Arsenal players we’ve missed – and some we haven’t – written by BigRaddy

Written by Big Raddy
What makes us attracted to one player but not another? For example, why do I not give a rat’s behind that William Gallas left in the summer and yet was saddened by Gilberto Silva’s departure? Both great players, both World Cup winners prior to their arrival, both played over 100 games for us.

OK, WG is not the best example because we all know that he was never a committed Gooner, but what about  the current squad? I think Sagna is a tremendous player, I believe he is totally committed to the Arsenal cause, and yet if he left I would feel very little, however should Rosicky leave it would be painful.

I have no connection to either player, know very little about their personalities, know even less about their backgrounds yet I love Mozart and only appreciate Sagna. I am sure you will have your favourites and the reasons for your choices may have little to do with the quality of their football. Nasri works his socks off in a game and is clearly a better player than Eboue yet Eboue is the cult figure.

I loved John Radford, still do, I feel a stronger emotional to him than even Fabregas, I have no idea why. Cesc is one of the best players I have ever seen, he has character, commitment, is homegrown, good looking, proud to be a Gunner, he has all the ingredients for me to hero worship him, but I don’t and I don’t know why. Raddy couldn’t hold  a candle  to Fab as a player  but as a hero  …..

I have no answer as to why Theo, Nik and Mozart are my favourite players, they just are. It could be that all three have had to overcome injury or that they all play with a smile.

As to my all-time faves  – Wrighty, TA and TH, their attributes are obvious.

Can you describe why you feel connected to one player and not another?

50 Responses to Arsenal players we’ve missed – and some we haven’t – written by BigRaddy

  1. Morning all

    Raddy – this is such a great idea for a post. Have to collect my thoughts and come back later.

    I was 15 in 1971 and definitely in love with Charlie George 😳

  2. Rasp says:


    Clever post Raddy.

    I too missed Gilberto, but I didn’t lose any sleep over Hleb’s departure – and that was before he started shooting his mouth off. I thought Hleb over complicated the game. He was too clever for his own good. He slowed the game down and lacked power. For someone in his position, he actually did not register many ‘assists. He seldom passed the ball more than 20 yards – as for his shooting ability …. don’t start me 😳

  3. arsenalfan says:

    ray parlour, i want ray parlour…

  4. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Interesting post this BR. I would like to take it to a different level, i.e I really liked Charlie George with the long straight hair, but didn’t like his “perm”.

  5. Rasp says:

    Morning gg,

    That’s rich coming from an aussie – ‘the land of the mullet’ 😛

  6. onlyone says:

    only three people that attracts me to worship arsenal, wenger, TH, and TR7.. i simply dont know why i put mozart in the same place with wenger n henry,, i just, u kmow, love him.. the most painful time for me as a gooner is to loss him for the entire 08/09 season..

  7. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Ha Ha The old mullet. Certainly a better look than this English fashion statement

    Speaking of which, where is gooner michael lately?

  8. Gooner4life&beyond says:

    It is something that happens on or off the pitch, or even both that endears us to certain players. Might sound obvious, but bear with me. I absolutely adore Bergkamp, then Adams, and then Dixon. For me, I think the fact that all three retired at Arsenal has a big impact.

    In Bergkamp’s case in particular, it was also that he was such a big name, such an incredible player. Yes, his career had suffered at inter, but I don’t doubt that many a club still wanted him and he chose Arsenal.

    Then he came and he fell in love with the club, not only that, but he was and still is the best player I have had the privilege to watch. So glad I got to see him play at Highbury.

    Adams, well, he is Mr Arsenal. Who doesn’t love that guy, and Dixon, well there’s just something about the guy.

    Special mention to Wrighty, he’s the reason I started supporting Arsenal, but I tore down my huge poster of him when he went to West Ham.

  9. gnarleygeorge9 says:


    The old English comb over, came with a knotted hanky as an extra for sunny daze PMSL

  10. akintunde[nigeria] says:

    little mozart my favorite

  11. Rasp says:

    I loved Overmars, but it seems that most gooners weren’t that bothered. It was more because of his play than his personality.

  12. Midoco says:

    Pires is a player I miss a lot. He was so good and definitely should have ended his career at Arsenal and had a testimonial. It makes me slightly sad that we’ll never see him play again, when we bought him I never thought he’d be as good as he was.

    Him and Henry turned into the ideal combination.

  13. Stone says:

    I love that you list Nick as one of your favorites, such an underrated player with us Gunners

  14. AZ324 says:

    i worshipped Bergamp, Pires, Viera..but since they left, Eboue i the player i love most..i buy his replica since 2008..funny guy yet very committed in spite of all the theatrics..

    Adebawhore? EEf him! (Public enemy number 1)

    Flamini? EEf him (he went thru his contract but still, he was the reason why Gilberto left and yet he failed to commit when Gilberto was a big finger to him)

    Cashely? big EEf him (i still think he is in the top two best left backs in the world..thats just my opinion)

    Gallas? i couldnt give a rat’s a** what he does

    Henry? lol..Legend! but he still left us to win trophies because in my opinion Monseur Wenger wont strengthen the squad..(just as he is clowning NOW, and for 3 seasons with the keeper situation) so i cant give a finger to him..i still go and watch him at the NY Red Bulls Arena in New Jersey..

    Hleb? he already had his karma..Birmingham…so i cant finger him.

    Great topic anyway

  15. dandan says:

    Morning all, For me Geordie Armstrong was special, running up and down those flooded ploughed fields we called pitches,with a T Panel, water absorbing leather ball. How do you think a modern player would deal with that, as for heading the same ball weighing a ton by the end of the game and knowing you might hit the lace as Raddy and Kennedy did all the time. The skill is greater and the game faster now, but my feeling is the courage was greater then.

  16. Rasp says:

    Welcome AZ324,

    I have a feeling that we may well buy a keeper in the January window.

    Another topic may be, players who never received the recognition they deserved – Manninger should certainly feature on that list. I used to have a soft spot for Grimandi, just because he used to come on and do a job, and he knew how to slow down an opposition player who was getting too lairy.

  17. LB says:

    It’s hard not to love Rosicky. He is a great player, great attitude and plays far bigger than size. I also love Walcott, he has a big heart. For someone to go through so much scrutiny and still be standing says to me he will be great. I’m beginning to think he will be as good as Henry. Vermaelen is another who is very strong-willed, he fears nothing and no one. I hope he retires at Arsenal. Then there’s Ramsey. Great talent, never stops running. Another great in the making. Lastly the man who brought it all together, Wenger. Very stubborn and principled. I cannot understand how he keeps his cool when there are so many out to knife him in England.

  18. Rasp says:

    Hi LB,

    I think Theo deserves immense credit because he obviously hasn’t been sitting round licking his wounds or on the golf course this summer. He’s been working very hard on his game and that has shown tangible improvement. He looks stronger, his left foot is far more assured and he’s clearly been working on taking free kicks. Its not his fault that Rooney won’t pass the ball to him when he plays for England, but Defoe should thank him for the run he made to draw 2 defenders out of positon so he could recieve the pass for the hattrick goal.

  19. secosabi says:

    Bergkamp a god, Ljungberg tore my heart out when he left for West Ham and Ray Palour just played his heart out for us.

  20. Hannu says:

    Pires, definitely.

  21. Rasp says:

    Its very easy to work out which players we love the most – they’re the ones we sing the songs to during the game = Bobby, Freddie, TH14, TA, DB, IW etc etc

    Sagna’s a good and loyal player but we don’t sing about his gold dreads as we used to sing about Freddie’s red hair (latterly no hair 😉 )

  22. bobbyp says:

    Bobby Pires was and still is one of my all time greatest. There isn’t a day goes by when I dont miss hism long, flowing locks and whispy beard.

    Rasp, I agree. Grimandi was maybe not a starter, but a brilliant squad player. I also always liked the Flamster, even before he had his one great season with us. He always had such energy and commitment on the pitch and would throw himself around like a loon. Shame he went.

  23. les says:

    Saddest departure? Vladmir Petrovic. Came in early 1980’s. only played 20 games, but had half a season with us and ooked good. Terry Neill sold hm, and had to wait another 15 yrs for wenger b4 we went for a player like him.

    Second, Rocastle. Graham says in his biography he cried when he sold him to leeds. A pure gooner fan. Always remember the derby game after his death and spurs kept the minutes silence.

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi bobbyp,

    I loved Bobby too. Considering his feet pointed out at ’10 to 2′, he was surprisingly quick, had brilliant technique and plenty of french style and flair. I was gutted for him when he was sacrificed in the cL final when Lehman was sent off. Luckily, I was at the Emirates to sing his name when he returned with Villareal and we all got a chance to say goodbye and thanks.

  25. spyman says:

    Saddest player to ever leave the gunners for me was childhood hero Paul Merson. Loved him to death

  26. London says:

    Hello AA

    What a clever idea for a post and as always a good read BR. I was trying to approach the subject scientifically: we are less likely to care about a player if we think we could or should get a better replacement alla Gallas. By contrast, in Gilberto’s case, we wasn’t sure that we were going to improve upon him. Anyway, I quickly realised that this approach falls down quite quickly.

    George, Brady, Adams, Merson, hmmmm I chose those four without thinking too much and now when I try and think of more I realise the connection so far is the fact that they are all home grown but that is where it ends as I have to include Bergkamp, Pires and now Fàbregas……..oh, what joy it is to be lucky enough to be born an Arsenal supporter.

  27. bedy says:

    For me i still miss Robert Pires the most technical player of his time with us.And also i miss Gallas as am his fan(but not any more).
    For now am attached to Walcot And Denilson

  28. London says:

    Snap, Spyman, I liked Merson as well, I will always remember the free kick he floated in for Adams to ghost in at the far post to head home the only goal of the game to knock spuds out of the FA cup at Wembley…….ahhhhh, happy days.

    The other thing that springs to mind is that I used to like Merson more than I liked Wright…..I don’t know why that is.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    There is still no answer as to WHY we connect.

    Gooner4life makes some good points but to say that I loved TA(/DB etc) because he retired at AFC is incorrect – I had no idea he would do so when I wore my No.6 shirt.

    Why do I prefer Song to Diaby? Both fine players in the early stages of their careers, both Internationals, both totally committed to the cause. But Song I like and Diaby is just a great talent…..

  30. Big Raddy says:

    I preferred Dixon to Winterburn.

    Merson to Davis

    PV to Manu (though I really liked Petit as well)

    Nik to RvP (insane I know)

    From other teams Jimmy Greaves was a hero of mine before he became a television buffoon (an early version of Wrighty!).

  31. bobbyp says:

    Hi Rasp,

    Yeah, Bobby did have funny feet didn’t he. However, he was so dreamy I think he could get away with running like a spas eh?

  32. Rasp says:

    I think the factors are: being a great player, being loyal and aways giving 100% and having personality – the sort of guy you’d like to have a beer with.

    DB was so brilliant that it didn’t mater so much that he wasn’t a great personality. Freddie and Bob
    by had all the attributes. Merse had loads of personality, could be brilliant at times, but also let his lifestyle impinge on his play on the pitch and I think that went against the grain with AW.

  33. gunnern5 says:

    Personally I always have a soft spot for players of lesser ability who, never the less, manage to inspire others and excel against the odds.

    Top of that list would be Ray Parlour a tireless footballer who gave his all in every game. My favorite moment would be his screamer against Chelsea in the 2002 FA Cup Final.

    All that said Mr. Arsenal epitomized all you would want in club loyalty, his passion was endless and he was probably our best ever Captain.

  34. dandan says:

    Gunner5 I reckon Frank McLintock would push him close.
    How about Sammy Nelson for a loyal squad player.

  35. JoeB says:

    I really miss Kanu, his 15 minute hat-trick against Chelsea was pure gold. Yes, he dribbled into defenders too much, but he pulled it off enough for it to be worth it. Another one of those “lesser” players who inspired the team, and many African players. You can but wonder how good he’d have been had he not had to have heart surgery.

    Also Jens is sorely missed, a true eccentric and absolutely mental goalkeeper. He also had an excellent record of saving penalties against Nistelrooy.

    I remember Oleg Luzhny being described as a cart-horse and an accident waiting to happen, but don’t remember him making many huge errors, and he always worked tirelessly.

  36. itai says:

    haha amauri bischoff

  37. Steve says:

    Bang on, Dandan. George Armstrong was magnificent, a crazy mixture of guts and the sublime. The tiny Geordie running up and down the wing, dribbling like a bastard, sending in great crosses, doing mad skills. An Arsenal great.

    Bergkamp his successor. Or maybe Pires.

  38. Rasp says:

    Does anyone know the source (if any) of these reports that have surfaced where Cesc is supposed to have said that he and Barca did everything they could to engineer the move but Arsenal refused to sell so he had no option. I appreciate the latter half of that is true, but I wondered about the first part where Cesc ‘said’ he tried to leave?

  39. London says:

    If you don’t allow me to go to Barcelona I will not play in the Europa Cup (Macherano)

    This is the modern day meaning of doing everything to get a move.

    Did Cesc do this? No. Therefore he did not do everything he could to engineer a move to Barcelona.

    The rest is muck-raking, spud loving, Arsenal hating, journalistic shite.

  40. Rasp says:

    Thanks London,

    I suspected as much, despite the numerous reports, I couldn’t track down an attributable comment from Cesc.

  41. Neamman says:

    being of the same era as Big Raddy we probably have similar favourites. I worshipped John Radford, not so talented but he worked his socks off. I also like Bendtner because he reminds me of JR. My next hero… Storey. Other less well known but who I liked were Terry Neill and Sammy Nelson. Also Jon ammets who was a great player never appreciated by a section of the fans who drove him out. How anyone can boo one of their own I will never understand.
    Of the modern era.. DB10 and TH14 were heroes to me and I always had a soft spot for Edu.
    Was so happy he got the penalty in his last home game.

  42. Neamman says:

    oops typo that should be Jon Sammels not Jon ammets

  43. London says:

    I liked Edu as well but I can’t remember his last game, my memory is like a sieve, did he take a penalty? Can you remind me what happened?

  44. HotFootTheo says:

    I didnt really like ashly cole and i no bags about him and i liked martin keown and i was very young when he 1 da title wid da unbeatables

  45. […] Arsenal players we’ve missed – and some we haven’t Written by Big Raddy What makes us attracted to one player but not another? For example, why do I not give a rat’s […] […]

  46. Neamman says:

    He took a penalty when we beat everton 6 or 7 nil I think

  47. GoonerSwede says:

    Robert Pires.

    I miss him every single match.

  48. Big Raddy says:

    Neanman. I was going to write about admiration for Sammels. He would certainly be in my top 10 fave AFC players. I guess it was because I sported the same haircut as Jon.

    And Supermac, who seemed unstoppable before his knees gave way. He was top scorer in both seasons he played for us before his injury. I remember my excitement when we signed him.

  49. Big Raddy says:

    I was in the North Bank when Bobby mashed his leg – we had been moved from The Clock End because of the Newcastle Cup game. The whole ground was hushed when he went down, except the Geordies who assumed he was faking it.

    Which reminds me of one of my favourite Highbury chants….. the ground ringing to the sound of “Alan Shearer is a homosexual” always made me laugh. Primarily because of the irony but also because it was a show of respect for the threat and brilliance of Shearer (well – it could have been ). Unlike the chants aimed at the arch villain Sheringham who remains in my Top 3 most hated players.

  50. Rasp says:

    New post…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: