Over the last ten years or so, Fulham have had more than their fair share of youth prospects. Many break into the first team, and are quickly built up by both fans and press to be destined for greatness. However, when they leave Motspur Mark, more often than not they drift into obscurity. With another academy clear out in progress, it begs the question: Where are our previous prospects now?
It would be criminal to not start this list with Matty Briggs. At 16 years and 65 days young, he became the youngest ever Premier League player after Lawrie Sanchez subbed him on for Moritz Volz away at Middlesbrough. The day after he set foot on the pitch at the Riverside Stadium, he returned to school to do his GCSEs. The first of many such players, or so the papers report, to pop back to school for exams immediately after their debut Premier League Game. What a trendsetter.
But things have changed a bit for Briggs since then. He recently found himself working on a construction site, before signing for 7th tier side, Maldon & Tiptree.
Lauri Dalla Valle
“Oh yeah, I remember him,” you might be thinking. Dalla Valle came to Fulham from Liverpool as part of a swap deal for Paul Konchesky, which also included Alexander Kačaniklić. This may have kickstarted Dalla Valle’s footballing career decline – as well as being possibly the least exciting swap deal in footballing history. By 2017, he’d retired and set up his own photography business. The next Snappy Snaps, I’ve heard.
The man, the myth, the legend. Larnell arrived at Fulham with Ryan Tunnicliffe for an undisclosed fee from Manchester United, and to this day I’m still adamant he didn’t actually exist. That said, he was subbed on in the famous 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, putting in a strong defensive cover on the right wing.
Now, Larnell is a free agent after being released by Tranmere Rovers in January.
After being linked with the likes of Manchester United and Juventus, highly rated Tanković came to Fulham aged 16 from Sweden. Quickly breaking into first-team contention, he is probably best remembered for playing in a bizarre false-nine against Manchester United and/or missing an open goal from two yards against the West Ham U18’s.
Nowadays, Tanković is playing for Hammarby IF in Sweden with former teammate Kačaniklić. If you ever get bored, and have 90 seconds free, there is a compilation floating around Twitter of Tanković repeatedly losing possession for Hammarby and it is hilarious.
OHHHHHH TIAGO CASASOLA! He moved from Boca Juniors to Fulham in 2014 and his chant claimed he was ‘harder than Jaap Stam’ despite never making a professional appearance for Fulham.
Contrary to the running theme of footballing decline since leaving West London, Tiago’s career seems to be on the up. The Argentinian recently signed for Lazio, and has been loaned out to get plenty of minutes at Serie B side U.S. Salernitana 1919.
After moving halfway around the globe from the Newcastle Jets in Australia, Taggart scored four in seven games for the Fulham U21’s. However, the Aussie never made his professional debut for the club. He wasn’t helped by having five other strikers on our books at the time, injuries- oh, and trips to Putney McDonalds with Kay Voser.
Taggart now plays in South Korea for FC Suwon Samsung Bluewings where he has netted five goals in 11 appearances.
Jordan played at Fulham from 2011-2016 but never made his professional debut. After being released by the club, he finds himself today earning his keep as a barber, a member of the band ‘Faded Strangers’ and a semi-professional footballer for Cefn Druids in Wales. If you ever wind up in Wrexham and fancy a spot of local footy, a leather and denim clad indie rock gig or a short back and sides, Jordan has all those bases covered.
Not a youth prospect but entertaining nonetheless, Albert joined Fulham on loan from Newcastle in 1998. There, he appeared 13 times and scored twice, helping Kevin Keegan’s side gain promotion as Division 2 champions. Since retiring from football, Philippe runs his own fruit and veg business in Belgium. At least he’s getting his five a day.
There’s a special place in my heart for Chris David. He’s probably best remembered for his goal against Crystal Palace on the last day of the season – and also for being a generally nice bloke.
After Fulham, he moved back to Holland and bounced from club to club, eventually signing for Cape Town City in South Africa. Working under head coach and Blackburn legend Benni McCarthy, Chris has broken into the first team and has one goal to his name. Good luck, bru!
The signing of Fotheringham was one that made us all scratch our heads. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a football match and thought “How did you manage to blag this?” like I did when he came on at half-time to replace Scott Parker against Brentford.
After Fulham, he ended up as player/assistant manager for Cowdenbeath in the Scottish League Two and is now a coach for 2.Bundesliga club FC Ingolstadt 04 in Germany.
A promising young player when he moved to Fulham in 2010, Kerim made his first professional appearance in the Europa League against NSI Runavik. Quickly becoming a first team regular, Frei later won ‘man of the match’ with an impressive attacking performance in Fulham’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
In September 2013, Kerim left Fulham for Turkey – a relatively successful four year stint with Besiktas. When then-Blues boss Gianfranco Zola required some wide support, Frei came back to England and signed for Birmingham City. Currently, he is on loan to Maccabi Haifa in Israel, but I’m sure he will live long in the memory of fans as Matty Briggs’ housemate on Fulham’s version of MTV Cribs.
Best of luck in the future to all the players mentioned in this piece – and to all those who are leaving the club this year. Your places in Fulham folklore are sure to be firmly cemented.