You are the Chairman

Posted by Phil Mison

Ian Kington/AFP/Getty ImagesMohamed Al-Fayed will leave a strong legacy behind at Fulham

The message board has gone into overdrive. No calm counting down to the end of another season for Fulham. In the week marking the third anniversary of our monumental achievement in playing the inaugural Europa League Final -- and congratulations to Chelsea for going one better than us -- long-suffering Fulham fans are cast into a frenzy of doubt, worry and trepidation.

We are going to need a posting wall of Chinese magnitude if postings and strong opinions continue to bubble up at the current tempo. The Telegraph story from earlier in the week has now been tempered by The Guardian's man suggesting Martin Jol is set to be granted a stay of execution.

While this writer has perhaps dwelt overly on the team's shortcomings this season, no hard task when you review our patchy form month by month, the Guardian gives us a timely reminder of Jol's record at Fulham over the full stretch. Reasons enough to support the manager into 2014?

In terms of transfers, he is £13 million pounds in profit, and through a difficult transitional period we remain a Premier League side. No blame can be laid at Jol's door for the loss of the Double Ds. Nor should he take the rap for Steve Sidwell's indiscipline or Ashkan Dejagah's collision with the advertising boards that have so undermined our run in. And having waved off Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele in September, the last thing our beleaguered manager needed was Mahamadou Diarra's block-booking of the treatment room.

Incontrovertible is his transfer coup in attracting Dimitar Berbatov to the club. Dimi's 14 goals when surrounded by such a poor cast of supporting players has saved our skin and added a world-class individual to the ranks at modest Fulham.

The albatross around Jol's neck however remains the abject failure of Bryan Ruiz to justify his £10 million pound plus fee. If the Steve Marlet syndrome is to be applied a decade on from Jean Tigana's time, this may be the deal that does for Jol in the chairman's mind.

Intertwined with the above issue are the very valid criticisms of the manager's determined pursuit of a tactical system that rarely draws the best from the squad. None of us are party to the coaching set up at Motspur Park or the sentiments inside the dressing room, but on the field, evidence week on week suggest a lack of tactical nous, team bonding and organisation.

Again, playing devil's advocate, supporters in Jol's tent will be quick to point out the excellent return obtained in securing Sascha Riether -- now confirmed as a Fulham player under contract for a release fee of just €1.4 million euros.

Likewise, we can also look forward to a bigger return next season from Dejagah. He arrived from Germany with an injury and took a while to show his credentials, but by spring was starting to look the real deal. Also in the credit column would be Jol's gamble on Gorgios Karagounis and Eyong Enoh.

The Swansea game is meaningless. Yet another defeat however and a final table that sees Fulham sitting just above the relegation places provides for permanent and damaging reading when Jol is called into the boardroom to receive his final report of the term.

Balancing the two newspaper articles mentioned above, I sense this is going to be a close call. Even the Guardian writer admits Gus Poyet has his supporters on the Fulham board. There are not many of them round the table, so it won't take much to sway the balance either way. Everyone of course will be looking for the message coming down from the top -- and that at the end of the day is the only vote that matters.

The elephant in the room of course overshadowing the whole debate is, how much money are the club prepared to invest? Cut the cake anyway you like -- serious investment in new players must be made. So, between now and my end of season report after the trip to Wales, if you are the Chairman of Fulham FC what do you do now?

Twitter: @FulhamPhil

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