Alternative future for FFC

Posted by Phil Mison

FREDRIK VON ERICHSEn/AFP/Getty ImagesThe only cost for Phil Mison's blueprint to a bright Fulham future is a shiny new Bentley convertible.

The season is over. The on-pitch drama is done. We can all breathe deeply and bring our pulse rate back down to normal. In truth, it's been a rather harrowing campaign, but now 'tis the season for reflection and taking stock. We bid farewell to some familiar faces -- but please don't overstay your welcome chaps because the newcomers are already trundling their cases through the arrivals hall at Heathrow.

- Fulham bring in Amorebieta
- Fulham confirm Boateng capture

Don't worry, be happy! Why fret over what tomorrow will bring? Change is inevitable and change is good. And there's nothing we can do or say that will have any bearing on the future direction of our wonderfully infuriating yet richly rewarding devotion to Fulham Football Club. Or is there?

I have an end-of-season progress report pending which all the ESPNFC bloggers have been asked to write, but since Sunday numerous other strands and topics have exercised my mind, not least all the money talk of the past few days. Like it or not, it's what makes the world go round, and the issue of financing a credible first eleven over the past 12 months has dominated affairs at Craven Cottage like no other.

The Fulham board bear no illusions to the precarious financial path we tread. Having slipped a few rungs this season down the league table and with ambitious plans to build a sparkling new stand, Fulham along with the majority of clubs in the EPL outside the top four, rarely have the luxury of knowing their foundations sit reassuringly on large piles of cash reserves at the bank.

Consider this. We banked £6.8 million for coming 12th. Our slice of the terrestrial TV rights (where Fulham historically are only ever rewarded with the obligatory minimum of 10 live games per season) lands us another £45.5 million. You then have match-day ticket sales to factor in (from one of the smallest grounds in the Premiership) and what amounts to loose change from kit sponsorship and the efforts of Fulham's commercial department (barely enough to cover staff costs).

In essence, we are turning over around £70 million plus per season, which is presently all being swallowed up in players' wages, transfer outlay and agents' fees. Now we have mentioned the latter, let's get down to the serious business. Payments to agents being my catalyst for redefining Fulham's future.

We recently had some fun where I posted the question in blog form, "You are the Chairman, so what do we do now?" Two themes dominated the end of season run-in. Would the club stick with Martin Jol or go through the upheaval of changing managers again? As of writing we still don't know the board's intentions for certain. Linked on from that, and whether it be Jol for a further season or someone new, how large a transfer kitty is being handed down?

In other words, do we just repeat the folly in adopting football's self-destructive short-term tradition of sack the manager and let's dive back into the revolving drum of frenetic transfer activity, where too much hot money goes chasing too little genuine talent?

What if board strategy is to hedge their bets -- as I sense it might -- and grant Jol another year on the proviso that should results not improve this time around, by December he's shown the door? Where does that leave a new manager if Jol has already done the season's transfer dough on another bunch of duds?

When a sports operation lands £6.8 million in prize money, but it takes £2.5 million in fees being paid needlessly to agents to achieve, I believe that to be both immoral and very poor business percentage wise. Total amount paid to agents in the period 1st October 2011 to 30th September 2012: £2,581,208

Here's my radical blueprint for Fulham: It removes the parasites and their fees from club overheads. It removes the burden on managers and scouting staff to constantly pick winners in a volatile and uncertain market. It sidesteps the contentious issue of agents representing both club managers and the players they are looking to sign (as was the case with Mark Hughes). It implements a role model for long-term management and team development through the ranks, and uniquely, Fulham are the only club capable of making this achievable, albeit from August 2014 onwards.

This is how it works. Following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the English F.A. begin the quest for a new management team following England's inevitable World Cup failure. In his late 60's, Roy Hodgson sees only too well the national team's shortcomings and knows England are now on a par with Montenegro and Paraguay. He returns to Fulham as Director of Football as part of a three-man triumvirate. This leaves Hodgson plenty of time for doing what he loves -- travelling the world watching football, parlaying with foreign coaches, spotting talent; analysing the modern game.

Running the Fulham first team are twin coaches Ray Lewington and Kit Symons. A number of exciting young players have come through the youth ranks under Symons' tutelage and are now on the fringes of the first team. Huw Jennings continues to keep a steady grip on the Academy graduates.

With its state-of-the-art facilities at Motspur Park and the natural lure of living in one of the most delightful quarters of South West London, players all want to sign for stylish Fulham. Especially as the club is renowned for playing football the way it should be played.

With its impeccable credentials the club send out the message that footballers of quality can only prosper with a spell at Craven Cottage. Fulham will therefore attract the cream of young talent but agencies are informed it is club policy not to pay any agency fees on signing. Should players prove their quality, then agents may claim an agreed percentage on future transfers out of the club where Fulham FC have shown a profit on the player's valuation.

It's radical Mr al Fayed sir, but as we are known throughout football as the 'friendly family club', what could be more family than having Roy, Ray and Kit running the show!

I seek nothing more for my services in drafting this blueprint for guaranteed success and keeping Fulham brim full of talented players, Mr Chairman, than a new Bentley Continental and a season ticket for life.


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