Fulham manager Roy Hodgson put an early bug in Mohamed Al Fayed’s ear for coinage toward the’10-’11 season. After reading about it and watching his current patchwork team, decimated by injuries, put together two wins and a draw while keeping three clean sheets in a row- in addition to morphing/improving steadily over the course of the last two and a half seasons- I’m thinking, “Does any manager in the Prem have more of a right to some cold cash money than Hodgson?”
Show. Him. The money.
Before Hodgson, the Whites were as porous in defense as a stop sign made from a cheese grater with birdshot through it. And their midfield was literally nonexistent since, apparently, Lawrie Sanchez’ philosophy was to render them invisible by playing longball like a schoolyard kickball fanatic. In contrast, Hodgson’s Fulham have been a slowly maturing labor of love that started from the back and have aged into a team that can play stalwart, attractive football in the first two-thirds of the field on a more and more consistent basis the longer his tenure continues. It’s been slow, and it’s been ugly at times, but increasingly it’s been rock solid, and has gained a well-connected midfield that plays like a midfield should. Heck, I give him praise for just using the midfield after the Sanchez era. With all the good and bad put into a messy whole, The Cottagers are visibly, and undoubtedly evolving toward a guided vision. Leaving aside his past globetrotting successes- and the fact that he’s a players’ coach, generally loved by teams and their fans upon exit (I said generally, Blackburn fans)- you could take Fulham’s snowballing run over the past two and a half seasons, put it in a vacuum, and there’d still be no wondering why he garners respect from the respected.
Now for his hard-earned money. Now for his push to round out and polish his vision to a high shine with a final third worthy of what he’s banked. If Zamora’s form continues he’s at least got a brick wall to build around that most teams need as a back-to-the-goal necessity (see Arsenal). You could argue that he’s got Andy Johnson coming back next season, and I’d have to say, “meh.” But if Hodgson elects to keep him, I’d also have to give in and say he’s also earned the time to will the same mojo into AJ that he did in Baird, Dempsey, Zamora, and Hughes who have all blossomed under his tutelage and faith in them. If he gets the money he’s asking for, and spends it on the front line as well as he did on the back two thirds, there could well be a thing of beauty to behold. At the very least, he’ll have created another addition to the pack of teams jackhammering away at the widening cracks in third and fourth place. And what a great addition to Premier League football a rising Fulham would be. Ahhh, to not only see, for years to come, an increasingly consistent, solvent, strong Tottenham, Everton, Aston Villa, Man City (anomaly, I know), and Fulham knocking, but to bask in the glory of financial insolvency as it helps to level the playing field from the top down at the same time. The Premiership’s looking up.
…and Roy Hodgson’s Fulham are too.
So it’s time to show him the money Al Fayed.
Show. Him. The money.
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