There was a time not too long ago when Fulham beating Arsenal would have sent shockwaves through the United States. In fact, it was just four months ago when a result like the one the Cottagers enjoyed in Saturday against the Gunners would have been reason for American fans to celebrate in droves.
Unfortunately things have changed dramatically at Craven Cottage and the team once known by some American fans as Fulhamerica has all but disappeared.
Just four months ago you could find as many as four or five Americans on the field at any time for Fulham. Kasey Keller in goal, Carlos Bocanegra in defense, Clint Dempsey in midfield and Brian McBride and Eddie Johnson at forward. It was almost like a dream come true for some American fans, having an EPL team they could call their own, a team that could show what Americans are made of.
That feeling reached its peak at the end of last season, when Fulham managed its great escape from relegation, with Keller and McBride playing key roles in the escape.
Four months later, Clint Dempsey is the only American left.
Kasey Keller went to Seattle, Brian McBride went to Chicago and Carlos Bocanegra went to France. When Eddie Johnson took a loan deal to Cardiff City last week, it left Dempsey as the last American standings and even he is on shaky ground at Fulham, having failed to start either game this season.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you became a Fulham fan because of the Fab Five. You certainly weren’t alone. In an SBI poll of readers conducted last year, there were more Fulham fans than any other team in the world outside of MLS. that includes Manchester United (a close second), Barcelona and Arsenal. A majority of those fans were hooked by the appeal of the Americans on the squad.
That is what probably made Saturday’s win against Arsenal bittersweet for those same fans. There were no Americans on the field for the Cottagers (unless you count goal-scoring hero Brede Hangeland, who was born in Texas but moved to Norway as a young child) and Dempsey didn’t enter the match until late in the second half.
So who do you root for now? The only EPL team with more than one American on it is Aston Villa, with goalkeepers Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan. That means that, barring a late transfer, you won’t be seeing an EPL team fielding more than one American. Is this a coincidence or is it the backlash from having two teams with multiple Americans (Reading and Derby) get relegated while a third barely avoided the drop.
So where have all those American Fulham fans gone? Has the exodus of American players changed your view of the team? Here’s a poll to figure out what Fulhamerica fans have done (please feel free to share your thoughts on the demise of Fulhamerica below):