Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed hits back at 'flop' Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes and Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed
Al Fayed says Mark Hughes is "a man who has lost his spark"

Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has hit back at former manager Mark Hughes for questioning the club's ambition.

Al Fayed called Hughes a "strange man" and a "flop" and says he rescued him from becoming a forgotten man after being sacked by Manchester City.

The former Wales boss had said of Fulham: "My ambition for where I wanted to take the club was not matched."

Hughes was linked with Aston Villa when he left Fulham in the summer but Alex McLeish eventually took the job.

Al Fayed hit back with a stinging rebuke for the ex-Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea player.

"What a strange man Mark Hughes is," he said in an open letter. "Sacked by Manchester City, he was becoming a forgotten man when I rescued him to become manager of Fulham Football Club.

"Even when results were bad, I did not put pressure on him. I gave him every support - financial, moral and personal.

"He 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, and the players who delivered an eighth position finish last season and a place in the Europa League.

"He is not just disrespectful but entirely wrong. Fulham has just announced plans for a splendid new riverside stand that will substantially increase the capacity of Craven Cottage.

"If people are looking for a flop, they only have to look no further than the man who has lost his spark."

Al Fayed's remarks were in response to comments by Hughes explaining why he had left the London club after just one season in charge.

"Historically, Fulham was a club that was happy to be in the Premier League and that was their ambition, but it was not my ambition for them," he told the Mirror.

"In conversations, they were saying, 'We know exactly what you're about Mark, but, really, we are just quite happy to stay in the Premier League'."