But when the pair celebrated Cookie’s appointment to the Whites job in April 2003, it nearly cost a dinner guest his life, as Symons recalls.
“We were in a restaurant in Hampton Hill: me, Chris, and respective wives, and my wife’s neighbour Richard,” Symons said.
“Chris had just had the phone call about the job, and Richard’s a bit in awe of Chris so although he’s got a bit of steak in his throat he tries to get rid of it quietly.
“However, he starts to lose oxygen and is about to faint, although we’re talking football. My wife’s heavily pregnant, but comes behind Richard, whacks him on the back twice and out comes a bit of steak.
“But we’re so into Fulham, we kept on talking about 4-4-2 and all that, and Richard is convinced Lucy saved his life.
“Hopefully, if I get the job on a permanent basis Cookie will take me out and we can celebrate. He owes me a meal.”
Symons reckons he now has a fair chance of running into a pile of pals from his playing days now in opposite dug-outs - and knows not one of them will do him in any favours.
“It’s quite nice having old team-mates opposite,” he said. “ Paul Dickov was there on Wednesday for Doncaster ; I know Dougie Freedman from Palace; and now there’s Lee Clark at Birmingham on Saturday.
“But I don’t think knowing Lee as well as I do is going to help me any more. We’ll both prepare as hard as we can and play to win, and maybe have a cup of tea afterwards.”