Hughes confirms Fulham exit

The Welshman, who is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Gerard
Houllier at Aston Villa, had been in charge of the west London
outfit for just one season. It is bound to lead to speculation that
Hughes will now take over the vacant manager’s job at Aston Villa
Park. However, the Welshman insists he has neither been approached
or approached any other club. Hughes said: “I hope the supporters
and all those connected with the club will understand I wish to
move on to further my experiences. “I would also like to take this
opportunity to clarify that neither myself nor my representative
have approached or have been approached by another club. “This
decision to leave Fulham has not been influenced by any outside
party.” The 47-year-old did well in his first season with Fulham,
guiding the club to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League
and earning them a return to Europe via the Fair Play League. He
also built on a reputation initially forged at Blackburn and then
Manchester City, where many felt he was unlucky to lose his job. As
it was not thought Hughes was under any pressure from Mohamed Al
Fayed, it would appear a bold move to leave without having
something else lined up. He had been installed as favourite to
replace Houllier at Villa, although other names have come into the
frame. Nevertheless, Hughes’ CV would pick him out as a suitable
candidate for Villa, and a job would be regarded as a step up from
Fulham if that is where Hughes eventually ends up. He said: “I
would like to thank the chairman, directors, players and fans of
Fulham Football Club for their support over the last 12 months and
wish them every success in the future. “I believe my management
team and I have done a good job and the club has a strong
foundation from which they can go forward. “I have especially
enjoyed our excellent relationship with the chairman and chief
executive (Alastair Mackintosh). “I sincerely wish Fulham a
successful campaign in the Europa League next season and for their
continued progress on and off the field.” The Cottagers
acknowledged the development in a statement. It read: “Fulham
Football Club can confirm that Mark Hughes has provided notice,
under the terms of his contract, to leave the club at the end of
June. “After discussions with Mark the club has agreed to accept
this notice.”