Fulham - To Tinker or Not to Tinker
To tinker or not to tinker, that is the question. Well… maybe not so much as should we or shouldn`t we, but rather, how much?
Quite a season, wouldn`t you say? Facing relegation in consecutive years, no one would have ever thought that Fulham would be looking towards European football next season. Fulham was everyone`s pick to be one of the relegated. Even the most optimistic might have seen top ten, but Europe… Fulham… surely you jest. But, that is exactly what has happened.
Little Fulham potentially looking at facing the likes of Ajax, Hamburg, Roma, Valencia and a host of other clubs with long pedigrees of prominence and success. Whatever shall we do?
The consensus is that we must strengthen. Man-for-man, we`re certainly not the most talented side in top flight. Roy Hodgson has gotten amazing results from a squad of has-beens, marginal talents and unknowns. In addition, most will admit that we were very lucky this season with injuries, which could`ve gutted an already thin squad. Even without European competition in the equation, improving the squad and adding depth would be a focus this summer.
Roy is a tactical genius. He`s already shown that he doesn`t need marquee names to compete. He needs players with passion and the ability to follow his direction TO THE LETTER! Well, we have that. Were we to simply add a few players to the bench that would cover us in case of injury, I think we could comfortably hold our top flight status next season and possibly even stay in the top half of the table, but that would be a dangerous roll of the dice and leave us absolutely incapable of either improving in the league or competing in Europe. By the same token, revamping the squad and bringing in "talent" could ruin the cohesiveness and organizational stability that has made us a success. How many clubs have you seen spend huge amounts of cash to bring in marquee names only to have the team falter? It`s a dangerous game we play over the next several months.
Anyone who has heard or read Hodgson`s comments over the past few months knows that the gaffer is all too aware of the pitfalls of success, the requirements to sustain it, and the pressure higher competition and expenditure put on the manager and the club.
I think most Fulham fans would agree that we must bring in more talent in order to improve in the league and compete in Europe. But, are those same fans willing to accept that bringing in new players might require that some fan favorites find themselves moving to the substitutes bench or moving away from Craven Cottage altogether. Using recent links as examples, the addition of Chris Brunt could see Simon Davies sent to the bench. The addition of Tom Huddlestone would certainly send Dickson Etuhu to the bench. What if a true left wing was brought in? How would everyone feel about Clint Dempsey being relegated to a substitutes role?
Could Dempsey live it or would he ask for a transfer?
How much do you tinker with a successful squad?