By now you've probably seen the video of Brede Hangeland talking about Fulham. You've heard people talking about it on twitter. You've read pieces that say this is evidence the sky is falling. Hopefully you've read even handed pieces like Kristian Balkin's trying to understand both sides. Do we need another piece dissecting the video? Probably not, but I'm going to give it to you anyway.
The quotes from Hangeland are absolutely scathing.
He is very difficult to work with. He has a reputation of being a very strict manager, which he is. His main tool is to try and mentally and physically batter his players and then hopefully get some results out of that. Is that a right fit for English football? I don’t think so personally... I hope I’m wrong because I really love the club but, in a word, no – I don’t think he is the right man. I think things will get worse before they get better and I really think that what’s happening now at the top of Fulham is very disconnected, and very far from the Fulham that I know and from the Fulham fans.
Of course just like his departure from the club, it quickly devolved into a he said/she said situation. With the club leaking a story to Mirror Sports claiming it was Hangeland who had lost the support of the senior players. The club then published an interview with Scott Parker to show that the players were behind Magath.
So where is the truth? Probably somewhere in the middle. Is Magath too strict? Probably, but it does appear that he is changing his methods slightly to adapt to the English game. Is it possible Magath crashes and burns. Yes, but I'm not sure any other manager gives the club a better chance to win. There is something to be said for consistency after all. And Brede is not free of blame. If there are locker room problems (and all signs point to there being plenty), who's job is it to help sort them out. I'd say it's the captain. When players are disinterested and not giving effort, who should be pushing them? Again the captain. He didn't do that last year.
But the biggest problem I have is why Brede would do this? Before this summer I always agreed with this statement about him.
@SimonPeach There are few people I know posessing as much integrity as Brede. His opinions matter and should be taken seriously. By Fulham— Egil Johan Østenstad (@Egilostenstad) July 9, 2014
Now? I'm not so sure anymore. If he truly loved the club, what purpose does going public like this serve? It's not going to force a change of the management. It's not going to get Magath fired. Nothing he said is going to do anything but turn fans against the club and choose sides between him and the club. What's the point of that? Just giving a no comment would say the situation was bad without going out of his way to throw gasoline on it.
So, we can feel pretty certain that his love of the club wasn't what motivated him to speak out. What could it be then? Well, he's out of contract and unemployed. He had a pretty poor year with Fulham. He was part of a defense that was wretched last year. He was injured and didn't look like himself even after he was back. To be perfectly honest, I don't know that he's looked right since his red card against Sunderland in November of 2012. It's quite possible he's finding it much more difficult to find a job than he and his agent thought it would be. Perhaps their is a certain amount of truth to the negative stories that Fulham leaked? Perhaps teams are doing their due diligence and wondering if they want to bring him into their locker room. He and his agent may be trying to get out in front of all of that. Push the blame to others to convince other clubs that Hangeland wasn't the problem, it was Fulham. Just get him out of that situation and he'll be good again.
It's hard to fault him for that. His career is winding down, and he only has a few years left to earn at a high level. He should do everything in his power to get one more payday. But we do need to understand that there are motives behind what this is about and very little of them involve a love of the club. I'm just sad we even need to have this conversation at all.