“We’ve got our Fulham back!” sang the Hammersmith End and this was the happiest Cottage I have seen for over a year. Almost anyone replacing the hapless though supremely self-confident Magath would be an improvement but Kit Symons as an ex-player and present coach doubly so. There is no doubt who the fans want and the 5 man appointment committee will be mindful of this. The momentum is with him and the situation reminds me of the time when Chris Coleman took over and made the job his with 10 points out of 15.
The endless and unpredictable selection and dropping of players – one of the worst features of the Magath era – has ended and Kit has kept the same team but for the dropping of Hyndman for Stafylidis. Only 3 goals have been conceded in 4 games which is as encouraging as the 8 that have been scored. True Bolton last night were poor and Middlesbrough on Saturday will be a much sterner test.
Whereas Magath disregarded the players he inherited as responsible for the relegation, Kit has selected Rodallega and Ruiz. Ruiz has yet to replicate fully his World Cup form though he contributed to three of the goals but Rodallega is playing with zest and scoring freely. Considering that many of the youngsters were Kit’s charges he is more restrained than Magath in starting with them but it works better to introduce them as subs. Young Patrick Roberts, valued at £15m, is particularly effective as an impact substitute with his sublime dribbling shills.
We Fulham fans have been through the mill this past 15 months. We have seen Martin Jol lose six on the bounce and Meulensteen and Magath unable to stop the rot. We have seen a hands-on Chairman who brought us 15 years of success replaced by an absentee one who does not have Al Fayed’s feel for the club and supporters. We have seen a relegation and and at present, though probably not for long, we are still in the bottom three. It’s been a torrid old time so the joy in the hearts of the fans as well as in the players on the pitch was a joy to behold.