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Scott Parker says Fulham need to fill the Manager vacancy

last updated Tuesday 07th May 2019, 11:33 AM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham coach Scott Parker
Fulham coach
Scott Parker
Scott Parker
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At the mention of Craven Cottage Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker is wistful.

“There is an old school, an oldness, a charm, and values,” the Fulham caretaker manager says of the club’s timeless home by the Thames. “How it is built, behind that there is a real core and real foundations. It has substance. "

It is not too far a stretch to then ask whether the same applies to him? “Yes, probably!” Parker says. “There is certainly an element of that. You look at all the best-run, most successful clubs and when you say their name, clear words will come into your head.

“I felt as if Fulham last year had that. If we had said, in the Championship, they play a lovely brand of football, highly technical, their stadium comes into that. That’s an identity to us, the Cottage, and I certainly feel we lost that a bit along the way.

“For me as a manager if there is one thing I want then it’s that because I know that brings success. What is Fulham? What is Scott Parker’s team? They have this, this and that. I hope we can have that clear identity because I know then we will be successful. "

Parker wants to stay at Fulham.

Nine weeks ago he was told he was succeeding Claudio Ranieri until the end of the season - “literally the ownership said ‘it’s over to you now, take a deep breath and go’,” he says - and he would like his future, and the club’s future, sorted in the “next few days”.

“I think we are probably at the point now where it is best for everyone, myself included, that it is ironed out one way or the other, then there is a clear direction where the club is going,” Parker says.

“Eight weeks ago, even two, three weeks ago, asking me that question, I would say ‘I solely focus on the team’, because I knew we were in a bit of a bad way, and we needed to get some results.

“But now, with a week to go before the end of the season, do I want to be a manager? One million per cent I want to be a manager. Do I want to be a manager of Fulham Football Club? Yes, I do.

If I am not, if the decision is I am not going to be here, I know I am going to give it the best I can and be as successful as I can somewhere else. There is a fit here, of course there is, but ultimately the decision is out of my control. "

Fulham have long been relegated; a fate determined before 38-year-old Parker stepped up from being first-team coach, having returned last summer, but he has made a significant difference.

There have been improved performances, better organisation and now three wins in a row, three clean sheets and – perhaps most significantly – a re-connection with the club’s disillusioned fans.

“Three weeks ago after the Watford game when our fate was sealed, I was sitting there thinking about the disappointment of that,” Parker says. “Two days later it’s changed to, ‘What do we need to do to make this club get back into the division? What’s our next challenge, can we get up, can we be competitive? It is the rollercoaster of this game’. "

It is a rollercoaster Parker rode throughout an impressive 20-year career as a midfielder, which included being named Footballer of the Year in 2011 and which included spells under 19 different club and national team managers, from Jose Mourinho to Harry Redknapp to Fabio Capello, and now as a coach.

It was at Tottenham Hotspur that he first thought about management. He had always kept notes, a sort of bible, throughout his career of what had worked and what had not – driven, he admits, by the 'fear' of what to do when he retired but also the 'passion' for the game.

“When you lose it feels 10 times worse as a manager than it did as a player,” Parker says. “It’s constantly that fix of winning. "

He is also part of a cohort of former England internationals – including Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and John Terry – who want to manage. “They were all people who drove culture and drove standards and drove what the manager wanted and that’s probably why they’re doing what they’re doing,” Parker says.

Standards matter to him. The modern footballer is different; the modern generation are different and Parker – the father of four boys, as well as a football manager – has strong views about how young players' attitudes have shifted. “Everything is instant now,” he says, with a particular bug-bear of his being the influence of social media. “It’s the click of a button. You can buy the latest stuff. That’s my worry. There’s no realism in the world at times. Certainly as footballers, that’s the constant challenge for a manager. "

Fulham’s squad would – to the outside world – appear to stand accused of lacking that hardness, although Parker insists that while the motivation of some players may be different, and some are money-orientated, they were all 'gutted' when relegated in a difficult campaign of three different managers, £100millon spent and constant struggle.

“This team was in a blur, and things that looked so straightforward to players were not straightforward any more,” Parker says. “I experienced that myself when I was relegated with West Ham, all of a sudden things that were so, so simple to you are not. It all gets a bit blurry. This football club signed good players but of course there have been mistakes. "

Parker is desperate for the chance to be the man to rectify those mistakes and to put the foundations in place.

Source Jason Burt at Daily Telegraph
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