Captain Material – sorry, not Cesc any more….

I’m a great admirer of Arsène Wenger, but apart from his apparent myopia when it comes to assessing goalkeepers, it has been some of his choices for captain that have perplexed me the most. It’s as if he doesn’t really respect the status of captain. It should be the pinnacle of any player’s career to captain his club. To use the captaincy as a tool to boost a player’s confidence (Almunia) or to help persuade a want-away to stay at the club (TH14) devalues it’s standing.

We’ve had some magnificent captains over the years peaking (in my opinion) with Tony Adams followed by Patrick Vieira, but I’m sure some of our long-standing supporters will tell me I’m wrong.

Here is a list of our captains since the 1960’s, excluding stand-ins when the captain was unable to play.

Terry Neill N. Ireland Defender 1962 – 1967
Frank McLintock Scotland Defender 1967 – 1973
Allan Ball England Midfielder 1973 – 1975
Eddie Kelly Scotland Midfielder 1975 – 1976
Pat Rice N. Ireland Defender 1976 – 1980
John Hollins England Midfielder 1980 – 1981
David O’Leary Eire Defender 1981 – 1983
Graham Rix England Midfielder 1983 – 1986
Kenny Sanson England Defender 1986 – 1988
Tony Adams England Defender 1988 – 2002
Patrick Vieira France Midfielder 2002 – 2005
Thierry Henry France Striker 2005 – 2007
William Gallas France Defender 2007 – 2008
Cesc Fabregas Spain Midfielder 2008 – 2010

Adams and Vieira had it all. They possessed the qualities I expect from an Arsenal captain. They were inspirational leaders, father figures to the younger players, big buggers, onfield enforcers, not afraid to take a red card for the cause. They were world class players who led from the front. When they spoke, the players listened. When they stood opposite their opposing counterpart in the tunnel, you felt confident. They epitomised what a captain should be and unsurprisingly, they held trophies aloft at the end of the season.

Some would say that being British is important but I don’t agree, the majority of the squad are foreign – which British player could captain our side at the moment?

All this brings me to our last 3 captains; taking them in order:

Theirry Henry: Vieira was a tough act to follow. Henry was already the subject of transfer speculation. As a striker he wasn’t best placed for the captain’s role and his increasingly petulent displays towards the end of his time were not the conduct expected from a leader. His performances would often lift the team, but he was not ideal captain material. There weren’t that many other candidates for captain in the side, but I’d probably have given it to Gilberto up until his departure.

William Gallas: He didn’t last very long and we all know why – a quite appalling dereliction of duty. Did it even occur to him while he was sulking on the halfway line that if the ball had rebounded off the post from the penalty, that he should be hovering to make the clearance?  I’m not sure he ever commanded the respect of  all the players, but he would have lost it after that Birmingham game. He should have been stripped of the captaincy immediately, not at the end of the season.

Cesc Fabregas: As with TH14, I believe Arsène used the captaincy to help keep him at Arsenal – and if it gave us a year or two more it would have been worth it. He is a born leader – more by example, but what an example? The burning passion with which he despatched that penalty against Barca was awe inspiring; the way he ran through the entire totnum defence from the halfway line to score, was magnificent;  coming off the bench against Villa with a 25 minute 2 goal cameo to win us the game showed how he could pick up the team by the scruff of the neck and almost singlehandedly turn things around.

Should Cesc remain captain if he stays? In my opinion no. Although I would expect him to give his all for the Arsenal for as long as he wears the shirt, I don’t see how he can command the full respect of the other players when they know his heart is elsewhere. Who would be a worthy recipient? I would give the armband to Vermaelen or van Persie.

If you wish to give your opinion please place your vote in the poll below.

Footnote: all the best to Swiss Phil, had things been different, he could have been a great player for us. Maybe the way his confidence was destroyed by Drogbreath is a lesson on how fragile a young player can be when put into the spotlight too early.

148 Responses to Captain Material – sorry, not Cesc any more….

  1. London says:

    Great stuff Rasp.

    Morning all

    Did anyone watch our Captain against Poland last night? Begging my not be the most dignified way to start the morning but please, please stay Cesc.

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning London,

    I agree, give us just one more season Cesc. Ramsey needs that to regain his confidence and Chamakh will take time to settle in.

  3. jack says:

    if he does stay one more year, there’s always a chance he would prolong that if arsenal win trophies; taking away the captaincy would de-motivate him.

  4. Rasp says:

    Morning jack,

    If letting him keep the captaincy would mean he stayed for another year, I’d take it. In truth, I think he’s leaving and the whole debate is purely academic.

  5. JSP says:

    Van Persie with no doubt at all. The guy is a fighter and leads by example. I think the players would totally respect Van Persie as captain.

    Fabregas is just a money grabbing wannaway. Sell him now and get some players in who appreciate what wearing the Arsenal shirt means!!

  6. London says:

    Morning Jack

    I think it is fairly certain that if he stays he will remain Captain.

  7. London says:

    Rasp

    Purely academic! Why so? Are you convinced he is leaving today?

  8. mangetout says:

    why shouldn’t he be captain, just because of some ridiculous newspaper speculation? cesc has never said he wants to leave so until he does i’ll continue believing that he wants to stay – which he HAS said many times

  9. London says:

    JSP

    That is a tad harsh on Cesc if you bear in mind that he has never said that he wants to leave.

  10. London says:

    Morning Mangetout

    Great minds.

  11. Rasp says:

    Not totally convinced London, but swaying in that direction. Like you, I would consider keeping Cesc as the biggest coup of the summer.

    I don’t want Yaya even as part of any deal. I know his agent is poison, but Yaya has never expressed any desire to play for us.

  12. pete smith says:

    i understand where you are coming from, but I just cannot see it happening…it would not help the situation either…like you say, if he stayed, he would still give 100%, so let him keep the armband.

  13. charybdis1966 says:

    A farewell to Swiss Tony and while he may not have been good enough for us I always admired his application and effort. I wish he had come good for us, but I’m sure he’ll get a warm welcome when he comes back to the Grove with Fulham.
    All the best Philippe.

  14. rd says:

    so this is what too much spare time does to the bloggers eh?

  15. Rasp says:

    I’d have no problem with Cesc keeping the armband, I love the guy. I do think Arsene gave out the wrong message when he made Almunia captain and that it was an insult to our great captains of the past.

  16. London says:

    Rasp

    We are going to have work harder to try and find things we disagree on 😉

  17. Rasp says:

    rd,

    A point has been made, you don’t have to debate it. I feel strongly about the position of club captain.

  18. Rasp says:

    🙂 London,

    I’m afraid I’m not going to be around for a while now – watch my back for me 😉

  19. London says:

    Rasp

    I believe that Wenger had no where else to turn when he gave Almunia the arm band. Gallas…not possible for the reasons you state above. Vermaelen….to early. RVP….injured. Arshavin….good idea, but not yet. Who else was there?

  20. SharkeySure says:

    RVP is Vice captain.

    Almunia was only ever third choice (vice-vice?) skipper as far as I can tell. I guess that would only have been based on seniority or length of service.

  21. SharkeySure says:

    oops..Morning All

  22. jena says:

    Captaincy is the least of our problems at the moment. We have a managerial problem at the moment. AW continues to make poor decisions in terms of our squad and all the blame lie with him and not whoever is captain. You article seems to insinuate that Cesc should not be captain coz he has experessed his desire to join Barca, which is highly unfair. Fact is he has been playing with the current squad for a while and he knows that he is not gonna win anything with these guys.Despite AW telling us how good the current squad is, Cesc really knows they are not coz he plays with them and there is nothing he can really do as captain to bring these guys to the same level as him. So please stop apportioning blame where it should not. All blame for the team’s poor run rests squarely with Arsene Wenger……….

  23. Wayne says:

    Bueno

    Got a mate journo interviewing Wenger in 2 hours time……one of the questions that will be asked is surrounding Vermaelens captaincy credentials

  24. London says:

    Wayne

    We hope you come back with some jucy info.

  25. London says:

    Morning Jena

    Which bad decisions do you think Wenger has made?

  26. kelsey says:

    Morning all, and an interesting post,rasp.You ask in the poll if cesc should remain captain if he stays.Well as I write about 66% of voters think he should.

    I have always felt that he was made captain as an honour and at the same time show his importance to Wenger and to the Arsenal faithful, as there was this nagging doubt he would leave sooner rather than later.

    He has shown glimpses of what I believe a captain should do,to lead by example, and to muster the troops together.

    There has been a lot of turmoil or clash of personalities at the club,these last two seasons with Adebayor,Bedntner,Toure,even Nasri and Arshavin, and that does not bode well.
    Adams or McClintock,wouldn’t have taken all this shite from some of these players, but those were different times, times when a player was proud and loyal to wear the badge and showed loyalty.

    Personally, i have always thought a captain should be a defender and the record above shows that, but at the moment,i can’t find another suitable player that ticks the right boxes.Vermaelen would be my choice,but not at present.

  27. London says:

    Chary

    Did you see Panarama last night about the Glaziers? A bunch of babies with their mock Norwich scarves moaning about the fact that their owners aren’t as rich as they thought, hilarious.

  28. gunner says:

    How on earth could wenger made almunia captain?????

  29. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Ras

    There is no way Cesc should remain as Captain (if he stays) He has sold his soul.

  30. charybdis1966 says:

    Hi London – I saw the trailer for it and had quite a chuckle the other day. Once old bacon face finally pisses off to that whiskey soaked retirement home he has lined up they’ll be in a whole heap of trouble on the pitch as well as off.
    Gnarley, I saw you elsewhere just now but I can’t be bothered with “that place”, it’s sadly been overtaken by the pre-teen crowd.

  31. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    chary

    It appears to be that way, I know.

  32. andy says:

    Morning all,
    Good post Rasp, I voted no but I think realistically AW couldnt convince him to stay and then strip him of the armband, it would serve no purpose. The reason I voted no is that I have never thought of him as a leader. True he does lead by example in the sense that he’s a great player and is missed when not there, he does things on the pitch which inspire others but to me a captain is more. A leader should be commanding others, shouting, pointing continually organising and i dont see that in Cesc (or any other flair player for that matter).

  33. Si says:

    Captains armbands got Vermalean written all over it he is an outstanding hard working leader!!!!!!!!!

  34. blaze gooner says:

    expressing the desire to join another team is as shit as saying he wants to leave. tbh im sooo sick with fabregas keeps saying “I will return to Barcelona in the future” when he is the ARSENAL CAPTAIN ffs.

    remember what adebayor had said before he was kicked out — he said AC milan is beyonce to him. he didnt say he wanted to leave either, but fans hit at him.

    i know what fabregas has been doing shows much more heart than adebayor and we all appreciate it. but in my opinion, the reason why there’s such a transfer saga created mainly due to his often saying of wanting to join that club. there isnt any difference between him and adebayor.

    i do believe fabregas will be kept as the captain if he stays. just hope he’s not going to kiss the Arsenal badge next season and no more “El Captain” banners at the emirates.

  35. Gary says:

    Van Persie is the outstanding candidate to be the next skipper, with Vermalen as vice. I think maybe Song has the characteristics of a future captain in him also. Next season will be a big season for Song I think, I just hope the vultures are not circulating around him next year.

  36. London says:

    gg9

    How has Cesc sold his soul?

  37. London says:

    Gary

    Song has taken such a big step forward he is becoming bomb proof.

  38. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    By wanting out London. So unless you’ve been talking to a mate who knows a mate who knows Arsene Wengers cleaning lady, who says its been all a media build up. Forget him as Capitan, as they say in Spain.

  39. London says:

    Blaze

    When has Fabrgas said he will return to Barcelona in the future? You even put it in inverted commas to indicate a quote. I defy you to find one anywhere.

  40. London says:

    gg9, when has Fabregas ever said he wants out? I don’t know anyone at the club I have never claimed to have done so and becasue of that I don’t understand why you suggest that I might. So I wonder, do you have inside information at Arsenal, if so I ask the question again when did Fabregas ever say he wants to leave. Just because you read it on a blog does not make it true.

  41. SharkeySure says:

    ‘That place’ has really gone to the dogs these days.

    That tag line of ‘where you can have an opinion not get one’ is the real killer for me

    You dare post an opinion that doesn’t tow the company line and see how well received your thoughts are.

  42. JSP says:

    Blaze….he didn’t say which Fabregas said it!!! LOL
    Probably Old Man Fabregas

  43. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    “Mediocre”

    Theres a quote from me. That describes The Arsenals performances compared to Manchester United & Chelsea over the past 6 years.

  44. London says:

    gg9 you are trying to move the goal posts. Man up and admit your mistake, Fabregas has never said he wants to leave.

    As for “mediocre” against the mancs and the chavs? I think you are being kind, my choice of words would be “shite”

  45. charybdis1966 says:

    I’d say mediocre and “painful” to watch Gnarley, the Chav results being particularly painful to stomach, seeing us self-destruct like that especially at our place, were new lows for our team at the time. Little did we know our players would out do themselves on that front at Blackburn and most of all at Wigan.
    I saw a Wigan forum where they voted that result as the performance of the season, and good luck to them for that, their team wanted it more and fully deserved that win.
    We all thought that it would be wake up call for the team, and then they promptly went and did the same thing at Fat Sam’s place a couple of weeks later – cheers guys !

  46. kelsey says:

    Morning London.

    If I read what i believe to be the facts, they are as the following.

    Barcelona and their bandwagon have been making all the noises and have faxed a bid of £30 million which has been flatly refused by the club, and that Cesc is not for sale.
    Cesc has said that he has spoken to Arsene to deal with the situation.
    I haven’t seen one quote that cesc has asked for a transfer.

  47. andy says:

    “inconsistent” is probably fairer. At times the lads have been awesome but when the big players are missing, the rest look like lost sheep. I maintain that our best 11 would beat any1 but when you go down to squad members there just isn’t enough quality.

  48. charybdis1966 says:

    I hope I’m not repeating myself Andy but I felt what hurt the most about the Wigan/Fat Sam results was a lack of effort and complacency when we went ahead. I’d be sympathetic to the lads when they were shorn of a number of key players, but what sickened/disgusted me was the lackadaisical attitude when they were leading.
    You’d a thought they’d learnt their lesson when the squandered the 2 goal lead at Wigan, but did they? I thought they should have refunded the travelling Gooners travel & ticket costs after the garbage our team served up that day.

  49. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Cheers chary

  50. Morning all

    He may not have put in a transfer request but I’m pretty certain he has said in the past that he would return to Barcelona.

    Knowing that he would return to Barcelona at some point isn’t reason enough for him not to be captain but whats happening now is that we are led to believe that he has asked to be released sooner rather than later. Rasp’s point about leading a team that knows he wants to move to Barca is a valid one.

  51. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    London

    Stop carrying on like Judge Judy 😉 Where there is smoke…..

  52. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    IMO

    The 1st time that The Arsenal took to the field without a local (that be an English player) was the begining of what exists now.

  53. London says:

    gg9

    You can try and undermine Arsenal all you want but you will never stop me from defending the club I love with all my heart.

  54. kelsey says:

    I like talking to myself, I am well practised 🙂

    Didn’t TH14 get a 10 million bonus and the captaincy in his last season with us.

    I understand rasp’s point,as explained by peaches above, but then you might as well say,drop cesc to the bench,as he wants to go back to Barca.

    Kind of emotional blackmail,perhaps.

  55. Hi kelsey – emotional blackmail indeed. I can’t see him being stripped of the armband but its interesting that theres a band of supporters that would even suggest it.

  56. London says:

    Morning Peaches

    You are not pretty certain becasue he has never said he wants to return to Barcelona. This should not be confused with the question posed to him in his home town 20 miles from Barcelona which went: “where would you like to play after Arsenal?” What is he supposed to say, Real Madrid.

  57. kelsey says:

    Official statement from chelsea, is that joe cole has been released . the plot thickens, morning peaches.

  58. Gnarley – its fair to say that having more norf london boys(English) in the squad would feel more like an Arsenal team but Wenger has brought us some fabulous players from abroad who have delighted us with their talent.

  59. London says:

    Morning Kelsey

    That is interesting about Cole, I still can’t see him coming, what about you?

  60. andy says:

    100% agree Chary. I’m not making excuses for them by saying we had injuries. What those injuries did is highlight the weakness in those remaining. Players who have got a chance to show what they can do just went and hid away. People are quick to run down Nik B but they guy has passion,ambition and confidence things which are sadly missing in most of the others.

  61. kelsey says:

    Not sure london. he is nearly 29, undoubted talent, but again injury prone, and if one believes what one reads he wants about 100K a week, which is the going rate for a player of his standing.

    I would like to see him come to us, but I am pretty sure if he does,someone will be leaving,possibly either Rosicky or Eduardo,can’t see anyone else leaving for JC

  62. Hi London – I’ve tried to find the quote and you’re right, the only quotes come from an interiew on Spanish radio earlier this year where he says he will return to Barcelona but maybe after he retires from football 🙂

  63. dandan says:

    Morning all, Fine mischievous post Rasp. In my view Cesc leads from the front and should stay captain until the door closes behind him on his way out,if indeed he goes, being captain is about how you lead on the field today, what you are going to do tomorrow or next year or some time in the future is neither here or there.

  64. charybdis1966 says:

    Exactly Andy, the squad players had a chance to step up and cement a place in the starting XI, but they showed themselves as being completely unworthy by royally screwing up. Not just on one occasion, but twice.

  65. charybdis1966 says:

    Out of interest I voted “Not important” – so that’s a contentious point in itself.

  66. I’m with you two, andy and chary, very hard to accept that kind of screw-up – shows lack of maturity and quality. They looked like a bunch of schoolboys 😦

    But I love them all just the same – I wish they’d have known how to step up.

    Good point about Nik – even when things are going wrong for him he always keeps going – thats what confidence does for a player.

  67. charybdis1966 says:

    Yes Peachy, who can forget his series of misses against Burnley, but then 3 days later he bags a hat trick against Porto – effort and application brings its own reward.
    I was in the crowd at Burnley and I cheered him off even though he missed half a dozen sitters – the point was he didn’t hide when things weren’t going for him.

  68. London says:

    That’s been the big change in Nick this year and it can probably be traced back to the game when he missed a hat full at home against Burnley I think it was. But not letting that get him down he came back next game scored two and never looked back from then on in.

  69. charybdis1966 says:

    Actually London he scored 3 in the next game.

  70. Alfa says:

    gg9, re your comment about the rot setting in when Arsenal started signed their first foreign player, I started thinking about who you could mean?

    Dennis Bergkamp maybe, the first big European star after English clubs got back into Europe. Old Dennis put up one or two committed performances for us.

    Anders Limpar maybe, when we started bringing in Scandinavians? I think him and John Jensen brought a lot to the team (not many goals in JJ’s case 🙂 )

    Or are you really going all the way back to the 1930’s when we signed a few Dutchmen and Austrians? The 1930’s weren’t a bad time for Arsenal as you may know.

    All of these predate Arsene by the way, he is just carrying on a tradition that has served us pretty well.

    Hi all by the way. Interesting post Rasp. Frank McLintock is my all time fave but that is probably because I was at the right age when he was captain.

  71. The Law says:

    So, GG9 finally shows his true colors. “Buy England!”, yes?

  72. charybdis1966 says:

    Alfa, I’m guessing Gnarley meant that when there was not a single English player in the starting XI, not when there were any foreigners.
    For me our best skipper in recent times has been TA06, but like you that’s probably for reasons more due to my age than anything else.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    G’day

    IMO Frank Mac was the best Captain, closely followed by TA.

    These were captain’s who could assess a game and make on-field changes. They could also scare the beejesus out of a player they considered was slacking.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Law. GG being in a different timezone cannot defend himself. But are you inferring that there is a racist element to his comment?

    If so, Why? He believes that an English player is better suited to the PL than a foreigner – is that a racist remark?

    He harks back to the teams of ’71 and ’89, which were indeed glory days and prior to the influx of foreign players.

    I don’t happen to agree with him that we would be better served if we had more home-grown players, but I would hesitate before questioning his “true colours”.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    I think football started to go wrong when we changed from cotton shirts to nylon

  76. andy says:

    I for one would love to see an Arsenal team full of british nationals again and long for the day when willshere, Ramsay, Gibbs, Eastmond, Bartley etc are there but I’m not against the foreign players, its just that too many of our foreign players aren’t good enough. It all comes down once again to balance. AW has collected a group of very similar young players and whether from the UK or elsewhere we need a few experienced battlers to go with them….IMO of course

  77. andy says:

    Maybe even one or two giants of 6ft plus !!!

  78. Alfa says:

    Just to be clear, no disrespect meant to my mate GG and as BR pointed out I did misread GGs comment. But I happen to believe that nationality makes no difference to the level of commitment to a team/club/cause etc. The commitment comes from a combination of individual character and shared experiences (like winning stuff).

    Chary Chelsea were the first club to field an all foreign team about 10 years ago. They seem to be renowned for their committed, tough approach these days. Not every great player has to be a Charlie George leaping out of the crowd onto the pitch. In some ways you could say the way he managed himself and his career shows a lot less commitment to the cause than someone like Dennis (and Charlie is a hero to me).

    As for Cesc, of course he should carry on as Captain if he stays with us. He is a leader and our best player. If you manage a branch of Asda should you resign because you thought about going to work for Tesco?

  79. Big Raddy says:

    Alfa.

    One could also point to the Inter Milan side who just won the CL without a single Italian player in the starting 11 !!!.

    Were they committed?

  80. Alfa says:

    BR, very true. Their manager also seemed to have invested a bit of emotional energy in the game as well – despite not just talking about leaving the club but actually having done the deal 🙂

  81. Begna Daba from Jimma Ethiopia says:

    Fab was the one who do any thing.Arsene must do every thing to stay our captain.
    I have question “why Arsenal sell his stars and why others buy”? Arsene Wenger answer this question.

  82. SharkeySure says:

    I never ever get this so called distinction between English and non English.

    I actually get quite annoyed when English & British suddenly become interchangeable.

    How long is the list of ‘Overseas’ players who show admirable tenacity and determination that would be classed as ‘English grit’ had they born on these shores..??

    I think Raddys nylon/cotton shirts analogy makes the point pretty well.

    Oh and thanks for mentioning Anders Limpar…who ever it was. His name brightens any day for me…and we really need it here in London at the mo…

  83. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all,

    Thanks for all the comments. Dandan sussed me out – the post was a bit tongue in cheek 😳 Keep Cesc, give him dandan’s house and the captaincy I say!

    Welcome Begna,

    I think the simple answer to your question is that because we don’t have a billionnaire fan running the club, we have to balance the books and in the current economic climate that means letting players go when the price is right.

  84. Alfa says:

    SS, good point. Only 5 of the Captains that Rasp listed are English.

    And it was me who mentioned Anders. He was a ray of sunshine wasn’t he amid some fairly dire games at times.

  85. SharkeySure says:

    Cheers Alfa….

    Pretty odd signing for George Graham that one !!

  86. Rasp says:

    I quite liked Davor Suker – he always brought a smile to my face. We used to sing proper songs in those days – even though ‘Superdav’ was a bit lame 😉

  87. dandan says:

    Rasp, I am afraid having to live in my humble abode, would drive captain fantastic away guaranteed

  88. andy says:

    I suppose the best case for having home-grown players is perhaps the feeling of responsibility to honour the club and the colours. The down side to having players from here there and everywhere must be that at some point the traditions and values are lost or forgotton to a degree. It must be reasonable to assume that a lad born and bred in England would have more of a feeling for the history than one from say Africa. Players will play for themselves, play for their colleagues maybe even play for their manager but will they play for the badge ?

  89. Irishgunner says:

    Afternoon all,

    If Cesc stays he keeps the armband but he’s not captain material – I think most thought that when he got the armband.

    Vermaelen has got “Captain” written all over him.

  90. andy says:

    Spot on Irish. Cesc for one more year and then TV to take over.

  91. kelsey says:

    Off topic,

    I understand, and correct me if I am wrong, that the referees will not tolerate any swearing at them by players,it being a bookable offence in this WC.
    This was highlighted by Rooney swearing, as he always does, the other day in a friendly match .So will his temper get the better of him or not ?

  92. irishgunner says:

    Its a bit sad probably but I’m looking forward to seeing Vermaelen running out with that armband on him – not that I want to see Cesc go or anything like that but you know he’s someone that can really fire us up. He’s a physical fighter and we need someone like that now – he can fire up the team and fans.

  93. irishgunner says:

    If they said it Kelsey they’ll book him.

    The officials go through this fads in tournaments – like they used to book for simulation but then stopped so maybe swearing is the one this year.

  94. SharkeySure says:

    Suker…top top class.

    His goal against Coventry is one that will stay with me for a long long time.

    Can’t load a clip from work (if one even exists), but it involved hom rolling his left foot over the ball dragging it past the defender.

    Then from an angle which would make 99.9999% of footballers of any age sex or nationality use their right foot…he guides it in with the outside of his left boot !!

    Sheer class

    Oh, and I was in the Nou Camp in 1999 when he was warming up as sub. The abuse was the worst I have ever heard – 90 Catalans calling him the son of a whore.

    He runs on all smiles and waving….gets a stone cold (and deliberate!!!) yellow within 2 or 3 mins !!

    Top man.

  95. irishgunner says:

    Suker once got a goal against Villa I think that I love watching – it was an indirect free kick from inside the penalty area and he just blasted it in.

  96. Big Raddy says:

    It is one thing referees recognising the F word, quite another being sworn at in Nrth Korean or Japanese etc.

    It is a ridiculous rule. A man’s game played by men reffed by pansies….

  97. Big Raddy says:

    On a different tack (and perhaps a post), why did AW sign Chamakh when he had previously stated we were blessed in attack?

    Perhaps AW is of the same opinion about Theo as Capello, lacking trust in the little man, and disappointed in his development.

    Because someone has to go …… I believe Eduardo will be sold, and with Nik 52 pushing for a place and ahead of Theo , I cannot see Theo getting much playing time.

  98. irishgunner says:

    One should have etiquette on the field of play. 😆

  99. Rasp says:

    Suker was a firm favourite, he played the game with a smile on his face.

  100. Rasp says:

    Yeah irish,

    Not like that Hurling mallarkey which is just organised mugging 😆

  101. irishgunner says:

    Didn’t Wenger say he bought Chamakh because of all the injuries and NOW he is happy with his attack?

    On another note – every newspaper in Ireland has been linking Kevin Doyle with a move to Arsenal for the last month. Any mention of it across the water? It won’t happen but I don’t know where it came from.

  102. charybdis1966 says:

    Radders, maybe it’s my cricketing back ground, but I never liked the on field swearing – in cricket a raised eyebrow at an umpires decision get’s you a dressing down from your skipper, and rightly so.
    I hope the refs come down hard on swearing at them, especially by the likes of Shrek boy as he has gotten away with it far too long in the Premier League where all the refs are so busy trying to climb up old Bacons face’s rectum to get in his good books.
    If Shrek –and a balding shrek at that nowadays – does get sent off for dissent during an important game in the World Cup I hope he gets the same treatment as Beckham did for the same thing.

  103. irishgunner says:

    I LOVE hurling – playing and watching. Nothing like a bunch of red-headed Irish boggers beating 20 different shades of crap out of each other – nothing better for a Sunday afternoon.

    LUIMNEACH ABU!!! We’ll beat Cork, they’ll see 👿

  104. irishgunner says:

    In all fairness they don’t swear in rugby union and they are no less “manly” if tis the masculinity you are worried about 😆

  105. charybdis1966 says:

    I also think there is far too much hugging and kissing during goal celebrations for my liking; in cricket if your team took a wicket you’d merely pat the bowler on the back – or a high 5 if you’re a bit more modern – not have a mass orgy on the pitch.
    I sound like a stuffy old fart I suppose.

  106. Rasp says:

    Hi chary,

    I think we are going to create a whole new widget for your various descriptions of the venereal Sir Alex (or should that be venerable?)

  107. Rasp says:

    Hey chary,

    Did you see the way Sol went hunting round the pitch to give Nasri a hug every time we scored?

  108. charybdis1966 says:

    Yeah Rasp, a sort of “A rose by any other name” in reverse kind of thing for Sir Drinksalot.

  109. irishgunner says:

    I don’t like the real choreographed routines – Arshavin’s is okay but sometimes the jump with the fist in the air Bergkamp used to do suffices.

    The best celebrations are just those of unbridled joy – like when Grosso scored in the WC semi-final against Germany in ’06.

  110. chary 😆 – too much hugging and kissing ……….

  111. Rasp – thats a can of worms 😯

  112. irishgunner says:

    😆 Peaches is getting protective of Sol

  113. charybdis1966 says:

    No I didn’t notice that Raspers, but Nasri is so slow he’d never have gotten away.

  114. andy says:

    Maybe that explains our lack of goals during the run-in. Nasri didnt want us to score !!

  115. Rasp says:

    Chary – that’s why Nasri always has that slightly worried look on his face

    There’s a topic for a post – 10 greatest Arsenal goal celebrations …. from 2 downwards as CG is bound to come top. I liked Tony Adams’ arch-backed, arms out wide stance. TH got a bit silly with the ‘stand and stare’ I thought.

  116. Rasp says:

    Worst goal celebration (or most embarassing)was when Wrighty thought he’d broken Cliff Bastin’s record and ran the length of the pitch revealing a tee shirt with some message on it – luckily for him, he scored again in the same match to break the record.

  117. kelsey says:

    Eboue, has a way to celebrate goals 🙂

    BR, I know you love Rosicky, but I feel he or Eduardo will be sacrificed for Chamakh.

    Theo will get one more season providing a) he plays more regularly b) he doesn’t get injured, and if the improvement is not forthcoming he may decide to leave himself. For the moment, I don’t get his thoughts that he would prefer to be playing in a central role, as he is better as a provider of crosses than an actual fox in the box type of player.he doesn’t have the physique for that,as he is so easily dispossessed .

  118. SharkeySure says:

    Kelsey, re Theo I agree, but feel that not getting dispossessed is as much about awareness as physical strength, especially in the box where tinme and space are so precious.

    Eduardo at his best was an absolute master of that art. He almost makes time stand still. If you don’t believe me just ask Tim Howard.

    His first response might just be ‘f**k off’ but don’t hold it against him, as it’ll probably be involuntary !

    Both him and Rooney suffer from Tourettes

  119. kelsey says:

    Hi Sharkey,

    Theo’s major fault is that he runs with his head down,just watch him, so there is no awareness in his general play.

  120. irishgunner says:

    you know, I’d be a little lonely without Eboue now – bless him, he tries.

  121. irishgunner says:

    Theo just runs……its what he does…….runs….

    Yet he has scored some good goals for us and England. Its not through luck he scores them…eeemh!

  122. SharkeySure says:

    How could I have not seen that already Kels..?? I’d have to be blind.

    When I see the improvemnet in the kids I see play at my sons age (now 9) from when they strat aged 6-7 thru to 10/11, I really worry about how much football Theo missed by not starting til aged 10.

    I see 8 and 9 yr olds doing Cruyff turns, reverse passes, developing their awareness, picking their spot with shots, and most of all IMPROVING THEIR DECISION MAKING!!!

    Against the spuds he ran infield when Diaby’s only option was a line ball. Diaby as was unhappy wih him as Rooney was the other week.

    You think of the tales players tell of their street football (or cage football in RVPs case). This is nearly always gonna be before they go to Academies aged 10-12 (although I believe its even younger now.

    In those games if you got caught unawares you really knew about it, cos the kid who whacked you might just be twice your age and size !!

  123. SharkeySure says:

    Irish. He might just have an element of the ‘stopped clock’ about him though.

    He doesn’t poorly execute too many things that he tries. He just seems to fairly consistently pick the wrong option to excecute.

  124. irishgunner says:

    100% agreed, terrible decision making most of the time, not only that he can be quite slow making it and when he does pick the right option, 95% of the time he’s too slow in making it and the opportunity is lost.

  125. kelsey says:

    I am just assessing theo as i see him, 4 years on, and i know he is still only 21, clean living,humble lad, not flashy, a model professional.I think all of our fans want him to be successful, but the progression is very,very slow.yes he has had a few excellent games, but he’s not consistent enough.
    So one has to start asking questions or not ?

  126. irishgunner says:

    I think actually the BIGGEST problem with Theo is we all want him to succeed so much Kelsey cos he seems like such a good, honest, young man. If it was someone with the attitude of say Bentley we’d be glad to have got shot of him long ago.

    Hopefully Capello dropping him will make Theo see he has to be consistently good. If not we’ll have to cut our losses sooner rather than later.

  127. kelsey says:

    agreed.

    By the way how much did he actually cost.I thought we payed 5 million down rising to 17 million depending on appearances for us and England,but i may be wrong.

  128. dandan says:

    I see they are saying elsewhere, we are signing Cole @ £115k a week, more chance of AW signing Heskey to play in goal I would have thought

  129. Rasp says:

    Cole won’t discuss contracts with prospective clubs until after the WC. The Cesc situation won’t be settled until then either. I believe that totnum offer signing on fees and we don’t, so presumably the financial package from them will be greater.

    My guess is that there will be a lot of frenzied dealing taking place in the last couple of weeks of the transfer window.

  130. irishgunner says:

    I think it rises to £12million Kelsey – he was the most expensive teenage signing at the time in England if I’m right.

    😆 Dandan – you wonder where they pluck these figures from. RvP, Gallas, AA23 and Cesc are on £90k but we’ll sign up Mr.Injury bags from Chelsea for £115k a week 🙄

  131. London says:

    Heskey in goal, I am trying to picture it. That was funny Dandan.

    Nasri, Arshavin and Rosicky are three very good reasons why we will not bother with Joe Cole.

  132. London says:

    Kelsey

    I reckon Theo has three more seasons at least. Wenger has said many times that you do not see exactly what you have got with a striker until they are 23; he then usually gives the example of Henry.

    I am starting to warm to the fact that Theo will not be in South Africa he could actually start improving.

  133. London says:

    Hi Irish

    I would love to know the details of the Walcott transfer. I think the one thing we are sure of is that there was a down payment of 5 million to which I say so far so good. I find it difficult to imagine that all the criteria has been met to send it up to 12 million and if it does then that can mean that Theo has established himself rightfully in the first team, so I don’t really see why so many people are questioning this deal (I am not saying you are)

  134. irishgunner says:

    Evening London,

    I’m sure all the x,y, and z’s that need to be crossed off for Southampton to get the full whack of money are all laid firmly in Arsenal’s court by which I mean they’ll hardly get it all. I’m not too sure how much it was but a total of £12mil eventually is always in my head for Theo.

    Imagine in 48hours time we’ll be talking about World Cup games – I’m suffering football withdrawals even though I shouldn’t considering the League of Ireland is ongoing but its not free to air, damn Setanta.

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Is it not correct that Southampton had ben Crooknapped and were desperate for cash?. As such we paid €7m for Theo with no further payments due.

    London. I agree that this is a godsend for Arsenal fans. The less players we have at the WC the better (though I accept it would be far less exciting without our lads). Theo will get a decent pre-season following a rest. Hopefully he can then have an injury free season

  136. Big Raddy says:

    Irish. What is hurling? Is it played with a fish? Don’t they use a curved fishing rod with a net attached….?

  137. kelsey says:

    This cole transfer is quite fascinating. if modric goes to united spurs may snap him up, and I think that we may want him if cesc actually goes, therefore the ” no decision until after the WC” makes sense.
    I can’t see us buying him even on a free unless someone leaves.

  138. Hollywood says:

    Evening all and Kelsey I’ll answer you..

    I do believe Cole has signed on the dotted line already for us. He has to keep silent as he’s still in contract until 30th June.

    He is odds on in all the bookies websites to join us 1st July. He seemed relaxed in being questioned about it today as did Wenger.

    Arsenalinsider has an “exclusive” on the deal and I’ve heard the same 3 days back but from a Spurs source. I use the owrd source skeptically as it so often throws up a “who the feck do you know” question. But I got it from a member of coaching staff at Spurs who was my mates best man at his wedding..

  139. Livers says:

    Apologies Kelsey, “hollywood” was me….. just didn’t type over my Mrs’ name

  140. kelsey says:

    I read the same article,Livers, and they are adamant that Cole has signed.
    If true, surely someone must be leaving in the midfield or in attack, yet our priorities must be on defensive signings.

  141. London says:

    On July 2nd if this Cole thing hasn’t happened Arsenal Insider looses all credibility.

  142. dandan says:

    The Gerrard story has been quoted to me again as fact, I read a complete debunking of it somewhere but cant remember where, can anyone help please.

  143. Livers says:

    I think Arsenal Insider left it open too “we have offered” rather than signed… it’s an easy get out clause but I heard the same thing from a Spurs coach last week

  144. andy says:

    I’m confused as to why people think Cole is not an ideal Wenger signing. He’s technically excellent, short, gets injured a lot and free. It’s a done deal as far as i’m concerned.

  145. You’re right andy – Joe Cole has all Wengers favourite attributes 🙂

  146. andy says:

    haha. I do like him though and think that it would be a good move. Redknapp will pay more wages so prob go to the spuds unfortunately

  147. andy says:

    I’m sitting here wondering if Cole is a shining example of why Cesc shouldn’t go to Barca. I remember hearing about Cole when he was just a kid at Westham. He was going to be the biggest England star since Gazza and then he joined Chelsea. He has a trophy cabinet full of silver but does he honestly look back on his career so far and think he has fulfilled his potential ? Does he wonder what might have been if he had joined a club where he would be a star rather than another squad member winning trophies without truly earning them ? I’m not saying he hasn’t done his share but there is a difference. Will Cesc have even more to regret if he gives up on what he already has but moreso what he could go on to achieve with us ? I have no doubt in Cescs abilities but will he ever be idolised the way he is at the Arsenal ? Barca will get their trophy signing and then what ?

  148. Fuzzy Threads, LLC “All your pet needs” /”Get your fuzz on!”…

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