It should not be taken lightly. Liverpool FC lost Dirk Kuyt for only £1 million to Fenerbahce, and the key word is lost. The Turkish club invoked an exit clause in Kuyt’s contract which meant the Reds could not stop the Dutch master from leaving if he was offered a deal he liked. If this ridiculous clause did not exist, Liverpool could have sold him for a few more million on their own terms. That’s at least a couple million that we could have used, the club isn’t moneybags Manchester City after all.
Kuyt was a team workhorse. Every club needs a player like him. He was played out of position on the right mostly to help on the defensive side of things and keep an eye on the opponents winger. You would never hear Kuyt complain about it either. He was a real team player, a Liverpool player. Dirk Kuyt pulled that red shirt on and played for it.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention he scores goals? Not only does he score goals he scores important goals in big games. He ‘gets up’ for the key fixtures. If it seemed to you like he always scored in Cup Finals, which is the biggest stage of them all, it’s because he did. Kuyt came off the pine to score in League Cup Final last season against Cardiff and scored in 2007 against AC Milan in the grandest stage of them all, the Champions League Final. He’s a player who shines on the brightest and biggest occasions and we will not have this player next season. I feel that there should have been a larger uproar over this but there really wasn’t. I’m happy for him, maybe this is the best move for him, hopefully he will get his confidence back, but it wasn’t the best move for the club until he is replaced with a player as much like him as possible, if thats even possible.
I think it’s possible, and the player that can make it possible is Clint Dempsey. I’ve been watching him all of his professional career (and I actually saw him play for Furman in college too) for the New England Revolution with shaggy hair under Steve Nicol. That’s right, Liverpool legend Stevie Nicol, one of the best defenders to ever play for Liverpool Football Club. Two of my youth travel teammates from the Richmond Strikers in Virginia played for Nicol at New England, Brad Knighton and Adam Cristman. Nicol would often instill the values of the club in them and express what it meant to pull on the red shirt. Nicol taught them to play for the supporters, the club, and the ‘team’.
Dempsey heard the same stories of Nicol’s days at Liverpool FC before Brad and Adam did and I’m sure it had a lasting impression on him. Nicol drafted Dempsey with New England’s first pick (eighth overall) and took him under his wing. Steve had Clint dreaming of playing abroad at a big club like Liverpool. Nicol would always say he himself wasn’t the most skilled on the pitch but when it came to training he gave his all and reached down in himself and gave even more in games. Dempsey was all over the field in the MLS and then would pop up in the six and score using any part of his body.
It’s like he played angry out on the pitch, a man possessed really. He would go in hard on tackles and get his fair share of yellow cards. You’d see him make a goal saving tackle in his box then score a diving header at the other end. The Revs subsequently had their best form to date after drafting Dempsey. They reached a conference final and two MLS Cup Finals during Dempsey’s tenure. Plain and simple, he worked hard for the team, created, and scored goals.
Deuce, as he likes to be called or as some people like to call him, plays the game with ‘heart’. Clint plays every game like its his last. He learned that every minute of the day is precious at an early age from two tragedies suffered by ones close to him. His sister died of a brain aneurysm when she was 16. As if that isn’t bad enough, his high school teammate, who was the MVP and more importantly a good friend of Dempsey’s, died from an accidental gunshot wound in the head at what was supposed to be target practice with friends.
Growing up, Dempsey’s family wasn’t well off and could only support to the fullest one youth athlete. That athlete in Clint’s family was his sister until she passed away. His sister was a big tennis player that was on the road to becoming a pro. The money used to finance his sisters career was then used for Dempsey to commute to Dallas for better coaching. One has to wonder if Clint would be America’s best player, or a professional footballer at all, if his sister hadn’t died.
Not only does Dempsey have that heart, passion, grit, and determination, he has a very high skill level and confidence to use it. Dempsey is a top scorer in one of the best football leagues in the whole wide world and has scored a goal in two consecutive World Cups. Both Kuyt and Clint are “workhorses” that score goals on the ‘Big’ stage. Lets just hope Dempsey becomes something even remotely like the legend that was Kuyt at Liverpool Football Club because right now it seems like the club is losing all of its veteran players that they relied so much on the past two seasons (Maxi, Kuyt, Bellamy) . Straight swap transfer, Clint for Kuyt. Walk on!