Bobby Zamora’s certainly saying the right things ahead of the new season. Fresh from a fine performance in Vetra, our much-maligned centre forward has set his sights on proving his critics wrong.
It’s nice to prove anybody wrong who doubts me. This season I’m hoping to do that. Last year I came in for a bit of stick for no reason, really.
I suppose the criticism does get to you but at the end of the day it’s a team game. I might not have scored the goals last year but I contributed a lot in terms of build-up play. I think I had the most assists for us last season – only the goals were missing.
It is another goal for myself to score some goals personally and for the team and to silence a few people as well. But the people who count, my team-mates, know exactly what I and Andy Johnson do for the team.
To be honest, I’m pretty bored by the Zamora debate now and tempted to ignore this story altogether. There’s no doubt he didn’t deliver the goals we would have liked last season and that was disappointing. But to leave your judgement of the player there would ignore the enormous positives that Zamora brought to the side during our most successful season last year.
Zamora forged a real partnership with Andy Johnson up front last season and did deliver some stellar performances. He was absolutely outstanding in the early season win over Arsenal – that was achieved without the injured Johnson – and turned in a fine display in that famous home win over Manchester United. His hold-up play allows us to play to Johnson’s strengths and he’s a willing workhorse up front.
People will point to Zamora’s poor goal return as a reason for leaving him on the bench when our league campaign gets underway but I’d opt for something different. There is no obvious replacement for Zamora, who typifies the way Hodgson likes his sides to defend from the front. His confidence will have been boosted by pre-season goals and that strong showing in Europe on Thursday. A new season offers Zamora the opportunity to prove that he’s a better goalscorer than last year suggested – and we’d always have the option of bringing on somebody like Erik Nevland should things not be working.
Zamora’s far from the first Fulham player to feel the wrath of the crowd. Mike Conroy wasn’t considered clinical enough in front of goal by fans who were perhaps perturbed by what they felt was his surly manner. Next season, after some encouraging words from Micky Adams, Conroy’s goals were one of the main reasons Fulham secured promotion. Zamora probably is more like Dean Coney in terms of former Fulham players not that he’d thank me for the comparison.
More recently, there has been a most worrying ‘scapegoating’ of Fulham players by the Craven Cottage crowd. Some bloggers and contributors to internet messageboards weren’t terribly excited by Liam Rosenior at full back as we’ve discussed here before. Chris Baird was booed by his own fans – something which hardly helped a confidence player out of a troublesome rut – and last season saw Zoltan Gera singled out for similar treatment.
Zamora will get a second chance this time around – and I hope he takes it. If he can continue against Portsmouth where he’s started this summer, he’ll have a few of his critics eating their words.