A long hard season for Fulham finally came to an end, and it was not a moment too soon for fans. After the rollercoaster ride of emotions throughout the season, it is not exactly hard to find a Fulham fan who is glad that they are not waking up on a Saturday with that feeling of dread. Well, at least for the next few months, a break is a break after all. However, it will not be too long before Fulham are back kicking the ball in a friendly game. Normally, I am not particularly someone who would take much notice of results or performance in these games. I mean just look at Fulham’s last pre-season under Felix Magath, the win loss record was picture perfect. This season it is different, certainly from my perspective, and let me explain why.
One word explains why it is important and that word is hope. Hope, leads to belief and after last season ended in a relegation battle, it is something fans need. Fans need to see positives; I am not saying that necessarily means winning 3-0 against a Premiership team filled with reserve players because that obviously is not a true reflection. Fans need to see players being played in the right positions, and that the formations being tested are ones that could realistically be played in the forthcoming season. Fans who witness these friendly game performances need to be able to walk away and think to themselves, Fulham are on the right track. Though this point should apply to every season, coming off such a disappointing time, it is more important than previous seasons. If you have no hope at the start of the season, the writing is already on the wall.
It is not just the players that belief needs to be restored in, the manager himself-Kit Symons, needs it. Pre-season is not going to convince all the doubters that he is in the fact the right man for the job, but you do not exactly want fuel being added to the fire. If Kit is able to put more of a positive mark on the team in pre-season, then maybe fans won’t be so quick to call for his head, even if we lose the first game of the season. A prospect that is not unthinkable after last season.
Pre-season is not all about friendlies and performances on the pitch. A huge part is all down to the backroom staff and the club’s transfer dealings. Fulham need to be strong in the transfer market, several areas of the team need improving and that’s without considering whose leaving last year’s squad. Fulham’s defensive record over the last two seasons is a cry for help, begging for new personnel to be added, this season is as good as any other to resolve the problems. There’s nothing like promising new signings to give fans belief in the upcoming season, and that’s exactly what Fulham should do.
This is why the 2015-2016 pre-season for Fulham could be key to restoring belief which could propel the team through at least the first half of the season and restore faith with the fans.