Fayed’s comments are funny, but I have sympathy for Magath here

You’ve probably all read this by now: MAF says Felix is absurd to blame him.

There’s a lot of cackling and agreement on the internet.  

But hang on…

What did Magath say again?

The problem we had was that the owner before had not spent money,” says Magath. “The club sold the best players and brought in average players. You cannot go on doing that for a long time. That is why we are struggling.”

What part of that is not correct?

Even if you take the view that Fulham were still spending a fair amount on wages – which they were – this still wasn’t good spending.  The team got older and older and nobody did a thing.  This Fulham team shouldn’t have gone down, and maybe it’s harsh to say that MAF stopped spending, but again, the money that was spent was spent badly.  Older, established players, tend to cost more than their younger equivalent, but over the years we had completely neglected the integration of any players, to the point where the youngsters in the team were in their mid to late 20s.  It costs money to turn over an ageing team and we absolutely didn’t do this.  Nobody can say that Fayed was anything but amazing for the club, but post Europa there was a real sense that that was that.  It’s borderline ridiculous to sit here speculating on how much was spent vs how much needed to be spent, but it seems to be a widely held view that Fulham probably didn’t do enough to make sure the 2013-14 season didn’t happen.  And like it or not, that season was much more on Fayed than it was on Magath, regardless of what’s happened since.

It was a terrific note from Fayed – you’d expect nothing else from him – but Magath’s view is perfectly defensible, too, so I’m surprised (I shouldn’t be though, should I?) at the reaction to it.  Especially as we’ve just won a game and appear to be moving towards a more settled team (Magath’s words).

25 thoughts on “Fayed’s comments are funny, but I have sympathy for Magath here

  1. Interesting read . No doubt Mo was the ultimate salesman , and sure he mentioned the positives and glossed over the cracks . But as with any purchase like this , there is due diligence , and the MD at the time – Teflon Macintosh – was there at the time of MO and is still in place . He know what was going to be required if Kubla Khan was to max his investment , and it was an immediate investment in the squad . That was obvious to everyone .
    Equally obvious was that Jol had taken the team as far as he could – the worst result of the previous season was our 3-0 away win at Swansea on the last day as this elevated us to a respectable 14th when a struggling 17th was more accurate .But Jol was kept on , without a budget , so it was no surprise the demise of the previous season continued through to the bitter end with a limp relegation fight .
    It is easy for Felix to blame Mo , just as he had with some of the transfer dealings in January which he blamed on Rene . But Holtby looked good , as did Tunnicliffe ,and were good additions to the squad . On Kosta Packet Mitroghou , Rene did say at the time right player -wrong time – on account he was injured and had not played since November , so was unlikely to be the immediate star we needed . But Teflon over-ruled him and went ahead with an offer that made the club the laughing stock both here and in the Tavernas of Greece . Feeling is Teflon panicked , having sent his two main strikers out on loan so we needed up with a guy who could hardly walk in January . Fast forward that to our goalkeepers now , but at least we have not spent £11m plus on a replacement keeper . I have said jokingly that it was likely we would sign a veteran keeper from the lower German league , but it was meant as a joke !
    Maybe Felix should be looking to blame Teflon rather than Mo , but as we assume Teflon pays his salary unlikely . But interesting to note that Felix claims he has a direct reporting line now to Kubla , taking Teflon out of the equation .
    If you ask most reasonable Fulham fans , an overhaul of the team was long overdue , but we did need to keep a spine of about 4/5 players .Great to see the kids being given their chance , but not all at once . Bring them into the squad , give them cameo roles for 15 minutes increasing match by match so eventually by November they have some decent playing time .

  2. Big assumptions about Mackintosh’s authority.

    I can’t say for sure but assume that the owner decides what money can be spent. AM could be giving all sorts of advice which might be ignored or acted on but is he really the one who chooses the players to be bought and sold? Does he decide on whether managers should be sacked or not?

    I’m damned sure that he didn’t have that anthority under MAF so maybe the subsequent problem was a vacuum with no one capable of taking big decisions wisely.Who was the manager even between Jol and Magath? Not Rene who was coach or interim manager.

    I’d love to know exactly how we came to sign Mitroglu. Maybe all the blame lies with AM but theres no way that it would have happened under MAF and AM’s role then would have been no more than the negotiator of terms.

    I maintain that last seasons squad looked pretty good in August and should have been well capable of avoiding relegation had they been properly fit, organised and motivated.

  3. Kahn bought a premier league club in tip-top shape in July of 2012. If he had any idea as to what he was getting into, he should have made a decent investment in the playing staff (sorry a 32 yr. old Scott Parker does not count) to keep the team moving in the right direction. Why not spend the ridiculous eleven million that was spent on Ross McCormack this summer and a portion of what was surely healthy severance packages for the 5 managers that were fired last season, when we really needed it, last summer? After observing Kahn run the club for a year I’m confused as to how he ever made billions as a business man.

    1. “Kahn bought a premier league club in tip-top shape in July of [2013].”

      Except he didn’t. Did you even read Rich’s post?

  4. Drama, drama and more drama. Chaos on the pitch and chaos off the pitch. All created by Magath. Did he need to criticise the previous regime publically? No. Did he need to try and get the club all pulling in one direction? Yes. We have a shambles that could have been easily avoided. Energy and focus that should be going on getting results is being wasted by drama everywhere. He tried to manipulate the bad situation by blaming someone else but picked on the wrong person and has made it even worst. There is just no need for it.

  5. I think it was a naive, arrogant and frankly stupid move my Khan and Magath to start criticising Al Fayed in an attempt to boost their image amongst the very fans who still sing his name and with whom he remains – quite understandably – an incredibly popular cult figure.

    Whilst we may quibble over under-investment in his latter years (and there’s nothing in your outline above which doesn’t ring true) the bare facts of our meteoric rise through the divisions and a hefty period of top-level success under Al Fayed’s stewardship – Intertoto, Europa, PL stability – are hard to ignore, especially when you consider what has happened since he handed over to the dubious current incumbents, whatever state the squad may have been in in 2012.

    In other words, who they fuck are they they in comparison to start casting the first stones?

    I’m afraid the embarrassment of receiving such a scathing reposte along with the subsequent response of the fans is, in my opinion, exactly what they deserve for launching such an ill-conceived PR campaign for themselves in the media in the first place. How about some results first?

      1. I get that, but are they not just sayig “Hang on, we’re getting a hell of a lot of crap here. Magath started in March. The rot set in long before that. There’s a hell of a mess to sort out, it’ll take time, and in the interim it may not look good. So please don’t just blame us for all this”?

        1. Whatever their intentions – perhaps your paraphrasing gets it – the headline emblazoned across the double page spread in the Standard was ‘DON’T BLAME US – BLAME AL FAYED’. They were naïve in the extreme if they didn’t consider that might happen – and/or irresponsibly out of touch with the fanbase if they didn’t realise the adverse reaction that would cause.

          As I said, poor PR – and surely better to keep their heads down and concentrate first on getting something vaguely positive or promising onto the pitch for all to see. So far – since March, as you say, which was five months ago, and already nine months into Khan’s tenure – they haven’t managed that.

  6. Relegation had been coming from the time we sold Demballe and Demps , and did not reinvest the money in the squad . The 2012/3 season we were treading water , particularly from January onwards and it was only our early season form that saved us . For the start of the 2013/4 there had been no noticeable improvement or investment in the squad .
    The cracks were obvious , but nothing was done . Jol should have gone in the close season , but he was kept on without a budget . Rene to my mind was not given a fair chance – Ok some of his results were horrific with the 6-0 thumping at Hull and the 1-0 defeat by Sheff Utd in the cup as the low points . But i felt it was turning around when he was replaced .
    In my view Felix is tactically clueless and his man management skills poor – at least on the surface . He did have a difficult job without doubt , but his abrasive style probably made it more difficult and this was compounded by some of his selections .
    I don’t think any fan will find fault with his desire to make the team fitter . Even in the good Jol days , we would go 1-0 up and then hang on desperately . In every game we look knackered in the last 20 minutes , even the younger players , and it was apparent the team were lacking in overall fitness . Forget speedy counter-attacks , we could hardly run from the 7oth minute .
    I am not convinced Felix is the man , but the alternatives don’t thrill me either – other than Glen Hoddle who I think would be good , might not get us promotion but probably entertaining . And like it or not , the squad we have now is mainly hand-picked by Felix , with some associated loyalty .
    I think Kubla Khan has been naïve , and you have to wonder how much he learnt about ” soccer ” from the Venkey Brothers up in Blackburn . My criticism would be mainly reserved for Teflon Macintosh , but he seems to be currently removed from any relevant decision making other than who our match sponsor might be .

    1. “you have to wonder how much [Khan] learnt about ” soccer ” from the Venkey Brothers up in Blackburn”

      Venky’s is an Indian company primarily involved in meat processing. Khan is a Pakistani-American who made his money manufacturing auto parts. This strikes me as borderline racism (not to mention ignorant, given the general antipathy between India and Pakistan) unless there’s some actual connection between Khan and Venky’s, which I’m pretty sure there isn’t.

  7. Josh , I was going to say lighten up but I fear you might take it the wrong way . The comparison was meant to reflect their , how shall I tactically say this , rather naïve and distant way of running an English football club . Khan to his credit does attend about 6 matches a season , the Venkeys hardly at all . Apart from that I am sure they both have a love of chicken !

  8. Sorry Rich, I just can’t agree with a word you are saying here.

    First, Magath and Khan need not spend a moment of their time blaming a soul. They’ve got plenty on their hands. The name Al-Fayed need never cross their eyes or exit their lips.

    Second, the youth academy that Magath/Khan are trying like hell to rely upon to save his sorry ass did not appear when they did. Most of it hails from the Al-Fayed days. Roberts signed in 2010/11, I believe. Woodrow in 2011. Burn in 2011. Christensen in 2011. Hyndman into the academy in 2011. Dembele signed in 2012. George Williams in 2012, as was Ryan Williams. Chris David was early 2013 pre-Khan. So it seems to me Magath should be careful how much he blames Al-Fayed’s time for acquiring/developing the players that he is so shiny faced about today.

    Third, nobody was expecting Khan’s side to win the Premiership, qualify for Europe or at some point even finish in the top half. Survival became our goal, and it was attainable with Al-Fayed’s players. If we had beaten Hull and avoided either of an 86th minute goal or a 92nd minute goal in two West Brom games, respectively, we stay up. At which point we might have been able to introduce the younger players a little more strategically. Which is to say strategically at all. Or Khan could have invested the money so much more wisely than Al-Fayed did. On 11M pound signings like Ross McCormack.

    BTW: Fulham’s inability to stay up was defensive more than anything else. All the talk of Dembele and Dempsey and Mitroglu doesn’t explain this. Speaking of…

    Finally, is Kostas Mitroglu so bad that he could not even be used as a substitute in the EPL? I know his conditioning was poor given his injuries, but Man Utd was celebrating ducking him in the CL when he signed with us. Rio Ferdinand tweeted as much (I think it was Rio). Is there a question in soccer so vexing that is properly answered by Hugo Rodellega or Darren Bent that cannot be substituted with Mitroglu? Was Kostas unfamiliar with the rules of the EPL somehow? Did he get confused by the time change? Or was not playing Mitroglu attributable to spite and bitterness from Saddam?

    I can’t argue that Al-Fayed had improved the team after Tottenham raided us. But all we had to do was stay up. And you make it sound like the team Khan purchased and Magath later coached was incapable of doing so. That is not true. We could have stayed up. Plenty of coaches could have seen to it. Khan could have improved us at any point therein, or thereafter. Defending a Felix Magath era that just one year from being in the Premier League is 0-4 in the SkyBet is through the looking glass for me.

    1. I agree with all that. I am just pointing out that under the circumstances it is not that surprising Khan and Magath are reminding us that it’s not all on them, because it ism’t all on them. Have they played their hand well? Not remotely. Was it a good hand? No.

      1. As mentioned above, it was a good youth academy hand, to the extent that it has since been over-relied upon.

        Those youth have been supplemented by a single player with Championship experience (just the one — astonishing). and by no-one else with a pedigree suggestive of nailed-on, as opposed to possible, Championship standard. (There were also some players purchased in January, not one of whom is deemed useful by the purchaser.)

        Plus the little matter of coach/management selection.

        It’s a record so dire that mitigation — even when there’s a kernel of truth to it — seems past its sell-by date.

  9. To take on Chairman Mo in a PR battle was always going to be difficult for FM , but the public bickering does not reflect well on anyone or the club .
    It has been debated chapter and verse at length , but most Fulham fans are deeply appreciative of what Mo did for the club over the years . OK in the last two his priority was clearing the debt rather than investment , but that was clear . Any new owner did not have to do financial due diligence to see what was required , watching a few games illustrated the need for younger players with pace . When seemingly every other team was playing a quick counter attack style , 3 passes end to end , we were taking 20 . Khan would , or should have known this , and if he didn’t he had Teflon Macintosh to guide him .
    For the immediate future , I feel we are stuck with FM , although he will continue to alienate the fans , despite his ghost letters in the programme . I am all for ignoring the official club merchandising ( programmes , club shop , café ) , making our felling on Felix and the board known , but when the game starts , lets get behind the team – they need our support .
    Delighted to have Burn back in the fold , hope he plays . Another who has been largely ignored , and has now been” demotivated ” to the under 21’s is Trotta , good experience with Brentford last year , tall , good in the air striker who would offer us something different . At least worth a place in the squad in my view .

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