All quiet at the Cottage
As transfer windows go, January was a rather quiet one at Craven Cottage. Fulham had won just one of 12 as the new year beckoned; however a quick overhaul wasn’t on the cards. Having been in the South West London hot seat for 18 months, Martin Jol was never likely to be panicked by the poor run of the Lilywhites.
February 18th, 2013
The Dutchman acted within the tight budgets of the club and their modest ambitions by bringing in four players on loan. Eyong Enoh and Urby Emanuelson were reunited with their former boss, joining from AC Milan and Ajax respectively, midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong moved across London from Arsenal and right-back Stanislav Manolev joined from PSV Enidhoven.
All four are capable, experienced players who will help Fulham’s Premier League chances with the end of the season looming. However, it is off the pitch that the biggest deal of the month was done.
On January 29th, it was announced that Fulham’s owner Mohamed Al Fayed had agreed to turn the £187 million worth of personal loans he was owed by the club into equity. The move essentially makes Fulham a club completely free of debt and brings them nicely into line with UEFA’s new financial fair play rules.
Al Fayed has always widely been seen as an exemption to the various nasty stereotypes of foreign owners currently in football. Since buying Fulham in 1997, he has helped the club rise to the Premier League before establishing themselves there.
With the club now free of liability, they are more appealing to potential buyers and with the club considered an “established” top-flight side, they may be some eyeing them. However, Fulham Supporters Trust has already moved to rubbish claims that Al Fayed’s actions are those of a man preparing to leave it all behind.
“Every indication is that while he has scaled back, or even sold off, many of his other investments, like Harrods, the football club is the one he has kept on,” said Dan Crawford, spokesman for the Supporters Trust, “I don’t think Fulham fans doubt his commitment. He’s a visible presence and his son Karim is on the board.”
In truth, Fulham fans have a lot to be thankful to their Eqyptian owner for and this is something to add to the list. Even if they are some who are still focused on the Michael Jackson statue unveiled nearly two years ago.