Scott Parker guided Fulham into the Premier League in his first full season in charge of the Cottagers, although it was a brief stay in the top flight as the club descended back into the second tier after only one campaign.
Despite his achievement in lifting the Cottagers into the Premier League, owner Shahid Khan deemed that Parker was not the right man to take the team forward. Parker left Craven Cottage by mutual consent and joined Bournemouth as their new manager. The Cottagers moved on to former Hull City, Watford, and Everton manager Marco Silva.
The fortunes of the two clubs will be fascinating to watch over the course of the season. Both will have ambitions of playing Premier League football in the 2022/23 campaign, with Fulham installed as the favourites in the Championship betting odds to finish top of the second tier. Bournemouth will also be vying for the crown, having narrowly missed out on promotion last term after suffering a defeat at the hands of Brentford in the play-off semi-final.
The two managers will play a decisive role in the success of their respective teams. The question is, which team has made the right choice?
Bournemouth is banking on the experience of Parker to emulate his previous success at Fulham. After the Cottagers were relegated from the Premier League in the 2018/19 campaign, Parker restored their confidence using the majority of the squad that crashed out of the top flight. Aleksandar Mitrovic was on point in front of goal, while the defence was solid enough to earn the Cottagers a spot in the playoffs after just failing to clinch automatic promotion. Their nous was evident in the post-season to beat out Cardiff City and Brentford to return to the Premier League.
It was a difficult challenge to remain in the top-flight amid a truncated summer, but Parker will be richer for the experience. Now at the Vitality Stadium, the former England midfielder has a raft of talent at his disposal with a squad that is not too dissimilar from his Fulham team of two years ago. Dominic Solanke will provide the thrust in the final third in the mould of Mitrovic.
The Cherries’ resolve is further bolstered by the standout forward Arnaut Danjuma, who was sensational last term. Danjuma is a valuable asset to the squad and with him on board, Parker has an outstanding strikeforce at his call.
The middle of the park is equally strong with the likes of Lewis Cook, David Brooks, Jefferson Lerma, and new signing Emiliano Marcondes in place. There is also ample talent in the backline.
Therefore, the pressure will be on Parker to deliver, although as he proved at Fulham he can handle the expectations of a promotion race.
Silva has not managed in the Championship before and a promotion race in England will be a new experience. He has been out of the game since December 2019 when he was sacked by Everton with the club in peril in 18th place in the Premier League. The Portuguese did earn plaudits for his initial work with Hull City, although he failed to keep them in the top flight in the 2016/17 term. Outside of the Greek Super League win with Olympiacos, he has not been overly successful and seems to have a solid reputation despite his failings in the dugout.
Fulham has been attracted to his potential and will be hoping that he can deliver. Parker set the standard for the minimum expectation two years ago by reaching the playoffs. Therefore, Silva will be under pressure to at the least match that achievement and all eyes will be on the Portuguese leader to push the Cottagers into the automatic promotion spots. There will be no excuse for Silva given the talent available in Fulham’s squad.