Fulham will pay more than £5million to refurbish Craven Cottage and return to their historic home for three years.

The club have announced they are seeking planning permission to turn the outdated ground into a 22,000-seat stadium with executive boxes and a roof over one previously uncovered end.

Work on the pitch has already begun and they expect to move back in next season.

Ecstatic fans hope the move will become permanent but at the moment Fulham are asking for permission to build temporary structures and although the refurbishments could last 15 years, Chairman Mohamed Fayed would like to move out in three.

He is open about the fact that he is looking for a site to build a new state-of-the-art stadium and he is still keen on plots in White City.

Fayed said: “I am delighted to take this step towards fulfilling the fans’ dearest wish to take us home, albeit temporarily.

“I still believe that if we are to fulfil our long-term dreams of making Fulham a major force in football we need a larger stadium than it is possible to erect at the Cottage and I continue to be entirely dedicated to working towards that end.”