Senior Scout and Academy coach Kit Symons discusses his return to the Club and his targets for the future…
First of all, I would like to say that it’s fantastic to be back at a club I have always had a close affinity with, despite playing my last game for the Whites in 2001.
I’ve been working in some capacity for the Club for a while now having left Colchester United in October and it’s going really well. I’ve been even more involved recently, following the Club’s offer of a coaching role. It’s fair to say that I snapped their hand off.
Ever since I left I have kept strong ties here and still had a lot friends at the Club, so it was a natural move for me to come back. Barry Simmonds (Head of Scouting), who I knew from my time at Crystal Palace approached me and asked whether I would be interested in doing some casual scouting for the First Team and I was doing that up until the summer.
This year I’d started to do a little bit more and then in the last month I took the position of Academy Coach, so I’m over-the-moon at the moment. I’m working across the whole of the Academy, although predominantly I’ll be working with the U14s upwards.
It’s good to be working with Mark Pembridge, my former Wales international team-mate again, and it’s really such a terrific opportunity that I have been given.
I’ve been all over the place looking at various players and I’m lucky to be seeing different parts of the world as a result. A lot of people pigeon hole themselves and restrict their opportunities to solely coaching or management.
But that’s not me. I just enjoy working in the football environment with good people around me – and I have that here. I’m trying to broaden my horizons and experience as much of the game as I can.
I have been an assistant manager in the Premier League at Palace and have been a caretaker manager a couple of times, so I have that experience. I enjoyed that side of the game, but now I’m enjoying my scouting and working with younger players.
It’s been really interesting finding out how the Academy is run because these days Academies are almost a separate entity. There is so much organisation and hard work that takes place at that level and it’s an area of football that has developed rapidly over the last 10 years or so.
And it’s an exciting time to be part of the Fulham Academy, and the Club as a whole really. In football you get a lot of people that like to talk a good game, but already in the short time that I have been back things are definitely happening – they mean business here.
The Club is extremely well driven, and the people here want to achieve all they can. Having played for Fulham at a time when things were a little different, it’s been amazing to see them progress as far as they have done.
The week before last the team was a minute or so away from beating AS Roma in a European competition. I’m pinching myself at the thought.
It was a bit different when I played, but I was very proud of what that the team achieved then, including two promotions. I like to think that I’ve played my part and because of that it’s forged a special bond. So, of course, it’s nice to be back and although it’s a smaller role, it’s great to be playing a part again. Hopefully I can be part of the Club’s future as well, and not just the past.
I was at the Arsenal game the other week working one of the lounges and came out onto the pitch at half-time and got a wonderful reception. I have three daughters and the middle one is a big Fulham fan, and hearing the crowd that day really made her afternoon – that was her dad out there!
I think it’s good to have former players on the staff, although the most important thing is that firstly they are good at the job, and secondly are good people. After that, if there’s a connection to the past then brilliant, because it can only be a benefit. Look at the wonderful jobs that the likes of Billy McKinlay, Gary Brazil, Mark Pembridge and, of course, Ray Lewington are doing here, now hopefully I can follow.
I loved playing for this Club and I’m going to do the best I can in my roles, I’ve certainly got my teeth into it. If I can find players that will improve Roy Hodgson’s squad, and younger ones for the Academy then I’ll be a very happy man.
In terms of coaching, I would like nothing more than to help players develop and get themselves into the First Team setup. As a youth coach that is what you strive to do, and I’m going to do all I can to make that happen.