The most emotional goal we’ve ever seen?
Having decided not to renew his contract at Fulham Zoltan has come back to the club where he started his career in England,” said Hodgson.
“The last time he played at West Bromwich Albion he was a very popular figure with everyone at the club, not least of all the fans.
“I of course know him well and admired him in the two years we worked together at Fulham, where he was an integral part of the team that did well during those years.
“I think it is a massive coup for the club that we have been able to persuade him to come back to West Brom despite the many other offers he had, because he is a player that is widely appreciated in the Premier League and abroad.
“I think it is an excellent signing and he is a player I hope will do as well in the coming seasons as he has done in the past seasons with West Brom and Fulham.
“In Zoltan Gera we’ve acquired not only a first-class player but a first-class person and we think that’s also important to the way we want the club to move forward.”
Obviously Gera did well for us. He started quite brightly, getting into his trademark goalscoring positions with those wonderful late runs, but the ball wasn’t going in, his first touch started to seem a little unsure, and while he worked very hard, it didn’t seem to be happening. Didn’t help that he was playing on the left, and indeed at one point he had talks with Hodgson about this. One way or another – AJ’s injury mainly – he found himself playing as a support striker in Europe, and he and Zamora led the team all the way to the Europa League final. That run relied on all sorts – an amazing team defence, Danny Murphy’s timely moments of genius, Simon Davies popping up when we needed him, Dempsey’s chip, everyone really. But it’s the Zamora/Gera combo we’ll all remember in the years ahead, the way they found space inside and outside the box. Gera’s goals were universally awesome:
A winner in the group stage against CSKA Sofia, a ghosting run into the area so typical of what he was about
A beautiful first time sliding shot across the goal, left to right, to seal the win in Basle (Steve Kelly did well in the buildup to this)
A scrappy strike at home to Shakhtar that allowed us to believe that we might even win this one too
That wonderful close range sand wedge at the Putney End against Juve, levering the ball home at the near post
A vital, ice cool penalty in the same game to really make it game on
That goal against Hamburg. Goals come in varying levels of %4^*£ng helldom. This was right up there. It was a goal to make 50,000 eyes stand out on stalks, 25,000 hearts beat like something out of a cartoon. Time stood still, hairs stood up on backs of necks. FULHAM WERE IN THE FINAL!
That was him, Zoltan Gera. It wasn’t just a tap in, as we discussed on this site some time ago. Gera floated across the area, then reacted first to the knock down, then dinked it in.
You know, Clint Dempsey’s goal was the best goal I’ve ever seen. But somehow that Gera strike is even better. A goal that makes me feel like passing out every time I see it. A goal. The goal.
Goodbye, Zoltan, and thank you.