Fulham have received a grovelling apology from Liverpool over the tapping up of Clint Dempsey and as a consequence the club have withdrawn an official complaint about the controversy to the Premier League.
The London club had been relentless in their pursuit of Liverpool over the unsettling of Dempsey which effectively led to the club’s all-time leading scorer leaving Craven Cottage for Tottenham just before the summer transfer window closed.
However, club owner Mohamed Fayed has now decided to drop the case after he received a personal apology from Liverpool chairman Tom Werner when the two men met at a special meeting last week.
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre subsequently confirmed his club’s admission of wrongdoing and made another expression of “sincere regret”, in a letter sent to Fulham.
The letter recognises Fayed’s “magnanimous gesture” in ending the action over Dempsey and “graciously” accepting Werner’s apology. Ayre wrote: “It is indicative of the leadership of your chairman over the years in football matters and his ability to place the best interests of the game ahead of an intramural dispute between clubs.”
Liverpool are expected to issue a statement later today admitting that the conduct it engaged in “was wrong and it simply never should have occurred”.
The row between the two clubs blew up in the summer when a story appeared on the website of the Fenway Sports Group (FSG), owners of Liverpool, claiming the Reds had “added Clint Dempsey to a team that came within a game of winning the FA Cup”.
Photos were seen of Dempsey’s name embroidered on Liverpool’s new strip, and manager Brendan Rodgers revealed that Ayre had spoken to Fulham “to see what the position is”, adding that Dempsey was “a very talented player”.
The United States international had previously expressed an ambition to play for a club capable of qualifying for the Champions League and Fulham claimed that his relationship with them was never again the same.
Dempsey, 29, was left at home when Fulham flew to a pre-season training camp in Switzerland but manager Martin Jol continued to fight for the services of a player he saw as essential to Fulham’s Premier League challenge this season.
“He’s our top goalscorer and we’re a professional club,” said Jol at the time. He went on: “I told him I almost love him as a son last year.
“He scored all the goals and I was always happy with him.”
It became clear, however, that the relationship between Dempsey and the Fulham hierarchy had broken down, to the extent that stories started circulating that the Texan was refusing to appear for the club.
He never did play again in a Fulham shirt before Tottenham came in with an offer which was accepted in the last minutes before the summer transfer window closed.