You might remember a few weeks ago we paid tribute to the departing Moritz Volz. Well, now the German has penned a lovely piece on his own website reflecting on his time at Fulham.
It’s quite lengthy, but taking snippets from it just wouldn’t do it justice.
As I’ve now officially come to the end of my contract at Fulham I wanted to put down a few words about the whole chapter. I had a great time in my years at the club and I’ll always look back on it as a major part of my career, and my life for that matter, because Fulham was the first place where I got to play regular first team football at the top level.
I clearly remember my Premier League debut, which was at home to Middlesbrough back in August 2003. I say at home even though it was at Loftus Road because that’s where we were playing at the time. We won 3-2 and I’d only been at the club for about a week at that point. I had no idea that within a few seasons I’d be the longest-serving player of the existing squad. That first season was a great one as we finished ninth and equalled the club’s top flight highest position, which was a great achievement. I was playing week-in, week-out so I had no hesitations about making my loan move a permanent one during that winter, and looking back I still think that was the best and most enjoyable season of my time at Fulham.
The highlight of the second season was going back to Craven Cottage which was great. It was obvious that was what the fans wanted and it meant more to the players to be back in our own stadium, too, and especially a stadium as special and unique as the Cottage. I loved that place from the first time I set foot in it. The club had made a lot of improvements by the time we went back, and combined with it’s incredible location by the river and the obvious history which is there in front of your eyes, it’s a pretty special place – not to mention the fact it was close enough that I could cycle to games from my house!
Of course, a big part of what makes the Cottage special is the fans, and the fact that they are so close to the pitch contributes a lot to the atmosphere down there. I have a friend who used to be in charge of policing at the Cottage and he has always been very complimentary about the Fulham fans. In my time I certainly don’t remember any problems. People used to tell me I was popular with the Fulham faithful and that was certainly I nice feeling. I always felt liked and every time I set foot on the pitch I tried to give as much back as I possibly could and I always felt my effort was appreciated which made it all worthwhile. I certainly got back from the fans as much as I put in. But it seems that Fulham fans have always had a soft spot for the slightly crazy ones and I’ve always felt there’s nothing wrong with being a bit alternative! I think “Fulhamish” is the phrase, so I’m told…
At the start of my time at Fulham, I was still living up in north London where I’d settled to be close to Arsenal. But after a couple of years the journey got a bit much and I made the move over. But living in Fulham itself has been great as it really allowed me to get a sense of the place and see just how deeply rooted the club’s role in the local community is. I always got a strong sense of that as I jogged past the Cottage on my days off. I certainly didn’t look back once after moving in and I’m sure I’ll always keep some roots in Fulham no matter where my career goes from here as I love the place.
No matter whether times were good or bad, either for the club as a whole or for me personally, I can safely say that I had a great time at Fulham and I’ll always look back on it very fondly. The ups and downs were all part of the experience. As with Arsenal, Fulham is a club that I’ve grown very close to and that will never change. Over the past six years I’ve made some great friends at Fulham that I hope to stay in touch with forever. But you can’t get rid of me that easily. No matter where I go next I’ll always be keeping a close eye on how things are going at the Cottage, and as a certain Austrian ex-bodybuilder-turned-U.S. politician once said, “I’ll be back!”
Thanks to everyone for making the last six years as memorable as they have been, good luck and keep in touch!