Calum Chambers has expressed his gratitude to the Fulham faithful for sticking with him during his loan spell.
The 24-year-old began the campaign in defence before having to endure a stint on the sidelines, only to return as a player reborn when he was shifted into midfield.
Chambers went on to become a pillar of consistency for the Whites in the middle of the park, but he nevertheless returns to Arsenal frustrated at how the season played out.
“First and foremost, I’m obviously disappointed and gutted that we weren’t able to keep Fulham in the Premier League,” he explained. “I think this Club deserves to be, and belongs, in the Premier League, so I’m very disappointed. As a group we all are, disappointed that we weren’t able to achieve that, especially with the quality of squad we had.
“For me, personally, it was a bit of a tough start. I started the first two games but then didn’t really play and was out of the team for quite a while. It was quite a tough start to the season for me, and luckily I had Scotty who kept me working hard. He made sure my head was staying in the right place, made sure I kept working hard and kept myself going to get back in the team.
“Then when we played Liverpool away I got put in midfield and that was sort of the turning point in the season for me. Since then I’ve taken every game as it’s come and really enjoyed playing at this Club.
“I think the thing that will stick with me the most is the fans. From the start I had, the reaction they’ve given me since then, since I started playing midfield, has been pretty amazing to be honest. The support I’ve seen them give me has been fantastic and I’ll forever be grateful for that.”
Despite his status as a loan player, it’s clear Chambers is still hurting from relegation.
“I wanted to commit fully when I came here and give it absolutely everything,” he stated. “I fully committed myself to the Club for the season, and I think that’s the only way players should do it, because then you really do give everything and the best comes out of you. I would definitely say that’s what I’ve done here, given everything on the pitch.
“Obviously I’m gutted that we got relegated, and I think every player should be. A club like this belongs in the Premier League. That’s what I wanted to achieve and unfortunately we didn’t do that.
“This Club will forever have a place in my heart. As I said, what the fans have shown me, and the support they’ve given me, has been incredible.”
While the Fulham faithful are sad to see Chambers return to his parent club, spare a thought for Joe Bryan.
The pair have been inseparable since signing for the Club within two days of each other in the summer, carpooling together to Motspur Park on a daily basis, and when asked if he’s worried about his good pal, Chambers replied: “Extremely, yeah!
“I don’t know what he’s going to do! He’s got no car school anymore so he’s going to have to drive in on his own. It will be interesting to see what happens, see if he manages to cope or not!”