Is Per Mertesacker The Best Centre Back In The Premiership?

Cast your mind back to early September 2011.

Our club was reeling from the loss of two key players (Fabregas and Nasri) and had made a terrible start to the season, capped off with a humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford.

Three days after that awful thrashing and with the transfer window about to slam shut, Arsene Wenger went running round Europe with his shopping trolley like a slum-dweller from N17 on a looting trip at the Pound Store during the annual riot season.

Anything he could lay his hands on went in the cart. Or so it seemed.

The Press – and a not insignificant minority of the Arsenal fan base – were quick to scream “Panic Buys.”

And indeed when Arsene got home and tipped his shopping out on the floor it was a mixed bag.  From the bargain shelf there was the mystifying inclusion of a job lot of Pot Noodles (Park Chu Young); there was a big round tin of Brazilian beef, well past its sell-by date (work it out); there was some fine Spanish ham and, finally, a giant German sausage.

As supporters it was hard to know quite what to make of it.

Mikel Arteta was a known quantity – a midfielder of skill and intelligence, though injury prone. Even if people weren’t setting off rockets in celebration, his arrival from Everton felt like a solid signing.

But the others?

Let’s face it, we had never heard of Park Chu Young or Andre Santos, so it was hard to get excited about them.

But Per Mertesacker was a different kettle of sardines. Even if we weren’t fervent watchers of the Bundesliga we all knew that Mertesacker was a very tall German international centre back with 70-something caps.

Remember, this was the summer when our clear need for a new central defender had led to strong campaigns in favour of us signing Gary Cahill, Chris Samba, Phil Jagielka and even Richard Dunne, who is older than dandan.

The one thing all those Premiership defenders had in common (apart from Dundun) was their price tag: all of them were supposedly going to cost well north of  £15m. The big German – with all that international experience – was only £10m.

I remember Mertesacker’s first few games for us. In his debut outing we beat Swansea 1-0. The German looked a bit disorientated and there were worrying signs that pace was not his strong point (it was rumoured that once, when playing in Switzerland for Germany, he was overtaken by a glacier).

His second game was a 1-1 away at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League (GiE in his match report commented on how Mertesacker’s pace was exposed), then there was an away game at Blackburn Rovers – a 4-3 defeat in which our defence fell apart like an Ikea shelf unit assembled by Stevie Wonder.

The press – still gorging on the ‘Arsenal in crisis’ story – were quick to write off Mertesacker as an ungainly, tardy waste of money.

The trouble with the media is that once they have given someone a label, it takes them years to remove it.

As far as they were concerned Big Per was a disappointment and wasn’t cut out for the Premier League. Some of them are still saying that even now. Given the general despondency around our club back in Autumn 2011 it is hardly surprising that quite a lot of fans agreed.

But let’s put things in context: Mertesacker had joined a team that was in utter turmoil – both from a sudden influx of new faces and from the emotional fall-out of the Man Utd defeat and the late departures of Cesc and Nasri.

He was in a new country, a new league, with unfamiliar team mates. If he had slotted in like a world beater from Day One it would have been the greatest footballing miracle since the noisy neighbours trained an ape to wear their tatty shirt and kick a ball.

History often hysteria look foolish, and if you think back to Arsenal’s slow-but-steady recovery in the 2011-12 season you’ll see that Armageddon never quite happened: we weren’t relegated, we climbed up the table, we “minded the gap” and we finished third.

And one of the biggest factors in our return to form was the tardy Teuton himself: the lumbering giant, the heavy-legged Hanoverian, the sluggish Squarehead. Except that by now most Arsenal fans had realised that if his legs were sometimes slow, his mind was like Usain Bolt when it came to reading the game of football.

Even by late September of his first season the Big F*cking German (as we now fondly called him) was earning these sorts of write-ups in the AA match reports: “Best game yet, calm and assured,” (Jamie, after we beat Bolton 3-0 on September 24th); “Reads the game so well, he can intercept the ball or break up the play higher up the pitch than one might expect… The BFG is growing into his role with us, a pleasure to see that,” (26 May after our 2-1 victory over Olimpiacos on September 28th).

Early in his Arsenal career I said he reminded me of David O’Leary in the way he read the game and was able to snuff out trouble before it got serious.

Since then he has got better and better and is now one of the first names on our team sheet. When all our defenders are fit, the only question for the manager is whether he should be partnered with Koscielny or Vermaelen.

What’s more, he is clearly becoming a leader at the club, both on and off the pitch (as Arsene Wenger mentioned recently). You really get the sense that he is loving life at Arsenal and in London and even the journalists are belatedly beginning to realise what we Arsenal fans have known for quite some time now – that he is a top quality player.

In the weekend’s win at Swansea he had an 87% pass success rate; he won the one tackle he had to make; he made four successful clearances out of four attempted; he succeeded in both his attempted headed clearances and was victorious in all four of his aerial duels.

But what the stats don’t show is that he was always there to receive the ball and be the calming presence in our back line.

Which brings me back to my original question: is our Beanpole Boche the best central defender in the EPL?

His competition would come, I guess, from the likes of John “Jeremy Kyle has my family on speed dial” Terry; Gary “not to be confused with Tim” Cahill; Vincent “Two’s” Kompany; Martin “no Halloween mask necessary” Skrtel and Jan “Badly Advised” Vertonghen.

Some of them have qualities that the BFG lacks – mainly speed, as has been discussed. But in their overall contribution to their team’s defensive units I don’t feel any of them is currently better than our commanding Kaiser.

It is rumoured that Arsenal are planning to offer Mertesacker a three year extension on his contract, which expires at the end of next season. I hope it’s true and I hope the business is concluded quickly.

He may be a beanpole, but beanpoles are there to help things grow – and Per is certainly helping his Arsenal colleagues grow into a formidable unit.


135 Responses to Is Per Mertesacker The Best Centre Back In The Premiership?

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just seen the title, but not read yet.

    A thought. LB asked who should lift the Premier Trophy for us? Yes, I know, and ‘Ol Big Ears 🙂


    Off. Read.

  2. Big Raddy says:

    “like a slum-dweller from N17 on a looting trip at the Pound Store during the annual riot season.”


  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bloody hell Rocky

    That has to be one of your very best, and that is up against very serious competition. Brilliant. Thank you.

    So many great lines. Personal favourite? Wow, tricky, but I’m going with Pot Noodle.

  4. realarsenalfan says:

    LOL. If you werent aware of Per when we got him and how good he was you arent really a football fan. I had wanted us to sign him for a few seasons. Knowing who weak we were at defending set pieces a few seasons ago. Just because he bought them at the end of the window doesnt mean he hadnt been working on those moves for a month

  5. Ewrong. However he is still guilty of ” xcellent post. I was certainly one of the early doubters, but delighted to be proved wrong. However he is still guilty of ” ball watching ” as those long diagonals into the area often expose him. Surprising for such an experienced player. Anyway, as you have illustrated, he has many other excellent qualities, and at the moment is a very important player for us.

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha Raddy

    I so nearly opted for that line 🙂

  7. 26may1989 says:

    Typical Rocky post – mixes original observations with funnies. Like it. But the quotes from two-year old posts does beg a question about whether he carefully stores and catalogues each AA post, waiting for a chance to reference them years later.

    The BFG is such an important component now. It took time for him to adapt, but it also took time for the team, and especially the remainder of the defensive unit, to adapt to him. He’s been worth every penny, and more. I have the highest respect for Kompany and Vertonghen (cheating aside) but they couldn’t perform the role Merts does, and Koscielny (though admittedly not playing his best so far this season) is as worthy a partner as the Spud or the Oiler.

    It is funny to read and hear so many people still talking about our weak defence. We have imperfections but I really don’t think that is one of our problems, far from it.

    The level headed maturity Mertesacker exudes is also fantastic. I guess when Wenger saw the me-me-me-ism and hot-headedness of Nasri, Adebayor, Hleb, Gallas, etc combine to undermine the collective spirit and objective of Project Youth (aka Project Go for Success Without Cash), he pout a premium on recruiting some players with the nous and experience to see the bigger picture, players like Arteta and Mertesacker.

    The one very small worry I have in these Germanic days is the sense that the burgeoning German contingent (alongside the British and French groupings) is that it may generate a new cluster of cliques. I love seeing pics of our Turkish-German having a good time with our Polish-German and our German-German, with our young Ivorian-German and Ethiopian-German getting in on the act, but I hope that doesn’t create problems within the squad.

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’s a damn near perfect post Rocky….my only quibble is being outed as a dissenter regarding his lack of pace 😳

    I also remember writing a headline “BSR saves the Big F***ing German” a after our win at Norwich and BFGs mistake holding on to the ball. The headline looked worse than my actual feelings on the player as I felt although he had taken too much time on the ball the disorganisation around him that you mention was also clear to see.

    In Koscielny he has a partner who listens to him and responds to his calls, so if Per is about to be caught out he has already told Koz and the latter is using that exceptional pace to help his partner out. And that may be the major difference between Verm and Koz, I get the feeling that Verm is in it for himself where as Koz plays for the team.

    But on the question posed in the headline, I’d say quite possibly he is, and with Koz we probably have the best pair, which begs the question why is our goals against the worst in the top 4?

  9. Big Raddy says:

    RL. One of your very best. Had me laughing over my very expensively imported Weetabix.

    I have been a supporter of BFG from his early days (haven’t I kelsey? 🙂 ). He brings a calm to the defence which was lacking since Sol.

    There is a red thread running through AW’s teams and that is football intelligence. Per has it in spades.

    The vid put on the site this morning of Gnabry at Swansea shows he too has the “knowledge”.

    The Goats are stirring

  10. chas says:

    Top notch, Rocky.

    Dundun, Stevie Wonder and badly advised etc etc. 🙂
    For some reason I read the heading as ‘Per Mertesacker – the best Centre Back Partnership in the Premiership’. Strange thing was I thought, yeah, not overstating the case at all.

    What’s the weather like up there, Per?
    It smells of little people.

    The 3,000 Palace away tickets sold out to 20+ away points. 😦
    For some reason everyone wants to go see The Arsenal.

  11. Messed that up !. I was one of the early doubters, but deilghted to be proved wrong. this is an excellent post which illustrates the many qualities of Per. However he is still guilty of ” ball watching ” at times, when those long diagonals come into the box, which is surprising for such an experienced player. However his many other important qualities make him a very important player for us.

  12. 26may1989 says:

    Hi realarsenalfan, welcome and all that.

    But I suggest you read the post a bit more carefully: “Let’s face it, we had never heard of Park Chu Young or Andre Santos ….. But Per Mertesacker was a different kettle of sardines. Even if we weren’t fervent watchers of the Bundesliga we all knew that Mertesacker was a very tall German international centre back with 70-something caps.”

  13. Rasp says:

    Superb Rocky, and definitely up there with your very best 😛

    So many great lines …. this is my favourite ….. “it was rumoured that once, when playing in Switzerland for Germany, he was overtaken by a glacier”

    As to the message, I agree wholeheartedly. He impresses me as a footballer, as a man and as a leader. Although I would make him captain, the fact that he isn’t doesn’t stop him from bringing all the attributes of a captain to the team. The chemistry between Per and kozzer is improving all the time (except for the odd occasion when the latter has a rush of blood), they bring out the best in one another and also have a great understanding with their full backs.

  14. chas says:

    You is a better man than I.
    Some cretin comes on who can’t even write English and you still offer him a welcome. Though I suppose the ‘and all that’ might include a swift kick to the crown jewels. 🙂

  15. Rasp says:

    realarsenalfan @ 9:52 …… and your point is? …

  16. chas says:

    His point is is that he doesn’t mind the whole world knowing he’s a moron.

  17. Rasp says:

    😆 chas, we should really cut him some slack I suppose …. but even his name suggests that he doesn’t think others are ‘real Arsenal fans’ like himself

  18. 26may1989 says:

    Exile, to be honest, I think it was reasonable on those early days to have doubts about Mertesacker’s suitability for us, because he so obviously did not have the pace to play the high defensive line we’d been using for a long time. He’s more old school, like Adams and Terry, and it was pretty destabilising to be going back to that type of defender after Toure, Vermaelen, Gallas, Koscielny etc. But we have adapted, and it looks bloody good now.

    Reading Michael Owen say that we have a decent defence but he would not put one of our defenders in his current best Premiership XI was interesting. In terms of brilliant defenders, there is certainly a case for a Belgian pairing of Vertonghen and Kompany being the best CB combo. But if we were putting together a real team, having one of them paired with Mertesacker would be the better way to get the best out of either one.

    And that’s the thing: Mertesacker is a true team player, one whose individual characteristics may not be as obvious as a more elegant, athletic rival, but the football intelligence he has, and that Raddy refers to, is a magic ingredient for any team.

  19. MickyDidIt89 says:

    For me, a huge part of why our defence is becoming stronger is down to consistency of personnel. Arsene knows his first choice back 5, and the understanding between Kos, Per and Sz is very evident.

    I think part of Per’s strength amongst that understanding, is his Yin to Kos’ Yan (or something). What I mean is that Kos is a bit racey and hot headed, whereas Per is soothing and calmness personified.

    Although Rocky is discussing Per as an individual, I think his greatest strength is Per The Teamplayer.

  20. Shard says:

    No mention of Benayoun? Surely some middle eastern cuisine deserves a mention in your cauldron of tasty words?

    I don’t know if Per is the best CB in the league. He’s our best CB though (and we are the best team in the league so maybe he is 🙂 ) and although he struggled in his first season with the aerial assaults, he has improved tremendously. His reading of the game was always superb, as was his tackling. But now he’s a real leader for us. I love our BFG!!

    The ‘panic buy’ argument always frustrates me. It’s portrayed that Wenger wouldn’t have bought anyone if it weren’t for the 8-2 loss, which is just nonsense, and is similar to what some folk say about Ozil only being bought because of the boos at the (fixed) Villa game. Arsenal fans must be among the most self flagellating people in the world. Or maybe they treat it with religious fervour. Which would be understandable since we don’t worship Mammon or become Judas and sell our souls for Silver(ware). We need some other sort of release. 🙂

  21. 26may1989 says:

    One problem with the fantastic BFG-Kos partnership is: what’s going to happen with Vermaelen? Will he be able to raise his game to overtake Kos again? And if he can’t will he be able to accept being the third wheel, or to searching for opportunities at LB and DM as well as CB?

    Being club captain without being able to break into the first XI will be an additional source of pressure.

    I continue to rate Vermaelen, and having someone of his calibre as third choice CB is excellent, but at some point (perhaps not too far into the future) there will be a breaking point for him.

  22. 26may1989 says:

    I’d love us to sign Yossi. Not going to happen (off to Spain, isn’t he?) but it would be great.

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Darn that 26, he’s done the Teamplayer line 🙂

    Is my last comment visible? It is at my end, but says I’m in moderation.

    Guess that Rasp fella has finally had enough of me and snapped 🙂

  24. Shard says:


    From the comments on the previous post. You certainly aren’t alone in thinking of Arsenal players as older than yourself. Apparently Giroud turns 27 today. The image I have of him is being at least 5-10 years older than me, when he’s actually a few months younger. It first started happening a few years ago, but then it was only the young starlets who were younger than me, and not by much. So it seemed ok. Now someone like Gnabry just scored for Arsenal and he’s nearly a decade younger than me! And yet, that’s not how I see the players usually. They all ‘are’ older.

  25. arnie says:

    Fantastic and very thoughtful post, Rocky.

    BFG is truly loved by fans and players alike, but receives very little credit for his role in the development of the side. On the issue about best centre-back in the PL, I think the competition is with Kompany, Vidic and Ivanovic. For his solid if unconventional defensive play, for his brilliance up the field, and most importantly for his leadership amongst the Liliputs circling around him, I think BFG just about pips it. Very stiff competition with Kompany, though.

    26may: good point about the German mafia. We should be aware of this. No reason why this should happen, remember the largely French dominated teams from the past? But, good thought.

  26. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    A fine post Rocky, have you thought of taking up journalism as a profession? 😀

    In answer to the headline question…with my Arsenal specs on…of course he is, followed by Koscielny, Vermaelen and Sagna in that order.

    I didn’t get a chance to comment on Saturday’s game due to a family lunch followed by my acting as Quiz Master at my local British Legion Branch.

    For the first time in quite a while I was able to watch the game without suffering from nail-biting anxiety. I think the teams growing confidence has washed over me, I just felt that we were going to win even though our possesion and ball retention were poor at times.

    Two goals seemed to have won the points, yet even Swansea’s 82 min strike failed to stir the “oh no not again” feeling that has previously had me wishing to hide behind the sofa.

    Did anyone notice? WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!!!

  27. Big Raddy says:

    As long as the manager is older than me I am happy.

    Mafia? What of the English mafia or doesn’t that count? There will be cliques in any group of people and language plays a major part – nothing sinister in that.

  28. chas says:

    I’m old enough to be Thierry’s Dad.

    Worse still I’m the same age as Kevin from Eggheads.

  29. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Sob, Sob, I’m older than the manager!!

  30. chas says:

    Gnabry’s grandad.

  31. chas says:

    It seems to me as though one the strengths of the current squad is that everyone is pulling in the same direction.

  32. nkusuny says:

    well written article! Arsenal Fans in my country always criticise him right from day one. But i always tell them to calm down that i saw potential is this guy. Yes he lack pace, but have any one beaten him with pace? No because he is an extreme reader of the game. We are on the up with our current squad. Tin but full of quality.

  33. Ginge says:

    “He was in a new country, a new league, with unfamiliar team mates. If he had slotted in like a world beater from Day One it would have been the greatest footballing miracle since the noisy neighbours trained an ape to wear their tatty shirt and kick a ball.” – This paragraph just cost me a mouthful of cornflakes! Genius.

    In answer to a point the author made, I think Per and Kos make a more sure footed defensive pairing, although Kos needs to cut unnecessary tackles out of his game (which have led to penalties and no clean sheets). TV5 needs to get his head straight as he has not been as good since his 1st lenghty injury spell. But otherwise loving life as a gooner at the moment, hope we can carry it through til January when we can get some reinforcements in!

  34. Evönne says:

    not even 11am and already 34 comments!!! I’d better read it 🙂

  35. The Cockie Monster says:

    Fine post for a Cookie breakfast !.

    I almost nearly just a bit felt sorry for your ridiculing of the Swamp Monsters….but not quite !. I do a good business selling Turd Cookies outside The Theatre of Screams !. It keeps them happy !.
    Interesting fact about their annual riots…….the last one caused £5M worth of improvements !.

  36. JM says:

    Best centre defensive pairing currently in the PL: Dejan Lovren and Jose Fonte from Southampton (sitting on 5th in the table surprisingly at the moment with only 2 goals conceded).

    CBs work in a pair (or trio if 3 at the back). No one CB can be dominating alone without his partner and their performances in their team reflect on that.

    I am critical as I want our team to reach a higher target of winning with clean sheets/shutouts. We have the ability to get there.

  37. JM says:

    Per – There is room for improvement
    (Per Mertesacker believes his partnership with Laurent Koscielny is going well but says that better communication will bring them more clean sheets.)

  38. 26may1989 says:

    Completely agree, JM, we should be achieving more clean sheets (that goal conceded on Saturday being the only thing to spoil my day). But I’ve become a bit obsessed with how rarely we now conceded more than one goal. The only time it has happened since we won in Munich in mid-March, when this impressive run began, was when we lost the Villa game. Comparing that to every one of our domestic rivals is instructive: I think Everton were the closest, with four occasions of conceding at least two goals, and City, United, Spurs and Liverpool were all on five or six occasions in the same period.

    Of course, conceding none is better than conceding one, but there have been times in the last few years when we’ve actually ranked high in the list of clean sheets but that was rendered meaningless by losing too many games 1-0 and, when we did let in more than one, capitulating entirely. So, perhaps it’s more important to maintain a reasonably tight defence over a long time than it is to maximise the number of clean sheets.

    I’m not a fan of the Daily Mail but I thought the table in this article today was interesting, showing that in the PL games in 2013 we’ve collected six more points than our rivals (though we’ve played one more game than some) and we’ve won three more games than the other five. It’s also interesting to see that the three London teams have sustained a superior performance over the Lancashire teams, suggesting the six games of this season aren’t a blip.

  39. 26may1989 says:

    Sorry, that should have been “City, United, Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool were all on five or six occasions in the same period”.

  40. LB says:

    Every now and again on a Sunday I feel that if I stand on tip toes the top of my head can just about reach the underside of the bar.

    And then Monday arrives!

    It is rare nowadays that I can read something on here that makes me burst forward, cheeks out, with uncontrolled laughter. But this did.

    “it was rumoured that once, when playing in Switzerland for Germany, he was overtaken by a glacier”

    I’m taking up knitting.

  41. chas says:

  42. chas says:

  43. chas says:

    This jacket doesn’t fit….

  44. chas says:

  45. chas says:

  46. dhakka09 says:

    Excellent post, Rocky. You had me in stitches throughout. I now have an image of a home-less Arsene running around Europe chucking players in his shopping-cart which would require some exorcism to get out of my system.
    Going back to the original question, the only attribute that stops our BFG from being labelled the best ahead of the likes of Vertonghen and Kompany in EPL is his lack of pace; which, let’s admit is a biggie. But pair him against Kos, the road-runner, and they definitely have a big shout on being the best defensive pair in the league. Like it’s been already mentioned above in comments, he is the ‘Yin’ to Kozzer’s ‘Yang’.

  47. 26may1989 says:

    I love Bobby Pires.

    There, I’ve said it….

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sooo taken 26 🙂

  49. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Really great pic of the boys back together

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Particularly bushy tailed right now as I just bought a ticket for tomorrow. I’m smelling Turkish grub 🙂

  51. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    I think I’m developing a man crush on Per.

    As some have mentioned, he works best in a Yin-Yang partnerships. Two BFGs in central defence would be a recipe for disaster, but pair one of them with a Kozzer type and all is well.

    I suspect we will continue to struggle to keep clean sheets because it’s in our nature to want to attack and score goals. But this time last season we might not have held on at 2-1 up with 10 mins to go (or at least it would have been incredibly nervy).

    Although it was far from relaxing waiting for the final whistle on Saturday, we seem better able to close out games these days. That run in at the end of last season after the defeat at the Spuds has given the team a belief that they can tough it out.

    I was a bit cheeky with my editing of your assessment of the BFG after that Borussia game (once a journo always a journo 😳 ). Your full comment was a bit more positive: “His pace was exposed on occasion when they played around him on the floor, but when they resorted to high balls he came into his own, will suit the bigger teams in the Premier League but we will need Vermaelen and Koscielny when it comes to the trickier attackers of City and the like.”

    Thanks for reminding me about Benny the Goon. There definitely should have been a nice juicy Jaffa orange in the shopping bag too.

  52. Bayonne Jean says:

    26, good to mention Yossi. Would make no sense to sign him now with this complement in midfield, butill always hold a special place, as without The Chaser of Lost Causes (e.g., vs. Stoke away, WBA away), there’s no CL, and likely no Poldi, no Giroud, no Santi….

  53. Micky – I hear tomorrow’s dinner is being discussed…….. what sort of time will you be at Finsbury Park? Rasp and I can be at the turkish for quarter to six.

    Sorry all I haven’t had time to read the comments just checking in as Social Secretary …….

  54. Per is definitely the best centre-back in the Premiership ….. 😀

  55. Just to keep everyone up to speed ………. Season Tickets holders have from 3pm today until next Monday to retain their seat for the Capital One Cup fixture against the chavs. After that they will have to book tickets along with silver and red members when they go on sale.

  56. MickyDidIt89 says:

    5:45 it is, and make mine a hot one 🙂

  57. LB says:

    Look at the picture above of Pires, Campbell and Flamini and then look at the bag behind…………who do you think it belongs to?

  58. Oh gosh, Bobby, Matty and Sol ………. who cares who the bag belongs to 😆

  59. That’s me in dreamland for the day ………. how can I get into London Colney? They must need some new planting by now surely 😛


    Nice one Rock

    I too have feelings for Per.

    What attracts me most to him is that for a large spidery fellow he could easily go round giving opponents an elbow and questioning there lineage, but he doesn’t do any of that.

    Instead, he fights for the cause in a fair and dignified way. Basically the mans a hero.

    DISCLAIMER: In no way does the above comment suggest any homosexual tendencies towards the author nor does it give others the right to make unfounded suggestions. The author reserves the right to challenge any accuser via a dance off or beat them over the head with his man bag.

  61. RockyLives says:

    Very good point Terry

    His disciplinary record has always been excellent throughout his career, meaning he seldom misses games through suspension.

    But I think Per will love me more than you, you bitch.

  62. Evönne says:

    Wilshere, Ramsey and Gnabry made it to Garth Crooks’s team of the week, amazing


    Thats where your wrong Rock

    I have been in regular contact with Per. Writing him erotic letters, sending him oils and fragrances,and have spoken to him on the phone.

    He doesn’t know its me yet, but apparently the police are investigating.

  64. Red Arse says:

    Rocky, like everyone else, I love your Posts, but reading this one while sipping my coffee, I was caught out by the change from major to minor when a serious moment dovetailed into typical Rocky humor, causing my coffee to go up the escalator instead of down causing a paroxysm of laughter and gasping desperately for breath.

    Your words were in effect killing me softly — the unwanted and sobering thought of Chas’s underpants saved me! Lol

    It reminded me of a fashionista friend who wore such sharp creases in his trousers that he could cut your legs off if he bumped into you.

    A warning message advising against coffee drinking while reading a Rocky special, or a signed ‘photo of Chas’ appurtenances is in order I think.

    Oh, and hello from sunny Wichita!! Lol

  65. Redders – how lovely to hear from you, hope you are well and enjoying your time in Wichita.


    Redders, greetings from Bounds Green.

    I looked up that Witchgetyer place up on the map and its the most central part of the states. I thought you were a Yankee? But its good to know you can play the Banjo to. hahaha

  67. RockyLives says:

    You fool Terry!

    You think those letters ever reached him?

    By hiding in the hydrangeas in his front garden I have been able to nip and out intercept the mail. But it’s a lonely, tiring business so I’m afraid I have had to drink the oils and fragrances (although quite why you think Per would have any interest in ‘Glam by Kim Kardashian’ is beyond me. It tasted like strained essence of nappy).

    However, I did over Per wondering why he has not had any letters from the bank, or from fans, or from anyone for that matter. There was talk of getting a Rottweiler. I might have to think of a new plan.

  68. RockyLives says:

    Greetings Redders
    A very welcome smoke signal from the wilds of Wichita!

    Hope all is well…

    Did you get to see the Swansea game?

  69. Evönne says:

    Terry – what are you doing in Bounds Greek?

    Hooray – RA is back, we can call the search party off

  70. chas says:

    How very dare you, RA.
    My nances have never, ever been pert.


    More Poles than Greeks Evonne. More Poles than English to. hahaha

  72. Evönne says:

    Rocky – very good, very funny post, cheers!
    Despite all the joking and humour the message you are sending to the opposition is serious – beware of the Keiser Chief! he’s gonna get you!
    I, like many had my doubts about BFG; at times I thought him useless. But even I (thank you Raddy) can appreciate what a fantastic defender he is. Never stops to amaze me how he manages to be just in the right place sticking out his long legs to stop lethal balls. One lazy movement from him and all is safe again, amazing

    I just wish you made up your mind – is he a german sausage or a kettle of sardines( ey?) 🙂

  73. Evönne says:

    but you cannot call it Bouds Poles, doesn’t make sense

  74. chas says:

  75. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys,

    All is well thanx. I have been swamped with family I hardly recognize and been introduced to more steers than is decent.

    When I get the chance I will tell you all about my meeting over here with a beautiful woman and the strange connection to AA.

    Sorry, cannot stay chatting, although I might return to Manchester for a time later in the year and hopefully bend your ears with my rootin’ tootin’ high falutin words of wisdom. Lol

    I have not seen much footie lately, but always look out for the scores!!

    The Goats are purring. Lol

  76. Big Raddy says:

    Great to see RA back in the AA Tavern – even is it is only for a short.

    Deeply envious of Didit’s Napoli ticket and his Turkish with our BoD.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    This is loud but astonishing and added with Chary in mind

  78. GoonerB says:

    Great post Rocky, and definitely the funniest I have read in some time. I think my favourite was the Skrtel reference, a man who makes our very own beloved Martin “the film star” Keown seem like Brad Pitt in Troy…..

    Per is definitely up there with the best in the EPL on a man for man comparison but more importantly he brings a balance to our defence, and seems to compliment our other quicker defenders.

    Terry are you sure you have the right address for the BFG because I have been receiving mysterious erotic letters and oils and fragrances, and my wife answered the phone to someone asking for the big German geezer. I thought it was someone from the local asylum so just obliged him and did my best Herr Flick impression, which seemed to satisfy him. The oils and fragrances seemed nice but I had to curtail their use after going out smothered in them and having a lucky escape on Hampstead Heath…..

  79. kelsey says:

    Very amusing phrases or cliches in your post Rocky.

    Yes I did read your comment Raddy 🙂 who incidentally told me at the start of the season we would finish 6th 😉

    Red Arse nice to see you back,but stay away as we are on a roll 🙂

    I admit I didn’t think Pers was going to be the player we wanted but of course the key to his improvement is that now there are 4 krauts in the squad 🙂


    I knew it was you GB, that Herr Flick impersonation wouldnt feel no one, you sounded more like Imran Khan. But then i thought what the hell, hes got great hair, so i kept going. hahaha

  81. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Kaiser Chief”
    I like very much

  82. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ve just read your post again. It really is a classic, even by your own Herculean standards.

    Come back. Every site needs one enormous fish guzzling American.
    Hope all is well.

  83. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Holy Cattle. Just watched the guitar prodigy vid. Wow

  84. RockyLives says:

    Sir Didit
    Your kind words flatter my humble scribblings.

  85. Gööner In Exile says:

    Did someone say Turkish? My train arrives Liverpool St 4:30……count me in.

  86. Rasp says:

    Raddy @ 5:55, that is just fuzz box showboating and will only encourage chary into bad habits 😆 have a listen to Alex Hutchings for some real guitar tekkers…..

  87. chas says:

    Another one for Chary.

  88. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Nothing I can’t dó 😉

  89. Rasp says:

    Raddy, cop a load of Adam Rafferty – fantastic acoustic player …..

  90. Rasp says:

    More Adam Rafferty ….. just playing in some half empty bar ….

  91. chas says:

    Bet you can’t do this though boys.
    There’s only one Essex whirlpool.

  92. Rasp says:

    😆 Raddy, for a minute I thought Adam Rafferty was you

  93. Rasp says:

    Of course there’s the guv’nor Tommy Emmanuel

  94. Big Raddy says:

    Moe, I would like to learn that…..

  95. Shard says:

    Talking about acoustic players

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Newcastle are poor, really poor

  97. Rasp says:

    Haha Shard, I was just about to put up Andy McKee, he also makes his own guitars with twin necks 8 strings etc

  98. Rasp says:

    This is a wierd one ….

  99. Shard says:


    I would like to make my own guitar someday. But first I need to get better at playing. And also learn some music theory.

  100. Big Raddy says:

    TE is The Master

  101. Rasp says:

    Agreed Raddy, I love the harmonics at the start of this ……

  102. chas says:

    Well it ain’t gonna be Invincibles Day.

  103. Rasp says:

    chas, if you think that guy is good, you should watch this …. awesome

  104. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. My prediction was pre Ozil & Flamini 🙂

  105. chas says:

    Wow, Rasp, what a man.

  106. Gooner in Exile says:

    Chas @ 8:19pm the best one of the lot because he is an AA’er.

  107. LB says:

    Hmmmm, Andy McKee, this is new to me, I like it a lot.

  108. Gooner in Exile says:

    But I have to say that I think you are all a little too Heavy Rock for my liking….to be honest i find long guitar solos a bit boring!

    As there are so many interested in Music type peeps* here does anyone else watch Treme? Set in New Orleans and around the music scene of the area, must say it is the only reason I would consider going through the ballache that is entering the USA. Seems like a world away from anything else there.

    *I hate the Muso word.

  109. Big Raddy says:

    Lovely goal from Cabaye. Toon still pants

  110. Gooner in Exile says:

    My favourite guitarists if i had to nail my colours to mast:

    Johnny Marr
    Matt Bellamy
    Serge Pizzorno
    Steve Cradock

    For fear of killing the page with more YT vids I just suggest you google the name and guitar solo to get an idea.

  111. Gooner in Exile says:

    Weird that Everton playing better under Martinez than Moyes…….ok no surprise really

  112. LB says:

    It’s going to take Moyes a while.

  113. LB says:

    Calm down, to get manu to play the way he had Everton playing last season.

  114. 26may1989 says:

    Exile, you and I can chat Treme over a Turkish tomorrow. Love that programme. Plus my sister lives near New Orleans, so winning all round.

  115. arnie says:

    There was some discussion on 606 last week, the day ManUre financial results (one day before Arsenal). The rumours are that ManUre were so short of money that they had to appoint a manager who would not demand any substantial change in the back-room staff. Moist was the only option available …. Dont know the truth in this rumour …. brings a smile, nevertheless.

    In Moist we Trust!!!!!

  116. Gööner In Exile says:

    Sounds good 26. Lucky we are getting there early for the Turkish as might not get a big enough table otherwise.

  117. 26may1989 says:

    Arnie, since Moyes sacked most of the Fergie coaching team and brought in his Everton crew, I think that story sounds a tinsy bit off the mark.

    Still, it is fun to see United struggling to find a foothold under their new manager.

  118. arnie says:

    26may: aha, thanks, did not realise that. so much for 606.

  119. arnie says:

    26may, GiE, and all the lucky ones going to the Ems tomorrow: Have fun! I hope to not miss the start of the game on tele. Somehow, feeling quite upbeat about the game

  120. MickyDidIt89 says:


  121. MickyDidIt89 says:


    How hard is it to get tickets for an away game (Dortmund)?
    I’m a Red Member but no points or away travel club.

    The match itself will obviously be a sell out, so I’m guessing its away with the club or forget it.

    I’m assuming the answer will be “good luck with that ROLF”

  122. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    As we saw last season BD away is an experience to savor. Good luck with the ticket hunt.

    Why not try the BD blogs?

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahoy BR

    Good idea. Will be reading your PM on the train as I’m making a day of it.

    Any newly less-unwells back in the frame?

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    In your fixtures didgit you have Dortmund “H” on Nov 6. It’s “A”.

    In the overall scheme of things, it is not that much more money for me to do an away European game, assuming there are flights from Exeter/Bristol (and there are to Dusseldorf) which isn’t a million miles away from Dortmund.

    It’s not that far from Copenhagen either 🙂

  125. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Find out if there are tickets available ………..

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Seriously? That would be brilliant. I bags the top bunk in our sleazy fleapit of a hotel !

  127. Evönne says:

    I had a quick look at tickets availability. Bad news for Micky – no chance. Good news for the Club – even Crystal Palace game all sold out! Fans are being excited, very excited 🙂

    Neil Lennon is disappointed that Barca traveled without Messi for tonight’s game. Really?

    Moyes always wanted for Everton to be above United in the table. His wishes have been granted 🙂

  128. Gööner In Exile says:

    Hotel? So ” prawn sandwich”

  129. Bïg Räddy says:

    Micky. Flight to Dusseldorf is manageable. Tickets are usually cheap in Tyskland – hotel central to Dortmund may be a problem from my cursory glance

    WordPress playing silly buggers …… again

  130. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy think it’s the amount of guitar solos, all my devices have been slow to load the page.

  131. Morning all

    …………New Post ……………..

  132. James says:

    I SUPPORT Per Mertesacker

  133. says:

    I support Alexis Sánchez

    He is Keyman

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