On Friday, Fulham confirmed the news that fans had been anticipating for many a week — Scott Parker will take over as permanent manager.
The 38-year-old was awarded the caretaker job in late February and had put together a run of impressive results to earn the full-time job just over two months later.
Despite Parker’s lack of managerial experience, the Englishman is the best bet for the Fulham job, and the club has made the correct decision.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) May 10, 2019
When Parker took over from Claudio Ranieri following the team’s capitulation during the away loss to Southampton, the Cottagers’ fate was all but sealed. Supporters greeted the decision as a return to the club’s roots, appointing a loyal player who had bundles of passion for the Whites.
But at the time, few saw the recently retired midfielder as a genuine contender for the permanent managerial position. Parker had never taken charge of a professional team before, certainly had no promotion-winning experience, and was seen as a stop-gap measure before Fulham signed a more established manager in the summer.
However, his brilliance led to a complete change of narrative in the months that followed. Rather than being viewed as a risky, inexperienced choice for the job, he transformed himself into the safe option — a remarkable feat that shows his impressive skills.
Right from the off, Parker made it clear he was gunning for the permanent position. Rather than play youth players in a gung-ho effort to make a fresh start, he stuck with a strong side and got results.
He publicly assured the media that he would be fine operating within the tight transfer requirements at Fulham, a pet peeve of Slavisa Jokanovic and a potential stumbling block for other prospective managers.
Parker revitalised the spirit at the club, steering the team to three consecutive clean sheets alongside Stuart Gray, and never missing an opportunity to state his love for the club.
Suddenly, the former England international was the man who knew the system, knew the players, and seemed set to pick up where he left off next season in the Championship.
Much is still left to be answered, as the second tier is a testing division for any manager. But Fulham made the right call by signing Parker to a two-year deal as manager; the club is betting the fan favourite can be the man to bring the Cottagers back to the Premier League.