Friday, September 14, 2007

Top 5 Fulham Players I didn't see play

I went to my first match in 1979 so having missed the first 100 years of the club there are plenty of great players to choose from. The first four really picked themselves but my final choice took a bit of thinking about. At my Dad's request I'm not going to make you trawl over to Chop's Top Fives today and if you hadn't bothered before I have also added the extra comments to the previous Top 5 posts. Back to normal tomorrow!

1. Johnny Haynes

2. George Cohen

3. George Best

4. Bobby Moore

5. Allan Clarke

There's not much more to add. Seeing Haynes play in the flesh would have been something special. TV footage of the time is limited and doesn't really do him justice, but his stats say it all 658 appearances, scoring 158 goals for Fulham and 56 appearances (including the '54, '58 & '62 World Cups) for England, 22 of which were as Captain, scoring 18 goals. My Dad occasionally tries to explain how good a player he was, able to see passes no one else could and execute them perfectly, but I would love to have seen him play with my own eyes.

George Cohen's career was cut short due to injury in 1969 a mere 3 years after he had helped England lift the World Cup. 459 appearances for Fulham, scoring 6 goals and 37 appearances for England. I'm sure he would have made the 1970 World Cup squad had he continued playing and who knows what he could have achieved.

I only missed George Best by a couple of seasons, and whilst he was not at his peak when he played for the Whites, it would have been a privilege to have seen one of the world's greatest players at Craven Cottage. He managed 42 appearances for us and scored 8 goals.

Like Best, Bobby Moore was also at the tail end of his career but probably made a bigger contribution to our history. Leading us to the F.A. Cup final in his first season at the club and making a total of 108 appearances in which he scored just once. Another world great at the Cottage.

Allan Clarke was probably the ultimate goal scorer, his career stats show an incredible number of goals per game. He joined us as a 19 year old from Walsall, and played for two seasons during which he scored 45 goals in 86 appearances. We sold him to First Division Leicester City for £150,000. He would of course go on to be a legend at Leeds United where he scored a stunning 151 goals in 273 appearances. What would you give for someone who could score like that now?


Michael said...

I saw them all, and they were all of them CLASS players.

Haynes was without doubt the best passer of the ball I've ever seen. It was his vision as well as his accuracy that made him great.

Had some good players around him. I liked Graham Leggat - classy Scottish winger, who could outjump much bigger men to head some great goals.

Cohen was Mr.Consistency at right back, and capable of fast breaks up the wing - but a terrible shot.

The sale of Clarke to Leicester was a disaster. My recollection is that althought the fee was #125,000 ( a lot of money in those days) a large part of it was in exchange for Frank Clarke, who was at best an honest plodder and never proved an adequate replacement.

Yes, Best was past his prime, but still a class above most other players on the pitch.

Other top players of the time were: Les Barret - fast winger, played for England U-23. Jimmy Conway - Irish international midfield and winger.

Fred Callaghan was a great character - a bit like Emlyn Hughes in style of play.

Michael said...

I should have said Frank Large, not Frank Clarke (who was Alan's brother and I think played for QPR)

Chopper said...

Excellent, thanks for that Michael. I love hearing about our past players. My Dad was watching during the 50's & 60's and that was obviously a great era. Check out Gordon Mills' nostalgia pieces as well (if you haven't already) for some really good recollections of those times.

Christopher said...

great listing - thanks for that post

Chopper said...

Thanks Christopher