Rufus Brevett won two 101 point winning promotions, captained Fulham to the Intertoto Cup and helped to establish the club in the Premier League. It was a fantastic Fulham career and one of the many reasons RUUUFUUUUS was so popular with the supporters. Daniel Smith spoke to the former fullback to look back at his time in SW6…
DS – How did you feel about your relationship with the fans?
RB – Right from the minute I signed the Fulham fans have been amazing with me, the chants of Ruuufffuuusss use to make me give everything for them and the club, great fans who deserve to be back in the Premier League.
DS – You played for Doncaster, QPR, Fulham and West Ham amongst others. What club do you class as home?
RB – I loved my time at Doncaster Rovers. Its where it all started for me. But QPR and Fulham I class as home (even though I’m not a Londoner!)
DS – Lets talk about how you started out for a second. Who was your role model in football growing up?
RB – I loved watching Kenny Sansom and Stuart Pearce, I replaced Kenny at QPR which was very strange.
DS – Did you always set out to be a left back?
RB – I started playing as a striker then moved to left midfield. When I got released by my home club team Derby County, Doncaster Rovers needed a left back and the first time I played left back was for Doncaster on trial, I signed the next day and was in the first team 3 months later!
DS – How did you become a footballer?
RB – Being a footballer is always what I wanted to do, when I got released from Derby I was determined to proved them wrong, I did that when I signed for Fulham. Arthur Cox, who released me at Derby was now the Director of Football at Fulham, and said to me “I knew you’d make it”. I didn’t reply!
DS – Looking back at your career, when it became clear that you were not going to get an opportunity to play for England, were there any other countries you were eligible for and do you look at it as a missed opportunity that you never played international football? Barry Hayles played for Jamaica for example, and Matthew Briggs has a cap for Guyana!
RB – I had a chance to play for Jamaica but there was a lot of unrest in their squad with all the English jumping on the band wagon so I decided not to. I regret that decision…
DS – What made you choose Fulham? Was it the fact it was a straight forward move from QPR, Kevin Keegan or a different reason?
RB – I never wanted to leave QPR but I was told if I didn’t leave I would be stuck in the reserves. Kevin Keegan sold it brilliantly and all what he said came true. In a phone call to me he said “this is Kevin Keegan, we are the big club around the corner from your little club”, I laughed because QPR were a division higher, and he said you won’t be laughing in a couple years! He was true to his word!
DS – Was it weird playing under Bracewell after just being promoted with him as your team mate?
RB – Brace is a great guy and a proper football man, we all wanted him to succeed and he tried is best.
DS – What was the reaction of the squad when Tigana arrived and did he have all the players teeth checked? I bet that was a first lol?!
RB – We all knew what a world class player he was and there were rumors going round that he would bring all his own players in. I had been out for 6 months when he came in and only just started pre season, he set out how he wanted us to play from Day One. I ended up getting a gold tooth!!
DS – A game that’s often spoken of is the famous win over Blackburn with Seany Davis popping up with the winner. “IN YOUR FACE SOUNESS!!!” Sorry, got a bit carried away there lol. Obviously this game was a mixed bag for you as you were sent off in the first half. I know how I felt during the game and then afterwards. What was going through your mind in the changing room and how did you react to that goal?
RB- That was one of the most satisfying wins of my career, a lot said before the game from Souness how they were the best team in the league and right from the start they tried to rough us up. I stupidly got sent off and I just thought I’d let everyone down. When Sean scored it was an amazing feeling. Even the usually-quiet Tigana showed some emotion running down the touchline! He just said to me to learn from it. We stayed up north and clinched promotion on the Saturday.
DS – It was a special occasion at Old Trafford for the first premier league game. Was this the first time you’d played there and can you describe how it felt? I was there and I remember feeling the whole occasion was surreal, like a dream. But the team didn’t seem overawed by the occasion, if anything we looked the better team for most parts.
RB- I was suspended for that game, there was no pressure on us and we were magnificent on the day.
DS – Where’s your medal for winning the Intertoto Cup? It’s always a trophy that is the butt of most jokes and of course we have the song “we won it one time”. But deep down I think Fulham Fans are proud we won it, I certainly am. It’s just a shame we won it “over there” rather than at the home of football – the Cottage. Where does it sit in a list of your proudest career achievements?
RB- It will be in a drawer somewhere, it’s a very proud moment lifting the tiny cup, it was a great experience playing teams in Europe. I captained the team so I was thrilled.
DS – How many of your Fulham team mates would make up the best eleven you’ve ever played with throughout your career?
RB- Maik Taylor, Me, Melville, Coleman, Finnan, Boa, Collins, Davis, Goldbaek, Les Ferdinand [QPR], Saha.
Van Der Sar
Di Canio [West Ham United]
DS – What was Al Fayed like?
RB- Al Fayed was brilliant, who else would bring Micheal Jackson to a championship match??!
DS – The promotion under Keegan was also special but it gets forgotten a bit, overshadowed if you like by the Tigana promotion. Yet both teams achieved 101 points. Do you prefer one to the other looking back or are you equally proud of both?
RB- Both were great achievements, and both teams played without fear. I think Tiganas team kept the ball more than the other team who would get tired trying to chase the ball, then gaps would open and we’d be 3 or 4 up.
DS – This is a tough one. Who’s got a bigger mouth, Clinton Morrison or his mother?
RB- For the record his mum never had a go at me, Clinton had all the mouth on the pitch but couldn’t back it up off the pitch! He started trying to talk Jamaican to me so I politely reminded him that he was actually Irish!
DS – Who was your room mate when staying in hotels?
RB- Wayne Collins was my roomie.
DS – Who were you closest to in the team?
RB- We all got on with a great team spirit. Collins, Coleman & Finnan if I had to pick.
DS – During your time at FFC who was the best player that you played with?
RB- Best player played with has to be Van Der Sar or Saha.
DS – You played for Keegan, Bracewell and Tigana. What were the differences between the 3 of them?
RB- Tigana was a great coach and had a “total football” approach. Keegan was a great motivator. Bracewell was very organized.
DS – Do you remember either of your two Fulham goals (one was a winner v Stoke in a league match, the other was an equaliser v Rochdale in the league cup).
RB- Stoke was a 1-2 with Bracewell and a finish from a tight angle. Rochdale was on 9/11, we got to the hotel and saw the pictures on the TV, just awful. We were losing the game and I gambled on a flick on and shot from inside the box, my celebration was taking my shirt off only because that’s what their player did when they scored! Very embarrassing.
DS – When you joined West Ham it was a bit sudden. Was there any particular reason why you left?
RB– Because Tigana told me he was leaving, if I had known that Coleman was going to be the manager I would’ve stayed.
DS – You’re back in management now with Hanworth Villa. How did that opportunity come about and how do you feel about the upcoming season? Have you clashed with the stats guy over transfers yet??
RB- We have a good bunch of players, finished third last season so hopefully we can build on that.
DS – Finally, pie or pasty – Which filling?
RB – Pie, steak and kidney please.