‘All of us at Cardiff believe we will stay up. I mean, really believe it’

'All of us at Cardiff believe we will stay up. I mean, really believe it'

Of course, Fulham, despite spending £100 million last summer, are heading swiftly south again, having been assured of relegation four weeks ago. “If you’d told me five years ago, when I was on my sofa with no professional contract, not a lot going for me and the dream fading, that I’d be going back to the Cottage playing for the opposition in a Premier League game against Fulham, who are already down, then no, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Etheridge says. “But one thing I’ve learnt since those darks days is that it’s strange how things can work out.”

Etheridge, born and raised in Enfield but with a Filipino mother, was already a Philippines international and had decided that was where his future lay. “I had no family over there but they were starting a professional league and I’d have ended up playing in other south-east Asia countries such as Thailand. The flight was booked, I was a week from going, but had a call from Oldham and it’s all gone from there … with Walsall in League One, then to Cardiff. It’s the sliding doors thing, not only with my career but with my life. If I’d got on that plane, I wouldn’t have met my fiancée, Alex. I think of what would have been different sometimes and hold on to it. I don’t want to forget how blessed I’ve been.”

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