• Tim Sherwood and Nigel Pearson among favourites for job in Championship • Owner Shahid Khan: it is now time to take Fulham to the higher level
Kit Symons leaves Fulham 12th in the Championship.
Kit Symons has been sacked as manager of Fulham. The 44-year-old left his post after an inconsistent start to the Championship season that has resulted in the London club lying in 12th place following Saturday’s 5-2 home loss to Birmingham.
Fulham have said they will commence a search for a replacement immediately but no caretaker manager was announced. Alan Curbishley is currently at the club in an advisory role and often joined Symons in the dugout at Craven Cottage, so he may take charge in the interim. Tim Sherwood, Nigel Pearson and Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink, the latter having taken Burton Albion to the top of League One before being overtaken by Walsall, are among the early favourites for the job.
Whoever replaces Symons will be the fifth Fulham manager of Shahid Khan’s tenure, after he bought the club from Mohamed Al Fayed in 2013. Martin Jol was dismissed after a few months and René Meulensteen lasted only 17 games before the disastrous tenure of Felix Magath.
The German manager led Fulham down to the Championship before he was dismissed with the club bottom of the division, having taken only one point from their opening seven games of last season.
Khan has aspirations to return the club to the Premier League and was not prepared to wait another season. “No one can ever doubt the effort and commitment that Kit put into Fulham, not only as first-team manager but also as a player here, and as a key figure in the success of our academy,” he told the club’s website. “Kit came through for us last year at this time and helped stabilise our club on and off the pitch, and we’re very grateful for that and his many other contributions over the years.
“It is now time to take Fulham to the higher level of success that we expect from our first-team manager and our players, and our supporters here in London and throughout the world deserve.”
Symons took over as caretaker manager in September 2014 following the dismissal of Magath and was given the role permanently the following month. Fulham’s season has been an inconsistent one this time around and the club are eight points off the play-off places.
While no team in the division has scored more goals than Fulham this season, defence is a problem. Only the bottom side, Rotherham, have conceded more than the 28 goals let in by Fulham, who have kept only two clean sheets in the league.
Speaking after the defeat by Birmingham, Symons said he felt defence was the area that was letting down his side most. “Realistically, if we tighten up defensively we will take something away from the offensive play; to get the balance just right is difficult to do and that’s the key to it,” he said.
“I’d gladly give up scoring a few more goals for a few more clean sheets. I always fancy us to score. We only need to score one a game to win it but that’s only if you are keeping a clean sheet – and we haven’t kept enough of them.”