When football clubs get new owners get new owners its a bit like royalty in the old days. For every Elizabeth I or Charlemange there is an incompetent Edward the Confessor or a bat-shit crazy Caligula. As Dan Carlin of the Hardcore History podcast pointed out in his latest episode it makes for interesting history even if you wouldn’t want to be personally involved. On a much smaller scale (almost, some might say, less important scale) this isn’t too dissimilar to football chairman. For every Sir Jack Hayward or Oil billionaire there is a Venky family. And whilst you wouldn’t want the latter people within a solar system of your own beloved team seeing them in charge of someone else’s club has a car crash can’t look away quality.
This season there have been hints at the crazy owner dynamic at work. Mike Ashley hiring Mr Kinear and thus putting a really professional face on the club. Cardiff’s owner changing the team colour (technically last season) and making a 23 year old friend of his son assistant manager. Hull’s owner seeking to change the name of his team. For sheer stupidity and consequence nothing so far will beat Fulham and there new owner Mr Shahid Khan making Rene Meulensteen head coach alongside of Martin Jol! Fulham’s new owner had two choices stick by Jol or get rid of him. Sacking Mr Jol may well have been a mistake (although he deserves it in my opinion) but at least it would have been decisive. A bold move to clear out the deadwood and start again. Especially since the new guy, Rene Meulensteen, is a top quality coach with bags of experience coaching in the premier league. As good a choice for a manager as is possible for Fulham to make.
On the other hand sticking with Jol could have had an upside. Afterall they are only in the relegation zone on goal difference and only a quarter of the season has gone. They are not yet detached from the pack like Palace are. Jol could have turned things around there is plenty of time. Like sacking Jol keeping him in charge was a perfectly acceptable choice. Keeping him and hiring Muelensteen as head coach alongside him was not however a good choice it blunts the benefits of either choice of action. The old regime is still there stopping any new manager bounce but the new guy also undermines the old regime betraying the advantages of stability. Simply put no one will know who is in charge. Who picks the team? Who do I go to to ask questions? The whole thing is a mess and just like when such a system was tried at Liverpool with Evans and Houiller it will end in disaster. Jol will now certainly depart the club but that event will now take longer wasting precious time that Fulham cannot afford. This decision may just have relegated Fulham. What is worse I’m not sure that the new owner will be willing to invest the time, money and effort to get them win promotion back.