The debacle of Steve Clarke’s almost appointment does not reflect well on Fulham.

With Kit Symons’ departure hardly coming as a surprise, what is more shocking is that Fulham didn’t appear to have a succession plan. Mike Rigg, the man tasked with finding Fulham’s new head coach, would surely have had a list of names at the ready for when they were needed. Alasdair Mackintosh certainly did, but the last manager he hired was Felix Magath.

Perhaps Rigg did, and does have a list. Perhaps that is why we find ourselves reeling from Steve Clarke’s refusal. If Clarke’s name has been on Rigg’s list all along, that would explain our somewhat inexplicable desire to want him as our boss despite his little better than mediocre record as Reading manager.

It would be unfair to judge Mike Rigg until the coach he hires has had a year or two in the job. Who knows, Clarke saying no might be a blessing.

Whilst for many the delay represents an unneeded disaster, speed isn’t the only obstacle Fulham face.

For Fulham the most important thing is who is appointed, not when. If time was of the immediate essence, then Alan Curbishley would already have his family photos on the desk in the manager’s office at Motspur Park.

Time only becomes a problem if this drags on too long. Preston and Nottingham Forest follow this weekend’s trip to MK Dons and they mustn’t be wasted, but the entire future of the club doesn’t hinge on these nine potential points. However, each game becomes more important with each point dropped and every day with a new coach will stand us in better stead. There is a balance to be had.

There is an argument though to suggest that unless we are working on a deal for Jose Mourinho (or David Moyes), there isn’t a great deal to choose between the candidates. Every day where Head Coach’s chair is sat vacant is, in essence, wasted. There is an expression, perhaps too vulgar for these pages, that suggests one has to “sh*t, or get off the toilet”. We are not at that stage yet, but when choosing between 99p Stores and Poundland, there is a time limit to due diligence.

Of the coaches Fulham are considering, of course we are all hoping that there is someone worth waiting for. To continue the shopping metaphor, a Harrods in a sea of Poundlands. Remember, Harrods got us into the Premier League once.

I just hope whichever direction we go next, we do so privately. It may well not have been Fulham who leaked the Clarke info, but the press have cited Fulham sources more than once in the past fortnight.  The whole Championship don’t need to know our business and the last two days will best be forgotten.



Below we take a closer look at some potential candidates to replace Kit Symons as Head Coach of Fulham.

Nigel Pearson
Age: 52
Most Recent Club: Leicester City
The former Leicester City and Hull manager is many people’s favourite for the Fulham job. Pearson is known for his rudimentary handling of the press and no nonsense football on the pitch. Any clamour for him to take the job may be a knee jerk reaction to over-compensate for the hands in the pocket affability we’ve had from Kit Symons, but Pearson is qualified for the job. He led Leicester to two promotions and managed a 48% win percentage in nearly 300 games as manager their manager. He lost his job after taking Leicester as far as his style would allow in the Premier League, but he has proven successful at Championship level. His strained relationship with the press, notoriously relating one of them to an ostrich, also led to his downfall at the King Power Stadium. This is something publicity conscious Shahid Khan would need convincing is not an issue for him to get the Fulham job. The quality of football might decrease, but our defence should improve and the players would never be allowed to give anything less than maximum effort. He could be exactly what we need.



Paul Lambert
Most Recent Club: Aston Villa
Former Aston Villa, Norwich, Wycombe and Colchester manager Lambert would bring vast Football League experience to Fulham. His time at Norwich resulted in two promotions for the East Anglians, whilst playing an attacking style of football, often using a 4-3-3 formation. However, his time in Birmingham never went to plan, with his Aston Villa sides twice narrowly escaping relegation. Has had a year out since leaving Villa Park in which he has travelled Europe observing coaching sessions at different clubs and would come back to management potentially reinvigorated. Offers the experience and leadership of Pearson but with a slightly more style conscious brand of football. Reportedly favourite for the newly vacant Blackburn job.

Oscar Garcia
Age: 42
Most Recent Club: Watford
A report in The Argus, Brighton’s local paper, suggests former Brighton and Watford boss Garcia wants the Fulham job. A former Barcelona player, Garcia is currently working as a tv pundit in his native Spain. His one season at Brighton saw them reach the playoff semi-finals. A short spell at Watford ended when he resigned citing “ill-health”. Garcia would come with Championship experience and an attractive brand of football. He also likes to operate as a Head Coach, something which may play in his favour if he applies for the Fulham job.

Slavisa Jokanovic
Age: 47
Current Club: Maccabi Tel Aviv
Jokanovic shot to fame as manager of Watford last season, coming 2nd in the Championship and securing promotion to the Premier League. He is currently Manager at Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, with whom he has reached the Champions League group stages. Previously Jokanovic won back to back league titles with Partizan Belgrade as well as a league title in his one season managing in Thailand. Whether he would leave Tel Aviv before the end of the Champions League group stages would remain to be seen, but Jokanovic won plenty of admirers for his successful handling of Watford’s cosmopolitan squad and demanding owners last season.

Uwe Rosler
Age: 46
Most Recent Club: Leeds
German Rosler is best known as a manager for his time in charge at Brentford. In two years at Griffin Park he instigated a high tempo attacking style to Brentford’s play. He would have a promotion on his CV were it not for Marcello Trotta’s infamous penalty miss that cost the Bees promotion. Recent spells at Wigan and Leeds have however, ended badly with Rosler being sacked from both jobs. After a positive first year with Wigan he left the DW Stadium with them in the relegation zone last season. After joining Leeds in the summer he was sacked after 2 wins in 12 games. Un uninspiring choice.

Brendan Rodgers
Age: 42
Most Recent Club: Liverpool
It’s probably a stretch to even include Rodgers on this list. Going from Liverpool to Fulham would have been virtually unthinkable even when we were in the Premier League. However, Rodgers has Championship experience having managed Reading, Watford and Swansea. He’s likely to get a Premier League job, but it would be worth sounding out the former Chelsea No 2.

David Moyes
Age: 52
Most Recent Club: Real Sociedad
Like Rodgers, the chances of Moyes being interested are very slim. However, the Scot is in need of some career TLC having lasted less than a year in his last two jobs. After 11 years at Everton where he built one of the best clubs in the country off a foundation of solid football and good scouting, he was handpicked to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United. It never worked at the bright lights of Old Trafford and after taking a job in Spain out of the spotlight of English football, Moyes lost his job this week. Though his football is famously dour he’d arguably be the perfect man to re-build our club and would reportedly consider a Championship job, although he is reported to be keen to return to the North West of England.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Age: 43
Current Club: Burton Albion
Currently, the hottest managerial prospect in English football is Dutchman Hasselbaink. The former Chelsea striker has been a remarkable success since taking over at Burton a year ago. He has gone about a career in management the right way, starting at the bottom and has already shown considerable aptitude for the role. His Burton Side won League Two last season and are currently sat second in League One. Whilst it might yet be too early to bring Jimmy Floyd up to the Championship, he will have a job at a higher level soon enough. Appointing Hasselbaink would be a risk, not least if he saw it as a stepping stone, but one with very high upside as he would bring personality and attacking football to the role.

Sean O’Driscoll
Age: 58
Most Recent Club: Liverpool (assistant)
O’Driscoll is a former Fulham player, but unlike our last manager he has an enormous wealth of coaching experience. He was most recently Brendan Rodgers’ Number 2 at Liverpool, but has previously held the Manager’s role at Bristol City, Nottingham Forest and Doncaster Rovers to varying degrees of success. There are more qualified names out there but O’Driscoll would bring a blend of experience and Fulham history that others couldn’t offer. If nothing else, O’Driscoll could well be a target for a new coach’s staff.

Ray Lewington
Age: 59
Current Role: England Assistant Manager
Fulham’s problems can nearly all be pinpointed back to when 59 year old Lewington left the club to become Roy Hodgson’s assistant with England. He ticks all the boxes for coaching experience and knows Fulham inside and out. Appointing Lewington would be the next best thing to getting Roy back.


Dean Smith
Age: 45
Current Club: Walsall
Walsall manager Dean Smith is one of the most interesting up and coming managers in the football league. He is reportedly interesting QPR and it is not a stretch to imagine we are looking at similar names. He has been at Walsall since 2011 and recently signed a new contract to ward off potential suitors with the West Midlands club currently riding high at the top of League One. He also led Walsall to the Football League Trophy final last season.

Paul Tisdale
Age: 42
Current Club: Exeter City
Despite his age, Tisdale is the second longest serving manager in the Football League having been in charge of Exeter since 2006. Tisdale has operated under consistently changing and difficult circumstances at Exeter often having little to no budget. In his time at St James’ Park Tisdale has achieved promotion to the Football League and before taking the Exeter job honed his coaching credentials as manager of Team Bath, famously taking them to the First round of the FA Cup. A very unlikely contender but will likely one day make the step up the football league ladder.

Karl Robinson
Age: 35
Current Club: MK Dons
MK Dons manager Robinson is one of the younger managers in the Football League, and despite being only 35 has already been in charge in Milton Keynes for 5 years. Following promotion to the Championship he signed a new contract in July and is unlikely to leave.

John Carver
Age: 50
Most Recent Club: Newcastle
Whilst he wouldn’t be many people’s pick to take over, Carver is an interesting name if only for his history as a coach. Aside from one season at Toronto FC, Carver had no managerial experience until his extended caretaker stay at Newcastle last season. He does, however, have a vast array of coaching experience, including 4 years as Assistant Manager to Alan Pardew at Newcastle. He is reported to have applied for the Fulham Head Coaching role which would suit his CV, but his lack of management experience may count against him with more qualified candidates available.

Alan Curbishley
Age: 58
Current Club: Fulham
Curbishley has been at Fulham on and off since he was appointed technical director during Rene Meulensteen’s time at the club. Whilst his role as an advisor to Kit Symons was never publicly defined, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out he’ll want the job for himself now its vacant. He’s not been a manager in his own right since leaving West Ham in 2008 and it’s hard to believe that he fits Mike Rigg’s criteria for a Head Coach. The question you have to ask is how much influence did he have on Kit Symons, because Curbishley’s time at the club has hardly coincided with a period of success.

Scott Parker
Current Club: Fulham
Current Club Captain Parker was at St George’s Park earlier in the year studying for his UEFA Pro Licence and already has a coaching A Licence. He has publicly stated his desire to get into coaching and would be a very straightforward appointment to sit within the Fulham system as a Head Coach without taking on the additional responsibilities of a manager. If an experienced coach was to come in alongside Parker, this appointment could make considerable sense. The chances we appoint a rookie manager are probably slim but it’s worth keeping an eye out to see if Parker’s role changes and he is brought onto the staff of whomever is appointed.


Vincenzo Montella
Most Recent Club: Fiorentina
Diminutive Italian Montella had six months at Fulham in 2007. The former striker has forged a strong managerial career to date but saw himself sacked by Fiorentina in the summer after a 4th place finish in Serie A last season. He had 3 years in charge at the Artemio Franchi and is now heavily linked to a return to management with another of his former clubs, Sampdoria. In all likelihood Fulham would be too big a step down for a manager on Montella’s career path.

There are of course other managers and coaches that haven’t been included in this list, such as Stuart Pearce and Roberto Di Matteo, as well as other former players like Danny Murphy, all of whom have been linked with Fulham in one place or another. There are also options like Harry Redknapp and Tim Sherwood, but the hope would be that Fulham wouldn’t be foolish enough to look in those directions.

Our summer transfer policy focussed on getting Championship experience and it is hard to imagine Mike Rigg appointing a Head Coach who doesn’t fit that criteria. That being said, there are questions over style of play, character and a willingness to fit into the role of Head Coach that will come into play, alongside experience, when appointing our new boss.

Whichever way Fulham turn, this next appointment is a crucial one.


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