Hall Of Heroes: Mark Maunders

Ever since I can remember, Fulham have always been considered a charming, friendly football club and respected by the neutral football fan for creating an environment where everyone felt welcome. A football club where every supporter and member of staff feels like your extended family.

This has always been the make-up of Fulham’s DNA, aided by the fact that so many fans have been involved in the running of the club since day dot. Often behind the scenes or by doing small voluntary jobs that the public is never made aware of. It’s that selfless commitment and character, going above and beyond that has always made Fulham the type of place where players wanted to play their football and feel like they belong. Fast forward to 2020 and Fulham has changed significantly in order to evolve within the sport and to keep up with the success that we’ve enjoyed over the past 22 years or so. Yet, our values still hold true and players know they are part of a special family when they put on our black and white colours.

This is in large part down to the achievements of one brilliant man, a Fulham fan through and through who recently celebrated 22 years at the club and the person responsible for making sure every player at Fulham Football Club is settled and able to focus solely on their football. Mark Maunders is the Player Engagement Manager at Fulham Football Club and the go-to man whenever a player has a problem, professional or personal.

Mark had been involved with the club as a programme & ClubCall contributor before joining in 1998 and his impact on the staff around him has always been positive. The job has changed in many ways in the time Mark has been doing it. In 1998 the vast majority of Fulham players were born and raised in England and had played all their football there. Very soon afterwards though the club began to welcome players from all over the world as the Al Fayed era kicked into full swing. For many of those players it was the first time they had played outside of their country of birth and for some their first time away from home, with language barriers an added challenge whilst they tried to settle in London. The role of ‘Player Liaison Officer’ came into being in 2004 and Mark was the ideal man for the job. Alongside the introduction of nutritionists and fitness coaches, it became apparent that modern football players needed help managing all the non-football parts of their lives.

Since Mark joined Fulham the club has had players representing 57 countries outside those of the UK with this league of nations reaching its height in the 2012/13 season when David Stockdale, Matthew Briggs, Steve Sidwell and Kieran Richardson were the only English born players in the first-team squad. The newspapers have been littered over the years with stories of foreign players who have left English clubs because they, their partners or their children have not been able to adapt to their new lives in England. The differences in language, culture, schools and weather can prove massive hurdles. Mark’s tireless commitment to his players and their families has made a huge difference in their quality of life and ability to settle to life in London.

Mark has always given the impression that he has the best job in the world, and you can see the pride he takes in caring for the players and ensuring they can give 100% for the badge. I have been fortunate to interview many players over the past couple of years and what strikes me is the universal love they all have for Mark and the impact he made on their career. In 2018 he was recognised for his services to Fulham by the Premier League with a ‘Behind the Scenes’ award having been anonymously nominated by his peers, demonstrating once again the love and respect everyone at the club has for the job he does. When we created Fulham Focus, we wanted to have our own Hall of Heroes. A hall of fame dedicated to recognising outstanding contributions from those who have played a special part in the history of Fulham Football Club. You have to wonder if much of the overwhelming success we have enjoyed as supporters would have happened in the past 22 years if the players weren’t so happy and able to concentrate solely on the football? It certainly played a factor.

We felt it was only right that we opened up this celebration of Mark’s career to those who know him best and they were only too happy to share our love for Mr Fulham. So before we let ex-players/ staff take over, I would just like to say that Mark Maunders, it is an honour to induct you into the Fulham Focus Hall of Heroes and on behalf of everyone in the Focus team, thank you for your services to Fulham and here’s to countless years to come. We are very lucky and privileged to have you.

Image: Javier Garcia/​BPI/​ Shutterstock

Mark Maunders is the definition of support. He has made generations of Fulham players feel welcome, safe and looked-after. In my book, Maunders is Fulham personified. He’s not after personal recognition, but he definitely deserves it.

Brede Hangeland

Mark is one of the first people I think of when I remember the good times at Fulham. He helped me lots from my first day at the club to my last.

He was the perfect professional, even when I left the club, he helped me with all of the personal matters I had in London. He was always available for anyone who came to his office: players, staff, everyone. He never gave you a ‘No’ as an answer.

He always kept calm and was in a good mood, regardless of the result. You could tell that he enjoyed every minute of his job. What’s more, he’s a real club man and a big Cottagers’ fan.

Slavisa Jokanovic

Mark Mr FULHAM Maunders! A fantastic guy who loves his job as he is working for the club he loves. He is very supportive to all the players and families and I don’t think there is a more popular person at Fulham Football Club than Mark.

A top guy – My nickname for him was LEGEND which is very apt in my opinion and I’m honoured to call him a friend.

Lee Clark

I have known Mark since I moved to Fulham in March 2001. When I arrived at the club he was very welcoming, like he was with all the players. His help was vital for me to settle in the big city that London is. Mark was always available and patient, trying to decrypt my very basic English with a bit of a Geordie accent!

I have rarely seen Mark being upset. He is always positive. At my time, Mark was part of the team. Home or away, he was always there with us. I remember him after the away games, walking down the alley of the bus, feeding us and shouting “apples, Bananas” like he was in Brixton Market!

Once Mark made a joke in the press room and mentioned that a French player called him at night because “his goldfish was swimming in the wrong direction”. One of the journalists wrote this in his article and since that day I keep being asked about my goldfish!

I know that Mark has stayed in touch with numerous ex-players of the club and he is still available today when we ask for a favour. Mark’s role at the club is huge. He is there to make sure that each player is properly settled so he can focus at 100% on the pitch. This is a tough job, but Mark is the Man. No wonder he won the Award of Best Player Liaison Manager last year, he fully deserved it!

Alain Goma

Without Maunders, a lot of players coming in and out of Fulham would have found their work a lot harder. He didn’t only make it easy for me, he made it easy for my whole family. I was up North in Wigan for 5 years and when I joined Fulham, I didn’t know what area to live in and Maunders put me in touch with Estate Agents and helped me find a house to buy and I still live in the same house.

As well as that, just having him around the club, that man is a legend! I used to love going to his office and tormenting him. When he had his office decorated, I sneaked up on him with a roller and started painting him! We made him look like a badger and put a big white stripe over his nut!

But Maunders, from all the Bullard’s, we love ya and you are welcome around ours anytime. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me and the football club, you are a legend son! But you still look like Penfold…

Jimmy Bullard

I’ve known Marc Maunders for many many years. First as a staunch supporter, then as an employee of the club, which I’m sure was a dream come true for him.

He lives and breaths Fulham and I wouldn’t be surprised if he bleeds Black and White. He has built a magnificent reputation for himself amongst former and current players, with his interest in the players well bring and his professionalism. A better ambassador for the club would be hard to find.

Simon Morgan was dubbed Mr Fulham as a player. Mark Maunders is Mr Fulham of the non playing fraternity. It’s a pleasure and an honour to have known him all these years and he’s a credit to Fulham football club.

Les Strong

If I think of someone who personifies what being “Fulhamish” is all about I think of Mark Maunders!

Whether it was when I first met him as the team club call guy, to collecting Andrejs Stolcers from lost property at the station! Maulers, as he is affectionately known, would do anything the club needed him to do and often far and beyond what was required!

A true gent and a top bloke and also a man of few words. 20 years after I left Fulham as a player I still get the odd text from him saying simply “shove it!!!”

Love you Maulers.

Kit Symons

What an honour it is to shine the spotlight on one of the kindest and most hardworking men in the game that I know!

From our initial meeting at Kings Cross Station in 2004 when we first shook hands and you welcomed me to the great Fulham FC through to the present day, you have always been someone that I can turn to.

In your 22 years with the club you have shown us that you are truly dedicated to the Fulham badge and wear it with immeasurable pride and by doing so continue to represent everything that Fulham FC and its fans stands for!

May you continue to be honoured and awarded for your great contributions and achievements to the club and the game!

Collins John

Martin Tyler, the Sky commentator, once referred to us as Bonnie and Clyde. Mark Maunders and I worked together for many years and shared many, many adventures. He was and is Fulham through and through. He loves the Club and nothing is more important to him than the badge.

Players come and go, but he looks after them all with humour and professionalism, it’s no wonder they all care about him. He takes wins and losses in his stride, never letting his fan feelings influence the day job. Although we’ve embraced a little bit harder at those games that have really mattered to a season’s campaign or a cup run we never dreamt could be a reality.

He embodies what is right about the Club and what it means to the fans. He is Mr Fulham. And he’ll always be the Clyde to my Bonnie. 

Sarah Brookes

Mark Maunders is Mr Fulham and a really great guy. Not many people will think this but he played a massive part in our promotion to the Premiership under Tigana, simply because he made all the players that came in from various countries feel at home and they all settled very quickly. This allowed them to concentrate on performing on the pitch which they all did.

Nothing was too much for Mark, all the praise he gets is definitely deserved. Well done Mark and thanks for the memories.

Rufus Brevett

Fulham through and through! I hope you’re still grafting away like you were when I was there mate.

Love you Maunders! Miss you and hope that the current boys respect and appreciate you as much as we did. You’re a top man and I hope we can catch up soon.

Paul Konchesky

I first met Mark at a hospital in London when I was doing my medical when signing for Fulham. I remember it was quite late and feeling a bit nervous as you always are when joining a new club.

Anyway, Mark showed up and introduced himself as the player liaison guy and straight away I was taken aback by the effort he had made to come into London and meet me when I hadn’t even signed. He could have waited until I was at the training ground the next day. That just shows you how much he loves the club, that he goes above and beyond to make new players feel welcome and part of the club straight away whilst also being there for the current players.

I had seven years at Fulham, loved my time there and Mark played a massive part in that.

Simon Davies

Mark Maunders! You are one of the people who gave me the desire to love Fulham and to become an unconditional fan of the club for life. By your dedication to the players and the well-being of their family, I saw in you a man who has extraordinary human values. Thank God, there are people conveying these values and you are part of it.

There is no need for many words to tell you the deep respect that my family and I have for you, Fulham are very lucky to have you. You are simply a legend for all players passed through Fulham FC.

We always need a guide for better integration into a new country or society and you are that guide for me, my family and many other international players. Whether on administrative tasks or visits to essential places in London in terms of culture, landscape, including the famous Richmond park with all its flora and fauna. Thanks for everything my dear friend and brother.

Abdes Ouaddou

I have known Mark from a kid when he used to come with his mum and dad. As a kid, he was a pain in the backside always pestering you for autographs and photos at every home game! He is a “Mr Fulham”, cut him and he bleeds black and white and it’s really nice to see that what started out as just being a Fulham nut turned into a full-time job at the club and one which he excels at.

I have the utmost respect for him and the work he does. In a few years, it will be me asking for his autograph and photo. He deserves a very special tribute from a club he is absolutely devoted to.

Gordon Davies

Mark, I hope you are enjoying every single minute and moment at Fulham FC. I just want to congratulate you for being loyal to Fulham for so many years and for the great and hard work that you do.

Keep going because your contribution to the club is vital.

Luis Boa Morte

Mr Fulham himself. That’s probably the most genuine thing I can say about him. He loves the club! He was always there for me and my missus since the day we arrived, he took great care of us and made life easier.

Alexander Kacaniklic

Mark Maunders is a Fulham legend without doubt! One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Nothing is ever too much trouble. He’s always upbeat and in good spirits even during tough times. What a guy!

Maik Taylor

When I first arrived at Fulham, Mark was one of the first to greet me. From day one Mark was always there for anything, not just football related but even our personal lives. He always went above and beyond with every player and their families. He is a true gentleman, who is kind and funny with a heart of gold.

My nickname for him is “Chief Maunders” and to me, he will always be “Mr Fulham”. Even though I am no longer at the club, Mark continues to keep in contact which shows the amazing person he is.

Chris Baird

Mark is a fantastic person, I first met Mark when I was in the youth team and he helped me with my transition through to the 1st team by always offering sound advice. His office door is always open and his friendly approachable nature made it easy to pop in and have a chat.

The work he does to ensure all players and their families are settled and comfortable is massively important. Being a foreign player in a new country can be very daunting unless you have people like Mark making life easier for you, to enable you to perform to the best of your ability.

Zesh Rehman

Fulham is a wonderful family club and it’s vital that fans are employed by the club in order to keep that family feel intact. Fans care more than anybody about the football club and you can see that in their commitment and attitude towards their role. None more so than Mark who would do anything for you and genuinely cared.

He was always very chirpy and a joy to be around. When I arrived at Fulham I had a young family and Mark made us feel very welcome.

A player liaison officer is a vital part of a football club in the modern game and Mr Maunders is brilliant at it!  

John Collins

Wow where should I start… Mark is one of the nicest people you will meet in football! He loves the club! Very helpful when I joined the club and helped me settle in very quickly. Keep up the good work mate!

Matt Targett

Mark has been part of the furniture at Fulham now for as long as I can remember. He was one of the first people I was introduced to upon signing back in 1997. Mark could not be more accommodating or helpful. He has always been accepted by all of the players as one of the lads which is not an easy thing to do. Even after all of these years if I need the occasional favour, Mark always comes up trumps. He is a genuinely top guy and hugely respected and appreciated.

Paul Peschisolido

I know from speaking to both ex and current players that Mark is held in very high esteem. He is a proper gentleman and treats the youngest to the most experienced players the same. For me personally, he has looked after me so, so well with tickets for matches. I truly respect Mark and call him a good friend. Someone that all players can count on.

Well done mark.

Robert Wilson

Mark Maunders! One of a kind. A great heart, a great person and he helped me settle from day one. I was a young boy, 19 years old in a new country, about to live on my own for the first time and Mark made my life so much easier when I was there. He helped me find an apartment, buy a car, get cooking lessons etc. If I needed tickets he would sort it, and if you ever needed him you could just walk into his office and he was always available.

I have a lot of respect for Mark and I want to thank him for what he did for me and what he does for all the players. Fulham is like a family to me and Mark is a very important member of that family.

Chris David

Mark is a top man, I’ll never forget him helping me find a house for my family and schools for my 3 kids when I signed for Fulham Football Club. Without his hard work and fantastic loving care for the players, I wouldn’t have settled so well!

It was also a pleasure to get to know him and he made my time at Fulham a fantastic experience.

Jonathan Greening

Great to hear that you Mark, are being recognised for the work that you put into making sure the players have an easy transition into a fantastic club. I especially enjoyed helping you paint your office ha ha!

Tony Warner

Mark is really the heart of the club and helps all the players equally no matter how big their career is. His door is always open and he helps the players from tv channels to personal talks everyday. Top man!

Sakari Matilla

From the first day we met when you picked me up at my home to bring me to my medical examinations. I had the feeling that you are living your job at FFC with 100% passion.

Always with a smile on your lips. Always working hard. Never looking for glory yourself. You are definitely one of the reasons why I experienced the environment at FFC as very pleasant and warm with lots of family character.

Thanks for all your help and support. Looking forward to meeting you at the Cottage in the future.

Bjarne Goldbæk

I have known Mark since we both worked at Fulham in the early days under chairman Mo. During the whole time, we shared great humour even with the ups and downs. He has helped so many players over the years and never breaks a confidence. I’m sure there is a book in him but he’s too loyal to ever consider it. I loved our chats and know that he’s a true Fulham fan under his professional approach. Where would we be without Mark at times? I don’t know how he has managed to work with all of our managers without any trouble or worry! 

He is a true Fulham legend.

Alan Smith

Mark is just the nicest guy in football. Mr Fulham and always helpful. He helped me and my family a lot when we moved to London. A true Fulham legend.

Erik Nevland

Before I even started working at Fulham I’d heard all about Mark Maunders through players singing his praises in interviews. It was clear from his many plaudits just what an important and vital member of the Fulham staff this man was. When I finally got the chance to meet him I could see why he had been held in such high esteem. He’s a gentleman and is arguably the heartbeat of the club.

Ivan Berry

Throughout my 20 year career I had the opportunity to play for a lot of great clubs. Every club wishes they had a Mark Maunders looking after their players! When I was at Fulham, Mark made it so easy for me to concentrate on football because he helped to ensure other aspects of our lives remained as stress free as possible.

Kasey Keller

Mark was always helpful and works hard for players at the club every day. He has a great attitude and patience. He is very important, because without him, it would be extremely difficult to settle.

Thank you Mark.

Andrejs Stolcers

I love Mark Maunders as everyone loves Mark. He always made us feel at home from day one. Always there for me and my family. Sitting in the smallest room of the building but being available every minute of the day.

Thank you Mark for your kindness.

Martin Jol

Mark was amazing when he came in. If I’m right, he was there at the same time as I signed and really came into his own when Kevin Keegan and Ray Wilkins came on board.

He became one of the squad as he was very trusting and helped the new players settle in and put them at ease. Always smiling, always very helpful and is a really good man.

Neil Smith

He was always there for us for literally anything we needed and you could clearly see how much he cared for our well being and success. It was also very clear how much he cares and loves this football club and the job he does. A lovely person to work with and he definitely makes Fulham even more special.

Lucas Piazon

Mark Maunders was the guy to go to when I arrived at Fulham. He knew everything, whether you wanted something or even just for a talk about random things. He made you feel good and relaxed when at the club and as I recalled you could even ring him if you needed anything.

He made my stay at Fulham so much better and I can’t think of a better place to be at that time, that’s why we as a group of players were so close. Old, young and new players, we just clicked and that was all due to Mark.

Even when I left the club he stayed in contact. A top man and person who deserves everything that is coming his way.

Gus Uhlenbeek

This is well deserved! He’s always at hand to help players with all different issues which for foreign players coming to England for the first time is a huge help. Not just helping with things but day to day, around the training ground his door is always open for a chat!

Jack Grimmer

Mark has quite rightly earned the reputation of being a true gentleman and a key component in everything that is good about Fulham Football Club. The fact that he is so highly trusted by players and coaches, management and fans tells us all we need to know about his character and conduct. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you, Mark. Keep up the good work!

Jamie Reid

Mark is the ultimate professional when it comes to his work and taking care of players but more importantly he is man of the club. A legend to those who have had the pleasure to work with him. Given all the work and dedication he deserves all the possible recognition. Thanks for the talks and all the work you continue to do. Ledge!

Jesse Joronen

Mark always came across as sympathetic and would enjoy a bit of banter with the lads. It’s a fantastic achievement to have served FFC for the amount of time he has and hopefully he’ll have many more to come.

Robbie Herrera

Maunders is Mr Fulham! He symbolises what the club stands for and what it means to everyone. He was always there to help me with anything and everything and the same went for all my teammates.

Cameron Burgess

Mark was always around the place, talking to players all the time. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him and he is so good at his job!

Paul Moody