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Chairman Khan not looking to sack Jol

last updated Sunday 13th October 2013, 11:54 PM

Fulham Football Club

Shahid Khan
Shahid Khan
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Martin Jol may have cut an increasingly beleaguered figure but Fulham owner Shad Khan insists he is not impatient to fire anyone in response to Fulham's slow start to the season.

Khan spent £150million to buy the London club from Mohamed al Fayed in the summer and remained ominously silent as Jol's team laboured through the first two months of the season.

Supporters booed and expressed their unhappiness but the billionaire owner has refused to be rushed into a hasty decision regarding the manager.

At the same time, there have been no hollow promises.

'Martin is a very experienced coach,' said Khan, in an exclusive Sportsmail interview.

'He's a good guy. We've gotten off to a start nobody's happy with, whether you're a fan or you're Martin.

Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
Martin Jol
'We want to do better but I'm not the kind of person who's going to act on impulse. You go through life and learn valuable lessons. I want Fulham to be very successful. You can't go out of the frying pan and into the fire. That's the most important thing.

'Relegation is a horrible thought but you've got to keep in mind it's only seven games. You can't jump to conclusions.' Khan, a US citizen born in Pakistan and based in Illinois, has been at only one Fulham match this season - a defeat at home to Arsenal in August - but has watched them all on television, including the last game, a 1-0 win against Stoke, the first home win since April.

'It turned out great but you have to keep in perspective,' said Khan. 'You look at the table from Sunderland at the bottom to the point where the congestion that starts at seven points and it is two games, six points. And there are 31 games to play. You can't feel too good and you can't feel too bad.'

Jol has worn the look for some time of a manager who fears the worst; perhaps aware he was chosen by the previous owner, while the new man peers across the Atlantic Ocean trying to put his stamp on the club.

Khan invited former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen to Florida to discuss the idea of joining Jol's backroom staff but Meulensteen has chosen a coaching role in Qatar.

'I don't think it's any different if I'm in the US or in London,' said Khan. 'I look at operations globally. This is a very connected, flat world, whether that's by email or 'phone, you're still going to do the right thing.

'I spend quite a bit of time in contact with Alistair [Mackintosh, Fulham's chief executive] and Martin. But my only motive is what can I do to help them?'

Khan owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, an NFL team who have also started the season badly. He is the midst of a major transition project with the Jaguars but protected by the knowledge he cannot be relegated. At Fulham, relegation from the elite would leave a big hole in revenue.

'We certainly know the risks of relegation,' said Mark Lamping, Khan's trusted right-hand man, president of the Jaguars and a director at Fulham. 'We've spent a lot of time talking about it, and it certainly makes everything more tense. It's not an option or a possibility anyone likes to think or talk about.

'Shad's plan when he bought Fulham was to make it an even more solid club. Not only in terms of the established position in mid-table Premier League but hopefully to improve on that over time by investing in the Cottage, investing in players and by being a positive partner with the community. If we do those three things well, we don't worry about relegation.'

Lamping will play a key role in the development plans at Craven Cottage. He has a stadium expertise as a central figure in two of the finest sporting venues in the US: the MetLife Stadium in New York and the Busch Stadium baseball park in St Louis. As for Jol, he is also supportive.

'One of the strengths of Fulham from our view was that the management team in place was very strong, with the combination of Martin Jol and Alistair Mackintosh,' said Lamping.

'The way Shad manages his businesses is to hire the best people he can, he gives them to the resources to be successful and he holds them accountable for results and I don't think that model will change at all at Fulham.

'We are all being evaluated. If you're faint of heart you don't want to be in the type of businesses we're in but when you think about the way Shad structures things, he has very reasonable expectations, they are clearly stated.

'At Fulham, Shad is not expecting trophies this year, he's expecting continued development and strengthening of what's a very stable team. And he is there to support us and provide the resources.

'If you're someone who wants to achieve and wants to have an impact, that's about as good as you can get. If you can work for someone who says I have reasonable expectations, I'll give you the resources, I'll be there to help you and I'm not going to make all the decisions for you, every person who wants to achieve will gladly accept that.'

Source Matt Barlow at SportsMail
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