Date: 15th April 2009 at 1:13pm
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Now that we are only one point from a place into the “Europa League” (formerly the UEFA Cup), talk of Fulham playing in Europe next season seems a lot more realistic.

West Ham, who sit seventh with 44 points, have to play Aston Villa, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton in the remaining six games of the season whereas we play Aston Villa and Everton both at home and then Chelsea. Fulham sit eighth with 43 points. We have already taken points off Chelsea and Aston Villa this season and a result at home against Everton is certainly on the cards. Our other games are Middlesborough away (an opportunity for an away win?), Stoke at home (which should be three points) and Newcastle away (another possible away win?). With our run in, especially in comparison to West Ham`s, we stand a good chance in grabbing seventh place and in doing so bagging ourselves a European spot for next season.

This is all very well and good. However, what will European football bring the club? Some have said that European football could sink us as our squad would become over-stretched and our league performances would falter. An example of this was Ipswich`s unfortunately brief spell in the top flight not so long ago when, having finished fifth in their first season, they were relegated in their next, arguably due to the added burden of European football. The depth of our squad has not been tested much this season due to the exceptional fitness of our first eleven and our luck with injuries. However, the addition of European football would surely stretch us and unless we played a second team every game in Europe, could we not befall the same fate as Ipswich did?

On the contrary, European football could help us in building a stronger and deeper squad that would enable us to cement our position in the top flight more firmly. Perhaps we would be able to attract more “exotic” talent to our club (provided we did not completely fail) and possibly even get our hands on some silverware.
European football or not, our season has been a huge success. We are easily the most improved team in the league and in my opinion, there is no reason why Roy Hodgson should not be nominated for manager of the season. If we do qualify for European football, we will have an opportunity to shine. If we don`t, then we will have an excellent platform to launch an even stronger league campaign next year and we can be sure of not overburdening ourselves with the extra fixtures and travel that come with European football.


22 Replies to “Fulham – Is European Football A Poisoned Chalice?”

  • Well, Roy is nothing if not realistic. We haven’t seen the dizzying heights of the top half of the table since 2003/2004, and we’ve spent the past two seasons just trying to stay up. We need to be cautious. It’s also not a simple matter of adding 4 or 5 Prem quality players. European football is a different style, altogether. You’ll notice that many of the Champions Leagues sides have a number of players that rarely feature in their respective leagues, but are regulars in the European competitions. You have to have the right players to adapt to the different styles of competition. Some are better suited to the Prem, some to continental football. I guess my point is that 4/5 players that would help us in Europe, wouldn’t necessarily help us in the Prem, and that’s an expensive risk to take.

  • my thoughts: roy has already bemoaned the size of our squad. whether that was for our ears or mohammed al fayed’s, that’s a different story. if no extra players are added specifically for europe, the competition could stretch our thin squad. however, as our goal should always be to improve our standing in the premiership table and as a club, how can we not see europe as a way to do that… it would give roy an extra chip in the negotiation process, whether with keeping players or adding new ones. and if we don’t get into europe this year, we should be seriously aiming for that next season. not expecting it, but aiming for it. we should always be looking to progress, and right now that means a highest finish ever at 8th. next year would mean higher, with europe to come with it.

  • I would be very happy with that scenario, Woody. Finish 8th this season, ramp up slowly by adding players and make a run for Europe next season.

  • Just so you would know,You and Westham are not the only teams fighting for 7th ,We are certainly involved as we are just 3 points behind the spammers. We are one of the form teams in the league and lets face it, we have better players than both you and west spam.

  • I like to think positively either way. If we don’t get it, then I will be glad, cos I can see it being bad for us, if we do get in, I will be happy for the sheer thought of European football! 😀

  • I don’t know Yid_from_india. You may think you have better players, but you are hardly using them to full effect. I don’t know how a side like yours isn’t battling the top 4 season on season! And yet, you don’t, so I don’t think claiming better players is getting you very far!

  • My point is KBfulham, if its 89 minutes on the clock and its 1-1, if you get one half chance, who would you want it to fall to, Murphy or modric,similarly if put thru one on one with the keeper who is more likely to score, Zamora or Defoe. Not one player in the fulham squad will even make our bench let alone starting 11,and this will make a difference weather you like it or not.

  • I am not at all disagreeing with your statement, but there is no need have a dig at our players, when we are clearly doing incredibly well this season!

  • Yid_From_india. Murphy has been better than Modric who is vastly overrated. Football isnt about individuals, it is a team game and that is why we are higher in the league.

    I honestly would love to get into Europe and then see Hodgson field a completely new, weaker XI in those matches just for the experience of being in Europe and then fielding the best team in the League.

  • That is an idea I had Alex, but didn’t want to post it. I would be fine with that. Just the thrill of Europe is enough for me! 😀

  • that’d be ok with me too. we could blood some youngsters in the european games… why not? i’d love to have european football… relelgation is just scary is all…

  • we are 2 points below you because we had the worst start to the season in our history(2 points from 8 games) as we were playing under a manger who himself addmited that he did not understand the league. Only one team had ever made that bad a start and stayed up. So to come from that position to 3 points of europe with six games to go is a great achievement. If we had Harry from the start of the season, we would have been challenging the top 3 or 4. That is why you are 2 points ahead of us.

  • Murphy,Better than Modric? are you having a laugh. I have seen that Murhy has been really good this season, but no way is he better than modric. Modric is not overrated. He is world class but just needs a abit of time to settle into this league. Ronaldo was not that good in his first season was he? Besides Modric is just 22 and he will improve. one more thing i like to mention is that Murphy is by far your best midfielder and probably your best player but for us if not modric then there is keane or pavlyuchenco or lennon or bently or jenas or defoe or palacios. Take my word when i say that we will finish above you this season and the next AND THE NEXT.

  • You have had a great season a great season.But everything that could go wrong for us has gone wrong this season but we are still just 2 points below you, we palyed the carling cup final at wembly and were unlucky to loose to man u on penalities and we reached the last 16 of the uefa cup and we are the only team who are unbeaten against the so called big4 this seson and we will overtake you. just show where the 2 clubs are, does’nt it?

  • If Modric is world class, why exactly is he at Spurs……….oh!!!!!!!!!

    You wont finish above us for one simple reason. Fixtures. We have a fairly straightforward run in whilst you have a fairly tricky one.

  • To draw a line under it, we have had a fantastic season, and you have starter poorly 2 years in a row now; when are you going to buck the trend? Jol was a good gaffer, sacked, Ramos won you a cup and got you into Europe, sacked. It seems whoever takes charge is never quite successful enough for you guys!

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