When a manager leaves, inevitably stories emerge like cockroaches coming from the woodwork. They should be, not to mix up too many metaphors, treated with a large dose of salt. However Magath has not denied that he advised Brede Hangeland to treat an injury with alcohol soaked cheese. He ignored advice on congestion outside the City Ground Nottingham and 30 minutes before the game began the coach was still stuck in traffic.
There is a much more fundamental question here – namely, did the Executive staff at Fulham know of this? If they did, it may be that Magath demanded and achieved a direct line to Shahid Khan and any input elsewhere would be ignored. Under the previous regime the help of the approachable director Mark Collins would have been sought hopefully for an intervention by the chairman Al Fayed. Magath would have been summoned to Harrods months ago. As supporters we are entitled to wonder about a structure or, absence of one ,that permitted a manager to conduct himself in the way he did. There have even many eccentric managers, not least arguably the most successful of all Brian Clough – who died 10 years ago – who won league titles with Derby and Nottingham Forest. Magath, after promising to keep us up, looked set to take us down in consecutive seasons and if Uli Hoeness, the Bayern player and executive is to be believed, would never work in Germany again. So who was responsible for his appointment?
Tonight we have a home league cup tie against lower league opposition in Doncaster. I predict a crowd of well under 10,000 but at least there should be the impetus of a win. We can only hope that in appointing a permanent successor a considerably more detailed appraisal takes place. The chairman says there will be considerable input. The nature of football is that many will recommend a friend out of work, not necessarily the best man for the job. The chairman might want to restore credibility and popularity with an appointment of Kit Symons or another who played for the club. This by no means results in successs. Al Fayed appointed Kevin Keegan and Jean Tigana who won 3 promotions between them, and Roy Hodgson who got us to an European final, but I doubt if his advice on how to appoint a successful manager will be sought. I am afraid to say that I predict the decline in our fortunes will continue and the days of beating Manchester United at Old Trafford and Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool at the Cottage will become ever-distant memories for us oldies who recall two consecutive relegations in 1968 and 1969 but may never see our beloved Fulham in the top flight again.