Fulham's Best Ever International Players

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by SteveFakeBlood, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. SteveFakeBlood

    SteveFakeBlood Member

    Feb 8, 2010
    Broward County , FL (from DuPage County, IL)
    A few weeks back, the official Fulham Facebook group posed the question "Who do you think has been Fulham's best overseas player?" With the string of mediocrity on the pitch recently, now's as good a time as any to bring up nostalgia and lively debates. I figure Fulham has had so many good international players, you could list an entire team. For the sake of argument, I'm not using "International" as a term meaning players who have won caps for their countries, but rather all non-English players. Since pre-2004 was before my time, I've decided to come up with two different lists, one post and pre-2004.

    "In my time" (post-2004)
    GK Mark Schwarzer (Maybe hard to swallow now, but he came up so big in Europe and until recently had really been a rock in goal)

    DEFENDERS- Carlos Bocanegra (one of three players to play for both of my favorite clubs- Fulham and the Fire, the others being Brian McBride and um, er... Collins John... yeah...), Aaron Hughes (the quieter half of the Thames Barrier, signing him was probably the best thing Lawrie Sanchez did for Fulham- not that there's a lot of competition for that honor...), Brede Hangeland (like Schwarzer, frustrating to watch lately, but oh those European nights...), Moritz Volz (not the most distinguished Fulham career, but a very fan-friendly guy with a wonderful sense of humor... and we haven't had a lot of great, long-lasting international defenders in recent years...)

    MIDFIELDERS- Steed Malbranque (Hasn't had the most success since leaving the Cottage, but scored at least 6 league goals every year for the Whites), Luis Boa Morte (Classy, classy player that will always be beloved by most of us, I'll never forget his winner against Chelsea in 2006, not the greatest goal, but meant a lot for the club), Clint Dempsey (Maybe too soon? But how could you not have a guy who gave everything he had to the club for 5 years, has the club record for Premier League goals and scored arguably the greatest goal in team history? He left in an ugly way, but eventually we'll forget about that and focus on all he accomplished), Damien Duff (Believe it or not, Duff is now Fulham's active leading scorer). [Too many honorable mentions to list: Ruiz, Dembele, Gera, Etuhu, Kamara, etc.]

    FORWARDS- Brian McBride (If his only accomplishment for the Club would've been his multiple goals during The Great Escape, it would be enough. The man has a pub at the stadium named after him, for god's sake... and he's part of the reason I came to support Fulham in the first place), Dimitar Berbatov (I hate to put him after half-a-season, but otherwise counting Dempsey, Kamara and Gera as midfielders, it was a choice between Erik Nevland and Heidar Helguson and that just seemed wrong...)

    "Before my time" (pre-2004- the internet helped with this one).
    GK Edwin Van der Sar (yes, Van der Sar was technically with the team until 2005, but as 04-05 was my first season following the team and I spent most of it in the States not being able to watch games, I'll count him as "Before my time").

    DEF- Chris Coleman (helped us gut it out in the lower leagues, mixed success a manager, but still a legend in my book), Steve Finnan (a stalwart through three divisions with the club)

    MID- George Best (More on past accomplishments than his Fulham years, but still it's cool that we even had an over-the-hill George Best), Jimmy Conway (314 appearances for the club, including playing for the FA Cup Final team, good enough for me...), Graham Leggat (Near the top of club lists in appearances and goals)

    FORWARDS- Gordon Davies (Leading scorer in club history), Louis Saha (didn't get Fulham back to the top flight on his own, but scoring a ton of goals helped...)

    Maybe the old-timers can help me come up with two more non-English defenders and one more Midfielder because I'm stumped...

    ~ Steve
  2. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Walnut, CA
    :clap: Great thread topic Steve. You are right, it's nice to think of some better times. Hard to argue with your list, but will add a couple names;

    GK: EVS has to be first, followed by Mark, but Antti Niemi aka Superhero deserves a shout. Great shot stopper, but injuries caught up to him. Kasey Keller was at the club for just a few months, but made his mark. His save against Citeh when it was 2-2 late on was amazing (just before Kamara got sprung). The GJ call at the end of the Portsmouth match when Keller caught a cross 'Keller with the catch, keep both hands on it son' has stuck with me.

    Defenders; Phillipe Christanval was always hurt, but impressed when he wasn't. In the Volzy category of being a fan favorite, and a great character was John Pantsil. Always remember his firing up the faithful before matches and his lap of honor at the end of the Hamburg match.

    Midfielders; He played for Wales, so I guess he's 'foreign' but SImon Davies was such a great contributor. Boundless energy and all about the team. He scored some of the best and most important goals since I've been a Fulham fan. He still is technically on the squad, but perpetually hurt. Come May when we are safe :shock: I would love to see Digger make the bench, come in and get the Standing O he deserves. Special mention to Papa Bouba Diop, inconsistent for sure, but on his day could absolutely dominate a match.

    Forwards; You mentioned him Steve, but Erik Nevland, while not a huge contributor was a pro's pro, and his goals against Reading and Birmingham bring back some great memories.

    Echo Steve's thoughts and would love to hear about some older players (sfm, Martin in Nashville, Gary Barnett's Fan Club aka Stu this means you :cool: )
  3. SteveFakeBlood

    SteveFakeBlood Member

    Feb 8, 2010
    Broward County , FL (from DuPage County, IL)
    Enjoyed hearing your thoughts too, Joe. Niemi was pretty solid when healthy- actually, other than Stockdale- I can't remember another English keeper we've had since '04- Schwarzer, Van Der Sar, Crossley (Wales), Niemi, Tony Warner (Trinidad), Keller, Ethridge (Phillippines)...I might be missing somebody. Keller made me nervous at times, but he did make some big saves during the Great Escape.

    I almost included Pantsil on the defenders list since he was a bit more accomplished than Volzy, but picked Volz simply because I thought it was too Europa-heavy of a list. I didn't forget Davies or Diop- both hardworking guys- Davies' goal against Hamburg will have him remembered at the Cottage decades from now. I too, hope he gets a curtain call- just bring him on in the 80th minute or something, so he can get one last appearance for the fans.

    I also really enjoyed watching Diop play- his late equalizing, long range screamer to secure a point against Man U. was probably my favorite moment from my first season as a Fulham fan. I remember watching in a pretty mediocre pub down the street from Earls Court Road station with a bunch of my American study abroad mates and having them look at me like I was crazy when I started celebrating exuberantly.

    I was a bit harsh on Nevland, he didn't score many goals, but those goals during the Great Escape helped keep the team solvent.

    ~ Steve
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