Is the Mohamed Al Fayed dynasty close to an end at Fulham Football Club?
If you believe reports from London this morning then it is edging near, as the mega-rich owner has apparently put Fulham up for sale.
The potential buyer may surprise you, but also excite you. Jacksonville Jaguar owner Shad Khan is apparently in pole position to buy the swish West London side.
Any potential deal is being closely guarded by Fulham, but sources suggest a fee of $225 million would be enough to make Khan the sixth US owner of an EPL side. The Pakistani-American has already agreed for the Jaguars to play at Wembley in each of the next four seasons, maybe his roots in London will strengthen by adding Fulham to his portfolio?
But focusing on the current owner, Al Fayed is deemed a “legend” in many respects across English soccer and the business world. The Egyptian businessmen formerly owned the luxury, world-renowned department story Harrods in London’s swanky Kensington neighborhood but many soccer fans have seen his familiar face in the stands following Fulham’s promotion to the English Premier League side back in 2001.
But after 16 years in charge and pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the West London club, Al Fayed is set to sale his beloved club with Fulham now an established Premier League outfit.
The project has been an incredible one from start to finish, as Al Fayed proved his strong business acumen once more by buying struggling fourth division Fulham for just $10 million back in 1997. He then helped steer the club to the EPL and poured over $300 million into the side by adding top players over the years such as Edwin Van Der Sar, Clint Dempsey and Dimitar Berbatov.
Al Fayed has also renovated Craven Cottage into a top class stadium while still keeping its charm and quaint nature. (Hence the famous Cottage remaining in one corner of the ground.) A statue of Michael Jackson outside the venue also gives you an idea of the high circles Al Fayed moves in. He really is a hugely powerful man who may believe now is the best time to sell.
Also, let us not forget the huge American influence at Craven Cottage since they joined the EPL. US internationals Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride have captained Fulham, while current Seattle forward Eddie Johnson has also played for Cottagers. And how can we forget the most notable US star to shine brightly down by the banks of the River Thames: Clint Dempsey.
So with all these links to the US, it would be a pretty smart move for a US businessmen or owner to look into acquiring Fulham. And that is apparently in the cards.
Khan, owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, is friendly with Al Fayed and is said to be extremely interested in buying the club. If this did happen, more US stars could soon be flocking to West London and the return of “Fuhamerica” could take place.
We’d all love that.
The report seems to be close to the mark, we shall see how it pans out. But Al Fayed’s illustrious legacy in the EPL and at Fulham will always be remembered fondly, regardless of any potential new owner.
But exciting times will lie ahead at Craven Cottage if Khan gets his hands on the EPL side. Watch this space.