Rufus Brevett FOF’erview

In this FOF’erview Dannyboi speaks to the one and only Rufus Brevett. 2 promotions, the Intertoto Cup and playing in the Premier League. It’s a fantastic Fulham career and one of the many reasons RUUUFUUUUS was so popular.

Dannyboi Hi Rufus. Thanks for agreeing to speak to us, its an honour for me personally as your team gave me the best memories so far as a supporter and that Tigana side remains my favourite team.  I suppose I’ll start off by telling you what a legend you are and that you’re very popular with supporters. How did you feel about your relationship with the fans?

Rufus Right from the minute I signed the fulham fans have been amazing with me, the chants of Ruuufffuuusss use to make me give everything for them and the club, great fans who deserve to be back in the premiership.

Dannyboi I’ve met you a few times, most recently at the Cottage. I saw you and Barry Hayles in McBride’s last game of last season against Bolton. All the supporters were queuing up for a photo with Tunnicliffe and I tapped you on the shoulder and said “sod him, I want a picture with the legends lol”. I don’t suppose you remember, you must get this a lot?

Rufus Yes I remember, it’s always nice to be appreciated from the fans for my time there.

Dannyboi You played for Doncaster, QPR, Fulham and West Ham amongst others. What club do you class as home?

Rufus I loved my time at Doncaster Rovers. Its where it all started for me. But QPR and Fulham I class as home (even though I’m not a Londoner!).

Dannyboi Lets talk about how you started out for a second. Who was your role model in football growing up?

Rufus I loved watching Kenny Sansom and Stuart Pearce, I replaced Kenny at QPR which was very strange.

Dannyboi Did you always set out to be a left back?

Rufus I started playing as a striker then moved to left midfield. When I got released by my home club team Derby County, Doncaster Rovers needed a left back and the first time I played left back was for Doncaster on trial, I signed the next day and was in the first team 3 months later!

Dannyboi How did you become a footballer?

Rufus Being a footballer is always what I wanted to do, when I got released from Derby I was determined to proved them wrong, I did that when I signed for Fulham. Arthur Cox, who released me at Derby was now the Director of Football at Fulham, and said to me “I knew you’d make it”. I didn’t reply!

Dannyboi Looking back at your career, when it became clear that you were not going to get an opportunity to play for England, were there any other countries you were eligible for and do you look at it as a missed opportunity that you never played international football? Barry Hayles played for Jamaica for example, and Matthew Briggs has a cap for Guyana!!!!

Rufus I had a chance to play for Jamaica but there was a lot of unrest in their squad with all the English jumping on the band wagon so I decided not to. I regret that decision…

Dannyboi What made you choose Fulham? Was it the fact it was a straight forward move from QPR, Kevin Keegan or a different reason?

Rufus I never wanted to leave QPR but I was told if I didn’t leave I would be stuck in the reserves. Kevin Keegan sold it brilliantly and all what he said came true. In a phone call to me he said “this is Kevin Keegan, we are the big club around the corner from your little club”, I laughed because QPR were a division higher, and he said you won’t be laughing in a couple years! He was true to his word!

Dannyboi Was it weird playing under Bracewell after just being promoted with him as your team mate?

Rufus Brace is a great guy and a proper football man, we all wanted him to succeed and he tried is best.

Dannyboi What was the reaction of the squad when Tigana arrived and did he have all the players teeth checked? I bet that was a first lol?!

Rufus We all knew what a world class player he was and there were rumors going round that he would bring all his own players in. I had been out for 6 months when he came in and only just started pre season, he set out how he wanted us to play from Day One. I ended up getting a gold tooth!!

Dannyboi A game that’s often spoken of is the famous win over Blackburn with Seany Davis popping up with the winner. “IN YOUR FACE SOUNESS!!!” Sorry, got a bit carried away there lol. Obviously this game was a mixed bag for you as you were sent off in the first half. I know how I felt during the game and then afterwards. What was going through your mind in the changing room and how did you react to that goal?

Rufus That was one of the most satisfying wins of my career , a lot said before the game from Souness how they were the best team in the league and right from the start they tried to rough us up. I stupidly got sent off and I just thought I’d let everyone down. When Sean scored it was an amazing feeling. Even the usually-quiet Tigana showed some emotion running down the touchline! He just said to me to learn from it. We stayed up north and clinched promotion on the Saturday

Dannyboi It was a special occasion at Old Trafford for the first premier league game. Was this the first time you’d played there and can you describe how it felt? I was there and I remember feeling the whole occasion was surreal, like a dream. But the team didn’t seem overawed by the occasion, if anything we looked the better team for most parts.

Rufus I was suspended for that game, there was no pressure on us and we were magnificent on the day.

Dannyboi Where’s your medal for winning the Intertoto Cup? It’s always a trophy that is the butt of most jokes and of course we have the song “we won it one time”. But deep down I think Fulham Fans are proud we won it, I certainly am. It’s just a shame we won it “over there” rather than at the home of football – the Cottage. Where does it sit in a list of your proudest career achievements?

Rufus It will be in a drawer somewhere, it’s a very proud moment lifting the tiny cup, it was a great experience playing teams in Europe. I captained the team so I was thrilled .

Dannyboi How many of your Fulham team mates would make up the best eleven you’ve ever played with throughout your career?

Rufus

Maik Taylor

Me
Melville
Coleman
Finnan

Boa
Collins
Davis
Goldbaek

Les Ferdinand
Saha

Subs
Van Der Sar
Goma
Lee Clark
Di Canio
Hayles

Dannyboi What was Al Fayed like?

Rufus Al Fayed was brilliant, who else would bring Micheal Jackson to a championship match??

Dannyboi The promotion under Keegan was also special but it gets forgotten a bit, overshadowed if you like by the Tigana promotion. Yet both teams achieved 101 points. Do you prefer one to the other looking back or are you equally proud of both?

Rufus Both were great achievements, and both teams played without fear. I think Tiganas team kept the ball more than the other team who would get tired trying to chase the ball, then gaps would open and we’d be 3 or 4 up.

Dannyboi This is a tough one. Who’s got a bigger mouth, Clinton Morrison or his mother?

Rufus For the record his mum never had a go at me, Clinton had all the mouth on the pitch but couldn’t back it up off the pitch! He started trying to talk Jamaican to me so I politely reminded him that he was actually Irish 😂😂😂

Dannyboi Who was your room mate when staying in hotels?

Rufus Wayne Collins was my roomie.

Dannyboi Who were you closest to in the team?

Rufus We all got on with a great team spirit. Collins, Coleman & Finnan if I had to pick.

Dannyboi Do you keep in touch with anyone?

Rufus A few via twitter.

Dannyboi During your time at FFC who was the best player that you played with?

Rufus Best player played with has to be Van Der Sar or Saha.

Dannyboi You played for Keegan, Bracewell and Tigana. What were the differences between the 3 of them?

Rufus Tigana was a great coach and had a “total football” approach. Keegan was a great motivator. Bracewell was very organized.

Dannyboi Do you remember either of your two Fulham goals (one was a winner v Stoke in a league match, the other was an equaliser v Rochdale in the league cup).

Rufus Stoke was a 1-2 with Bracewell and a finish from a tight angle. Rochdale was on 9/11, we got to the hotel and saw the pictures on the TV, just awful. We were losing the game and I gambled on a flick on and shot from inside the box, my celebration was taking my shirt off only because that’s what their player did when they scored! Very embarrassing.

Dannyboi When you joined West Ham it was a bit sudden. Was there any particular reason why you left?

Rufus Because Tigana told me he was leaving, if I knew Coleman was going to be the manager I would’ve stayed.

Dannyboi You’re back in management now with Hanworth Villa. How did that opportunity come about and how do you feel about the upcoming season? Have you clashed with the stats guy over transfers yet??

Rufus We have a good bunch of players, finished third last season so hopefully we can build on that.

Dannyboi And finally, it’s a Friends of Fulham tradition to ask……..pie or pasty (which filling)

Rufus Pie, steak and kidney please .

Dannyboi Thanks again Rufus for giving us so much of your time and effort. We really appreciate it. On behalf of Fulham fans everywhere, thank you for some very special times and I wish you the best of luck with Hanworth Villa.

Rufus Thank you.

www.friendsoffulham.com

Stan Brown via his son Darren Brown FOF’ervew

Stan Brown, “the player’s player” as he is referred to such was his selflessness and ability to put the team before himself is the latest in the FOF’erview series. Sadly for health reasons Stan was unable to answer our questions himself but his son Darren has kindly offered to answer our questions as best he can. On behalf of everyone at Friends of Fulham we wish Stan & his family the best in the future.

Dannyboi Stan started as an apprentice at Fulham in the mid-late 1950s. Did he ever talk about this part of his career, cleaning first team players boots etc and how he was treated in general at this age?

Darren I think Dad joined the ground staff in 1957, he would have been 16. He always spoke fondly of these times. He was happy to clean the numerous pairs of boots, it was an indoor job which he preferred to sweeping the terraces! He took special pride in getting Johnny’s boots gleaming. His one criticism of Johnny’s statue was that his boots weren’t pristine! He said that the players used to take the mickey out of the apprentices but that it was all in good fun. He lived in digs in Weiss Road just over the Putney Bridge at this time.

Dannyboi Did he ever explain how he got the opportunity to become an apprentice and his journey progressing to the first team. Did he break through quickly?

Darren I’m not 100% sure on this. He was captain of Sussex schoolboys and I’ve heard that he was scouted while playing. Another version is that a Lewes man Mr West recommended him to the club and that resulted in a trial. I’ve also heard that Jim Langley was involved somehow? He got his chance in the team in 1961 when Johnny Haynes was injured. His debut didn’t go well though, Fulham lost 6v1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday! It was not until the 1962/63 season that he got his next chance but from then on he was pretty much a fixture in the team.

Dannyboi I’ve heard many stories that Johnny Haynes was a perfectionist, which caused a few heated rucks in training with team mates. Did your Dad ever talk about his relationship with the maestro and were there any times Stan was on the end of a moan?

Darren The stories are true but Dad never had any problems with Johnny. I think Johnny appreciated Dad’s wholehearted commitment to his team mates. He recognised that Dad always gave 100% He was less forgiving with some of the others!

Dannyboi Obviously making his debut must have been a proud moment, taking this game aside was there a particular game that he spoke of very fondly as his favourite?

Darren Yes, I definitely know the answer to this one. It was when he scored the only goal when Fulham beat Everton who were unbeaten at the time and went on to win the league that year. It was Dad’s first goal.

Dannyboi Who did he regard as the best manager he played for and or who was the hardest to please?

Darren I’m not sure who Dad would regard as the best manager. I know that he liked Beddy and Bill Dodgin. He said that he found Vic Buckingham a bit ‘odd’ at times. Bobby Robson wasn’t in charge long. Wasn’t too keen on Alec Stock as he transfer listed him! Dad spoke very highly of Dave Sexton who was brought in as a coach in the season we miraculously escaped relegation. He said Sexton played a big part in this.

Dannyboi Your Dad is known as the players player because he was the ultimate team player. He wasn’t a big time Charlie, just an honest pro who gave his very best in every game he played and that’s why he’s so popular with the fans. But did a part of your Dad regret not leaving Fulham earlier for a new challenge? Maybe somewhere he would get more recognition and possibly a few caps for England or was he happy how his career panned out?

Darren No, he never regretted not leaving Fulham. He loved Fulham and never wanted to leave. Yes, overall he was very happy with the career he had.

Dannyboi What team and or player did Stan hate playing against and why?

Darren I wouldn’t say that Dad hated playing against any particular team or player. He did tell a good story about Jimmy Greaves though. He had been given the job of man marking Greaves and told that he must follow him everywhere even if it meant going to the toilet with him. [I’ve toned the language down there!] Dad took on this role enthusiastically and Greaves didn’t get a kick for most of the game. Then for a split second he had to leave Greaves to stop another player from bearing down on goal. In that moment the ball was slipped to Greaves and of course he scored! Dad was gutted… He hadn’t given Greaves a kick but he still got the headlines the next morning!

Dannyboi Did Stan ever say how the team reacted to the sudden sale of Alan Mullery?

Darren Not specifically but I know Dad would have been very disappointed as he rated Mullery very highly. His best Fulham midfield three was Haynes/ Mullery/ Brown!

Dannyboi One of our members is interested to know what Stan made of Malcolm MacDonald in his short career with us. Did he ever talk about him as being a big talent?

Darren Again not specifically that I can recall but I know Dad recognised his talent. Said he was a tough nut too! I know that the striker that Dad rated most highly was Allan Clarke.

Dannyboi When the time came for Stan to leave Fulham on loan to Brighton and then sign for Colchester how hard was it to say goodbye to the club? And why did he leave?

Darren It was incredibly hard for Dad to say goodbye to Fulham. He didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t his choice, he was transfer listed. He didn’t enjoy his loan spell at Brighton, he just wanted to play for Fulham.

Dannyboi Who was the most skilful/player he played with and against?

Darren This one I do know, the most skilful player he played with was Rodney Marsh.Most skilful player he played against was either George Best or maybe Eusebio.

Dannyboi Who was the best team he faced?

Darren Difficult to say but the Everton side that Dad scored the winner against were brilliant at that time and then there was the Man Utd side with Best, Charlton and Law et all….

Dannyboi Other than the Maestro, who did he think was the best player he played with at Fulham?

Darren Johnny Haynes was the man for sure but other than him it would be George and Alan Mullery.

Dannyboi Which players was he closest to and why?

Darren I think Freddie Callaghan, Jimmy Conway and Steve Earle too. Dad lived in Burgess Hill and travelled back after games so didn’t do a lot of London socialising! He always described Fulham as a big happy family.

Dannyboi Stan played in every position possible during his career? He must have had a favourite though?

Darren His preference was midfield so that he was in the thick of the action. He was happy to play in any position though as long as he was in that team!

Dannyboi Did he keep in touch with any players and is there anyone he’s still in contact with?

Darren He would see Freddie when we came up to the Cottage for games and he also saw George, Les Barrett and Alan Mulley on similar visits. He had a long chat on the phone with Tony Macedo a while back as well.

Dannyboi What was his mood like when he was at home after Fulham had lost a game?

Darren Mum says that Dad tended to take everything in his stride so didn’t get too dejected after losing. Obviously, happier after a win though!

Dannyboi Did Stan always support Fulham or are your family all supporters because of his time here as a player?

Darren Dad supported Fulham because Johnny Haynes was his favourite player. Myself and my two boys support Fulham because of Dad.

Dannyboi Did you ever get to see your Dad play for Fulham?

Darren Not 100% sure on this, I’d like to think so but Mum can’t remember me going to a game. I was born in 1967 so I was only 5 years old when Dad finished playing for Fulham. I watched him every week when he dropped down to play in non league football.

Dannyboi What was his favourite goal that he scored?

Darren Definitely the Everton winner. It was his first and got him on the back pages of all the newspapers! There was also a headed goal in the FA Cup against West Brom that he enjoyed. (out jumped a giant centre back he said!) Plus he also enjoyed scoring goals against Chelsea and Gordon Banks.

Dannyboi Thank you for giving us your time Darren. Everyone at Friends of Fulham wishes your Dad the very best. It’s not often I will get this opportunity to ask questions about such a popular player from that era and I’m very grateful for all your help.

TOOFIF’s David Lloyd FOF’erview

In this FOF’erview Dannyboi speaks to TOOFIF founder David Lloyd, with interviews and editions spanning four decades there is plenty to ask. We hope you enjoy it.

Dannyboi Hi David, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. TOOFIF has become synonymous with the matchday experience at Craven Cottage…

David If by a “synonymous” presence you mean an “interminable” one, then I suppose you’re right! It’s almost 30 years now, which is remarkable as I’m still only, er, 39. Mind you, to be sure of getting to that 30-year mark I could do with a couple of extra helpers on matchdays to help flog the flipping thing! Anyone up for doing so will be handsomely rewarded (ie we do a good line in personal compliments) and you might get a beer voucher, too.

Dannyboi I suppose the best place to start is back in the latter part of 1987. What made you begin the process of creating TOOFIF, leading to Issue One appearing in March 1988?

David When Jimmy Hill returned to the Club in 1987 as FFC Chairman he decided to prune the number of volunteer programme contributors as they each received free entry to matches in return for their labours. I was one of those to be culled, even though I was playing rather than watching football on Saturday afternoons back then so wasn’t in need of tickets. I was also a Supporters’ Club committee member, and, with the long-running ground saga in its relative infancy, the committee were becoming increasingly active. In the wake of the proposed Fulham Park Rangers nightmare someone suggested starting up a fanzine with long-time FFC fan David Preston. I didn’t know what a fanzine was, or even who David P was come to that, but we locked horns and came up with “There’s Only One F In Fulham”. As a courtesy we wrote to the football club telling them of our intentions to “produce a regular, punchy magazine” that, while always supportive of the club, would offer an alternative view to the often bland, enforced PR-speak typically peddled by football clubs up and down the country. We weren’t looking much beyond frank terrace opinions and concerns intermingled with features such as silly names, crazy haircuts and tales of convoluted away trips. The club weren’t keen, which was understandable. But the main thrust of their response was odd: Why don’t we use our undoubted expertise for the benefit of the club? In those days, that could only mean contributing to the club programme, and I’d just been booted off that particular gig! Issue One hit the streets at Aldershot in March 1988.

Dannyboi So, looking back, despite the difficulties the club faced, 1988 ironically turned out to be a good year for Fulham as it’s the year I was born (lol!), as well as the year that brought us TOOFIF for the first time – a proud moment for you, I’m sure. Do you look back at that time and consider it a good or bad time for you bearing in mind the turmoil the club faced?

David As far as longevity goes, all the sensible money would’ve been placed on you – mini-Dan v the fledgling TOOFIF…? No contest, surely! We weren’t looking much beyond 1988. All the more so when David P decided his social life came first, and legged it after Issue 6. As for it being a proud moment when Issue 1 came out, I reckon ‘bewildered’ is a more accurate description.

Dannyboi It can’t be easy starting out – did anyone at the club play a big part in giving you your big break with TOOFIF?

David No. The mag has always been independent of the club.

Dannyboi Did you imagine TOOFIF would go onto be as successful as it has been and did you anticipate the longevity of its success?

David Actually, there was a “big break”. By the late 1980s, Fulham didn’t own Craven Cottage, property developers Cabra Estates did and they were intent on bringing in the bulldozers. The local council stepped in with the aim of securing the ground via a compulsory purchase order (CPO): this called for a government-sponsored public inquiry, arranged for January 1990. In the event, FFC did an 11th-hour deal with Cabra, taking a chunk of money and a three-year lease in return for dropping their support of the CPO. That controversial deal, however, did provide the fledgling TOOFIF with an unexpected bonus: within the small print lay a clause that barred any Fulham FC personnel from commenting on the deal via its own outlets, i.e. the programme and Clubcall. Remember, this was way before the internet, swish club magazines and the wall-to-wall media coverage offered these days. The independently run TOOFIF, though, was free to carry on unhindered and probably made its name in trying to keep the magnificent diehard supporters as fully in the picture as possible with regard to all the goings-on at the time. There was certainly no thought back then of still producing the fanzine in the 21st century – that was about as likely as Fulham playing in the top flight!

Dannyboi You’ve interviewed so many people over the years, so surely at some point something must have gone wrong in typical Fulhamish style?

David Micky Adams was eager to get several messages across to the fans when he took over from Ian Branfoot – not least that, while he was a big fan of his mentor, this was his time, and he was intent on doing things his way, but he needed the fans to be onside – so former club director Dave Gardner suggested he had a chat with the mag. I bought a new mini-tape recorder specially for the occasion and traipsed down to the BBC Sports Ground in Motspur Park to meet our new gaffer. It all went very well and, after rewinding the tape and listening to our opening exchanges, I headed home to transcribe the chat. On doing so, though, it turned out that I’d only taped the opening three or four minutes. “Oh yes, we had a faulty batch,” said the guy from Currys as he gave me a replacement (and chucked the offending machine into a big cardboard box full of other duff ones). Brilliant. I plucked up the courage to call Micky Adams who, while not best pleased, was gracious enough to agree to an action replay the following day after he’d finished taking a training session. It wasn’t an easy walk into the BBC Ground. All the players had been made aware of my cock-up and they made me very aware of it as I walked round the pavilion. “What a muppet!”  and “You’re even worse than Ken Myers [who did Clubcall]!” were about the only two printable remarks. Micky Adams, who went on to give a cracking interview, thought the whole squirming episode was hilarious. Even his sidekick Alan Cork was smiling.

Another nightmare scenario came at Gary Brazil’s house in Epsom. He’d taken a load of stick from the terraces and via the mag, and had been invited to give his side of the story. Gary’s missus made us some coffee. “Enjoy a drink and some biscuits first and then I’ll make myself scarce so you can have a talk,” she said helpfully. It was a lovely warm afternoon and the French windows were open. Gary started to relax as we exchanged pleasantries while I was getting ever-more comfortable in their plush cream sofa.  What could possibly go wrong? But it wasn’t just a welcome breeze that came in through the open window. No one noticed their cat enter from the garden and sneak behind the sofa. Out of nowhere, it leapt down onto my lap with its claws digging in as it landed. Even Gary Brazil jumped. Not nearly as much as me, though, and certainly not as much as my cup of coffee, which went everywhere. In the realms of how to make friends and influence people it doesn’t rank right up there. In how to disfigure a sofa, though, it was massive bonus points all round. Gary Brazil could hardly stop laughing and was still chuckling when we did the interview. Fair to say, Mrs Brazil wasn’t quite as cheery.

Dannyboi Who’s been your favourite interview for TOOFIF? You can name several if it’s impossible to have just the one.

David Ray Lewington gave a cracking interview in Issue 127 (Jan 2013). Ray has been Mr Fulham throughout TOOFIF’s lifetime (even more so than Simon Morgan), experiencing the monstrous lows at FFC before deservedly revelling in our top-flight success and that glorious European Tour. Lewy was wonderfully forthright in his chat with TOOFIF and was delighted for the staunch Fulham fans who’d stuck with the club during the tough times that they’d been rewarded with the huge upswing in the club’s fortunes. In the very next issue Chris Coleman tried to outdo Ray with a punchy offering of his own. Those two interviews were extremely well received. The two ex-managers of our club may be ‘Little and Large’ as far as stature is concerned, but both are giants in the club’s history. Both have done remarkably well in their careers but have certainly not forgotten their roots. Roy Hodgson, too, was top drawer company, as you’d expect. In fact, it’s been a genuine privilege to share some time with all the TOOFIF interviewees. Which is why Mark Cooper’s never made an appearance!

Dannyboi Is there anyone dead or alive that you haven’t interviewed that you would/ would have liked the opportunity to?

David I had an interview with George Best lined up before he got really ill. Bestie remains a Man Utd legend rather than a Fulham one, but he loved his time at the Cottage and gave plenty of outstanding displays in a Fulham shirt. I met him and Johnny Haynes during the Fulham 2000 business – both were patrons, and were good mates, full of respect for each other’s abilities. A chat with The Maestro would’ve been the  ‘biggie’, but it never happened because I never got round to asking him. We celebrated his 70th birthday in the mag and I had hoped to talk to him when he subsequently came down to London (Johnny was based in Edinburgh), but it wasn’t to be. Jean Tigana, though, remains on the hopeful ‘to do’ list.

Dannyboi Football keeps on evolving. The Matchday Programme for all supporters across the country is becoming less and less of a necessity what with internet access everywhere. Have you ever considered going digital with TOOFIF as opposed to the charming paperback edition?

David “TOOFIF: Charming”! Love it. Going digital is an option but I’ve not figured how to make it work. Any advice on that score would be welcome.

Dannyboi Putting TOOFIF to one side for a second, let’s talk about David Lloyd the supporter. For starters why Fulham and when did your adventure begin?

David I was brought up in Wimbledon, near Dundonald Rec, which became my second home. My near neighbour Reg Stockham took me to a reserve game at the Cottage in the mid-’60s when his wife Joan, also a season-ticket holder, couldn’t make it. I was nine or ten and was totally hooked.

Dannyboi As you mention near the beginning, the club was in a bad place around the time TOOFIF was founded. Describe your feelings as a supporter, did you ever feel the unthinkable that our wonderful club would leave the Cottage or fold up completely?

David Things did get very bleak and it got to the point where the possibility of the club folding appeared on the horizon. Jimmy Hill and Bill Muddyman were instrumental in keeping the club afloat, but the Herculean rearguard action taken by the club’s hardcore support was every bit as important. In the ensuing years, so many fans gave their time and expertise freely for the benefit of the club. And we’re still here. And still at Craven Cottage.

Dannyboi Moving on to a more positive front, you’ve seen some wonderful teams, players and managers down the years. I suppose there’s no point asking anyone who’s seen the Maestro play who’s the ‘best’ player you’ve seen in the wonderful white shirt, so instead lets start off with who was your favourite ever player?

David I only saw Johnny Haynes in his twilight years, although his influence and extraordinary passing ability were all-too-evident. So, the best player I’ve seen in a Fulham shirt has to be Louis Saha – lightning fast, skilful, athletic; simply a brilliant striker in a brilliant team. Mousa Dembele was getting close to that mantle with a host of impressive midfield displays before he headed off to Spurs.

Dannyboi Who’s been your favourite manager?

David Roy Hodgson probably edges it from Jean Tigana and Mickey Adams. It took a while – and the Great Escape! – for Hodgson to get it together. It was a joy to see the players improve before our very eyes, individually and collectively and we became very hard to beat under Roy (and Ray!). Okay, it wasn’t all plain sailing as we never really cracked it as far as our top-flight away form was concerned and yet we grew into a team that could take on and beat anyone on our day and we not only consolidated ourselves as an established Premier League club but also got to a major European final. Adams did wonders on a shoestring to drag us upwards from the basement division in 1997, paving the way for Chairman Mo’s involvement, while Tigana’s French revolution had us rubbing our eyes with disbelief at the consistently brilliant displays for much of the 2000-01 campaign.

Dannyboi Thirdly, do you have a favourite match and/or specific moment that stands out for you personally – highs or lows?

David One of the lowest points was the Fulham hierarchy wasting a page in the Fulham programme in accusing me of snitching details of a private meeting chaired by CEO Brian Naysmith to the press (I’ve never done such a thing). It was basically a vicious character assassination. Now, if you run a fanzine you can’t expect to always have things going your way, there are bound to be one or two run-ins if you’re publishing something that’s contrary to the party line. Also, I’m not daft (believe it or not!); you can’t expect any football club to be overly keen on having to put up with a mag that carries strong opinions on its operations. But I’ve always tried to behave responsibly. And as to that article in the programme, there was never a retraction and certainly no apology – even though it soon became obvious who HAD contacted the paper in question (The Guardian, and not The Independent as suggested by the club). Was that person similarly castigated? No, he was made a director. As a footnote, a few years down the line Naysmith had the cheek to ask for a clutch of free back copies to help with a thesis he was putting together. That request fell into the “You couldn’t make it up” category.

At the other end of the scale, I’ve been fortunate to play in a number of fans’ games on the hallowed turf, even nabbing a goal or two along the way. These were all fantastic encounters, with former FFC players such as Jim Stannard, Simon Morgan, Ara Bedrossian, Jim Hicks and Ray Lewington involved in some of these, plus ex-Northern Ireland player Gerry Armstrong for some reason. Playing against Lewy was a revelation. He never stopped talking – cajoling, encouraging, assisting, coaching, directing; all this with a smile on his face in a low-key game that didn’t matter. The two sides included players of widely varying ages, standards and fitness. But it was a truly uplifting experience as Ray’s input in particular helped to ensure that everyone on the pitch felt involved.

Worst single football experience Fulham-wise was Derby away in 1983. Simply horrible and a cop out by the officials on the day (for ignoring the unfolding unfair circumstances) and then the football authorities for turning a blind eye to the whole fiasco. That game still hasn’t finished. Biggest gradual blow was our relegation from the top flight in 2014. In my view this was wholly avoidable and undid all the fantastic work of so many who not only got us there in the first place but who had transformed ‘little’ Fulham into an established Premier League outfit with a more-than-reasonable European pedigree.

Best Fulham day out was Carlisle away in 1997, complete with congas on (it seemed) every station platform between there and London Euston on the way back. Railway engineering works meant we didn’t get back into the Smoke until the early hours, so I was tired and emotional in more ways than one!

On a general note, it was hard not to get emotional when the transformed Craven Cottage site was unveiled following our two seasons at QPR. We were back!

Dannyboi As you’re someone who is very experienced with asking questions I have an unusual one to ask. I recently had a debate with someone about using the phrases ‘best’ and ‘greatest’ when referring to Fulham goals. So the initial question is do you interpret them as meaning different things and if so, what are…….
-Fulham’s greatest ever goal?
-Fulham’s best ever goal?
-Your favourite ever?

David A quick comparison of two noted Fulham goals backs up that point vividly. John Mitchell’s last-gasp effort against Birmingham in the FA Cup Final replay in April 1975 took us to our only FA Cup Final, but it was as scruffy a goal as anyone has ever scored. The ball just about bobbled over the line in the last minute of extra time so was every bit as dramatic as it was messy. But we didn’t give a damn that it wasn’t a ‘worldie’ (in any case, SuperMitch had scored a belter in the drawn game a few days earlier) – we were too busy celebrating getting to Wembley. Pajtim Kasami’s superlative goal at Crystal Palace in October 2013 was at the other end of the skills scale – a once-in-a-lifetime effort that ultimately counted for nothing. That chest control alone was phenomenal; to then volley the ball so emphatically into the net was the stuff of dreams (and made Steve Sidwell’s belter in the same game look decidedly powderpuff!) and yet the end result became the stuff of nightmares. That 4-1 win did more than anything to paper over the cracks of the crumbling Martin Jol era. The Dutchman was retained for far too long and it was the beginning of the end of our spell in the top flight, no question

In considering those two goals it occurred that we scored two very different goals in a game that did matter. Mick Conroy’s bundled effort at Carlisle in April 1997 brought us back into that ‘must-win’ encounter and was every bit as important as Rod McAree’s wonderfully struck winner.

Other memorable goals that spring to mind are:
* Viv Busby’s mazy dribble against Cardiff in the mid-seventies;
* Alan Mullery’s wonderstrike against Leicester that won BBC’s Goal of the Season in 1974;
* George Best’s majestic effort at Peterborough in September 1976;
* Gordon Davies finding the Putney End net from just in front of the Cottage against Chesterfield in January 1982;
* Roger Brown’s thumping header against Lincoln, May 1982;
* Simon Morgan’s header at Villa Park in January 1999;
* Sean Davis getting that late winner at Blackburn in April 2001  (cue Jean Tigana’s touchline sprint and Souness scowling more than ever!)
* Danny Murphy’s vital headed goal at Portsmouth in May 2008;
* Bobby Zamora’s right-footer against Shakhtar Donetsk, February 2010;
* Brilliant improvisation from Simon Davies to fashion a leveller against Hamburg in April 2010;
* and, for sheer drama, Tom Cairney’s last-gasp strike and ensuing celebrations against Leeds last season.

But you can’t discuss best/great/favourite Fulham goals without highlighting Clint Dempsey’s extraordinary chipped winner against Juventus. That one ticked all the boxes – it was spectacular, audacious, timely, and sealed a phenomenal and unlikely comeback against the mighty Juve. It might even have been a fluke! But who cares, it capped a wonderful night down by the Thames and the European Tour was back on track. Mind you, it would’ve counted for naught but for Dickson Etuhu nicking a precious away goal with that scruffy deflected effort in Turin!

Dannyboi What are your early expectations and predictions for next season?

David The signs and vibes are good as I put this nonsense together. The squad seem committed to not only stay together but to finish what they started last season. We’ll need a couple of astute signings (not least a proficient centre-forward) to bolster what is a decent squad if not strong in depth. We were very lucky last season not to suffer too many injuries, particularly to our middle three, Cairney, McDonald and Johansen, so crucial to our attacking intent. Given how Slavisa Jokanovic got us playing for latter two-thirds of last season, his biggest hindrance might be the great expectations of us lot, especially if we cough and splutter early on. Here’s a tip, Slav: your team’s attacking ways last season were compared to those of the great Jean Tigana squad of 2000-01. Why not calm all our nerves by masterminding a similar start to the campaign? Eleven straight wins should do it! Well, we can dream!

Dannyboi Do you have a FOF account? And if not WHY NOT!!!! Lol

David Yes, of course!

Dannyboi We’re coming to the end of our FOF’erview, So let’s move back towards TOOFIF for a second. Where do you see TOOFIF going in the future? It’s the same age as me so I know the 30th anniversary is coming up in 2018. Are there any special plans to mark the occasion? [I’m assuming I’ll be invited if there’s a big party lol]

David Surely the best way to celebrate 30 years of the mag would be by the club regaining its top-flight status (no pressure, Slav!). As for where I see the mag going in the future, I’d say the nearest paper recycling centre! Frankly, it’s getting harder to produce by the season, mainly because of increased family responsibilities. And, let’s face it, a fanzine should be produced by the vibrant younger generation not an old fart. So let’s see how this season goes. There ARE plans for a book to mark the three decades of the mag. Don’t worry, it definitely won’t be a “Best of…” as that would be an insult to the TOOFIF faithful! More a trawl through the Club’s remarkable highs and lows in that time, but from a fans’ and the fanzine’s perspective.

Dannyboi And finally, I’m afraid it’s a FOF tradition started by my colleague Darren Sonnet (Westcliffe White) to ask…….pie or pasty and which filling?

David Pie. Probably steak and kidney, as I had one last week and it really hit the mark. Incidentally, if you want find out how much a pie weighs, where would you do so? Answer: Somewhere Over The Rainbow. (Sing the first couple of lines…!) Okay, I’ll get my coat…

Dannyboi It’s been a wonderful FOFerview David, thank you so much for giving us your time. TOOFIF is a big part of the matchday experience for our fans and has that personal touch to it thanks to your talent and passion for Fulham, that’s what makes it so special. For further info about TOOFIF, including how to take out a subscription (the mag’s mailed out to addresses worldwide) or to get hold of some back copies, please contact David via dmltoofif@blueyonder.co.uk or message DLTOOFIF on Friends of Fulham.

On behalf of everyone at Friends of Fulham, good luck with the book and with the future of TOOFIF.

FOFerview with Fulham Great, Robert Wilson

Through the magic of twitter, Dannyboi was able to get in contact with a true great from the 1980’s, the one and only Robert Wilson. Robert was not only a big part of one of Fulham FC’s most iconic teams under Malcolm MacDonald, he is also a Fulham fan through and through witnessing the highs and lows throughout. He has been a true gent with me over the past couple of weeks and all of us in the Friends of Fulham team really appreciate the time and effort and we cant thank him enough. We hope you enjoy it…

 

Dannyboi Robert, what was Malcolm MacDonald like as a manager?

Wilson Well, Supermac, what can I can say other than it was a great time for me and many of the lads! He came in on the back of the outgoing Bobby Campbell who I have the upmost respect for as he gave me my debut at 18 away at Blackburn in Jan 1980 in the FA cup tie. My job was to man-mark their player-manager, Howard Kendall, who went on to manage Everton very well but has now sadly passed away.

Malcolm was very good with the lads, liked the banter but had the very good coach Ray Harford (another who sadly passed away and another manager I went on to play for at Luton Town in the first division who I had so much respect for as a fantastic coach.) The training most of the week was taken by Ray. Malcolm was there now and then, it was just a rumour that he only ever turned up on Fridays for our famous 5 a sides which were very competitive and set us for Saturday’s game. Make no mistake about it Malcolm deserves the credit he should get for that team and those 2 years he gave us the confidence to play the way we did and I know the first year was great in that magical night at home v Lincoln getting promoted. Then going into the following season in the second division and as we all know doing so well and going so so close….

Dannyboi Despite not being born until some 5 years later, I know from my Mum & Dad telling me thousands of times what you mean by so so close. So that leads perfectly to the next question. From a players perspective, what was that Derby game like? In particular being kicked by a fan as you went to take a throw in?

Wilson Well the Derby game is still very much in my mind and that of many players and supporters and family members who were all there. If I was honest we should never have been in that situation as we blew many games before that. People talk about the Leicester home game then the bank holiday weekend of the Sheffield Wednesday away and QPR games but hey, we went there with a chance at Derby.

I can remember the build-up was as normal as usual, everyone was as relaxed as they could be. Derby needed to stay up which didn’t help us and once the game started it was a very tense atmosphere. On the day we were not at our most fluent and maybe the nerves got to us but that last 15-20 mins was unreal. I have never played in or seen such scenes like it. I noticed fans were slowly being let out of the penned gates and encroaching around the pitch. I can remember Browny and Galey saying to the ref that this can’t be right but the ref was having none of it. As we all know, it continued and as you say we broke away on the left hand side I had the ball under control heading towards the touchline, probably 4 yards in though and this fan came out and lunged a kick on the side of my arse. Initially I was shocked but as the TV footage shows, I did lose it a bit and headed towards him pointing. By this time the game has been halted. Lew runs over, the ref arrives and really did not know what to do. There was still many minutes left and we all know what happened when the ref blew the whistle some 90 seconds too early. The Derby fans all ran on the pitch. It was very frightening and trying to get towards the tunnel was scary and many including Jeff Hopkins were assaulted. Once there it was mayhem. We were in the changing rooms knowing that our fate was over but Malcom and many Fulham officials were trying to liaise with the ref saying the game was not finished but all to no avail. I went to all the hearings to appeal for a replay as I had been involved in the incident and when the news finally broke that we had no case we were all gutted.

Dannyboi Do you think it should have been replayed and have you ever forgiven Derby for costing us promotion in such a distasteful way?

Wilson As mentioned, I went to all the hearings but deep down I felt we were never going to get the replay. As for Derby, I’ve hated (oops, disliked them!) ever since. I did go back some years later playing for Luton Town and again I did not enjoy a good experience as Mick Harford was sent off after 15 minutes and the gaffer, Ray Harford, sacrificed me as a substitute to put a player on. You can imagine I was not best please!

So it’s a team and set of fans I have no time for.

Dannyboi Who was your room mate when staying in hotels etc. and which players were you closest to in the team?

Wilson My room mate was my best pal while there, Tony Gale, and he was a key figure-head in the team both on and off it. I still to this day keep in contact with him. We had a great team spirit and unlike today there was no cliques, we all stuck together.

Dannyboi Do you still keep in touch with any of your old team mates?

Wilson I still and in the past have kept in touch with a number of the lads, notably Tony Gale, I still speak very regularly with him when he is not on Sky or radio!!

Ray Lewington too, he looked after me with tickets for many years under Roy, both home and away games. As did Mike Kelly, another great guy I admired.

I kept in touch with Sean O’Driscoll and met him many times while he was managing and also while he was at Liverpool with Brendan Rogers.

Ray Houghton was an old next door neighbour of mine in the early days down in Wokingham.

Perry Digweed came to my mum’s 80th in Putney Bridge back in January, along with Galey.

I see Les Strong, the legend, (well – according to him!!) at his bar at homes game. When he invites me in…!

Gordon Davies the same, but not so much now we are not in Premier League as they dropped the bar he was looking after.

I keep in touch with many of the other lads via social media, notably Jim Stannard, Jeff Hopkins and Paul Parker.

Dannyboi Who was the most skillful player you played with?

Wilson Well at Fulham I would have to say George Best and Rodney Marsh! I was 16 and an apprentice in 1977 when they were around and watching them in training was brilliant.

Really again at Fulham I would have to say Ray Houghton. He glided with the ball and could go inside or outside. A really classy player that went on from us to have a fantastic career.

On another note, Ricky Hill at Luton had super skills, and was a joy to play with.

Dannyboi Your second spell was a troubled time at the club, how did the players cope with staying focused?

Wilson Yeah when I returned in 1987 Ray Lew was manager. As I had a bit of a fall-out at Luton he convinced me to come back. Yes it is true what they say second time round is never the same and it was difficult at times, but I still enjoyed it although we were never like the previous year’s team.

Dannyboi What are your memories of Jimmy Hill at the time and how involved was he?

Wilson Jimmy Hill was chairman at the time and although I was club captain (and I don’t think Jimmy agreed with Lew in making me that, I’m not sure why!) I personally did not have much to do with him other than to say hello but I know Lew had some very tough times with him and the board behind the scenes. But that’s football, and the club survived!

Dannyboi How do you think the brilliant 82/83 side would have faired in the Championship last season?

Wilson Danny I feel the side of 82/ 83 would have done well. That’s not taking away from this seasons side who also did well to get themselves in the frame, but I’m biased!

Dannyboi Did you ever consider getting into coaching or management?

Wilson I did not at the time. It was many years later while up in Huddersfield around 1999 my son was training with them in their school of excellence and I came across the the head of their academy, Gerry Murphy, and he invited me to coach the under 12s. I went on to gain my EUFA coaching badges and spent 6 years coaching at various age groups, which I really enjoyed.

In the last 4 years have been coaching at Brighouse Town FC in the Evo-Stick league but again left there the season before last to watch Fulham more, as my son Adam is a mad Fulham fan and wants to watch every game home and away! He managed more home games than me!

Dannyboi We’ve seen with the likes of Jimmy Bullard what a joker can bring to team spirit. Were there any jokers in the team you played in and if so, can you remember anything specific happening like a prank on someone?

Wilson We had a few at Fulham in my time, notably Les Strong, Kevin Lock and Tony Gale. The one that particularly springs to mind (which Strongy will always tell in his mini after speaking role!!) was with Malcolm in a team talk before a game. We had those boards with all the little discs and he would say how we would set up and how they might play as well so Strongy and maybe Galey (don’t quote me on that!) took the sticky bits on the back of them all off and they are on the table as he is starting to present his team picks the first one up puts in the goal keeper area it drops to the floor and we all say “hooray” and laugh he then picks up another to try and (you guessed it) it happened again! “Hooray” was the shout from all the lads, we are now howling with laughter, Malcolm tries one more and yes, hat trick! “Hooray!”. By this time Malcolm is getting a bit mad and I think he just threw the lot in the direction of Strongy!

Dannyboi What was your favourite and/or best goal that you scored for the Whites? Please pick two separate ones if your favourite wasn’t the best goal!

Wilson Best goal has to be Shrewsbury away. Not many Fulham fans would have witnessed this! I think it was in the 1981/82 season. I picked the ball up on the half-way line, I always say that I beat at least 5 players on a mazy run as the keeper came out I dummied him went round him and stroked in to empty net. It was a class goal and I even have Sunday newspaper clippings saying it was as good as Ricky Villa’s cup final goal v Man City. But who out of the fans out there remembers it??

The favourite goal is one I scored up at Newcastle. A great crowd and stadium, and a goal I always enjoyed.

Dannyboi What was it like playing at the Cottage for the first time as a supporter? All fans dream of it but you were lucky enough to do it.

Wilson Well as a kid I grew up with 3 other brothers supporting Chelsea. As a 12 year old I used to go with my dad’s friend to watch West Ham back in 1974 / 75. It was not until I signed school boy forms with Fulham in 1975 as a 14 year old and we had just got to Wembley v West Ham that I really did set my sights on becoming a Fulham player and fan so for it to all come true was a dream and getting a chance so early at 18 I was overwhelmed, as were my mum and dad who followed my career from then onwards. Every time I represented Fulham it was a privilege, and now in later years watching varying teams although its different now, I hope some of the home grown lads feel the same way!

Dannyboi You also played for Millwall, Luton, Huddersfield and Rotherham. How did it feel playing for someone else after leaving your club? And if you had to pick, which of the 4 was the best club to play for?

Wilson I had spells as you say at Millwall, Luton Town, Huddersfield andRotherham.

When I left Fulham in 1985 after the Supermac team started to split up I had a few offers to sign for notably Crystal Palace and Ipswich as well as Millwall! I met George Graham at Heathrow Airport for lunch and they had just got promoted to the 2nd division. I was excited by his plans and I duly signed. I am not going to lie, whilst I scored 12 goals in 36 games, and we had a good season finishing around 8th I think, and we had some great players in John Fashanu and Teddy Sheringham (who played the back end of my one season there), I did not enjoy it at all! I was travelling from Berkshire to Dartford every day, the fans can be great when you are winning and not so good when you are not (I am being kind here in case any Millwall fans read this!!). It was an experience that’s all I will say

Luton Town was a great time on the plastic pitch playing in the 1st division, scoring on my home debut v the legend Peter Shilton for Southampton. Luton had some great players at that time like Steve Foster, Mick Harford, Les Sealey, Ricky Hill, Brian Stein, Peter Nicholas, Mal Donaghy, Danny Wilson, Ashley Grimes… And many more! The social side was…wow…they liked a drink that lot!!

I loved being at Huddersfield and we had a good set of lads and a good manager (Eoin Hand) who I had worked for Republic of Ireland and we had 2 years of just missing out of play offs.

I was only at Rotherham for one season, we got promoted out of the 4th division, it was ok.

Dannyboi Is it more stressful being a player or a supporter of Fulham?

Wilson Definitely as a supporter!! As a player I could always do something about it! As a player there have been more times than others but hey that’s Fulham for you. The season in Europe… Wow, me and Adam came down to every home, travelling 9-hour 500 mile round-trips and the Juventus night will live long into my memory. I could not make any of the away legs that season but we went to Krakow the following season and could not make the final due to the ash cloud and my daughter was getting married on the Friday and she would not let us go in case we could not get back.

Dannyboi Which eleven players and manager make up your favourite team of your time associated with the club?

Wilson Always a hard one this as I played and are friends with lots of the lads but I will be honest

BEST MANAGER  MALCOM MACDONALD / RAY HARFORD COACH

GERRY PEYTON

PAUL PARKER
TONY GALE
ROGER BROWN
KEVIN LOCK / LES STRONG

SEAN O DRISCOLL
RAY LEWINGTON
ME
RAY HOUGHTON

IVOR
DEAN CONEY

BENCH
GARY BARNETT
PETER O SULLIVAN
PETER SCOTT
JUTSIN SKINNER
JIM STANNARD

Think that will do.

Dannyboi Whats your favourite Fulham goal other than one of your own?

Wilson Tom Cairney this season vs Leeds at the Cottage in the last minute.

Dannyboi Roger Brown’s header at the Putney End vs Lincoln City goes down in our history as one of the clubs most important goals and is accompanied by the most iconic picture as he smokes his cigar. Can you describe the atmosphere for our younger fans and explain your emotions knowing we had achieved promotion for the team you support, again a dream so few have been able to do for real?

Wilson Well what a night that was! I remember the legend rising to power it home. I was just behind him. It was a tense night but those celebrations in the changing room and on the cottage balcony will live with me forever and the after party down at J Arthurs, we all went drinking till 7am in the morning.

Dannyboi Here’s a time machine, you can go back in time and change one moment in the clubs history. Where would you pick and why? That must be a tough question considering the oh so nears as both a player and a supporter?

Wilson I never like to go back but if you pushed me it would have to be the Derby game or that season. I would have loved one crack at the top division with that team because I feel we would have taken it by storm and the type of football we played would have held us in good stead.

Dannyboi And finally we end the FOFerview in style…… pie or pasty (which filling)?

Wilson Pie all day long – filling has to be meat and potato but now all these balti pies are nice in the middle of winter when watching the mighty whites in the baltic north!

Dannyboi Robert I really appreciate you doing this for Friends of Fulham. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions in such detail. That Malcolm MacDonald side remains one of our supporters favourite sides, my Mum and Dad are always talking about it! So I have no doubt this will be an enjoyable read for so many.

Wilson Well I hope I have given all the fans, both old and young, an insight into my playing/supporting times and we look forward to the coming season. I cant wait!

COYW!!!!

FOF’erview with Billy the Badger’s creator, Kyle Jackson

Have you ever wondered how Billy the Badger was created and came to be?  Well lucky for us our very own Dannyboi just happens to be a mate of Kyle Jackson, the inspiration behind Billy the Badger, and recently he sat down to have just such a chat.

Dannyboi – What made you a Fulham fan?  Did anyone influenced you in becoming a fan?
Kyle – I moved to the UK when I was 8 from South Africa.  I didn’t know much about football, and first called myself an Arsenal fan!  When I started to play football myself (and wised up), I was a goalkeeper. My mum’s family is Dutch and Van der Sar soon became my favorite player in the national team… So it was Edwin who got me in to Fulham!

Dannyboi – How long have you been supporting the club?
Kyle – I think the first season I could call myself a “real” fan was the 2003/2004 season. My favourite shirt is from that season!

Dannyboi – What has been your most favorite memory from being a Fulham fan?
Kyle – The European games must be up there.  That season I was lucky enough to go to Basel, Turin, Hamburg (twice), Belfast, and Twente.  Made some amazing memories and some great friends.

Dannyboi – What has been your worst memory from being a Fulham Fan?
Kyle – Obviously getting relegated wasn’t fun and the following couple years didn’t get much better.  Those were the 3 seasons I gave up my season ticket as I moved out to Singapore so at least I didn’t experience too much of it.  I have to say though, I think my worst memory was when we lost Dembele and Dempsey.  We had such great potential that season.

Dannyboi – What led you and inspired you to create Billy tthe Badger?
Kyle – The club had an online competition.  At the time, there was a viral video involving dancing badgers, mushrooms and a snake.  Back then a friend of mine, who is a Cambridge fan, and I both would put our team shirts on.  The team shirts said badger and we would wear them to play in a 6-a-side team called the Cambridge badgers.  So, when I saw the competition I thought a badger would work well.  So, I sent a picture in of a badger.

Dannyboi – How old were you when you did this?
Kyle – I think I was around 12 years old.

Dannyboi – Were there any other reasons for coming up with a badger, other than your experience in Cambridge?
Klye – When I sent the picture in of the badger, I included a brief reason of why the Fulham mascot should be a badger.  Badgers are black and white and are traditionally British just like Fulham.  Badgers also live in big families and Fulham is a big family.

Dannyboi – Do you have any drawings or sketches of your original design?
Kyle – Unfortunately I don’t.  The club did send me some pictures but that laptop that I had them stored on died many years ago.  I should really get in touch with the club and see if they have any in the archive.  I also keep meaning to ask if I could have a costume!

Dannyboi – Did you get anything out of creating Billy from the club?  An award or a plaque?
Kyle – I got 2 free tickets to see us play against Arsenal.  That was my first game!  We lost 4-0 in that match and Henry got a standing ovation.  I also got a goodie bad that a had keychain, stickers, book, etc.  Funny thing is I had to buy my own Billy the Badger toy when they first came out, ha-ha.

Dannyboi – Did the experience of creating Billy have any effect on your future choices for a career?  What do you do now for a living?
Kyle – I actually went on to study marketing at university.  Then I went on to running pubs where I did do a lot of design work and digital marketing.  Since then though I’ve gone into more of a normal office job.

Dannyboi –  What is your favorite memory of Billy?
Kyle –  I love it when Billy gets into the spot light, especially during games.  I remember things like Billy “Attacking” Avram Grant and being sent off for staying on the pitch break-dancing for too long.

Dannyboi – Have you heard of Sir Craven of Cottage and do you know what he looks like? If yes, would you be nervous for Billy if I told you I’ve heard he’s making a comeback.
Kyle Who? ……Just kidding. I’ve heard of and seen Sir Craven (not in the flesh). I wouldn’t be too nervous, he just looked very sun burnt. Didnt Dabs.com have a mascot? Was it a computer? ……now there’s a challenger haha!

Dannyboi – As you mentioned above Billy is not shy of getting into a confrontation like the Avram Grant spat. If given the opportunity to have a boxing match with one of these three, who would he pick? Chelsea’s Stamford the Lion, Brentford’s Buzz Bee or Qpr’s Ian Holloway?
Kyle Well I’m speaking on behalf of my “son”. I’m sure he’d be happy to take them all on. In case there are youngsters reading I won’t go into too much detail on how things would unfold  :dft011:  [dannyboi pushing for him to pick one]……oh I guess it has to be Qpr’s Ian Holloway lol.

Dannyboi –  What do you think Billy brings to Fulham and its fans?
Kyle –  This is my favorite thing; the kids do really seem to love him and lots of friends tell me he is a real favorite of their kids.

FoF would like to think Mr. Kyle Jackson for his time in answering these questions.  We would also like to thank Mr. Jackson for having the creativity to come up with our Club’s beloved Billy the Badger.