Fulham back up?

Getting up was the easy part, staying up will be harder

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Can Fulham spin play-off success into Premier League survival?

By Joe Harker

Two years ago the Championship teams in third and fourth place played each other in the play-off finals to determine which side would go up to the Premier League.

Fulham won the match, securing promotion to England's top club competition with the hope that they could make their stay permanent.

This week the Championship teams in third and fourth place played each other in the play-off finals to determine which side would go up to the Premier League.

Fulham won the match, securing promotion to England's top club competition with the hope that this time they might stay up instead of going back down again.

The Claim:

Scott Parker, installed as a caretaker manager in the final stages of Fulham's last season in the Premier League and taking the job on a permanent basis with the aim of steering the London club to promotion, has reason to be proud of his achievement.

He insists the club has learned from the mistakes they made last time and won't use the windfall of Premier League money to splash out on a whole bunch of players.

It was seen as the primary mistake they made last time, ripping up the team which got them into the Premier League and replacing them with an expensively assembled group of mercenaries who failed to perform.

Parker has said Fulham will look to bring in new players to improve the squad, but they won't be going overboard and going into the new season with a bunch of strangers.

Those who don't learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them, so Fulham should at least avoid what was seen as the main mistake behind their last relegation from the Premier League.

The Counter Claim:

Sadly for Fulham, there is no one way to successfully transition from the Championship to the Premier League.

Clubs are warned to avoid "doing a Fulham" by spending big to change a winning team, but you can't expect the club which came fourth in the Championship to comfortably sequester themselves in the Premier League.

Sometimes it happens, a team takes to the top division like a duck to water as Wolves and Sheffield United have done in recent years, but many struggle near the bottom of the table or go right back down.

Fulham have won what is described as the "richest game in football" and they will need to work out how to spend that money.

Fork out too much on players and that disrupts the team, in which case Fulham would do a Fulham, fork out too little and you risk having a Championship team struggling to stay afloat in the Premier League.

The Facts:

Winning the play-off finals are expected to earn Fulham £135 million over the course of the next three years, with their 2-1 victory in extra time coming at the expense of Brentford.

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