Fulham’s Classic XI

Every club has its heroes. But equally, there are players who you might have forgotten about. These are the players that we love at Forgot About Him, and this feature is dedicated to them. Londoners Fulham are up next.

Upon their promotion to the Premier League in 2001, few would have expected Fulham to still be there ten years later without suffering relegation at least once. However the Cottagers have made adjusting to England’s top tier life a relative piece of cake, and are now part of the mid-table furniture in the division. Under Roy Hodgson, the club even managed to reach the final of the Europa League and, despite his departure, they continue to refuse to budge. A team which reads like Jean Tigana’s Christmas list, this is Fulham’s classic XI.

Abdeslam Ouaddou signed for Fulham upon their promotion to the Premier League in 2001. Photo: Hamzalar

GK: Martin Herrera

Herrera moved to Fulham in 2002 after he lost the number one jersey at La Liga side Alaves. Just a year earlier he had been part of the team that had reached the UEFA Cup final, narrowly losing to Liverpool in a nine-goal thriller. Despite not wanting to sit on the bench in Spain, Herrera found himself doing exactly the same in England as Edwin Van Der Sar kept him out of the starting line-up. He appeared only twice for Jean Tigana’s side before returning to Argentina with Estudiantes, where he ended his career in 2006.

CB: Martin Djetou

After being capped for France six times during his spell at Monaco in the late nineties, Djetou’s arrival at Craven Cottage was a sign of the progress the south-west London club. He joined on a two-year loan deal from Parma in 2002 and made over 50 league appearances for Fulham, helping them to respectable ninth place finish in the 2003-04 season. The two clubs could not agree a permanent deal after the loan period ended, though, and instead, Djetou ended his career after short spells with Nice, Bolton and Istres. He retired from professional football in 2007, opening a beauty salon in Strasbourg called ‘Espace Djetou’.

CB: Alain Goma

French defender Goma was spotted by Auxerre’s scouts and they managed to lure the then-18-year-old to the club’s famous youth system in 1990. After eight years at the club, in which he won Ligue Un and two French cups, he joined Paris Saint Germain for a short spell, before heading to England with Newcastle for £4.7million in 1999. Fulham shelled out £4million for Goma in 2001 and the twice-capped French international became captain at Craven Cottage under Tigana. After five years and 115 league starts for the Cottagers though, Goma may be remembered most for the time he called the club’s player liaison officer after becoming troubled by his goldfish swimming in the ‘wrong direction’. He hung up his boots in 2007 after a period with Qatari side Al-Wakra.

CB: Abdeslam Ouaddou

A £2million signing in 2001, the then-23-year-old Moroccan centre back represented somewhat of a risk for Fulham. He had only began his football career at the age of 21, and as such had only played two seasons at French side Nancy. Ouaddou made only 13 league starts in four years, his time summed up by his first appearance for Fulham, where he limped off injured after 70 minutes of a pre-season game against Crystal Palace. He returned to France with Rennes, where three successful seasons meant he caught the eye of Greek giants Olympiakos. After only a few months in Greece though, he was homesick and his contract was mutually terminated. A retired Moroccan international, he currently plays in the Qatar Stars League for Lekhwiya.

RM: Andrejs Stolcers

After plying his trade in Eastern Europe with the likes of Skonto Riga and Spartak Moscow, where he proved himself to be a decent goalscorer, Stolcers signed for Fulham in 2000. Despite being 26 and in his prime, the £2million signing made only eight league starts in four years and joined League Two’s Yeovil Town in 2004. He was tempted to Azerbaijan with FC Baku in 2005 but made only ten appearances before returning to his native Latvia. In 2009, Stolcers made a comeback in English football, signing for Blue Square South side Bath City before ending his career with Hayes & Yeading. He is currently a coach at the youth football organisation Concept4Football and also coaches Harris Academy South Norwood under-15s.

CM: Junichi Inamoto

Midfielder Inamoto became the first Japanese player to grace the Premier League when he signed for Arsenal in 2001. However, despite being nominated for the 2002 Ballon d’Or, he was released by the Gunners, but was quickly snapped up by Jean Tigana, whose Fulham side looked to further consolidate their Premier League status. After scoring twice for his country at the 2002 World Cup, including this individual effort, Inamoto went on to make over 50 appearances for the Cottagers over two years, before moving on to West Brom in 2004. He left England in 2006 for spells in Turkey, Germany and France, before returning to his home country in 2010 to play for J. League side Kawasaki Frontale. Now 31, he is the proud owner of 82 caps for Japan.

CM: Sylvain Legwinski

Another player with an Arsenal connection, Frenchman Legwinski was handed his professional debut by current Gunners boss Arsene Wenger whilst at Monaco in 1992. But it was another Monaco manager, Jean Tigana, who brought him over to England to play for Fulham in preparation for the club’s debut Premier League campaign in 2001. Making over 100 appearances in five years in London, Legwinski earned the adoration of the Cottagers fans through his tireless work rate and stunning strikes like this one. In 2006, the 33-year-old midfielder left for Championship side Ipswich, where he spent two seasons, before being released. He underwent a couple of unsuccessful trials in Sweden, before bizarrely signing for non-league outfit St. Neots Town, where Steve Lomas was player-manager. After two appearances for the Saints, Legwinski moved to Crystal Palace as youth coach, before returning to his first club Monaco to be assistant manager.

CM: Bjarne Goldbaek

After spending the majority of his 13-year career in the German Bundesliga and the Danish Superliga, Denmark international Goldbaek arrived in England in the twilight of his career, signing for Chelsea for a nominal fee in 1998. He played a bit-part role in his two years at Stamford Bridge, and consequently transferred across London – dropping down a division to sign for promotion-chasing Fulham. After the Cottagers stormed to the Division One title, the Goldbaek returned to England’s top flight for his second spell. However, the obvious strengthening required to survive in the best league in the world subsequently limited the Scandinavian’s first team chances, and he left the club for German side Rot-Weiss Essen, where he stayed until retiring in 2005.

LM: Bobby Petta

A lightning quick left winger in his heyday, Petta signed for Fulham on loan from Celtic in 2004. He had already tasted English football with Ipswich in the late nineties, and lost in three play-offs with the Tractor Boys. His early form at Celtic had seen him called up to the Dutch national team, but injury forced him to pull out and he ended up never appearing for his country. Indeed he fell down the pecking order at Parkhead, and tried to resurrect his career at Fulham. He made 13 appearances in half a season but the Cottagers never moved to sign him permanently. He went on to play for Darlington and Bradford before concluding his career in Australia.

ST: Facundo Sava

Perhaps best known for donning a Zorro mask after scoring, Sava arrived in England in 2002 on the back of a prolific five years in his native Argentina with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. During his time at El Lobo, he scored 67 goals in 182 matches, leading Jean Tigana to shell out £2million for his services. Unfortunately for Fulham fans, though, the Zorro mask didn’t make as many appearances as anticipated, and he swapped England for Spain in 2004 when he signed for Celta Vigo, initially on loan, but permanently a year later. After a spell with another Spanish club, Lorca, Sava returned to his native Argentina, where he played for four teams in four years, before retiring in 2010, aged 36.

ST: Steve Marlet

Jean Tigana must have seen goals like this one, and thought that Frenchman Marlet was worth spending £11.5million of Mohamed Al-Fayed’s money on. In reality, he will go down as one of the Premier League’s most expensive flops, and is often included on lists denoting similar duffers, scoring just 11 times in 54 games for the Cottagers. Tigana, who was dismissed in April 2003, was taken to court by Fulham, with Al-Fayed labelling the former France playmaker a ‘crook’ for paying an extortionate  fee for the striker. With his tail firmly between his legs, Marlet was loaned out to Marseille in 2003, with Fulham still paying a sizeable chunk of his large wages. He left the Cottagers for good in 2005, signing for Wolfsburg, and then in 2006, Lorient of France. After unsuccessful trials at Ipswich and Chicago Fire, Marlet signed for French amateur side Aubervilliers, where he still plays, aged 37.

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