Fulham won’t comment on rumours that they are the latest Premier League club to be the subject of a takeover by a foreign consortium. A Mail on Sunday report suggests that Mohamed Al-Fayed has a £120 million offer on the table from an unknown party, whilst a foreign group is weighing up its options.
Fulham moved swiftly last season to deny reports of a takeover and denounced suggestions back in 2003-04 that the then Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Sinawatra, was contemplating a bid for the club. The new ‘no comment’ stance has sparked suggestions that a new owner might be about to put their money where their mouth was.
Regular readers of HammyEnd.com might recall that I was one of the Fulham fans who came together to oppose a move away from Craven Cottage under the guise of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust. A feature of the early Back to the Cottage meetings was the future of the football club after the departure of Al-Fayed or if the grandiose White City stadium plans were realised.
It is perhaps time to reflect on the status of the football club after a whirlwind rise through the divisions over the last decade. Al-Fayed financed Fulham’s ascent from the old Second Division by purchasing a whole host of international players and installed a succession of high-profile managers, including Kevin Keegan and Jean Tigana. When Tigana secured promotion from the First Division at his first attempt, Al-Fayed dipped into his pocket again to buy the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Steed Malbranque and the ill-fated French forward Steve Marlet.
Despite the best efforts of Chris Coleman on a limited budget and the summer spending spree that helped Lawrie Sanchez to overhaul the squad, it appears that the club have reached the highest level they can under the current regime. Perhaps new investment could bring the club a greater degree of success – but the future of the club and our historic stadium is at risk.
For the moment, this idle speculation is just that but Fulham supporters will soon have to contemplate the future beyond Al-Fayed.