They may be close off the pitch, but Tom Cairney and Matt Smith will have to put friendship to one side for Saturday’s west London derby, as Sky Sports EFL reporter Jonathan Oakes found out earlier this week…
Sitting inside a high-street coffee shop, just around the corner from Craven Cottage, Tom Cairney is catching up with former Fulham team-mate Matt Smith over a vanilla latte.
It’s not the most common location for a footballer to spend their free time, but for these two, in recent years, it’s become something of a weekly ritual.
Matt Smith and Tom Cairney speak to Jonathan Oakes about their friendship off the pitch ahead of the London derby between Fulham and QPR
“We go for dinner once a week, sometimes we get a tag-along, and we have a thing of trying to get through every restaurant in London,” says Smith. “And we’re making a good job of it!”
The pair forged a friendship within a close-knit group that contained Jamie O’Hara, Ben Pringle and Richard Stearman in the years following the Whites’ relegation from the Premier League – Smith joined from Leeds in the summer of 2014, Cairney followed from Blackburn 10 months later.