Moving on up

Frank Zappa: Suzy? You just got to town and we’ve been… we’ve been very interested in your development… since you took the shots
Suzy: Forget it!

Frank Zappa, It can’t happen here, Freak Out

There is an interesting dynamic on the messageboards, whereby people occasionally bring up one of the now departed players and instantly get told not to discuss these people, who of course, are no longer Fulham players and therefore are of no concern.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed watching Clint Dempsey play. He was, if a 36 year old man can have such a thing, my favourite Fulham player. I liked how he played the game, I liked watching him do his thing.

Dembele was great, too, wasn’t he? You could see the promise straight away, the way he glided around, his almost supernatural balance. He was like a disco-dancing ice skater brought to football.

For both players the great thing was seeing them develop from decent players who looked to have more in their locker, to upper echelon Premiership players. Dembele will keep pushing on and could become a serious star; Dempsey, less obviously gifted, has at least made it to a top team, a team that can beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.

I’m delighted for both of them. I don’t know how many times I watched them play for Fulham but between them it must be over 250 matches. Over those games we saw them gradually become what they are.

It was great.

That done, is it not reasonable to take an interest in how things go from here? These are players whose careers, when they look back, will owe a great deal to their time at Fulham. Dembele might end up a star, but without Martin Jol switching him, he might have remained a frustrating dribbling machine. Dempsey, it might be argued, could have got more goals more quickly somewhere else, but it could equally be argued that he became a much more rounded player at Fulham than would have been the case had he not had to fight through the Roy Hodgson shape years.

So I’m certainly interested in how they do now they’re at Spurs. Just how good can they be? Will they earn the respect of their new fans like they did here? I think it’d be a bit odd not to be interested really.

14 thoughts on “Moving on up

  1. It has taken me a few weeks to cheer up but I quite enjoyed watching them both play key roles in Spurs win at Old Trafford on Sat.

    It also helps that I like AVB and think he has been bullied by the press because he is ‘not one of them’. In fact, since ‘Arry left, I am finding myself hoping that Spurs do well and get CL football.

    I hope Dempsey does well because he has worked hard and was a true hero when he was at Fulham. Moussa was always going to be a star and it will be fun watching him pull on a Barcelona or Real Madrid shirt and say ‘I saw him play for Fulham’

  2. Exactly. I didn’t see the game but will try to watch spurs a bit more over the season just to see how they’re getting on. Classic Dempsey finish as well, alive to possibilities, anticipating the chance.

  3. I agree. Dembele is destined for greatness and good luck to him. I was gutted to lose him, especially after the Dempsey saga. Intially my thought was that PL survival will be an achievement in itself this season, without the backbone of the team intact, and then came Berbatov and what a game changer he could turn out to be. Now I am more optimiistic. True we are weak in the middle and that will show when we play the top teams, but hopefully that can be rectified with some skill in the transfer market. By the way, I really hope that Zamora’s rant about Jol is just hot air. My impression is that at his previous clubs Jol had a good relationship with fans and players alike. Certainly everyone at Spurs loved him, didn’t they? How sad it would be that, just as you see light at the end of the tunnel, you realise it is the light from an oncoming train.

  4. Jol’s job was to break up the old clique so it’s hardly surprising that they didn’t warm to him. It’s disappointing that for all the young player involvement the squad remains essentially an old one (oldest in the league) but he’ll get there.

  5. I’m a sentimental old fool but (a few players apart) I’m always interested to see how former players get on, and usually pleased for them when it goes well.

    Spurs are one of the teams I’ve traditionally enjoyed watching it all go wrong for but now Dempsey & Dembele are there my view has changed and I’m starting to enjoy seeing them play well. Couldn’t not be pleased to see Clint get the winner at Old Trafford the other day.

  6. Sorry but my view is that the utter lack of respect Dempsey showed for the club for NOW for ME overshadows his previous record.

    Others can of course say and think what they will but I don’t wish him well and would like the move to blow up in his face.

    At the end of the day I care about Fulham and expect players to at least pretend to do so.

    1. We don’t really know what happen though do we? Certainly Dempsey was very keen to move, but so was Dembele. I wonder if Jol’s reaction was what caused the problem, though maybe I’m trying to find a way for things to be OK.

  7. I think I’ve watched every Spurs game, which I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. So yeah, I’m definitely interested and not bitter. But as I had to carefully explain to a Spurs fan I know, I’m not a Spurs fan so I don’t care if they win or lose, and to a large extent I don’t ultimately care about how either Dem fares there. I’m indifferent. But after having watched so much of the two of them–and I said countless times that they were my favorite players–I still simply like to watch them play. Dembele was strutting around again on Sat, terrorizing them at OT once again, and you’re right, that was a classic Dempsey goal. It’s nice that they traveled together because I can keep tabs on both without dipping further into free time minutes. The way I am with them now is the way I’ve always been with Messi–I like to watch Barca without caring about the result because it’s fun to watch masters do what they do.

  8. There is a simple dictum: my sport, my team, me; in that order.

    I first heard this when playing cricket but it applies to any team sport. Sadly too many fans view football the opposite way round. Probably some players do too.

    Fortunately your interest is broader which is why CCN is interesting and thought provoking (see other comments on your recent out/in dilemma), so please ignore these detractors.

    1. Spot on. I never understood why supporters don’t view things from the player’s perspective. There are very few people in the working world who have only been with one company throughtout their working life and why? Because at some point, some other company offered them a better job with a bigger salary or a chance at advancing their career. Footballers are no different, it’s just they have a much smaller time window to accomplish their goals.

      I wish all former Fulham players well, except when they’re playing against Fulham.

  9. This is nice to hear, because I’ve definitely had the same thoughts — but as an American it’s hard to tell if this has clouded my judgement on the subject. (In the defense of the people who seem generally annoyed, much more of the ongoing chatter is Dempsey-related than Dembele-related.) There are plenty of threads about ex-Fulham players (including Eddie Johnson, of all people, who I saw in person punch Jed Zayner in the face after a US Open Cup game in June) that pass without comment, but a mention of D—–y sends half the population into fits. I can mostly understand why, although I don’t agree with it.

    I think the best solution is probably for the forums to create a running Dempsey Thread and just dump everything about him there.

  10. pish paff poof rubbish, a little bit of me died when that goal went in again at old trafford. this goes against a massive part of the game – the deep seeded rivarly between fans, clubs, territories, it harks back to the playground. and then to the terraces. please dont tell me this is lost… There’s still a line where conduct goes and Mr Dempsey crossed it, he fitted neatly into a few different plans at Fulham, this season he’ll not start 10 games, and next or the one after reserves or sold. good luck to Dembele always a bit good for us, but not Dempsey Fulham were as good as it’ll ever be for him he just couldn’t see it…

    1. Your ‘it harks back to the playground’ comment is very revealing. A very appropriate way to describe why football fans often act like children

  11. Rich – an interesting piece and I happen to agree with you.

    I would def watch Spurs play, because 1. it’s football, so i’d watch it anyway, 2. they are a good team to watch and play football in an interesting way, and 3. former Fulham players always pique my interest, especially when MD was probably our brightest star and CD our top scorer and hardest grafter.

    CD made his choices and left for pastures new. Life is too short for resentments. After all it is his job, his livelyhood – and he had to do what was right for him – he gave us 5 good years and we should think of that more than the fact he left.

    The way he left is open to may interpretations and the truth lies with the people concerned. It is their business anyway. Clint always ran his legs off for us and always said he’s leave for the chance of CL football.

    He will be my favourite ex-Fulham player for ages i suspect and i’ll follow the rest of his career and remember the good days at the Cottage when he ripped the opposition apart.

    He’s seems a good bloke at the end of the day – he moved job, that’s all! Give him a break !!! Championing him does not mean we support Fulham any less.

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