Fulham name former Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic as new head coach
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 28/12/15 8:31am
Fulham have confirmed that former Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic is their new head coach - 49 days after sacking previous boss Kit Symons.
The 47-year-old Serbian leaves his post as boss of Maccabi Tel Aviv, who currently top the Israeli Premier League and lost all six of their Champions League Group G games this season.
Jokanovic joined the Israeli champions after leading Watford to promotion to the Premier League last term, having joined the Hornets on a short-term deal, but he was unable to agree a long-term contract in the summer.
Slavisa's credentials and passion for the job rose to the top through every stage of this process, and we cannot wait to welcome him.
But he returns to England after compensation of £368,000 was paid to Tel Aviv, and brings with him his assistant Javier Pereira and analyst Alberto Escobar from Israel.
Jokanovic said: "I apologise to the Maccabi supporters and I see that they are the most loyal fans, one of the most amazing I've seen in my football career.
"This made the games I played here at Bloomfield and on Europe great and I enjoyed the city of Tel Aviv. I want to thank all of the people here in Israel, including the press and friends that I've made during my time.
"There's a very important job in London coming up with Fulham and I am looking for stability and I hope to be there a very long time."
Fulham chairman Shahid Khan said: "I am extremely proud to announce that Slavisa will be joining.
"We considered many quality candidates for what we considered to be one of the best positions in football, and I personally interviewed most of them.
"While the search was time-consuming and painstaking at times, I knew that when the process was complete that Fulham would have the best man possible for this opportunity and challenge.
"Slavisa's credentials and passion for the job rose to the top through every stage of this process, and we cannot wait to welcome him to Motspur Park and Craven Cottage to get things going in the right direction for the second half of the season."
Fulham have indeed endured a "painstaking" search for a new head coach that has seen them fail in their efforts to hire at least four different candidates.
After sacking Symons on November 8, the club said they initially hoped to have a new man in charge over subsequent international break but instead saw moves for Nigel Pearson, Steve Clarke, Paul Lambert and Gary Rowett all go wrong.
Reports then emerged of an interest in Rangers boss Mark Warburton, but Sky Sports News HQ understands the Whites have never explored the idea of bringing him to Craven Cottage and Warburton declared he had no interest in a move.
Fulham's U21s boss Peter Grant took the first team for three matches - two draws and a defeat that left them 16th in the table - before the Whites brought in former Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray into an interim role.
Gray has overseen two draws and two defeats but will continue as a senior first-team coach under the new man.