With the threat of consecutive relegations heightening by the week, Shahid Khan has drawn a line under Felix Magath’s disastrous tenure at the Fulham helm.
After seven games the Cottagers are bunking with Blackpool in the Championship basement with just a point to show for their efforts so far.
With 15 points to make up on the automatic promotion spots, an immediate return to the Premier League already looks unlikely and, as a result, the west Londoners’ recruitment team will be praying they receive a CV from David Copperfield or Dynamo amongst the rafts of applications to be their new boss.
Unfortunately for them, the current betting picture remains void of illusionists and miracle workers, with Norwich’s Chris Hughton assuming early favouritism at 5/2.
The former Newcastle and Norwich rudderman has savoured one exemplary season in the second tier, guiding the Magpies to the Championship title in 2009/10 a year after their relegation from the Premier League.
A 102-point haul saw them home,11 clear of next best outfit West Brom, while a gulf of 23 divided them from the play-off spots.
It’s difficult to question this level of dominance, but the calibre of player Hughton could call on was far superior to any other in the division, with proven Premier League talents such as Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton in midfield and £35m striker Andy Carroll up front.
Fulham may have an over-valued forward in their ranks, but that’s where the similarities start and end with that Newcastle squad, after Magath placed too much faith in teenagers and complete unknowns.
This depleted standard is likely to scupper Hughton’s best attempts to salvage the Cottagers’ ransacked promotion bid, which lends favour to Alan Curbishley, who can be backed as a 25/1 outsider at this stage.
Having achieved promotion with a run-of-the-mill Charlton team in 1997/98, he repeated the feat two terms later, after the Addicks had been demoted from the top flight.
He’s got a track record of choppering teams out of the Championship and revitalising a group of players down on confidence following demotion, which is an issue the Fulham crop are struggling to contend with at the minute and this makes him a worthy contender.