Controversial Kline leaves Fulham

Tony Khan and manager Slavisa Jokanovic

Tony Khan and manager Slavisa Jokanovic

CRAIG KLINE has left his role as Assistant Director of Football Operations at Fulham.

The controversial American, a University friend of vice chairman Tony Khan, joined the club in October 2014 as director of statistical research before his promotion this February.

He was also added to the club’s board. However, Kline, who is described as “highly-strung” by colleagues, has regularly clashed with both manager Slavisa Jokanovic and other members of staff at the club.

An insider told TGG this had led to “destructive rather than constructive conflict” at Motspur Park, where the club’s staff are based. Things came to a head at the weekend, following the 1-1 home draw with Bolton. Although Kline has left the club following disputes on previous occasions, it is understood he will not be returning this time.

Under Kline, the Cottagers famously operated a ‘two boxes ticked’ system, in which potential recruits had to be okayed by both the club’s data and scouting departments.

However, following the exits of Chief Football Officer Mike Rigg and scout Miguel Rios last season, data has held sway. Brian Talbot was appointed chief scout in February, effectively replacing Rios, while his son Daniel, who has no previous official scouting experience, was appointed European scout in August.

In the summer, Jokanovic hit out at the club’s recruitment policy.

TGG has previously reported that the Serb gave Khan a list of 15 transfer targets, including Southampton striker Sam Gallagher, but these were passed over in favour of other options that the manager did not want, including Spanish centre-back Marcela Djalo.

Tony Khan, the son of owner Shahid, emphasises positives, such as Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon, signing new deals in the summer. The club also retained its Academy One status.

Khan also denies accusations that he does not spend enough time at Fulham because of his other role as Senior Vice President, Football Technology & Analytics, with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fulham, who reached the play-offs last season, are languishing in 15th in the Championship following their 2-0 home defeat by Bristol City last night.

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