Fulham’s week has seen huge changes. We went from ‘appointing’ Martin Jol, to being faced with an £8.5m compensation package with his current club Ajax, to Jol seemingly using the approach to try and secure a larger transfer kitty in order to stay in charge of the Dutch legends who were clearly reluctant to lose him, to us being managerless once more.
Then out came the Corporal Jones’ cry of ‘don’t panic’ and ‘we wont be rushed into making a decision’ which usually, when associated with appointing a manager, means ‘we’ve just lost the top choice on our short list of one’.
But, when you consider that we’re unlikely to even pay £8.5m for a striker never mind as part of a severance package for a manager, it makes you wonder at the reasoning behind the approach for Jol in the first place, especially as our new appointment, Mark ‘Good Job’ Hughes, was free, willing and available.
Hughes has a decent track record. A ‘good job’ at Wales; a ‘good job' at Blackburn; and, despite getting the heave-ho, a ‘good job’ at Spendchester City. Well, that’s, er, good then. It seems a, ahem, good appointment.
He might not have the calm tactical brain of the mightily experienced Roy Hodgson, but Sparky does attract players, has a certain aura and you can see the likes of Bobby Zamora responding positively to him.
We will, as Super Roy made us, be hard working, get behind the ball when we need to and make ourselves hard to beat – Blackburn anyone? But will that be enough for a team and crowd who experienced an historic season last year?
It will depend on what transfer kitty Hughes has available but there is every chance that as well as Craig Bellamy, who would follow Hughes to Tesco and quite possibly has, that Stephen Ireland will also be joining.
Bellamy and Zamora look a potentially potent strike-force. Ireland would be an excellent addition to the middle of the park; hard-working, a good passer and likes to get forward when he can - he would fit right in.
The one thing that gnaws away is that some of the free-flowing, quality passing game that was a joy to watch and a surprise to many an opponent, may just suffer. Wales and Blackburn certainly didn’t blow anyone away with their style of football. And even with the riches at Lottery HQ, Hughes found it hard to avoid an endless run of draws at Eastlands.
However, at the Cottage, he will discover he has a team that play for each other and enjoy doing so. His job will be to make sure they play for him too.
The voices of doom will be loud – Hodgson gone; Smalling gone; Schwarzer possibly and Gera making homesick noises. But the squad is a quality one and, with a few additions (especially those mentioned above; and we have also been linked with Sidwell, Reo Coker, Young and Utaka) top ten should be the minimum requirement for a… good job.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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