British Sport may do well to regularly send The Ericle abroad, as good things seem to happen while I am away.  (Details of my trip can be found here).  I just caught The Lions victory on the Saturday, but knew nothing of Murray’s incredible Wimbledon  championship win on the Sunday until that day I reached Metz. Then as I returned from Reims the following Sunday, England pull off a nail-biting test victory and Chris Froome virtually wins The Tour de France with his epic triumph on Mount Ventoux. However it was a little local  matter that most occupied my attentions as I played The Englishman Abroad – the sale of Fulham alfayedFootball Club by Mohammed Al Fayed after 16 years of ownership. When I first heard the rumours confirmed, my first reaction as disappointment that my club had a price. I had always chosen to believe that Al Fayed, though he clearly had grandiose illusions when he claimed that he would turn Fulham into ‘the Manchester United of The South’, had joined the small legions of Walter Mitty types who follow Fulham and, as an ‘unsere’, his ownership was simply the highest tier of season ticket. But in the end this was no betrayal, it was a true act of fanship. Al Fayed realised that he did not have the stomach, (he clearly has the financial resources), to take Fulham on to the ‘next level’. In cashing in his chips, he would appear not to have made a grubby profit but rather has hopefully handed over the responsibility to one whose bona fidas suggest that he will carry on treating our great club with the careful respect it deserves and, possibly, onto to even greater things! :-) In the 16 years of his Chairmanship he has earned and won the ‘love’ of Fulham fans; possibly Craven Cottage has been the one public place where he has received such unfettered non-sycophantic adoration. He clearly has a side to his personality that is quite ‘unlovely’ but when it came to Fulham the positive side of his eccentricity was a perfect match. Moreover under his stewardship, the club has developed some of the most laudable community and charity programmes in football, as well as benefiting from Fayed’s undoubted business & organisational skills. What the future holds for Fulham, nobody knows, but the past 16 years with Fayed has been the most golden of times in terms of on-the field achievements – 3 promotions, 12 consecutive years in the Premiership and a Europa League final – and club status. Thank you Big Mo! You deserve all the plaudits you are receiving (Metro comment here). There will be a groundswell to name a stand after you and, if it’s up to me, we’ll keep that damned Michael Jackson statue too – if that’s what you want!

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