Spurs star: ‘I didn’t feel valued and appreciated’ at Fulham
Clint Dempsey has revealed he quit Fulham because he “didn’t feel valued and appreciated” – and he admits he is braced for a lukewarm reception on his return to Craven Cottage on Saturday.
The American spent five and a half years beside the Thames after arriving in England in January 2007, scoring 60 goals in 224 appearances and playing a key role when Roy Hodgson’s side reached the Europa League final in 2010.
Dempsey enjoyed his most prolific season for the club last campaign, netting 23 goals in 45 games, but he left under a cloud after seeking an exit during the summer, with Liverpool seemingly leading the chase.
Fulham fined Dempsey for refusing to play in their opening game against Norwich – something he denies – but he failed to appear for the Cottagers in August before moving to Tottenham on deadline day.
The 29-year-old concedes that he could get a rough ride as he returns to his former club with Spurs this weekend.
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But he insists his conscience is clear, and he remains eternally grateful for the role that Fulham have played in his career.
“The situation is a difficult one because things go on behind the scenes that the fans don’t really know about,” he said.
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“I’m not trying to open up that door to all those things that went on but the fans were great to me, the chairman was great to me and it got to the point where I wanted to keep going and try to further my career.
“If you always felt valued and appreciated enough, I don’t think you’d ever leave, but it came to a point for me where I didn’t feel valued and appreciated – not by the fans but by other situations. That’s just the way things went.
“It’s a club that was always great to me. I thank them for the five and a half years I had there. They were some of the best experiences I’ve had and I’m grateful to the chairman for taking a chance on me.
“Any time I go back, there will always be good memories. It’s unfortunate how things happened in the end but you look forward to going back, and how you’re received is how you’re received.
“No matter what, I’ll always look back with good memories and be grateful for the club and the fans for the way they took care of me.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs