From the top

Saturday 17 November 2001

Mark Collins programme notes v Newcastle United 17 November 2001

Good afternoon and welcome to today's fixture against Newcastle United.

I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to introduce myself having temporarily taken over the mantle of Managing Director following Michael's resignation.

Before I go any further, on behalf of the management, players and staff at Fulham, I would like to thank Michael for his significant contribution to the Club over the last eighteen months.

Michael came to Fulham with a very specific brief: to get the Club planning permission for its new stadium and to prepare us all for Premiership football.

Having achieved both of these objectives, Michael has decided that it is appropriate timing for him to move on and develop his career elsewhere and we wish him every success.

To be involved with the Club on this level today is a great honour for me and I would like to assure all Fulham fans that I will work tirelessly to ensure the Club's continued progress until a successor is appointed.

Having been a Fulham fan for over 30 years (I first started coming to Craven Cottage during the 1971/72 season with my brother), I have been a regular in the Enclosure and the Riverside Stand enjoying the highs and lows of Fulham's unfolding story.

As a friend of the Muddyman family and an employee of Harrods Estates, I was fortunate enough to be part of the team that facilitated the Chairman's acquisition of the Club in 1997. So as you can see Fulham Football Club is something that is very close to my heart, both personally and professionally.

Our visit to Upton Park two weeks ago marked my first game as acting MD, and it was immensely satisfying to see Jean and the team come away with such a well-deserved three points. Since Jean's arrival the Club has progressed to the highest level of domestic football which is testimony to his skill and dedication.

Reaching the Premiership has been the first of many goals shared by both the Chairman and Jean. As we move forward, Jean will continue to receive all the support he needs to enable the Chairman's vision to be fulfilled.

There has been much speculation over recent weeks regarding next season's ground share. At this stage I cannot reveal which clubs have been approached, however I would like to reassure Fulham supporters that their opinions and concerns have been taken into account as part of the decision-making process. As soon as a decision is reached we will, of course, release a statement on the Club's official website.

Finally, on behalf of everybody at Fulham Football Club, I would like to welcome Johnny Haynes to Craven Cottage today. I trust you will all give him the reception he deserves as one of the finest Fulham players of all time.