Kay Voser is a Swiss fullback who played for Fulham in the 2014/15 & 2015/16 seasons following our relegation from the Premier League. Daniel Smith spoke to Kay to get his take on Magath, Kit Symons and the challenge of playing in the Championship.
DS – Did you always want to become a footballer and how did you get the opportunity?
KV – Yes as long as I can remember I always wanted to become a professional footballer. When I was a kid I would always run around with football shorts and a football at my feet. When I was at the age of 10 I was scouted by Grasshoppers Club Zurich and went through all the academy stages. I played my first game for the first team when I was 19, only a couple of months after my first big injury which had left me out of the game for 10months.
DS – Did you start out as a fullback?
KV – In the academy I played mostly as a fullback or winger. Sometimes also in a number 6 role. in my first year of my professional career, I played as a number 6 or 8 before a new coach came in and played me as a fullback.
DS – What attracted you to Fulham? Was it London or the manager or something else?
KV – It was a bit of everything I felt ready for a new challenge. Felix Magath really wanted me to join Fulham and convinced me to join them. Of course, I thought carefully about that move as I was really happy at FC Basel. In the end, it was the Clubs ambition to get promoted again and Magath’s trust in me that made me want to join Fulham FC.
DS – Why do you think it didn’t work out for you here?
KV – In the beginning, I was a bit unlucky because I thought I did well in my first two games as a starter. My first game we played away at Brentford and we won for the first time in this season. The following game we drew at home against Cardiff and I did ok.
Then I twisted my ankle in training and was playing and training in a lot of pain. The gaffer asked me if I could play against Reading and I said yes. It was a big mistake as I wasn’t able to perform I had a very bad game and we lost 3v0. After that game, I knew I couldn’t continue to train and play because I was in a lot of pain. So I was out for the next two months. During that time Kit Symons took over and the results were getting better. By the time I was able to train again Symons already found his circle of players that he wanted to play with for rest of the season and I didn’t get the chance to prove myself till the next season. At the end of preseason in the following season, he told me that I had convinced him as a footballer and as a person and that I would start the season in the Starting 11. I played the first 6 games unfortunately without being able to impress and show my full potential. I think not playing for a year made me lose my confidence in my ability and I wasn’t strong enough in my head to take the chance that I was given by Symons to be a regular starter that season.
My mother was really sick during my whole time at Fulham and in October 2015 she died of cancer. Symons gave me the opportunity to fly back to her a lot and the last 3 weeks of her life I spent with her in Switzerland. I am still very grateful to Symons for that. When I came back Symons was sacked and I wasn’t in a very good shape. Her death made me want to go back to Switzerland and play there to be closer to my Family. So I left Fulham end of January 2016.
DS – What was Magath like? Any strange or funny stories to tell?
KV – He was a coach that wanted to play a very physical game. For that reason, we had a hard pre-season with a lot of running and long training sessions. I felt really fit and in good shape after preseason but I think his methods and the way he was like with players was something that didn’t really fit into English football and didn’t suit a lot of the players at the club.
DS – Did you feel the tension disappear and the atmosphere change when Kit Symons replaced Magath? Was everyone a lot happier?
KV – Well I think a lot of the players were relieved after his departure but for us foreigners, it was a bit different because Symons made it clear that he preferred to play with English players so a lot of us that hadn’t been playing in England for a while got left out after Magath’s departure.
DS – What was Kit Symons like as a manager? Did he get involved in training and was he vocal in the dressing room?
KV – He was mostly calm in training sessions and in the dressing room. His training sessions were short and sharp. He is good at communicating and was always trying to be very positive. He wasn’t much of a shouter.
DS – Were you confident in both seasons that we weren’t going to get relegated even though at times we were close to the bottom 3?
KV – Yes I was always confident of not getting relegated because we had a lot a talent and some very good footballers in our group.
DS – Who was the best player from your time with Fulham?
KV – That’s a difficult one I was impressed by a lot of players. The young players like Roberts and Dembele. Ross Mc Cormack’s ability in and around the box and his vision. Scott Parker’s charisma on the field and his passing and tackling. Bryan Ruiz technique and elegance on the pitch but if I have to choose one I would say Tom Cairney. His left foot and skills on the ball really impressed me.
DS – Who were your closest friends at Fulham?
KV – My closest friends were Adam Taggart, Ryan Williams and Mark Fotheringham. Of course also the German guys like Thomas Eisfeld for example.
DS – Do you feel that you weren’t given a fair chance in the first team to prove yourself?
KV – Well in the first season after Magath got sacked I felt that way but now I think I had my chance with Magath for 3 games and also with Symons in the following season but I just couldn’t take it well enough.
DS – Have you kept in touch with anyone from Fulham?
KV – I’m still in touch with Adam Taggart.
DS – How did you find the Championship compared to the Swiss League?
KV – Well it’s a different style of football much more physical than the Swiss league but in my opinion less tactical.
DS – What did you think of Craven Cottage, have you ever come across a ground like it before?
KV – Craven Cottage is definitely one of the nicest and most romantic football stadiums I have ever played in and seen.
DS – Did you get to deal much with Jokanovic? What was training like with him and his coaching staff?
KV – I was training under him for 3 weeks and I really liked his training and the way he wanted his team to play football. He wants you to keep the ball and play nice football. He also wants you to quickly repress after losing the ball to be very dominant in the game.
DS – What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
KV – The best moments of my career I had in Basel when I won the championship and played in a Europa League Semi Final and won against Chelsea twice in the Champions League.
DS – What are your plans when you retire? Do you plan to stay in football?
KV – I am planning to study Psychology and maybe one day become a Mental Coach in Football or generally in Sport.
DS – Finally Kay, pie or pasty – Which filling?
KV – Pie with beef filling or apple pie.