The final team to be promoted to the EPL is a club run by an American businessman with a great, rags to riches story eager to give Fulham and its fans a similar tale. Fulham F.C. is a squad with much to prove in England’s top division.
The Khan Family:
As an Immigrant to America from Pakistan Shahid Khan wasn’t afforded many privileges. He washed dishes and stayed in less than ideal living conditions while attending the University of Illinois. Khan graduated with an engineering degree, became a business owner, and his company Flex-N-Gate is a top 50 U.S. company according to Forbes. With That money, Khan bought an American Football team, The Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 before acquiring Fulham just a couple years later in 2013.
Shahid’s son Tony Khan serves as Fulham’s Co-Owner and Vice-Chairman, but he’s anything but a trust fund kid. Tony’s passion for sport includes Pro-Wrestling, growing up on WCW and WWF in the attitude era, one of the most iconic times to be a wrestling fan. He created his promotion in 2019: All Elite Wrestling which airs on TNT and FiteTV. At Fulham, he is the Director of Football operations and is responsible for all scouting and player personnel that walk the halls of Craven Cottage.
Fulham’s Path to the Premiership
Since Khan’s takeover in West London, Fulham has had their hardships but hope to be trending in the right direction as the season gathers speed this fall. In the first year under the American businessman’s leadership, the Cottagers finished 19th in the EPL during the 2013-14 campaign, a mark equaled in the 2018-19 season as well.
Last season Fulham recorded 23 wins and 11 losses along with 12 draws, good enough for fourth in the Championship, and advancing to the League play-offs. In the Finals, they faced a tremendous foe in the Bees from Brentford. After 90 minutes the score was level at nil-nil. It would take two goals from Englishman Joe Bryan to secure the victory. Bryan had only scored one goal in the entire season previous to the championship game. Finishing with a score of 2-1 Fulham was on their way back to England’s top division.
The 2020-2021 Fulham squad should be stronger than the last team that made it a couple of seasons ago but will still need to be in the top form most of the year if they have any chance of escaping relegation in this campaign.
Most of the previous contributors remain on the club, including Tim Ream, Marek Rodak, and Aleksandar Mitrovic. Tim Ream is one of a long line of Americans who have had success for the Fulham squad. Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride all-time National team greats for the Americans also made the fan list for the top starting 11 in the 21st century. Ream has been a constant fixture in defense for the last five seasons, starting in 169 of the 178 contests he’s been in.
Marek Rodak was a solid Goalie from Slovakia last year for the club, but he will need to be nearly perfect to stop the best international strikers that make up a stacked Premier League. In 33 appearances he allowed 33 scores with 14 clean sheets. The manager Scott Parker will be keeping a close eye on Rodak to see if he can cut it or if the newly acquired PSG goalie Alphonse Areola will overtake him sooner rather than later.
Arguably the most important piece for the lineup is the continued form of Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. With 26 goals last year Mitrovic has the talent to keep Fulham in most contests, but a 20 goal season against the back-lines of Liverpool, Man City, and Man United should prove more difficult.