Fans of Fulham Football Club are quietly confident their team will avoid relegation from the Premier League next season.
Expert analysis and pundit predictions have been pouring in since it became apparent the Cottagers would achieve promotion, but two prominent fans have given their view.
In many ways their cautious optimism is not surprising – after a breath-taking, record-breaking season Fulham ended their campaign on 90 points, winning the Championship and securing a return to the top flight in style.
Morgan Carlton of the Fulham Focus Podcast said: “There is definitely much more excitement this time around given the fact we’ve just come off a thrilling and dominant season.
“History dictates that the teams that go up automatically from the Championship generally do better than the team who go up via the play-offs.
“I’m hoping we can secure a mid-table spot, but I’d be delighted with 17th given past seasons!”
Fulham’s previous five seasons have all ended in either relegation from the Premier League or promotion from the Championship, but there is a real belief that stability can be achieved this year.
Russ Goldman, host of internet radio show Cottage Talk, said: “I think this season is different because of Marco Silva.
“I believe that this time around we have more Premier League ready players to play in Silva’s system – he is definitely the man to keep Fulham up.”
And Goldman is not the only one placing his faith in Fulham’s Portuguese manager.
Carlton added: “Bit of a cliché but he’s been a breath of fresh air since he came in last summer.
“The job he did in rebuilding the dressing room and getting a song out of the players who’d been discarded in the previous season was nothing short of miraculous.
“Credit also has to go to his coaching staff and the fact fan-favourite Luis Boa Morte is part of that just made it even better.”
Carlton also believes that Silva holds the key to unlocking the brilliant Aleksandar Mitrović, who bagged a Championship record 43 goals this season.
Carlton said: “This season was extraordinary. No other word for it.
“Not only to score 43 goals, but to bounce back from what would’ve been a torturous season for him was simply incredible.
“He is clearly confidence player and needs a manager to believe in him, which Silva did and stated from the moment he came in.”
After promotion in the 2017-18 season, Fulham spent over £100 million in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to retain their Premier League status.
In the 2020-21 season, they signed 14 new players only to face the same fate.
And yet Goldman is expecting something similar this year.
He added: “It would not surprise me if they spend big once again.
“It is all about the defence for me and they definitely need a goalkeeper. I would also say a replacement for Carvalho, and a winger.”
Although Carlton agrees on some of those points, he’s not looking for a huge spending spree.
He said: “I certainly don’t expect us to be throwing another £100m around this summer.
“I’d like us to bring in four or five quality signings, and maybe compliment them with a couple of loans.”
After a period of ups and downs, Fulham fans are desperate for some Premier League stability.
After speaking to Carlton and Goldman, it’s clear there is genuine belief that Silva, Mitrović, and co can finally achieve this.