The Journey of Brian McBride: Part Two
"In Part One of McBride's Journey, the Fire striker discussed his international career and the outlook for the U.S. as they enter the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In Part Two, he discusses his Club career, detailing his time at Fulham and his reaction to their recent European success."
Read part one here.
Following a brief return to Columbus, McBride went on a three-month loan to English Premiership side Everton in 2003, joining a familiar face in manager David Moyes. The Scotsman took McBride on a previous loan while heading up First Division side Preston North End in 2001 and looked to the American to provide the same spark on Merseyside as he did at Deepdale. The striker did not disappoint, scoring four goals in eight matches as he helped stabilize the Blues Premiership place.
In a similar move, Moyes swooped in for another American this January when he signed Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan, who also helped the Blues climb the table after a slow start.
“It was good to see Landon go over and succeed the way he did,” said McBride. “Moyes is a very knowledgeable coach when it comes to the game and players like to play for someone that communicates as well as he does. Landon did great there and it was nice to see how well-received he was.”
McBride’s stint on Merseyside went a long way when English clubs began bidding for his services in January 2004. Eventually he ended up in west London with Fulham FC, joined by former Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra in the same transfer window, it was at Craven Cottage where McBride left his biggest mark.
Appearing in 153 matches from 2004-08, McBride tallied 40 goals, leading the Cottagers in scoring during the 2006-07 season, while helping the club stave off relegation on the second to last day of the season. He was named club captain that August, but a dislocated kneecap kept him at the beginning of the season kept him out of action until the following January. With the club wallowing at the bottom of the Premiership table, McBride returned to help Fulham escape relegation again, winning four of their last five matches to stay in the Premier League.
“The best memories at Fulham are avoiding relegation both years. You realize how important every match is when promotion and relegation are at play and how every place in the standings is worth one million pounds. Those last two seasons weren’t our best but they were certainly emotional endings that I’ll always remember. At the same time, my family and I were ready to come home. We were there long enough to really enjoy the team and being entrenched in the ‘football society’ that exists there but at that point, it was the right time to come back.”
The west London club did not soon forget McBride’s contribution, recently renaming an in-stadium bar in his honor. “McBride’s” was the place for celebration when the club pulled an upset of epic proportions earlier this month in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16. Trailing Italian giants Juventus 3-1 after the first leg in Turin, Fulham came back to the Cottage, and scored a 4-1 victory over “the Old Lady”, with American substitute Clint Dempsey scoring the goal that put the club through to unchartered territory – the Europa League quarterfinals in only their second European appearance.
In a bit of coincidence, the Cottagers drew Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals, the team McBride began his European career with over 15 years ago.
“It’s funny how things work out sometimes,” said McBride. “Fulham’s win [over Juventus] signals the club’s spirit and Clint’s goal was clutch. I’m looking forward to the quarterfinals.”