Sunday, 9 September 2007

Top 5 Fulham Players I have seen

These are my favourite Fulham players that I actually saw play. Not necessarily the greatest to have pulled on a white shirt but the ones that I enjoyed watching the most.

1. Gordon Davies

2. Steed Malbranque

3. Ray Houghton

4. Simon Morgan

5. Louis Saha

Gordon "Ivor" Davies was my first and greatest Fulham hero. He scored twice in my first ever match, and went on to become Fulham's all time leading goalscorer. During his two spells at the club you just got used to the fact that Ivor would probably score. After he finally hung up his boots it was a very long time before we found someone who could score goals as often as he did. In fact we never really did.

Steed may have left under a bit of a cloud, but for five seasons he left me spellbound with his wizardry and work ethic. He brought a joy of playing to our team. Initially under Tigana he played his part in a team that could all play football the way it should be played, and eventually under Coleman he was the star man, the driving force behind a team of more workman like cloggers.

Much like Steed, Ray Houghton was the creative spark behind the MacDonald team of the 80's. A team made up of promising youngsters and a few old heads that went to the brink of the top division before spiralling back down again as the key players were sold. Signed for free from West Ham, Houghton was a bundle of energy, and played a starring role in our epic series of games against Liverpool in the League Cup. Having been sold to Oxford he got to claim a League Cup winner's medal (beating QPR 3-0 in the final and scoring the final goal). Having played for several seasons in a very successful Liverpool team he then moved to Aston Villa and during the 1994 World Cup scored his most memorable goal as the Republic of Ireland beat Italy 1-0.

The 90's was a grim time to be a Fulham supporter. Having spent a couple of years away from football, my return saw a team I didn't recognise. No one stood out and we were frankly appalling. As I got more games under my belt one player did start to set himself apart from the rest. Morgs gave 100% in every game, he worked his socks of and whilst he didn't look the greatest I appreciated the effort. However, as our fortunes slowly changed, and new managers came and went, it turned out Morgs really could play. Under Micky Adams he drove the team on, moaning at every contentious decision but putting his all into every performance. Having joined a team expecting a return to 2nd tier football, he ended up Captaining the side that dropped into the 4th tier. It's a testament to his character that he stuck with us through those dark days and saw us back in the 2nd tier and on the brink of the 1st before his knees could take no more.

Another "black sheep" of the Fulham family, Louis Saha arrived from Metz with no great reputation to boast about. A short loan spell at Newcastle had not impressed anyone, but under Tigana's guidance and playing in a team that was all about style, Saha flourished. Our top scorer in the team that won the Championship, he continued to impress in the Premier League. Two goals in our first match, a 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford, may have sealed his fate as far as we were concerned, but we did get to watch his style and goalscoring for a couple of seasons before he left us for "better things" and provided us with £12m which was just enough to offset the £11m we had wasted on Steve Marlet and ensure our return to Craven Cottage.


adam said...

Ivor was a true footballing gentleman, in the vintage sense. He belonged more to the style of the 50's, than the 80's - I can see him and his antics alongside Tosh Chamberlin, or Graham Leggat.He had a bit of Gazza in him, and was a dab hand at fooling the referee into giving decisions for obstruction or pushing as he was haring away to get the ball side by side with a defender. But it was always in the best possible taste.I remember the goal against Chesterfield - yes, it was from that far out, and was done with a simple swing of the boot. His nickname was the one of the more bizarre ones - how you get from Welsh football player to an accented locomotive on a tv children's cartoon show is beyond me!

Chopper said...

Indeed, I loved the rapport Gordon had (and still has with the fans) few players stay long enough to achieve that now.