Good afternoon and welcome to Craven Cottage for the final fixture of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace. I would like to welcome Tony Pulis, his staff and the directors and supports from Crystal Palace to Craven Cottage and congratulate them on a fine end to the campaign.
For us, of course, the season has ended in the worst possible way, and after 13 successive seasons in the Premier League we will be playing Championship football here next season. Last weekend’s performance and result were indicative of a season of disappointments. We did not deserve to win, and therefore you can conclude that we did not deserve to stay in the league. I had hoped when I took over in February that we would avoid relegation, despite some improvements in our performances with some positive results, we were not able to achieve this. So, to every one of you that has followed the team on a weekly basis, I am sorry, because your support did not deserve this. Our aim today is to put in a performance to end the season as positively as we can and the try to end the season on a higher note. We then look forward to the challenges ahead of building a team that will be capable of competing in the top flight once again.
When I joined here it was for the long term regardless of the conclusion of this season. My commitment and desire to build a team at Fulham is very strong and we will try to put the disappointments of last season behind us and work hard to get this Club back into the Premier League where it belongs; but that may take some time. There are some bright young prospects coming through the ranks in our Academy who have potential and Steve Wigley and his team deserve our congratulations for narrowly missed out on lifting The FA Youth Cup on Monday night. To build a team for the future we must be assured that they are the right characters with the talent and desire to succeed, so it remains to be seen if these young players are good enough to compete at the highest level; but they will be given their chance to prove to me they are.
Crystal Palace have been on an extraordinary run of form since the arrival of Tony Pulis, earning a draw most recently against Liverpool with 3 goals in the final 12 minutes. Tony Pulis deserves credit for pulling the team out of the relegation zone to 11th place in the table and his team deserve applause for the determination and confidence in their ability that they have shown. Naturally, they will want to end the season well and I’m expecting them to come here to play for a win. Rest assured we will be ready and well prepared for our opponents today and we will look for a performance in our team that will set the right tone for an important challenge next season. I keep saying that your support has been fantastic this season, you have not let us down and we promise to try to repay the faith you have shown us.
I wish you an enjoyable summer and hope to see you here next August in the Championship for the next stage of the journey.
(Felix Magath, Stadionmagazin des Fulham FC, 11. Mai 2014)