Continuing the Alternative Arsenal Alphabet we move onto the letter D.
Remember, this is the alternative alphabet so the obvious stuff, like players’ names, is not included.
Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
D is for…
When, early in his career, a young Tony Adams scored at both ends in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United the Daily Mirror thought it would be amusing to publish a picture of him with donkey ears attached. The “donkey” epithet was picked up by rival fans and our Tone had to put up with a lot of stick for a while. But it was the journos and the rival fans who were the real asses. By the end of his career this ultimate one-club man had clocked up the following stats:
14 years as Captain
10 major trophies
66 caps for England
1 car crash
512 humungous benders
1 rehab programme
No-one calls him “donkey” any more: just Mr Arsenal.
We do love a Double, don’t we? When the club’s first League and FA Cup Double was achieved in 1971 it was particularly pleasing because until then our neighbours up the Seven Sisters Road had been able to claim “Double” bragging rights. (Yes, younger readers, there was once a time when Totteringham were, briefly, a successful club. But, like black-and-white TV, post-war rationing and polio, Spud success has been consigned to the dustbin of history). Of course we then went on to eclipse the neighbours by netting two more Doubles, in 1998 and 2002. Only Manchester United can equal our Triple-Double record.
And speaking of the N17 losers, you can’t beat the atmosphere of a North London Derby. On the one hand, a stylish team with stability and class and a diverse and well-informed fan base. On the other, a bunch of permanent losers supported by the entire roster of extras from Planet of the Apes. The first League match between the clubs was in the First Division, on 4 December 1909; Arsenal won 1–0 and that pretty much set the tone for things thereafter. In the years since then, our record in the NLD is as follows: P177, W76, D47, L54. Altogether now: “It’s happened again… it’s happened again… Tottenham Hotspurs, it’s happened again.”
Dein The Divider
David Dein brought Arsene Wenger to Arsenal and helped oversee the acquisition of some truly amazing players (Bergkamp, Overmars, Henry, Vieira, Ljungberg and many more). Perhaps his greatest transfer coup was spiriting away Sol Campbell from under the neighbours’ noses and giving him the chance to play for a proper team. But eventually Dein left under a cloud, flirted with the fat Uzbek and his son, Darren, seemed to be involved in every high profile player departure from Arsenal in the later Wenger years. Some fans want him to come back to team up with Arsene again. Others want nothing to do with him. What will his legacy be? Hero or villain? Or a bit of both?
I know I’m biased, but I honestly think that when it comes to diving to win fouls or penalties, few clubs are as honest as Arsenal. True, Bobby Pires occasionally went down pretty easily and we did have the Eboue years (but how many other clubs’ fans would have got on a player’s back about diving the way we did with mad Emmanuel?). Eduardo allegedly made one dive (I’m still not convinced) and you’d think he had carried out the slaughter of the first born sons. And I remember Theo diving – just the once – and admitting the fact in interviews. I haven’t seen him dive since. Contrast that with the likes of Suarez, Rooney, Gerrard, Young, Drogba and countless others and you realize that we really are the good guys.
If you’re not a regular on Arsenal Arsenal you may not know about Dandan. He was one of the regulars on here (right from the beginning) and always brought wisdom, perspective and humour to his observations. His wise and calming words in the aftermath of some of the club’s bad times were always particularly welcome. Sadly Dandan passed on earlier this year. We all still miss him greatly.