Alan Curbishley has been installed as the bookmakers' favourite to replace Roy Hodgson as Fulham manager, but his appointment would be hugely controversial as he has had long-running feuds with two senior figures in the dressing room.
The Fulham captain, Danny Murphy, who is himself an outside candidate for the vacant post, fell out with Curbishley in 2006 over the midfielder's transfer from Charlton to Tottenham Hotspur. Curbishley, the then Charlton manager, accused Murphy of wanting to move so that "his social diary can be much fuller" and so he could attend "more film premieres", a dig at the former England and Liverpool midfielder's actress wife Joanna Taylor. Curbishley had earlier dropped Murphy, claiming that the player had been unsettled by speculation of a possible move to Newcastle.
Curbishley, 52, also fell out with defender Paul Konchesky, calling him "bitter and twisted" for comments he made following his transfer from West Ham to Fulham in 2007. The manager even threatened legal action over Konchesky's comments that there were "a lot of unhappy players at the club [West Ham] who don't like Curbishley".
Curbishley will also have to make the peace with Bobby Zamora and John Pantsil, two players he was happy to sell when he was manager of West Ham. Curbishley has been out of work for nearly two years since leaving West Ham after a row about players being sold behind his back. He took the club to court and last November was awarded £2.2m in compensation.
Other candidates for the Fulham job include the former Manchester City managers Sven Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes, along with Tony Mowbray, who was sacked by Celtic last season. Eriksson, who has completed a short spell in charge of Ivory Coast, yesterday threw his hat into the ring, saying: "It's a dream for every manager going into the Premier League." The former Fulham manager Ray Lewington was yesterday named temporary manager of the club.
Whoever takes charge at Fulham will have to try to prevent a mass exodus of players. Hodgson is reportedly keen to take two Fulham players with him to Liverpool. Brede Hangeland, the club's imposing centre-half, is likely to leave, along with American midfielder Clint Dempsey. Arsenal are also keen on Hangeland, while Napoli have made inquiries about Dempsey.
Other senior players are also likely to depart Fulham this summer in the wake of Hodgson's departure to Liverpool. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was outstanding last season and is wanted by the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, to replace his inconsistent Spaniard Manuel Almunia. Fulham have already turned down a £6m bid for striker Zamora from Birmingham City, but a significantly higher offer might tempt them to sell. Former England defender Konchesky is also wanted by the Midlands club.