The best thing about transfer windows is that, like actual windows, they close. With this most recent one being slammed shut yesterday, we can all hopefully get on with our respective lives.
If I had read (or heard being read aloud by my Liverpool-leaning girlfriend) one more tweet about Clint Dempsey going to Liverpool, I mean Aston Villa, I mean Spurs, I mean Sunderland, I would have cut both the social media platform and the American striker out of my life for good. Luckily for me, time ran out and Twitter slowed down (the internet isn’t too good here in Paris, Texas).
Don’t get me wrong, I still may quit Twitter (I mean, have you been on it lately?) but I really want to continue rooting for Dempsey. The problem is, I don’t know if I can. I don’t have any special affinity for Fulham, and clearly being disappointed by a messy transfer, as if that transfer weren’t taking place in a money-soaked corporate cespool full of back-room bookies and mercenary opportunists, is slightly naive at best. Not everyone can be Steven Gerrard.
But what bothers me is not that Dempsey jumped ship, but rather that he refused to help hoist the sail (if we stick with this nautical metaphor) before he lowered his own lifeboat. Sure, he risked injury by taking to the pitch, but I can’t help but think that his arm-crossing became a self-fulfilling prophesy for the Nacogdoches native; by shirking his responsbility to his coach, to his teammates, and to the Craven Cottage faithful, he threw a monkeywrench in his own plans to “move up” to Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers reportedly made two offers for Dempsey, and both were refused, presumably in part because of the soured relationship between Dempsey and Fulham manager Martin Jol. If the two had been on good terms, or at least respectful terms, would things have gone differently?
Perhaps holding out on the deal was management’s way of punishing the pouting striker for not only publicly looking for greener pastures but essentially walking off the job while on the clock. And I can’t say I blame the Fulham higher-ups. I wouldn’t call anybody in this situation innocent, but when you throw up a middle finger to people who have supported you, that doesn’t usually end in any kind of positive or productive way.
From Dempsey’s perspective, it remains unclear if his move will end up being upwards or sideways (or even downwards, considering Spurs will not be in the Champions League this year). And from his fans’ perspective, they must be wondering if he’ll play the rest of the season with one foot still outside the door, always wondering what life could be like at Anfield.
Considering how this deal went down, I’ll be keeping one foot outside the door, too, in that I won’t fully support Dempsey like I had been before these past two weeks. I’m not disillusioned or even disappointed, really, for the reasons mentioned above, but I am, as many others are, utterly annoyed. This transfer window has been especially taxing, and I don’t think I’m the only one who is relieved to be rid of it (that is, until the next one opens).
On the bright side (always look on the bright side), at least there won’t be any transfers for a while, and I won’t be reminded every second about how much money these jokers reel in for kicking a bladder around on a patch of grass a few times a week. Oh, and there’s football on right now. Whew.