Although Dimitar Berbatov reached 15 Premier League goals in his first season for Fulham, the Cottagers have endured a campaign of mixed fortunes. Matt Stanger looks back at a difficult year for Martin Jol and his team...
Last Updated: 22/05/13 9:47am
Fulham started and ended the season in brilliant fashion - thrashing Norwich 5-0 on the opening day and winning 3-0 at Swansea on Sunday - but this was a difficult year for the Cottagers as they struggled to adapt to life without Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey. The final day victory against Swansea, which saw Fulham jump three places to 12th, disguised a poor end to the season as Martin Jol's side won only one of their last eight matches.
Although Dimitar Berbatov has proved a huge success in his first season at Craven Cottage, Mladen Petric, Hugo Rodallega and Kieran Richardson all failed to impress. Petric and Rodallega managed only eight goals between them in the Premier League, while Jol publicly questioned Richardson's contribution in December. The manager has also voiced his concerns over the number of loan players set to leave the club and he will be aiming to strengthen the squad significantly over the summer.
Player of the Year
Dimitar Berbatov. The striker's performances have been the highlight of Fulham's season and his goals have won more than a quarter of the Cottagers' overall points total. Berbatov's stunning strike against Stoke was a worthy goal of the season contender.
Ratings Player of the Year
Dimitar Berbatov was the pick of the bunch for the Sky Sports reporters as the former Manchester United forward ended the season with an average rating of 6.8. For the fans, veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer took the honour with a 6.7 average rating.
Breakthrough Player of the Year
Sascha Riether. The right-back has impressed in his first season in the Premier League after joining Fulham on loan from Cologne in July. The 30-year-old has recently completed a permanent move and is expected to be a key part of the first team again next season.
Signing of the Year
Dimitar Berbatov. Martin Jol described Berbatov as "probably the biggest signing in the history of Fulham" when he joined in the summer and the striker has justified his £5million transfer fee.
Could do better
Both Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega will be aiming to score more goals next year after struggling for form following their respective arrivals from Hamburg and Wigan.
Martin Jol was left in a difficult position following the loss of Dembele and Dempsey, but Fulham started the season in good form and remained in the top ten until the end of November. However, the manager failed to find a solution to the Cottagers' late slump, leaving questions over his future.
Jamie Redknapp's view
What we've seen from Fulham is just about what we'd expect from them. Their players were on their sunbeds beds very early on when they thought they were safe but then realised they had to come again and a few weeks ago they looked like they'd gone and wouldn't get another win. But Dimitar Berbatov has been a brilliant signing for them and he's probably made the difference. He's not done it all season long but he's done it in games when they've needed him most and they'll hope he is still with them at the start of next season.
Fan's view (Henry Walmsley)
A completely unexpected 3-0 away win against Swansea brought a thoroughly disappointing season to an end. 12th position really does not reflect how poor we have been for the majority of the season. The high points were probably beating West Brom away, which brought to an end an awful winter period, and then the away win vs Spurs. The low point was undoubtedly the home loss to Reading, which raised real fears about relegation. Many of the old guard look to be leaving this summer, as well as all the loanees, so there looks set to be much change at the Cottage.