The Tanner Report : Middlesbrough 0 Fulham 0
The noose supposedly round Kit Symons’ neck would have loosened after this goalless draw at The Riverside against high flying Middlesbrough. There has been talk of an assessment by the analytical boys after 12 matches and if such a review shows statistically on previous season’s findings Fulham would not make the play-offs he will go. Although I have been critical of Kit in my column, I believe that to dismiss him now would be a wrong decision. I base this on the following:
1) There is no obvious replacement. Steve Bruce is a name much bandied about but northern managers except for Kevin Keegan have not traditionally done well at Fulham and besides he may not wish to leave Hull, higher placed and late of the top table. Yet another managerial change, the fourth since Shahid Khan assumed ownership, would be disruptive and counterproductive.
2) With games coming thck and fast Fulham can rise or fall We play Leeds at home Wednesday which does not look that daunting and then high flying Reading come to the Cottage . 4 points would have us on the edge of the play offs
3) How reliable is the analytical test? Fulham should not have beaten Blackburn and were unlucky to lose to Brighton and draw at Charlton. Luck plays its part in injuries. Yesterday our keeper Lonerghan was injured, joining the number one Bettinelli in the treatment room.
4) Everyone agrees Kit is a proper gent and winning for Fulham as he did as a player means so much to him. His cheerful presence has helped to heal the wounds inflicted by Magath’s severe disciplinary approach and eccentric management which was so unsuccessful that it might have produced two relegations.The club craves stability.
Of yesterday’s match I only saw the briefest of highlights. Ross McCormack had 2 chances but best of all the defence, bereft of Husband who has done well at left back but cannot play against the club that loaned him out, and defender Tim Ream put up the shutters. The game management was much more accomplished even though there was some time wasting.
It might be going too far in believing the spirits of old players gather in D block of the Johnny Haynes Stand in times of crisis though surviving the early nineties and 13 years at the Premier and an European final are hard to explain more rationally. Yet had the new owner listened more to the fans and let them take the Fulham pulse, though not of course the decisions, rather than the moneyball theorising, I do not think we would be where we are now.