Fulham Focus’ Daniel Smith was recently contacted by a Fulham supporter who thanked us for our podcast on behalf of his father Peter Roberts. Peter is an 87-year-old supporter who is the third in a family of six generations of Fulham fans spanning over 100 years. Now partially sighted, Peter listens to all Fulham podcasts as a way of keeping up to date with the club’s current state of affairs. It was a no-brainer to phone Peter to personally thank him for listening which lead to the following Q&A being arranged….
DS – Hello again Peter, I’m still blown away at the thought of an 87-year-old gentleman like yourself being the third of six generations supporting the Whites. We must start at the very beginning. Were you ever told why your family chose Fulham?
PR – Because family lived in Fulham and Fulham was bred into them.
DS – I’m sure Fulham is a daily discussion with your family now. Was it like this in your household as a child and was there pressure to continue in your family’s footsteps?
PR – No pressure, my father took a keen interest in the results. Most people worked Saturdays, but getting the results was always the first thing you did.
DS – Were there any players your Grandad/Dad spoke about regularly that you would have loved to see play for Fulham?
PR – Father talked about pre-war players but I honestly can’t remember names. I remember my Father shouting out “Hello Jim” from the car window when we were driving through Crowley. He had recognised Jim Taylor Fulham’s Centre Half.
DS – You mentioned on the phone that your first game was against West Ham. What can you remember about the experience?
PR – I went to the game with our Pastors wife Mrs Harris, Fulham lost 7-4. We were standing in the open terrace on the Riverside, every time Fulham scored she whacked me in the back (4 times). So, you can imagine it’s not something you forget when Fulham have scored four!
DS – Describe for us your typical Match Day routine as a child/youngster. Did it change when you became a Dad and introduced your children?
PR – Truth was, when I was very young I didn’t go that often and then when older I was playing most Saturdays. Always a Fulham supporter but life was so different in those days, going in later years with Stuart was totally different.
DS – I would love to get your take on the Maestro?
PR – Someone once said coming away from Oxford after a 1-0 defeat, Oxford 1 Johnny Haynes and the Seven Dwarfs 0. Haynes was strong, a great passer of the ball, didn’t suffer fools gladly, unselfish and has to be our best ever. I remember Haynes in the inside right position, passing when I thought he should have shot and the player he passed too scored.
DS – Is there a particular goal that stands out over the years?
PR – John Mitchell’s goal v Birmingham at Hillsborough & Dempsey’s chip v Juventus.
DS – What was your feeling when the club had Marsh, Best and Moore all playing?
PR – Exciting times but I felt Marsh was treating games as an exhibition and not taking it too seriously.
DS – My family go back to 1948 supporting Fulham, that’s four generations. I always thought we were a jinx as Fulham have never won anything of note. Now I’ve heard your story, six generations back to 1900 I don’t feel guilty anymore lol.
PR – Ha-ha, nothing to feel guilty about. Fulham spent most of their time in the second division and felt they had reached their comfort level and were happy to stay there. So, we were not under any pressure to win things.
DS – Something else you mentioned on the phone was that your wife’s family were also Fulham supporters. This is getting incredible now how perfect this is, you remind me of the Walton’s!
PR – Yes, my wife Ann Brook (maiden name) and her family lived in Fulham with her 2 brothers Peter and Doug who were both Fulham supporters. Her father Douglas and grandfather all lived in Fulham, overlooking Bishops Park, he was a builder.
DS – Stuart mentioned that you went to the FA Cup Final together in ’75. That must have been a very special day?
PR – Very much so, my memories of the day Stuart and I had tickets on different parts of the Fulham standing area behind the goal and exchanged one with another fan so that we could stand together. Walking away from the ground afterwards, I remember someone going past in a car and shouting out of the window, “never mind, we will be back next year”. I remember Peter Mellor, for probably the wrong reasons now and the day seemed to pass by in a bit of a blur.
DS – I’m sure Fulham’s biggest rival has changed since the days of your families first generation. Do you remember who your Dad/Grandad considered our biggest rival?
PR – In those days rivalry wasn’t a big deal, I can remember going to Chelsea, then Brentford in later years. Not that I ever cheered them on, it was just to watch another football match.
DS – What is your favourite ever match?
PR – No question, the game vs Juventus. For atmosphere, excitement. It had everything and was just so wonderful.
DS – I’ve got to ask purely for the banter. Obviously with the new website the face of the podcast has changed with Morgan hosting it. But when Stuart first contacted me it was the old podcast with Darren and myself that you listened to. So, I’m sure Darren would like to know who you think is funnier, Darren or Dannyboi? [Don’t worry, Darren won’t be offended ha-ha]
PR – Sorry Darren, I like you both but it’s the way you say it Danny, its Dannyboi of course. Not so much what you say but how you say it!
DS – On a more serious note. Over 100 years of family history, six generations, players, badges, managers, matches, goals and owners. But one thing glues it all together and has remained throughout…. Craven Cottage. Please explain to us what our home means to you?
PR – Synonymous with everything Fulham Football Club is, the history, values, by the Thames, seeing the ground develop from the open terraces on 3 sides to today’s all-seater. It means everything to a Fulham supporter.
DS – Staying with the Cottage for a minute, what has been the best development at the stadium over the years?
PR – Probably the Riverside stand, I’m very eager to see the new development of it.
DS – What is your worst memory of Fulham?
PR – Oh my god, let me think…losing runs, which have happened often. Remember wandering from place to place in the ground hoping for better luck or performance. In those days, you would walk to whatever vantage point you wanted. Hammersmith End, Riverside Terrace or Putney End. Remember when things were so bad sitting on the Terrace at the Putney End and still being able to watch the game.
DS – Are you any good at penalties Peter? All jokes aside have you ever come across a period like it before? Oliver Norwood looks promising but overall it’s been appalling, hasn’t it?
PR – Hopeless but good at saving them as I was a goalkeeper! No, I’ve never seen anything like this in my time supporting them.
DS – Which players and manager make up the best eleven of your time supporting Fulham?
DS – Fulham’s past is enriched with gems but the future now looks very bright too. We have many young players coming through. Are you encouraged by the work of our academy?
PR – No question about it, I’m very encouraged. The worry is can we keep hold of our young stars?
DS – I’ve been told by Stuart to mention the Fulham backpack you wear when walking around your town, Craven Arms. First of all, what a coincidence living in a town named that as a Fulham fan. People are always recognising it and asking you if you’re a Fulham supporter?
PR – Yes, they do! It even happened last night in Wales. People say, do you support Fulham; I support West Ham, or last night it was Birmingham. I love that it is recognisable.
DS – Now it’s down to your great Grandchildren to carry on this wonderful family tradition. Are they up to the task? Do they have a choice!?
PR – No choice – end of story!
DS – Finally Peter, pie or pasty – Which filling?
PR – Pasty.