Hughes makes Fulham exit
Welshman leaves Craven Cottage but denies being approached
Last Updated: 02/06/11 10:21pm
Mark Hughes has decided to leave Fulham after just one season in charge but insists he has not been approached by Aston Villa.
Hughes replaced Roy Hodgson at Craven Cottage last summer and enjoyed a solid first year with the club, recovering from a slow start to guide Fulham to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.
However, he has now parted company with the London club after expressing a desire to fulfil his ambitions elsewhere.
The Welshman had already been installed as the favourite with bookmakers to succeed Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa and his resignation would appear to pave the way for a switch to the Midlands.
"I would 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.
Mark Hughes Quotes of the week
Villa announced on Wednesday that Houllier would not remain in his role after experiencing health concerns towards the end of the season.
Hughes has made it clear, however, that he has not been contacted by another club and that his decision to quit Fulham was not 'influenced by any outside party'.
"I hope the supporters and all those connected with the club will understand I wish to move on to further my experiences," he said.
"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."
Hughes added: "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."
Hughes had previous spells with Wales, Blackburn and Manchester City prior to being appointed as Fulham boss.
The Cottagers had been keen for Hughes to carry on but a clause in his existing contract allowed him to give notice on 1st June, with a departure to be made official at the end of the month.
Fulham must now start searching for a replacement and will want somebody in place quickly, with their Europa League campaign set to start on 30th June.
The Cottagers acknowledged the development in a statement, which 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."
A later statement added: "For clarity, Hughes signed a two-year contract until June 30th, 2012.
"The contract includes provision for both Hughes and Fulham to give notice on 1st June this year to terminate on 30th June this year.
"He is Fulham's until then and his contract and Premier League rules prevent him or his agent to contact or be contacted by other clubs until after that."