Despite finding the back of row Z as well as the back of the net, Bobby Zamora etched his name into Fulham’s ever-growing list of legends during his four-year tenure at Craven Cottage.
He signed for the club in July 2008 alongside his West Ham United teammate John Pantsil for a joint fee of £6.3 million, looking to develop his resumé at a third London club.
Then-manager Roy Hodgson had already seen the departure of Brian McBride - another Fulham legend - back to his native USA to make a return in Major League Soccer. Therefore, he needed to find someone who could strengthen his attacking options.
As Hodgson searched for a suitable replacement to fill the American's boots, it was Zamora who fitted the bill - a player the Fulham boss was quoted as saying by The Guardian as "a talented striker who not only has a desire to score goals but always looks to involve the rest of the team with his intelligent play" upon his signing in 2008.
A debut to forget, a career to remember
However, his first spell on the pitch wasn’t particularly memorable - he only scored twice in 35 league appearances – regardless, he still played a vital part in the team’s renowned success in the 2008/09 season.
He even turned down a move to Hull City, which ultimately showed his faithfulness to Fulham early on. In the 2009/10 season that followed, his 19 goals in 48 appearances for in all competitions resulted in an England call-up from Fabio Capello.
Zamora was an invaluable player during the Europa League campaign – a period which will last long in the memory of Fulham fans past and present.
In the Round of 32 he scored the winning goal vs. Shakhtar Donetsk in a 2-1 first leg result and claiming the first strike in the extraordinary comeback versus Juventus propelled them into the quarter-final – a 3-1 win over then-Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg in which he scored in both legs along with Damien Duff.
Struck down by a familiar foe
After the disappointment of the 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid, (…too soon?) Zamora signed a new four-year deal in the September of 2010, which would have seen him remain at The Cottage until the summer of 2014. Unfortunately, we would see him succumb to a broken leg not even 24 hours later against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Despite making his return in an FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers in the February of 2011 and scoring 14 goals in all competitions from that point onwards, Zamora followed his former manager Mark Hughes and signed with Queens Park Rangers in January 2012, the latter of which occurred two weeks before.
His departure from Fulham perhaps seemed premature and the location of his next venture was a slight kick in the teeth. However, the same could have been said for any Hammers fan when he left them four years beforehand, and any Spurs fan four years before that.
Nonetheless, the period he spent at The Cottage was full of ups and downs, yet his presence was felt the strongest when it really, really mattered.
Four years at one club would be inconceivable now, but between 2008 and 2012, Bobby Zamora managed to cement his name in Fulham’s history books, regardless of where the ball ended up the most.