Our new manager has to hit the ground running after the farrago of sealing a successor to Roy. Get set for more wild speculation and some inspired guesswork from the media as Fulham transfer talk goes into overdrive.
Mark Hughes has money burning a hole in his pocket. Every agent in football knows it, and all incoming managers rebuild a team in their own image to some degree. Roy was no exception. The jumping off point therefore for signs of new blood are bound to centre on those facing uncertain futures, the plain fed up or now out of favour with their respective bosses at both Blackburn and Manchester City.
If Stephen Ireland can rekindle the form of two years the little leprechaun would be top of my list. There's something of the Sean Davis in Ireland's box to box play that would energise our ageing and safety-first engine room, especially if the equation includes Steve Sidwell. Both names went off the boil last season but I've seen too many good qualities in both to know they have not become bad players overnight.
At the 1999 Copa America in Paraguay I heard about the remarkable footballing brothers from the Santa Cruz family. Karl-Heinz Rummenige, then scouting for Bayern Munich, was quickest off the mark, taking Roque to the Bundesliga. The big target man never looked out of place in that Bayern side and really set the Premiership alight on arrival at Ewood. A long run of injuries have rocked Roque...but perhaps he's ready to roll again with a move South? If a realistic transfer fee is quoted, and he stands up to a medical, I think this guy can do a job for us - elegance, solid work ethic and a clinical finisher. I hope Hughes has a scouting network in place for South America (no previous FFC manager seems to have). There are many good players to be had from Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and the Central American states.
All the papers are leading on the strongest candidate likely to feel the warm embrace of Mr. Hughes again soon...Craig Bellamy. Well they speak the same language for one thing. Can Hughes keep the Welsh tyro on the straight and narrow over 38 games? Among the bright lights of London? When I first saw Bellamy as a quicksilver, hungry front runner at Norwich and Coventry he shone like a jewel. Tenacious, frighteningly fast and committed, playing in ordinary sides. But now at 31 I think Bellamy's best days are behind him. He's had his chance in the big time and too often blown it. And if I'm honest, he just does not strike me as being a 'Fulham' player, bit like us being forced to like Scott Parker.
Had he not signed a new contract last year I would have happily seen Mort Gamst Pedersen in a white shirt. Let's see if Mark's contacts at Rovers are good enough to cherry pick from the best they have on offer. Otherwise, Mark may have to surprise us with the scope and depth of his scouting contacts. I suspect they are unlikely to be as sound as Roy's.
Who would you have augment the Whites this season to see us getting back on the European qualification trail? You know, under Mark I think it's just possible. Personally, can't wait to see how we approach that first away game at Bolton.