And now for the grownup response.
If anything Hughes’ resignation makes me more glad I renewed my season ticket. Which sounds odd, but at no point did I especially warm to Mark Hughes. Not that warming to a manager matters a hill of beans in the big scheme of things, but Hughes and Fulham never did feel quite right.
Perhaps this was because Hughes felt – and I think we sensed this – he was out of our league from the start. Hughes has just said that he is “ambitious”, but was he not ambitious when he joined us? Presumably so. He might as well have said “I had nothing better to do so I took the job.”
Does this matter? Apart from Gera and Paintsil nobody really lost out under Hughes, and the likes of Baird, Hangeland, Sidwell, Davies and Dempsey all progressed. Moussa Dembele could go either way, but seems likely to turn into a huge asset. Matthew Briggs got some serious experience. For the first time in years we showed some good form away from Craven Cottage. Hughes has arguably left the club in a better state than he found it in, which we shouldn’t forget.
The problem is that for teams of our stature, progress is difficult and collapse is easy. It takes a lot of good work to take a club like Fulham to the top half of the table, the right man has to make the right decisions and get some luck along the way. Hughes lost Bobby Zamora – a key player – and wasn’t too far off the sack when we went to Stoke and won 2-0 (thanks to two Chris Baird goals..). These are the margins, and lesser managers, or good managers who don’t quite work out, will find that the Fulham job is far from an easy one, that Hodgson and Hughes are hard acts to follow.
So yes, the board have made good appointments, and we’ve been lucky to enjoy the on-field success that this has brought about. But the burning question, the vital question, is whether they can do it again. Hughes’ legacy is to have not broken a good thing. His successor must be able to do the same.