So it seems as though Moritz Volz is on his way. There’s been nothing official from the club yet but I caught the tail end of an interview with our favourite German on Sky Sports News this morning and it seemed as if he was talking in the past tense about his time at Fulham.
The writing’s been on the wall for Volz for a while I suppose. Although he started Roy’s first few games, the new manager quickly brought in Paul Stalteri as a replacement on loan. The Canadian was a regular in our ‘Great Escape’ and when he returned to Tottenham, Hodgson signed two new right-backs in Fredrik Stoor and John Pantsil. Pantsil’s form made it difficult for anyone else to get a look in – even Stoor, who was signed as first choice – and Volzy finished the season on loan at Ipswich.
I remember Chris Coleman’s first pre-season in charge. We were all worried about how on earth we would replace Steve Finnan after the Irish international, a smashing player, had gone to Liverpool. This unheralded German youngster arrived from Arsenal, waltzed into the first team and blew us all away with his energy and endeavour. He looked a fine young prospect and we were delighted when he signed a permanent deal. He promised was underlined by the first that he won his first German cap against Cameroon in Leipzig in November 2004.
There is no doubt that a whole host of players regressed during the Coleman regime as the emphasis on physical fitness and keeping the ball was loosened. Volz’s pace – once his greatest attribute – seemed a little sluggish by the end of Coleman’s reign and, although he did well when pressed into service as an emergency central midfielder, it was no surprise to see successive new managers seek new options. I’d still maintain the German could have down a darn sight better job than Chris Baird, unfairly maligned as he was, at right back under Sanchez.
There were plenty of long lasting memories from Volz’s Fulham career. Like, for example, the time he had ‘the Hoff’ emblazoned on his boots for good luck and went out and scored his first goal in three years to earn a point for the Whites at Aston Villa. If his slightly dazed goalscoring celebration at Villa Park was something of a novelty, the act hadn’t got much better when he scored the Premier League’s 15,000th goal against Chelsea. A belter at Leicester in the FA Cup also sticks in my mind.
But what most Fulham fans will remember about Volz is soemthing all too lacking in professional footballers. He has a terrific sense of humour, doesn’t take himself too seriously and genuinely loves the game. His website will remain one of my favourite places to while away some time, simply because the accounts from his blog are just so entertaining. There’s also his passion for community work, which some of his fellow professionals seem to resent in their own surely way, but Volz has embraced with his enthusiasm. I’ve also greatly enjoyed reading his columns for the Times and watching his various media performances.
Volzy was always happy to chat to the fans and quickly became something of a cult hero at Fulham. Whilst he might not be good enough to hold down a place in our squad any longer, the club will be poorer without him. He’d certainly make a good addition to a Championship side looking to push on towards the top flight. Good luck, Volzy, you deserve it!