At the time of writing this, as I’m sure you’re all aware, Martin Jol has been given the chop at Fulham. Shahid Khan and his quite excellent moustache had seen enough, and his replacement, Rene Meulensteen who originally had come in to work alongside his fellow Dutchman has now been the main man for all of five days, (losing his first game in-charge to Spurs).
So let’s recap, (do I have to?) on what was another miserable month for all those concerned with Fulham Football Club, and, as much as I hate to slate managers’ off, the last of Martin Jol’s all-to-easy excuses…
Fulham 1-3 Manchester United:
After a somewhat thrilling, (for the neutrals anyway) Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Leicester City, you would have thought that the lads would’ve have given it a right good go against the Red Devils. No. No they did not.
Three goals in the first twenty minutes after yet more calamitous defending saw Fulham give United the whole of the Craven Cottage pitch, while the back-four went off somewhere to upload their CV’s for the January window or something…
Alex Kacaniklic scored a consolation, with a deflected effort off of Wayne Rooney, in what was to be fair, an improved second-half performance.
Performance Rating: Grade D-; Martin Jol said in his post-match interview that “we won the second-half”. Well that’s good Martin but last time I checked we had to win just the both half’s.
Liverpool 4-0 Fulham:
For the second season in a row we turned up at Anfield, to one walk out the tunnel and two let Martin Skrtel get his seasonal goal.
For the first 20 minutes we were looking decent, but then Fernando Amorebieta thought he’d give Liverpool a helping hand by nodding into his own net after pressure from Luis Suarez, probably gnawing away at his elbow. I’d had high hopes for the Venezuelan coming into the season and thought he’d tighten us up, when it came to set pieces – sadly I was wrong.
Consecutive 4-0 losses in the past two seasons to the always irritating Red-half of Merseyside is never nice due to the “ever-optimistic” shall we say, fans. When the first went in the floodgates just opened and we again crumbled before the ever-sinking eyes of Martin Jol.
Performance Rating: Grade E-; after such a solid opening 20, we reverted to type and conceded two sloppy set-piece goals in the space of three minutes which really killed us. We never really showed up after that and had Man of the Match, Maarten Stekelenburg to thank for stopping it from being a cricket score.
Fulham 1-2 Swansea:
A vastly improved performance saw the Whites go down somewhat unfortunately, to yet another defeat at the hands of the visiting Swans.
Fulham had the better of the first-half and should have been going into the break 2-0 up after Darren Bent had missed two glaring chances. The first came after Scott Parker, newly-made Captain, had floated a sumptuous ball onto the head of the on-loan striker, who somehow headed wide. The second chance was a lot more unlucky to not see it ripple the back of the net; after a long ball had been directed into his path by Swansea defender, Chico Flores, Bent struck a half-volley true as like which agonisingly rattled the post.
Yet again, Fulham’s inability to defend set-pieces proved to be our downfall, as we switched off to give Swansea a very cheap opening goal. A quick free-kick was played to Alex Pozuelo who drilled in an uncomfortable cross which Aaron Hughes just couldn’t get out of the way of, with the ball bundling into the net.
Scott Parker equalised with a cross-shot after the Whites had rallied but it was to be in vein; after allowing Swansea to take control of the game, we let the most over-rated player the world has ever seen Jonjo Shelvey, waltz his way through and toey’ a shot into the top corner from 18 yards.
Performance Rating; Grade D; should have been three points. Let Swansea control the game, second-half, and just never really kicked on after Parker’s equaliser, conceding yet another late winner.
West Ham United 3-0 Fulham:
The worst Fulham performance this season, by a country mile. Made a very ordinary team look like world-beaters which consequently made us look even worse.
The only two players in a White shirt that looked like they even cared were as you’d expect, Captain Scott Parker, and player of the season so far, Pajtim Kasami.
Two players out of 11. Not a single shot on target. What a load of sh*te!
Performance Rating: Grade F-; never would I give my beloved team a “U” but this was bloody close! Five defeats on the trot spelt the end for Martin Jol, and it was written all over his face. Shahid Khan put the man out of his misery the following afternoon.
Overall Rating: Grade F; the writing had been on the wall for Martin Jol for some time, and the overall performances in the month of November were truly dismal, so much so I’m sure I wept after the West Ham game.
So did Martin probably, (with joy considering that pay-packet he stuck in his back pocket) when the following afternoon he was given the sack along with first-team coaches Michael Lindemann and the popular, Billy McKinley.
Unsurprisingly the man that was brought into work alongside the departed Jol, Rene Meulensteen was giving the top job with the title “Head Coach” not manager alla Steve Clarke of West Brom.
His first game in charge against Spurs was a hell of an improvement despite the result. If he can get us doing the basics right again, I have faith that we’ll be fine and push for lower-mid table. COYW!
The Only Way is Up (BAAAABY!)…