The whole Jaguars-to-London notion took a pretty big hit with the recent announcement that Jacksonville and owner Shad Khan were adding $63 million worth of enhancements to Everbank Field. Khan's latest expenditure won't do much to curb any speculation, though, as the Jags announced Friday that Khan had completed the purchase of the Fulham Football Club.
Khan purchased Fulham from Mohamed Al Fayed and called himself "a custodian of the club," which should make plenty of soccer (futbol?) fans happy.
“Fulham is the perfect club at the perfect time for me," Khan said Friday. "I want to be clear -- I do not view myself so much as the owner of Fulham but a custodian of the club on behalf of its fans. My priority is to ensure the club and Craven Cottage [Fulham's home since 1896] each have a viable and sustainable Premier League future that fans of present and future generations can be proud of. We will manage the club's financial and operational affairs with prudence and care, with youth development and community programs as fundamentally important elements of Fulham's future."
Al Fayed released a statement as well, calling it a "pleasure and privilege" to serve as chariman for his 16 years.
“It has been a pleasure and privilege to be the chairman of Fulham Football Club for 16 memorable years. I am now delighted to be passing this great and historic club into the care and stewardship of an outstanding man who has already achieved much in his life and will, I am sure, take Fulham on to even greater things," Fayed said. "By his hard work, vision and determination, Shahid Khan has become a living embodiment of the American success story. His achievements speak for themselves. I met him twice prior to our successful transaction this week and have been very favorably impressed."
Fulham, founded in 1879, is playing in its 13th consecutive season in the Premier League, the highest division of English soccer.
Although it shouldn't, you can all but expect the purchase to fuel the notion that Khan is interested in getting the Jaguars to London. More likely? Khan's interested in building the NFL brand in Europe and understands that purchasing Fulham (which probably won't be a bad thing for his financial portfolio either) only strengthens his brand overseas.
He explained as much to Jaguars season-ticket holders on Friday.
"Fulham and the Jaguars each have a great responsibility," Khan wrote to season-ticket holders in a letter. "Both deserve nothing less than a 100-percent commitment from ownership. In short, our pledge to you -- a Jaguars franchise that is proud, bold and committed -- remains unchanged."
If nothing else, at least it resulted in this, via @MadeByTim: