Al Fayed hits back at 'flop' Hughes over criticism of Fulham
Fulham chairman Mohamed al Fayed yesterday issued a withering critique of the club's former manager Mark Hughes, labelling the Welshman a "flop" and a "strange man" and questioning both his courage and ambition.
In a remarkable open letter published on the club's official website, Al Fayed excoriated the 47-year-old Welshman, insisting he did not even have the decency to offer a full explanation when he turned down a two-year contract extension at the last minute before walking out on Craven Cottage.
The retail magnate also moved to offer his support to Hughes' successor, Martin Jol, claiming he had wanted to appoint the Dutchman ahead of the former Manchester City coach last year and describing him as a "top" manager despite winning one of his opening nine Premier League games.
Al Fayed wrote: "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. Even when results were bad, I gave him every support -- financial, moral and personal.
"And now he insults the club, saying it lacks ambition. He is not just disrespectful but entirely wrong. 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."
The Egyptian's remarks serve as a furious response to comments made by Hughes in an interview last weekend in which he suggested he was forced to leave Craven Cottage because the club refused to back his plans to turn Fulham into a top-10 side.