Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

No Stopping the Slovakian Express against Cottagers; He Didn't Score as Many Goals as He Should've Done but Nemeth Was a Thorn in Fulham's Side

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

No Stopping the Slovakian Express against Cottagers; He Didn't Score as Many Goals as He Should've Done but Nemeth Was a Thorn in Fulham's Side

Article excerpt

Byline: Like us on Facebook Paylor's views with Eric Paylor Follow us on Twitter @EveningGazette Paylor's views with Eric Paylor

MEMORIES of Boro-Fulham clashes always lead me to thoughts of Szilard Nemeth.

On at least two occasions the Slovakian international scored crucial winning goals against Fulham on Teesside.

The first was in February 2002, when Nemeth came off the bench to give Boro their first ever Premier League win against Fulham in a 2-1 victory.

The scoreline was the same tS wo seasons later when Nemeth grabbed the vital second goal in a January clash which contributed towards Boro's first win of the year.

Match-winning goals are always welcome, though Nemeth didn't score enough of them during his four and a half years with the Boro.

He was a highly likeable guy and a good worker for the team, but in the hurly-burly world of the Premier League Szilard always looked a little lightweight. Yet, when they signed him, Boro believed that they had pulled off a coup.

Terry Venables and Bryan Robson both went to watch Nemeth play for Slovakia, and liked what they saw.

Nemeth was shortly to be out of contract at his club Inter Bratislava, and there had been reports in the Sunday newspapers that Inter Milan were keen to sign him.

Maybe it was some clever work by Nemeth's agent which created the Inter Milan story, especially as the player himself had indicated that he wanted to test himself in English football.

Ironically Nemeth could easily have ended up playing for another North-east club.

Even before Venables and Robson were hot on his trail, Nemeth had flown in for a trial with Sunderland.

By all accounts it went well, because Black Cats boss Peter Reid maintained an interest.

However Boro were very quick off the mark once they had made their mind up about Nemeth, and The Gazette announced very early in the summer that Szilard was planning to sign a five-year contract on Teesside.

Unfortunately Venables and Robson never really had the opportunity to get to know the new striker.

The change of manager at the Riverside in 2001 meant that Nemeth was inherited by Steve McClaren.

To be fair, McClaren gave Nemeth plenty of opportunities over the next few years.

The Slovakian responded with 28 goals in 117 appearances, which is not too bad considering that he played all his football with Boro during their time in the Premier League.

And he faced a tough battle to hold down a regular first team place, facing competition from the likes of Mark Viduka, Yakubu, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Joseph Job during his time at Boro, to name only a few.

Lately I read references to Nemeth which claimed that he had nicknames at Boro as "The Lizard King of Teesside" and "The Slovakian Express".

I can't recall using either of those nicknames personally, but "Boro's Handy Man" might have been more apt.

Nemeth was a useful guy to have around at times - particularly in games against Fulham. Szilard did continue to make his mark at international level and went on to net 22 goals in 58 appearances for Slovakia, which is pretty impressive goalscoring. In fact he was Slovakia's top goalscorer at the time of his international retirement, though his goals record has since been overtaken.

When Nemeth was approaching the end of his Boro contract there were reports in the media that CSKA Moscow were keen to sign him.

Maybe his agent was working overtime again.

He eventually moved on to RC Strasbourg in the January of his final Boro season.

However it was not a successful move because he failed to score a single goal and left Strasbourg when they were relegated at the end of the season.

Nemeth later enjoyed a relatively successful spell with the German club Alemannia Aachen, after overcoming a spell of illness. …

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