New Fulham owner Khan: Al Fayed was incredible

Mohamed Al Fayed won't be a stranger at Fulham. Photo: PA

Shahid Khan paid tribute to Mohamed Al Fayed as he took over from the 84-year-old at Fulham on Saturday afternoon.

The Cottagers today unveiled their new owner, after confirming he had agreed a deal with the Egyptian last night.

Former Harrods owner Al Fayed has transformed Fulham from a third-tier outfit to an established Premier League side since taking over in 1997.

And Khan said prior to today's photocall at Craven Cottage: "I think it (what Al Fayed has done) is incredible.

"The man rescued Fulham and had a great vision which he's shared with me. I think it's very, very important to all the Fulham fans."

Khan, billionaire owner of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, insisted he would build on Al Fayed's work with the London club.

The 62-year-old continued: "We have to respect history. I am going to listen to the fans and decide...but we have to make sure it's sustainable."

Asked for his thoughts on the takeover, Khan told Sky Sports News: "I think what has happened has been absolutely incredible, something I'm going to remember forever."

The Jaguars will play one regular season game a season at Wembley for the next four years and, comparing the clubs, Khan added: "These are true distinct clubs that will operate differently and independently - but there is a huge amount of synergy."

Asked how much he paid for Fulham, Khan said: "That is highly confidential.

"It's a very special place. This is the perfect club for me at a perfect time. It's the passing of the baton, taking it to the next level."

On Al Fayed, he added: "I really enjoyed getting to know him. He's a wonderful guy, very much to the point. The conclusion (of the deal) came very quickly and amicably.

"There's a great leadership here and I have a lot to learn. But I'll give the team all the support it needs to be successful on the pitch."

Such is Al Fayed's popularity, more than 1,000 Fulham fans have already signed a petition to rename the Riverside Stand the Mohamed Al Fayed Stand.

On proposed changes, Khan explained: "There has been a plan to do the riverside development. Our goal would be to redevelop it."

On the statue of Michael Jackson outside Craven Cottage, he said: "I've been an owner less than a day. We have to preserve and respect history but we have to move forward. I'll reflect on it and listen to the fans, then decide."

Al Fayed claimed Jackson 'loved Fulham' and told Cottagers fans they could 'go to hell' if they did not like the statue when it was unveiled in 2011.

The Egyptian said today: "It's a monument, listed. If he dares to move it he will be in big trouble!

"But he owns a club with the same prestige and fame - I'm sure he'll do a great job.

"It was a difficult decision (to sell) because I love this place...but I feel comfortable passing it to someone who loves the game and the club.

"I think the fans respect my decision because they know what I've done for them for 18 years. I'm sure they're happy that I wouldn't pass the club to any junkie."