Fulham’s Khan calls for ‘ground-up restoration’
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Fulham owner Shad Khan expects a “ground-up restoration” after being relegated from the Premier League.
Speaking after a state-of-the-franchise presentation for Khan’s NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the billionaire owner said Tuesday that Fulham has everything in place to return to the Premier League quickly.
“It’s unfortunate,” Khan said. “It’s not what we wanted, but it’s reality. What we have to do is build it for the long haul.”
Fulham, which has been in the Premier League since 2001-02, was relegated along with Cardiff City and Norwich City. The drop is expected to cost Khan about $60 million annually in television revenue. And the club could lose even more with reduced gate receipts.
Khan said Fulham has tradition, hard assets, no debt and great fan support. He said every sponsor that had an option of re-signing for next season has done so, and others are lined up to join the franchise in southwest London.
Khan added that Fulham has one of the best development academies in England and several talented youngsters who didn’t play in 2013-14.
“Now we’ve got to get the football side right, where you build it from the ground up and it’s something that lasts a long time,” he said.
Khan bought Fulham from Mohamed Al Fayed last summer. He replaced managers Martin Jol and Rene Meulensteen during the season in hopes of turning things around, but nothing worked. Khan said current manager Felix Magath will stick around for the rebuild.
Khan said next season won’t be about “balancing the books,” hinting that he would be willing to lose money to make the team more competitive in Football League Championship.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to put the best team on the field,” he said. “I’m committed and we’re going to do whatever to get them back.”