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Saturday, 03 July 2010

Fulham: Who will replace Hodgson at the Cottage?


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Fulham were always going to struggle to keep their hands on Roy Hodgson following last season’s amazing campaign. The 62-year-old worked wonders at the Cottage as they reached the Europa League Final against all the odds. The former Inter Milan and Switzerland boss felt that he had one big challenge left in him and he couldn’t resist the lure of Anfield when Liverpool came calling.

Fulham fans will obviously be disappointed at Hodgson’s decision to leave but nobody connected with the club will begrudge him for moving on after what he achieved at the club. He miraculously saved them from the drop in his first season, qualified for Europe in the following campaign and then defied all the critics last year by going all the way to their first European final. That was one hell of a journey Roy!

But now the search is on for somebody who can build on that platform and there a number of high-profile names being linked with the vacant position. Here I will go through the main runners and riders and give my analysis on their chances of succeeding Roy in the Fulham hot seat.

Sven Goran-Eriksson

The former England and Manchester City boss is one of the front runners for the vacant post at Craven Cottage and he has an eye for talent on and off the pitch. The Swede has a superb record at club level and has won trophies in every country that he has managed, bar England. He would love to put that blot on his copy book right. Eriksson’s style of football entertained the Manchester City fans during his brief spell at Eastlands and Fulham would surely appeal to former Ivory Coast coach. He also has the managerial clout to attract top players.

Alan Curbishley

The former Charlton Athletic and West Ham United boss has been patiently waiting for a plum Premier League position to come up and this one would suit him down to the ground. It’s in the capital, the expectations from the fans will not weigh him down and he will be given time to do things his way. He established Charlton as a Premier League club but the fans then wanted someone who could push them on further. He left, they went down to League One! He didn’t win too many friends at West Ham though with his style of play, but would he be a success at the Cottage?

Mark Hughes

Like Curbishley, the former Manchester City and Blackburn manager is looking for another crack as manager in the Premier League. Unfairly axed by City in December, Hughes knows how to build a successful team. He builds from the back making his team hard to break down before implementing his attacking options. He has a wealth of domestic and European experience to call on and has a knack of signing gems from across the globe. Unfortunately, it looks as though Hughes’s insistence on bringing in his own backroom team may go against him with Al Fayed looking to make the change as seamless as possible.

Glenn Hoddle

The former Chelsea and Wolves boss has been out of management for four years now but has emerged as a shock contender for the job. As a player Hoddle oozed class and he won a number of admirers from his time as manager at Chelsea. So much so that he was handed the England job. Unfortunately, ill-advised comments resulted in his contract with the national side being terminated. In the past 10 years he has had spells at Southampton, Spurs and Wolves but has failed to recapture the spark he achieved at Swindon and Chelsea. He has also been busy with his coaching school in Spain but could Fulham and Hoddle be a perfect match?

Tony Mowbray

If Fulham fans want to see their team play attractive attacking football then I have just the man for them . . . Tony Mowbray. The former Hibs, West Brom and Celtic boss is a keen advocate of playing football on the deck. He keeps the fans entertained but that doesn’t always equate into results. Unfortunately, despite being a solid defender in his day, Mowbray can never get his back four to play as a unit. His dour demeanour on the touchline failed to win over the Celtic fans and he was axed by the Glasgow giants after nine months following a 4-0 defeat at St Mirren. Mowbray knows Zoltan Gera and Jonathan Greening well from his days at the Albion, but would Al Fayed offer him the job?

*Calling all Fulham fans. Who would you like to see in charge of your team come the start of August? Would Sven have your support? Would Curbishley leave you cursing or would Hoddle have you hopping round with excitement? Whatever your views, I’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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