Greetings and welcome to Craven Cottage. We have a big week ahead at our home ground, beginning this evening with a visit by Blackpool and followed on Saturday with a match against Huddersfield Town. Beyond the important six points that we would like to capture, this week will also provide the opportunity for all of us to formally welcome Kit Symons as First Team Manager of Fulham Football Club.
I know that my decision last week to appoint Kit to the position on a full-time basis has been met with joy and enthusiasm throughout the Fulham community, not only here in London but worldwide. Let me say that I’m right there with you! I feel as upbeat about our future today as any time since becoming your Chairman, and much of that is due to Kit’s excellent work as our Caretaker Manager. But that doesn’t tell the complete story.
Kit posted impressive results - the two come-from-behind draws on the road in recent weeks seemed larger than the two points gained - and ultimately we’re judged on results. But Kit also restored what we were missing - the sense of belief, family and pride that were the very hallmarks of Fulham that attracted me to the Club in July 2013. When you weigh everything that Kit delivered in six weeks, and combine that with his superb performance in his interviews with our search committee and eventually one-on-one with me, we shouldn’t be surprised that he will walk across the pitch this evening minus the “caretaker” title.
I won’t ask you for much as our Chairman, but today I will request that all Fulham supporters at Craven Cottage join me in giving Kit the most passionate and vocal welcome possible. It will inspire us all and, above all, Kit deserves it. Congratulations Kit! I must again express my dear thanks to our search committee, which faithfully served Fulham from the moment we asked for their commitment. To David Daly, Huw Jennings, Brian McBride, Danny Murphy and Niall Quinn, you were the right people at the right time for Fulham. Thank you!
I do have another ask of you, and that is to warmly welcome the many visitors from Jacksonville and fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars that will descend upon Craven Cottage this week. You may notice them by their teal and black gear, or by their rally cry of Duuuval (that will take some explanation), but it’s also possible they will blend right in with the Fulham faithful. One of my many rewarding aspects of coming to Fulham has been the communal spirit of fans of both teams. When the Whites played in Jacksonville this past summer, I was struck by the number of Fulham supporters who made the journey to EverBank Field, but also the genuine support from Jaguars fans from Jacksonville who didn’t become Fulham fans just for the night – they became Fulham fans for life. I know that many of them are making this trip to London to see the Jags play the Cowboys on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, but they’re also coming as Fulham supporters and possibly leaving their Jaguars jerseys and caps at the hotel this week and showing up in SW6 exclusively in FFC black and white. It’s very cool, and I know longtime Fulham supporters will be every bit behind the Jaguars on Sunday. Thank you for that!
And finally, I hope you will join us at Craven Cottage on Friday 14th November when the U.S. face Colombia at 7.45pm. That’s an attractive friendly at any locale in the world, but it’s nearly perfect here at the Cottage, where over the years United States players have become part of the success and lore of Fulham. The popularity of football, or soccer, is on a meteoric climb in the U.S. but because of the American identity at Fulham over the years, the Whites have had a coast-to-coast following in the United States for quite a while, and we want that to endure for many years to come. In Jacksonville, we hosted a U.S. match versus Nigeria just prior to the World Cup in Brazil last summer, and I personally would like to continue to forge a great relationship with the United States Soccer Federation so that Fulham may be always considered a destination for its very best national players.
As you know, Emerson Hyndman from Dallas, Texas, in the United States has made Fulham his home. Emerson and his family targeted Fulham because of Huw Jennings and the effect he has had on all of the youngsters who have come through the Academy under his tutelage. I am proud that Emerson wears both the U.S. and Fulham badge, and I hope worthy U.S. players will follow his path to our Club one day. There is no better place to learn the game, or play the game, than Fulham Football Club. Tickets are available now at fulhamfc.com
In conclusion, I want to express my gratitude to all Fulham supporters over the past two months. How we got here, and everything we experienced to get here, is now in the past. I know it was a difficult period for many supporters. I read many emails and, what I wasn’t able to read, I was made aware of. Managerial changes are going to happen in sports, but what I sensed from Fulham supporters was something more important than changing personnel. They wanted their Club back. I feel that Fulham is back. Thank you for everything.
Come On You Whites!
Shahid Khan, Chairman