Sunday, December 01, 2013

Relegate (Sung to the Tune of 'Celebrate')

Fulham lost a desultory 3-0 match to West Ham yesterday. The loss was the Cottagers' fifth in a row in Barclays Premier League play, and dropped them to 18th in the league table. Owner Shahid Khan (of the Jacksonville Khans) sacked skipper Martin Jol in a move that the internet cognoscenti (led by Sports Illustrated's terrific Andy Glockner - @andyglockner, if you're not already following him) have long advocated.

18th place is fairly dismal just on its own, but in European soccer's particular brand of Darwinian survivalism, the teams finishing in the Premiership's last three spots each season are demoted, replaced with three squads from the Championship. So roughly midway through the season, Fulham, a generally reliably mid-table squad, finds itself squarely in danger of relegation.

Since 2001, the Cottagers have competed at the top level of English soccer, earning a Europa League berth in 2010. Now, though, after selling star forward Clint Dempsey to Tottenham and watching Belgian international Moussa Dembele join Spurs, as well, Fulham has become a dreadfully boring, offensively challenged side. Glockner's plot of the squad's rolling average shots on goal in comparison with their opponents' is telling:


After a 12th place finish in 2012-13, Fulham have started this season 3-9-1, scoring 11 goals and allowing 24. In their last six matches (five losses and a win), they've managed a total of four shots on goal.

In short, they suck.

But this isn't a post about Fulham, per se. It's the beginning of a series on relegation. We don't have such a thing in U.S. sports, so it's a foreign concept to most of us. Fulham's my chosen Premiership side, on the strength of the club's history with American players (and unwillingness to pick one of the obvious choices). And while I confess to not having immersed myself deeply in the club's fortunes, I do follow them.

With 25 matches left, Fulham have lots of opportunity to reverse course and get out of danger. Interim skipper Rene Meulensteen gets a shot at Tottenham on Wednesday, and Khan certainly has the money to pursue new players in the January transfer window - it's in his interest to spend, because the economic impact of a demotion is estimated at 25 million pounds per year.

Since I won't have to worry about a national championship football game this season, I'll turn my attention to Fulham's fight to stay in the Premiership. Stay tuned.

29 comments:

zman said...

Geno Smith is on pace for 5 completions.

zman said...

Make that 8 completions and 2 INT.

T.J. said...

West Ham!

zman said...

Matt Simms!

Marls said...

Jets!!

Mark said...

Alston Jeffery is monster.

T.J. said...

Alshon Jeffrey has 215 yards receiving. With a quarter still to play.

T.J. said...

God dammit mark

Clarence said...

They call him "The Jeffrey," I assume.

Mark said...

Josh Gordon is awesome. I hope he gets a real QB before too much longer.

Mark said...

If you had a only draft 2nd year WRs strategy for fantasy you'd be in pretty good shape. Gordon, Jeffery, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright.

zman said...

Wheedon just had the ugliest pass attempt in the history of the forward pass. Like mcenroe's backhand only incomplete.

Danimal said...

Jags,....the construction of a dynasty in progress. They can stop winning games now. It won't do anyone any good.

zman said...

Denver/KC is turning into Iron Bowl II.

T.J. said...

Broncos/chiefs going HAM earlier than expected

Mark said...

I saw the Weeden pass. Ugly might not be a strong enough adjective.

zman said...

Lookit Teedge with the vernacular!

zman said...

Agreed Mark. Favre's backhand flips had pizzazz. Wheeden's effort was hideous.

rob said...

a.j. mccarron said this yesterday:

"Like I said, football is just a game. It's not life. Times like this people need to realize the sun's going to rise tomorrow."

what the fuck is wrong with that dude?

zman said...

Vernon Davis just got brought down by his dick. Dude literally grabbed Davis' junk and dragged him to the ground by in. Terrible.

Danimal said...

Yeah....the Daniela. unfortunate that had to happen.

Danimal said...

I made 3 bets today...jags +7, jags moneyline and jags over...I go to look up my winnings and it did not register. Sending in muscle now.

And with sincerity, I cannot wait to go to work tomorrow.

zman said...

Crabtree's back!

zman said...

Chiefs = butterfingers

zman said...

Effing Bills. Giving me agita.

zman said...

Is kc purposely saving time for Manning to score?

Clarence said...

Dear lord. We should get paid to root for this team, right?

Danimal said...

duke getting 29

Ryan Lecky said...

Time to upgrade Rob,no Yanks on Fulham. Everton in 5th with the pride of North Brunswick, NJ, Tim Howard between the sticks.