Kevin McDonald will leave Fulham when his contract expires at the end of June, the club have confirmed this evening.
The Scottish international is currently recovering well from a kidney transplant having had an operation at the end of last week to cure the disease that he has played with for an astonishing fourteen years. McDonald has made 128 appearances – scoring six goals – in five years at Craven Cottage since he made the move from Wolves. He formed an outstanding partnership with Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen at the base of Slavisa Jokanovic’s midfield and was a key part of the two Fulham sides that won promotion from the Championship.
McDonald told Fulham’s official website this evening:
“I’ve absolutely loved it. Every minute of my day-to-day life at Fulham has been great. Of course there’s been ups and downs, but that’s part of football; if you can’t accept the downs then you’re in the wrong sport. But I’ve really enjoyed it, and I think that’s shown in the person I’ve been and the player I’ve been.
It was such a good move for me, and it kind of changed my life, changed the way I played football, so I’ve got fond memories. Coming into the club and playing that style of football and learning to play that attacking, free-flowing football was just unbelievable.
We didn’t start off well and there were so many doubters out there but we stuck to our principles and, over time, it paid off. We got better and better and yeah it was disappointment at the end [against Reading], of course it was, but we went into the 17/18 season full of confidence, thinking ‘we’re going up here.’
The failure drove us on, and playing that second season was just unbelievable, especially that second part of the season where we were going into every game knowing we’d win. The feeling was just amazing, and for me personally, it was great. I was a huge part of the team and enjoying playing in a good football team, at a great club.
McDonald also spoke about the special relationship he has enjoyed with the Fulham fans.
“They’ve been absolutely top drawer with me, especially through these times now. They’ve been absolutely incredible, their support for myself and my family has been amazing. From start to finish they’ve been brilliant.
“Even when I’ve not been playing they’ve been amazing. Throughout the course of it they’ve always wanted me to be in the team and they’ve been a huge part of the club for me. I’ll be forever grateful for them. All the love they’ve shown to me and my family, it’s been amazing. There’s no real word for things like that, but my connection with the fans has just been brilliant and I’m sure it will be forever.”
Fulham have also confirmed that Ryan De Havilland, Lesley Duru, Jayden Harris, Jaydn Mundle-Smith, Luca Murphy, Julian Schwarzer, Jordan Aina, Martell Taylor-Crossdale will all leave the club when they contracts expire at the end of the month. Maxime Le Marchand, Cyrus Christie, Tyrese Francois, Jerome Opoku, Terry Ablade, Eric Ameyaw and Jonathon Page have all had the options to extend their contracts by a further year activated. New deals have been agreed with Tim Ream, Luca Ashby-Hammond and Marlon Fossey whilst new contracts have been offered to Taye Ashby-Hammond, Connor McAvoy, Jean-Pierre Tiehi, Mika Biereth, Ibane Bowat, Luciano D’Auria-Henry and Idris Odutayo. Marcus Bettinelli remains in discussions with Fulham about a possible future deal.