Fulham FC have been relegated to the Championship following their 4-1 defeat at Watford on Tuesday night.
“I’m just gutted for the fans,” caretaker manager Scott Parker said. “It was 12 months ago since we got into the division, and from the outset this year it’s been bitterly disappointing for everyone.
“The fans are the ones who pay their hard money to come and watch the team. There’s certainly been times this year when the team haven’t given back what they deserve. Personally, I’m really sorry for that.”
The Cottagers were the third biggest Premier League spenders last summer as £105.3m was spent on 12 new players following promotion from the Championship.
The west London club became the first newly-promoted team to smash the £100m transfer threshold in a window.
But Slavisa Jokanovic was sacked in November and immediately replaced by Claudio Ranieri after a run of one win from the opening 12 league games left Fulham bottom of the table.
Ranieri’s arrival was heralded by owner Shahid Khan as a “risk-free” appointment but the Italian was sacked after less than four months in charge at Craven Cottage having managed just three wins in 17 matches in all competitions.
Parker was placed in caretaker charge – but with the side already 10 points from safety following four successive Premier League defeats, the former midfielder was always facing an uphill task prolonging the club’s return to the top flight beyond one season.