Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale has revealed the Cottagers are taking inspiration from their fans in their battle to stay up.
Fulham boosted their survival hopes with a crucial 1-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday to claim their first victory since New Year’s Day and their first success under new boss Felix Magath.
Stockdale, who returned in goal in place of Maarten Stekelenburg, admitted the manager’s decision to stick up pictures of their fans in the dressing room inspired the players before the game.
“The manager didn’t need to say too much to us before the game – we had pictures of fans on the dressing room walls, and a few other bits and pieces, to remind us what we’re fighting for,” Stockdale said.
“I took a good look around because it was a reminder of the good times we’ve had in the six years I’ve been here, and a few of us who have been at the club a while – Brede Hangeland, me, Steve Sidwell – agreed, ‘This is what we’ve got, this is who we’re playing for.’
“You don’t walk into a changing room every day and see pictures of fans staring down, but they all wear the badge with pride and we know how much Fulham means to them.
“The manager deserves credit for the pictures, and putting us through new things and schedules.”
“As a certain midfielder at the club told me last week, it’s not just the badge on the front of the shirt we’re playing for at the moment – it’s the badge on the arm which says ‘Premier League’. That’s when it really hit home to me how important it is for us to stay up.”
Stockdale was delighted to get the nod from Magath to start against Newcastle, but admits he would happily give up his place in the side if it meant Fulham stayed up.
“On a personal level, it was pleasing to make a contribution with important saves, but I would happily give up my place and spend the next six weeks sitting in the stand if it guaranteed Fulham stayed up and avoided relegation,” added Stockdale.
“I’ve seen how hard it is to get out of the Championship when I was at Hull last year, and I’m not even thinking about going back to that level – I don’t want to tempt fate.”