I was called yesterday in the late morning by a Fulham friend and supporter. He said he was “underwhelmed” by the imminent appointment of Steve Clarke. Clarke’s tenure at Reading is/was impressive. They reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup last season and this one are challenging for the play-offs. Yet he also has a dour image especially when interviewed after a match. His Chelsea legend status may not endear him to fans either
There is irony here. Clarke was a candidate interviewed by the appointments committee 18 months ago; Reading were two up against Fulham just a month ago and had it stayed that way Kit Symons would have been sacked then but we scored three in six minutes, Kit had a stay of execution and Fulham fans are now concerned by Reading’s second half performance under Clarke. I was summarising his pros and cons in my head when I decided to view the Newsnow portal which updates news on Fulham and other clubs every two minutes. A story broke that Clarke had had a change of heart and was staying put. According to the Daily Mail Fulham’s offer was £80,000 better than Reading’s so it may be that Clarke by working both ends of the M4 had his existing package improved. It might also be he and others were put off as the job was advertised as “head coach”. Presumably this would not include control of transfers and make the successful applicant answerable to Mike Rigg as Chief Football Officer. The club cannot really comment till everything is confirmed so we are in the hands of the twitterati and bloggers as well as the more conventional news sources so much is speculation.
Fulham wanted the manager in place for tomorrow’s winnable game v MK Dons. Even if he is then there would not be enough time to make much of an input. Another Fulham fan and friend emailed me describing it as a “omnishambles”. We don’t know what is happening at the Fulham end so I prefer not to judge without the facts before me. In the old days when you sacked your manager you had set up the replacement but this now tends to break as news embarrassingly early whilst the incumbent is still there forcing the club to issue a denial and then a week later to sack the manager without an alternative lined up. The situation is far from clear but reminds me of the description of the former Chelsea manager Dave Sexton – “His indecision is final”.