20 Years On: Part Five

Friday 7 June 2019 06:00

In slightly Fulhamish style, the next match after securing promotion was a 1-0 loss at mid-table Chesterfield. That meant the title celebrations were on hold, but not for long. It was another game under the Cottage lights when Millwall made the jaunt across South London, and the Lions were subsequently ripped apart by a ruthless Fulham team keen to secure the Division Two trophy with four matches still to play. 4-1 the final score, and it was party time on the banks of the Thames once again. “To win the championship in such style is a genuinely memorable feat and a credit to the players,” Keegan said. “No one would complain about promotion alone, but the great thing about winning the division, and winning it in such style, is that you will be remembered for it because it means something special. Fulham supporters have had to wait so long for a taste of success – the last 20 years or so have been a rocky ride. But now that success has arrived I hope it feels all the more special because of the wait involved.”

It was just as well really, as the Whites then embarked on a rare dip in form, taking just two points from our next three outings against Wrexham, Burnley and Walsall. The season would end in style, though, with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Play-Off contending Preston. A warming sub-plot also saw Paul Moody become the first Fulham substitute to ever score a hat-trick when he netted three times in 14 second half minutes. The bruising striker had been our top scorer the year before, but endured a frustrating 1998/99 campaign after breaking his leg four minutes into our early season win over Stoke. Despite the physio initially asking if he could “run it off”, Moody ended up being out of action for eight months.

Fulham were the victims of our own success in that we lost Keegan to the England job full-time, with our manager doing a U-turn and deciding “you can't do the two jobs. If you do, you jeopardise both parties.” But after leading the Whites to within a division of the Premier League promised land, accruing 101 points along the way, Keegan left with his boss’ blessing. “England is more important than Fulham or me,” Mohamed Al Fayed said. “The glory of England is my glory and the glory of Fulham.”

Related Content