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McBride joins committee to select next Fulham manager

Brian McBride Fulham (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

One of the Americans who found plenty of success at Fulham is being tasked with helping the club establish its vision for the future.

Former Fulham and U.S. Men’s National Team legend Brian McBride has been named to a five-man search committee charged with identifying and reviewing candidates to serve as the next manager of the Cottagers.

Fulham fired manager Felix Magath earlier this month after some tepid results to start the season, leaving chairman Shahid Khan to seek advice from people within or close to the club to help pinpoint the person who will turn around the Cottagers’ fortunes.

McBride, who was at Fulham from 2004-2008 and served as a popular captain during his tenure, was included in that committee. He was deemed qualified because of his wealth of experience at both the club and international levels, and could be the person that finally helps get an American a notable head coaching position in England.

McBride is familiar with Bob Bradley, the former head coach of the U.S. and Egypt who is currently at the helm of Norwegian club Stabaek. Bradley has been doing a solid job in his first season there, but has in the past been reportedly interested in landing a gig in England.

What do you make of this development? Think McBride will suggest an American for the job? See Bradley being a serious candidate?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. He should pull a Dick Cheney. In 2000 Dick Cheney was on Bush’s vp search committee. Cheney couldnt find anyone more qualified than himself.

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  2. As an FFC supporter, I believe that the current team is behind Kit Symons. With all the upheaval in the past 18 months, I think it’s nuts to bring in even more instability. Stick with Symons and get us to January. On another note, M.A.F. knew he was selling, put NO money into the club and sold a shell of it’s former self to our current owner. Martin Jol didn’t help and we might be in the prem right now if we had stuck with Muelensteen (might, maybe, could have, I know). Relegation again would be a catastrophe, we need stability.

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    • No question sticking with Muelensteen was the way to go last year, even if you get relegated he would have been a far better choice going forward.

      Honestly, I think the key decision that started Fulham’s spiral was giving Jol too much influence over transfers. The big blunder was choosing (or at least not vetoing) to replace Dempsey with Berbatov. Dempsey is replaceable but has insane work ethic, and Berbatov is a cancer to work ethic. A small club can’t afford such mistakes, it can’t spend its way out of them.

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  3. What a sham. A committee? Seems like Khan is just looking for more people to put the blame on when Fulham goes down another league. The 5 guys on the committee are all smart, qualified guys, no question – but who are they reporting too? None other than Mark Lamping, the President of the Jacksonville Jaguars! Oh, perfect!

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  4. why did Bradley join Stabaek? They were a small relegation fodder club. Surely he had bigger options.

    I think he’d do well in the Championship but his nationality might lead him only the chance at coaching a League 1 side or North Ireland or Estonia which sucks

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    • Ya, but the article lead us into it with the last paragraph. So its not totally mental from our end. It’s just likely to be total speculation by the author and we cooperated.

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  5. One thing about Bob Bradley that probably no one has noticed. With him in charge, Egypt swept through its WC qualifying group, winning all 6 games, and then losing to Ghana in playoffs. Without Bradley, Egypt has just lost its first two 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and is sitting in last place in its group having scored 0 goals in two games.

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    • Bob is a fine manager and could probably handle Fulham, but your comment about Egypt is wide of the mark.
      The international game is a very different animal from the Championship. Egypt had a lot of time between games and very few of them. Fulham will have a ton of games in a very short time by comparison and every single one of them will be full of tension and pressure.
      Tony Pulis or Chris Houghton would be the most “guaranteed” choices but I doubt they would be interested. And Bob would be wise to be very careful if he gets approached. Magath had a pretty repsectable reputation before Fulham and now it is soiled.
      BB has done a lot of good things since he got fired by the USMNT and the fans and , unless Khan has it more together than he has shown so far, tying his star to a sinking ship like Fulham could flush all that down the toilet.

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  6. The last three sentences of the article are completely unfounded speculation. Just because McBride happens to be American does not even slightly suggest that an American is going to have the inside track at FFC. McBride is there to do what’s best for the club, one to which he has a strong connection.

    Unless there are some actual reports of BB being considered to which the author has not linked, this is just fantasy.

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  7. For all those making a scene about Bradley, I think Bradley would be stupid to take this job. It is destined to fail. Fulham could hire Pep, Mourinho, or bring SAF out of retirement and they still wouldn’t be any better. The team lost too many players and cannot restrengthen until January, when it will already be too late. It will be a miracle if they somehow survive.

    Let Bradley continue to show people how he is a good manager in Norway. For those who said he isn’t worth anything are absurd. The USMNT won their group in 2010 with half the depth the USMNT has now. Crazy how people don’t give him any credit.

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    • I would say the 2014 US team is twice as good as the 2010 team. Arguably, they are relatively the same strength. In fact, if everyone was healthy, the 2009 team was arguably better. Not to mention, out group was one of the weakest group we have EVER had, and a path to the Semi’s was feasible beat Ghana then beat Uruguay. Btw, I actually like Bradley.

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    • I disagree. Although talent clearly was an issue at the Prem level, I imagine the talent level is fine for where Fulham is now, probably higher than many other Championship clubs, simply due to the club having been in the Prem for so many years.

      To write off any team in that league at the beginning of October is misguided. The Championship is a coaches league, incredibly fluid and subject to huge runs, due to the professional pressures on the players, coaches, and everyone at those clubs to try to jump to the next level, and talent pools that are, frankly, interchangeable, with every coach knowing he’s only one or two injuries away from being under extreme pressure. Look at the table in March, there are always about 4 points separating 12 or more teams. I even might add there’s a bit of extra entropy thrown at English clubs by their culture at large, although I certainly would listen to opposing opinions about that.

      Any coach who can cut through that and build a sense of team that young talent can attach themselves to will succeed, but by no means am I downplaying how difficult a task that is.

      Fulham made a bitter mistake in hiring Magath, but at least he was so unsuitable that the owner had no choice but to recognize how egregious a choice he was and, in effect, fire himself from choosing the next coach.

      Lastly, I would argue Bob Bradley would be an inspired choice for an English second tier club, his primary skill set is turning around teams in a far healthier and more sustainable way than borderline psychopaths such as Magath.

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      • ” I imagine the talent level is fine for where Fulham is now, probably higher than many other Championship clubs, simply due to the club having been in the Prem for so many years.”

        There are 4 guys left from last year’s Premier league roster that got more than 3 starts last year. Just 4. And one of them, Ruiz, was on loan the second half of last season. The current squad isn’t even close to any of the mid table prem squads Fulham once had.

      • Yeah, I meant their academy folks and next man up types that made the 18 last year and now fill the places this year would still match up with Championship sides. I knew turnover was high.

    • This is an utterly clueless post… sorry to be so harsh but Fulham have some very very solid players at the club right now…. they will not be relegated provided they get a decent manager in…

      Felix nearly ruined the club by alienating the best players and running the team into the ground as a form of discipline… the won on Saturday and will probably win today to get out of the relegation zone… they have plenty of talent, especially young talent…

      Pat Roberts may well go to a top 4 club in January..

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  8. I saw McBride in Columbus a couple of weeks back. He was in town for an award Frankie Hejduk was getting from the Crew. Still looks like he could lace ’em up and score some headers.

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  9. Usually a committee assignment like McBride was asked to sit in, is not tasked to find a manager, per se, but will vet a likely list of candidates, to see who fits. Having an ex-captain and player like McBride gives a more well-rounded approach to the selection. Players voices are often overlooked in selections, but are crucial in communications down the road.

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    • This would be the fifth manager in less than two years so I think it should be chosen by new people and be done right where they can get back to playing for a while for a single dude.

      As a FFC fan my concern would be that this not drag out too long because we’re in the relegation zone again. Thoughtful, yes, but get it done and do it right, and do it before we’re chasing too big a gap. I don’t want some committee goofing around until November.

      It really shouldn’t be complicated, Pulis, Bradley. etc.

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  10. For Stabaek, avoiding relegation and advancing to the semifinal of their domestic cup is exceeding expectation. Short of winning trophies, Bradley is doing very well this season – just as he did with Egypt and the USMNT.

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  11. I think McBride will recommend the best man for the job regardless of country affiliation. Why he’d recommend Bradley when there are so many qualified candidates is beyond me. Bradley is a lifetime .500 manager and isn’t exactly lighting it up at Staebek. Don’t get me wrong, Bradley is capable but realistically there are better options.

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    • Yep. It doesnt sould like he was put on the search committee to be “the American voice”, but instead to look for the club’s best interest. I am sure that all qualified candidates will be considered and the list may include some Yanks, or not.

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    • Agreed.

      Bradley isn’t busting through at the Championship level from Norway. Ole ruined that for everyone. Plus, Bradley hasn’t really overachieved anywhere of recent note: He underachieved at the World Cup (sorry, he did with the group and path we had to the cup), then, sadly because of things beyond his control, for Egypt his team were embarrassed on their way to crashing out. Let Bradley continue to learn in Norway, make his team a champion then slowly move up.

      Fulham are a good enough team to move right back up to the EPL. Just please pick a coach who’ll keep starting our diminutive, future US star!

      The real crux of the story is just how esteemed they still hold McBride. Get that man a coaching gig there and let him work his way up the ranks. What is he doing these days?

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      • By all accounts Bradley’s time in Norway has been incredibly successful. His team was the unanimous choice for relegation, and instead is currently at a respecatble 7th. He took them to the semi-finals of the Norwegian and narrowly lost to the league leaders (and perennial Norwegian juggernaut) Molde FK.

        To say he “underachieved” at the 2010 World Cup is absurd. We won our group, albiet a soft one, and were eliminated by a good Ghana team. Ask anyone other than US Soccer fans what our expectations were, and they’d say we did well.

        Also, how is everyone forgetting the Confederation Cup? The best we’ve ever done at a tournament, beating Spain who hadn’t lost in ages, and narrowly losing to Brazil in the finals.

        I’m not saying Bradley should or shouldn’t be the coach at Fulham, but to say he’s underachieved in his career is ignoring every fact and going with a gut emotional feeling

      • +1

        Bradley’s done a very good job just about everywhere he’s been.

        I think his ultra-intense style might burn a team out after awhile, and his tactics aren’t exactly positive…but the dude is focused, fearless, and utterly prepared, and his teams are TOUGH to break down. He sort of epitomizes the “American” style of play, in that you’re going to be in a 90-minute dogfight every match you play against one of his teams, even if on paper you should crush them.

        Fulham could do much, much worse. Just off his resume, it’s vaguely ridiculous that he’s not even being considered…dunno how many other former national team managers who won their groups at the World Cup wouldn’t even be considered for a League Championship gig.

      • His Norway team was just promoted. Mid-table is great for a freshly promoted team.

        He isn’t lighting up the league but it would be wrong to say he isn’t doing well.

        Bob is solid but unspectacular as far as I am concerned.

      • All true about Bradley’s performance in Norway. Stabaek had just been promoted and was recovering from a serious nose-dive when he took over. My only quibble is that Molde’s status as a powerhouse in Norway is of fairly recent vintage; you may have been thinking of Rosenborg, which dominated the league until about five years ago. Still, Molde certainly have been great for a few years now.

    • What do you mean less than .500? I guess you’re counting ties against him?

      He had a winning record — more ties than losses — everywhere but the Metros. He won MLS and two USOCs for Chicago, got the then awful Metros close to playoffs and into a USOC final, got Chivas in the playoffs twice where he was beaten by champion Houston both times, won the Gold Cup, Confed Cup final, 2010 WC knockout round, Egypt to the final qualifying round where they lost to Ghana. Winning record in Norway.

      People are nuts, I tell you. As an FFC fan he’d be a great choice, and would help break the perception issue on American coaches.

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      • And don’t forget Bob had Egypt with the best record of all teams in African World Cup qualifying going into the final (and ridiculous) home and away qualifier in which you only play one other country to determine who goes through to the World Cup. Despite having the best record at that point Egypt gets put into pot B for the home and away draw based upon their seeding in 2013 when they were dealing with a suspended pro soccer league, not getting to play games at home, and the emotional aftermath for the players of the Port Said massacre. Name one other coach that has successfully dealt with the adversity Bob Bradley has as a coach. The Championship is probably the biggest grind in pro soccer and if there is anyone equipped to deal with it, I would say Bob has to be on the list. It’s not as if they players he would be coaching are of a higher calibre than what he has already successfully coached.

      • They are not nuts. It’s very rational: if you want to overstate Klinsmann’s performance in 2014, you must denigrate his predecessors. Therefore, finishing first in a group that included England and actually looking like we had a plan is garbage.

        Frankly, given Fulham’s track record with Yanks, they should hire Bradley immediately.

      • “Frankly, given Fulham’s track record with Yanks, they should hire Bradley immediately.” So you don’t think that there are better coaches in the UK than Bradley because I think that there are others that they should hire immediately before Bradley.

        Additionally, I am Bradley family fan and couldn’t stand the fact when people screamed nepotism and slammed him as a coach. However, finishing first in a group that included an OK English squad, weak Algeria (then) and weak Slovenia with 5 points (keep in mind we were one last min goal from LD from failing to exit the group) IS NOT BETTER THAN finishing 2nd with 4 points in group (which easily could have been 6 save 2 or 3 bonehead errors) that included world best Germany, strong Ghana and Solid Portugal.

        I will give you he did not have a plan B when Jozy went down ( I would have EJ). However, Bob’s teams always gave up goals first and bunkered.

    • Depends on what you think “lighting it up at Staebek” means. Norway isn’t like most American leagues where most teams can spend roughly the same (if there is a salary cap) and the draft ensures the best talent is distributed to all teams.

      There are whales and minnows. In Norway, my understanding is that Staebek is a minnow and doing very well compared to expectations and spending.

      I’m not a Bradley fanboy, but I do respect him as a coach. He’s never underperformed, though it can certainly be argued that some of his teams just didn’t quite get the brass ring when they were close (USMNT in Gold Cup in 2011, WC in 2010, Egypt in 2014, etc).

      I don’t think he’d be the right guy for Chelsea, ManU, etc, but for Fulham (24th in a 24 league team and headed toward relegation), he’s definitely someone I would look at seriously.

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    • I think Chris Naughton would be the best coach, but he would not want to go to Fulham now (bottom of the Championship). He had Newcastle owning the Championship the one season he was there (and was let go by that fool Ashley) and he coached in the premiership. It’s only a matter of time until premiership opportunities become available whish he probably wants. Bob’ is on the list and he might be good for a team that leaks goals.

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    • ok but you need a little perspective at staebek don’t you? they were not exactly considered title favorites. this is a club that was just promoted into the norwegian top flight and who were expected to struggle. Bradley has brought them exactly what they needed; stability in the top flight.

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