Roy Hodgson managed Fulham from 2007 to 2010.
Without doubt the club’s most fruitful spell in modern times was that under Hodgson. He was the surprise replacement for Lawrie Sanchez and was just coming off the back of a year managing the Finnish national side.
Few expected Hodgson and Fulham to be a good match, but they were more than that – he guided them to three successive, mid-table finishes in the Premier League and took them to the final of the 2010 Europa League final, in arguably the greatest night in the club’s history.
He did so with a fine team too, and here we take a look at three players from that era who’d walk into today’s Fulham side:
The American made 232 appearances for the club between 2006 and 2014, his last season with the club being on-loan from Spurs, scoring 60 goals over the course of his time at the club.
But it was his final full-season with Fulham, the 2011/12 campaign where he scored 17 Premier League goals, that fans really saw a top-class player prevail.
That was the campaign that prompted Spurs to buy him and whilst that move didn’t work out, and Dempsey’s career went on a sort of decline after that, he remains a legend around Craven Cottage – some of the goals he scored were unreal, chips, volleys, headers and everything in between – Dempsey could really do it all.
A brute if there ever was one in football, Hangeland spent seven seasons at Fulham from 2007 to 2014. The Norwegian stood at 6’5 and became a cult hero at Craven Cottage, for his fearless performances and aerial presence.
He took no prisoners. Hangeland was the last of the ‘old school’ defenders and his presence in any teams wouldn’t go amiss today. He made over 140 appearances for the club and scored a handful of important goals, before finishing his career with Crystal Palace in 2016 after injury had blighted his two seasons at the club.
His presence in the team was similar to that of Michael Hector’s today – a real leader with a big physical presence, and someone who the fans can really rally behind.
Fulham reached the 2010 Europa League final with a team of unsung heroes, but none more so than Gera. The Hungarian played 97 times for his country and spent nine season in English football, most of them in the Premier League with West Brom and Fulham.
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A favourite of Hodgson’s, Gera didn’t boast natural pace or strength, but he was as clever as midfielder as any. In that Europa League run he was mixing with some of the best in Europe, and he more than held his own – many feel he was their player of the tournament.
Much like Dempsey, Gera could score an array of goals and a host of other things, and Scott Parker today wouldn’t mind a player like him.