Fulham next Wednesday will play the biggest game in the history of the club. Fulham will travel to Hamburg to face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League Final. Leading up to this game I am starting to hear thoughts on the future of Fulham. Watching the Stoke City match I was intrigued by the announcer's discussing the Europa League Final for Fulham. They mentioned that this match could be a " once in a lifetime match" for Fulham. The point I believe they were insinuating is getting to a Final in a major European Competition might never happen again.
After hearing those thoughts by the announcers I wanted to really think about the statement " once in a lifetime match". Why could this never happen again to Fulham? I think there are a few reasons some experts might feel this way.
If you look at it honestly it comes down to money. In my opinion the amount of money your club has can be a huge factor of where you end up in the EPL. Just take a look at Manchester City. Did the club's management become geniuses over night? No, they were able to buy big name players because they have the money to do it. Fulham do not have the type of money that Arsenal, Manchester City, and Chelsea have.
Fulham do have an owner that has spent money on the team. He has also taken a loss on the club every year since he bought them. These losses are probably coming out of his own pocket. Fulham are very fortunate to have him. Fulham don't have the limitless funds that other big clubs seem to have.
In my opinion it does make it difficult to compete. In the current structure of the EPL, Fulham cannot compete for a League Title. However, they can be competitive in the league spending wisely and finding the right talent to fit the club.
Fulham have two men right now that in my opinion hold the future of the club in their hands. Roy Hodgson and Mohamed Al - Fayed seem to work great together as manager and owner. Both of them have a huge role in the present status of Fulham Football Club.
If Roy Hodgsons stays for awhile, and Mohamed Al - Fayed continues to own the club the opening statement might not be true. Fulham might be able to make a second chanpter to this great story. Only time will tell if Hodgson stays.
The scary comparison I keep on hearing regarding Fulham is Middlesborough. Middlesborough played in the UEFA Cup Final in the 2005/2006 season. They lost 4 - 0 in this final. Their manager at that time was Steve McClaren. Shortly after the match he took the England job. Three years later Middlesborough got relegated to the Championship. With the rumors of Roy Hodgson potentially taking the England job someday this comparison could be valid.
For me, I am an optimist. I think if the manager and the owner are still at Fulham in the near future, why couldn't they do this again someday? It might not happen next year or a couple years from now. But, the way the club is currently structured I wouldn't bet against Fulham.