Greetings to everyone in the Fulham family!
I understand the celebrations are still going strong in many parts of SW6. I know for a fact that toasts to your Club continue throughout the world, as I have been privileged to participate in many of them! So, while the afterglow of our victory and promotion on May 26 continues, I just wanted to say that you have my approval to keep the party going. There should be no closure to the joy and happiness we all were able to enjoy last month at Wembley Stadium, and I will always be humbled to have been part of something so magical after serving five seasons as your chairman, knowing that many of you waited forever for this moment and, ultimately, the memory of a lifetime.
If the enormity of everything we saw and earned in our 1-0 win over Aston Villa didn’t seem real, it certainly must have on Thursday with the release of our 2018-2019 fixtures in the English Premier League.
As I noted the last time I wrote to you, just before the match at Wembley, the Sky Bet Championship was (and is) a fantastic league with great clubs, managers and players, some of the best grounds in England, passionate supporters and a competitive level that didn’t permit the luxury of even a brief losing spell. Teams promoted from the Championship to the Premier League earn it, and I commend Aston Villa and their supporters for their effort and showing at Wembley that perhaps on another day would have been enough to send their side through.
As the victory at Wembley over a tough Aston Villa squad was extremely emotional to me, and likely you, the release of the fixtures on Thursday was fulfilling and satisfying. It’s wonderful to see Fulham in the same company, again, with recent world football powers like Manchester City and Liverpool. And the five London derbies at Craven Cottage, starting with the season opener in less than two months against our friend Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace, are reason alone for high anticipation for the upcoming campaign.
And, I like how our fixtures shake out overall. After being on the road on Boxing Day the past four seasons we played in the Championship, as well as in my first season as chairman in the Premier League in 2013, I’m very happy that we will finally be home for the holidays against Wolves on Boxing Day and again on December 29 vs. Huddersfield Town, followed by a London derby at Arsenal on New Year’s Day. That’s good news for our players, their families and our supporters who can see Fulham play in person throughout the holiday season without having to leave London.
It’s also impossible to overlook our immediate return to Wembley Stadium to face Spurs in the second match of the season. It’s an away fixture, but it will feel like home!
I’m just overjoyed for everyone this summer as we look forward to Premier League action again in August. The Premier League is the most watched football league in the world, broadcast in over 180 countries to around one billion households. The Premier League counts more than three billion followers globally, ensuring that your club and the values it stands for will be reintroduced to the world. An added benefit of that is the impressive and excellent work by the Fulham Football Club Foundation will be brought to an increased global audience. The Foundation will deliver an array of Premier League community initiatives, in addition some of their ground-breaking programmes already developed.
We will continue in the months ahead to shape our roster for the Premier League, but in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy the FIFA World Cup with friends and family knowing that it’s a fact – we’re going up! I also wish England the very best this evening vs. Tunisia and throughout the tournament, but I do know Fulham has fans everywhere who support other national teams in all corners of the globe. So, to everyone – good luck in Russia!
Thanks for your kind words over the years and especially over the past three weeks. Enjoy the summer! I’ll see you at Craven Cottage very soon.
Shahid Khan, Chairman