Fulham Appoint Rene Meulensteen as Head Coach

Alex Livesey

He's not the new manager. He's not the assistant coach. He's not the first team coach. He's the head coach. What does that mean. I'm not sure.

Fulham announced today that Rene Meulensteen has joined the club as head coach. I'm not sure exactly what this means. In American sports, there is a clearly defined hierarchy to how sports teams are run. You have the manager/head coach who runs things on the field. You have the General Manager who handles player acquisition and team building. You'll have a Head of Scouting who handles the finding of new talent. And above them all  you'll usually have a President or CEO who run everything. English Football is usually not set up like this. But I've often thought it should be. Asking a manager to be in charge of so many different aspects of the game is much tougher in the modern world than it was even ten years ago. Having technical directors and head scouts and head coaches might make a whole lot of sense. Is this move a step in this direction? What does it mean for Jol?

I personally see this as a step towards having a manager/coach and a technical director/director of football. Meulensteen has a lot of experience coaching, but hardly any with managing. What's the difference you ask? He's set up teams to play. Managed in game decisions. Developed strategy to use against opponents. But he's never really been in charge of acquiring players and running the transfer market (except for a short time at Bronby). Bringing him in as the manager and sacking Jol would have required finding someone to do that task. Fulham would have needed that new technical director in place before the transfer window. I'm not sure letting Jol run that is the best thing in the world, but it's probably better than trying to have Meulensteen do it all.

What does this mean for Jol? Well, his job is probably safe for right now. But there's almost no chance he's the manager of Fulham after this season. Even if Fulham have a miraculous turn around, I'm pretty sure the club wants Meulensteen to be the next manager. It wouldn't surprise me if it was that promise that lured him away from Qatar. So at best, Jol might enter a technical director role with the club. Maybe he'd be better suited to that. He does seem to find talent on a budget. It's using said talent that has been his biggest issue. Still I'm not convinced he'd be great at that either. What is everyone else thinking about this decision?

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