The price of success

Wednesday 1 May 2002

Fulham Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has revealed that in order to build Fulham in to one of the leading clubs in Europe, making an initial deficit is an unavoidable consequence.

"That is the price of success in the utterly crazy world of football these days. Nobody should be surprised."

"I simply had to speculate that vast amount of money - out of my own pocket - in order to win promotion to the Premiership, and begin the building process for the future.

"Even that kind of outlay does not guarantee success or a return on your money, but I do it because I love football and Fulham has been one of my passions for more than 30 years now. Even though we have secured our Premier League place, when the figures are all added up, Fulham will certainly record another huge loss this season, though not quite of the same magnitude.

"I can afford to take the losses for a short time while I try to build my dream of making Fulham one of the best clubs in Europe." Fayed says his club earned around £20m from getting into the Premier League, as well as £2m from reaching the FA Cup semifinal.

Staying up will be worth another £20m, but in addition to funding transfer-market spending and all the normal costs for next season, he is committed to paying for a professional ladies' team, not to mention the building of a new stadium.

This is expected to cost £70m, and will require Fulham ground-sharing with near-neighbours QPR at Loftus Road for two years from August of this year. Players on the fringe of Tigana's squad can therefore expect to be sold to help balance the books.

Al Fayed said: "Since I bought Fulham five years ago, with the help of Kevin Keegan, Jean Tigana and others we have come a very long way in a very short space of time. Perhaps that is why expectations are so high here. There has been much ill-informed speculation that because we suffered a poor run of results, which took us into a relegation battle, I was about to sack Tigana. But what kind of logic would that make?

"As a devoted fan I suffered the same frustrations as all the supporters over the fact that we created chances but failed to score goals. As the chairman, I expressed my disappointment in no uncertain terms to the manager.

"But I appointed Jean Tigana because he had a magnificent-managerial record in France and was rated by the experts as potentially one of the top-five coaches in the world.

He has been unlucky in the transfer market. He wants at least three players in key positions and we will be buying and selling in the summer to try and complete the first-choice team which Jean needs.

"After that, we will need to buy some more so that we can accumulate an all-round squad to cover for injury and suspensions.

"One of Jean's great strengths in France with Monaco was his development of youth. He had Arsenal's Thierry Henry under his guidance for four years and look what a complete footballer he turned out to be.

"Jean believes that given time he can develop Louis Saha, and others, in the same way. That is why we spend money and time on our academy and our youth policy.

"Sean Davis is the best example of our home-grown talent, but there are plenty of other youngsters coming through the ranks, so the future for Fulham looks exciting."