Fulham’s parting shot in the Premier League proved to be another sad Sunday.
They exited the top flight for the second time in two years after the strangest of seasons, with 2,000 fans there to see the final rites.
In December, a first and only other set of supporters saw a creditable draw with Liverpool. This small gathering saw nothing vaguely similar in the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle.
A month ago, this game was touted as a relegation decider.
That boat sailed so long ago it’s had time to dock, refit, and hoist anchor for a return.
Even so, Fulham probably don’t have much to do for another profitable voyage in the second tier.
That starting XI was a clear statement of intent.
So long, loan players, bar Ademola Lookman, who did play.
That has to be a decent Championship side bearing in mind it was also missing Tom Cairney, Terence Kongolo, Antonee Robinson, Harrison Reed and Aleksandar Mitrovic – as it stands.
There are serious doubts over whether Andre-Frank Anguissa and Mitrovic will be there next season, despite Scott Parker’s protestations.
Tosin has also caught the eye.
The head coach’s first job will be to keep those he’s got.
One who won’t be around is Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The Chelsea loan player came on as a half-time substitute for Anguissa, and in his 32nd and final appearance for Fulham, he was as average as the first – that was back in October at Sheffield United. He’s been a big disappointment.
Ivan Cavaleiro cost Fulham £15m from Wolves in early 2020. The sellers must have run to the nearest bank drying the cheque as they went.
His 56th-minute miss with a wafted shot over the bar was criminal.
To force an unlikely save would have been one thing, but to scoop it over by a margin from seven yards had the normally unflappable Parker with head in hand. Maybe he remembered Cav has a contract until 2024.
As a marker of Fulham’s season, they had eight shots in the first half – with none on target. Newcastle had three on target, one an opportunistic goal from Joe Willock, and two fewer attempts.
On the plus side, Tyrese Francois made his Premier League debut in the second half to come alongside former Under-23 pal Fabio Carvalho.
If nothing else, two from the academy in the top tier was a minor consolation.