Drop can be fresh start for Fulham

Sunday 4th May 2014 9:59

Felix Magath: Negative tactics have not worked

Felix Magath: Negative tactics have not worked

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FanZoner Henry Walmsley accepts Fulham deserve to be relegated but is already looking at the positives of life in the Championship.

On Saturday, after 13 fantastic years at the top table of English football, Fulham dropped back into the Championship.

We have no complaints. We were relegated because over the course of the season we were one of the three worst teams in the division. Comfortably.

Years of underinvestment, poor signings and poor management both on and off the pitch have put us in the position we find ourselves today. Seven defeats out of our last eight games last season should have set alarm bells ringing. Jol should have gone and money should have been spent.

But it wasn't and it has led to an appalling season. Each of our three managers have contributed to our demise. Jol set an awful foundation; Meulensteen took apart what was remaining of our woeful defence; and Magath played too negatively, choosing to only play our best player for 45 minutes each game.

That is all I have to say on this season, instead I will look ahead to next and try and present the positives which will arise from this.

Many Fulham fans have wanted a fresh start for a while now, to see players like Darren Bent and John Arne Riise leave, and give more of our rising stars a chance in the first team, something we have seen practically nothing of in the last 13 years.

With our Under-18's taking a one goal advantage to Chelsea in the second leg of the FA Youth Cup this Monday, we have much to be optimistic about.

Our academy is bursting with future stars such as Moussa Dembele, Patrick Roberts, Maumer Tankovic and Chris David. Hopefully they all see this as a great chance to get into the first team and not a step backwards in their careers. Tankovic's contract is up at the end of the season and there will certainly be many suitors for Dembele and Roberts. Hopefully they will stay.

If they do all stick around then hopefully we will be able to incorporate them into the first XI. Aston Villa have showed how hard it is to do this in the Premier League, but many of our young players will already be good enough for the Championship so should all be given a fair go.

I am under no illusions about how hard the Championship is to get out of, with many clubs bigger than us still dwelling in the division, with some even having taken a detour via League One.

I am confident this won't happen to us. Thanks to a good financial base and a good pool of young players we shouldn't find ourselves being relegated again. Being optimistic, it gives us a chance to perhaps win a few more games, and maybe win something, maybe even a trip to Wembley. I know many fans like myself have grown tired of fighting just to finish mid table every season, with no prospects of finishing any higher in the table than seventh.

As for the manager, I think he deserves the chance to stay.

His negative tactics have been very hard to watch, but I'm sure this was simply because we were one of the worst teams in the league and he thought it best to play this way. Maybe next year we will be the Bayern Munich of the Championship!

It does however present a chance to completely start again, with a young manager with fresh ideas, something I have wanted for a while. The dream is to come back a new force such as Southampton or Swansea but obviously this is harder than it sounds.

One thing is for sure, next year will be a new challenge and it is one that I am looking forward to. It doesn't matter what league we're playing in, who the manager is or who the players are, it's the club and the people who matter, and we'll still be at the Cottage backing the boys next season.

You can follow Henry on Twitter at @henrywalmsley - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

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