Shahid Khan takes charge at the Cottage
According to Forbes magazine, Shahid Khan has an estimated personal fortune of £1.7 billion and ranks as the 491st richest person in the world. That’s quite a nice place to start for Fulham fans as they prepare to welcome a new owner to Craven Cottage.
July 18th, 2013
Of course, Shahid has an incredible act to live up to as he prepares for life as the man in charge of Fulham Football Club. Since purchasing the club in 1997, Mohamed Al-Fayed has helped lift Fulham from the lower reaches of the Football League into becoming an established Premier League side. Only the seven remaining “original” Premier League clubs (Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton) have had a longer spell in the current top flight.
Since becoming one of the top 20 sides in the county in 2001, Fulham have rarely been in grave danger of relegation. There have been hiccups along the way and a few close shaves but on the flip side, there have been a handful of top half finishes as well as a magical run to the Europa League final in 2010.
Mohamed Al-Fayed may have had a few quirks as an owner but the amount of work he put in to the club has helped to firmly establish them over the last 16 years. His contribution will not be easily forgotten; especially the £187 million worth of personal loans that he wrote off earlier this year. That move no doubt paved the way for Khan purchasing the club earlier this month.
Shahid Khan has shown a desire in recent years to become an owner of sports teams. Little over two years ago, Khan paid somewhere close to $800 million for NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars. In a short time with the team, he’s shown a willingness to make changes if results aren’t achieved.
The Jaguars went through the 2012 NFL season winning just two and losing the other 14 of their 16 matches; making it the worst season in their history. Instead of allowing Mike Mularkey, a head coach in just first season in charge, time to turn the team around, Khan made changes. He replaced his General Manager as well as ending Mularkey’s contract; evidently signalling that results will be expected.
That could be a worrying precedent for Fulham’s current boss, Martin Jol. He isn’t Khan’s choice as boss and though the initial signs are good from the new man, the Dutchman will be keen to avoid giving him the opportunity to sack him. Shahid Khan has expressed a willingness to stick with Jol as Fulham’s boss but a poor run of results may change that.
For now, Fulham fans can get excited about what sort of investment a man with a personal fortune of around £1.7 billion can pump in to the club.