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The disappearance of Fulhamerica


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):


  1. Does anyone know that Dempsey has much of a chance of playing a decent amount or regaining his starting position. He was at his best last season as a right midfielder. I hate to say it, but i wouldn’t be too disappointed if there was an injury to their midfield or forwards. I still don’t see what Hodgson thinks he is gonna get out of dempsey from forward. It is promising that he was subbed in for both games.

  2. There is a big difference between being a fan and a follower. A person that no longer supports Fulham was never a fan of the Whites in the first place. They instead are USMNT fans that want to see the players get better by “following” their progress overseas.

  3. Indeed, I began supporting Fulham because of McBride, like many of you. Living in Columbus and supporting the Crew, it was nice to watch one of our own do well and be loved abroad. Then it became crazy watching that many Yanks on the west London side. Then it became a nail bitter as friends and I were dying to find televised Fulham matches at the end of the season to see if we were going to stay up or go down. (Something to be said about the relegation system, the bottom of the table still produces action and excitement… even if it isn’t the most aesthetic football. But I can support less than MAN U football; my league is the MLS and I support the growth of the sport not just the ‘dancing with the stars’ of the top clubs.) Now that the Yanks have flown it is a different team to watch, to be sure. But it is still Fulham. It is still a team that has a great deal to prove all of the time. It is still a team with a classic and beautiful stadium. It is still a team that I will support even if Demps leaves and no American ever plays for them again. The Yanks brought me there, but something about the Cottage keeps me.

    Come on Fulham!

  4. I still support them, but it’s more because I went to a couple of games there back in 2000 when I worked outside London for a month, and Fulham was very easy to get to from where I was living. Reading was actually closer, but Fulham had Eddie Lewis (and Hahnemann, but he never played), so that’s where I went. A couple of friends came to visit, and I even brought them to a game. I was excited when they signed all the new Americans, and I’m bummed they’re gone, but they’re still my team. Will I still follow them closely in 10 years, who knows? I’d even say that the only reason I pay $15 a month for Setanta is so that I won’t miss any Fulham matches that are televised here, otherwise, I’d probably just watch whatever was on FSC.

  5. In a nutshell — the Yanks brought me there, the way the club does business keeps me there. I have too much invested emotionally to change now. COYW!!!!

  6. FULHAM ’til I die!!

    It is only the most uniquely fantastic Club, with the most uniquely fantastic fans (not the other 80%), and hands down, the most uniquely fantastic grounds, Craven Cottage.

    Nothing compares, for those in the know. It’s not for everyone, just the blessed and the enlightened.

  7. I was Fulham last year, I am Fulham this year and I am Fulham onwards. If they play 1 or 11 Americans, it does not matter to me.

    I have become a fan, read the messageboards(their fans hate everyone out side of London, so would many other clubs fans if they had Americans on the pitch), search the DailyMail et al for news stories.

    I think Hodgson has them moving on the right track playing tactical and more attractive football.

    Besides it is easy to jump on a Big 4 bandwagon.

    Clint is playing out of position, as many have said, but he also lacks the pace needed to play in the Barclay’s.

  8. Maybe Clint does have a future:

    “Jimmy Bullard has not been offered a new Fulham contract because manager Roy Hodgson is concerned he does not pull his weight in midfield.” (The Times)

  9. PS- I do miss Boca though. He plays with such heart and effort and players were kept- Hughes for example- who are no better then him and make shocking gafes as well. I wish putting on the national jersey did as much for other U.S. players as it seems to do for Carlos.

  10. I went to Saint Louis University, so I’m a huge McBride fan. He left as a class act that wanted to return home. I think he’ll always be respected at Craven Cottage. I’m still a fan. I just bought this year’s kit. (But not number 20).

  11. I did an internship in their marketing department back in the fall of 98…way back in the Kevin Keegan 2nd Division days. So I’ll be Fulham til I die.

    Also, any mention of the American-ization of Fulham should mention former Managing Director, Lee Hoos.

  12. Im a newcastle fan but during the last few games last season I was rooting hard for Fulham. Now I dont really care for them.

  13. The fact is that with 5 Americans Fulham had to win 3 at the end to avoid relegation on goal difference. (And 3 Northren Irish may I add.)

    I traveled to the Cottage in 2005 and 2006 and fell in love and because the captaincy of McBride, the lovely stadium, and the outstanding support(without being drunk and violent-like most NFL crowds over here these days)I am a Whites fan now and forever.

    Sadly- by Christmas I believe Dempsey will be playing with the reserves unless Bullard gets sold or a rash of injuries. Hodgson has refashioned the club and they look much more fluid. Dempsey’s form with club and country has been crap since Feb. 2008 and now with the improved midfield and AJ and Zamora up front his days are numbered at Fulham unless he has a miraculous return to form and the more importantly the minutes to demonstrate it.

    Simply put- he would best prosper playing in the middle postion Bullard occupies and he brings loads of things to the team that Clint does not. If Bullard goes then maybe he has a place. Otherwise he is not a good up front player and the other 4 midfielders are just better.

  14. It was the American players that brought me to Fulham. Having followed them closely for several years now I am hooked, even if they never sign another American player.

    They have been playing some pretty good football under Roy Hodgson. They don’t quite have the Arsenal or ManU passing game (who else does), but neither are they Bolton with their negative tatics and anti-football.

    And they have the Cottage! With the loss of Highbury, and the future move of Liverpool away from Anfield, Craven Cottage remains one of the truely unique and historic football grounds in England. If your into that sort of thing, otherwise you are probably a ManU or Chelsea fan with their marvelous modern stadiums.

  15. It was cool that Fulham had so many Americans, but they didn’t make the team any better. Frankly, I think the Championship is better suited for American players.

  16. “I supported their escape last season, mainly because of the American contingent, but I’ve never followed Fulham.”

    that about sums it up for me.

    you can support the players without supporting the team, imo. stevie gerrard is probably my favorite player in the premier because i love his style and the way he plays the game, i also really like torres, but i dont really care for liverpool. same with ballack and essien, but i hate chelsea. i even like cesc fabregas, and im a spurs supporter! thats why i never understood why a ton of american fans automatically jumped on the fulham bandwagon. clint, boca, kasey, and brian mcbride are great players that i support with all my heart because i love my country, but that doesnt have to mean you have to kiss fulham’s a$$ for signing them.

    that said, i do appreciate their victory over the ar5ena1. it took a little bit out of the sting of my team’s weak start. come on you spurs!

  17. Couldn’t give a rat’s ass. I follow the teams with Americans, and hope to get to see them play on TV once in a while. Other than that, I watch a game hoping to see a good game, whoever wins.

    My true love is the Milwaukee Rampage.

  18. Having been a huge Dempsey fan since he came onto the stage, it was natural to support his club team-really though i could give a you know what about Fulham, I just wanted to see Dempsey do well. and after his first season, scoring the goal that kept them up, and against Liverpool no less, I expected things to only get better and brighter for Clint.

    Enter Lawrie Sanchez, who made moves which have proved devastating to Clint’s career. He worked his ass off last season and was the team’s top goalscorer, but suffered a HUGE dip in form as a result.

    In the game for the nat’l team against Guatemala, he looked out of shape and out of form.

    I can only hope that he will get back to his form of 2006 for himself and for the growth of soccer in our country-he’s a rare talent for the USA, really be nice to see him get his edge back, especially w/ Fulham fighting for a top 10 finish this year, could raise his profile a lot.

  19. Fulham are sort of like that crazy girlfriend you had your junior year of college that you went through a rough study abroad away from with, but ended up together at the end of the academic year, only to break up (on good but kind of sad terms)when she decided to transfer to a college in another state for her senior year.

    That was long winded, and not an actual experience, but that’s how I feel about Fulham right now. I’d still write on her facebook wall to wish her happy birthday, but I ain’t gonna call and congratulate her on getting a new job or anything.

  20. I started rooting for Fulham b/c they had several Americans, but I root for them b/c they’re a small club trying to hang in there and slug it out against some awfully big heavyweights.

    I dislike non-salary-capped leagues because several teams rapidly outspend all the rest. Rooting for ManU or Chelsea is like rooting for Microsoft or Coca-Cola; all it breeds is an undeserved sense of entitlement. Fulham fans love their club despite/because of the fact that they’re a minnow slugging it out with the sharks, and that’s so much cooler than rooting for the big four.

  21. Dempsey and Seol are pretty much the same player, but Seol finished the preseason in very good form, so he got the nod. Nothing wrong with that.

    And yes, EJ was definitely a Hodgson signing, and likely intended as a prospect for the future.

  22. I can’t see myself as being anything other than a Fulham fan. I originally started following em due to mcbride and bocanegra, but I went to the Cottage in ’06 and truly fell in love with the place and the club.

    Although maybe a bit disappointing to see the break up, I like how Roy is really getting his hands dirty in the transfer market, Seol is shaping up to be a great acquistion. I can’t wait to go back this winter….

  23. i became a fulham fan after mcbride joined the squad… i tried a lot of squads, and decided to give them a chance because of boca and macca.

    i really just kind of fell in love with the club… the stadium, uniforms, history, fulhamish, etc.

    adding all of the americans last year was a fun part for me, and i was pretty excited to see 4 players on the field at once (maybe 5 for a brief moment)… but, i’m still a fulham fan now, regardless of how many americans suit up.

    deuce is still one of my favorite players, i hope he gets time… but, i’m all about the squad performing well… i’m just as happy with them beating arsenal this year as i would’ve been last year.

  24. I got into Fulham under Chris Coleman, bac when it was just McBride and Bocanegra. I think it’s more than just the Americans for me. Craven Cottage is the best ground in the EPL!

    But I still keep track of my local club, RBNY! Don’t bother going to matches though with the bus fare to Giants Stadium and the cheapest seats being $22. I’ll wait until RBA opens.

  25. I think there are a lot of things to like about Fulham outside of how many americans are on its roster. And I’ve always loved to root for the underdog.

    That said, I think Aston Villa and Everton have now pulled about even with Fulham in terms of my allegiances.

  26. I became a Fulham fan following the acquistion of McGod(B. McBride). Since then a bond has formed since the club reminded me much of the Cubs’ teams I followed growing up. This is a small market style team that leaves it’s supporters living and dying with all the action they give us!


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