Shad Khan will summon Fulham to unite and support the three wise men in his new managerial team ahead of Saturday’s relegation clash with Sunderland.
Khan has written a message for the match-day programme, explaining for the first time his reasons for bringing Alan Curbishley and Ray Wilkins on the backroom staff of new boss Rene Meulensteen.
‘Above all, I believe we’re in much better shape to make our move up the Premier League than just a month ago,’ said the American billionaire who bought the club from Mohamed al Fayed last summer.
Experienced heads: Alan Curbishley and Ray Wilkins have been drafted in to assist Meulensteen
He also hails the return to Craven Cottage of USA international Clint Dempsey, on loan from Seattle Sounders, but adds: ‘This isn’t, nor ever was, about nostalgia. This is about getting results.’
Khan fired manager Martin Jol at the start of December in an attempt to halt Fulham’s worrying slide into the relegation mire.
The London club are two points clear of the drop zone and five clear of Sunderland, who have also changed their manager and shown signs of recovery.
It feels claustrophobic in the depths of the Barclays Premier League but Khan is encouraged by the way things have been shaping up under Meulensteen and Co.
Thumbs up: Owner Shahid Khan has hailed the return of American ace Clint Dempsey
On Curbishley’s appointment as technical director, he says: ‘Alan is a strong complement to René, both from the directors’ box on match day and during training at Motspur Park throughout the week.
‘His years of experience in the league, combined with his overall perspective on the game are most welcome additions to our operation. Alan will also provide competitive analysis, ideas on tactical strategy and a very valuable point of view during the winter and summer transfer windows.
‘And finally, Alan has proven to bring the best out of players, as his time with Scott Parker and Darren Bent during earlier and successful periods in their respective careers will attest.
‘It was no wonder that René viewed the addition of Alan as an important step toward achieving our potential, and he had my full support to make it happen. We’re delighted that Alan accepted.‘
On the return of former Fulham manager Wilkins as assistant head coach, Khan adds: ‘Given his exceptional body of work on and off the pitch, and his vast understanding of the
Premier League, Ray has natural credibility with the players and brings a valuable dimension to our entire Club during a time when we need it the most.
‘I’ve heard from many people close to and within the Fulham family that it’s good to see Ray back in our dugout on match days, and I couldn’t agree more.’
As for Dempsey, on loan until the start of the MLS season in March, he says: ‘This is an excellent development on many fronts, but there’s no storyline more important than the simple fact that Clint will make us a more competitive team from the moment he steps onto the pitch this afternoon in league play, wearing his familiar Fulham kit.
‘Clint’s interest in returning to Fulham on loan was every bit as strong as our desire to have him back, and this makes for a wonderful homecoming for everyone. No one is happier to welcome Clint home than I am.’