The English Premier League club Fulham FC have announced the appointment of a new head coach. Dutchman Rene Meulensteen is to join the club and begin his new role immediate effect.
He will be working alongside manager Martin Jol, also Dutch, and will no doubt be tasked with helping the club improve its current performances. Fulham are struggling in the Premier League after the first 11 games, and currently sit in the relegation places in 18th position.
Their most recent game was a 4-0 defeat away to Liverpool, which came directly after 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United. While these were not easy fixtures they would have expected more in the game before that, when they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by lower league opposition Leicester.This run of defeats has led to question marks over the future of Martin Jol, who has been managing the club since June 2011.
The appointment of Meulensteen has been interpreted by many as a sign that his Jol’s reign could soon be over. He is now the bookmaker’s favorite to be the next manager sacked.
Jol actually had a promising first season at Fulham, guiding them to a 9th placed finish and only falling short of the club’s record points tally in the top flight by one point. He couldn’t improve on that last season though, with his side finishing 12th, and he has overseen a poor start to the current season with just three wins in the league so far.
Meulensteen could be the man to help turn things around. He worked at Manchester United for several years, as a youth team coach and then a reserve team coach before a promotion to assistant to manager Alex Ferguson.
He left Manchester United when new manager David Moyes took over this summer, and had a short spell at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. While this was relatively unsuccessful, he remains a very well respected coach.
It remains to be seen whether this appointment will help to keep Martin Jol in his job, or whether Meulensteen is destined to ultimately replace him as manager. One thing is for sure, Fulham will be hoping for some good results soon.Published 14 Nov 2013, 04:49 IST