Forgive me, I'm not as familiar with the English game as you all are, probably. I suppose that's an assumption but given the tenured nature of the supporters of Fulham I believe that to be a safe guess. I had to perform a Google search who Alan Curbishley.
What I found, and as you might remember, is that Alan Curbishley was a former manager of West Ham United and a long time fixture a long the Charlton Athletic sidelines where for a few seasons he featured as a player manager for The Addicks before transitioning into their full time manager.
It would seem that once upon a time he was even jockeying for position among English managers for the future opportunity of national team boss. Now, after a long and draw out dispute with West Ham United that surrounded his resignation, a case that was rather awkward at the very least, but in the end justified Curbishley.
Interestingly enough if you recall it was Curbishley's Athletic that sold Scott Parker to Chelsea. He was also at the helm when the club acquired Darren Bent from Ipswich, then as a 22-year old scoring phenom. So beyond just the ties to Rene Meulensteen he also has ties to some of the players in the line-up as well.
Many of his moves with Charlton were very shrewd, well timed and paced to keep them within their own and still enabled the club to push further up the table. This will likely be what's expected of him here at Fulham.
According to the presser, released by the club, both Curbishley and Meulensteen report to Alistair Mackintosh the club's CEO meaning that they work together in some capacity. I say in some capacity because the job of the Technical Director obviously various from position to position and club to club. It would appear that in this instance Curbishley will handle more front office operations while allowing Meulensteen more times on the training ground and with his players.
While this selection from the front office may in some way indicate a lack of trust with the Rene Meulensteen this move from a coaching staff perspective is becoming more and more common. Just last year the Spurs hired Franco Baldini former Roma boss to be their Technical Director and work with, then, Andre Villas-Boas. One year ago Manchester City appointed Txiki Begiristain as their Director of football operations. Which, for all intents and purposes, is basically the same thing.
Teams are moving away from a single point of failure and that's a good thing. Putting all the pressure on Rene Meulensteen to keep Fulham from crashing down to the Championship is a good thing. Not only that but they did it with hiring a very smart and cunning Englishmen.
I'm very optimistic about this move and I'm not sure that I buy it happening a week out from the transfer window opening as a coincidence. I'm not saying I expect the January transfer window to be rife with moves. It may, it may not and either way that doesn't affect any predictive values that currently project us for no better than the 18th position in the table at the end of the season.