Our Greatest Ever Squad

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


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


49 Responses to Our Greatest Ever Squad

  1. Big Raddy says:


    Huge respect to you both for undertaking such a mammoth task.

  2. Rasp says:

    Terrific idea GiE and GN5 (2G from now on?)

    It will certainly add to my scant knowledge of early Arsenal history and more importantly be a huge relief to peaches and myself not to have to beg for posts over the next 6 weeks 😛

  3. dimples says:

    Will there be stats like for assists because I think its not easy to find to get them from anywhere for the old players like Charley George and Merson. ?

  4. Double98 says:

    12 goalies is a bit much
    given that we have 17 keepers since 1900 that have more than 100 appearances
    In my lifetime we have only had 8 – of which i saw 6 play.

    They are….

    I’d pick a top 3 rather than 6

  5. GunnerN5 says:


    You’re correct, the further you delve back into our history the more scant specific information becomes. So to keep all of the players on a even playing field I’ve only included stats that were available for everyone.

    Unfortunately, as much as I would have liked to use them, I simply could not get enough data on assists – so they are not included.

  6. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    Dimples, Charlie George and Merson? What about George Graham and Geordie Armstrong? Or Jimmie Logie and Doug Lishman? Or David Jack an Cliff Bastin?

    We’re talking history here not yesterday’s news. 😀

  7. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Double 98, Bob Wilson? did you not see him play?

  8. GunnerN5 says:


    The reason I have looked into the Arsenal archives is to ensure that we include ALL of our greatest players. Just because we have not witnessed them playing does not mean they are were not among our greatest goalkeepers.

    I give you, Jack Kelsey who played for us over an 18 year period 1949-1962, including WW11. he played in nearly 300 matches, as did James Ashcroft 1900-1908.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    D98. I have seen 19 AFC GK’s. 18 in the flesh (not seen Mannone play live).

    I will wait until the GK vote to make my case for best AFC GK.

  10. GunnerN5 says:


    I have included all of the players you mentioned, with the exception of Charlie George. Unfortunately he did not meet the amount of games played criteria – I know the response already –
    “But he did score one of the most famous goals in our history”.


  11. Norfolk Gooner says:


    I admire your bottle, but I think you have presented an almost impossible task. How can we compare the players from yesteryear with today’s, how would today’s crop have coped with the mud-heap winter pitches pre-undersoil heating and a heavy wet leather football as opposed to today’s beach ball.

    Would our present day molly-coddled superstars have coped with three games in three days as was the case in 1930/31 when we played on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and 27th December, incidently winning all three and scoring fourteen goals in doing so, and there were no subsitutes in those days.

    Don’t forget, half-time was only ten minutes, barely time for a fag and a quick cup of before trudging out for the second half. 😀

  12. Norfolk Gooner says:

    …cup of tea before…

  13. Double98 says:

    I am just saying that 12 Goalkeepers is far too many of as we only have 17 to choose from(using 100 as a minimum for “Great”)

    I hardly think its appropriate to include the likes of Wright, Mannone, Taylor, Poom, Leighton (WTF).

    Its unfair on say Defenders who must compete for 20 spots from 100s of candidates.

    I mean George Graham had 20 quality Centre backs on the bench at one stage,.

    Having said that if you want 12 then, grand.

  14. Double98 says:

    Norfolk, the first match i ever watched was the 1979 Fa cup final. Bob Wilson was the Arsenal Friendly Football focus guy, i am afraid…
    I was 1 when he hung up his gloves (1974?) and at the time more of a dribbler meself

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    I hardly think its appropriate to include the likes of Wright, Mannone, Taylor, Poom, Leighton (WTF).



    You will be happy to know that none of the above are included in my greatest GK profiles.

  16. Double98 says:

    What no Slim Jim Leighton – he never conceeded a goal in all his time with the club..

  17. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Gotta go, things to do, places to go, people to see.

    Back Later.

  18. GunnerN5 says:


    You’re correct Jim Leighton never conceded a single goal during his sort stay at Arsenal, while on loan from Man U in 1991 –

    Oh – maybe that’s because he didn’t make any appearances?

  19. Double98 says:

    GunnerN5 – if only Richard Wright could say the same thing 🙂

  20. Norfolk Gooner, @ 11am

    Your entire post of eleven lines of text is absolutely the opposite of what WEEDONALD was aiming at me a few weeks back.

    Hey, Weedonald… get off your horse and read NG’s post, and compare it to your own nonsense – April 22nd, 2013 🙂

  21. kelsey says:


    How can you forget the great Jack Kelsey.Just look at his stats for Arsenal and Wales. He just happened to be at the club at the wrong time trophy wise.

  22. GunnerN5 says:


    Jack has not been omitted, his profile will be amongst the 12 GK’s and I can think of at least two people who might vote for him.

  23. GunnerN5 says:


    I agree with your comments at 11:00 am, I watched many games that were played in mud bowls, and heading that wet, muddy, leather ball, especially on the laces, was very unpleasant.

    I accept that our choices will be tempered by the very real differences in style, equipment and conditions so all we can do is to keep them in mind when we make our considered decisions.

  24. RockyLives says:

    I’m really looking forward to playing along with this. Thanks for putting so much work into it Gn5 and GiE.

    For everyone else, clearly one could approach a task like this in lots of different t ways with lots of different nuances. But the rest of us didn’t, whereas the two Gs took the time and trouble. And for that, they deserve to present it their way, with their rules. Quibbling about the rules is a bit pointless and a teeny bit disrespectful.

  25. RockyLives says:

    One thought on comparing players from different eras: by and large, in any era, the people with the best skills and the most determined attitude will rise to the top. In others words, if Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott etc (just to use British examples) had lived in the 30s they would probably still have prospered, albeit in a different type of way. And the reverse is also true.

  26. Gooner In Exile says:

    Can I just say all the work credit on this goes to GN5, I have added pictures and added then to WP for posting.

    By the way much like Micky’s total points competition I will ensure a spread of eras in the final squad.

  27. evonne says:

    GGs – let’s be honest here – we’d be voting for 10 players only. The winner of Group 5 Forwards is not difficult to guess (clue – it ain’t Giroud yet)

    Great idea and marvellous team spirit, I can see you guys being snowed under with the enormity of this task, fair play to both of you

  28. Red Arse says:

    Congrats, GN5 and your ‘pictures’ man GIE. 😀

    Having read thru the comments, I have to say I am amazed you did not include a weighting (literally) in the comparators for the old era brown, heavy leather, dubbined boots versus the namby pampy man made lightweight slippers players have in the modern era.

    And while we are at it, surely you have to give us the stats on what the tea ladies were like in the respective eras. What honest to goodness, red blooded, manly man can play to his potential without a good cuppa?

    Seriously – just kidding – and the amount of time and effort you have obviously put into this project is a credit to you both, especially GN5 with all the ‘legwork’! 😀

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ve been out for a few hours but after reading back through the comments I thought I would take a few minutes to explain the process that was undertaken to determine who would be considered as one of our greatest player/manager candidates.

    Step 1.
    In order to be able to do a sortation of specifics like, goals scored, games played, position played, years at the club, date signed, date left etc. I had to create a spreadsheet of every player that has played for Arsenal.
    This was no simple task as none of this information could be found in one place – not even Arsenal.com

    Step 2.
    Once the data base was created it was sorted by some basic performance stats like, goals scored, games played etc. I then had to determine who should be considered as one of our greatest players so I settled on certain criteria by outfielders, goalkeepers and Managers.

    Step 3.
    Once the criteria was established the next task was to determine which positions would be profiled and how many players/managers would be profiled in each category.

    Step 4.
    Now it was a (less than) simple task of creating the individual profiles
    – to do this I utilised many different sites, including Wikipedia, Arsenal.com, my personal data files and books. In all we ended up with 78 individual profiles that needed to be both researched and written, as of this moment 71 are completed leaving 7 to finalise.
    It’s been an arduous, educational and enjoyable journey.

    Now that the journey is almost complete we have something that is a “one off” and unique to Arsenal Arsenal bloggers.

    I sincerely hope that you will find, at least, some of it to your liking.

    Step 5.

    GIE has been a great fellow collaborator as we worked together to piece together the final presentations.

  30. LB says:

    “I had to create a spreadsheet of every player that has played for Arsenal. This was no simple task”

    No simple task?

    Understatement of the year GN5

  31. GoonerB says:

    GN5 and GIE I certainly appreciate your effort and will enjoy partaking in it. As I sit here and think about it it seems almost impossible to form a best 11 as another player just pops up in your head and you think what about him, but I will certainly do my best to contribute.

  32. finsbury says:

    Top Five Arsenal Managers.
    1. Herbert Chapman
    2. George Graham
    3. George Allison
    4. Bertie Mee
    5. Arsene Wenger

  33. GunnerN5 says:


    Add Tom Whittaker to your list and you’ve got my six greatest managers.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Gn5. 6.13. I am stunned by the level of application you have given to this task and delighted you have chosen to share your work with AA’ers.

    I wonder if any of the current squad will be in such a list in 20 years time.

    Finsbury. Anyone who puts Wenger below Mee either has an agenda or doesn’t know Arsenal’s history.

    BTW Finsbury is our pet troll

  35. GoonerB says:

    Raddy, with my frequent visits to the land of the Vikings I have encountered many pet Trolls. They tend to stuff them and put them in gift shops out there. I wonder if Finsbury would fancy a little trip with me?

  36. GunnerN5 says:


    I think that Finsbury should be “parked” – permanently!

  37. chas says:

    Looking forward to the magnum opus, boys.
    Still to catch up with the weekend posts and comments.
    Camping was amazing.

  38. evonne says:

    chas is back! Was bonding successful?

  39. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. chas’s description of the camping tour as “amazing” suggests that he did indeed “bond”.

    How many more double entendre can you come up with? 😀

  40. evonne says:

    Raddy – I would tell you if I knew what ‘double entendre’ means 🙂
    No time to google, sick pugglet going to hospital, laters

  41. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. I will be away for the day so will catch the new post later. Just seen an article that says AW is a big fan of Skrtel and wants to bring him to the Ems. I can only surmise that AW has missed Senderos more than we can possibly all imagine and feels that bringing in his long lost twin brother is the only thing that will ease his pain.

  42. Big Raddy says:

    I read today on Gunnerstown that OzGooner had died recently

    Where ever he is AA wish him well

  43. Gooner In Exile says:

    GoonerB, with Toure going to Liverpool I assume there is potential for movement, especially as Rogers wants the Swans centre back whose name escapes me.

    Raddy our OzGooner?

  44. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just realised our OzGooner was Oz Gunner.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    My mistake. But the sentiments still stand.

  46. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I don’t wish to sound callous BR, but how can you wish him well? He’s dead!

  47. Morning all

    We have a New Post ……………

  48. Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person’s web site link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do similar for you.

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