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30 Jul 2010

Mark Hughes has been confirmed as Fulham's new manager after agreeing a two-year deal.

Fulham had been seeking a replacement for Roy Hodgson since he swapped Craven Cottage for Anfield earlier this summer, and failed in a bid to prise Martin Jol from Ajax.

Former Manchester City boss Hughes emerged as the frontrunner after talks with the Dutchman ran their course, and he will begin work at the club immediately, taking charge of his first match in the friendly meeting with Werder Bremen on August 7.

Hughes acknowledged the success Hodgson enjoyed at the club - most notably taking them to the Europa League final last season - but has already set out his own blueprint for taking them forward.

Hughes told "I have discussed my aspirations with both the chairman and (chief executive) Alistair Mackintosh and believe that we are aligned in our aims for what can realistically be achieved here.

"I am joining on the back of two of the most successful seasons in the club's history and that in itself brings with it the challenges of expectation and ambition.

"I am confident that with some additions to the squad, hard work and commitment, we can move this club forward in the right direction.

"I hope the Fulham fans will enjoy some special times during this season's campaign and we will work hard to achieve that.

"I'm looking forward to working with the squad as soon as possible, and in making sure the on-pitch preparations are complete before the first competitive ball is kicked in August."

Hughes, who will be presented to the media on Tuesday, began his transition from highly-decorated player to manager when he took charge of the Welsh national team in 1999.

He won praise for his efforts in the role, although he could not quite steer them to the major championships the nation desired.

He resigned his post in 2004, taking over at the club where he had ended his playing days, Blackburn.

From there he was appointed Manchester City boss, enjoying an 18-month stay at Eastlands during which he had greatly increased funds but also hugely inflated expectations.

The latter eventually proved his undoing and he has been out of work since leaving City in December.

His new employer, chairman Mohammad Al Fayed, said tonight: "I would like to welcome Mark Hughes to Fulham. I know that he understands my vision for the club, and believes in what we want achieve.

"We have enjoyed two incredibly successful years, and my hopes and dreams for this club are for that journey to continue. I am confident that with his Premier League and national team successes Mark will be a great guy for the job."


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