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Fulham owner Shad Khan accepts unpopularity

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 28, 2014 at 9:37 am •  Published: February 28, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — With Fulham on its third manager this season and in danger of relegation, owner Shad Khan says he is aware that his decisions appear "unconventional or unpopular."

The American billionaire, however, sees his actions as risks worth taking in a bid to keep the London club in the Premier League.

In a surprise move this month, Rene Meulensteen was dismissed only 75 days after replacing Martin Jol as manager. Felix Magath was then hired to take over the bottom-placed club.

"It wasn't lost on me that introducing a third manager in a season would appear, let's say, unconventional or unpopular — or both," Khan writes in the program for Saturday's match against Chelsea. "I expected the scrutiny and know there will be more ahead. I accept this and welcome the responsibility, because the alternative was risking a non-stop slide in the table in the hope that better results would occur in time to save our season."

Magath, who has won three Bundesliga titles as a coach, signed an 18-month contract to become the first German to take charge of a Premier League team.

"The news clearly took everyone by surprise — something that rarely happens in the world of football," Khan said. "In the meantime, it appears that much of the shock has given way to understanding and optimism. At least I certainly hope so ... there's no manager better suited to achieve our goal."

In Magath's first game in charge, Fulham drew 1-1 with relegation rival West Bromwich Albion.

Khan is still getting accustomed to the football world after buying Fulham from Mohamed Al Fayed last July in a deal worth more than $200 million. Having built his fortune in the automotive industry, Khan first became a sports owner by buying the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.