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Ricardo Fuller: Stoke City's number 10

Updated on November 28, 2010

There are rare occassions when supporting your team that you witness someone truly special, someone who makes you realise why you fell in love with the game in the first place. Ricardo Fuller walked through the Britannia Stadium doors on 31st August 2007 to start his first day at work for his new employers. We (the fans) didn't really know a great deal about the man other than he had a reputation for getting injured on a very regular basis.

Fuller signed for Stoke for £500,000 in a deal aimed to protect the club against injury to the player as there was huge doubts over the condition of the Jamaican international's knee's. In his first season he finished as top scorer with 11 goals as Stoke finished 7th in the second tier of English football. He did however have a very poor disciplinary record, picking up 2 red cards and 10 yellows.

His second season was the one when he truly became a terrace hero. Scoring 15 goals and creating many more as Stoke finished in 2nd place to gain promotion to the premier league for the first time in 23 years. We now realised what sort of player we had on our hands. His incredible strength and pace caused defenders huge problems. Add to that his brilliant close control and skill on the ball then we understood we had got one hell of a player.

Fuller had a point to prove when he began the 2008/09 season as he failed to make an impact in the top flight in a previous spell with Portsmouth. Any doubts were soon dispelled as he made some of the best defenders in the country look like Sunday league footballers. He didn't look out of place one bit. He finished the season with an impressive 11 goals as Stoke proved all the doubters wrong to finish in 12th place. This goal against Aston Villa was the pick of his goals.

That was the best of Fuller and below is the worst. In this bizarre incident Fuller slapped his own teammate and captain Andy Griffin. He recieved a red card and a 3 match ban, and left everyone in the ground perplexed by what had just happened.

Fuller's second season in the premier league with Stoke only produced 3 goals but i personally believe he produced his best form in a Stoke shirt.The only creativity coming from midfield was from Matty Etherington though so chances were few and far between. We knew he was more than just goals though. His overall play was essential to the way we played and he remained our most potent attacking threat. Amongst his 3 premier league goals was this absolute beauty against West Ham.

As i type this we are currently just over a quarter of the way through our third season in the top flight. Fuller has 3 goals to his name and has just scored in his last two games including an outstanding effort against Birmingham (video below) that was arguably better than the goals shown above. His performances have been consistenly good and he looks to be thriving despite the added competition for a place in the starting line up.

When i hear opposing fans views on Fuller i can't help but wonder whether they have actually seen him play. Outside Stoke-on-trent i just don't think anyone understands how good this guy is. On his day he's a world class footballer and can give any defender in the world a hard time. It's just a shame that his injuries have prevented him being at the top for as long as his ability deserves.

Ricardo Fuller is more than just a great player for us, he represents a new era. An era where we finally rose from obscurity, where we went from championship strugglers to a genuine premier league side. Fuller has been at the centre of everything good that has happened to this club in the last four years and whatever happens between now and the time he leaves he will leave a legacy unlike any other player has at Stoke in my lifetime.

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    • profile image

      Fanny 

      3 years ago

      God help me, I put aside a whole afootnern to figure this out.

    • profile image

      rajiv mcintosh 

      7 years ago

      He's one of the many Jamaican stars, which is why, I m proud to call myself a "JAMAICAN"

    • profile image

      rajiv mcintosh 

      7 years ago

      ricardo fuller is a very fine football player since tivoli gardens. However, i realize that people rather choose to not notice his remarcable skills in football, which is awfully wrong. he deserve his credits for God's sake.

    • Jefsaid profile image

      Jefsaid 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Being of Jamaican heritage I was aware of Fuller before he went to Stoke. Fantastic footballer and fantastic character. He's a proper Jamaican.

    • Fuller_legend profile imageAUTHOR

      Fuller_legend 

      8 years ago from Stoke-On-Trent, England

      I think you misunderstood me a little donnacha. What i was saying is that he has the ability to make great defenders look silly, this is not an opinion it's a fact as i've seen it first hand on quite a few occassions. I'm not putting him up there with the messi's of this world as that would be silly, and i stopped short at calling him world class indefinately, just that 'on his day' he is world class as he can do things to top players that average players simply can't.

      I'm basically stating that he's ridiculously underrated and that people outside of our city fail to see just how good he is. He could quite easily play for a much bigger club than stoke and still thrive, of that i am certain.

      Anyway cheers for commenting mate and thanks for reading.

    • Donnacha C profile image

      Donnacha C 

      8 years ago from Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland

      hi Fuller_legend. great hub. I see where you coming from with your praises as Fuller is indeed a very good player, however referring to him as a world-class footballer it`s a stretch too far and undervalues the talent of the truly great players.....

    • Fuller_legend profile imageAUTHOR

      Fuller_legend 

      8 years ago from Stoke-On-Trent, England

      Michael: I actually thought that you might have seen him play when i wrote the hub (with him playing for Hearts)It's good to hear that he was rated up there as apart from preston fans i haven't heard a good word said about him by fans of teams he used to play for. Did you see his goal against Birmingham in the week? Any player in world football woud have been proud of it. Thanks for reading and commenting mate. Your support is much appreciated.

    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Fuller legend, Ricardo Fuller always seems a really good player when i see a game he's playing in or even a few minutes highlights. He always seems to be the one capable of doing something special. I remember seeing a lot of him on TV when he played in Scotland for about a year with Hearts. He scored a few goals and was highly rated here but it was probably a bit of a surprise to see how well he has done in England as over the last few years a lot of players have went from being good players in Scotland to struggling to get a game in England.

      Cheers. Michael.

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