ESPN FC Extra: Fulham's new man
Fulham have announced the appointment of Felix Magath as their new manager with immediate effect on an 18-month deal.
• Mison: Khan hits the panic button
Magath, 60, has had a long and successful managerial career, winning the German Double in back-to-back seasons with Bayern Munich before taking unfashionable Vfl Wolfsburg to the league crown in 2009. He has also managed Hamburg, Nurnberg, Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Vfb Stuttgart and Schalke.
He was most recently back at Wolfsburg for a second spell, where he left by mutual consent in October 2012 after a slow start to the season.
As recently as Friday morning, Magath had ruled himself out of the running to become the new boss of Hamburg.
A shock statement released by the club on Friday evening made no mention whatsoever of Rene Meulensteen, who first arrived at Craven Cottage in November as head coach before taking over from sacked manager Martin Jol just three weeks later, or technical director Alan Curbishley and assistant head coach Ray Wilkins.
Chairman Khan told the club's official website: “I am very happy to welcome Felix Magath to Fulham Football Club. Felix is an accomplished manager with multiple honours in the Bundesliga and a hunger to replicate his success with Fulham in the Barclays Premier League.
"I’m especially impressed with the reputation Felix has for coming into clubs at difficult times, often late in the season, and lifting them to their potential and beyond. Felix knows that is precisely the task awaiting him at Fulham, and he made it abundantly clear that he wants and is ready for the opportunity.
“Our club has shown promise in recent matches, but the fact is we have not won a league match since January 1. Given our form, we can no longer merely hope that our fortunes will finally turn. And with 12 matches remaining and at least four points separating us from safety, we certainly can no longer post empty results. Action was required.
“Alistair Mackintosh did a wonderful job during the January transfer window to improve our Club. This week, Alistair recommended Felix, with his history of producing results for Clubs with similar challenges as ours, as the new manager of Fulham. Alistair’s recommendation received my complete approval and Felix has my unequivocal support.”
Chief executive Alistair Mackintosh added: “The opportunity to bring in a manager with the experience of Felix Magath would typically be unlikely at this point in the season. However, Felix relishes this challenge. He is very impressed with our squad and commitment by Mr. Khan, and his confidence is precisely what we need over these final three months of the season. I thank Mr. Khan for his support and we are all looking forward to welcoming Felix to Fulham.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Meulensteen said: "They have hit the panic button on emotion and fear - but hey ho, that's football. I knew the owners were freaking out a little bit that there was the possibility of the club going down. The way forward that we have discussed with the club was about longevity and in this case it is clearly an act of fear.
"I have not had a lot of time and people who came to the Manchester United and Liverpool games could see what I was trying to put in place. I couldn't care less what they put in the statement, to be honest."
Fulham remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League despite creditable performances against Manchester United, where they drew 2-2, and Liverpool. But the Cottagers twice threw away the lead to Liverpool before losing 3-2 to an injury-time spot-kick. With just four wins from 17 games in charge Fulham have decided to make a change in a desperate attempt to preserve their Premier League status.