Fulham-born rapper Elliot Gleave, better known as Example, tells all about his love of his local team...
Having seen singles Watch the Sun Come up and Won't Go Quietly break into the UK charts, West London-born rapper Example, with his "Dysfunctional Electro-Pop" sound as described by NME, is set to become one the top new acts of 2010. Ahead of the Football Fusion festival, he caught up with FourFourTwo.com to explain his affection for Fulham.
When did you start supporting Fulham?
My family have been supporting Fulham for years. I think I first went when I was about four or five, but I don’t remember it. My earliest memory was when I was about eight or nine and my uncle Tony Grealish was playing for West Brom against Fulham at Craven Cottage, so I think we went down to watch the game with my uncle playing for the other team! I’ve been a season ticket holder for the last nine years.
Favourite all-time Fulham player?
I remember years ago Geoff Horsfield was a bit of a legend, and Gary Brazil as well. Chris Coleman was a bit of a legendary player too; they’re my main ones. I remember Bjarne Goldbæk for some reason, just because I played in a celebrity football tournament about three years ago and he was on the team with me. We did a little one-two, I set up a goal and he scored against Arsenal. Big moment playing a one-two with Bjarne Goldbæk…
What are your reflections on a remarkable season for the Cottagers? What have been the foundations of their success?
I think we’ve got a good squad. You’ve seen in the Premier League when we’ve put out a second string team, we haven’t always won but you can see that our second team is better than a lot of clubs of our size - particularly experienced players like Jonathan Greening and Zoltan Gera. Even up front we’ve got a load of experience, so I think that really helps. I think Danny Murphy for me has been player of the season up there with Bobby Zamora. I think honestly the best thing is the defence – you look at the statistics, outside the 'Big Four' we’ve had some of the most clean sheets.
What has been your highlight of season?
Beating Juventus. I was at that game stood behind the goal with about 15 mates sat in rows of five over three rows. At the final whistle you just saw everybody dive over each other over all these seats, mates that are Fulham fans that I’ve grown up with for years. Even if we’d have won the Europa League, beating Juve for me would still have been my personal highlight. It was a ridiculous game, unbelievable.
Should Zamora have been selected in Fabio Capello’s England squad?
I think you’ve got to look at the fact that Emile Heskey always does the job for England, even though it’s quite an unsavoured role. He’s had more experience in World Cups and European Championships than Zamora; I think that’s why he’s been picked. You kind of feel like Zamora’s probably a bit fitter and got more goals, but then again Capello’s got a question: can Bobby play a role without the experience?
How do you rate what Roy Hodgson has done for the club this season?
I just think he’s unbelievable, I just hope he doesn’t leave. I think he’d move onto somewhere like Liverpool or England; he could be the next manager after Capello. If he left for Liverpool I’d be really upset, but if he left for England he’s done a good job for us, it’d be different. I just think who are you going to get to replace him with though from a Fulham point of view?
What were your initial thoughts about him when he took over the club with Fulham fighting relegation?
My initial thoughts in his first conference were 'this bloke seems lovely, so regardless of whether he’s good or not he seems like a lovely fella’. He was really humble, and he had a lot of integrity, and he just went on to prove he’s brilliant. You look at his history and he’s been around hasn’t he? He probably knows the transfer market as well as Sir Alex Ferguson.
Can you remember your feelings going into the final three matches of the 2007/08 season? Did you fear it was all over?
I kind of did yeah. Pompey helped us didn’t they? I was a bit sad to see them go down this season, I do like Pompey fans.
Who would you like to see signed over the summer?
I think John Carew would be a nice addition, although he probably does a similar job to Zamora. I think the main thing is holding onto Brede Hangeland, Mark Schwarzer and Zamora, and getting a few more seasons out of Murphy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clint Dempsey was being watched by a lot of people. I think it’s more important to hold onto the existing squad than bringing in loads of new players.
Clint Dempsey (aka Deuce) considers himself a bit of a rapper. Would you collaborate with him?
I’ve watched his rap video (laughs). If it was for charity or Fulham Football Club then why not?
Shaun Wright-Phillips would want Rio Ferdinand to rap John Barnes’ part in a World in Motion remake. Who would be your choice?
Chris Kamara, he’d be hilarious wouldn’t he? One of the funniest people.
You’re playing at the Football Fusion festival. Tell us more…
Well it’s just football and music, two of my favourite things. You can’t go wrong. Although I have to say I’ve got an important gig the week after so I don’t really want to get injured and upset my fans!
Interview: Joe Brewin, June 2010.