Khan’s fan row plunges Fulham deeper into ‘hell’
Just when it seemed that Fulham’s morale could get no lower, the club’s vice-chairman, Tony Khan, told a supporter on Twitter to “Go to hell” in the aftermath of this defeat. The fan could have been forgiven for responding that the club were already there.
“I’ve never been involved in something like this,” said winger Andre Schurrle as he reflected on Fulham’s increasingly chaotic battle against relegation. The defeat at Burnley has left them five points from safety and seemingly with no way out of their misery.
Schurrle, who set up the winner for Mario Gotze when Germany beat Argentina to lift the World Cup five years ago, suggested that Premier League survival, from this position, would feel like a trophy. “Yes, it would be one of the biggest achievements because we are deep, deep, deep in trouble,” he said.
With no away league wins all season, Fulham’s trouble was of their own making at Turf Moor. Schurrle gave them the lead with a superb second-minute goal, controlling Denis Odoi’s long pass with the outside of his right foot before whipping an unstoppable shot that dipped in off the underside of the bar. Then it all fell apart in spectacular fashion, with two own goals in three firsthalf minutes, through Joe Bryan and Odoi. Burnley became the first team since records began to score two goals in a Premier League match without managing a shot on target. It needs character to pull out of this kind of mess, but team spirit takes time to build, and Fulham are trying to get clear of trouble with a squad almost entirely reshaped following promotion from the Championship last May.
Khan father’s, Shahid, the club’s owner, sanctioned the spending of £100 million as 12 senior players were brought in during the summer; seven started at Turf Moor, including Schurrle.
“A lot of players who played last year aren’t playing,” Schurrle, on a two-year loan from Borussia Dortmund, acknowledged. “They had a very good team spirit. It’s not easy to build this team spirit that you need, especially to win games like this, when the weather is s--- and everything goes against you. We haven’t managed to do that until now, but there are still a few months to go, and we will not give up.”
More new faces are likely to arrive. Before responding angrily to the supporter’s request to “leave our club please”, Tony Khan had tweeted: “As with last January, we’ll make multiple signings to improve the squad.”
While Fulham flounder, Burnley’s recent woes are becoming a memory; three successive league wins have pulled them three points clear of the relegation zone.
Dwight Mcneil, the teenage winger promoted from the club’s under-23 side, has played a significant part in the revival, but is not letting it go to his head. “I still have breakfast with the under-23s in the morning,”mcneil said.