After eight special years at Craven Cottage, Tom Cairney talks like a lifelong Fulham fan. In a brilliant interview with Henry Winter in today’s Times, the captain describes just how unique the ground is:

“It’s one of the most beautiful stadiums, the walk as well through the [Bishop’s] Park, it’s special We have to move with the times, but at the same time we’ve still got the Cottage, the Johnny Haynes Stand, all wooden. I’m aware of the history, of course.

Our midfield master craftsman beams at being compared with his illustrious predecessor in Fulham’s number ten jersey, Johnny Haynes.

“That’s a big compliment as he’s Fulham’s best ever player. He’s got a statue and a stand, so he’s obviously decent. Football wise, Fulham stands for attractive football, always had top players, like Berbatov. As a club, Fulham are just classy. They treat people with respect. Fulham stands for community. I don’t think anyone hates Fulham. I never met fans or people that dislike Fulham as a club or the fans.”

The skipper has aggressively defended Aleksandar Mitrovic against uninformed critics and he takes up the cudgels on behalf of our Serbian scoring sensation here too.

“He’s a killer. Scoring 43 goals in the Championship last season is a joke. If Harry Kane came to the Championship and scored 43 goals they’d still say it was a great achievement. I can’t understand how people say, ‘Oh, can he do it in the Premier League?’ People forget the first season in the Premier League Mitro scored 12. Ivan Toney had an unbelievable season last season for Brentford, and there was talk about him going in the England squad and he was very, very good. He scored 12. The second season, Mitro didn’t really play. We played a counterattacking way, five at the back, and it’s not his strength. His strength is in a possession-based team like he is for Serbia. His international record is also sensational. He’s Serbia’s top goalscorer and he’s only 27. In and around the box if he gets a chance I’d back him to score.”

Henry has been a supporter of this website since our inception so I don’t want to take liberties with quoting from his piece. It is well worth going and grabbing a copy of the Times today to read all of Cairney’s illuminating insights.