Born: Bamako, French Sudan, 23 June 1955
Position: Defensive midfielder
International caps: 52
International goals: 1
Managerial career: 1 June 2000-17 April 2003
Games managed: 154
Games won: 69
Games drawn: 42
Games lost: 43
Win percentage: 47.21%
Legendary French midfield maestro Jean Tigana was a surprise appointment as the new Fulham manager in 2000 as Mohamed Al-Fayed canvassed opinion across Europe about how would be able to complete the final step of the club’s rise to the English top flight. Tigana, who had led Monaco to the French title and the Champions’ League semi-finals, set about revolutionising Fulham’s approach to fitness, diet and football alongside his esteemed coaching staff, including former Clarefontaine supremo Christian Damiano and fitness coach Roger Propos. He ditched cult hero Geoff Horsfield, bought in Louis Saha but soon won the Craven Cottage fans over with sublime passing football. Fulham won their first eleven matches and stormed to the First Division title with 101 points.
Tigana survived a mid-season slump the following year to solidify the Whites amongst English football’s elite, reaching the FA Cup semi-finals and qualifying for the InterToto Cup. After lifting the InterToto Cup at Loftus Road, Fulham reached the third round of the UEFA Cup whilst the wheels were coming off. Tigana fell out with Al-Fayed, who believed there was something corrupt about Steve Marlet’s £11m transfer from Lyon, and the French legend – who had already announced he would leaving at the end of the season – was sacked in April 2003 with the club still in danger of relegation.