We all know about the transfer that nearly happened: Jordan Henderson to Fulham in order to capture the signature of Clint Dempsey.
Thank fuck that didn’t happen.
But whereas that failed transfer is a mere footnote in the minds of many Liverpool fans, it is a pivotal one for captain Jordan Henderson. Today, Hendo reopened that wound in an interview with The Guardian.
“That was a difficult moment I remember very clearly,” Henderson said. “We were preparing for a [Europa League qualifying] game against Hearts at Anfield. We met as normal in the [Hope Street] hotel and I got a knock on my door saying the manager wanted to speak to us.
“To be fair to Brendan Rodgers, it was really just a conversation. It was an opportunity [to leave for Fulham] I didn’t want and I didn’t like. I still felt I had an awful lot to give.”
To be less charitable toward the former Liverpool manager: Henderson, just 22 years old at the time, had a lot more to give to the club. Just a year later he would prove his value in Liverpool’s title race, up to and including his late sending off against Manchester City.
Not only was Hendo a future captain—one that would impress despite the unenviable position of following club legend Steven Gerrard—but he remains a driving force for Liverpool, on and off the pitch.
“But I was in a very dark place at that time,” Henderson continued. “It made us a lot stronger and a lot wiser later on and, without that, you never know what could have happened. So I really cherish those moments because you need setbacks, you need adversity.
“You get back up, and it makes you stronger because you want to prove people wrong.
“Ever since that day I had something in me. I needed to prove to the manager I would get in his team eventually. I’d do absolutely everything to be in his team, this football club, and I’d prove them wrong. In the end I did.”
Henderson did not just prove Rodgers wrong, but the Northern Irishman eventually saw fit to give Hendo the armband. And while it would have been easy for Jurgen Klopp to pick a new captain with the changing of the guard, Klopp saw Henderson’s drive and quality, too.
From reading his words, you can tell just how much “The Fulham Incident” drove him on to greatness, and how much it drives him on still. Hopefully we get a few more years—as well as a few more shiny things—of Hendo proving himself at the highest levels.