For the past decade Slavisa Jokanovic and Fulham have been looking for some stability but that search appears to be over.
When Jokanovic signed a two-year extension to his contract last week, it ended a period of uncertainty for the coach and the club.
The past 10 years has not been easy for either of them. Since Chris Coleman was fired in 2007, Fulham have employed eight different managers.
Meanwhile, Jokanovic has been hired by seven clubs during that time — Fulham being his last port of call when appointed on an 18-month deal in December 2015.
Both want to be competing in English football’s top tier and they clearly feel it can be achieved together.
As Jokanovic sat down with Standard Sport to discuss his ambitions for the club, the Serbian, who played 48 times for Yugoslavia, believes a significant breakthrough has been made.
“Stability is important in football, for the club and the manager,” Jokanovic said. “I won’t criticise what happened at Fulham in the past.
“But being at so many clubs for me was sometimes hard professionally, even though it provided experience and a good challenge.
“I signed a new contract and this is positive. People now know this guy is going to stay here and the players know they have to keep pushing to play.
“For the people who are satisfied with what’s going on, it’s good news for them. For those less satisfied and are thinking ‘this guy is going to move on’ they now know this isn’t going to happen and they must change, push harder.
“It’s good for me, good for the people working in the club and for the players. The situation is now clear for everyone.”
Jokanovic is no stranger to the capital. He played for Chelsea between 2000-2002 and was coach at Watford for a year, leading them to the Premier League in 2015 only to surprisingly depart when his contract expired.
The 48-year-old loves being back in London and said: “I am very happy where I am, with Fulham, with the city, with my professional and personal life.
“Obviously, it’s a results business but if I am successful then I expect to stay beyond the contract I have. I could stay here 10 years, I’m still a young man for this profession.
“London feels like a home from home to me.
“I lived in different places before but now I live in Esher, where generally everything is half an hour away and I am close enough to Fulham to watch all the Academy games.
“When I have time to meet my friends socially, I tend to go where I went 17 years ago as a Chelsea player — Fulham Road, King’s Road, Sloane Square and Knightsbridge. This is London for me.”
It says a lot about his impact at Fulham that he has been nominated alongside Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino for the Manager of the Year at the London Football Awards tomorrow night.
Jokanovic will attend the awards, which provide funds for Willow — the only national charity providing Special Days for seriously ill 16-40-year-olds.
While he is flattered to be challenging the duo for personal honours, his dream is to beat them in the Premier League soon.
“Obviously my job is different to theirs,” said Jokanovic. “It would be arrogant for me to start comparing myself to people who are working at the top English clubs. I am competing with coaches at my level.
“Hopefully, in the future I will have an opportunity to have a real fight with these people. I have been here 14 months and we have made many steps but there is a lot we can improve on.”
After keeping the club up last season, Jokanovic has taken Fulham, who have a game in hand, to within five points of Sheffield Wednesday in sixth place.
Apart from re-introducing the passing style that Fulham fans crave, the former midfielder has improved how things are done at the club.
With the backing of £6.5million investment from owner Shahid Khan, training pitches were upgraded.
The first team now stay together at hotels the night before home games, while Jokanovic has also altered what occurs at meal times. Not only has the food on offer been changed — with more focus on quality and healthy ingredients — but also how the group meet to eat when at the training ground.
He said: “Many people work here and sometimes it would get so busy, I noticed some of my players would turn around and go home.
“I have arranged that for at least 30 minutes we are alone, that we are all together and the players talk to each other. It is good for team spirit.”
So with 13 matches remaining, how good are Fulham’s chances of reaching the play-offs and winning promotion in his first full season? “After the international break later this month, we will have a better idea what our position is,” he said.
“We have five games before then, four of which are at home.
“This is an important period and we must play with ambition and energy. Then we can make one last push.”