Eight years ago, Liverpool proposed a deal with Fulham which would have seen Clint Dempsey and Jordan Henderson swap clubs. How things might have been so different…
The year is 2012. Brendan Rodgers has arrived at Liverpool, and he wants everyone to know who’s boss.
He also wants Clint Dempsey to be the man to build his brave new team around, but Fulham aren’t keen to part with one of their key men, unless they get something good in return.
They want Jordan Henderson, which is a happy coincidence because Brendan isn’t sure about him. So a swap deal is proposed, and everyone seems happy about it…except Jordan Henderson. He rejects the move, declares his intention to stay at Liverpool and fight for his place, which on balance, as the following eight years panned out, turned out to be a decent decision.
BUT, what if he had accepted the move? How might the football world have been different? Over to Duncan Alexander, who on the latest edition of The Totally Football Show, peered into this alternative universe and told us what happened.
“Henderson moves to Fulham in 2012.
“Manchester United lose to Everton in the first game, then in the second they lose to Fulham with Henderson absolutely running the show. An angry Alex Ferguson makes a remark about the way Henderson has run in the game, which the media picks up on and starts calling Gaitgate.
“The defeat heralds a really bad autumn for United, even with Robin van Persie, they really struggle to make an impact in the title race and Ferguson ends up resigning at Christmas.”
Crikey. Merry Christmas.
“Dempsey moves to Liverpool but gets quite badly injured by someone – probably Ryan Shawcross – in the autumn, and has to return to America to recuperate. One evening he’s in a bar in New York and meets Pep Guardiola, who’s on his sabbatical, and over an evening of fusion jazz he convinces the Spaniard to manage Liverpool when he returns to Europe.
“United hear about this scheme and are angry, because they want Guardiola to replace Ferguson. They’ve currently got Ryan Giggs as a caretaker. In scenes reminiscent of Green Street II, representatives of both meet in a desert to fight it out. The winner gets to appoint Guardiola, and Liverpool win.
“A wounded United offer Jurgen Klopp the United job, but he only agrees if he can sign the man he’s really impressed with, who he calls ‘Hendo’, the star of Fulham’s top-six finish the previous season.
“Ferguson, now behind the scenes, is really angry about this and goes public, saying this is unwise because of the way he runs, which leads to a new storm called Gaitgate-gate. Klopp backs away from this, stays at Dortmund and United end up appointing David Moyes.
“And everything reverts back to the normal timeline.”
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