Arsenal’s Greatest Manager pt3 – George Graham or Arsene Wenger

May 31, 2013

Continuing our exploration of Arsenal’s Greatest Managers, see the previous 2 day’s posts for parts one and 2 in the series

5. George Graham: 1986-1995

George was born in Bargeddie, Lanarkshire. He was brought up by his mother and was the youngest of seven children who all lived in poverty. While still a youngster George showed considerable promise as a footballer and professional clubs like Aston Villa, Newcastle and Chelsea showed interest in his ability.

On his 17th birthday, in 1961, he was signed by Aston Villa, and later went on to play for Chelsea before being brought to Arsenal by Bertie Mee in 1966. With Arsenal he won a medal in the 1969–70, Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and was a part of Arsenal’s Double-winning side of 1970–71. He was transferred to Manchester United midway through the 1971-72 season and finally finished his playing career in California.

After retiring from playing he coached at Crystal Palace and then later Queens Park Rangers before being appointed manager of Millwall, who were bottom of the old Third Division.

tumblr_ma33knYmO01r7pn9do1_250Arsenal, who had not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 1978–79, appointed him as their new manager in May 1986. Arsenal finished fourth in his first season in charge, and then went on to win the 1987 League Cup. His sides featured tight defensive discipline, embodied by Tony Adams, who along with Lee Dixon, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn, formed the basis of Arsenal’s famous defence for over a decade. However, his teams were not only about defence as he had more than capable midfielders such as David Rocastle, Michael Thomas and Paul Merson, plus striker Alan Smith, who regularly scored 20 plus goals per season. In (1988–89), Arsenal won their first League title since 1971.

In the final game of the season against Liverpool at Anfield; Arsenal needed to win by two goals to take the title; Alan Smith scored for Arsenal early in the second half to make it 1–0 and with only seconds to go Michael Thomas surging through the Liverpool defence and lifting the ball over Bruce Grobbelaar and into the net.

The 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup was his last trophy at the club; the following February he was sacked after nearly nine years in charge, after it was discovered he had accepted an illegal £425,000 payment from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge following Arsenal’s 1992 acquisition of John Jensen and Pål Lydersen, two of Hauge’s clients. George was eventually banned for a year by the Football Association for his involvement in the scandal, after he admitted he had received an “unsolicited gift” from Hauge.

George Graham’s league record –

Games 364, Won 167, Drawn 108, Lost 89,

Goals for 543, Goals against 327,

Goals for per game 1.49, Goals against per game .90

Points won = 55.6%.

Average League Position 5.11

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, 1 Cup Winners Cup.

6. Arsene Wenger: 1996 – Present

Arsene was born in Strasbourg, France and raised in Duttlenheim. He was introduced to football by his father, the manager of the local village team, however his playing career mostly as an amateur, was very modest.

He obtained a manager’s diploma in 1981 and started his management career in 1984 with Nancy; after being dismissed in 1987 he joined AS Monaco who then won the league championship in 1988. In 1991, Monaco also won the Coupe de France, but failed to regain the league title in later seasons and he left the club by mutual consent in 1994. He then coached Japanese J. League side Nagoya Grampus Eight and they won the Emperor’s Cup and Japanese Super Cup during his time with the club.

Manager-Arsene-Wenger-of-Arsenal-holds-the-Pr_1639778In 1996, Arsene was appointed as the manager of Arsenal and two years later the club completed a league and FA Cup double. He led Arsenal to appearances in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final and 2001 FA Cup Final, and a second league and cup double in 2002. Arsenal retained the FA Cup in 2003 and a year later regained the league title, becoming the first club to go through an entire league season undefeated since Preston North End, 115 years previously. The team later eclipsed Nottingham Forest’s record of 42 league matches unbeaten and went seven more matches before losing in October 2004. Arsenal made their first appearance in a Champions League final in 2006, though they lost to Barcelona. During his tenure, Arsenal has moved to a new training centre and after 93 years at Highbury they relocated to the Emirates Stadium.

His approach to the game emphasises an attacking mentality, with the aim that football ought to be entertaining on the pitch. Although he has made big-money signings for Arsenal, his net spend record on transfers is far superior to other leading Premier League clubs. The Arsenal defence, which set a new record in 2006 by going 10 consecutive games without conceding a goal in the Champions League, cost the club approximately £6 million to assemble. He is a strong an advocate of financial fair play in football and has been critical of the approach of teams like Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid for spending more than they take from revenue which he refers to as “financial doping”.

In a league match against Crystal Palace on 14 February 2005, Arsenal fielded a 16-man squad, that featured no British players for the first time in the club’s history, he brushed aside criticism by saying, “When you represent a club, it’s about values and qualities, not about passports”.

In February 1999, Arsene offered Sheffield United a replay of their FA Cup fifth round match immediately after the match had finished, due to the controversial circumstances in which it was won. The decisive goal was scored by Overmars after Kanu failed to return the ball to the opposition when it had been kicked into touch to allow Sheffield United’s Lee Morris to receive treatment for an injury, Arsenal went on to win the replay.

In 2002 he was awarded France’s highest decoration, the Légion d’Honneur and was in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2003. He has also received an honorary OBE for his service to football and was then inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006. A commissioned bronze bust of Arsene was unveiled as a tribute to him at the club’s annual general meeting on 18 October 2007. An Arsenal fan and astronomer, Ian Griffin, named an asteroid, 33179 Arsènewenger. In January 2011, he was voted “World Coach of the Decade” by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.

Arsene Wenger’s Premier league record –

Games 638, Won 368, Drawn 161, Lost 109,

Goals for 1206, Goals against 601,

Goals for per game 1.89, Goals against per game .94

Points won = 66.1%,

Average League Position 2.44,

Total # of trophies won – 3 League titles, 4 FA Cup, 4 Charity Shields.

Written by GunnerN5 and compiled by Gooner in Exile


Arsenal’s Greatest Manager pt 2 – Tom Whittaker or Bertie Mee

May 30, 2013

Continuing our exploration of Great Managers, see yesterdays post for part one in this series.

3. Tom Whittaker. 1947-1956

He was born at East Cavalry Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire, but grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne. As a youth he spent his early football career in the North of England and at the same time he was training as a marine engineer. When he was called up to the British Army, he signed up for the Royal Garrison Artillery but later switched to the Royal Navy. He was demobilised in 1919.

In 1919, after serving his country in World War I, he joined Arsenal, under manager Leslie Knighton. He first played as centre-forward then as wing-half, signing as a professional in January 1920 and making his debut in a 1–0 defeat away to West Bromwich Albion.

whitakerHe toured Australia as part of the FA side in 1925, but during the tour, in a match in Wollongong he broke his knee cap and was forced to retire from playing. Following his injury he joined Arsenal’s coaching staff and also studied to become a physiotherapist. He became Arsenal’s first team trainer under Herbert Chapman in 1927, at the time, he was younger than many of the players. He assisted Chapman in transforming the training and physiotherapy regime at the club, and played a major part in the club’s successes during the 1930s.

After Herbert Chapman passed away in 1934, he continued to serve under his successor, George Allison while also becoming a trainer for the English National Team. With the advent of WW11 he began to work as an ARP warden, before becoming a pilot in the Royal Air Force where he achieved the rank of Squadron Leader. For his service in missions on D-Day, he was awarded an MBE.

When George Allison retired in 1947, he became the club’s new manager; after winning the League in 1947-48 and 1952-53 and the FA Cup in 1949-50, the club’s success waned. He tried, in vain, to attract major stars to the club, one being Stanley Matthews who said later – “I felt there was nothing to be gained by moving south, however I was very happy and politely turned down the offer”. “Such an approach was against the rules at the time and, consequently, I couldn’t tell anyone about it, and I never have until now.”

Sadly Tom passed away from a heart attack in 1956, aged 58.

Tom Whittaker’s league record –

Games 378, Won 171, Drawn 101, Lost 106,

Goals for 677, Goals against 509,

Goals for per game 1.79, Goals against per game 1.35

Points won 58.6%.

Average League Position 5.22

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 Charity Shields.

4. Bertie Mee: 1966-1976

He was born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire and played for both Derby County and Mansfield Town before his playing career was cut short by injury. Bertie joined the Royal Army Medical Corps where he trained as a physiotherapist and in six years he rose to the rank of Sergeant. After leaving, he worked for various football clubs as a physiotherapist, before joining Arsenal in 1960, succeeding Billy Milne.

Billy Wright was sacked in 1966 and the club asked Bertie to become manager, surprising a lot of people, including Bertie himself. He asked for a get-out clause in his contract allowing him to return to be the club physiotherapist, if it didn’t work out after twelve months. To make up for his own tactical deficiencies he recruited Dave Sexton and Don Howe as his assistants.

In 1970 he led Arsenal to the Fairs Cup Final against Anderlecht. After losing the first leg 3-1, Arsenal won the return match at Highbury 3-0, to claim a 4-3 aggregate victory. It ended a seventeen-year drought since the last major honour – the 1953 league title.

bmThe following season Arsenal won the league and cup double, only the second time this had been accomplished in the twentieth century. Arsenal won the League Championship with a victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, then went on to beat Liverpool in extra time to seal the FA Cup at Wembley. Shortly afterwards one of his assistants, Don Howe, left Arsenal to manage West Bromwich Albion.

Arsenal had ambitions to retain their title the following season and signed Alan Ball from Everton but their league campaign faltered and their hopes of a trophy depended on the FA Cup, Arsenal reached the final again, where we lost 1-0 to Leeds. In the 1972-73 season Arsenal managed a serious championship challenge, at one point topping the table, but eventually finished runners-up. A run in the FA Cup was brought to an end by a semi final defeat to eventual winners Sunderland.

The Arsenal side than began to break up with first George Graham then Charlie George and Frank McLintock all leaving the club. A number of less impressive seasons saw Bertie being replaced in 1976, by Terry Neill.

He was made an OBE in 1984 for services to football.

He passed away in London in 2001, at the age of 82.

Bertie Mee’s league record –

Games 420, Won 181, Drawn 115, Lost 124,

Goals for 554, Goals against 444,

Goals for per game 1.32, Goals against per game 1.06

Points won 56.8%.

Average League Position 8.30

Total #of trophies won – 1 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 1 European Fairs Cup.

Written by GunnerN5 and compiled by Gooner in Exile


Greatest Manager – Herbert Chapman or George Allison

May 29, 2013

Today’s post is a collaborative effort between GunnerN5 and Gooner In Exile and is the first in a series that will be profiling the best managers and players ever to represent the Arsenal.  We will publish a poll at the end of each category to allow readers to choose who they deem to be the best of all time. The end result will establish (after 8 weeks of painstakingly researched articles) who readers believe comprises the best Arsenal team of all time.  

1. Herbert Chapman: 1925-1934

He was born in Kiveton Park, near Rotherham; his father was a coal miner. One of eleven children in a keen sporting family, two of his brothers played professional football. The most successful was Harry, who played for The Wednesday in the 1900s. His older brother Tom played for Grimsby Town and yet another brother, Matthew, became a director of the same club. Herbert’s own playing career was mostly as a journeyman amateur.

His managerial career began with Northampton Town after which he joined Leeds City.

Herbert_Chapman_1During the suspension of league football, during WW1, he decided to help the war effort by becoming manager of a munitions factory in Barnbow. Soon after the end of WW1 Leeds City was accused of making illegal payments to players and as they refused to open their books for examination the club was expelled from the football league. Five officials including Chapman were banned from football for life. However the ban was overturned in 1921, when Huddersfield Town gave him a character reference, he then joined them as assistant manager on February1st 1921 and was appointed secretary/manager the following month. He went on to win the FA Cup in 1924-25 and consecutive League Titles in 1923-24 & 1924-25.

In the 1925 close season, Arsenal chairman Sir Henry Norris placed the following advertisement in the Athletic News.

“Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of Team Manager. He must possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply.”

WMHerbert moved to Arsenal soon after, attracted both by Arsenal’s larger crowds and a salary of £2,000, double what he earned at Huddersfield Town. Arsenal’s league form was indifferent but in 1927 they reached the FA Cup Final losing 1–0 to Cardiff City. That same year, Arsenal became embroiled in a scandal over illegal footballers’ pay. Sir Henry Norris was indicted for his part and banned from football, but Chapman escaped punishment.

He showed his cunning during negotiations held in a hotel when looking to buy David Jack from Bolton. Chapman met with the barman and gave him two pounds and then said “This is my assistant Mr Wall; he will drink whiskey and dry ginger. I will drink gin and tonic. Our guests will drink whatever they choose but you will give them double of everything while Mr. Wall’s drinks and mine will contain no liquor.” His cunning worked as Arsenal paid 3,000 pounds less than Bolton had first asked.

He went on to establish Arsenal as English footballs dominate force and his football concepts and ideas served as a template for teams and managers all over the globe. He won the first trophy for the club winning the FA Cup in 1930. His 1930/31 team scored an incredible 127 goals – still a club record. He championed innovations such as floodlighting, European competitions and numbered shirts.

Tragically he passed away from pneumonia in 1934 aged 55 years.

A bronze bust of Chapman stood inside Highbury as a tribute to this outstanding manager.

Herbert Chapman’s league record –

Games 336, Won 157, Drawn 84, Lost 95,

Goals for 736, Goals against 541,

Goals for per game 2.19, Goals against per game 1.61

Points won 59.3%

Average League Position 6.25

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 Charity Shields.

2. George Allison: 1934-1947.

Born in Hurworth-on-Tees, County Durham, he played amateur football in Stockton-on-Tees and dabbled in writing as a sideline and eventually became a full time journalist.

During WW1 he worked for the War Office and the Admiralty, producing propaganda, and later joined the Royal Fling Corps (later renamed the Royal air Force). After the war he moved into broadcasting, joining the BBC and becoming the first person to commentate on the radio on events such as The Derby and the Grand National, as well as the annual England v.Scotland international, and the 1927 FA Cup Final. By this time, he had already formed a strong association with Arsenal and he became the club’s programme editor, becoming a member of the board of directors soon after the end of the WW1; he was first club secretary and then managing director.

-Images-a-allison_georgeAfter the sudden death of Herbert Chapman in January 1934, he was appointed Chapman’s full-time successor, in the summer of that year. Arsenal had already won the League Championship twice in a row (1932-33 and 1933-34), and he made it a hat-trick, winning a third successive title in 1934-35.

He famously appeared in a 1939 movie that was set at Highbury, “The Arsenal Stadium Mystery”, where he had a speaking part as himself. Amongst his lines included one uttered at half time: “It’s one-nil to the Arsenal. That’s the way we like It.”, a line which had resonance with the team’s penchant for 1-0 score lines many decades later.

Unlike Herbert Chapman he took a hands-off approach to managing and left Joe Shaw and Tom Whittaker to take care of the training and squad discipline, while he concentrated on transfer policy and the club’s relationship with the media. He was known as being tactful, friendly and good-hearted but it was felt that he fell short in his handling of the squad and lacked a professional’s deep knowledge of the game. However his proponents have cited the amount of trophies won in his reign, although by the end of the 1930s Arsenal were no longer the all-conquering team that they had once been and he was unable to replace many of the stars from the first half of the decade. With the start of WW11 football in England was suspended; after the war ended, many of the players that had made Arsenal great had retired from playing. Arsenal finished a disappointing 13th in 1946-47, by now he was in his mid-sixties and being tired of managerial life, he decided to step down and retire from the game.

He died in 1957 after several years of illness.

George Allison’s league record –

Games 294, Won 137, Drawn 80, Lost 77,

Goals for 552, Goals against 345,

Goals for per game 1.88, Goals against per game 1.17

Points won 60.2%.

Average League Position 4.29

Total # of trophies won – 3 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 Charity Shields.

Written by GunnerN5 and compiled by Gooner in Exile


Our Greatest Ever Squad

May 28, 2013

Anyone who has been to the Emirates has probably seen this picture.

SPIRIT OF HIGHBURY full image

I personally love it, it shows me what we as a football club are about, the years of traditions and the number of players and managers that have represented our club.

So this summer to keep our minds off arrivals and departures I thought it would be a good time to revisit some of the history of our club and to have a Greatest Ever Team Poll. GN5 however had other ideas……..here is his summation of what you lucky souls are in for the the summer:

Choose AA’s Greatest Ever Arsenal Squad

Over the next 8 weeks we will be profiling the very best players and managers in Arsenal’s history. They have been chosen based on various criteria which include, games played, goals scored, international careers and their overall importance to Arsenal. We apologise, in advance, if your personal favourites are not included.

The historic records do not always give us their precise positions, and in many cases players have changed positions during their careers. With this in mind we will be dividing the players into four groups, however even with this grouping there are still some that have played in more than one group – so keep an open mind.

Group 1 – 6 Managers

Group 2 – 12 Goalkeepers

Group 3 – 20 Defensemen

Group 4 – 20 Mid-Fielders

Group 5 – 20 Forwards

Each week we will have three days devoted to player profiles and one day for you to cast your vote for the week’s best players. You can vote two players as the end of the eight weeks there will be a final “AA Squad Reveal Day” when we will reveal your choices for both our “A” and “B” squads.

We hope you enjoy…….

Written and compiled by GunnerN5 and Gooner in Exile


Cesc: “Only Arsenal For Me”

May 27, 2013

We are used to reading rubbish in the silly season, but one story this summer really takes the biscuit.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to guffaw over my cornflakes when I read the “Fabregas to Manchester United” stories that are doing the rounds.

At this time of year most transfer-related stories smell of fabrication and are written purely to fill column inches or garner online hits. But even in such company, the Cesc-to-Manchester-United fantasy really does stink the place out.

Before I explain why, let’s just remind ourselves of this quote from Cesc himself, shortly after he departed for Barcelona: “Apart from Arsenal and Barcelona, I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. I will definitely be going back (to Arsenal) whenever I have time to watch games and to see the guys… and if there is one place to go back to (to play), it is Arsenal for sure.”

Cesc was abundantly clear then that he would only return to the Premier League if it was to play for Arsenal.

Of course you might say (and with some justification): “Why should we believe the words of footballers? They are always quick to spout loyalty to a club then equally quick to demonstrate loyalty only to their wallet.”

It was about 18 months ago when Cesc gave the interview from which I have quoted and yes, it’s possible he could have changed his mind since then.

But – unlike Brave Sir Robin and the Fat French Benchwarmer – he is not a player known to be driven by greed (he even took a pay cut to join Barcelona).

However, there are other good reasons why Cesc to ManUre will never happen:

Firstly, why would a world class player join a club that is quite clearly at the high point of its “arc of success” and is about to start slipping down the far side?

United have been good enough to run away with the English Premier League this year, but no-one believes they are a great team. Meanwhile, in Europe, they have fallen even further behind the Continent’s powerhouses than they were when humiliated by Barcelona in the CL final in 2011.

Most perceptive observers believe that United over-achieved in the season just past and were helped by mismanagement and upheaval at Manchester City and Chelsea.

Secondly, one of the reasons for a top player joining United has long been the draw of old Mr Scarlet Proboscis himself: Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson (you didn’t know his parents gave him a middle name honouring a great Arsenal manager, did you?).

But Cyrano de Fergerac is no fool. He will always have wanted to bow out a champion and not a loser.

Having won the title this year, he undoubtedly surveyed the medium term prospects for his club and his playing staff and did not like what he saw.

He knows that, with their current squad, United will face a real struggle to hold on to their title next year and he also knows that without spending a hundred million pounds or more (which United cannot afford) they have no chance of competing with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Quite sensibly, he celebrated the title win and exited stage left.

So now any superstar thinking of joining the red half of Manchester has to consider the fact that they will be playing not for the most decorated and successful EPL manager of the last half century. Instead they will be lining up under some bloke from The Simpsons.

The idea of Cesc Fabregas agreeing to play under David Moyes is simply laughable.

Thirdly, if Cesc does want to return to the EPL and if, for some reason, he reneges on his assurance that he would return only to Arsenal, his destination is far more likely to be Manchester City than Manchester United.

The Northern Oilers are likely to be entering the new season under the stewardship of the highly respected Manuel Pellegrini – a much more attractive proposition for international stars than David Moyes. And, of course, for City money is not an issue.

Finally, it was widely reported that we have first option on Cesc if he wants to leave Barca. Do you really think we would not snap him up again given the chance?

So, having (I hope) properly put to bed all the nonsense about Cesc-to-United, there is one Huddlestone in the Room that needs addressing: would we – the supporters – want Cesc to return to The Home of Football and step out again in the colours of the mighty Arsenal?

I have seen comments in Arsenal Arsenal recently with differing views on the subject.

For me it’s a no-brainer. Cesc Fabreagas is one of the greatest footballers ever to have played for us. If we can get him back he can only improve us. And his return at a time when we are leaving the period of austerity (during which, let’s remember, he was instrumental in helping keep us even vaguely competitive while the club spent NOTHING on net transfers) and about to enter a new era of competitiveness could be the spark that really pushes us to domestic and European glory.

Do you agree?

RockyLives


Happy 26th May

May 26, 2013

Football is all about the creation of heroes.

When we think about how a game was won or lost we search for the person/people that affected the outcome. Last night Arjen Robben became a hero scoring in the 88th minute of a game that looked destined for extra time and penalties.

Last weekend Laurent Koscielny became our hero for scoring against Newcastle and securing fourth place for us.

All teams have their heroes, some can do it on a consistent basis whereas others just manage one moment that gets them into the history books.

Some footballers can by their own actions drive their team to victory and others that shoulder the responsibilty are unable to do so. Sometimes it’s down to the gods to smile on the winning side ……. it was meant to be.

On the 26th May 1989 Arsenal went to Anfield for the final game of the season. A win by two clear goals would snatch the title away from Liverpool and on that night the footballing gods were on our side. We were victorious and that team of heroes earned their place in Arsenal folklore.

Many of you might recognise yourselves or others in the following clip ………. enjoy.

Which games stand out for you where a hero was born? Or which of your heroes always pulled all the stops? Feel free to add video clips in your comments for others to enjoy.

Have a nice day.

Written by peachesgooner


Wemberley ……

May 25, 2013

“Wemberly, Wemberley,  We’re the Famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wemberly” . We should be singing this song as we walk down Empire way to watch our heroes take on the mighty (but beatable) Borussia Dortmund.

Can you remember back to that Emirates night in February? ….. the manly Oliver Giroud strikes a sweet shot which is heading into the net but cruelly and very unfortunately hits Neuer’s leg, 3 minutes later Bayern Munich break, Mandzukic’s shot hits Sagna and bounces over Szczesny …. 1-3, when it should have been 2-2 and with Arsenal pushing for a winner.  Yes, we got trounced in the first half but were coming strong in the second, which became an Arsenal trait throughout the season.

Second leg, we gave them a lesson – yes, the finest team in the history of football were hammered in front of their own fans by a team which apparently was in terrible shape and about to disintegrate under their “hapless”manager who was clearly too long in the tooth to motivate his team. Had we scored one more we would have won the tie – and we could have. Then we would certainly have beaten a poor and dispirited RM in the semis.

Such are the vagaries of football. (Biased? Delusional? Moi?  😀  )

Instead we have an all German Final, and thank goodness for that. Both teams have been playing the best football in the CL this season, both play with a genuine passion without resort to theatrics, and both managers believe in the beautiful game. We have enjoyed the Spanish domination (well, some of us have) but their blatant cheating has finally received it’s due reward.  We are in the Audi era. Beautifully built, efficient, powerful and desirable.

BD have had over 500,000 ticket applications! The support of both teams is astonishing and they SING.

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The loss of Gotze is a massive blow, both to BD and the Final. He is a wonderful player and will be missed, but what delights we have in store – there is hardly a player who is not top quality. From BD’s Lewandowski to BM’s flying Austrian baby FB, Alaba, every player is worth watching. BM’s midfield is just awesome – Schweinsteigger and Martinez – but so too is BD’s, who may have less famous names but nonetheless are hugely competitive.

This is Heynkes final game before the arrival of Pep, and Klopp is everyone’s favourite manager; that alone is interesting. Both will want to impress the billions of viewers. Both have teams with potent forward lines and players who can express the imaginative tactics of their respective managers. I think we are in for one of the best CL Finals ever.

Now for a German Explorer. Although the English discovered 95% of the World it did leave a few places for Johnny Foreigner to plant his flag, and Alexander Von Humboldt (1769 – 1859) did so with remarkable regularity. Take the places named after him – they are in all over the West Coast of USA USA, Venezuela, New Zealand, Greenland, Mexico, +++. There are National Parks named after him in Cuba and Peru. Simon Bolivar referred to Von Humboldt as “The real discover of South America”. Not only was this fellow an explorer he was also a hugely eminent scientist and wrote books (in particular The Cosmos) which are still referred to today.

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During his lifetime Humboldt became one of the most famous men in Europe and was feted wherever he went. He eventually became a diplomat and was a huge favourite of European royalty. Von Humboldt died at the age of 89 in Berlin.

Back to the football. Wembley is about to be occupied by the Germans tonight (no joke, please Raddy).  Thankfully we will not be treated to another appalling display of negative football that both Chelsea and Mourinho’s Inter Milan brought to the world’s biggest club game of the season – No, what we will hopefully see is the two best teams in Europe serving up a feast of attacking football.

My allegiance tonight is purely based on the fairytale of Dortmund’s rise in the face of the juggernaut of German football’s biggest club.

“Los gehts BVB, kampfen og siegen”

Written by Big Raddy