Given what Denis Odoi delivered in five and a year half fantastic years at Fulham, the manner of his departure seems wholly unsatisfactory. A post-midnight exit – signified by a few lines on the club’s website – might be the way these things are done in modern football but it can’t just be me who believes the Belgian veteran deserves much more in terms of a tribute. Odoi was the antidote to the modern footballer – thoughtful, selfless and aware of the world around him – and the sort of squad member every manager craves.

All those dependable characteristics were in evidence during his first appearance in a pre-season friendly against Brighton when he charged down the touchline chasing a lost cause in a game where plenty of others were hardly out of first gear. He made an immediate impression on the Craven Cottage faithful with that unbelievable pirouette in front of the Johnny Haynes stand that saw him control the ball with his back and keep moving down the right flank against Newcastle.

Denis definitely wasn’t flash, but he provided plenty of memorable moments. You will have your own but it has to be hard to look past the brilliance of that majestic header against Derby that took Slavisa Jokanovic’s stylish side to Wembley. The joyous celebrations, both in the aftermath of the goal itself and on the pitch following the final whistle – when he was chaired around the hallowed turf by delirious fans, will linger long in the mind of anyone who was there. Odoi might have been sent off in the final, his ill-timed lunge at Jack Grealish leading to one of the longest twenty minutes of our lives, but it was typically him to be cavorting on the crossbar in front of the white wall once promotion was secured.

Odoi was also a utility man beyond compare. His first Fulham games came at right back, where he was a diligent performer, but he also filled in at left back once Ryan Fredericks had really got into his stride. It was a centre back in the 23-match unbeaten run that took Jokanovic’s team so close to automatic promotion that he really starred. In a possession based side, Odoi’s comfort on the ball and reading of the game made him the perfect partner for Tim Ream. He might have initially deputised for the injured Tomas Kalas but it said everything about the quality of his performances that the on-loan Czech couldn’t get back in the team.

There was a boyish sense of adventure about Odoi that we could all appreciate as well. He was often eager to join the attack in the many of an excitable schoolboy and those determined dribbles often made me think that he really wanted to be a box-to-box midfielder. Everything was done with all the effort he could muster. This was a man who gave everything to the cause and maximised the most of his talent to succeed in his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Towards the end of his time at Craven Cottage, he much spent more time out of the team than in it. It is the mark of the man that we never heard him complain. In Henry Winter’s wonderful interview over the weekend, which now takes on the status of a valedictory address, there is a testament to his constant professionalism as he speaks about striving to win a Motspur Park sprint even though he knew it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to Scott Parker’s next team selection. This is a man who always wanted to be ready to take his chance.

There is another element to Odoi’s character that has to be mentioned. He hints at it during the Times profile, discussing his world view and how football seems rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Odoi was a regular attendee at community events run by the Fulham Foundation and became an enthusiastic contributor to these important projects. Through my own work with the Fulham Supporters’ Trust, I have seem him in action in this role on several occasions. He took the time to build up relations with participants, whether they be young children, vulnerable members of society, disabled or just – like me – an overly curious fan. He and Fulham were the perfect fit: that’s why I’m dreadfully sad that we won’t see him in the white shirt again.