Fulham sign Curbishley, Dempsey

AFP, LONDON

Thu, Dec 26, 2013 - Page 19

Former Charlton Athletic and West Ham United manager Alan Curbishley and US international midfielder Clint Dempsey signed on at Fulham on Tuesday with the Premier League club staring at relegation.

Curbishley, 56, was named first team technical director to work alongside head coach Rene Meulensteen, while former star Dempsey, who plays for the Seattle Sounders in the MLS, penned a two-month loan deal.

“I’m very happy that Alan has joined us, as I know his expertise will be invaluable as we enter the remaining months of the season,” said Meulensteen, who took over from Martin Jol three weeks ago, but is in charge of a side who are second from bottom in the league.

“Following Martin Jol’s departure I discussed with both [chief executive] Alistair Mackintosh and the chairman the challenges we face, and I was delighted that they supported the idea of additional support within the coaching team,” the head coach said.

“Alan has a proven track record in the industry and understands full well what it takes to succeed. I look forward to sharing ideas and listening to advice, to ensure Fulham Football Club remains where it belongs: in the Premier League,” Meulensteen added.

Curbishley played for West Ham, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Charlton and Brighton and Hove Albion before turning his hand to management with Charlton and West Ham, whom he left in 2008.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dempsey, 30, agreed to return to Fulham where he spent five-and-a-half seasons in his first spell after signing in January 2007 from New England Revolution.

During his first stay at Craven Cottage, Dempsey scored 60 goals in 225 appearances.

Dempsey scored the only goal of the match against Liverpool at Craven Cottage in May 2007, which secured the team’s Premier League spot the following season.

“It feels good to be back. This has always felt like my home in Europe,” the American said. “I am excited to be back and be a part of this team and play in this league.”

Dempsey said he also hopes that his time in England will sharpen his form ahead of next year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil

“I just wanted to be back playing at the highest level, get back to top form and get back to helping the team where they are not where they want to be in the table,” he added. “Going into World Cup year, you want to get to that top form and carry that forward, so hopefully have a good showing.”