According to the Times Online, and you can read it for yourself here, former Hibernian manager and Everton and Fulham (amongst others) player John Collins will begin talks with ownership later this week, with a formal announcement to be made if/when Fulham get relegated. Current boss Roy Hodgson would head upstairs to become director of football. The Cottagers would like to keep him around for his experience in the game and could benefit from the contacts he’s made across Europe during his managerial career.
Collins did a good job at Hibs, leading them to their first trophy in 16 years after beating Kilmarnock to win the Scottish League Cup in March of last year. There were strong rumors and talk about dressing room mutinies and uneasiness in the relationship between Collins and his players, but he was 23-15-16 in his 54-game SPL tenure and that’s a solid record in a league annually dominated by Rangers and Celtic. If you’ll remember, he also was in the running to take over at Craven Cottage when Lawrie Sanchez was fired right around Christmastime, but chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed believed that the club needed a battle-tested manager to guide his team out of the drop zone and into safety.
At 40 years of age, Collins is relatively young for a manager and marks a stark contrast to the calm, stoic figure that has been Roy Hodgson. If Fulham were to be relegated, Collins’ energy and passion would really need to be harnessed and used in a positive way; as I recently wrote, the 24-team Championship is built on parity and there isn’t much between clubs. Every game is a fight and each point is crucial in the race for promotion.
On the surface, this seems like it would be a good move for Fulham. They’re a team that I have a soft spot for and if Collins is the man to bring them back up, that’d be a great story.