When a man considers himself too reputable, too deluxe and, ultimately, too valuable for the institution for whom he works, he should leave instantaneously. Little did we know, as inattentive, unenlightened fans, that Mark Hughes thought of himself as highly as the descriptives offered above from the second he walked into the Craven Cottage doors.
That the Welshman demanded a bigger office and an elaborate new desk upon which to place his pencil sharpeners are all irrelevancies compared to his shameful demotion of a stalwart in recent Fulham history; Ray Lewington. After settling in and employing his steadfast sidekicks, Mark Hughes set about systematically lowering the status of a man so genuine and so knowledgeable of all things Fulham, that were it not for the new desk, he could be considered part of the proverbial furniture.
It took a good man to reinstate Ray Lewington, and the good man of course came in the form of Martin Jol, who has today confirmed Lewington as one of his new assistants for the coming season. The Dutchman hailed Lewington as a "main figure at the club" who "knows everything." Spot on.
The return of some solid foundations and some traditional decency to the dugout of Fulham, in the shape of both Lewington and Jol, doesn't detract from the discrepancies and the shameful acts of our previous manager, however. Results may have flowed and even away victories may have been savoured, but Mark Hughes' reign was one that should never have been, and in terms of his compassion and genuine affiliation for the club, we should hastily forget his dictatorship as 'another top ten finish.' In the grand scheme of things, that's all it was.
New desk and improved office aside, Mark Hughes always felt he was a better man than what he had become at Fulham. His genuinely brutal Manchester City departure scarred him deeply and it's made way for a personality trait that has seemingly increased his ego no-end. In a bid to prove the City owners wrong, Hughes will never settle for second best, and at the sheer mention of a 'bigger club', he walked out and never looked back. Did it not hit him, though, that he was the fall back option to Fulham, rather than vice-versa?
Clearly not, as his actions prove. The year was all he needed to re-invent himself as the self-confessed master of the Premier League and once that ambition was complete, the next step must be forthcoming. As of yet, though, his next step hasn't materialised, much to the enjoyment of all those who oversaw his rather hypocritical walk-out.
On the rather blissful contrary, however, Fulham have now employed someone they were authentically chasing. SW6 now, gratefully, hosts a manager who is not only first choice, but is graceful and harmonious. There will be no extensions to Jol's office and there'll be no needless sackings. Instead, the former Ajax boss will combine a dampened ruthlessness with the necessary man-management skills that, reportedly, Hughes never had. Communications under the Welshman were made almost as if in MI5, with middle-men doing most of the work. Mr Hughes was far from hands-on.
And, while our former boss continues to spit diatribe at his former employers in Manchester, many have overlooked that such a fate was bestowed upon Jol at Tottenham Hotspur, perhaps even more savagely. Does Jol deem it necessary to avenge his mistreatment, or even heavily criticise those that did him wrong? Of course he doesn't. He's a gentleman. Just as any Fulham manager should be.
That's why Martin Jol, without even overseeing a match as of yet, is a better manager of Fulham FC than Mark Hughes has ever been.