Heidar Helguson insists Monday night’s game with Watford provides him with the chance to salute the Vicarage Road faithful for their support.
The spring-heeled Fulham striker returns to the club for the first time since he left in the summer of 2005 and is looking forward to getting the chance to say goodbye to the fans with whom he enjoyed such a special relationship.
“The fans were absolutely fantastic to me and I haven’t got a bad word to say about them – it’s all positive,” said the terrace hero in an exclusive interview with the Watford Observer. “I would just like to thank them for making my years there so enjoyable.”When I played my last game there the move wasn’t on the cards, so it will be nice on Monday to see them and get an opportunity to thank them for the support they showed me.”
Helguson’s all-action and whole-hearted approach endeared him to the fans almost instantly following his move from Lillestrom for a then club record fee of £1.5m in January 2001.
The Icelandic international, who turned 29 last month, went on to make 199 appearances, scoring 64 goals, in five-and-a-half years with the Golden Boys before Chris Coleman beat Paul Jewell to his signature.
Fans were up in arms when Helguson was sold for £1.3m at the end of a season that culminated in him becoming the first player to scoop all three of the club’s end-of-season awards. But the striker insists it was time to move on and the money his sale generated helped Aidy Boothroyd build his promotion-winning team.
“For footballing reasons it wasn’t that hard a decision because it was an opportunity that I couldn’t really turn down,” admitted Helguson.
“Once a club has accepted an offer there is not much you can do but I thought it was about time to leave. Things didn’t look too rosy at the club at that point and because of the financial situation, the club needed money for me to be able to stay alive.
“It is difficult to say goodbye to people you have known and been around for so long but I experienced the Premier League in my first season at the club and then coming up against those teams in the cup made me want to play at that level every week.”