When Fulham unveiled Scott Parker as the club’s new first team coach on 4 July, many supporters had a bittersweet reaction.
While Parker was a hard-working, fan-favourite at Craven Cottage, he had no professional coaching experience, and his arrival raised questions over the role of Stuart Gray at the club.
Six days later, Fulham’s worst fears were realised when Gray’s departure was confirmed.
As Slavisa Jokanovic’s top assistant and defensive coach was now absent, Parker’s arrival may have contributed to the Serbian’s sacking last week.
The coach of Tottenham Hotspur’s U-18s before arriving to manage alongside Jokanovic at Fulham, Parker is extremely inexperienced at the senior coaching level.
Despite his unparalleled work ethic and extensive knowledge of the game, Parker had never coached in the Premier League level before.
In addition, Gray had been known as the mastermind of Fulham’s back four, drilling the defence on organisation and solidity.
With an old hand gone and a new arrival in, Fulham appeared suspect at the back and leaked goals during their opening months back in the top flight.
Although other factors such as injuries and key player departures meant the Whites’ rearguard was suspect, the absence of Stuart Gray is undoubtedly a factor in the demise of Fulham.
And Scott Parker’s switch from Tottenham youth coach to Fulham assistant may have cost Fulham its defensive shape and played a role in the firing of Slavisa Jokanovic.