Yesterday I met up with the supporter who sits behind me and is my closest Fulham friend. We went to the Cup Final in 1975 together. He was pleased with the appointment of Feliks Magath as the Chairman has shown himself to be decisive in his task of avoiding relegation by dismissing all 3 of the coaching team and bringing in a man from left-field with a Red Adair reputation.
It reflects our football press that there are numerous articles anecdotal of his tough and eccentric training methods, but I have yet to read what system he plays. Our football is long on incident, rows between managers a favourite, but short on tactical analysis. Magath’s record in saving clubs is impressive. Reading the various articles, a profile emerges of a manager who saves the club but does not stay long for whatever reason thereafter. I can foresee if he saves Fulham a tasty number for our Feliks. The speed with which managers have been sacked – Villas Boas, Di Canio, Clarke, Laudrup, Jol, Meulensteen all dismissed – makes the requirement for a saviour all the more pressing. Magath could effectively work for only 4 months a year: coming in to save the club, picking up a hefty bonus for so doing, and then taking the next 8 months off.
The only problem is that he has not managed in the premier. Should he fail he will probably disappear back to the Bundesliga. He gave a press conference yesterday. His owlish round, rather benign, face was at odds with the severe disciplinarian. His replies were measured, occasionally consulting his interpreter. He says he is nice guy. John Collins an excellent midfielder in the Tigana era, when the physical work was intense, commented that it’s rather late in the season for severe training, but he will undoubtedly improve focus and commitment. My friend said that should he be feared by the players – this is no bad thing. Many great managers rule by fear and the players, who must assume the greatest responsibility for the position we are in, need to be shocked out of their comfort zone. Meulensteen lacked experience and authority. He came across as genial but out of his depth though, to be fair, the performances against Liverpool and Man United were impressive even though the decision to bring in a new manager must have been made before them. The choice was Magath, who is very sure of his abilities and crucially confident that he can keep us up. Best of luck, Feliks.