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.