Hughton under pressure at Norwich as Meulensteen and Mackay watch on
When Fulham announced the appointment of former Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath as the new boss at Craven Cottage, many found themselves scratching their heads at just what happened to former boss Rene Meulensteen – after all, the Dutchman had not been officially dismissed. To this day, the situation in West London remains considerably unclear – on Sunday evening The Telegraph reported that the former Man United number two, as well as former Chelsea stalwart Ray Wilkins, were still at the club.
However, on Tuesday ESPN reported that Wilkins, as well as ex-Charlton boss Alan Curbishley, had now departed but Meulensteen remained at the club, despite new manager Magath taking training – leaving Meulensteen’s role up in the air. Gamblers have been putting money on just what lies in wait for the Dutchman next – websites such as Gamblingsites.org can help find the best bookmakers for your bets – so here we will take a look at the 49-year-old’s options.
First off, of course, he could remain at Fulham – but whether or not he is likely to continue at the club in full job satisfaction could be arguable at best, though he is considered a highly professional individual, and so such an outcome is not beyond the realms of plausibility, however one must wonder whether his first taste as manager could have whetted his appetite for the job. Admittedly, it has been a mixed reign – a baptism of fire, if you will – but it would be understandable were he to now decide that, having been a manager, he wants another job at that level.
With pressure mounting on Chris Hughton at Fulham’s relegation-threatened rivals Norwich, Meulensteen could be seen as a prime candidate for a job at Carrow Road should the former Newcastle boss’ tenure in East Anglia come to an end. The temptation of offering him the task of staving off relegation at the potential cost of the club who gave him his first taste of management before taking it away again could be one that could tempt the former assistant to legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson, though again his professionalism may at least make him think twice.
Another sticking point to this scenario – apart from the fact that Hughton still has the job of course - could be the availability of Scotsman Malky Mackay, who was dismissed from his post at Cardiff after an uncomfortable - and very public – bust-up with Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan. Mackay served the Canaries as a player for six years, earning cult status at the club through 213 appearances, finding the net 15 times – not too bad a figure for a defender. One of those appearances was on loan at the club, with the remaining 212 coming as a permanent Norwich player before departing in 2004 for West Ham.
However, all things considered, Hughton is a manager with a proven track record, and a man who enjoys considerable popularity and so too much speculation would be unfair. What else could lie in wait for Meulensteen?
International management may be an option, and with the World Cup fast approaching the usual exodus of head coaches following his side’s elimination from the tournament is reasonably expected – and so at this stage it would appear fair to guess that there will at least be jobs at that level to apply for five or six months down the line. However, until his situation at Craven Cottage is clarified somewhat, perhaps it may be best to assume that his heart lies with the Cottagers and that he will serve Magath with the dedication and professionalism that allowed him to enjoy such a glittering reign under the Scot at Old Trafford.