Friday, August 24, 2012

In Which Clint Dempsey Fantasizes About Liverpool, Breaks Up With Fulham, and Bones Down With Sunderland

Full disclosure on two not-so-minor points:

1. I am a huge Clint Dempsey fan. I'm from Texas. He's from Texas. If you're from Texas too this is really all the information you need to understand my affinity for Deuce, but I'll go on for those not fortunate enough to call God's country home. He's an attack-minded, US international who never seems cowed by the moment. He has a tendency to execute the brilliant under the brightest lights. He loves rap music. 

2. I am a huge Fulham fan. I'm not sure which came first. My love of both existed for a time independent of one another, but when they came together it was sort of like Arsenal fans and self delusion; perfect for one another.  

Just so you know where I'm coming from. 

The end of last season was sort of the apex of the Fulham/Clint Dempsey relationship. Three solid seasons capped off by one legendary season and another Fans' Player of the Year Award saw Dempsey flirting with the pantheon of all time Fulham greats. Admittedly, it's not nearly as monumental a pantheon as some other clubs have, but it's respectable and to have an American hold his own with the greats of the contemporary game in the most exciting league in the world was a special treat for both Fulham supporters and US soccer fans. These were the salad days. Sure Deuce had occasionally mentioned that he wanted to play Champion's League soccer at some point in his career, but when he's wearing a Fulham kit and scoring at will against every club in the league, "some day" seems a long, long time away, not tomorrow. 

Well, it's tomorrow. 

Never mind that the club who has apparently been leering at Dempsey from across the bar is that floozy Liverpool and they aren't in Champion's League contention this season...and likely not next season either. Even the most ardent Fulham supporter will admit that Liverpool is a big club and represents a step up the ladder in the hierarchy of Premier League football even if recent seasons have not been kind to the Merseysiders, although I suspect this break up might be easier to stomach were the strumpet interceder a club like Manchester United or Real Madrid. 

What's important here is that a challenge Clint Dempsey wants to take on has (sort of) come calling. What's more important is that it appears Clint Dempsey and Liverpool have severely mismanaged this situation and it looks like it's going to come down to the transfer day deadline to unfuck the situation as it currently stands. 

From where I sit, which is admittedly at a computer in the Midwest of the United States with no inside connections to Liverpool, Fulham, or Clint Dempsey, it looks like things have gone down thusly:

Clint issued a "Come get me!" shout to the bigger clubs in the Premier League. Realistically, this was Arsenal or Liverpool. Arsene Wenger had allegedly gone after Dempsey in the January transfer window of last season in a desperate attempt to keep his side competitive after some epic mismanaging. Fulham put up too large a price tag, Wenger glued together a squad that qualified for the Champion's League, then made some big signings in the summer window, and now doesn't really need a 29 year old in the last year of his contract with a club looking to cash in on the player's massive season. Fair play, Arsenal. 

Liverpool made some of the worst flavor-of-the-month signings last season and is understandably reticent to do the same this season. You would be same way if you woke up next to Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll. They looked great at the bar, but...Plan B. So far, all Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers have done is say they admire Clint Dempsey and admitted to making an inquiry as to what sort of fee it would take to bring him to Anfield. Apparently, Fulham's asking price was a bit much for the Reds and that's where we stand. 

In the meantime, Dempsey has allegedly refused to play for Fulham in an effort to force through a move to flirtatious Liverpool. I can't blame him. He's coming off the best year of his career, he's not getting any younger, and this transfer window is likely as high as his stock will ever be. 

On the flip side, Fulham, in spite of what Mark Hughes has said, is an ambitious club and they want fair money for a player they would otherwise have to let go for free next season. For a club like Fulham, the difference between a $7 million transfer fee and a $15 million transfer fee is enormous. 

On the flip, flip side (Can you have two flip sides?), Liverpool have signed other promising players in recent days and don't appear to be losing any sleep over not having Dempsey paraded out in front of The Kop to do fancy juggling tricks and pose for pictures with a Liverpool scarf strung above his head. 

Basically, Liverpool is the hottest chick in the bar. It's a Thursday night so the bar isn't terribly crowded, but of the men in the bar, Dempsey is the best looking. Of the women, it's Liverpool. Liverpool has glanced Dempsey's way a couple of times and would go home with him if the opportunity presented itself, but there's always ice cream and Sex and the City reruns...and Friday night. Dempsey, for his part, has noticed the glances and suddenly realized that he can do better than the woman he's with and is imagining boning down with the car show model across the bar. For the record, Manchester United and Barcelona would be Victoria's Secret models. Liverpool has a banging body but wears Budweiser bikinis and poses with monster trucks.

Fulham is on Dempsey's right arm and has caught him leering at Liverpool and blowing LL Cool J kisses across the bar. Although she's pissed at Dempsey and a little hurt, she gets it. She's mostly a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and isn't a fan of thong underwear because, you know, they're impractical. To deflect Liverpool's interest, she watches Dempsey like a hawk, makes it a point to get all schmoopy with him, and makes fuck off eyes at Liverpool every time she gets a chance. 

Liverpool, sensing a fling with Dempsey might be more drama than it's worth, starts trolling around the bar and notices a couple of Euro trash guys playing Tiesto songs on the jukebox. They're not really her type, but what the hell, right? 

Dempsey realizes his chance with the car model is slipping once he sees the Euro trash guys air humping Liverpool in their man capri pants and snaps at Fulham to back off. Like any self respecting woman, she says something like but not necessarily, "I loved you, but I'll be fine without you," and marches out of the bar. By the time Dempsey has extracted himself from his quarrel with Fulham, Liverpool has long since left the bar and may or may not be booking a room at Sybaris with the Euro trash guys.

Sitting at the bar alone, Dempsey orders a beer and wonders if he missed his chance with Liverpool and, if so, whether or not he can mend fences with Fulham and her friends. That's when a 38 year old divorcee and with bleach blonde hair and cut rate breast implants saunters up, lights a cigarette, and says something delicate like, "My name's Sunderland and I fuck like a tiger."

Double bag it, Deuce.          

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