This summer saw Fulham bid farewell to one of our most popular players of the modern era when Damien Duff departed following the end of his contract.
Since signing from Newcastle United back in 2009, the 100-cap Republic of Ireland winger clocked up 173 appearances for the Whites – scoring 22 times – and was a major contributor to successes which included our run to the UEFA Europa League Final, and consecutive top-10 finishes.
“I think it was the right time for everyone, for me and the Club, to part ways,” Damien told fulhamfc.com. “It’s sad, but that’s the way it is.
“I’ve matured as a person and a player at Fulham. Since I’ve been here I’ve got married, I’ve had two kids, so it’s been a special time in my life and I stand by what I’ve said before that my most enjoyable time in football has been at Fulham.
“I’ve had many a great night at the Cottage, whether it be European nights or Premier League games. It’s a wonderful place to play – I don’t think there’s any ground around like it, so it’s a special place.”
Anyone who has watched Duff play over the years will agree that you’d have to go a long way to find a more professional footballer.
His dedication truly endured him to the Fulham faithful and so it was understandably a difficult time for him when injury denied him the chance to help the Club in their quest to avoid relegation.
He explained: “All the bad emotions hit me in February when I kind of knew I wasn’t going to play again for Fulham, so I had my little cry then.
“It was my last day on Thursday so it was obviously sad saying goodbye to the people who I now call my friends for life. But I knew back in February that I’d played my last game for Fulham so that was a sad time as well.
“It’s been a big part of my life for five years – I’ve loved every minute of it at Fulham Football Club. It’s a great club but, as sad as it is to say, we deserved to go down. The table doesn’t lie, whether you win it or you go down, so I love the Club but we are where we are.”
With Fulham set to embark on a new challenge in the Sky Bet Championship come August, will the likeable wideman be keeping an eye out for our results?
“Definitely,” he answered. “Listen, I’ll always like to come back to the Cottage and watch. Fulham will always have a special place in my heart so I’ll always come back. I’ll have some old friends there as well so I’ll be back to watch and support.”
The familiar chant of ‘we’ve got Damien Duff’ may no longer echo around Craven Cottage on matchdays next season, but the 35-year-old has given supporters plenty to cheer about over the years, and he was quick to pay tribute to them.
“The fans have been amazing with me,” he said. “It might have been a bit hard for them that I used to play for Chelsea, our big rivals, but from day one they’ve made me feel right at home.
“I’ve always had a great relationship with them and they’ve always given me fabulous support so I’d just like to tell them thanks for everything and sorry I couldn’t be there at the end of the season to help out the team, but that’s football, that’s life.
“I wish the fans the best for the future and I’ll see them again down at the Cottage.”