‘I don’t want us to be a yo-yo club, I just want us to be a yo club’: Fulham vice-chairman Tony Khan on shaking the relegation tag, begging Aleksandar Mitrovic to stay and his love for boss Marco Silva
- Fulham have sealed promotion to the Premier League as Championship winners
- The Cottagers secured an instant return to the top flight after relegation in 2021
- Vice-chairman Tony Khan is desperate for them to avoid the drop next season
- In the last five years, they have suffered instant relegation on two occasions
- Khan also praised Marco Silva and Aleksandar Mitrovic for getting them there
Fulham vice-president Tony Khan is desperate for the club to shake off its ‘yo-yo’ reputation after gaining promotion back to the Premier League.
The west London club sealed a return to England’s top flight last month, with a 3-0 win over Preston ensuring they could not be caught in the automatic promotion places.
On Monday night Marco Silva’s side then went one step further by securing the title, getting over the line by thrashing Luton 7-0 in a victory which saw them reach 106 goals for the season.
It has been a phenomenal season for Fulham, and Khan – whose father Shahid owns the club – has heaped praise on Silva for guiding them back to the big time.
Fulham vice-president Tony Khan is desperate for the club to shake off its ‘yo-yo’ reputation
The Cottagers have sealed promotion back to the Premier League as Championship winners
‘I can’t give him enough credit,’ the American said about their manager in an interview with The Athletic. ‘He’s awesome. I could happily spend this whole interview talking about how much I think Marco’s great and how much I respect him. To be able to give him a hug in person, instead of texting or seeing him on Zoom, feels so good.’
Silva took charge of Fulham last summer following the departure of Scott Parker, who left to join Bournemouth.
Khan added: ‘Marco was our prime choice. He was always the guy we wanted.
‘I did a Zoom interview with him. We talked philosophically. There was so much in common and I had so much respect for him. I’d met him only in passing before, when he was manager of Everton, but I felt so comfortable with him.
‘For us, it didn’t feel like a difficult choice.’
On Monday they sealed the title and reached 106 goals for the season by beating Luton 7-0
It has been a remarkable promotion-winning campaign for Marco Silva and his Fulham side
Khan (L), whose father Shahid (R) owns the club, is a huge admirer of their Portuguese boss
As well as the tactical nous of Silva, another major factor in Fulham cruising back to the Premier League is the goalscoring brilliance of star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
After bagging another double in the seven-goal triumph against Luton, Mitrovic has now bagged an astonishing 43 goals in 42 league appearances this season.
The Serbia striker came close to leaving Fulham last summer after scoring just three goals when they were relegated from the Premier League in 2020/21, but Khan managed to sway his thinking.
‘He (Mitrovic) told me he was leaving,’ the Cottagers chief revealed. ‘He said, “I cannot come back, I just can’t do it.”
‘He didn’t play last year. The team were relegated and I don’t think it’s any secret that he wasn’t happy with how the season went. He believed he could have contributed more. He didn’t want to come back. I practically begged him to keep an open mind.’
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s stunning tally of 43 goals helped Fulham seal an instant top-flight return
Khan has revealed he had to convince the striker not to leave Craven Cottage last summer
By reaching 43 goals for the season, Mitrovic has now set the record for the most goals in a single Championship season, surpassing Guy Wittingham’s Division One tally of 42 for Portsmouth in 1992/93.
‘I’m really happy for him,’ Khan continued. ‘I really like Mitro, as a player and as a person.
‘I’m really proud, too, because when he called me last summer he was very frustrated. He didn’t want to come back. It’s amazing how, 10 months on, so much has changed and everything has fallen into such a perfect place. It’s like a storybook.’
Their latest triumph is the third time Fulham have been promoted to the top flight in five years, but on the two previous occasions they were sent straight back down.
After a historic Championship campaign, the club will be desperate to build on that success and ensure their Premier League status lasts longer than a mere season this time around.
Khan is now hoping Fulham manage to avoid an immediate drop back to the Championship
Khan is hoping they will no longer be referred to as a ‘yo-yo club’ for the foreseeable future, saying: ‘We’ve done the first part to get promoted. Now we want to do the other part.
‘We definitely need to put together a great season and do everything we can to stay up.
‘We’ve been focused on building a more sustainable team and I think we can do it. I don’t want us to be seen that way (as a yo-yo club). From now on, I just want us to be a yo club.’