Curbishley: New Fulham duo can flourish

Alan Curbishley believes Martin Jol's new coaching partnership with Rene Meulensteen at Fulham can prove to be a success.

Fulham Manager Martin Jol

The London club last week brought in Meulensteen, a former member of Sir Alex Ferguson's backroom staff at Manchester United, to work alongside manager Jol as head coach.

Jol is under pressure after a disappointing start to the season, with the Cottagers in the bottom three of the Premier League after 11 games.

Arguably the high-profile appointment of Meulensteen - who could be seen as a manager-in-waiting having briefly taken charge of Anzhi Makhachkala earlier this season and been linked with the Crystal Palace vacancy - has increased the spotlight on Jol.

But former Charlton and West Ham boss Curbishley feels the two Dutchmen could prove an effective double act at Craven Cottage.

Curbishley has good experience of close arrangements having spent four of his 15 years in charge at Charlton working in tandem, as joint-manager, with Steve Gritt.

Curbishley told Press Association Sport: "I think Martin will have had a big say in this. Apparently they are friends.

"I think Meulensteen had other options but I think he saw that Fulham, who are an established Premier League side after 13 years, can turn this around to stay in the Premier League.

"Yes, I think it can work, as long as they converse and make sure they are singing from the same hymn sheet.

"You can't contradict each other. Not just in front of the press but in front of the players and in front of the owner, you have to have a united front.

"That is what Stevie and I did, even if we didn't agree with one another. That is vastly important.

"When you are out on the training ground, there is only one voice at a time.

"We took it in turns to take training, we took it in turns to give the press conferences.

"We made sure if we were going to have a confrontation about things we did it in the privacy of our office."

Curbishley was speaking after handing a £50,000 grant cheque from Budweiser to Bedfont Sports Football Club in Middlesex as part of the official FA Cup sponsor's 2013 Club Futures programme.

Bedfont are one of eight non-League clubs to receive this grant to improve facilities and will have a chance to win a further £100,000.

Curbishley, a brand ambassador for the scheme, said: "At Bedfont they are going to use this money to build a new stand for spectators, so people can watch the games in a bit of comfort.

"They are hoping to improve the facilities to generate more money for the club.

"It goes full circle. They get help from Budweiser and the FA, and they then invest that in the club and hopefully it brings in more revenue.

"This is an excellent scheme for grassroots clubs. It's a fantastic set-up here and this money is going to help them enormously."

Curbishley, 56, has been out of management since leaving West Ham in 2008 but remains involved with the sport as a TV pundit, primarily working on the Premier League's overseas broadcasts.

He is happy in that role - "I'm big in Bahrain!" he says - but has not ruled out a return to a club hotseat and notes that he does keep getting linked with jobs.

He said: "That is quite surprising because I have been out for so long now.

"But if an offer came along in the Premier League I'd certainly consider it."

Curbishley was mentioned as a prospective Palace manager but he thinks Eagles fans might find that one difficult to swallow.

"I don't know about that," he said. "An ex-Charlton manager - there's a bit of rivalry there!"



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