Al Fayed in ‘strange man’ blast at Hughes

FULHAM owner Mohamed Al Fayed has launched a stinging attack on the club’s former manager Mark Hughes, calling him a “strange man” and insisting he was not their first choice appointment.

Al Fayed penned an open letter on the Cottagers’ website in response to comments Hughes made at the weekend in which the Welshman said he surprisingly resigned in the summer because the west Londoners did not match his ambition.

“What a strange man Mark Hughes is. Sacked by Manchester City, he was becoming a forgotten man when I rescued him to become manager of Fulham,” wrote Al Fayed.

“Even when results were bad, I did not put pressure on him. I gave him every support – financial, moral and personal. He fully negotiated a two-year extension to his contract. On the day he was due to sign, he walked out without the courtesy of a proper explanation. And now he insults the club, saying it lacks ambition.”

Al Fayed added that Hughes was only appointed after the club failed in their attempts to hire Dutchman Martin Jol, who replaced him during the close season.

“In every aspect of its work, Fulham is a progressive club with a top manager in Martin Jol, the man we had really wanted when Hughes was appointed,” he went on.

“We shall endeavour to prosper without him simply because, when the challenge came, it was not the club but Mark Hughes who lacked the courage and ambition to take on the task of leadership. If people are looking for a flop, they only have to look no further than the man who has lost his spark.”

Hughes was tipped to land the Aston Villa job within days of quitting – a move he denies was his intention – but has been out of work since.