Born: Hillingdon, 14 September 1956
International caps: 84
International goals: 3
Appointed: 25 September 1997
Sacked: 7 May 1998
Games managed: 43
Won: 20 (46.51%)
Ray Wilkins was a surprise appointment as Fulham’s new manager in September 1997. He was the choice of his good friend Kevin Keegan, who Mohamed Al-Fayed had persuaded out of retirement to become the club’s new ‘chief operating officer’. Many Fulham fans were sympathetic to the architect of the club’s first promotion in fifteen years, Micky Adams, and failed to warm to Wilkins, who struggled to manage the side he had inherited. The former England captain had been relegated from QPR in his first managerial job, and although results improved as he spent £7m strengthening the squad, the football was unimaginative given the talent at his disposal. The Whites stumbled into the play-offs despite losing their last three games and, days before the semi-final first leg against Grimsby, Keegan put Wilkins out of his misery – and took over himself.
That wasn’t quite the end of the Wilkins Fulham story. Having sued Fulham for constructive dismissal, he returned to the club after Al-Fayed had sold up, becoming an assistant to Rene Meulensteen during the Dutchman’s short-lived spell as a successor to Martin Jol. Wilkins was sacked when Shahid Khan turned to Felix Magath in a doomed attempt to keep Fulham in the top flight and sadly passed away following a cardiac arrest in April 2018.