Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl was given the inside story after Dempsey’s move.
Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl has written an article with the inside story of how Dempsey’s shock move to the Seattle Sounders was completed.
After twitter user and Seattle resident Jorge Perea posted a picture of himself with Dempsey in San Francisco Airport, rumours began to fly around that Dempsey was going to join Seattle. However, Perea later added that Dempsey did not go to the gate for slights bound for Seattle, which spurred subsequent rumours that the Tottenham man was on his way to LA for talks with Roberto Martinez’s Everton, who are in the area for the International Champions Cup.
Seattle Sounders part-owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer was involved with the whole process, and was watching the twitter developments with interest.
“It sounds funny, but I saw the tweets that he was at Heathrow on Thursday,” said Hanauer, “and I’m like, O.K., cool, he made it to the airport. Now I just have to hope he’s on the right flight. Then people saw him in San Francisco. O.K., we’re two-thirds of the way home! (The Everton confusion) was a huge break for us, because it threw some question into the whole thing again.”
With the twitter hashtag #dempseywatch blowing up, some fans even went to Sea-Tac airport to try and locate Dempsey, but the Sounders had made a plan to keep him below the radar. When United Airlines flight 1621 arrived at 11:13 p.m. PT, the passengers all came through Terminal A, Gate 9 except for Dempsey, who was taken out through a different door.
“We have really good contacts at the airport, so we were able to sneak him off the flight and down onto the tarmac into a van,” said Hanauer “Then he went back around to a baggage claim area that wasn’t for his flight. He jumped in my car. His associate James (Skelland) went and got the bags. We picked him up and then away we went.”
This kind of star treatment goes to show just how big a coup Dempsey is considered for MLS, indeed, when MLS commissioner Don Garber was asked where Dempsey’s signing ranks in league history, he answered that he ranked it “right at the very top”.