and probably the most likely, is that they’ve got a seriously old squad with the average age of the team for one of the games this season was over 30. There has to be a bit of youth and energy in your team to complement the experience that the more senior players will bring to the team. But there’s no point in having the experienced players who know what to do when you don’t have the younger players who can get on the end of things.

The Premier League safety net is what I call Fulham because players know that they can go there and will be sure to stay in the league. That is not so certain anymore however.

Pundit Arena, Gavin Nolan.

Featured Image By Adam Stone (originally posted to Flickr as Craven Cottage) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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