Duncan White’s profile of Bobby Zamora in the Sunday Telegraph is well worth a look as well. In the modern game, it’s exceedingly rare for the top clubs to take a gamble on young talent from the lower leagues. Zamora’s elevation to the England squad the other week is the antitode to the big money, foreign signings that have swept in since the Sky money helped the Premier League go global and managers insisted there was far greater value abroad.
Zamora says, having learnt his trade at Bristol Rovers and first come to the attention of scouts up and down the land during a few free-scoring years at Brighton, that he wouldn’t change anything at all.
I truly loved getting here the long way round. There’s probably not another player who has been to more grounds than me.
It’s changed a bit now because some of those that used to be in League Two have gone out of the league and new ones have come in. But I’ve played at probably every football league ground in the country – there’s only a handful, maybe four or five, I haven’t played at.
To play in every division was brilliant. I wouldn’t change it for the world – I’m glad I did it that way than just playing the Premier League the whole time. It was special to go to places like Torquay and up to Carlisle on the coach.
There’s not a Fulham fan who’d disagree with that, either.
Zamora says that being given a run in the side by Roy Hodgson was what helped him have such a stunning season last year.
I think simply being able to play a lot of games was the key. The season before it was pretty much a newly formed team. Roy had been in for half a season and then had a season of laying the foundations.
Then last season we did justice to all the hard work the players had been doing. For me it was great: everybody knew exactly what I wanted, how I wanted the ball played to me. I knew exactly the runs other players would make.
There was a togetherness and a willingness to work hard for each other. The performances followed.
He says that it’ll be difficult to repeat last season’s success over Manchester United.
I think we tend to play well against a lot of the bigger teams, teams that let you play. We’re a team that likes to play.
It’s going to be tough. Obviously we did well last year but it’s not going to be like that this year. We’re going to have to go out and give our all just of get a point out of the game. We’re realistic about what’s coming.
He’s also realistic about the objectives for the season. Europe might have been nice and Mark Hughes may talk of establishing Fulham as a top-ten side, but Zamora’s first target is staying in the division.
Survival is the bottom line. It’s not about Europe, it’s about 40-something points and survival. There are a number of teams now that have got big money and it just gets frightening. It narrows the field for everybody else.