On Friday evening Fulham’s dismal Premier League season took yet another dramatic turn as head coach Rene Meulensteen, who had been in charge for just over two months, was fired and German coach Felix Magath was appointed on an 18-month deal as the new man at the helm at Craven Cottage.
The shock move comes after recent good performances from the Cottagers against Manchester United and Liverpool yielded just one point and Magath becomes the West London clubs third manager of the 2013-14 Premier League season, after Martin Jol was given his marching orders in December.
Speaking about the decision to relieve Meulensteen of his duties and appoint Magath on the club website, Fulham’s American owner Shahid Khan had the following to say.
“Felix is an accomplished manager with multiple honors in the Bundesliga and a hunger to replicate his success with Fulham in the Barclays Premier League. I’m especially impressed with the reputation Felix has for coming into clubs at difficult times, often late in the season, and lifting them to their potential and beyond. Felix knows that is precisely the task awaiting him at Fulham, and he made it abundantly clear that he wants and is ready for the opportunity.”
In the statement on the website, Khan doesn’t mention Meulensteen but reports from various outlets in the UK state Meulensteen has been fired.
He has been replaced by Magath, a 60-year-old German coach who has previously managed a whole host of Bundesliga sides including Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen and Schalke amongst others. He won the Bundesliga with Bayern twice and once with Wolfsburg and according to Fulham’s owner the clubs CEO Alastair Mackintosh recommended Magath for “his history of producing results for Clubs with similar challenges as ours.”
Magath now has 12 games to get Fulham off the bottom of the PL standings, as they are now four points from safety with plenty of work to do.
Khan also went on to give some other reasons for bringing in Magath, and stated that recent results have now been good enough.
“Our Club has shown promise in recent matches, but the fact is we have not won a league match since January 1,” Khan said. “Given our form, we can no longer merely hope that our fortunes will finally turn. And with 12 matches remaining and at least four points separating us from safety, we certainly can no longer post empty results. Action was required.”
Can Magath do it? Or will this sudden managerial change plunge Fulham’s season into further disarray?