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Michael Hector fulfills dream as Fulham earn promotion back to the Premier League

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The neighbors are back

Cardiff City v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship - Play-Off - First Leg - Cardiff City Stadium Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images

Chelsea’s closest geographical rivals are back in the Premier League! Fulham FC beat Brentford, another West London club and semi-rival, 2-1 in extra time in last night’s Richest Game™ to earn a place in next year’s Premier League.

Fulham have had just one other Premier League season since their relegation in 2014, going straight back down in 2018-19.

The head coach who was appointed halfway through that season is the one who brought them back up, and that’s none other than former Chelsea (and Spurs and West Ham and Fulham and Charlton and a couple other non-London clubs, too) player Scott Parker. Congrats to the RAF Group Captain!

And of course congratulations to Michael “Virgil van Mike” Hector, the Fresh Prince of East Ham and now West London as well, who gets to fulfill his Premier League dream at age 28, five years after his surprise signing with Chelsea, one year after leaving Chelsea, and six months after actually becoming eligible to play for Fulham. Hector’s transfer last summer missed the deadline by minutes, making him ineligible to actually be registered and play for his new club until January (he did join them for training).

But patience and perseverance paid off, just as it had throughout his legendary loan career, which has seen him collect temporary stints at no fewer than 15 different teams. In fact, in his eleven-year professional career, this was only the second season that did not feature at least one loan move. (The other was with Reading in 2014-15, which earned him the move to Chelsea, his boyhood club.)

While Big Hec did not feature in any competitive Chelsea games, he will now get to test his mettle against the Blues at the highest level.

Should be fun!