REVEALED: Why Steve Clarke deal with Fulham collapsed at eleventh hour
By Editor Wayne Veysey| Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Fulham’s move to appoint Steve Clarke collapsed after he tried to renegotiate lucrative top-up bonuses, Football Insider sources understand.
Clarke had agreed the terms of a contract with Craven Cottage chiefs in midweek before making a U-turn that antagonised the Londoners and left him with no option but to remain at Reading.
A Fulham source told Football Insider: “Steve Clarke had agreed the contract with [Fulham owner] Shahid Khan. It was then passed over to Clarke’s agent Phil Smith who wanted to renegotiate more money.
“The structure of the basic salary was fine. It was additional elements that was the problem, the bonuses. The tweaks [to the contract] were so substantial that Fulham were not willing to consider them. Shahid Khan said, ‘no thanks, we won’t be doing that’.”
The collapse in negotiations meant Clarke was forced to return to Reading and pledge his future to the Championship promotion hopefuls after requesting permission to hold talks with Fulham earlier in the week.
The London club then made another move for Nigel Pearson, who had their original candidate to succeed Kit Symons but, as revealed by Football Insider last Friday, talks hit a snag due to the cost of the former Leicester manager’s backroom team.
Steve Walsh and Craig Shakespeare, Pearson’s long-time assistants, have remained on the coaching staff at Walkers Stadium following Claudio Ranieri’s summer appointment and are unwilling to drop to the Championship unless the Londoners can match their lucrative Leicester deals.
The cost of appointing Pearson and the duo is prohibitive for Fulham and they have now moved on to other targets as they bide their time before making an appointment.
Peter Grant took charge of the team for Saturday’s 1-1 draw MK Dons, but insisted afterwards he is only a caretaker and will not be taking the job permanently.
Symons was dismissed following Fulham’s defeat to Birmingham before the international break, which left the Cottagers 12th in the Championship table, eight points off the play-off places.
Khan said he wanted to take the west London club “to a higher level of success” as they seek a return to the Premier League following relegation in 2014.