Do Fulham have the right to feel aggrieved by Schwarzer switch?

New Chelsea signing goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has crossed enemy lines to go to Stamford Bridge after spending 5 years with archrivals Fulham up the road at Craven Cottage.

The 40-year-old Australian stopper joined Fulham in 2008 from Middleborough where he spent more than a decade of his professional career.

It’s not clear whether Schwarzer left because Fulham had signed Netherlands number 1 Maarten Stekelenburg from Roma or whether he had planned to leave at the end of his contract all along.

At 40 years of age, one would have forgiven him for retiring but will Fulham fans forgive him for joining to the old enemy?

"It's a phenomenal club," said Schwarzer.

"It's one of the biggest and best clubs in the world and it's an honour to sign for Chelsea. I didn't take much convincing to come here."

He’s signed a one-year deal so I suppose it’s not going to be all that long before he does hang up his boots (and gloves) for good but I wonder whether Fulham offered him a deal of a similar length and I also wonder whether he was waiting to see if Stekelenburg signed to make his decision.

If the latter of those suggestions is the case, do Fulham and the fans have a right to feel aggrieved that one of their most loyal servants has defected to their most bitter rivals?

They would have the right to feel somewhat aggrieved that he’s joined Chelsea, whatever the circumstances – you just don’t do that when you’re a club legend and, let’s face it, there are probably many other clubs he could have gone to both at home and abroad.

The club might have hoped, at his age, he’d have stuck around to compete with Stekelenburg for the top spot between the sticks and ensure the Dutchman’s performance remained at the highest level.

He might feel there is still enough gas left in his tank to be first choice but he’s certainly not going to be first choice at Stamford Bridge as long as Petr Cech’s around, so that rationale doesn’t hold up.

According to reports he ‘turned down’ a new deal at Craven Cottage, which, in a sense, makes his defection to the Blues worse.

I suspect he was probably a little miffed that the club brought in Stekelenburg and thought he’d jump ship but going to Chelsea means he pretty much defaces the image that would have endured of him as a Fulham legend and for what? To play second choice behind Petr Cech rather than Maarten Stekelenburg for a year - is the bench at Stamford Bridge really that much more comfortable?

image: © nicksarebi

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