Fulham First XI

Wednesday 9 October 2013 15:30

Former Fulham player and Academy Manager Gary Brazil recalls his footballing past in our First XI feature.

First footballing hero

All the kids of my era wanted to be Georgie Best as he was the one that caught your attention with the way he did things. I also really liked Bobby Moore and I was lucky enough to be coached by him for a little bit when I was at Palace which was a great experience.

First match

It was the 1970 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Leeds United at Wembley. That was the first professional match I went to – I was a Tunbridge Wells lad and I used to go and watch the Tunbridge Angels all the time in the late 60s. But the first professional match was when my dad took me to watch the 2-2 draw in the FA Cup Final.

First team supported

As a kid I was a Chelsea fan, and I know that won’t go down well! As a boy growing up in Kent, you went up towards London for the teams you’d support and after that game at Wembley I began to get a really strong feeling for Chelsea.

First pair of boots

I used to have a pair of Georgie Best Stylos. They served me well and I’ve still got them in my garage. They don’t quite fit anymore but I’ve still got them.

First club joined

Crystal Palace. I joined Palace at 13 years of age and stayed with them until I was 17.

First manager

My first-team debut was given to me by Harry Haslam at Sheffield United. Harry was a fantastic man and a real football person - a lovely bloke who I got on very well with.

First Manager at Fulham

Alan Dicks brought me to the Club. In fact, me and Morgs [Simon Morgan] signed on the same day.

First position

When I first started out as a kid I played as a winger and then I slowly evolved into a striker as I got stronger. I eventually ended up in midfield and that was the position I was playing when I finished my career.

First goal

I remember my last goal for Fulham but I can’t remember my first one! My last one was against Barnet. It was a decent goal but, then again, there weren’t many rubbish ones! I wouldn’t deem any of my strikes bad goals because I was always pleased to score them!

First shirt number

I think I started in seven, went to eight, became a 10, and then went back to a seven towards the end. It changed quite a bit; I was often a 10, but not with the significance that 10 has now.

First friend at Fulham

My friends I’ve stuck with on the football side would be Johnny Marshall and Martin Pike – they were the two people that I was probably closest with at Fulham and were good friends with me.