Fulham had their 'heart ripped out', says club legend

Mark Schwarzer believes that Kit Symons is the man to restore Fulham to their former glory, having had their ‘heart ripped out’ by Shahid Khan

The Australian goalkeeper made more than 200 appearances for the Cottagers in a five-year spell starting in 2008, before leaving to move slightly down the road to fellow West London club Chelsea.

He left the club just prior to Shahid Khan taking ownership, and the 42-year-old believes that the core values of the club have been destroyed since Mohamed Al-Fayed sold the club in July 2013. Three managers have come and gone under Khan’s management, and the club have fallen to the Championship, winning just two games this season to sit in the relegation places of the second division.

Schwarzer, who still has strong ties to the club, with his son part of the academy, goes regularly to Craven Cottage, and he told the Evening Standard how the family essence of the club has disappeared in recent years.

He said: “The real essence of the club, the core of the club, the heart of the club was ripped out of it.

“I feel almost heartbroken about it all. I go quite regularly as my son is involved in their academy and I saw how the club changed so dramatically in a short period of time.

“From security guards to ground‑staff, from any staff member I came across, to people in the academy, from people involved in and around the first-team, and even in the first-team, those people were really dumbfounded at how things had gone wrong at the club and were so upset about it.

“Fulham have always been such a family club and such a personal club. Everyone lived for and loved the club and had a soft spot for the club. That was ripped out of it.”

However, with Kit Symons leading the club to their first victories of the season in his role as caretaker head coach, Schwarzer believes Khan would be wise to appoint Symons on a full-time basis, having been involved with the club for a number of years.

The now-Chelsea man added: “I know Kit from when I was there and he is a great guy. He has had a very successful coaching pedigree with the Under-18s and 21s and he has been about the first-team on a number of occasions.

“He is best placed within the club to take it on and try and reinstall those core values at the club. I know he has already had an immediate impact by virtue of some of the simple changes he has made since he has been there. They are on the right track going back, that is for sure.

“This wouldn’t have happened under him [Fayed].”

Fulham are in the process of hiring a new manager during the ongoing international break, with a five-man committee looking into all possible options to lead the club back into the Premier League - and they would be wise to heed Schwarzer’s advice.

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