Our look at the three clubs promoted to the Premier League concludes with last season’s Championship play-off winners, Fulham.
For the second time in three seasons, Fulham celebrated promotion to the top flight by winning the richest game in football, once again coming through the play-off route unscathed.
This time it was at the expense of west London rivals Brentford, who were beaten 2-1 after extra time inside an eerily empty Wembley.
During the regular season, it was a different story. The Bees scored more goals, conceded fewer and did the double over their neighbours, but Fulham’s extra knowhow and big match experience came to the fore when it mattered most.
Joe Bryan was the unlikely hero under the arch, as the left-back struck twice in extra time, including an ingenious 40-yard free-kick to break the deadlock.
Appointed with the club at a low ebb, Scott Parker has done remarkably well to lift spirits at Craven Cottage and bring back the winning habit so soon after a punishing top-flight campaign.
A wholehearted, committed player with the ability to break from midfield and score goals, Parker made 368 Premier League appearances in an excellent career, winning Player of the Year honours with Charlton, Tottenham and West Ham, where he picked up the award three seasons running.
He joined Fulham as a player shortly after earning the last of his 18 England caps in 2013, later returning to the club as first team coach in 2018.
He took caretaker charge following Claudio Ranieri’s departure in February 2019, with Fulham 10 points clear of safety with 10 games to go.
Though he was unable to mastermind a great escape, Parker did go on a three-match winning run that persuaded the Board to give him the job full time.
Credited with making Fulham more solid and harder to beat, his team kept 17 clean sheets last season, whilst Aleksandar Mitrović was the Championship’s top scorer with 26 goals, and will be crucial to their survival hopes.
-Saints Academy graduate Harrison Reed was a key member of Fulham’s promotion-winning squad, making 28 appearances on loan last season, including every minute of the triumphant play-off campaign.
-Reed followed in the footsteps of Matt Targett, who also tasted Wembley glory in Fulham colours as a Saints loanee, doing so in 2017/18.
-Chris Baird, the youngest member of Saints’ starting line-up in the 2003 FA Cup final against Arsenal, left for Fulham four years later, where he played in the Europa League final in 2010.
-Three other Saints who also featured in that final, Antti Niemi, Wayne Bridge and Fabrice Fernandes, also had spells at Craven Cottage.
-Stuart Armstrong scored his first Saints goals at Fulham in 2018/19, whilst Oriol Romeu has not found the net since breaking the deadlock against them at St Mary’s in the reverse fixture that season.
Last three meetings
Aug 2019: Fulham 0-1 Saints (Carabao Cup)
Feb 2019: Saints 2-0 Fulham (Premier League)
Nov 2018: Fulham 3-2 Saints (Premier League)