I think there are several factors at play in regards to when is the right time to change the manager at Fulham. First, shouldn't Fulham owner Shahid Khan have enough time to evaluate what he has at Fulham before making a significant change?
I know some fans do not want to hear this, but Mr. Khan is new to the league, and to Fulham so it might take him a little time to evaluate if he has the right man in charge of his team. I would rather have him assess the situation than making a knee jerk reaction.
If he is in it for many years to come, Mr. Khan needs to be thinking about the future of Fulham in the long term, but not take his eye off of winning now. This is a balancing act, and as a new owner, the first year is a transition where he could make mistakes, so I would rather give him some time to learn, so he can make the proper decisions to move Fulham forward.
I know the current Fulham manager is in his third season with the club, but this is the first under Mr. Khan, and the Chairman needs to decide on his own if he feels Jol is the long term solution for Fulham. If Mr. Khan decides that Jol is not the right fit, I truly believe he will make a change. This is all about evaluation, and for a first year owner, I think time is needed.
A second factor of timing could be fear of relegation. What if we are half-way through the season and Fulham are in the drop-zone? Well, I have said on Cottage Talk, that if relegation is a serious threat around December-January, and it really becomes about survival, then I am not against changing the manager.
However, at that point if Fulham did decide to make a change, a caretaker manager to get us through the season could be the solution. The issue I have for the club is that I want a manager who has a long term vision for Fulham, and honestly there is not a name out there right now that I think would be in it for the long haul. There are managers available that have been at several EPL clubs. I don't think that is the proper solution.
So if a managerial change is made during the season, I think this should be temporary, and then at the end of the season, find the manager you want to move Fulham forward. Whoever is the manager of Fulham next season, needs to have a plan that can look several seasons into the future.
The biggest decision I think Mr. Khan faces is to have in place the Fulham manager who he feels can move us to the next level. If he determines it is not Jol that is fine. However, he really needs to get it right when we are talking about the long term manager of Fulham.
The manager of Fulham should be able to integrate players from the transfer market along with players coming through the Academy. Mr. Khan made it clear to me on the "Google Hangout", the importance of having home-grown players. I have a feeling the Academy is a part of his plan to be a sustainable club.
A third factor also involves our place in the table in the December-January timetable. If Fulham are somewhere in mid-table, I feel you let Jol finish the season, but you back him financially. The only time Jol had any significant money to spend was when he first came to Fulham, and he brought in several players including Bryan Ruiz.
If this scenario plays out, I would hope Mr. Khan would give Jol the money to spend to fix the issue in central midfield and also on defense. If he was able to find the missing pieces in the January Transfer market, that could change things dramatically for the club.
However, regardless of what happens in the transfer market, the ultimate decision of the long term manager I feel should happen after the season. Whether it is with Jol, or a caretaker manager finishing up the season , next summer is when the decision of who can move Fulham forward should be made I feel.