Kit Symons go the chop and significantly the person that announced this was the Chief Football Officer Mike Rigg not CEO Alistair MacKintosh. Looking back over Kit’s reigns, temporary and permanent, as manager few individuals or groups emerge with reputations enhanced.
Kit is a decent bloke, a gent, on that all are agreed. He took over when our club was still recovering from the traumas of Magath. ABM (anyone but Magath) would have been an improvement on the basis that he was not around anymore. Kit ticked some of the boxes: popular ex-player, coach of an exciting crop of youngsters, cheerful in the dressing room. But there was nothing in his CV that made you think he could turn Fulham around. Candidates like Chris Hughton had promotions and play-offs under their belts and a far more detailed grasp of what was needed. Same with Steve Clarke though his Chelsea ancestry might have disaffected fans. Kit started well and the momentum for his appointment become irresistible, all the more so as the Appointments Committee did not have a consensus of who else should get the job. Sadly, having had the job permanently, these failings in team selection, in team building and above all in organising a defence became readily apparent. Still the owner stuck by him, hoping the combination of Mike Rigg, Alan Curbishley and investment in the squad would make the play-offs feasible. There was never any consistency and the rejigged defence continued to leak goals. When we conceded 5 goals for the third time under Kit at the Cottage his number was up. The saddest thing he would make an ideal number 2; he knows the club, his cheerfulness would work well as a foil to a disciplinarian, he would be popular around the place.
The fans that clamoured for him now chanted “Kit out”. The Appointments Committee see Chris Hughton’s Brighton second and Steve Clarke’s Reading seventh.
Mohammed al Fayed was rightly praised for his managerial selction. Only Ray Wilkins, Paul Bracewell and Lawrie Sanchez failed and these were rapidly replaced. Fulham have generally appointed from their own (Bill Dodgins, Malcolm MacDonald and Chris Coleman) or left and foreign field (Jean Tigana, Roy Hodgson – British but had worked abroad). The procedure was for Alistair Mackintosh to prepare a short list, the Fulham board to vet it and Mohammed Al Fayed to make his final choice. Clearly this time will be different. Mike Rigg will have a big say and will want someone alongside whom he can work. Get it right and we may yet see Fulham into Premier. Get it wrong and we will join Wigan, Ipswich, Charlton, Blackburn, Bolton, QPR, Reading, Birmingham, Leeds and Middlesbrough as clubs that have feasted at the top table but are now consigned to the canteen.