Fulham have a new owner, a Pakistani born American billionaire Shahid Khan has taken over the club from Al Fayed in a deal worth $200 million. Fans are excited and look towards a successful future but above all, they hope that the Pakistani owner is completely different from the Indian Venkys who drowned Blackburn Rovers.
When Venkys took over Blackburn Rovers in 2010, they vowed to listen to the fans, claimed that they will respect Jack Walker legacy and will be supporting the organization to make sure that Blackburn remain one of the best run clubs in premier league.
What followed is no mystery, Blackburn supporters are in disarray from day one as the Indian Poultry Giants knew little about football yet they senselessly did whatever they wanted to. Now Blackburn find themselves struggling in the championship.
Firstly, the new owners promoted their chicken products through television advertisement; the fans went mad and claimed that Venky’s chicken ad has made them a laughing stock. Then, after only one month in charge Venkys sacked highly experienced manager Sam Allardyce as the club was 13th in the league and replaced him with someone who had no experience in managing a top flight club Steve Kean. Blackburn finished 15th with 43 points that year.
Their horrific and clueless form continued under Kean but Venkys did nothing to make amends and fans watched their beloved club relegated from the premier league. In 74 games, Kean had 28% win record. The club is now managed by Gary Bowyer (appointed full time in May, 2013) and finished 17th in the championship last season. The outcry of Blackburn fans under Venkys can still be heard nowadays.
Fulham finished 12th with 43 points in the premier league last season. Their new owner is wealthier than Venkys ofcourse, he is even wealthier than Liverpool’s John W Henry according to Forbes with a networth of $2.9 billion as compared to Henry’s $1.5 billion. However, Fulham fans should not get overly excited as we have seen clubs drown in debt with rich owners. Just ask Liverpool fans.
Shahid Khan is not looking to change Al-Fayed’s foundations immediately and wants to listen to the fans. Khan said:
“I want to be clear, I do not view myself so much as the owner of Fulham, but a custodian of the club on behalf of its fans. My priority is to ensure the club and Craven Cottage each have a viable and sustainable Premier League future that fans of present and future generations can be proud of.”
The statement sounds familiar though.
The good thing is that Khan has the experience of running a Sports franchise unlike the Venkys as he is also the owner of NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars. However, he can learn from Liverpool owners (also own sports franchise) that running a premier league club is completely different and surely not a piece of cake. For now, Fulham fans hope for the best.
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