Why a Symons/Murphy combination might be what we need


The other day Hade and I were watching Peter Kay. I always think I don’t really like Peter Kay, then I see him and can’t stop laughing.  This time he was on some regional news programme and interrupted the weather by crawling along then appearing in front of the map from the bottom of the screen.  In itself this wasn’t that funny, but in Kay’s hands we chuckled away.  Now, if David Cameron or Adrian Chiles or even Jimmy Carr had done this very same thing we’d have thought “no.”  But Kay made us laugh.  I don’t know why.

It feels like ties to a club should make no difference.  Whenever I see another team hire a former player to an important role I do think “hmm”.  Is that really the best qualified person for the job?  Sometimes it might be though.  It does feel though that the fans are quite fed up with the stinking sinking ship we’ve seen, and let’s face it, the ‘pick the best manager you can find’ approach isn’t exactly working for Fulham’s crack team of head-hunters.

Point is, we’re in a bit of a mess. Yes, the team will surely improve and at some point give the Championship a good hiding, but that might not be for a while.  We might lose a few games. We might take a while to integrate the kids.  There might not be a goalkeeper on sale in January!

So having some ‘untouchables’ at the helm for a rebuild might not be the worst idea. Take this season.  If Danny Murphy had presided over this start fans would be disappointed but not furious. It would be acknowledged that things take time, that Murphy was working out his best team, etc.  Any anger would be aimed at the, er, suits, which increasingly feels about right.  A Murphy/Symons combination would have enough goodwill in the bank to withstand much that fans would otherwise get angry about.

I think you have to assume that this isn’t going to be some jetpack/trampoline promotion situation just yet, and while I’m convinced the team will get better, maybe the time is right to go into a holding mode.  Stop buying in randoms and think about the next good Fulham team and who’s going to be in it. And while we move from A to B, have Symons and Murphy steering.

3 thoughts on “Why a Symons/Murphy combination might be what we need

  1. This is really the epitome of the sports analytics question of whether you are actually perceiving reality. Not only is there no way to know right now, a manager’s influence is felt through such myriad, indirect channels that we may *never* be able to know.

    On the pitch, Murphy seemed to understand the game around him at a deeper level than most of the people out there with him. When he talked to the press, he seemed managerial. But I’ve always been suspicious of my own feelings, because he seemed like such an archetype of whatever nebulous qualities one expects (or at least I, as an American, expect) from an English manager.

    But I’d take him on the staff in an instant, both because I believe (for whatever possibly-misguided reason) that he could do the job, and because I want to feel happy, and the presence of Danny Murphy will make me feel happy.

  2. “If Danny Murphy had presided over this start fans would be disappointed but not furious. It would be acknowledged that things take time, that Murphy was working out his best team, etc.”

    This is entirely true and exactly why so much of the criticism of Magath was absurd. Supporters decided they didn’t like him because he was different and not sufficiently English and that was that. They criticized him for being too old-school in his training methods while simultaneously criticizing him for not being old-school enough in his approach to team selection. They criticized him for moving on from Stockdale because he judged him to be not talented enough in the long term despite being tremendously committed to the club, and criticized him for not having time for Mitroglou because, despite his talent, he wasn’t sufficiently committed to the club (while simultaneously themselves slating Mitroglou for that lack of commitment). They complained (a year ago, two years ago) when the proceeds from the Dembele and Dempsey sales weren’t invested in players who would help the squad in the long term, and the team relied on too many players past their best instead, but then couldn’t believe it when Magath pointed out the same thing. They complained (correctly, IMO) that Hangeland looked old and slow and weak in the air for much of last season, but then couldn’t believe it when Magath decided that he wanted to move on from him.

    In short, I think Magath was never given a fair shake (maybe I should say he wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt, the same length of a leash, that an English manager would’ve been) and there was a lot of hypocrisy in a lot of the criticism of him. All that being said, I hope this change turns out to be the kick-start the team needs to find some form, because I think the players there (many of whom were Magath recruits) have the potential to gel into quite a good team.

  3. Magath couldn’t pick a winning team, despite continual changes of personnel (30 this season alone). All reports say his training methods were fitness at the expense of anything tactical, and defensive chaos on matchdays certainly implies that. Maybe there were additional reasons, but the above ones amply sufficed. Now let’s try to forget him.

    Murphy seems unlikely to arrive to serve under Kit, who already has Mark Pembridge doing so. Either Kit succeeds and gets the gig or the message will seem even clearer to Khan that someone more experienced needs to be Number One.

    If they did go for experience (albeit not actually that much of it) someone currently on the market is Neil Lennon. He’d need a Number Two, but If it hadn’t worked out for Kit, probably hard for him to be stepped down to that role.

    Lennon and Murphy were teammates during Danny’s first 70 or so league matches (at Crewe) and both were BBC panellists in Brazil. I have no idea whatsoever how the two of them get on, let alone if they have ever discussed the Fulham possibility. But if they do get on, and they do discuss it, and if Kit’s caretakership does not work out….Lots of ifs.

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