Fulham have produced and enjoyed a stream of legends of the game through the Cottagers’ storied history. A number of greats have graced west London over the Craven Cottage club’s highs and lows.

Elite players often flock to the top sides in a country but Fulham have relished many legends of their own. Johnny Haynes is widely regarded as the Cottagers’ greatest player after an illustrious 18 years at the capital club. Captain Tom Cairney also continues to enhance his legend at Craven Cottage today.

Gordon Davies also remains Fulham’s greatest-ever goalscorer after netting 178 over his career for the Cottagers. While Haynes’ club-record 658 appearances strengthen his claim as the best of the best in Fulham’s history. So, Fulham News has looked at the top 10 legends of this historic football club…

Johnny Haynes

Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images
Position: Inside-forward
Appearances: 658
Goals: 158
Managers: Bill Dodgin Snr (1952-53), Frank Osborne )1953-56), Doug Livingstone (1956-58), Bedford Jezzard (1958-64), Arthur Stevens (1964-65), Vic Buckingham (1965-68), Vic Buckingham (1968), Bill Dodgin Jr (1968-70)
Years at Fulham: 1952-1970

There is not a Fulham legend more iconic in the Cottagers’ history than Haynes. He enjoyed a fabled 18-year spell as an inside-forward in west London and re-wrote their record books. The Maestro, as Cottagers supporters affectionally called him, made a record 658 appearances and scored 158 goals.

Haynes’ haul was also once a club record before Davies surpassed his tally in 1989. But the attacker was much, much more than only a goal threat. Instead, he was the conductor of the team at Craven Cottage who directed most of his matches. Haynes’ football IQ eclipsed many of his contemporaries.

The Kentish Town native would even captain England during 22 of his 56 appearances for the Three Lions. Managers adored what Haynes brought to their sides for his control and passing ability often ripped teams apart. Even Brazil legend Pele described Haynes as ‘the best passer of the ball’ he saw.

Adding to Fulham’s trophy history would allude Haynes as he came no closer to winning silverware than two FA Cup semi-finals. But such is his myth at the Cottagers that they renamed the Stevenage Road Stand after him. Fulham also erected a statue of Haynes outside the Cottage gates during 2008.

George Cohen

Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Position: Right-back
Appearances: 459
Goals: 6
Managers: Doug Livingstone (1956-58), Doug Livingstone (1958-64), Arthur Stevens (1964-65), Vic Buckingham (1965-68), Vic Buckingham (1968), Bill Dodgin Jr (1968-69)
Years at Fulham: 1956-1969

Fulham first hired George Cohen as a member of the grounds staff at Craven Cottage. But they would soon see his legend develop on the pitch the right-back had maintained. He emerged aged just 17 to become one of the finest full-backs that the Cottagers and England have seen over the next 13 years.

Cohen spent his entire playing career with his hometown team before a knee injury forced him to retire at 29. But he bowed out as a World Cup winner having played every minute of the Three Lions’ 1966 triumph. The Kensington native used blistering speed to become one of the first attacking full-backs.

The injury that ended Cohen’s career came when he was at the peak of his game. His stamina meant he could carry on zipping along the line all game and create openings for forwards, whilst also being a solid tackler. Cohen’s unwavering concentration also set him aside in a class of his own at the time.

A return to the club in charge of Fulham’s academy team would follow for Cohen after doctors told the full-back that his career was over. While the Cottagers honoured his legacy with a statute outside Craven Cottage in 2016. Cohen was also a gentleman off the field for all of his brilliance on the pitch.

Gordon Davies

Position: Centre-forward
Appearances: 450
Goals: 178
Managers: Bobby Campbell (1978-80), Bobby Campbell (1980-84), Ray Lewington (1986-90), Alan Dicks (1990-91)
Years at Fulham: 1978-1984, 1986-1991

Fulham fans affectionally knew Davies as Ivor for his goalscoring excellence that made him a legend at Craven Cottage. The striker remains the Cottagers’ record scorer after netting 178 goals across his two spells at the club. He first joined them in March 1978 from Davies’ local club in Wales, Merthyr Tydfil.

Goals were not as frequent at first as they soon came to be. Davies only scored 27 over his first two seasons in west London. Yet he would then net at least 20 in each of the forward’s subsequent four campaigns. Davies’ form would then secure him a transfer to the other west London team, Chelsea.

A brief stint at Manchester City would also follow after Davies failed to establish himself at Stamford Bridge. But he would re-join Fulham in 1986 and enhanced his legend in the following five years. The attacker ultimately returned to Wales in 1991 to join Wrexham AFC before he then moved to Norway.

Davies enjoyed by far the best days of his career with Fulham and surpassed Haynes’ as their record goalscorer in 1989. He also helped the Cottagers secure promotion to Division Two in 1982. But the attacker also wrote his name in FA Cup history after helping Wrexham AFC beat Arsenal come 1992.

Les Barrett

Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Position: Winger
Appearances: 491
Goals: 90
Managers: Vic Buckingham (1965-68), Bobby Robson (1968), Bill Dodgin (1968-72), Alec Stock (1972-76), Bobby Campbell (1976-77)
Years at Fulham: 1965-1977

Vic Buckingham threw Les Barrett in at the deep end in 1966 as Fulham fought for their Division One future. The Cottagers had managed to avoid the drop in 1965 but seemed set to succumb to a return to the second tier. Yet Barrett at the age of 18 helped to inspire one of the greatest of great escapes.

Fulham finished the 1965/66 season on nine wins and three draws from 16 games after Buckingham debuted Barrett against Blackpool. It was enough to avoid the drop but relegation beckoned in 1968 and again in 1969 to fall into the third tier. But Barrett stayed and helped the Cottagers to rise again.

Division One football remained elusive for Fulham throughout the rest of Barrett’s career. He helped them return to the second tier in 1971, however, and the Cottagers then made the FA Cup final come 1975. Barrett started at Wembley but could not stop West Ham United edging the London derby 2-0.

Barrett was a talismanic figure in Fulham’s promotion in 1970/71. He fired the club to a second-place finish as their top scorer with 15 goals. It was the only term that Barrett ended as the top scorer. But he would ultimately leave them with 90 goals to his name and having started 487 of his 491 appearances.

Les Strong

Position: Left-back
Appearances: 427
Goals: 6
Managers: Alec Stock (1972-76), Bobby Campbell (1976-80), Malcolm MacDonald (1980-83)
Years at Fulham: 1972-1983

Les Strong may have become a legend of a different London team had Ken Craggs not helped Cohen tempt him to leave Crystal Palace for Fulham in his youth. The Cottagers initially signed him up as an attacking prospect. But he quickly became a promising wing-back upon leaving the Eagles’ academy.

Alec Stock would later afford Strong his senior debut against another London rival, Leyton Orient, in 1972. The full-back made an immediate impact in first-team football and enjoyed a regular presence thereafter. Strong even became one of the first names on any teamsheet within his first two seasons.

An injury cruelly denied Strong the chance to feature at Wembley in the 1975 FA Cup final, however. It was a rare sight to see the defender suffer an injury and ruled him out of a showpiece tie he more than earned. Strong only missed a total of six games altogether between April 1976 and September 1982.

Malcolm Macdonald even named Strong as his captain during the 1981/82 campaign before Fulham sealed promotion from Division Three. While an England XI even played Fulham as a warm-up game before the World Cup for Strong’s testimonial. Fulham honoured his legend after 10 years of service.

Bobby Robson

Photo by M MacNeill/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Position: Inside-forward
Appearances: 371
Goals: 80
Managers: Bill Dodgin Snr (1950-53), Frank Osborne (1953-56), Bedford Jezzard (1962-64), Arthur Stevens (1964-65), Vic Buckingham (1965-67)
Years at Fulham: 1950-1956, 1962-1967

Fulham fended off interest from Tyne-Wear rivals, Newcastle United and Sunderland, to sign a future club legend in 1950. The Cottagers successfully convinced Bobby Robson to switch to west London as the year came to a conclusion. And it was not long before the forward was playing a pivotal role, too.

Robson quickly cemented himself in Fulham’s famed attack with Bedford Jezzard and Haynes. He hit home 19 goals during the 1952/53 season before then improving to bag 23 in 1954/55. But after the forward found his feet, West Bromwich Albion were on the phone in 1956. Yet he returned in 1962.

Another five years of sensational showings followed before Robson headed off to Vancouver in 1967. Even though his return to west London saw the forward reshape his game to give a greater defensive presence. Robson had shown great speed and agility whilst firing freely as part of Fulham’s frontline.

A return to Craven Cottage even followed as Robson looked to launch a career in management after retiring. But he found a disastrous situation waiting for him in west London and spent just 10 months in charge. But a spell at Ipswich Town would yield UEFA Cup and FA Cup titles before managing England.

Louis Saha

Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images
Position: Centre-forward
Appearances: 144
Goals: 63
Managers: Jean Tigana (2000-2003), Chris Coleman (2003-04)
Years at Fulham: 2000-2004

Newcastle first brought a young Louis Saha to England in 1998 after signing the forward on loan from FC Metz. But his form at St James’ Park and back in his native France would later secure the striker a permanent transfer to Fulham. There, his efforts would catch Manchester United’s attention in 2004.

There was not much that Saha could not do during his four years at Craven Cottage. The Paris native agreed to an £11.5m move to Old Trafford and took over Andy Cole’s No9 jersey after scoring 63 goals in 144 games. His lightning speed, aerial threat and clinical finishing made Saha the complete striker.

His debut term was a sign of things to come, as well, as Saha scored a sensational 27 goals to secure the 2000/01 First Division title. He then made the step up to Premier League football with ease after a steady run for Newcastle. Saha hit eight and created six goals in his first top-flight season at Fulham.

Saha’s efforts catapulted the forward into Fulham’s all-time top scorer list, despite only spending four seasons at Craven Cottage. While the Cottagers also saw Saha at his prolific best. He never managed to match his haul for Manchester United or Everton and briefly for Tottenham Hotspur or Sunderland.

Luis Boa Morte

Photo by Eddy LEMAISTRE/Corbis via Getty Images
Position: Midfielder
Appearances: 250
Goals: 54
Managers: Jean Tigana (2000-03), Chris Coleman (2003-07)
Years at Fulham: 2000-2007

Jean Tigana capitalised on Luis Boa Morte struggling to establish his presence with Southampton to sign a future Fulham legend. The midfielder moved to Craven Cottage on loan from the Saints just a year after leaving Arsenal. And his efforts during the 2000/01 season landed him a permanent deal.

Fulham strived to keep Boa Morte after the Lisbon-born icon helped them secure promotion into the Premier League. He played an instrumental role in their First Division title with the winger’s pace and output. The attacker offered 18 goals and seven assists from 39 outings in the second tier that term.

Boa Morte would also later earn Fulham’s captaincy in August 2005 after winning their Player of the Year award. After taking two seasons to find his footing in the top-flight, Boa Morte struck nine goals and four assists in 2003/04 before eight goals and four assists in 2004/05 and six of each in 2005/06.

While Boa Morte’s output dried up during 2006/07, West Ham still paid Fulham £5m in the January market. He would also return to Craven Cottage in July 2021 as Marco Silva hired his compatriot for Fulham’s coaching staff. The UEFA Pro Licence holder returned to the club as their assistant coach.

Tom Cairney

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Position: Midfielder
Appearances: More than 280
Goals: More than 40
Managers: Kit Symons (2015), Peter Grant (2015), Slavisa Jokanovic (2015-18), Claudio Ranieri (2018-19), Scott Parker (2019-21), Marco Silva (2021-present)
Years at Fulham: 2015-present

Fulham may have sacked Kit Symons during November 2015 but he signed modern Cottagers legend Cairney that June. The midfielder arrived in a £3m transfer from Blackburn Rovers after two seasons at Ewood Park. He has since helped the capital club earn promotion into the Premier League three times.

Symons signed Cairney to try and help pull the Cottagers clear of the relegation zone. The Cottagers had struggled on the back of enduring relegation in 2013/14. But Cairney’s influence helped to turn the tide in west London. His influence on the pitch was also pivotal for their climb back up the standings.

Cairney offered eight goals and six assists during his first Championship campaign at Craven Cottage. He then registered 12 goals and 11 assists to claim their spot in the 2016/17 play-offs. But it was not until 2017/18 that Fulham won the play-offs with Cairney also hitting the winner against Aston Villa.

Relegation may have followed for Fulham but Cairney helped to inspire another successful run in the play-offs in 2019/20. The Championship title also followed in 2021/22 after falling out of the Premier League again. And his efforts in 2022/23 under Silva helped to ensure Fulham stayed in the top tier.

Fulham further recognised Cairney as their Player of the Year in 2016/17 before naming him as their captain, as well. He took over the armband after Scott Parker retired and overcame a knee injury to inspire their Wembley triumph. While Cairney has continually reiterated his commitment to Fulham.

Tim Ream

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images
Position: Centre-half
Appearances: More than 290
Goals: More than 3
Managers: Kit Symons (2015), Peter Grant (2015), Slavisa Jokanovic (2015-18), Claudio Ranieri (2018-19), Scott Parker (2019-21), Marco Silva (2021-present)
Years at Fulham: 2015-present

Fulham also have Symons to thank for signing another modern Cottagers legend in Tim Ream. The centre-back headed for Craven Cottage from Bolton Wanderers for an initial £1.75m, plus £500k in add-ons, in August 2015. He has since remained a talismanic presence at the back in west London.

Symons sought to sign Ream having won Bolton’s Player of the Year award twice over his three-and-a-half years there. The USA enforcer has since justified Symons’ move time and time again and won the Cottagers’ Player of the Year award in 2018. He was a crucial cog in their promotion-winning team.

Ream had to prove himself to Slavisa Jokanovic but became fundamental to how Fulham wanted to play. His brilliant reading of the game and ability to play out from the back became the foundations of the Cottagers’ system. While his loyalty stayed intact despite relegations in 2018/19 and 2020/21.

Another Player of the Year honour almost followed in 2021/22, as well, only missing out to the prolific Aleksandar Mitrovic. Ream’s consistency set him aside from other centre-backs and yielded a place in the PFA Championship Team of the Year. While he often adopted Fulham’s captaincy during 2022/23.