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Hernandez: Five matches to watch

Liga MX 37 minutes ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jul 8, 2004

Al Fayed wants 'Fortress Cottage'

Fulham chairman Mohamed al Fayed has called on fans to turn Craven Cottage into an impregnable fortress.

Al Fayed has shelled out nearly £8million upgrading the ground in preparation for the club's return to its traditional home after two years at Loftus Road.

The ground share with QPR was less than successful - attendance figures tailed off alarmingly as fans, angered by Fulham's decision to sell the Craven Cottage site to a property developer, vented their fury at the move.

But Harrods owner Al Fayed bought back the rights to the ground and has spent some of his vast wealth refurbishing the stadium. Now he wants supporters to do their bit on match day.

'I have kept my promise to the fans by taking them home but we now need to fill this stadium at every game,' the Egyptian told the club's official website.

'I urge every Fulham fan to prove their support to the boys and help us establish Craven Cottage as a formidable place for teams to visit by coming to the ground for every game next season.

'The more successful the supporters make the ground the more likely it is that we will be able to stay there.'

Fulham spent 103 years at Craven Cottage and mark their return with a pre-season friendly against Watford on Saturday.

But it is over the following two weeks that the big guns arrive with Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers both scheduled to face Chris Coleman's men.

'In two days time we play our first of three pre-season games at Craven Cottage and I am confident that the fans will be delighted with what we have been able to achieve there,' said Al Fayed.

'Fans are the lifeblood of any club and when so many of our supporters appealed to me to return to Craven Cottage I began to look at ways in which we could make it possible.

'I have spent a great deal of money making sure that our fans are comfortable by improving facilities and extending the roof cover to keep them dry.'