Barry Hayles couldn’t hide his delight after bagging a brace on his return to the Fulham starting line-up against boyhood club Tottenham Hotspur.
The Jamaican international might even have pushed his childhood hero Glenn Hoddle closer to the sack at White Hart Lane after Chris Coleman’s side cruised to a 3-0 win in north London.
Hayles, preferred to Louis Saha in the lone striker role, made the most of his opportunity – scoring a fine first goal midway through the first half after being picked out by Steed Malbranque. He doubled Fulham’s lead after dreadful defensive mistakes from Darren Anderton and Dean Richards before laying a third for Luis Boa Morte.
Hayles said: I’ve got a good record against Spurs – I think I’ve only failed to score against them twice in about seven games. The gaffer knew that and I think that’s why he slipped me in today. I became a Spurs fan because I loved the football they played when I was a kid, especially Hoddle. I don’t think he knows that.”
The powerful forward feared for his playing career after injuring his neck when celebrating a goal against Sochaux in the Intertoto Cup this summer. He had to have an operation – and his warmed his team-mates not to jump on top of him again.
“The specialist said if I didn’t have the op I would never play again – it was a risk because there was no guarantee it would work. I scored in the InterToto Cup against Sochaux and one of my team-mates jumped on my neck – I won’t say who. I made a point that nobody should jump on me when I score and no-one did today.”