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Mohamed Al-Fayed

Pak-American billionaire Shahid Khan has purchased Fulham Football Club from the long-serving owner Mohamed Al-Fayed and now controls 100% of the London-based club.

Shahid Khan was listed as the 491st wealthiest man in the world according to Forbes in 2012 and is worth $2.9 billion ( 1.92 bn) as or March 2013 – more than twice as much as Al-Fayed.

After 16 years at Craven Cottage, the Egyptian is leaving the Cottagers behind after seeing them gain two promotions and reach the UEFA Europa League final under his ownership.

It all began in May 1997 for Mohamed Al-Fayed when he purchased Fulham Football Club in the summer of 1997 shortly after they gained promotion from the Third Division (fourth tier) as runners-up to Wigan Athletic.

The deal cost the successful Egyptian businessman 6.25m. It is reported that Al-Fayed has sold the club for somewhere between 150-200m.

Al-Fayed’s first season as the owner of Fulham saw them finish sixth in the third tier – losing to Grimsby Town in the semi-finals. Micky Adams started the season as manager, Kevin Keegan ended it at the helm. Players included future manager Chris Coleman and other ex-Premier League players Maik Taylor, Alan Neilson, Ian Selley, Paul Bracewell, Paul Trollope and Paul Moody.

Kevin Keegan guided Fulham into the second tier of English football the following season – amassing a 14-point lead over runners-up Walsall as the Cottagers gained 101 points in 1998-99. Players include Philippe Albert (loan), Rufus Brevett, Steve Finnan, Kit Symons, Gus Uhlenbeek, John Salako, Peter Beardsley, Barry Hayles and Geoff Horsfield.

A top-half finish followed during their first season in Division One (now known as the Championship). With the investments Al-Fayed was making (Marcus Hahnemann, Andy Melville, Lee Clark, Bjarne Goldb k, Karl-Heinz Riedle) and new manager Jean Tigana, this team had ambitions to reach the top.

In their second season in the second tier, Fulham achieved just that. Another 101 points were posted – this time finishing 10-points above runners-up Blackburn Rovers. Louis Saha had top-scored for the club whilst John Collins had also been acquired.

Fulham had flown through the lower leagues – three promotions in five seasons; two of these since Mohamed Al-Fayed had taken over and invested in the club.

Louis Saha was a big hit during his first season in the Premier League, scoring 8 goals, joint-top scorer with Barry Hayles and newly-signed Steed Malbranque. To sure things up at the back, Edwin van der Sar had been signed in a 7.1 million deal from Italian Serie A giants Juventus.

During their first two Premier League campaigns, Fulham would use Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road as their home stadium whilst Craven Cottage underwent 8 million worth of refurbishment to bring the ground up to Premier League standards.

The 2013-14 season with be Fulham’s thirteenth consecutive in the Premier League and their first without Mohamed Al-Fayed. Their highest finish came in 2008-09 when they finished 7th under Roy Hodgson. The following season, the future England national team manager guided them to the UEFA Europa League final, losing to Atl tico Madrid.

Both van der Sar and Saha would go on to win Premier League titles with Manchester United, as would Chris Smalling more recently. Other exciting players to make a name for themselves at Fulham included Junichi Inamoto, Sylvain Legwinski, Papa Bouba Diop, Clint Dempsey and Mousa Demb l .

And let’s not forget Facundo Sava’s goal celebration:

Facundo Sava

The post Remembering Mohamed Al-Fayed’s Time At Fulham appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It’s that time of year again. The January transfer window is open for business and all 20 Premier League sides are looking to strengthen.

As with every season motives are different. Some clubs are trying to stave off relegation, others advance their lot by pushing for Europe. The title race and four Champions League spot remain as wide open as they have in years at the top.

Some managers are known to dislike the winter window, but love it or hate it only the brave or foolish ignore it. Certain teams desperately require strengthening to realize their ambitions and others need to have a quiet month, ensuring they hang on to their prized assets.

Players seeking moves may have extra motivation to do so this January as we are now in a World Cup year. Competition to make the plane to Brazil will be cut-throat for many of the 32 countries involved in the greatest sporting show on earth.

National coaches want their players getting regular football in the run-up to the World Cup. That can cause crazy winter gambles by outsiders to force their way back into the fold in time for June.

All these considerations have been weighed up by the WhatCulture sports team. So, for your delectation we have gone through all 20 English top flight teams, assessed what they need, who they have been linked with and who we would like see join them. We proceed alphabetically, so click next to start with Arsenal.

The post Premier League Transfers: What All 20 Teams Need In The Winter Window appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

Date: 8th December Venue: Craven Cottage Kick off: 1:30pm

Aston Villa visit Craven Cottage as Rene Meulensteen looks for his first win as Fulham boss.

Team News

Brede Hangeland remains Fulham’s main injury concern, with their captain doubtful for the match due a sciatic nerve problem.

The centre back has been absent for over a month now and the Cottagers are still unsure when he will return.

Aston Villa will have to contend without Charles N’Zogbia (achilles) and centre-back Jores Okore (knee).

Key Stats

Aston Villa have the third best away form in the league after picking up 12 points in seven games on the road.

Fulham have the joint worst home defence in the Premier League having conceded 13 goals at home this season.

The London side are also on a six game losing streak after losing 2-1 to Tottenham at home in midweek.

Aston Villa’s top scorer Christian Benteke is without a goal since since September and was dropped for the side’s 3-2 victory at Southampton.

Likely Line-Ups

Fulham

Stekelenburg, Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise, Dejagah, Parker, Sidwell, Kacaniklic, Kasami and Berbatov

Aston Villa

Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor, Delph, Weimann and Kozak.

Match Preview

Aston Villa’s impressive away form makes this a difficult second game in charge for Meulensteen.

Fulham’s new manager lost his first game at the helm against Tottenham on Wednesday, despite the Cottagers going 1-0 up.

After are poor performance away to West Ham last weekend there were at least some positives for Meulensteen following the defeat.

His side demonstrated a willingness to fight and compete against Spurs, an attitude that will be crucial if they are to survive this season.

Aston Villa come into this encounter off the back of an impressive victory over high-flying Southampton.

This Villians won 3-2 at St.Mary’s, meaning they have now won more games away from home than at Villa Park.

The big talking point from Paul Lambert’s team’s triumph was the dropping of top scorer Benteke for Libor Kozak.

The Czech striker scored against the Saints and therefore can expect to keep his place on Sunday.

While Aston Villa have been lethal away from home, Fulham looked to have improved under Meulensteen and they should be good enough for a point.

Prediction: 1-1

The post Fulham v Aston Villa: Team News, Match Preview & Likely Line-Ups appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov has emerged as a surprise transfer target for Spanish giants Barcelona, according to the Express.

Reports in Spain suggest the Catalan club are looking for short-term cover for the injured Lionel Messi, and Berbatov is on their list.

While manager Gerardo Martino is confident in the abilities of Neymar and Alexis Sanchez – who scored a brace against England in Chile’s 2-0 win at Wembley last Friday – he remains keen on adding experienced back-up to his squad.

Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and ex-Chelsea star Didier Drogba are also believed to be on Martino’s shortlist, though the possibility of landing Berbatov less expensively comes as a more realistic option.

The 32-year-old ex-Manchester United star could be lured to Spain by the possibility of one final big career move and the shot of playing at the highest levels once more, though it remains to be seen if his wage demands and expectation over regular playing time appeals to Barca.

Messi has been ruled out for the rest of the year with a hamstring tear and is expected to be sidelined for at least eight weeks, after picking up the injury against Real Betis last Sunday.

The post Fulham Transfer News: Barcelona Eyeing Dimitar Berbatov? appeared first on WhatCulture!.

fulham

It was a piece of sheer class from in form Cardiff man Jordon Mutch that proved to be the difference between the sides at Craven Cottage on what proved to be a frustrating autumn afternoon for the Fulham faithful.

Mutch’s goal, struck deep in to added time at the end of the second half, stunned the cottage as Cardiff seized all three points to the delight of their travelling fans and the dismay of under fire Fulham boss Martin Jol.

As the boos echoed once more at the end of the ninety minutes at Craven Cottage, the Dutchman cut an isolated figure as he pondered his future, head in hands within the Fulham dugout.

The early encounters saw Fulham attempt to force Cardiff to play the predominant amount of their football in their own half but they were unable to provide any tangible assistance to strikers Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov who were both peripheral figures throughout the afternoon.

When Steven Caulker rose powerfully to nod home the opener on twelve minutes, it was slightly against the run of play. Cardiff went on to become the more dynamic of the two sides, however, and were a constant threat to the Fulham goal in the face of some hapless defending.

Despite Giorgos Karagounis forcing in-form Cardiff keeper David Marshall into a superb diving save on 28 minutes, it was Cardiff that continued to look the most likely to add another goal as both Fraiser Campbell and Aron Gunnarsson went close around the half hour mark.

Ruiz’s brilliant goal on the stroke of half time gave hope to the Fulham crowd, but it was Cardiff who kept pushing on and it came as no surprise that it was them that took all three points through young Mutch’s stunning effort that sent the Cardiff fans in to dreamland.

His 94th minute effort consigned Jol’s Fulham team to their fourth defeat in six league games this year and means they remain in the bottom three.

Cardiff on the other hand, rise to 11th, leapfrogging champions Manchester United in the process.

The post Fulham 1-2 Cardiff: Mutch Magnificence Sinks Forlorn Fulham appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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