Exploring Fulhams Strangest Signings.

With the departure of Jozabed for a reported £4.5 million this week it made me think back to how many strange signings Fulham have made over the years. A number of players who were signed only to make a handful of appearances only to never be heard from again. Fulham seem to have had so many of these in recent history so I thought it would be interesting to look into them and see why it all went wrong.

Adil Chihi

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Starting off with maybe the weirdest of the bunch. Adil Chihi signed for Fulham on a free the season after they were relegated and it all seemed promising. Over 120 appearances for Koln in his 9 years at the club with a lot of these appearances coming in the Bundesliga. Chihi seemed to be a good replacement for the departing Ashkan Dejagah but it was not to be. He played only 1 game for Fulham and seemingly went missing for the rest of the season to be released at the end of the year. The Moroccan international has not fared much better at the clubs he has joined since Fulham playing for three different teams making a combined 14 appearances.

Zakaria Labyad

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How many Fulham fans forgot we ever had this guy? Considered a great prospect during his time at PSV and Sporting respectively Labyad grew to have a serious attitude problem. Making his Eredivisie debut at the age of 16 and scoring two goals in six appearances in his debut season Labyad seemed to be set for big things. A move to Sporting didn’t work out. Similar to fellow countryman Adel Taarabt in that he seemed to have a serious talent but an ego to match that didn’t fare him well on the football pitch. Now playing for FC Utrecht back in the Eredivisie. He made two appearances during his six months at Craven Cottage and most Fulham fans will probably forget all about him.

Jozabed

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What would this article be without the man who inspired it? seven bit part appearances in half a season at Craven Cottage Jozabed didn’t settle in England as he struggled to learn the language and couldn’t cope with the physicality of the Championship. Making a loan move to Celta Vigo in January that has now been made permanent. Clearly, a talented midfielder as he flourished in La Liga with both Rayo Vallecano and now with Celta. His only memorable moment for Fulham was hitting the crossbar with a free kick against QPR.

Larnell Cole

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The only reason I can think that Fulham signed Larnell Cole is because while buying Ryan Tunnicliffe from Manchester United they said “You can have this lad as well if you want.” and we said, “Yeah why not.” Somehow conning his way into staying at the club for 3 years making only one appearance against former club Manchester United in the famed 2-2 draw where they put in 81 crosses. To be fair to Larnell Cole in his 10 minutes in a Fulham shirt he was one of the fastest players I have ever seen at Craven Cottage.

Mark Fotheringham

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I think I join the majority of Fulham fans in saying that Mark Fotheringham is the worst player I have ever seen play for us. The quintessential Felix Magath signing every fan was baffled when we announced a player who had been poor for both Ross County and Notts County. Just read the replies to the twitter announcement of the signing and you will know how baffling this signing was. While we were looking to bounce back from relegation at the first time of asking we signed a player who was League 2 quality. Not the first Magath signing to appear here and definitely not the last.

Sakari Mattila

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Not a terrible player by any means. A Finnish international Mattila made 6 league appearances for Fulham. Making his debut in a man of the match performance against Stoke City in the League Cup Fulham fans thought they had a great player on their hands. He was then benched or left out of the squad for the rest of the season for the likes of Ryan Tunnicliffe and Lasse Vigen Christensen. He had his contract terminated by mutual consent at the end of his first season.

Gabor Kiraly

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More famous for his tracksuit bottoms than anything else Gabor Kiraly was another Magath signing brought in to replace Maarten Stekelenburg and David Stockdale. He was 38 when he signed for Fulham and he only made four league appearances for the club. It is fair to say he was quite bad in those appearances. He came back into the public eye at Euro 2016 being the starting keeper for Hungary and doing some insane tricks. Kiraly is still playing at the age of 41.

Kay Voser and Elsad Zverotic

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May as well lump these two in together. Two fullbacks who came in from Switzerland and both were as unimpressive as each other. Voser made 10 league appearances for Fulham being generally quite awful. Zverotic made 16 appearances and wasn’t very good either. Neither of these players will be remembered at Craven Cottage but Zverotic was a very frustrating signing as he came in on deadline day when fans were expecting fireworks but ended up with Zverotic.

Adam Taggart

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Taggart came to Fulham with a lot of hype after being the A-league top scorer and young player of the year. Fulham fans thought they had a great signing for the Championship as his goalscoring record in Australia was excellent and he had played in the World Cup that summer. Taggart never made a first team appearance for Fulham and was shipped out to Dundee United on loan and was then sold back to Perth Glory.

Thomas Eisfeld

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Thomas Eisfeld was one of Fulhams first signings after relegation and it filled fans with hope that promotion at the first time of asking was possible. Touted as a wonderkid at Arsenal when he ran the game against West Brom on his debut in the League Cup. Fulham signed Eisfeld on a two-year deal aged 21. He never delivered on his apparent potential in England making just seven league appearances for Fulham before departing for VFL Bochum where he is still not a standout player. A man who upon signing him Arsene Wenger said he had “the attitude and technical ability to be a valuable addition to our squad.”

Ange-Freddy Plumain

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Not so strange in the fact that he was just a youngster signed who never came to anything. However, Fulham almost got into a lot of trouble for signing Plumain as Lens claimed that he had signed for The Whites while still under contract with them. Fortunately, nothing ever came of this and Plumain never played a game for Fulham. Strange nonetheless.

Derek Boateng

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It seemed like we were linked with Derek Boateng for about 3 years so it was very relieving when we finally got the deal over the line for the Ghanaian international. He seemed to be a great replacement for Dickson Etuhu who had left a year prior. Being a good combination of strength and tackling ability he looked set to make the holding midfield spot his own. Unfortunately for Derek Martin Jol preferred the duo of Steve Sidwell and Scott Parker so he only ever played 5 games for Fulham in all competitions picking up a stunning 3 yellow cards in that time.

Kostas Mitroglou

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What could have been? Mitroglou came to Fulham on deadline day for a record fee and every Fulham fan thought that he was the man to fire Fulham to safety. And during any other time period under any other manager, he may well have been. Making only 3 league appearances at Fulham before going back to Olympiakos on loan and then joining Benfica. During his time at both of those clubs, he has scored prolifically so who knows what he could have done if he had more game time in the Premier League.

Rafik Halliche

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The only reasons any Fulham fan would remember this name is because of his terrible debut where he gave away a penalty and because of all the Algerian fans on every Fulham fan forum. The Algerian fans were adamant that Halliche was the new Maldini clamouring for him to play every week. He was poor and only made one league appearance for the club.

Jari Litmanen

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An absolute legend of the game in his prime. Winning the Champions League with Ajax and being Finlands most capped player and highest goalscorer. Litmanen joined Fulham late in his career aged 37 and never played a game. This was due to him returning to Finland after heart concerns. After leaving Fulham he played for three more years until retiring at the age of 40.

 

Who do you think Fulhams strangest ever signing is? Comment below or discuss at http://www.friendsoffulham.com/index.php?board=1.0

 

Author: Charles Jones

Sports Journalism student at Leeds Trinity University.

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