Comment: Shahid Khan is the rotten core of Fulham’s ailing fortunes

Fulham chairman Shahid Khan has cut an increasingly disinterested figure recently and his wayward leadership is the defining theme in the club’s recent failings.

The American businessman bought the club in July 2013 for a reported £150-200m and has overseen their transformation from a stable Premier League side into Championship also-rans.

Fulham had been a Premier League team since 2001 and enjoyed a period of great stability under former owner Mohamed Al Fayed. The Cottagers finished as high as seventh in the league and reached the 2010 Europa League final.

Despite Fayed’s often quirky leadership style – which included erecting a Michael Jackson statue outside Craven Cottage – he clearly felt genuine warmth for the club.

The Egyptian has been scathing in his appraisal of Khan stating: “In football you cannot be an absentee landlord, as I fear Shahid Khan is most of the time.”

Khan has dismissed three managers during his 15 months in charge in Martin Jol, Rene Meulensteen and Felix Magath.

Fulham had previously only had five managers in their 13-year stay in the top flight and Khan’s trigger happy nature is symptomatic of their problems under his ownership.

Magath’s appointment in particular was a bizarre one. He arrived with no previous experience of English football at a time when Fulham were fighting for Premier League survival.

The man who former players refer to as “Quälix” – a mixture of his name and the German word “quälen”(to torture) – never showed any sign of reviving Fulham’s fortunes.

Bayern Munich’s President, Uli Hoeness, questioned Magath’s credentials saying: “In Germany there is no future for him. I thought his only chance would be abroad where they do not know him well.

“He goes well beyond the limits of physical challenges with his players.”

In the wake of Magath’s dismissal, caretaker manager Kit Symons faces the task of convincing Khan that he is capable of taking over permanently.

The signs so far have been good, with Symons winning three of his opening four games and reinvigorating a young squad.

Centre back Dan Burn said: “Kit is a great guy and only wants what is best for the club. At the moment, personally, I think the right man is him and I’m sure a lot of the fans do.”

Despite the 22-year-old’s enthusiasm, Symons still has to pass the rigorous inspection process set by a five-man panel consisting of Danny Murphy, Brian McBride, Niall Quinn, Huw Jennings and David Daly.

Kahn will make the final decision on who is appointed manager, but the fact that he has outsourced the majority of the work shows a concerning disinterest.

Former goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer believes people at the club are dumbfounded by the change under Khan.

“Everyone lived for and loved the club and had a soft spot for the club. That was ripped out of it,” he claimed last week.

Simply put, Khan is the rotten core of a much loved but sickly football club.

Feature image courtesy of Treevis, with thanks

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