There are only a handful of players as closely associated with Fulham Football Club as Simon Morgan. His playing career at Fulham spanned from 1990 to 2001 featuring over 350 appearances, a period in which Morgan experienced a wide range of fortunes – from relegation to the basement division and sitting 91st in the league to promotion to the Premiership.
As Captain, he was a true leader on the pitch, mixing tenacity and toughness with a good blend of humour and enjoyment. But after 11 years as player and five years successfully heading up the Club’s Community scheme, Morgan finally parts company with the Club to join the Premier League as Head of Community Development – a role in which he will oversee all 20 Premiership Clubs’ Community schemes.
Speaking exclusively to fulhamfc.com, Captain Morgan looked back over his time at the Club and reflected on the good and bad times.
“I’ve been here far too long,” he joked. “I joined in October 1990 and apart from having 10 months off for good behaviour at Brighton, it’s been 17 years. In that time we’ve had the worst ever spell in our history and the best ever so you could say that I’ve seen both extremes of the spectrum. I’m very sad to be leaving.
"I’m very proud to have been able to do my bit on and off the field for the Club."
Signed by Alan Dicks from Leicester City, Morgan’s Fulham career got off to a rather unspectacular start, according to the man himself. “My career here didn’t start particularly badly,” he explained. “But it took me a long time to recover from a knee injury and get regular games under my belt. We just avoided relegation in my first year. In fact my first few years at the Club were a struggle, culminating in relegation at Swansea then, a year later, then sitting 91st in the football league.
“We had one year under Don Mackay when we should have got promoted but for one reason or another we blew it. After that we started going the wrong way very fast. In the end Micky Adams came in and saved us from, first of all, dropping into the Conference, then getting us on the straight and narrow and upwards.”
Without doubt the worst memory of his paying career was that fateful day in Swansea when the Whites were consigned to the old Fourth Division on the final day of the season.
“It was shocking because the Team was easily good enough to be half way up that league,” he recalled. “I think we went down with a record amount of points, which was typically Fulhamish. But we went down with a whimper really in the last game at Swansea. We knew that a win would keep us up but we didn’t really have the spirit to conjure up one last result.
“Ian Branfoot came in, stripped everything out and started again. Because he had to rely on a lot of kids, we ended up 91st in the league. Nonetheless, he was constantly trying to lay solid foundations which Micky then came and built on and got us promoted at the first time of asking.
“Overall it’s been brilliant. I love the Club and the fans. I’ve got a profound affection for Fulham and I’m very sad to be leaving. I will still be part of what Fulham is delivering in the community and I will be coming back for matches.
“There’s an old saying amongst players. ‘The more you don’t play, the better you get’. And the longer retired you are the better you get. I’m very proud to have been able to do my bit on and off the field for the Club.
“I would just like to say thank you to the fans for their unbelievable support over the years – not just as a player, but since I moved over to the administrative side. I will be back and I hope to meet a lot of old friends when I do come back.”
Morgan also gave a special mention to the man without whom Fulham’s rise through the league would have been impossible, Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed.
“It’s been a fantastic decade,” he said. “If you look at where the Club is now as opposed to where it was then, we’ve really progressed and expanded and that’s all down to one man. I’m sure there will be many more happy times for Fulham and the Chairman in the future.
“He has built a Club, not just a team. He’s been very supportive of the community initiatives and has done some fantastic work on our behalf. He’s a very philanthropic man and he’s built a Club with strong foundations that will be here for many years to come.”
The Chairman, Directors, Staff and Players at the Club would like to sincerely thank Simon for the dedication, commitment and passion he has demonstrated on countless occasions over his time at the Club – both on the pitch and off. It goes without saying that all at the Club wish him and his family the very best in the future and look forward to welcoming him back to Craven Cottage.