It’s the first day of a new decade and I thought that I would take a quick look back upon what was an amazing 10 years in Fulham FC’s history. There have been ups and downs over the past 10 years and I apologise if I get anything wrong but I was only 7 at the start of the last decade!
2000-2001: Fulham started the decade very nicely as they returned to the top flight after a 33 year absence when they won the Division One title with Jean Tigana. That was the end of an incredible run of three promotions in four years which was a year ahead of Al Fayed’s target. We also became the first club to have played in all four divisions of the English league since the creation of the Premiership. We really did go very low didn’t we? That year we gained an incredible 101 points out of a possible 138. Top that United!
Something else that was interesting that year was that Bobby Zamora was at Brighton & Hove Albion and really made a name for himself as he helped them win the Division 3 Title with his goals.
2001-2002: Fulham finished a very respectable 13th in the Premier League with 44 points. That year we signed Edwin van dar Sar for £5m. A solid start to our return to the Premier League. We also reached the FA Cup semi-finals, losing 1-0 to Chelsea at Villa Park.
2002-2003: 14th was our final league position this year with 48 points. Playing at Loftus Road, Fulham won the Intertoto Cup and qualified for the UEFA Cup. We reached the third round that year losing out to Hertha Berlin. Jean Tigana was sacked before the end of the season following a very disappointing set of results. Chris Coleman took over and made an immediate impact when he guided the team to gaining 10 points out of a possible 15 to help them survive.
2003-2004: Chris Coleman’s first full year in charge saw the Whites finish a club highest of ninth. However, we lost the free-scoring Louis Saha to Manchester United for £13m. The club was under financial pressure to sell.
2004-2005: Another reasonably decent season as Fulham returned to Craven Cottage and finished 13th again with a good number of points between us and the relegation zone. Andrew Cole was our top goalscorer with 12 goals while a future Fulham player, Andy Johnson scored a very impressive 23 goals for Crystal Palace. Fulham finished that season with an excellent 6-0 home win over Norwich to condemn them to relegation. I also think that we celebrated our 125 year anniversity.
2005-2006: This season saw the Whites finish 12th in the table. We were becoming a consistent side but one that didn’t particularly look like improving much. The Fulham legend Johnny Haynes passed away this year. Fulham and Northern Ireland legend George Best also died of organ failure this year. Fulham beat Chelsea 1-0 in this season.
2006-2007: This was a forgetable year for Fulham as a bad season resulted in Chris Coleman being sacked and then Lawrie Sanchez taking charge of Fulham. Fulahm finished 16th, only a point above the relegation zone. A win over Liverpool to help us stay up was perhaps the highlight.
2007-2008: Possibly the most ‘heart-in-your-mouth’ season ever. Lawrie Sanchez was sacked at Christmas with Fulham in the relegation zone. Roy Hodgson came above and saved the club on the final day. The 3-2 win at Eastlands was the turning point for me as the Whites where actually relegated at half time but for a miraculous come back. Danny Murphy made himself a Fulham legend when he scored the goal that kept us up at Portsmouth on the final day of the season.
2008-2009: A Club record finish of 7th qualified Fulham for Europe just year after surviving by the skin of their teeth. This, for me, has been the best season. We had some incredible results such as 1-0 against Arsenal, 2-2 against Chelsea and 2-0 against United. Despite a bad start at Hull City, Fulham had an incredible year!
2009-2010: At the half way stage of this season Fulham find themselves in a very healthy 9th position in the table and through to the last 32 of the Europa League. It’s hard to believe that only 2 years ago we where the relegation zone with a very big problem!
Roll on 2010!