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A Salute to Clint Dempsey

With his latest hat trick last weekend against Newcastle, Clint Dempsey took his goal tally for Fulham past 50. Our longest tenured player, Clint also recently celebrated his 5 year anniversary at The Cottage.

It’s not just his goals that endear Clint to us fans, his unique blend of skill and determination make him a tremendous asset. Undoubtedly we have a superstar on our hands, even if the humble Texan is too Fulhamish to show off about it.

Recently named, for the second time, as US Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, Clint has scored in two World Cups, recorded a hip-hop song under the pseudonym Deuce and even has a parody twitter account in his honour that pertains to be his elbow.

Building on the work of our first wave of American stars such as Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra, Brand Dempsey has helped Brand Fulham attract new fans from across the pond, and long may it continue. Nearly 50,000 followers in less than a month since he joined twitter suggests Brand Dempsey has quite an appeal.

However, it’s not often that us Fulham fans get to celebrate a player reaching the half-century of goals for Fulham milestone. So in honour of our Texan sensation, and before the DVD inevitably gets released, here is a look back at some of my own favourite goals from Clinton’s wonderful career in SW6 to date:

5. Aston Villa 2 – 1 Fulham, August 2007

It was the start of Clint’s first full season at the club, and aside from one goal against Liverpool (we’ll get to that a bit later) Clint’s time at The Cottage had been somewhat unremarkable. Still not strong enough in the upper body too and with a tendency to do one step over too many, Clint was not yet the fan favourite he is today. At Villa Park, wearing my Dempsey 23 shirt I took a bit of banter for my choice of name before the game but within 10 minutes, Clint had put us in front with a no nonsense finish off a deflected Joe Kamara pass. We lost the game but there and then we saw a glimpse of the goal getter we have today.

4. Fulham 3 – 1 Liverpool, October 2009

This win against Liverpool was enjoyable on so many levels. Zamora ran Carragher so ragged that the defender had to try twice just to get himself sent off. Clint’s superb counter attacking goal, the result of a beautiful combination of passes with Erik Nevland, was our third of the afternoon and was a true cherry on top of what was an excellent team performance.

3. Fulham 2 – 2 Chelsea, December 2008

The American grabbed a stunning brace in this home draw to Chelsea. The first was a scrappy but tidy goal from a Simon Davies free kick where Clint was left alone at the far post and flicked home delightfully. The second goal was an injury time dagger that broke Chelsea hearts. Clint’s header from the last minute corner was the perfect combination of power and placement as Petr Cech could do nothing but watch as it sailed into the far corner.

2. Fulham 1 – Liverpool 0, May 2007

There is a time to score your first goal for a new club, and then there was this. Staring relegation in the eye with such nerve that one blink would have ended the fight, Fulham were facing the (then) mighty Champions League finalists Liverpool in the penultimate game of the season needing a win having previously gone 11 games without a victory. A seesaw game with both sides going close was decided by Clint’s first Fulham goal. A one-two with Liam Rosenior resulting in a side foot finish past Reina.

1. Fulham 4 – 1 Juventus, March 2010

The goal. That goal. What a goal. It was a night that will live long in the hearts and minds of everyone who saw it. A goal down inside 10 minutes to the Old Lady of Turin; and now 4 goals down on aggregate after we had been brushed aside at the Stadio Olympico. What followed was a stunning comeback. Still needing a goal to avoid extra time when up steps that boy Clint Dempsey. Audacity, innovation or blind divine intervention, The American’s superlative chip into Antonio Chimenti’s top corner was so good it was even nominated for the Ferenc Puskás Award for FIFA goal of the year.

So there’s my list, which goals have I missed? What’s your favourite? Hopefully there’s a few more to come yet.

My message from Fulham fans across the world, Clinton Drew Dempsey, we salute you.

COYW