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.