FULHAM 3 CITY 0
Nationwide League Division 2
14th August 1998
Scorers Beardsley(21), Lehmann(32 & 38)
City Weaver, Edghill, Tskhadadze, Wiekens, Horlock, Vaughan, Mason, Jim Whitley, Pollock, Goater, Dickov – subs Jeff Whitley(51), Allsopp(13), Wright(unused)
Fulham Taylor, Morgan, Symons, Coleman, Brevett, Collins, Bracewell, Hayward, Salako, Beardsley, Lehmann – subs Uhlenbeek(77), Moody(70), Neilson(unused)
City’s first half display was definitely not in keeping with the their previous two goals. Kevin Keegan’s promotoion chasing Fulham side swept City’s youngsters aside and were out of sight by half-time.
In addition Tskhadadze, who had shown great promise this season, suffered a bad knee injury after 12 minutes which could see him out for a good period of the season.
Joe Royle said after the game “All defeats are hard to take, but I think because our optimism was so high it feels even more bitter. They were sharper and superior in all departments”.
…Little did I realise that the game at Craven Cottage would put me in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Stan Collymore had joined Fulham and there was a lot of press coverage about his personal problems leading up to the game. He had been suffering from depression and was having a tough time of it whereas I was more than six months into sobriety and had a different outlook on life. Because of what I had been through there was no way I was going to wind him up. But things didn’t quite work out the way I had planned. Right from kick off I could sense an air of arrogance about Collymore that I didn’t like. It was “Don’t come near me, don’t touch me”, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. The game progressed and, after 15 minutes, he had managed to get right up my nose to the point where I decided ‘Right, you’re gonna fucking get some.’ I thought he was obnoxious because every time we went up for a header, it seemed to me that he was sneering, as if ho the hellto say “I’m Stan Collymore, who the hell are you?”
I picked up a booking for a nothing foul on Geoff Horsfield early in the first half but was totally dominating Collymore, who wasn’t getting a sniff. For someone who had played for Liverpool and should have had fifty caps for his country considering his attributes, he was completely ineffectual. Then on 68 minutes, as I was shepherding the ball out for a goal kick, Collymore challenged me. We fell to the ground to get her as the ball rolled out of play.
He said something derogatory , I pushed him away and the ref ran over to have a word. Collymore was barking “Who are you? Who are you?’ In my face. “I’ve got you fucking licked mate.” I told him. I stuck my tongue out to illustrate the point and licked his cheek. I haven’t a fucking clue why I did it, but the ref came across and showed us both a yellow card. Then as he wrote my name down he realised that he had already booked me and now had to send me off. He looked embarrassed about it but there was nothing he could do and I left the pitch for an early bath.
I got changed, had a bath and watched the last few minutes from the tunnel. The Goat almost won it for us late one which would have been. nice considering we went down to ten men.
As for my dismissal, Joe said it must have been the first time someone had been sent off for sticking a tongue down someone’s throat!