Luis Boa Morte’s name translates into English as “A Good Death”. Strangely apt for a player who came to our club with much expectation, but has now seen his career drift off into the lower leagues under very mysterious circumstances. When Alan Curbishly signed the then Fulham captain for a cool £5 million in the January 2007 transfer window, it was considered to be by most a safe signing. Pretty fast, strong in the tackle and had a decent shot on him.
The Portuguese forward had helped Fulham to the Division One title scoring 18 goals and playing a pivotal role in their promotion with a hefty 101 points. His excellent run of form convinced Jean Tigana to sign the player permanently from Arsenal and although he was unable to replicate the excellent scoring record in the Premiership, he was still a fan favourite with the Craven Cottage faithful. Boa Morte had always been enthusiastic and energetic in his style of play. His pace and ability to skim past defenders would always cause havoc in and around the penalty area and he wasn’t afraid to mix it up when tracking back.
It’s an old adage but football fans tend to respond to a player who tries hard and makes up for not being exactly world class by kicking people up in the air. Words: Richard Johnson The Fulham fans loved him and it was several seasons later that he finally left the club and headed east along the District line to Upton Park, making his début in a home cup tie to Brighton where his passing game proved too much for the visitors. And things continued to look comfortable for the Portuguese international until he stepped out onto the pitch of the Workers Stadium, Beijing to face Spurs in the Barclays Asia Tournament.
Getting his stud caught in the turf, Boa Morte ruptured his anterior cruciate and that’s where the success story kind of ends, because he was undoubtedly never the same again. Even though he returned to the team ten months later and for a while seemed as though he would thrive under the pass and go football of Gianfranco Zola, something odd happened to Boa Morte when he suffered that horrible injury in China and I for one don’t know if he ever really recovered. Despite scoring for the team and trying to replicate his early career form, Boa Morte never managed to recapture any of the affections of the Boleyn crowd.
He signed a new two year contract but with our relegation from the top flight confirmed, Avram was out and Big Sam was in and one of the very first things Allardyce did was release Boa Morte. It shouldn’t be too much trouble for him to find another club, should it? Well no is the answer. However, staying at a club is proving to be more of a task for him. Since leaving us in August 2011 Boa Morte has been on the books of five teams. Initially things looked good for him as his old boss Chris Coleman made a move for his former Captain’s services and took the player to Athletic Larissa of Greece on a two year deal. Again things started off well for him and he set up a goal on his first appearance, but his stay at the club lasted just six months. Now this could be down to the Greek economy of course, but that doesn’t explain the next chapter in his story
Upon being released by Athletic Larissa, Boa Morte was very quickly snapped up by South African giants Orlando Pirates, signing an 18 month deal this time of which he lasted four. Again he found himself released and a proposed move to Kaizer Chiefs failed to materialise (I am assuming this was the Football club and not the band) after which the merry go round that was his career saw a move to Canada with Toronto FC on trial. This also fell through, much it would seem to the relief of the Toronto fans.
The general feeling being that, yes he has the pedigree, but the days of the used to be good enough for the English league and now trying to find a pay day with the MLS signings were over. The status of the Major League was gaining a reputation and that the divisional teams were capable of attracting a better, younger class of player. I don’t know if I would agree with that but what the hey, Boa Morte wasn’t offered a contract and back to England he came to the open arms of footballing and financial rock of calm Portsmouth FC.
Freshly relegated for having terrible owners (approved by the league) and then punished for awful business models (by the same league) Portsmouth found themselves in League One and very short of players. It may have been complications with the signing bans the club have intermittently found themselves subject to, but no contract was forth coming. As Boa Morte seemed to be careering from one disaster to another I assumed it was only a matter of time till a ticket to Glasgow and a trial with Rangers would materialise. And then the weirdest thing happened. Luis Boa Morte signed for League Two Chesterfield. Confirming his stay is only scheduled to last till January, the player refused to rule out the contract being extended.
I can’t help but wonder if his spell in League Two will revitalise his career, or more possibly be the final chapter in what has been a turbulent few years for a once talented player. He wore his heart on his sleeve and showed some passion whenever he wore the claret and blue, hopefully he can replicate that for his new club.