Rightly or wrongly, it looks as though Scott Parker is entering a perilous stage in his young managerial career. Just one point won from a possible 18 in the Premier League so far has left us rooted to the bottom of the table. Let me make something clear from the very start, I don’t believe that Parker should be sacked right now. It would be incredibly harsh to give a relative rookie a job, see him take us up (even if we made very hard work of it) and then sack him only a few months after. I’d personally rather that we stuck with him for now. The transfer window has barely slammed shut so he is working with a group of players only recently fully put together and the recent performances have at least looked more positive than what we saw in the first 3 games.
I’m not saying that I’m happy with how things are going. Of course I’m not. But I also don’t believe that sacking Parker right now would help us in the long term. Our problem is much more than what we see on the pitch right now. In fact, it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. For me Fulham as a club are reactive and not proactive. One of the biggest lessons my old school hockey coach taught me was that if we are constantly being reactive, we will never get to press on towards our own ultimate goals. If we only focus about what the opposition are going to do at a particular moment in time then we aren’t focusing on our own game. To be successful in sport, you cannot be just focusing on the next fire to put out. No, to be successful you have to ensure that the fires don’t get lit in the first place. I’m not talking about Parker and his tactics here, I’m talking about the thoughts and processes that went in to putting together this particular squad. Now I know that’s perhaps an oversimplified way to think about it, but I believe that the point stands. We need a proactive approach that is built on planning and sacking Parker right now would once again highlight the reactive and not proactive approach of our owners right now when it comes to matters on the pitch. If we were proactive, the planning into our squad would be much better. If we were proactive we wouldn’t have left it until the last minute to do business. But instead of doing that our DoF has reacted to the poor opening performances and scrambled to bring players in at the last minute and has needed them to perform like a well oiled machine instantly.
This has been the approach at Fulham for years and it has resulted in managers losing their jobs and often a poor choice of candidate being brought in. The Slavisa Jokanovic to Claudio Ranieri change still baffles me. You can’t turn a squad build for free flowing, attacking play into a defensively rigid, play on the counter side overnight The tactics of the two managers were the complete opposite. If we were going to replace Jokanovic we needed to have a better version of him really, not someone with the polar opposite footballing philosophy. Then if we look back further to 2013/14 we became a real laughing stock with our approach to managers. Martin Jol had until December, Rene Meulensteen had until mid-February and then Felix Magath saw us relegated. Magath himself was then sacked after a disaster of a start to the Championship campaign and then we had Kit Symons in charge as caretaker before eventually getting the job itself. In less than two years at the club, we had went through 4 managers and every appointment was unsuccessful and made with what looked like no planning.
I’m annoyed at how things are going right now. While I think Parker was always going to be a risky appointment given how inexperienced he is, I think it would be a crying shame if he became the latest managerial casualty at Fulham when the problem lies further behind the scenes. We need planning at Fulham, not firefighting. For now Parker can only do his best. It’s clear that he maybe needs a change of tactics or more than one trick up his sleeve. This is a huge test for him but he also needs to rise to the occasion. Just because I’m frustrated at things off the pitch at Fulham, it doesn’t mean that he gets off completely scot-free. Time for everyone at Fulham to up their game and give survival a real go.
The point was made on tv on Saturday when TC scored that cracking goal, and the comment was ‘shows what you can do when you play three passes not Twenty three, good point well made, can we please stop playing pointless triangles on the half way line and then pass it back to then go and play the same again until we give it away.
I completely agree with you Tony Khan should leave the football side of things to someone with a football background, we should have brought new players in much earlier and preferably players who can go straight into the team, why buy players that are already injured or injury prone,take Mawson as a prime example one injury after another and he isn’t the only one, Kongolo, Andersen,? Ring any bells? I also think Parker has to change his style of play if we are going to have any chance of avoiding relegation we lack penetration and our shooting has been woefully off target.
There’s one simple thing Fulham need to do if we are not to avoid a repeat of the last two Premier League seasons. Keep faith in the manager. A sense of stability will be very beneficial in the long run.
Lydia, I could not agree more with everything you have stated.
I wrote articles on my beloved Fulham FC on the Vital Fulham website last season.
I must admit I was one of many fans that believed Scott Parker was not experienced enough to take this team forward into the Premier League. His philosophy in football is to keep the ball at all costs, and in the Championship we just about got away with it, due to the squad of players we had compared to the majority of the sides we were up against.
My thoughts when we reached the Play-Off final against Brentford was one of uncertainty. Did I really want promotion again at this stage, as I believed we were not going to be strong enough to survive again? Of course we all want to see Premier League football for our team, but not if it meant almost certain relegation immediately.
I must give Parker full credit in the way we played against Brentford. He got the tactics spot on in that game and we fully deserved the victory.
I wrote after that game that Leeds would be the only promoted team to stand a chance of survival in the top league. They had assembled a strong team with a good manager.
I know it’s early days in the season, and yes, we have once again done panic buying at the last minute as we did two seasons ago, albeit not splashing as much cash.
A team that gets promoted to the Prem must have the backbone of a strong squad of players that have earned them the chance of fighting for their positions in a much tougher division. Unfortunately for Fulham, this was not the case again.
Just because a player has scored the winner in a Play Off Final, or been outstanding in most of the Championship games, does not automatically give him the right to be picked week in and out in the Premier League.
How many real Premier League class players did we have at the end of last season?
Maybe Mitrovic, or is he even up to it?
We must admit that Scott Parker has a very tough job on his hands to keep our team out of the bottom three come end of season. The same could be said of any manager that could be brought in to replace him.
The Khan’s choose the players they buy/loan and the man they select to coach them.
They selected Scott Parker, and he should be given the chance to give it his best shot.
We must not repeat what we did last time, ending the season with Scott as manager number three.
I quoted last year that Parker should be kept at Fulham, as assistant to an experienced manager where he could learn a lot more before giving him the reigns to go it alone.
At this present time here are just a few names that have that experience;
Arsene Wenger – (apparently wasn’t interested last year)
Mauricio Pochettino – (highly unlikely)
Eddie Howe – (my personal favourite)
Mark Hughes – (once bitten twice shy?)
A manager can only work with what he has been given. Is our current squad really capable of Premier League status, or could a new boss help turn things around?
Either way, we will continue to support Fulham FC as we always do, come what may!
Really well balanced article and on the whole, totally agree. I think Parker is work on progress and needs time to get this team to gel. It is likely ee eill get relegated but lets plan for the future with that in mind. Lets back our team.
Agree totally on need for stability. Had we missed out at Wembley, I believe it would have been viewed as a valiant effort with a positive drive for automatic promotion this season. Scott P would have had a full season to grow in the role. ‘Automatic’ would mean more time to prepare, once promotion was secured.
(Whether Tony K would have bought players before the season was underway would be another matter!)
It would be terribly sad if short-termism meant that Scott’s reign down by the Thames was curtailed.
If we are relegated we shall have given it all a good go and learnt much along the way. We might then build properly for a great future packing our improved ‘Cottage’.
Can I just ask a simple question that does not appear to surface at all.
Scott parker is the manager and we have problems all over the pitch but who
within the Fulham coaching system is responsible for the defence system ?
Just a point…
Scott needs to adapt to the premier league-but is he? The Parker-ball possession based system only works if you have great defenders or a great defensive cohesive unit, unfortunately we have neither. So with that in mind, that leads me to our director of football.
If Tony Khan was a proper football person then he would’ve realised that Scott would have needed real quality in defence and midfield. Using a scattergun approach to buying players on the last day of the transfer window is no way to operate. Most past successes at this football club has come from a piecemeal approach to the development of the squad; and this was achieved by a manager and not a head coach. And I for one minute really value the investment that Shad Khan has brought to the football club, however this continental head coach system clearly isn’t working at Fulham in my humble opinion.
I never thought I would advocate this however I think it’s time that we brought in someone like Tony Pulis for two years just to get the team straight defensively. When they move on we can then start to concentrate on being more expansive in our play. What does everyone think?
We don’t need a wrestling director,we need a professional director of football to run everything professionally from youth to development and Ist team football,to get coaching,scouting and buying players professionally done and avoid zonal marking in English football what Scott favours the reserves are copying it and the opposition walk straight through like they do in the Ist team games.I prefer man marking so you can blame the man in the front line, not zonal where they hide and blame the next man
Agree completely we have to give him time. Whilst it’s not right yet we are much closer than two years ago to looking like a team and change can only disrupt that progress. And not Pulis. Not now, not ever
As I have previously said this will be the third time we are relegated from the Premiership it is a repeat of the previous two all under the mismanagement of Tony Khans interference.
Perhaps daddy should have bought him a train set and not let him run my beloved FFC into a laughing stock
Keep the faith COYW
Glad to see most of you see the real blame lies with the appalling Tony Khan! Try telling that to his ‘ fan club ‘ at TIFF and Friends of Fulham!!!!
Kahn has learned nothing from last time. Self deluded fool insists on his points system. He should leave now for an immediate improvement at the club.
Scott’s critics will point to the hard work we made of promotion, as evidence of his failures
Whereas those who want to see him do well, will suggest that getting us promoted in his first season in management is proof of his ‘quality ’
Either way the jury is still out
It is well documented that the transition from the Championship to the Prem (in either direction) is hugely challenging & requires different types of players
Then factor in that he has had the shortest ‘off season’ of any club in history to prepare for these new challenges
So we are where are – a rookie manager, rookie DoF, & no time to prepare screams buckle-up for a very tough season
That said, the last few performances suggest that we are adapting, and the we will continue to improve as the new additions bed-in
Whilst we would all love a ‘Roy’ at the helm right now, I’d stick with Scott & team – they’ve earned their shot, including the opportunity to turn things around
The khans are not interested in Fulham they are a complete shambles