Mohamed Al Fayed hits back at 'odd man' Felix Magath amid Fulham crisis

The former Cottagers owner took exception after he was blames for the club's current problems

Mohamed Al Fayed has labelled Felix Magath an "odd man" after the Fulham manager blamed him for the club's current problems.

Magath appeared to lay the blame for the Cottagers' dreadful fall from grace on the club's former owner, saying he "had not spent money" and that he "sold the best players and brought in average players. You cannot go on doing that for a long time."

Since Fayed sold the club to Shahid Khan last summer, the club have been relegated from the Premier League and endured a dreadful start in the Championship that has left them with zero points after four games.

Read more: Felix 'the dictator' Magath has been brutal in rebuilding Fulham - Sam Wallace

However, Al Fayed has described suggestions he is to blame as "absurd" and was keen to point the finger back at Magath and "absentee landlord" Khan.

Writing in his column for the London Evening Standard on Friday, Al Fayed said: "What an odd man Felix Magath is. I am not talking about the way he jumps around in the technical area when things go wrong on the pitch and then appeals to the dugout as if the physio and team doctor had caused it.

"No, what's strange is that after losing Fulham's first four games of the Championship season, he has got time to criticise me - someone he has never met - instead of devoting every waking second to putting right his own glaring mistakes.

"There is nothing dishonourable about failure, if you face up to it. Mr Magath isn't the first foreign coach to find the English game hard. What is wrong, and frankly un-English, is to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.

"I sold my beloved Fulham on July 13, 2013. If a week is a long time in politics, 13 months is a lifetime in football. Mr Magath was brought in to stave off relegation from the Premier League but instead presided over a meek surrender.

"It broke my heart. After 16 years at the helm at Craven Cottage, to see my work destroyed in a season was a bitter experience. To be blamed for that failure, is absurd.

"Fortunately, there are 25,000 people who know the truth. The Fulham fans. I am content to be judged by them."

Fulham manager Felix Magath Fulham manager Felix Magath  

Al Fayed also insisted he spent money in the best interests of the club, who saw their best years under his ownership as they reached the final of the Europa League in 2010.

"We played our part in making it the best and most entertaining league in the world. Fulham achieved their highest ever top-flight finish, seventh," he wrote.

"We carried English prestige into the inaugural season of the Europa League, taking Atletico Madrid into extra-time in the final and within five minutes of a penalty shoot-out.

"Mr Magath says I bought only average players? So who were the men playing that night in Germany? I'll tell you: titans of the game and every one a hero.

"In football, you cannot be an absentee landlord, as I fear Shahid Khan is most of the time. I went on the pitch before games. I met the fans. I talked to the players. I encouraged them. Yes, they are paid a lot of money but they are still young men who need inspiration. People work for people, not anonymous boards of directors. I gave the players gold chocolate bars from Harrods. If they needed to try harder, I handed out blue peppermints and said they were Viagra.

"Those players never let me down.

"The personal touch is important. Managers need encouragement too. Every manager I chose tried to take Fulham forward. Two of them became England managers."

He added: "When I was young, there was a cartoon character, Felix the Cat. Whatever happened to him - whether he was run over on the road to Dover or blown up with dynamite - he just kept on walking.

"If Fulham's results do not improve, starting with Cardiff tomorrow, perhaps this particular Felix should follow that cat down the road to Dover and then just keep on walking."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas