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Four Fulham bosses who walked away – and how they fared

Written by Rhys Daly on 10th July 2023

Marco Silva’s links to Saudi Arabia won’t go away as Fulham try to prepare for the new Premier League season – but history offers a warning, as Rhys Daly considers.

Only four Fulham bosses have decided to walk away from the club of their own accord in recent memory – but it hasn’t gone well for those on the lookout for greener grass.

From Kevin Keegan to Scott Parker, struggles have followed those who choe left Craven Cottage – which should act as a warning to Marco Silva.

1. Kevin Keegan

First on our list is Kevin Keegan, who walked away from his cushty Craven Cottage post to sip from the most poisonous of poison chalices.

Keegan, who had won 38 of his 61 fixtures in charge of Fulham and lost only 11, left SW6 to take charge of England on a full-time basis in May 1999, having briefly juggled both jobs on a temporary basis.

A two-time Ballon d’Or winner as a player, Keegan wasn’t able to recreate the aura that brought Newcastle to the brink of Premier League glory, while with the Three Lions.

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In his only major tournament as England boss, they lost 3-2 to Portugal in their opening game of Euro 2000 despite being 2-0 up after 17 minutes.

Keegan resigned from the post after losing the first qualification game for the 2002 World Cup – with Sven-Goran Eriksson coning in to save the day.

Keegan stepped away from management after a short spell back at St James’ Park, but will always be remembered for taking Fulham back into the second tier.

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson’s decision to leave Fulham landed a second heartbreak in a matter of months following the Europa League final.

Hodgson couldn’t turn down the opportunity to replace Rafa Benitez at Liverpool, calling it the biggest job in club football.

Liverpool fans were disconcerted when Hodgson admitted they were in a relegation battle in October – but did manage to delay his sacking until January.

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Despite winning only 13 of his 39 games with the club, Hodgson rebuilt his reputation at West Brom before getting the England job.

Successful spells with Crystal Palace have come either side of a period at Watford, with Roy and Ray Lewington recently signing up for another season at Selhurst Park.

Mark Hughes

“F*** your ambition, we’re better than you.”

A chant heard around Craven Cottage after Mark Hughes left Fulham before taking charge at QPR – due to what he considered a lack of ambition.

Hughes had a steady single season at Fulham after replacing Hodgson, winning 11 games and drawing 16 to finish eighth in the table.

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Utilising a clause in his contract, Hughes left and took charge of QPR the following year – later losing at home to Fulham.

Hughes was sacked with QPR on their way to a 20th-place Premier League finish. Mediocre spells both Stoke and Southampton both ended in the sack, and Hughes now manages in League Two with Bradford City.

Scott Parker

Parker’s time as Fulham boss turned sour as we slipped to another meak relegation – with whispers of discontent behind the scenes.

Fulham were underdogs in their play-off final win over Brentford at Wembley – and despite a run of three wins and a draw across six fixtures from February into March – 18th place beckoned once more.

Parker and the club agreed to a contract termination in June 2021 – but it was Parker who made no secret of his desire to leave – and he took the job at Bournemouth the same day – who finished second in the Championship to Fulham to the following season.

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The former England midfielder was dismissed after a run of losses that had an aggregate score of 16-0 in the Premier League – including a joint-record 9-0 against Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Marco Silva’s men went from strength-to-strength to finish in 10th.

Marco Silva?

Silva’s future is not yet confirmed following talks with big spending owners in the Saudi Pro League – with Steven Gerrard the latest manager to make the switch.

The Portuguese boss could trade in his rising Premier League stock by moving to the Middle East – to earn millions more in wages.

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Past Fulham managers have failed to impress after leaving the comforts of Craven Cottage – but the latest update over Silva is a positive one.

i News reported that Silva rejected a contract offer worth £17million from Al-Hilal before they appointed Jorge Jesus, and Fulham are now said to be stepping up their attempts to keep their man – but attention needs to swiftly turn to the new season with Fulham’s squad looking thin.

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