Interview: Dirk Lehmann

Image: Ross Kinnaird /Allsport via Getty

Dirk Lehmann aka the porn star… do we need to say anymore! Dirk was part of the Keegan promotion winning side leaving SW6 with not just a winners medal but possibly the best nickname ever! Fulham Focus’ Daniel Smith spoke to Dirk to get his thoughts on his time with the club…

DS – Did you always want to be a footballer?

DL – Yes, I dreamed about it when I was a child. I always wanted to play as a striker. But later on I started to play as a centre-half which suited me and it was much easier knowing what strikers are up to playing that position myself from an early age. But scoring goals or set them up was something else.

DS – Who was your role models in football growing up?

DL – My hero was Klaus Fischer from Schalke 04. Great striker very especially in the air and overhead kicks.

DSDid you always want to play in England and how did the move to Fulham happen?

DL – England was always the country I would have loved to play. I always admired England, Scotland and Northern Ireland for their strength in the air. Always competitive and strong. That’s what I loved about it. When I was playing for Cottbus an agent saw me against Rapid Vienna when I scored a header and he invited me to play for Gillingham in a trial match. After 2 test matches, I had offers from English teams but I decided to go to Fulham because of Kevin Keegan. When I was a kid I saw him playing for HSV beside Horst Hrubesch and they were a great match and had lots of success. So I thought he can improve my game.

DS – You played 36 games for Fulham, do you have a favourite match?

DL – My favourite match must be the first league game against Man City. 2 goals and 1 assist.

DS – You scored 5 goals for the club, can you remember any of them and can you describe them?

DL – Well I scored only 5 and 4 of them right at the start at Fulham. Should have been more though but I remember them all. Think I was always giving my best but I wished I had scored more.

DS – I have to mention the nickname. It was a lovely moustache and look you had which made our fans start calling you the ‘pornstar’. What did you think of this nickname at the time?

DL – Regarding the nickname, I was very surprised and stunned but when I understood where it came from and why I laughed. Some of my mates call me still ‘diggler’ so Fulham gave me a new nickname! 

DS – Why did you always put tape over your earrings? Why not just take them out?

DL – I never took my earrings out. It was my lucky charm. After rules changed I wore plasters over my earrings and later I got banned by the football association wearing them at all.

DS – You also played for Brighton, Hibs and Motherwell in England/Scotland. But when I contacted you, your response was Fulham are the best team ever. I’m biased so I know Fulham are special but did Fulham really stand out against the other British clubs? Were we your favourite?

DL – Fulham was definitely the strongest side I have ever played for. Even though we were only 2nd division at that time this team was not only strong it had also a very good team spirit among the players. I had a great, great time at Fulham.

DS – You spent one season with Fulham and we were promoted as champions with 101 points. That’s a 100% record in a Fulham shirt. Do you still have your winner’s medal and where does this achievement rank in the best moments of your career?

DL – I still have my winner’s medal for sure. That is and will be the best moment in football for me.

DS – How did you find London? Is it very different to the lifestyle in Germany?

DL – London is massive compared to my hometown or the other German cities. Much more expensive and much busier than over here.

DS – Growing up you must have known who Kevin Keegan was. He was a big name in football, plus he played for Hamburg when you were a child. How did it feel to play for him at Fulham?

DL – As I mentioned earlier Kevin Keegan was a very famous player when I grew up. Twice won player of the year in Europe. That’s an honour only some players achieved. As a coach, he was hard but knew what the aim was in that season. And nothing could stay in the way for that goal! As a striker, u could learn lots of him.

DS – Did Al Fayed give you any Harrods discounts while you were here?

DL – It was very impressive being in Harrods. Never saw anything like that before. We had a card which entitled us to a discount. I can’t remember but I think I bought Christmas decorations and Burberry shirt and scarf with it.

DS – Who were your closest friends in the Fulham team?

DL – I got on with everyone but my closest Friends were Rufus (Brevett) Gus (Uhlenbeek) & Steve Finnan. We would hang out all the time but we often played golf with a lot of teammates on our day off. It was a great time back then. 

DS – Do you keep in touch with any of your Fulham teammates?

DL – I’m still in touch with Rufus occasionally. Unfortunately, I have no number for Gus or Finn. Maybe u can help?

DS – Unfortunately we haven’t been able to contact either but we will definitely help out if we do get hold of either of them.

DL – Thanks.

DS – What are you up to now? Are you still involved in football?

DL – I am working as a Production Planner for a big plastic company. We are producing all kind of different Packaging for big companies around the world. I deal mostly with the foreign customers due to my English Dutch and French background. Obviously, I am still involved in football as a part-time coach with a local team. I still play a bit myself and 3 weeks ago I played in Berlin with my over 40’s team for the German championship which we qualified 2 years ago We played teams like Bayern Munich and Hannover 96 for example. So still playing away can’t live without it.

I hope to come over to see a game at the Cottage! The last game I watched was in Germany when Fulham were in preseason to play Borussia Mönchengladbach. I drove there to watch them play.

DS – Finally Dirk, pie or pasty – Which filling?

DL – I prefer pasty.