Last pre-season, I was full of optimism. I was a new season ticket holder and in my opinion Lawrie Sanchez was signing some really interesting players who I thought could do the business. He'd also shipped out some of the squad that I didn't particularly like. However that optimism was culled before Christmas.
This pre-season, something has changed. Woy Hodgson has signed some players that are failing to excite me and I'm not sure if they can perform at the highest level. Hopefully the inverse will happen again and Fulham will be pushing for 6th place by Christmas.
Lets have a look at these new signings.
David Stockdale - GK - £600,000. Young goalkeeper for the future. Nice to see Woy's thinking that far ahead.
Mark Schwarzer - GK - Free. Proven Premiership performer, although my Boro mate reckons that he had an awful season last year. Australian International.
Zoltan Gera - MD/FW - Free. I've always been a bit of a fan of Zoltan and was very happy to see him join the Cottagers. Still has something to prove at the highest level. Hungarian International.
Tony Kallio - LB/CB - Undisclosed. Kallio joined on loan in January, but didn't play a game. Not sure why he has now joined full time. One of Woy's Finland international squad members.
Andranik - CM - Free - Bolton reserve player. Don't ever remember seeing him play. If he is a defensive type then could be a very influential player. Iranian International.
John Pantsil - RB/RM - About £1.3m. West Ham reserve player. Never seen him play. Seems a bit of a looney. Ghanian International.
Bobby Zamora - ST - About £5m. West Ham reserve player. I've seen Bobby Z play a lot, but mainly at Championship level. He's usually scored against the team I have been supporting (Play off final 2005!) but he's still not that impressive and has not consistently performed in the Premiership. A confidence player by all accounts.
So all the money saved by getting internationals signed up on free transfers has been splurged on a 27-year-old West Ham reject? Interesting strategy. One aspect that does bode well is that West Brom fans, Bolton fans and West Ham fans seem to be very disappointed to be losing Gera, Andranik and Zamora, which suggests that they at least put the effort in and fans love that. I love that. And the number of managerial changes means that there might be some gems in Premiership teams' reserve ranks signed by the previous regime that the new lot might not fancy. Doesn't mean they are no good. On that note, I see Tony Warner has signed for Hull City on a free.
I can't see room for any more new signings. If anything the team needs trimming. There are four goalkeepers, 10 defenders, 12 midfielders and six forwards. That's quite a big squad. Hopefully Woy can find the right combination.
EDIT - It appears that Ricardo Batista has just signed for Sporting Lisbon - so that's three keepers. Hmmm. Maybe we do need another.