(From Feb 19, 2011)
We all know it. We just don’t like to think about it. It’s ok. I’m going to say it anyways, but only because I have to to make the point I want to in this post: Fulham is a middle of the pack club. Sure, they qualified for the Europa league last year and only lost in the final in extra time. Sure, they may have their moments, their Cinderella story seasons. But think about that. They’re only Cinderella stories because they are few and far between. Chelsea or Arsenal or Manchester United don’t have Cinderella story seasons because those are the expectations every year.
That’s why, as much as I love Clint Dempsey, not only as a fellow American but because of what he’s done for this club, I fully expect him to leave if not this summer, then next. Hell, if I were him, I’d want out too. Of course it’d be a tough decision, but he’s given just about all he can to this club, and if a Liverpool were to come calling, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. He wants to experience Champions League play before he retires, and who can blame him? He’s good enough to be a role player and maybe even start on a Champions League team. And Fulham unfortunately isn’t that unless something crazy happens.
Enter Eidur Gudjohnsen. He is a borderline starting striker for a middle of the pack club who is definitely past his prime but still has a lot left in the tank. He comes to Fulham, and starts off riding the bench. But then something happens. He loves it here. The fans, the teammates, the front office, and he wants to stay. Cool. But why does Clint Dempsey care?
Because maybe, just maybe, this rings a bell in Clint Dempsey. Maybe Dempsey sees this and thinks to himself, “You know Clint, maybe you’re still at Fulham for a reason. Maybe you haven’t left Fulham yet because you flat out love it here. And maybe Clint (and here’s the important part), maybe playing your career at a place you love and becoming an icon at that one club is more important than playing Champions League football.” Sure, it’s a longshot. But you never know.
Obviously this is complete speculation, and most likely it would take a lot more than just this to keep Dempsey in the long run. But who knows, it could be a spark, that’s all I’m saying. A spark that maybe, with a few more instances of the like with a few bigger name players could cause Clint Dempsey to stay.
I certainly wouldn’t complain.