Brian McBride announced his retirement from football in the past few days. Fulham fans owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for helping preserve our Premiership status in trying times. It needed a big character to take over the shirt from 'King Louis,' Brian did just that.
Last Friday I debuted on Los Angeles radio network World Football Daily, proof that our blog is already making waves. While concentrating on the fortunes of Fulham so far in the new season, we sadly ran out of time before having an opportunity to appraise the career of Team USA star striker Brian McBride.
That same afternoon in Chicago Brian announced this season would be his last. The years and the battlescars had finally caught up with the old warrior. But at 38 and with 96 international caps for the USA and 30 goals, including three World Cup campaigns, Brian will never be short of great memories from his time in football.
Of course we Fulham fans will all have our own special impressions of Brian leading the line, first at Loftus Road, then the Cottage. Brave as a lion, the word wholehearted was coined for McBride. He was given the captain's armband before a bad knee injury right at the start of the 2007/8 season, and boy did we suffer in his absence.
But back he came for that nerve-shredding run-in that saw us stay up by the skin of our teeth. Brian used his press conference to pay tribute to Fulham and salute the supporters who twice voted him Player of the Year during his time by the Thames and saw the sports bar on the Riverside re-named in his honour.
“I will cherish every moment myself and my family had while in London. Your support was second to none. My wife and I will always look back on our time there with tremendous fondness. The last year that I was at Fulham was amazing. The rollercoaster and then coming out OK in the end. Just the sheer jubilation at the end of that campaign and being able to celebrate with everybody was the thing that stands out in my mind.
To the Chairman, Mr Mohamed Al Fayed, thank you for your passion, your desire. It’s something that I will try to emulate. You always had time for my family and made us feel very special, thank you.”
Two years on, and Brian finds time to pay such generous compliments to his old club. Sheer undiluted class. Our friends at hammyend.com have posted an excellent article on Brian, I urge you to reference it.
Post your salute to Brian's time in the white shirt here.