In the second instalment of ‘My Favourite Fulham Kit’ Daniel Smith speaks to Brede Hangeland, Paul Peschisolido and Maik Taylor to find out what their favourite kit was during their time in SW6…
FULHAM CAREER: 2008-2014
FAVOURITE KIT: 2008/09 HOME
REASON: I never gave much thought to the kit when I was a player and don’t remember much about them. 2008/09 was a good year/team. We qualified for Europe and achieved the clubs highest league finish, so I’ll go with that one.
FULHAM 1-0 ARSENAL
After a disappointing opening day defeat to newly promoted Hull City, Fulham fans could have been forgiven for fearing another relegation dogfight having just completed The Great Escape in the previous campaign. But this was going to be a special year for the club, qualifying for Europe through our league standing and recording the clubs highest league finish in 7th place. Brede Hangeland’s winner was the first goal of his Fulham career, poking home a Jimmy Bullard cross in the 21st minute in front of the Putney End.
FULHAM 2-0 MAN UTD
Our first home victory over Manchester United since 1964 was eventful to say the least! Paul Scholes was sent off in the first half for handling the ball on the goal line, saving Zamora’s goal bound attempt. Danny Murphy converted the spot kick to give us the lead and Zoltan Gera’s acrobatic finish deep into the second half killed off any hope Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had of leaving SW6 with a point. Tempers boiled over in stoppage time when Wayne Rooney through the ball in the referees direction because United were denied the chance to take a quick freekick. The referee had no hesitation in showing Rooney a second yellow and England’s record goalscorer punched the corner flag on his way to an early bath.
FULHAM CAREER: 1997-2001
FAVOURITE KIT: 1998/99 HOME
REASON: I chose this kit not necessarily for it’s appearance but because it was a very memorable year. We got promoted as Champions (record points) and I was voted the player of the season. We had such a great group of players and staff! We even got to hang with Michael Jackson. It really was an exciting year for us!
There were several big matches during Keegan’s record breaking season for the third tier of English Football. We beat promotion favourites Manchester City 3-0 in our first home fixture of the season, Gillingham by the same scoreline to seal promotion to Division One in April. 3 days before sealing promotion, we beat Wigan 2-0 at the Cottage, famously remembered for the visit of Michael Jackson. A 4-1 victory over Millwall all but secured the title, having to wait 24 hours for it to be confirmed by results elsewhere. Finally, our last home game of the season, again winning 3-0. This time against Preston North End, a victory that took us past a century of points for the first time in our history, thanks to a Paul Moody hat trick. He remains the only player to score a hat trick for the club after being used as a substitute and of course, it’s the day we lifted the trophy!
We got to test ourselves against a few Premier League clubs that season. Fulham had already beaten Southampton over two legs in the League Cup before we met again in the third round of the FA Cup at the Cottage. Fulham won the game 1-0 thanks to a winner from Barry Hayles, scoring his third goal since signing from Bristol Rovers.
But perhaps the most iconic moment in this kit from Paul Peschisolido’s point of view, came in the League Cup fourth round that followed our first victory over Saints. Despite losing the tie 3-1 on the night, Pesch produced a moment of pure magic, spinning his man and curling the ball from the corner/edge of the box into the far top corner. It is considered one of the best goals in the clubs history and is arguably the most famous moment a Fulham player has had both in this specific kit, and at Anfield.
APPEARANCES – 235
FULHAM CAREER: 1997-2004
FAVOURITE KIT: 2000/01 HOME
REASON: This was our promotion season to the Premier League under Tigana. A season I will never forget! I do prefer the tighter fit kits nowadays but I’ll pick this one for sentimental reasons.
WATFORD HOME AND AWAY
At the time of our Boxing Day fixture in 2000/01, Graham Taylor’s side were our closest competitors for promotion, and this was deemed a clash of the best two sides in the division by many neutrals. With that in mind, it really hit home just how special Tigana’s side were when we made Christmas puddings of the Hornets with an emphatic 5-0 win. Barry Hayles with a hat trick either side of goals from Louis Saha and Andrejs Stolcers. It meant that we signed off the year 2000 with 61 points in the league, an extraordinary achievement.
As if that wasn’t convincing enough, we then faced them at Vicarage Road just 25 days later. Cue another dominant display from the Whites and a 3-1 win thanks to a brace from Boa and another goal for Saha. Heidar Helguson grabbed a controversial consolation goal for the home side at 2-0 punching the ball into the net, but Tigana’s side kept their composure and responded with a third courtesy of the man that seemed to score every game, King Louis.
Watford capitulated after we did the double over them and ended up finishing 9th, whilst we stormed to the title with 101 points.
FULHAM 1-2 MANCHESTER UNITED (FA CUP)
When the draw for the third round of the FA Cup was made, one of the standout ties drew the leaders of the Premier League away to the leaders of Division One. It was the first opportunity to see how this side could cope against the best side in the country and to their credit, Man Utd gave a good account of themselves!
Such was the depth of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad that he had the luxury of resting his iconic strike partnership of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham their replacements. It was the fresh front line that proved to be the difference on the day with the current United boss giving them an early lead. Fabrice Fernandes equalised with a beautifully executed free kick at the Putney End to keep the tie competitive and it seemed the game was heading for a replay until Sheringham won it with seconds remaining.
It was a bittersweet loss as we gave a good account of ourselves and were proud in defeat, but with the news of Chris Coleman’s career ending injury that month, the early exit probably did us a lot of favours and allowed us to concentrate on the main goal of promotion. We may have lost out on the opportunity to visit Old Trafford, so it seemed fate that 8 months later we’d be doing it anyway, this time as a Premier League outfit.
FULHAM 1-1 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Although Al Fayed’s dream of reaching the Promised Land had been confirmed away to Huddersfield less than 48 hours prior to kickoff, everyone associated with the club seemed focused on getting that final point needed for us to go up as Champions. Maybe because of the comments from Souness before the Blackburn game, although we’d already proved our point with ten men a few days earlier! It had been a season of mesmerising football, with many fans believing it to be our most enjoyable season as a football club despite reaching higher heights in the years to follow. We deserved to win the league and it really needed to happen to justify our dominance throughout the season.
The history books now read that Fulham were the first, and are still the only, English club to reach a century of points in a domestic season more than once and that feat was achieved a couple of weeks after this wonderful afternoon. Naturally we started slowly and appeared to have a bit of a hangover given the heroic efforts put in vs Blackburn and Huddersfield. It was almost inevitable then that The Owls Dutch frontman, Gerald Sibon, would give them the lead just before half time scoring direct from a corner. Not the best of starts for debutant goalkeeper, Marcus Hahnemann who was filling in for Maik Taylor. Not ideal but fairytales always have a hiccup or two along the way to enhance the feel-good factor when the happy ending emerges. Step forward Mr Sean Davis, one of our own who popped up with his second injury time goal in the space of a week to rescue a point in stoppage time as the promotion party went into overdrive. Fulham were Champions!
It’s not often we’ve been able to say that and there’s been few teams we’ve been prouder of than Tigana’s ‘total football’ specialists. One of those days we will never forget.