I can’t have been the only one who, when considering the prospect of our our visit to the Reebok Stadium last weekend, thought of Claus Jensen. You remember him, don’t you? The creative Danish midfielder, with his crisp running and vision, who made his impact in English football with Bolton, when they reached three Cup semi-finals and a play-off final towards the tail end of the 1990s.
Jensen then moved on to Charlton Athletic and spent four years at the Valley, during which time he became a regular in the Danish national team, featuring at two successive major championship finals. I remember being really excited when Chris Coleman brought Jensen to the Cottage, but the promise of the move was never fully realised. This was largely due to the fact that injuries restricted Jensen to just 40 appearances for Fulham and eventually forced him to retire last summer.
Claus Jensen celebrates scoring our crucial fourth goal in an FA Cup replay against Derby County that went to extra time in 2005
When recalling his time at Craven Cottage in a wide-ranging interview with the Bolton official site that I’ve only just come across, Jensen uses a word that many others would have: frustration.
The thing that upsets me most is that my time with Fulham was a three-year period blighted with too many injuries. I had a body that couldn’t do what I wanted to, so it was obviously a frustrating few years.
I saw it as a good move at the time, there was a really good squad and I loved the football that Fulham played. Everyone at Fulham treated me well even if I didn’t play as many games as they and I wanted to.
I had short spells when I felt like I was doing well, but as everyone knows, rhythm and consistency goes out of the window if you have injuries all the time. In the end it wasn’t really possible for me to get back to the level I wanted to play at.
It was disappointing that we never really got to see the best of Claus Jensen. You can’t really fault Coleman or the player for the injuries that so badly distrupted his time at Fulham. There are still some pretty good memories, especially the special goal he scored to give us the lead at Highbury (about 1:12 into the video).