It was probably time for Kit Symons to go. He'd underperformed and hadn't met the goals that had been laid out before him. The international break gave the team extra time to get someone in charge. If you're going to do it that was the time. This is Fulham we're talking about though, so nothing can ever be easy.
Nigel Pearson seems to been the first choice. The problem is, he wouldn't take the job without his previous assistants. Normally, that would be a small hurdle. However, those assistants are still employed at Leicester City and have salaries above what an assistant would make in the Championship. Added to that, they are in line for bonuses if Leicester avoid relegation. Leicester would have to earn less than 8 points in their remaining 23 games to be relegated. If I were those assistants, I'd already be planning to spend my money. Given all that, it made sense for the team to move on.
Steve Clarke appeared to be the plan B. It's always good to have a backup, and he didn't seem like that bad of a candidate. He even agreed to take the job. Then the agent got involved and tried to change the terms of the deal. The agent didn't have quite the pull of Darth Vader, and Fulham backed out. Both Steve Clarke and his agent look pretty dumb now, but it would seem that all the trust between them and Fulham has evaporated and even though he's unemployed, he won't get another look.
What was plan C? Who knows. Gary Rowett and Mark Warburton seemed to be in the mix. But both are currently employed. After seeing what happened to Clarke at Reading, can you blame them from not wanting to negotiate with another club?
After them, Stuart Gray seemed to be the guy. There were rumors he'd already taken over training. And this morning it comes out that he's been hired. He wasn't hired to be the manager though. He wasn't hired for the head coach position they were looking to fill. He has an entirely new position of Senior Coach. They're still looking for the Head Coach. What exactly does that mean? Do Fulham not think he's up to the job? Did he not want to be the Head Coach? Is the club in negotiations with someone else, but need someone to run the team until it's finalized? Who knows.
The crazy part about all of this (aside from the Stuart Gray appointment) is that every decision looks right in a vacuum. Keeping Symons last year made sense. Firing him this year made sense. The timing of the firing during the international break made sense. The idea of hiring a head coach and not an all powerful manager made sense. Moving on from Pearson and Clarke made sense. Stuart Gray as the coach made sense. The problem is that Fulham seemed to be caught off guard by each failure, and while they may have made logical decisions in light of those failures it slowed the whole process down. They simply didn't seem prepared in advance.
So here we are one month later. Symons still hasn't been replaced and none of us really understand the coaching hierarchy. No one seems to really have a plan. And the chances for promotion are slowly slipping away. You can say that they're only 7 points off the playoff spots. But you can just as easily say they are 6 points above the relegation spots. If they don't improve in a hurry this will be another lost season. And you better hope the coaches they have in place are the right ones, because the team simply can't afford to fire them all again next season and begin this process anew.