In the car up to Norwich I was taking some gyp that my glass was not half Fulham but three quarters empty. I prefer the word realist, as if you look back over the Tanner reports you will see that the last three results were perfectly predicted. The Tannic oracle now predicts a loss at Hull and wins over West Ham and Sunderland.
Over lunch no one knew what a technical director did. One supporter suggested that Fulham had invented a new business model of installing the replacement when the incumbent is still in his job. Thus within 2 weeks Rene Moulensteen had taken over from Martin Jol and it’s entirely possible our next manager is Alan Curbishley. There is precedent for this as Malcolm MacDonald was actually on the board when appointed Fulham manager and a very good one too. However he played for and understood Fulham, unlike the present coaching team.
I was pleased that Panjim Kasami was reinstated. Here is a young energetic skillful player who is improving at Fulham. My reservations about Taarabt proved well founded, namely that he is inconsistent and will not produce two decent performances in a row. One of the great weaknesses of Jol’s player selection is his preference for those who embellish the game but do not change its course. These players, and I will name names – Taarabt, Ruiz and Berbarov – are inevitably as selfish as they are skillful,playing in their own bubble and not for the team. You know when Taarabt sets off on a run that the chances of him making a pass are scarce, he will get caught in possession or try a speculative shot.
Keeper Stekelenberg was injured so David Stockdale was called up. There was a good article by Jonathan Lew in the Telegraph about second string goalies who rarely get a game. Norwich number two Carlo Nash has not played for 4 years. Stockdale seems to be around for years. I recall that I was at Motspur Park, the Fulham training ground, doing the windows when David McNally, now the CEO at Norwich, introduced me to a young fresh-faced lad signed signed from Darlington. This was when Chris Coleman was manager, so it must have been 8 years ago. I doubt if he has played 50 games since then. Yesterday he was capable and reliable with only one messy clearance.
The game was won in midfield where Scott Parker and Panjim Kasami put in telling shifts and scored both goals. The winner was all the more fair as those around us following the radio commentary were certain that a Fulham goal should have been allowed as the ball was over the line. We noted the ref looked at his watch with a shaking of the head, which must mean the technology is unreliable.
All three teams in the relegation zone have responded positively to new management and it’s so tight there that I would not be surprised if those with managers who have been in the hot seat longer – like Norwich, Cardiff and West Ham – get dragged down these next few weeks.