With enough time on my hands lately, I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and watch both the Sunderland ‘Til I Die episodes, and, must admit, that even if you aren’t a Sunderland fan, it’s a very good watch!
Not only does the series give a good insight into how poor ownership can kill a football club, it also gives a good insight as to how it affects a whole community, who rely heavily on their football.
One thing that did spring to mind, is that Sunderland fans are one of the most passionate in the country, and it was sad to watch their demise from the Premier League, to the Championship, and then to League One in consecutive seasons.
Don’t get me wrong, Sunderland as a Club are as much to blame for this, simply because of the business model they put in place, it wasn’t sustainable, and, when the owner lost interest, they were only heading one way.
The new ownership now see the value in Sunderland, they recognise the core values of the club, they understand they need to be self-sufficient, but, for me, I feel the long term damage will make this task a lot harder for them.
Being a Fulham fan, I’ve experienced the high’s and lows of the Club, from the dark days of nearly becoming Fulham Park Rangers, to a wonderful Europa League Final in Hamburg, to the most recent Playoff Final at Wembley.
One thing that does always stick in my mind though, is that Fulham could quite easily end up like Sunderland, not saying that we would, but the potential is there if our current owners lose interest.
Shad Khan is a very wealthy man, he’s worth in region of 9.6B USD, but, he never seems to be at the fore-front of Fulham, with other ventures being more important to him, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Granted, his son Tony Khan has been more hands-on with Fulham over the seasons, has made the odd mistake here and there, but even he has taken a step back lately, to concentrate on his All Elite Wrestling franchise.
The good news thought, is that Riverside Development has now pushed ahead, showing a level of long-term commitment from the Khans, at the cost of 100M+, which has been a relief to a lot of FFC fans.
Not only does this increase the capacity at Craven Cottage, it also increases the in / out of matchday revenues, and certainly adds to the future price of Fulham Football Club.
Having run at a significant loss since our recent relegation from the Premier League, my main concern, is how long Fulham can be sustain this, and how long will Kahn’s continue to invest?
Granted, they are doing a wonderful job right now, but, if circumstances change, then what? What is the long-term strategy of the Kahn’s, and what do they put in place to ensure we don’t end up like Sunderland.
I’d like to think these current owners are here for the life-time of the Club, but, with the likes of Chelsea just down the road, and other big London Clubs like Arsenal, Spurs just around the corner, at what levels are the Kahn’s willing to go with Fulham?
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