Alan Hansen once famously said you don’t win anything with kids and Fulham seem to have taken this to heart dramatically in recent years, filling their squad with players the wrong side of 30.
Scott Parker has become the latest player to join Fulham’s motley collection of late-career professionals and the 32-year-old has been offered a three-year contract that looks extremely generous for one who occasionally looked to be feeling his age at Tottenham last season.
With a new owner on the scene likely to lack patience with such short-termist solutions to squad building as he tries to put his stamp on the club, Martin Jol could be a worthy recipient of some next manager to leave his post money at 11/1.
Of the 11 players to start their season-opening match with Sunderland, eight are aged 30 or over, while substitute Giorgos Karagounis is 36 – hardly a sign that the Cottagers are developing a team for the future under Jol.
There were long periods of last season in which Fulham looked destined for the drop, going on not one, but two seven-game winless runs as they ground their way through the campaign.
That they endured such patches of listlessness may have something to do with their policy of largely recruiting players aged 30 or over.
Quite apart from the natural toll time takes on players’ physical attributes and their ability to perform to peak levels for long periods, there is the question of the complex motivations of the older player to consider.
Perhaps the waning passion for the game that comes from having a squad replete with players who have often enjoyed brighter days with better sides in the past can explain the lack of fire present in losses to relegation battlers like QPR and Reading last term.
A lack of hunger certainly seemed to undermine QPR’s doomed bid to avoid the clutches of second season syndrome in 2012/13.
Mark Hughes had packed his squad with veterans and while some, such as Ryan Nelsen, were assets to his side, players like Park Ji-Sung, Jose Bosingwa and Shaun Wright-Phillips singularly failed to replicate past glories at Loftus Road.