Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, finalized his purchase of London’s Fulham FC for a price estimated north of $200 million from Mohamed Al Fayed late Friday. As Ty Duffy outlined earlier this week, it doesn’t mean the Jaguars are going to move to London.
Khan is now the third NFL owner to own a team in England and sixth American.
Are Americans taking over the Premier League? That’s a story for another day. For now let’s marvel at the fake mustache Al Fayed is wearing in this picture in tribute to Khan during Saturday’s press conference. These fake ‘staches should be sold or given away at Craven Cottage throughout season. In fact they should be in the club shop this very minute. (The fate of the Michael Jackson statue outside the stadium might is unsettled.)
From a sporting standpoint, don’t expect Khan to upset the apple cart at Craven Cottage. Fulham has been solid mid-table Premier League club this decade. It’s also a club many Americans call their own since it formerly employed U.S. internationals Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra, among others. Due to the structure of the EPL it’s tough to see Fulham ever cracking into the top tier of the league table, especially while playing at a stadium that currently seats only 25,000. Realistically, anything above 10th is probably a “good” season for the club.
Keep in mind Khan has adopted some new-look, analytical approaches to the NFL with the Jaguars’ front office. You’d think he’d want to bring the same sort approach to Fulham. Looking for undervalued players, identifying new trends through technical data before everybody else does, etc. is one way Fulham can try to keep pace with the mega-spenders like Chelsea and Manchester City. Whether this approach is adopted and if it jives with current manager Martin Jol remains to be seen.
Still, Khan seems to be progressive and forward-thinking, so Fulham fans should be happy about him taking over. [Photo via r/soccer]
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