Olympics football – Arsenal’s amateur heroes

July 24, 2014

The past few weeks have been partly about celebration. Celebrating the gold winning exploits in the World Cup of our three proud German Gooners, and who knows, by the end of the transfer window this may yet turn out to be four German Gooners. Hush, hush!

Along the way, the Germans overcame the French team that included three Gooners, one of whom has since left Arsenal to be promptly replaced by another one at the same position.

Together, we were enthralled by the fantastic performances by our new Chilean Gooner, our as-good-as-new Costa Rican superstar, and maybe even the Colombian Gooner. Hush, hush! The singleton Gooners on the Belgian and Swiss squads had decent campaigns. Overall, quite a lot to celebrate then! No wonder Gooners around the world are going around with their grins spreading ear to ear.

At the same time, there were sombre thoughts as well, not least in the poor returns for the England team. Our two good guys in the England team had mostly futile excursions, and so did our Spanish Gooner. It seems World Cup glory requires years of preparation, and a thorough system through which young players can emerge. Surprise, surprise!

Understandably, youth development has been in the air. As I have argued in Part I of this series, in most leading footballing countries, Olympics men’s football plays an important role in the development of young players.

This then brings us to the questions of today’s post. In its long history, have Arsenal had many significant heroes who shone at the national level in the Olympics men’s football tournament? And if so, who were these heroes?

At the outset, there is a confession to make. We do not expect many such players. Why? First, because Great Britain does not usually qualify for the Olympics football competition and even when they do, they usually do not enter a team. The reasons for this are complex, and I will go into that later in the series. But just to set the perspective, a Great Britain football team has participated only in 9 Olympic Games since inception of national Olympics football: 1908 (prior games in 1900 and 1904 used club teams), 1912, 1920, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, and finally after a long break in the 2012 Games.

Second, until 1992, only amateur players competed in the Olympic Games, at least officially, and since then Olympics football has been officially designated as largely an under-23 tournament, with only three over-age players allowed per nation. Hence, Olympics football players would not normally be expected to play for Arsenal. However, Olympics may be a good place to scout for players, and some such players may have come to play for Arsenal when they turned professional, or more lately, when they emerged from the academy.

Today, I focus on the amateur Olympics football era. Only 5 Olympian amateur footballers for Great Britain were signed by Arsenal after turning professional, all of them British. They are Harold Adrian Walden and Gordon Rahere Hoare (1912, both Gold medallists), Bernard Joy (1936 Games), Stanley Charlton (1952) and Laurie Brown (1960). In addition, Maurice Edelston, who played for team GB in the 1936 Games was a wartime guest footballer for Arsenal. Let us find out a bit more about these 5 players, and a sixth as well.

Olympics 1912 team (1)The Football Association entered a Great Britain national amateur team in the 1912 Olympic Games. The team won the gold medal, though the IOC accredits Great Britain and Ireland with the medal. Walden and Hoare were key members of this team.

1912 British Olympic Football Team – Harold Walden back row, 4th from left, Gordon Hoare back row, 3rd from right

Harold Adrian Walden (10 October 1887 – 2 December 1955) played in all three matches and scored eleven goals: 6 goals in the 7-0 decimation of Hungary, all 4 goals in the 4-0 semi-final victory over Finland, and one goal in the 4-2 victory over Denmark in the final. Hoare scored 2 of the other 3 goals in the final. Walden holds the record of being the ‘Highest British goal scorer within the Olympics’ and is still the fourth highest goal scorer overall within the Olympics.

Walden was born in Umballa, India, where his dad was serving with the 2nd Cheshire Regiment. His family returned to live in Manchester in 1889. He joined the army in 1902 and served in India and Ireland. He played for the Army against the Navy in 1910 and 1911, and also served in World War I, rising to the rank of captain. After the war ended he joined Arsenal and played six times for the Gunners, scoring a single goal and in four friendlies, with his debut coming on 12 February 1921.

On retirement from football, Walden carved out a second career as actor in theatre and films. He played the lead role of ‘Jack Metherill’ in the 1920 film ‘The Winning Goal’, and also played himself on stage in his football shirt in the 1948 film ‘Cup Tie Wedding’. He became part of the famous Ernest Binns Arcadian Follies in the 1940’s. He fell on hard times and in the early 1950’s his Gold Medal was sold.

Olympics 1912 - GB vs Hungary - Walden

Walden – extreme right, with the ball

Gordon Rahere Hoare (18 April 1884 – 27 October 1973) scored two goals in the final. He joined Woolwich Arsenal in 1907, making his League debut in a First Division match against Sheffield Wednesday on 20 April 1908, the last day of the 1907-08 season. Although he played 11 League matches in 1908-09, scoring five goals, unhappy at the lack of regular first team football and moved to Glossop North End in December 1909.

Hoare returned to Woolwich Arsenal in December 1910. He scored six times in fourteen games for Arsenal in the 1910-11 season but was once again dropped at the start of the following season, unable to oust John Chalmers and Charles Randall from the front line. He rejoined Glossop in February 1912. In total, Hoare played 34 times for Arsenal, scoring 13 goals.

Olympics 1912 Stockholm Football Final - Hoare

Hoare – Front right

Hoare and Walden were the first Arsenal players who played football for Great Britain in the Olympics, and they both won gold medals. Arsenal then had to wait an awfully long time to find another Olympic gold medallist. More on that later. Now, let us focus on some other amateur players played in the Olympics and later signed for Arsenal.

Prior to and following the start of the World Cup, the relationship between the FA and IOC turned sour, most notably in British protests against other nations fielding professional players. As Arsenal star and Olympian Bernard Joy in Association Football (1960) wrote: “Out of pocket expenses were paid far in excess of the reimbursement for hotels and travelling. … [Payments] for time lost from work, were made for playing and training, and teams were taken off for intense preparation together. Whatever the reason or excuse, thinly-veiled professionalism was rampant.”

After some protracted negotiations, a GB football team was entered in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. They lost in the quarter-finals 4-5 to Poland, but Arsenal player and captain Bernard Joy scored 2 goals.

bernard-joy-olympianBernard Joy (29 October 1911 – 18 July 1984) joined the then First Division champions Arsenal in May 1935. Joy mainly played as a reserve, only playing two games in his first season – he didn’t make his debut for Arsenal until 1 April 1936 against Bolton Wanderers. Arsenal won the FA Cup that season but Joy played no part in the final.

Joy 2

Highbury 1939. Wilson (Arsenal) saves while Bernard Joy (centre) holds off Hunt (Bolton)

 

However, he did gain recognition at international level soon after, when on 9 May 1936, he played for England in their 3-2 loss against Belgium, making him the last amateur to play for the national side. Given the nature of professional and amateur games in the modern day, it is unlikely Joy’s record will ever be taken by another player. Although Joy was playing for Arsenal at the time, he was still registered as a Casuals player and he is recorded in the England history books as playing for them at the time, not Arsenal. Interesting! :razz:

 

Joy book

Joy continued to play for Arsenal, mainly deputising for the Gunners’ established centre-half Herbie Roberts. Roberts suffered a broken leg in October 1937 and Joy took his place in the side for the remainder of the 1937-38 season, winning a First Division winners’ medal, and then, with Roberts having retired from the game, on through the 1938-39 season (earning a 1938 Charity Shield winners’ medal in the process).

With the advent of World War II, Joy joined the Royal Air Force, though he still turned out for Arsenal (playing over 200 wartime matches) and won an unofficial wartime England cap. In June 1940, he was one of five Arsenal players who guested for Southampton in a victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage. He also appeared as a guest player for West Ham United later in World War II making two appearances. He retired from top-flight football in December 1946.

In all, he played 95 first-class (that is, non-wartime) matches for Arsenal, though he never scored a goal. However, with Arsenal, he won the First Division in 1937-38, and the FA Charity Shield (now the FA Community Shield) in 1938. Finally, Bernard Joy wrote perhaps the first authoritative history of Arsenal Football Club.

bernard-joy-obituary

The 1936 GB Olympics football team led by Bernard Joy also included Maurice Edelston (27 April 1918 – 30 January 1976) who was a wartime guest footballer for Arsenal. Later on, he became a brilliant commentator and is mostly remembered in this role.

Maurice Edelston

 

Next up is Stanley “Stan” Charlton (28 June 1929 – 20 December 2012) who was a stand-by player for the 1952 Olympics team. In November 1955 Charlton joined Arsenal and succeeded Len Wills as the club’s first-choice right back. He made his debut on 24 December 1955 against Chelsea and was an ever-present in the 1956–57 and 1957–58 teams. He played for the London XI in both legs of the semi-finals of the 1955–58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup against Lausanne Sports. Before quitting Arsenal in December 1958, he had made 110 appearances, scoring three goals (all of them in the FA Cup).

The final Olympian who later turned professional and played for Arsenal was Laurence (“Laurie”) Brown (22 August 1937 – 30 September 1998) who played in the 1960 Olympic Games in Italy (Rome). Great Britain failed to progress to the knockout stage and came eighth overall. The British team lost 3-4 to Brazil, drew 2-2 with hosts Italy and defeated China 3-2. Brown scored 4 goals, 2 against Brazil and one each against Italy and China.

Laurie Brown

In August 1961 he signed for First Division Arsenal, and immediately became a first-team regular in the Arsenal side. Brown amassed 109 appearances for the Gunners in two-and-a-half seasons, scoring two goals. At the time, Arsenal were the less successful of the two north London sides, and Brown made the surprising move up the Seven Sisters Road to Arsenal’s deadly rivals, Tottenham Hotspur in February 1964. :sad: Brown became one of the few players to play for both clubs.

That’s it for this time, folks. A glimpse of a mostly forgotten part of our history. 5 (and a half) Olympians and 2 gold medallists. Next time it will be the turn of our youth Olympians.

Written by Arnie

 


Give Us An ‘F’: Alternative Arsenal Alphabet

July 23, 2014

First off, get yourselves out of the gutter.

Just because we’re dealing with ‘F’ words does not mean that the tone of this fine blog will be in any way compromised.

No f*cking way.

So we are onto the sixth letter in our Alternative Arsenal Alphabet – and it’s one that throws up some fine entries to this anthology.

As always, please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

F is for…

Firsts

The Arsenal have been responsible for many “firsts’ – a lot of them initiated by the great Herbert Chapman who managed the club in the 1930s. To list but a few…

First club to use floodlights.

First to use undersoil heating.

First club to install turnstiles.

First (and only) club to have a London Underground station renamed in its honour.

First ever game broadcast live on the radio was an Arsenal game (Arsenal v Sheffield Utd, 1927).

First ever game broadcast on TV was an all-Arsenal affair (Arsenal v Arsenal Reserves in 1937).

First game ever to appear on Match of the Day was Arsenal at Liverpool in 1964.

First match broadcast live in 3D (Arsenal v Man Utd in January 2010).

I could go on but you get the point: we are The Arsenal – the greatest club in the history of world football. (Incidentally, our N17 neighbours have absolutely no firsts, but they do have 11 number twos turning out on a regular basis).

Fire

Did you know that the North Bank was destroyed by fire in 1941? The blaze was caused by a visit from Herr Hitler’s Luftwaffe, who somewhat rudely dropped a bomb on our fine stadium. Fortunately these days the only German aerial threat is when the BFG goes up for a corner.

Finals

OK, do you know how many (fully competitive) finals we have played in over the years?

The answer is 31, made up of 18 FA Cup Finals, 7 League Cup Finals,, 3 Cup Winners’ Cup Finals and 1 each of the Fairs Cup Final, Champions League Final and UEFA Cup Final. Out of that 31 we came home with the silverware on 15 occasions.

Film

Under ‘A’ I mentioned the 1930s film The Arsenal Stadium Mystery. It has since been drawn to my attention that there are many movies in which The Arsenal has featured in some (often very small) way. For example: in The Full Monty there’s the celebrated scene in which the men are taught to dance with one arm in the air by being told to emulate the famous Arsenal back four. Then there was Fever Pitch, the film based on Nick Hornby’s memoir of growing up as an Arsenal supporter. Among the lesser well known is the brief appearance of a bloke in an Arsenal shirt in the 1995 film ‘Hackers’. I know you might sniff at such a fleeting glimpse of an Arsenal shirt, but in ‘Hackers’ the chap wearing it was busy boffing Angelina Jolie at the time (I’ve always wondered whether Chas has an alibi for that day)…

There are many more film references to explore. If you would like to read about them here’s the link:   http://www.arseweb.com/other/movies.html

Friendship

No, not the end-of-the-night, drunken, arm-around-your-best-mate saying “I really love you, honest” sort of friendship. I refer to The Bank of Friendship in the Blackstock Road – a fine, outstanding example of an Arsenal boozer. I probably should have included it under ‘B’ but as I forgot, it’s getting a look-in here. It was always my favourite post-match pub while we were at Highbury and I’ll never forget the party there when we clinched Arsene Wenger’s first league title in 1998 (the game where we beat Everton 4-0, the scoring capped off with a Tony Adams volley). There was so much rhythmic jumping up and down in the bar that the whole building was vibrating and the glasses on the top shelf above the bar were shuffling merrily along to the edge of the shelf and falling off, one after the other. I don’t think the landlord really cared – he must have made a fortune that day.

Fighting

You don’t often see a punch-up at The Arsenal these days and, sadly, if you do it’s more likely to be between two Arsenal supporters. But back in the days before segregation of fans was introduced it was not uncommon to see some full-blooded brawls both inside and outside the ground. As I recall, Arsenal fans were never really known for having a feared “firm” of hooligans (unlike Chelsea, West Ham, Leeds United, Manchester United, Millwall and so forth). Even so, I knew plenty of Gunner loons who were not averse to a bit of fisticuffs. Still, there’s no question that it’s a good thing those days have long gone and most people now go to football for the football, not the fighting.

RockyLives

 

 

 

 

 


Are the Oligarths looking after their own money?‏

July 23, 2014

Morning Gooners,

Now I know we don’t do politics, religion and all those things that make the world go round, but I felt I had to put a few words together to discuss the following. Many supporters have been asking for one of our major share holders to use his billions to buy Arsenal FC outright and spend some of that vast wealth on players.

Many supporters don’t care where Usmanov’s money has come from. He is a business man, who has his billions in many pots, but where his money has actually come from no one can say for sure.

Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovitch is also running a big football club, it’s reported that he started off selling matches on street corners, and then branched out selling rubber dolls from his pokey little flat. He must have sold a lot of matches and dolls to build his wealth to six Billion.

Usmanov is another that has amassed an eleven billion fortune, rumoured to have come from minerals and other means, but no one seems to know the actual truth. These two billionaires are not alone in Great Britain judging by the papers, who recently named six russians that were all multi billionaires.

With the trouble between the Russians and Ukraine where things are getting warlike, I noticed that our Prime Minister, David Cameron has threatened sanctions on Russian deals, and wait for it, he has also stated that the Russian billionaires funds which are sitting in British banks may be held, and will not allow those billionaires to use their funds, until this Ukrainian business is settled.

Now I am far from a financial wizard, but that suggests to me that the kind of action that the Prime Minister is suggesting, is saying that their money is not really theirs, but is being looked after by them for the Russian Government.

Looking at what is happening, has made me think that what the Russian Government has done, is syphon of the country’s wealth, and given it to certain people to look after, until this money is needed. It’s been smuggled out of the country, so the Russian public are not aware of it. Of course these so called billionaires have to act out the rich man, but when you’re holding a billion what’s a yacht or two, or even a football club, lets face it yachts and football club money can be redeemed, Mayfair Apartments can be sold and so on.

Now wouldn’t you take on a job like that, live like a billionaire, and find a safe haven, invest a bit in a business and look the part. Putin runs the country, and also lives like a wealthy man, but with him he is hungry for power. And when the shit hits the fan, he always has vast wealth being held, and could disappear at the snap of a finger,

Now I may have it all wrong, and all these people may be straight down the middle, but I have a sneaky feeling that I am not that far wrong, I have always been against Usmanov’s money being used  at Arsenal, and even if I’m wrong I am still glad we do it our own way and don’t need a ‘Sugar Daddy’.

Written by Steve Palmer

 


Is Wenger Right ?

July 22, 2014

After our win at Borehamwood Wenger stated that he would not be adding to the forward line. He said “Up front we don’t need any more. It’s not especially for numbers. We need a goalkeeper for sure and after that it depends on how our midfielders get through without injuries until the start of the season. Maybe at centre-back we’ll still bring one in.”

David Ospina appears to be our third signing and I would hope he is competition to our Number one not just a back up to be used in Carling Cup games.

Szczesny has a good fifteen years left as a top keeper but IMO he still has a lot to learn and it would be nice for him to fight for his place rather than be an automatic choice though I know many will disagree with me.

Wenger was obviously talking about Vermaelen and I would be sad to see him go but if he does leave I really think it’s a mistake. He is a good player who lost form and has struggled to get his place back with the formidable duo of Mertesacker and Koscienly practically always being first choice but as we know Per reads the game well but by far is not the quickest defender around.

Miracles do happen so maybe Diaby can fill that hole for rotation in certain games. Wishful thinking on my part and I suspect there are at least two or three options on the cards if Vermaelen leaves.

Our ‘goals for’ has to improve and a fully fit Ramsey will provide those together with the new signing Sanchez and eventually Walcott, though he will miss at least 15 + games from the start of the season. Ozil and Cazorla should be able to up their goals apart from providing many assists.

Will the ever smiling Podolski be a starter,based on last season, the answer is no.

I have said it many times that a basis for a good team is a solid defence and I don’t want to see us ripped apart as last season by four teams who also finished in the top seven. That amounted to half the goals we let in in the whole season.

This is the key to having a good season by improving our points tally against the main contenders. Sagna was a big loss as he could play in three different positions, nearly always tried his best but it’s difficult to bomb along the wing and cross the ball only for no one to being in the box.

Our game needs to be played far more on the ground and at a quicker pace especially when counter attacking.

So in conclusion we need to score more and concede less and then we have a fighting chance for the Title

kelsey


Stadiums – can we improve ours?

July 21, 2014

We’re good. City and Utd are sorted. So what’s going on with Chavs, Spuds and Pool. Surely they’re overdue upgrades. Anyone know what’s going on, and while we’re on the subject, any thoughts on improving our gaff?

Oh, and are The ‘ammers seriously moving into the Olympic Stadium, and exactly how far from the pitch will they be squatting in their cages?

Just a thought on Chelsea. What a dump that bit of it is. Many years ago I lived at The World’s End (border Chelsea/Fulham), and heard a great explanation why there are no Tube’s within the Sloane Sq, Fulham Broadway, Parsons Green triangle. Apparently that’s where the Plague bodies are buried. I concluded the resultant drinking water table pollution might explain the local inhabitants “difficulties”. Just a thought.

Back to our gaff. Ok, I’m in the minority in hating those giant blu-tacked on posters around the outside, and the hideously vulgar listing of dates when we won stuff around the top tier (err, modesty?), but what should be done to really lift match day experience.

Personally, I couldn’t care less. Go. Watch game. Leave. However, I do understand some like to get there early, soak up the atmosphere and eat and drink. Strikes me that it’s all good if you’re in Club or Box level, but for most it’s absolute crap. Seriously overprice shite food and drinks, with nowhere to sit. What about outside around the ground? Nothing. Of course they’re trying to get people inside to splash their cash, but really, is it working?

When I went to the game at Bayern last season, they have a system where you cannot spend cash inside the stadium, you buy a card/voucher and put however much you like on it. The food was better than ours and the drinks way more reasonable. Loads of seating everywhere and many fans there early.

Over to you. Stadium thoughts?

Written by MickyDidIt89


Arsenal’s pre-season starts today

July 19, 2014

Morning all

Pre-season kicks off today with a game at Borehamwood’s Meadow Park where they have just had a new stand built and Gooners get to watch a match featuring some of their idols.

fa cup pic

I started to think about who would be playing and as the boss mentioned that he would change the team for both halves I wondered if we could have a stab at a couple of teams.

I’ve had a good look at the pictures from the training ground, there’ll be some fresh faces on show this afternoon – always an exciting prospect.

Coquelin is back with the squad, Zelalem too. Gnabry should feature and I hope we’ll see Eisfeld.

The FA Cups – Mens and Ladies – will be on show and I’m sure all the Gooners that are going will give Aaron Ramsey and all the players a massive welcome.

Here’s my stab a team

Szczesny – who else is there?

Jenks  Miquel ? Gibbs

Matthieu

Gnabry Rosicky Arteta Coquelin

Yaya Sanogo

Can anyone help out with another centre-back?

If you’re going to the game have a great time. If you’re watching it on Arsenal.com then come and chat about it afterwards and let us know what you think.

peachesgooner


BT Sports ad to help push Arsenal to success

July 17, 2014

The new BT Sport ads appear to have been deliberately chosen to wind us up by highlighting some of our darkest days from 2013-14.  First out of the traps was an ad featuring our 5-1 thrashing by then-flying-high Liverpool, with alternating visions of exuberant Scousers and depressed Gooners, supposedly taking in the events in real time.  And BT Sport followed that up with a number based on the worst of all, our 6-0 humiliation at the Bridge.

Some (including our very own Evonne/Eddie) took umbrage and have complained about the bias at BT Sport their choices appear to betray.  (Chas even posted something suggesting that the senior marketing bod at BT Sport was a paid-up Spud.)

I understand the feeling, every one of us was horrified to watch those games, plus the 6-3 capitulation to a referee-assisted Man City and the 3-0 slump to Everton.  Even the defeat at Old Trafford, although only a single goal, was embarrassing in its own way, given how many lesser teams went there and got one or three points last season. It is painful to see moments such as those again.

But I’m pleased that BT Sport chose to highlight some of our heavy defeats.  It is a fact that we were hammered in those games, and it is also a fact that we fell short in the race for the title in large part due to our abject failure to take many points from our top-seven rivals, especially away from home, where our record was a pathetic P6 W1 D0 L5 F5 A21.  If we are serious about challenging for the title in the coming season, and right to the end, not just up until March or April, our record against the other top sides simply has to be improved.

Of course, our remarkable consistency last season against sides from the remainder of the league is something to respect, but each one of the five away defeats to rivals that we suffered last season is a reason for revenge.  We should be pleased that those defeats are being rammed down our throats now; next season I want to see the players and the fans take those defeats and avenge them with better performances and better results, against those rivals, home and away.  To use a footballing cliché, I hope that someone like Steve Bould pins a list of those results to the dressing room wall and challenges the players to find motivation in them.

So I won’t be doing any complaining to BT Sport, in fact I may send them a thank you note.

Written by 26may1989


At last, you don’t have to leave Arsenal to find silver.‏

July 16, 2014

Morning Gooner’s

The title says it all, Arsenal players taste victory without leaving. Arsenal players were heavily involved in this last World cup even if they haven’t even donned our shirt, as Young Campbell proved, Ok he never went on to win the world cup but he played his part and opened our eyes into the possibility that he may just wear the red and white of Arsenal.

Mesut, Poldi, and Merts, 3 of Arsenals finest were in the German team that picked up the World Cup, the biggest trophy in world football and Arsenal football club is recognised once again. We also had many of our stars feature for their respective countries, maybe not getting to the final but good enough to be part of their squads.

Every player who takes up the sport, wishes that one day, they will be able to pull on their Countries shirt, that is the pinnacle of most footballers career’s. This year has been the first for some, and others got to taste it again. Arsenal footballers have in fact had a good season. winning the FA cup and featuring in other competitions as well, even looking to win some of them. Only a few of our players never got to kick a ball in Brazil but surely their time will come.

Theo Walcott stands out for me, a young lad who was introduced to World Cup football by Sven Goran Eriksson, a strange choice in my opinion when the lad had hardly done anything for Arsenal or his country, and had I been an English forward at that particular time I would have had the right hump with Mr Eriksson’s choice. Theo as it turned out, was only taken to a world cup for experience, he didn’t even play one game, and that was at a time when English strikers were thin on the ground. Maybe Eriksson was thinking of the future but as we know, Eriksson was moved on, and Theo has had another World Cup watching only. Theo will probably have one last chance but for a young man with so much promise maybe he’ll never get to play in a World Cup.

I also feel for Oxlade Chamberlain, injured for this world cup, but was in the squad, a little reminiscent of Theo really, there but not there. Both these players are very talented, but also injury prone, now if that does not change, they may never be included in World cup finals.

Arsenal has been in the doldrums for quite a few years, and although Arsène Wenger has pushed our teams as hard as he has, its only since player buying has improved that we are seeing a difference. The Premier league has attracted many fine players. Rumoured to be the best league in the world, and also paying wonderful wages. Arsenal’s debts have decreased and the money has started to become available, although we have a Manager that can find players and get the most out of them, we have also needed that Marquee player who make the cogs turn.

Mesut Ozil has been our first Marquee signing for quite a few years, and although his first season with us has shown his talent, he hasn’t exactly excelled. having said that he has helped Arsenal win their first trophy for years.I also feel he is pivotal for new marquee players to join. Arsenal are showing intent, in the space of a season we have 2 marquee signings, high wages and bonuses makes this an expensive intent, but I don’t believe we are finished yet.

Many asked for players during the last transfer window, and as I remember 3 or 4 was the preferred number. Wenger left it late in the window and caught a cold. He had hoped for Suarez but that fell through, what a buy that would have been, we offered £40m and a pound, a season later he is sold for £75m.

It has to be said that, in the past, we have sold very good players who have gone on to win trophies, but its also true that we also have a lot of youngsters who are also very good.  Gibbs, Gnabry, Theo, Ox, Rambo, Jack, Ya Ya and also not forgetting Joel, with the inclusion of Mesut and Alexis we are beginning to look like a young Germany. They have years of fruitful futures, and, not forgetting my own countrymen, so do we.  England didn’t have a good World cup but the potential is there for all to see.

Arsenal have become a side that can compete, with a manager who strives for success, a club with impeccable credentials and finance, we are going to turn heads without a shadow of a doubt. Arsenal are back and we intend to stay there for the foreseeable future.

Written by Steve Palmer

 


Arsenal’s next Captain

July 15, 2014

The other day LB wrote an interesting post entitled “Is Thomas Vermaelen still needed? This led me to think about the player as a captain and conversely the captain as a player.

Before looking at individuals in those roles I got to thinking just what should we look for in a Club Captain, note the capital letters, in my opinion the Club Captain is equally as important as The Manager, The Chief Executive or The Owner.

So the candidate should be of sufficient stature, not just in a physical sense, but in the status he holds in the game as a whole. To attain the necessary status he must have been around a while, he must be a good enough player to command a starting place in the club’s first team and preferably in his National side as well. He should also have earned the respect of not only his own team but also opposing players and particularly the on pitch officials. Needless to say he must also be media savvy, articulate and able to offer rational answers to irrational questions at times of both elation and disappointment in post match interviews for example.

tony adams

Looking back, I can recall Frank McLintock, sleeves rolled up barking out orders to players, organising his defence at corners and free kicks and generally running things on the pitch. Similarly with Tony Adams and of course Patrick Vieira. Arguably the best Captain I ever saw was the incomparable Bobby Moore, calm authoritative and respected throughout football.

Latterly the armband has been a bit of a poisoned chalice, not only at Arsenal but also at international level with England. Fabregas and van Persie were appointed only to depart shortly after, Vermaelen suffered both a shocking loss of form and a series of injuries and could soon follow the other two out of the club and there are rumours that Arteta could also go if someone of the stature of Khedira or Bender are signed. In the England team the captaincy has, disgracefully, been swapped around more times than at a kid’s game of pass the parcel.

At the moment it appears to me that should Vermaelen leave, the only rational candidate would be Per Mertesacker, but for how much longer can he command that starting place in the team? Longer term we can all hope and expect the appointment of Jack Wilshire, but will it happen?

What are your views on both the Captain’s role as, should it be largely ceremonial, tossing the coin, handing over a little pennant and posing for a snap with the officials or, as the Manager’s voice on the pitch and the players representative off it. Surely there must come a time when a stop is put to the absurd situation of referees being mobbed by a group of angry players, then only the Captain should be allowed to approach the officials, and that will require a calm sensible approach, one more attribute needed for the job.

Who should our next Captain be?

Written by Norfolk Gooner

 


Who has got to go? Its all about the quotas

July 14, 2014

On the back of the signing of a player, we Arsenal fans have become used to players leaving to balance the books, with quite a few released at the end of the 2014 campaign, there may not be the normal rush from the club to make this happen. Arsene has reiterated over and over again that its just as important to keep the squad together as it is to bring in new talent.

But there are parameters within which we need to work, those set down by both UEFA and the FA in terms of homegrown players. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that our recent acquisitions have not fulfilled these quotas, in addition to the new arrivals we have players who have now matured into a “need to be named” age, only three or four years ago I would have been unfussed about our squad quota’s Jack, Aaron and Carl are now of an age where they have to be named, this reduces the available squad places on offer, although they do fulfil the homegrown quota.

Or do they? One of the issues now confronting clubs is that there is a different set of rules for Europe compared to the Domestic League.

I’m sure I have written enough posts on the subject by now that I don’t need to go over the rules again…….oh……ok well pay attention this time!

Premier League Homegrown Rules:

Maximum squad size 25
Maximum Non Homegrown Players 17
Complemented by Under 21 on 1 January of the year the season commences. So under 21 on 1 January 2014 (born on or after 1 January 1993)

Definition of Homegrown : those players who irrespective of nationality or age, have been affiliated to the FA or Welsh FA for a period of three seasons or 36 months prior to 21st birthday.

Simples!

Now what about European Competition?

Well UEFA have got clever with the rules, in principle they are the same except the 36 months rule applies between the ages of 15 and 21, 4 of the 8 home grown quota must be club homegrown.

I actually thought this was why Liverpool buying Lambert was a masterstroke, but having checked wiki he was not there past the age of 15…….so answers on a postcard please.

Anyway back to the main point, where is our squad now in relation to the rules above?

Key below : HG – Association Homegrown, CG – Club Homegrown, U21 – work it out

Disclaimer I am only adding U21′s that have featured in the first team.

Name Status Contract To
Wojciech Szczesny CG 2018
Kieran Gibbs CG 2018
Jack Wilshere CG 2018
Aaron Ramsey CG 2018
Francis Coquelin CG 2015
Theo Walcott CG 2016
Carl Jenkinson HG 2018
Per Mertesacker 2017
Thomas Vermaelen 2015
Laurent Koscielny 2017
Nacho Monreal 2017
Tomas Rosicky 2016
Mikel Arteta 2015
Mesut Ozil 2018
Santi Cazorla 2016
Mathieu Flamini 2015
Abou Diaby 2015
Lukas Podolski 2016
Olivier Giroud 2017
Alexis Sanchez 2019
Ryo Miyaichi 2015
Joel Campbell 2016
Gedion Zelalem U21 ?
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain U21 2018
Yaya Sanogo U21 2017
Serge Gnabry U21 2018

Anyone care to explain what is going on with Djourou? He is still on the club website as an Arsenal player, but there were reports last year that he had sealed a permanent move to Hamburg….if he is still ours he would count as Club Homegrown.

So thats the list and what can we do with it.

Well lets assume we want a full 25 man (over 21) squad, we need at least 4 club homegrown for UEFA purposes, well as you can see we are actually well covered in this area, that Mr Wenger isn’t stupid is he?

Out of those listed 5 could be considered to be first team quality:

Szczesny, Wilshere, Ramsey, Theo and Gibbs.

All good for that UEFA minimum requirement, and because we have one more than required we only need a minimum of three other homegrowns, well this is perhaps from last years squad where we struggle, Jenkinson is in there but are we really going to include Coquelin as well? If Djourou remains then he would make the full 8 player quota. But the chances of both players being in red and white this season are slim. Although I personally have always liked Coquelin, an unfussy midfielder able to tackle and move the ball.

I know that we don’t have to fill the entire 25 spaces available, but wouldn’t it be good from a rotation point of view to have a bit more experience and nous around that adds to the squad.

So where does that leave us, well we now have 17 berths to fill, go on add up the non home growns above….15….so 2 spaces, the under 21′s have a free pass to play so can avoid the knife.

Most of us think we need at the very least one experienced keeper, one defensive midfielder and an experienced right back, thats one more than we can acquire if the rest of the squad is retained, unless we can find some homegrown (by definition) talent to fill some of those gaps.

In the past it would be easy to identify the chaff to be separated but now it is not so easy probably Miyaichi who hasn’t progressed due to injury and Diaby who hasn’t played because of injury are prime lambs for the slaughter, that gives us four available spots for non home grown talent.

I always finish these kind of posts with one thought……screw being a manger with these rules and limits in place, you need to plan three, four or five years ahead to stay ahead of the game, you have to look at your youth and decide who will be able to fulfil roles going forward that others will vacate. Thank goodness its not my job, and thankfully we have Arsene, someone who isn’t just planning for todays successes but also for future one’s too.

Anyone else think they have a decent plan to get in the players we need without destabilising the squad with simultaneous departures?

Written by Gooner in Exile


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 464 other followers