It is easy to get lost amongst the labyrinth of media and hyped egos that is the Premier League. So often it is the case that the side issues — claims of racist acts. off field endeavours of eccentricity, and adventures of infidelity — get more attention than a good pro doing a great job.
Fulham’s Clint Dempsey, by all accounts, has had a storming season. It all began with a brace on his seasonal return to action against Dnipro. Since then Dempsey has gone on to score an impressive 19 goals at club level this season. In February, he scored the winner in the USA’s historic victory over Italy. The first hat trick of his career had come against Charlton in a cup-tie and was quickly followed by his second against Newcastle. In spite of him consistently out shining Bobby Zamora, who has the since moved to QPR, he continues to avoid the radar. The arrival of Russian goal snatcher Pavel Pogrebnyak may well take the headlines-should Fulham do the unlikely and push on into a European place for next season. Dempsey’s contribution to the cause, however, is sure to be noted by Martin Jol and the Craven Cottage faithful.
There has been an affinity towards American players at the Cottage-with Brian McBride already occupying a special place in the team’s history. If the quantity of goals scored this season and last by Dempsey, is not enough to carve his way into the history books there, then surely the timing of his goals will certainly do it.
While it is more beneficial for a team to have a goal scorer who scores once per game, rather than grabbing a bunch in one game and nothing for the next three, it cannot be argued that Dempsey is not a game changer. Evidence of this can be found in the Liverpool game last December, when he pounced on a rebound, to secure the three points in the 85th minute. On Boxing Day, he scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with neighbours Chelsea. Another equaliser against West Brom and a shot that rebounded off Sorensen’s back against Stoke, secured about four points for Fulham. If you were to subtract those goals from Fulham’s cause, it would leave them around Blackburn.
Without Dempsey’s knack of finding a goal when it matters, it could have been an extremely nervy season for Fulham. As recently as the 8th of March, Martin Jol commented on how heavily the club relies on Dempsey’s goals. He went on to announce that contract negotiations had started on the day before Dempsey’s 29th birthday.
While there is speculation over where Dempsey might fit in to some of the Premier Leagues elite’s line-ups, I am sure Fulham fans would be delighted to see the American extend his stay. Dempsey brings a never say die attitude, that, coupled with his eye for a goal at crucial periods would be of benefit to any club in the Premier League.
Dempsey, on the personal front, is now the most prolific American goal scorer, the Premier League has ever seen. He also holds the same record for Fulham, as he is now Fulham’s all time EPL top goal scorer. His contribution has continued to increase, season by season. He will be a major feature in any aspirations, Fulham and Martin Jol, hold in regards to pushing into the European places next season.