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New Fulham owner Khan lauds Al Fayed

Shahid Khan has paid tribute to Mohamed Al Fayed after he took over from the 84-year-old as Fulham's new owner.

• Fulham blog: Khan you believe it
• NFL blog: Sale hinders Jaguars move

Fulham unveiled their new owner on Saturday, after confirming a deal, reported to be between £150 million and £200 million ($226-$300 million), had been agreed on Friday night.

Former Harrods owner Al Fayed's finances have helped to propel Fulham from a third-tier side to an established Premier League club since he took over in 1997.

And Khan, billionaire owner of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, has hailed the work done by Al Fayed in west London.

Khan said at Craven Cottage: "I think it (what Al Fayed has done) is incredible. The man rescued Fulham and had a great vision which he's shared with me. I think it's very, very important to all the Fulham fans.

"We have to respect history. I am going to listen to the fans and decide...but we have to make sure it's sustainable."

The idea of renaming Craven Cottage's Riverside Stand after Al Fayed was put to Khan, who welcomed the suggestion.

"I would absolutely be open to that,'' he said. "I think we have to honour him, we have to respect what he did. That would be something we want to think about, but absolutely I would be open to that and everything.

"I think he has an incredible legacy here. I think if you are a Fulham fan, you understand that. How important that is, what the man did for this club. I have a huge amount of respect for that and it's history. I think we have to respect it but we have to move forward.''

Khan added: "The goals for this club are very clear. I think it has to do community affairs, we have to have a youth development programme, we have to invest in Craven Cottage. On the pitch, we have to have sustainable results moving forwards.

"I have felt that football clubs, whether soccer or NFL football clubs, are civic institutions. We are custodians of that. It is business, yet it is a civic asset. Fulham is going to be Fulham. It has its unique character, unique history and our goal would be to develop that, respect that and move it forwards.''

Asked for his thoughts on the takeover, Khan told Sky Sports News: "I think what has happened has been absolutely incredible, something I'm going to remember forever."

The Jaguars will play one regular season game a season at Wembley for the next four years and, comparing the clubs, Khan added: "These are true distinct clubs that will operate differently and independently - but there is a huge amount of synergy."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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