After a long and grueling Premier League season, Cardiff, Fulham and Norwich have bitten the dust. Instead of looking forward to another year of outings at Old Trafford, Anfield, the Emirates and Stamford Bridge, these three clubs will travel to the likes of Ipswich Town, Bournemouth and Huddersfield.
It is interesting to wonder what the future holds for these former Premier League sides. Let’s take a look.
Cardiff were destined for relegation the moment they spent over £4million on Peter Odemwingie. The Nigerian international only played 15 matches for Cardiff before being swapped for Kenwyne Jones. It was the equivalent of trading a knife for a fork when you’re trying to eat soup. Chairmen Vincent Tan didn’t provide the necessities to mount a successful campaign, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær didn’t have much of a chance when appointed.
On a more positive note, there have been a couple of players who have looked good this season. Craig Noone seems like a handy winger and goalie David Marshall was fantastic. Steven Caulker will likely receive Premiership interest and there might be a few others that transfer back into the Premier League. Getting back up is not an easy task, but with the manager and most of the playing staff staying put, there’s a realistic possibility of a platform back to the big time.
Norwich spent and it just didn’t work out for the Canaries. Chris Hughton gave it his best shot at taking the club to the next level but the players didn’t respond.
As an English football fan, it was admirable to see his ambition and the backing of the board. It was an exciting time for Norwich fans. Unfortunately, things went south and the team capsized at the end of the season. The key problem was that the Norwich purchases did not deliver. The strikers couldn’t score, and it is scientifically proven without goals you can’t win games. Gary Hooper and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel struggled. And their lack of goals coupled with Sebastien Bassongs’ ability to give them away spelt disaster for the club.
The future isn’t all that grim as many players will remain and fight for promotion next season. Nathan Redmond is now back in the Championship where he made his name playing for Birmingham City. Robert Snodgrass looks like he might be one of the few players to leave. However, with most of the team presumably remaining in tact, I can see Norwich mounting a challenge in the Championship next season.
I don’t think many could have foreseen the capitulation that occurred this season at Craven Cottage. The average age of the squad was seemingly archaic and with Martin Jol at the helm, Fulham were perhaps in deeper trouble than most would have predicted. The club played musical chairs with their managers before giving the role to German journeyman manager Felix Magath.
Fulham never made necessary strengthening in the summer and were forced into desperation buys in January. Tottenham loanee Lewis Holtby was accused of hindering the club’s survival hopes by Magath. Kostas Mitroglou came in from Olympiacos for a record transfer fee, but spent several weeks unfit or injured. He can’t be too enthused about the prospect of dropping from the Champions League to the Championship within a year.
Fulham will be hoping that some of their players will get offers elsewhere in order to clear some of their high wage bill. Unfortunately, the wages will be high and their ages don’t make most of the players more than a one season investment.
I believe that Fulham will struggle next season and find it difficult to immediately bounce back to the Premier League. Fulham supporters should be praying that their club doesn’t become the next Nottingham Forest, Leeds United or Wolves. There is a very real possibility of dark days ahead at the Cottage.