New Fulham owner Shahid Khan has announced the club will likely play a friendly match next season at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.
The announcement was made at a press conference held at the home of Khan’s NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Joining Khan was Fulham CEO Alistair Mackintosh, manager Martin Jol and captain Brede Hangeland, who flew into northern Florida to meet the new owner before continuing down to pre-season training in Costa Rica.
Khan met the trio at the airport and personally drove them to EverBank Stadium where they were met by a greeting party that included Jaguars cheerleaders and their mascot, Jaxson De Ville.
After a tour of the facilities, Jol and Hangeland were introduced to the U.S. media for the first time since the takeover. In addition to noting that it’s a ‘virtually certainty‘ he will bring a Fulham friendly match to Jacksonville, Khan explained that he’s still reflecting on whether to keep the Michael Jackson statute at Craven Cottage.
Here are some other highlights from the conference:
Shahid Khan: “The one regret from last week was leaving London without the opportunity to meet with Martin Jol or Brede Hangeland. I’ll be joining the Club on Sunday in Costa Rica for the match [pre-season friendly with Deportivo Saprissa] but couldn’t wait to meet Martin and Brede, so they’re here today. I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly welcome Martin and Brede, thank them for their commitment to Fulham and wish them the best as we begin our 13th season in the Barclays Premier League.”
Martin Jol: “I’m delighted that Mr Khan has such a passion for football and has great ambitions for what we can achieve. A link with the Jacksonville Jaguars is very exciting and I know we’re all looking forward to a successful future together.
“Mr. Al-Fayed was a fantastic Chairman and I would like to publicly thank him for what he did for Fulham and the fans. Without him, the Club would not be in this position so we all owe him a great debt of gratitude as he passes his custodianship over to Mr Khan.”
Brede Hangeland: “As Captain, I’d like to take this opportunity to speak on behalf of the playing squad in welcoming Mr Khan and his team to Fulham, in what I’m sure will be an exciting future together.
“As many of you will know, this week we’ve been in Costa Rica for our pre-season training camp, where last weekend’s announcement was greeted with much positivity and excitement.
“We’re only a few weeks away from the start of the new season, and we’re very much looking forward to sharing the experience and journey with our new friends here in the States. We want to make it a campaign to remember for everyone involved.”