Yes, it’s a very sore topic amongst Fulham fans, but the 2013-14 Premier League campaign offered us all very little joy. After 13 glorious seasons in England’s top-flight, the Whites were relegated to the Championship in May 2014 and a dark, ominous cloud of obscurity shadowed our club’s rich, extensive history – what direction, other than downward, obviously, were we heading in terms of the near and distant future?
Seeing as we’re delving into the past, the players we had at our disposal evidently couldn’t stave off the drop, and though at times they did exhibit rare signs and shimmers of hope and fight, their evidently substandard efforts simply weren’t valiant enough. But where are they now? It’s not the fondest of trips down memory lane that’s for certain, stiff upper lip and all that, but here are 10 notable former servants of the south-west Londoners who couldn’t quite muster the necessary gusto required to sustain our Premier League status.
Fernando Amorebieta – In the summer of 2013, Fernando Amorebieta was drafted into the Cottagers’ defensive contingent to help shore-up and tighten the back four, although after switching to Fulham from Basque Country-based La Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao, the Venezuelan’s maiden season at the club highlighted the underlying cracks and fragility in his own game.
Now, the 32-year-old plies his trade for Argentine club Independiente and has made 5 appearances in the country’s Primera Division. On December 13th, the ‘Diablos Rojas’ claimed some silverware, defeating Brazilian Serie A set-up Flamengo 3-2 over two-legs in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. Well, at least he’s gone on to claim a medal, rather than a hefty, undesirable wooden spoon for once.
Ashkan Dejagah – Making 23 appearances in that particularly deflating campaign, Ashkan Dejagah, despite his guile and trickery, couldn’t conjure enough telling quality to help Fulham’s futile survival push. As Fulham said goodbye to the glitz and glamour of the Premier League stage, the Iranian waved farewell to the river and Craven Cottage in 2014, with Qatari side Al-Arabi snapping-up his signature – jackpot.
In January 2017, the winger returned to the Bundesliga to reunite with the club that the Whites formally purchased him from, VfL Wolfsburg. However, after a lukewarm second-half of the 2016-17 season, the 31-year-old was let go by the Germans and had been searching for a new club to call his own. He is now back in England with Championship club Nottingham Forrest. He made his first appearance against none other than Fulham at Craven Cottage, with the Fulham faithful giving him a warm welcome.
Damien Duff – The sprightly flanker was a greatly admired figure for Fulham during his spell at the club, even if he was indeed an ex-Chelsea player. Damien Duff embodied the heart and desire which is expected from every man that dons the famous white jersey, but not even his bottomless class, influence and presence could spare the club from relegation.
Putting Fulham behind him in 2014, the midfielder, now 38-years-old, said ‘sod it’ to life on English shores and jetted himself off to virtually the other side of the globe, with Australian outfit Melbourne City beckoning his services from afar. 1-year down under was enough for the fare-skinned Irishman, and in respite from the southern hemisphere’s beating sun, he returned to his homeland for Shamrock Rovers, where he is currently the club’s U15 coach. Duff also liaises with Shamrock’s first-team and even chips in to aid the Republic of Ireland’s U15 regiment.
Pajtim Kasami – Emphatically scoring arguably one of Fulham’s greatest Premier League goals against Crystal Palace in the same season the club was banished to the second-division, Pajtim Kasami, like many other firm fan favourites, made a dash through the exit door at the Cottage in the summer of 2014, with Greek giants Olympiacos offering him a fresh start after a dismal campaign.
Two years after signing to ‘Thrylos’, the Swiss international again packed his bags for familiar borders – Nottingham Forest scooped the play-maker on loan for the duration of the 2016-17 season. Upon his return to Greece after completing his stay at the City Ground, the 24-year-old was rendered surplus to requirement and now he’s currently playing back home in Switzerland for FC Sion; registering 3 goals and 2 assists in 13 games, it’s clear to see that Kasami still has the capacity to make his mark upon proceedings.
Mesca – A product of Chelsea’s youth system, Mesca, a Portuguese attacker who is the brother of Red Bull Leipzig’s full-back Bruma, made the short jump across town to join Fulham’s ranks in 2013. A regular option in the club’s U23 squad, Mesca will be fairly unfamiliar to a large majority of Fulham’s faithful, given that he only made one senior appearance for the club throughout the 2013-14 season in the Premier League against his former employers Chelsea, a 20 minute cameo from the bench during a damning 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
In November 2013, Mesca joined Crewe Alexandra on loan for all but two months before returning to Motspur Park, and after predominantly manning the right wing in the BPL 2, the 24-year-old landed himself a deal at Cypriot outfit AEL Limassol, to whom he has been contracted to since 2015. Perhaps given his location to date, Mesca may never grace the English game again, although Cyprus isn’t a bad place to call home, let’s face it.
William Kvist – Having spent the second half of the campaign at Craven Cottage, William Kvist fundamentally joined the Whites to help stop the rot as they tumbled towards the foot of the table, although not even his presence could stave off the hardship of relegation. The Danish defensive midfielder, though he possessed the capacity to deputise in a number of positions, only featured 8 times during his temporary stint in the Capital.
Now, the 32-year-old defender is back in his homeland where his career began at Danish Superliga titans FC Copenhagen. Prior to his switch back to the familiarity of his Nordic roots, Kvist spent a season at Wigan Athletic in the 2014-15 campaign, though much like it was down by the river, his stay at the DW Stadium was agonisingly short lived.
Brede Hangeland – Roy Hodgson introduced Brede Hangeland to the beauty of Stevenage Road in January 2008, an acquisition which proved pivotal in the club’s remarkable ‘great escape’ efforts, which saw them spared from relegation on the final day of the season against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
In those accomplished five-and-a-half years at the Cottagers, the towering Texas-born Norwegian sported the famous white jersey 272 times in England’s top-flight and became a hero amongst the fans in the process. The centre-back’s last club was Crystal Palace, although now the gentle giant is retired from the professional game at the ripe age of 36.
Matthew Briggs – A product from Motspur Park, Matthew Briggs made his senior Fulham debut in May 2007 against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, coming on as a sub for Moritz Volz in the 77th minute as a fresh-faced 16-year-old, the youngest player to have graced the turf at Premier League level.
Many would have believed that Briggs would have had a bright future ahead of him at Fulham, though failing to live up to the billing, the 26-year-old left the club in August 2014 for Millwall. He later joined Colchester United on loan but was let go by the ‘U’s’ after being snagged on a free transfer. The strapping left-back’s now a member of Jack Lester’s Chesterfield FC squad in League 2.
Ange-Freddy Plumain – Beginning his career at French outfit RC Lens, Ange-Freddy Plumain crossed the English Channel in July 2013 as an energetic, continental prospect. A regular in Fulham’s development and youth set-ups, the winger never really took the opportunities he was gifted by the scruff of the neck and only featured twice for the Whites in the 2013-14 season, both of which came in the FA Cup.
Loaned back to France for Red Star FC, the 22-year-old proceeded to put pen to paper at CS Sedan in July 2016 following the termination of his contract at Fulham, though after just one season at Sedan, the attacker shook hands on a deal at Ligue 2 side US Quevilly, where he’s now situated for the foreseeable future.
Konstantinos Mitroglou – Transfer deadline day, 2014, promised Fulham a goal machine. A man which with nicknames such as ‘Mitrogoal’ and ‘Pistolero’ would cannon the Whites towards the haven of safety; but they ended getting arrogant, lazy Konstantinos Mitroglou instead. Having been signed from Greek outfit Olympiacos for a record fee, the striker only managed to muster 3 appearances for the club’s first fold, spending the remainder of his time languishing in the U23 contingent as punishment for his lax, fractious attitude.
Half a season is all he lasted at the Cottage and was swiftly loaned back to ‘Thrylos’ the following summer. Upon his return to Fulham in 2015, the Whites shipped him out on loan to SL Benfica, where he would be bought on a permanent basis in July 2016, with Fulham ridding themselves of his aloof tendencies for good. A common feature of his broken career, the 29-year-old was only tolerated at the Estadio da Luz for one season and now the supposed hit-man is on Olympique Marseille’s books, though presumably, it won’t be long until he’s packed his bags again after infuriating a large majority of the Ligue 1 club’s fan base.