After a 3-0 defeat at home to Hull City at the weekend, Fulham fans are already starting to look to next season. But if history is anything to go off, then Fulham fans still have plenty of reason to believe.
Scott Parker’s tenure at Craven Cottage has come under the spotlight recently, no less after his side’s drubbing at the hands of Hull last weekend.
The performance was so far below the par that Fulham have set themselves in recent seasons, and fans were expecting a lot more from the side this season.
Having kept most of their Premier League squad, and recruiting well in the summer, Fulham were expected by most to be right up there challenging for the title. But after 15 games of the season, they sit in 8th – 2 points off Bristol City in 6th.
The devastation of relegation for Fulham last season proved that they’re still not ready to sustain Premier League football, and Parker has been tasked with rebuilding a squad which can one day, maybe as soon as next year, do just that.
Despite the current angst surrounding the club, fans only need to look back at their promotion winning 2017/18 season to see that they’re very much still in with a chance of success this season.
Almost two years ago to the day, Fulham were beaten 2-0 by Championship leaders Wolves. The loss sunk the Cottagers to 16th in the table, with as many points separating them from Nuno Espirito Santos’ team.
How Fulham gained promotion that season is nothing short of miraculous, and looking back on their results in the second-half of the season shows just how well then-manager Slavisa Jokanovic performed.
Will Fulham make the Championship play-offs this season?
He too was a manager under-pressure nearing towards Christmas, but from the end of December to the end of April 2018, his side went 23 Championship games unbeaten – winning 18 and drawing five with a points take of 59 in that period.
It was a run which saw them into the play-offs which they’d eventually win against Aston Villa in the final.
Fulham that year were in a much worse position by this stage of the season than they are this time round under Parker.
For fans to be calling for Parker’s head is shallow – he’s undertaken a huge task at a club with likely high-wage bills from their top-flight season, and huge pressure to return there with immediate affect.
There’s still plenty of games and plenty of hope for Parker this season, and he could well pull off some unlikely heroics.