Something has been troubling me, so this is more a line of inquiry rather than one of my indisputable facts.
I do not follow any Arsenal behind-the-scenes action. In other words, I’m not interested in The Board, finances, staff, training or anything much beyond our goal scorers, however, I’m slightly, just slightly, curious about the role of a football agent, who from hence forwards, I shall call Mr Slime.
Fresh in our minds are the cases of Mesut and The Dog Fancier from last term, so let’s look at the current case of Mr Ramsey.
He’s an asset. Last year of contract. So all familiar so far.
We’ve just been through his penultimate transfer window, and it sounds to me like all the power rests with AR and Mr Slime.
Naturally, Slime will be hoping for interest from the world’s finest, all vying for the Welshman’s services, but suppose nothing materialises, then what?
AFC: “Come in…..ah Slime, what an unpleasant surprise, but we’ve been expecting you”
Slime: “My member wants a massive pay rise or we’re talking to The Giants”
AFC: “Thing is Slime, the blower hasn’t sounded once, so we’re thinking of a slight wage reduction”
Ok, so this kind of conversation is doubtful to say the least, but how does it work if there really is no serious interest. Presumably, we have to sign him up so as to preserve wealth, but if there’s a gulf between AFC and Slime in terms of perceived value, where does this go?
What amazed me about the Dog Fancier episode is that we managed to get a decent player in exchange for him, when he would have been available for absolutely nothing in the summer.
I suppose City would have signed him if it had got that far, so Man U had to sweeten the deal to get it over the line.
What I wouldn’t expect is anyone ringing Arsenal about Aaron Ramsey. No-one will want him mid-season I wouldn’t have thought. From January he can talk to any other clubs directly anyway.
I’d imagine his agent is already touting the Welshman’s arse around Europe as we speak.
Eurgh, just the thought of it all makes my skin crawl.
Great question, and well worth a post.
Just off to Brighton in this glorious weather with my youngest son on our bikes, fish and chips by the sea and all that, but I will be back.
The fish ‘n hippie where Quadaphenia was filed is still there. Can’t remember name, but not on beach, but on opposite side of road between the two piers, although nearer the working one
oh bugger off Didit 🙄
I really don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’d assume they’d want to tie AR down before the jan. window
My problem is this: on a free, they could afford to bunk his wages up the the top of the list but I wouldn’t value him in the top 11, let alone alongside Mesut etc
Imagine the type of wages he might get elsewhere if the club doesn’t have to pay a transfer fee.
I can’t imagine he’d sign before the Jan window unless he’s intended to stay at Arsenal all along, otherwise he’d be crazy not to see what other offers he might get after Xmas.
Brighton’s West Pier in 2015
Indeed the modern footballer has his agent do all the talking and we lose loyalty and love for our players.
Now I read with interest that there is another midfielder up for renewal this year.
His name……Cesc Fabregas.
So assuming we can start talking in January.
Who would you prefer to start next season the all action Ramsey, or the metronomic Fabregas.
I know who I would choose.
PS Ramsey 27/28 Cesc 31/32
His game won’t be affected by losing his engine. Still has an eye for a pass and more of one than anyone else in our midfield.
Imagine him in the Xhaka role protected by Guendouzi and Torreira…….
Very long piece but fun to read – a look back to the past………..
On September 13, 2006, Arsenal faced Hamburg in a Champions League game which produced a unique quirk for the Gunners.
After Kolo Toure was replaced by Justin Hoyte in the 28th minute, Arsenal‘s XI comprised of 11 different nationalities.
Arsene Wenger’s men were already 1-0 up by that point having scored through a Gilberto Silva penalty after Hamburg keeper Sascha Kirschstein had been sent off in the 10th minute for tripping Robin van Persie.
Tomas Rosicky doubled the visitors’ lead in the second half before Hamburg bagged a consolation goal in the 90th minute through Boubacar Sanogo (no relation, before you ask).
Jens Lehmann – Germany
Sanago’s late goal brought to an end Lehmann’s Champions League record of 853 minutes without conceding, albeit the 10 games the run was spread over two seasons and included the 2006 final, when the former Germany international was sent off after only 18 minutes against Barcelona.
In 2010 Lehmann played the role of Big John Jacobs in the film ‘Themba’, which looks utterly, utterly dreadful.
And everyone’s favourite psychopathic goalkeeper returned to north London in the summer of 2017 to take up a role as one of Wenger’s first-team coaches, but he left in the wake of Unai Emery’s appointment.
Emmanuel Eboue – Ivory Coast
Eboue ended September 2006 by being named Arsenal’s Player of the Month and scored in the return fixture against Hamburg in November, but his season was blighted by niggling injury problems.
The right-back was last seen joining Sunderland in 2016 for 22 days before being hit with a one-year suspension by FIFA for failing to pay a former agent.
Eboue’s son is now a member of the Arsenal academy, where he plays alongside Jamie Redknapp’s son, leading to the Ivorian trying to convert the Sky pundit to Christianity.
It’s also worth revisiting this anecdote about visiting Buckingham Palace, which Eboue told the Daily Telegraph in 2016: “We went there and Thierry Henry said to me, ‘Please, Emmanuel, this is Buckingham Palace, it’s the Queen’s house, don’t do anything.’
“‘No problem,’ I said. ‘Don’t worry.’ So the Queen came in and went along shaking each player’s hand. After she’d finished I saw all her corgis so I said, ‘Ma’am, Ma’am.’
“She turned back and asked, ‘How are you?’ and I said, ‘Ma’am, I am OK thank you but please, I don’t want to be a footballer any more, I want to look after your dogs. I want to take them for walks, wash them, feed them. I want to be a dog carer.’
“The Queen, honestly, she was laughing. Prince Philip was laughing too. All the team were laughing.”
Johan Djourou – Switzerland
Djourou made 30 appearances for Arsenal in 2006-07, but the following season he was loaned out to Birmingham.
Last season the defender played alongside Samuel Eto’o, Jeremy Menez and former Gunner Samir Nasri at Turkish outfit Antalyaspor, before moving to Serie A side S.P.A.L.
Known among Arsenal fans for the odd calamity, in September 2017 it emerged Djourou lost thousands of pounds in an Airbnb scam.
“Little did we know that after a 10 hour drive from Hamburg to Geneva that the house we paid for was nowhere to be seen,” he said.
William Gallas – France
If Lehmann wasn’t volatile enough in goal, adding Gallas into the mix ensured Arsenal had their fair share of, shall we say, ‘big personalities’.
The defender had just joined the Gunners as part of the deal which saw Chelsea sign Ashley Cole, and his career in the red half of north London was certainly eventful.
The former France international retired in 2014 after a short spell with Perth Glory, and seems to pop up every now and again make the kind of semi-controversial comments that should be expected from a player who was accused by Chelsea of threatening to score an own goal if selected.
Justin Hoyte – England
Completing the line-up of 11 different nationalities following the injury suffered to Toure, Hoyte had spent the previous season on loan at Sunderland and, after leaving Arsenal in 2008, went on to appear for Middlesbrough, Millwall and Dagenham and Redbridge.
After representing England at various youth levels, the full-back switched allegiance to Trinidad and Tobago in 2013, winning 18 caps.
In March, the 32-year-old joined FC Cincinnati of the United Soccer League, essentially the second tier of football in the USA.
Tomas Rosicky – Czech Republic
It’s impossible not to love Rosicky, who scored an absolute rocket to open his account for Arsenal against Hamburg. In 10 seasons in north London, the midfielder was often one of Arsenal’s most committed, consistent and loyal performers, albeit equally injury prone.
After returning to hometown club Sparta Prague, Rosicky suffered a heart-breaking season-ending injury following only 19 minutes of action.
In 2017, the 36-year-old marked his first start in 16 years for Sparta Prague with a goal. He retired from football last December amid more injury woe.
Gilberto Silva – Brazil
One of the most underrated members of Arsenal’s Invincibles and a player the Gunners have struggled to replace since he left in 2008.
“He is, for me, class,” Wenger once said of Gilberto. “Modesty, humility, on a human front a top-class person. He was ready to sacrifice himself for the team.”
Since retiring, the 40-year-old has helped set up a players’ union in Brazil and also has a giant anteater named after him in London Zoo, which means he is now our favourite footballer.
Cesc Fabregas – Spain
Still a teenager in 2006-07, by the end of the season Fabregas had already made 150 appearances in Arsenal’s first team.
You might have noticed him since he left the Gunners, he’s only won La Liga, a Copa Del Rey, two Spanish Super Cups, a UEFA Super Cup, a FIFA Club World Cup, two Premier League titles, a FA Cup, a League Cup, two European Championships and the World Cup.
And yes, he’s still being brilliant.
Alexander Hleb – Belarus
“At some point, I realised, ‘Oh god! I’m leaving Arsenal!’ When Arsene said that it was a matter of hours, I felt devastated.”
Hleb told us he cried over his Arsenal exit in 2008. He has since moved clubs a further 12 times.
The 36-year-old’s career includes an incredible five separate spells at BATE Borisov, where he is still going.
Emmanuel Adebayor – Togo
In his first full season at Arsenal, Adebayor ended the campaign with 12 goals before exploding the following term and hitting the back of the net 30 times.
The striker now turns out for Istanbul Basaksehir and if you can name the five former Premier League players he plies his trade alongside we’ll buy you a pint.
Robin van Persie – Netherlands
Two weeks after playing against Hamburg, Van Persie scored that volley against Charlton, a strike which Wenger described as “the goal of a lifetime”. But it would be a familiar story for the Dutchman, who was ruled out for the rest of the season after fracturing a metatarsal while celebrating an equaliser against Manchester United.
After his third season with Fenerbahce, where he played alongside Roberto Soldado and Vincent Janssen, Van Persie moved back to Holland to play for former side Feyenoord.
I would forgive CF and take him back, but not RVP.
CF never said any unpleasant things about us and left because the connection to his home kept on pulling at him.
An interesting read 1209 GunnerN5.
Justin Hoyte was the son of two former British sprinters and had a brother who also played for Trinidad and Tobago.Talented families always interest me.
Won’t necessarily be unanimous, but tend to agree with Exile and jigsol, I would have Cesc back, despite his contamination, since his Spanish heart pumps red blood really.
Cesc was always one of my favourites I would also welcome him back as he still has that innate ability to read defenses and make the killer pass needed.
My perfect day’ – Ian Wright on the 21st anniversary of the day he broke Arsenal’s goalscoring record
By Ian Wright
It was strange going back to Highbury for this week’s Premier League Show.
I have so many fantastic memories there, but I don’t visit very often because the place is obviously very different now – it is flats and gardens, not the football stadium I loved to play and score at.
I am so pleased that it was the setting for one of the proudest moments of my career, when I broke Cliff Bastin’s goalscoring record for Arsenal, 21 years ago today.
For me to have done that, to have been the greatest goalscorer in Arsenal’s history, is still difficult for me to comprehend even when people tell me they were there to see it happen – which a lot of people do.
To understand why, you have to remember where I came from. I only got into the professional game at 21, with Crystal Palace, and 12 years later I was breaking Arsenal’s all-time goalscoring record that had stood for 51 years.
Even now, after filming this piece and with all the memories that have come flooding back, I still think: how did that happen to me at a club like Arsenal?
People would tease me when Thierry Henry was closing in on my record a few years later, but it did not bother me the way they thought.
Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to have that record but as I try to explain on the show, it took a World Cup winner, a Champions League winner – one of the all-time greats – to take it away from me.
And it is still very special for me to be the second-highest scorer in the club’s history. I certainly wasn’t thinking about any records when I joined Arsenal in 1991 – a lot of people were not even expecting me to play regularly.
Arsenal’s all-time leading goal-scorers
Total goals Total games 100th goal game
1. Thierry H 228 377 181
2. Ian Wright 185 288 143
3. Cliff Bastin 178 396 174
4. John Radford 149 481 306
=5. Jimmy Brain 139 232 144
=5. Ted Drake 139 184 108
The Gunners had been champions two of the previous three seasons under George Graham and I wanted to get the goals that would help us win the title again.
But I had to get in the team first. I remember watching the evening news on ITV on the day I signed and they did some vox pops about me outside Highbury.
People were saying ‘why are we signing him, we don’t need him’ and it was frightening. I just said to myself ‘I am going to prove them wrong’.
I can look back now and think I did my bit.
‘Reaching the 150-mark is when I knew I was close’
I did not think about Bastin’s record of 178, which had stood since 1946, until September 1996.
Then, as part of a hat-trick against Sheffield Wednesday, I scored my 150th Arsenal goal to move above John Radford into second place on the list.
After that, the media started mentioning it and I knew I needed another 29 goals to reach the magic 179.
Ian Wright’s Arsenal record – season by season (all competitions)
Season Games Goals
1991-92 33 26
1992-93 46 30
1993-94 53 35
1994-95 47 30
1995-96 40 23
1996-97 41 30
1997-98 28 11
At the start of the 1997-98 season, I knew I was very close but I just thought if I was playing, it would take care of itself.
I wanted to do something to mark the achievement, to show it was a very special occasion, which is where the vest saying ‘179 – just done it’ came in.
I wore it for a few games before I got the goals I needed, but the amount of times I have signed that picture, with my shirt over my head, shows I was right.
13 September 1997, Highbury – perfect setting for a special day
I talk on the show about what it was like having to wait to break the record, which wasn’t fun.
I wanted to do it for the Arsenal fans by breaking the record at Highbury against Tottenham at the end of August but it did not happen – I missed a couple of chances.
But one of the greatest things about it, in fact the thing I loved more than anything, was that I was still able to break the record in front of our supporters a couple of weeks later.
I remember watching Thierry break my record in a Champions League game in Prague in 2005 on TV and that was weird. Unfortunately for him, he did not get to do it in front of the fans at home.
For me, as I discuss on the show, I had the perfect setting – a sunny September afternoon at a packed Highbury. I just remember it was a gorgeous day. Well, until Bolton went ahead anyway.
I equalised a few minutes later and was so excited I thought I’d broken the record, which is why I showed off the vest at the wrong time. People have not forgotten that one!
Fortunately, I only had to wait a few more minutes before I did it for real, with one of the easiest goals I have ever scored. I am sure you will agree when you watch it.
I was mobbed by my team-mates and there was a brilliant atmosphere inside the stadium. The crowd reacted like the team had won something, and it was just an amazing feeling. I loved re-enacting it on the same spot, 21 years on.
My mum and my older brother Morris were in the East Stand and I carried on celebrating on my own, in front of them.
Morris inadvertently drove me to be a professional footballer when I was a kid by teasing me that I wasn’t good enough, or he was better than me, at this or that.
He did not even realise he was doing it, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me, so it was really fitting that he was sitting there in the stand with my mum.
I went on to complete a hat-trick before I came off very happy and completely drained emotionally, so I got to keep the match-ball to mark what was a brilliant day.
We won the Double that season, and I went on to score a total of 185 goals for Arsenal, in 228 games – which I know was very quick – before leaving in 1998.
It took 51 years for Bastin’s record to be broken, but only eight years and 35 days until Thierry Henry passed my total.
I always thought I should have put that record out of sight, and I definitely believe I would have scored 200 goals for the club if not for suspensions and, towards the end of my time at the club, injury.
But what is out of sight when you have got a player like Thierry Henry, playing in a team as unbelievably good as Arsene Wenger’s side were?
When I am ready to get my pipe and slippers out and look back at my life, I will able to say I am among the great names of Arsenal’s history – and nothing makes me happier.
Two very long posts in the same day – but I think that they are both well worth reading. I’m just a dumb old man and I have no idea how to post just the shortcut…………….
GN5. Both terrific reads. Thank you.
I was there for the IW8 moment, sitting in the Clock End. It was a wonderful afternoon.
I was also there in 2006.
I think we would all love to see Cesc back in his natural habitat. The man effed up (understandably) by going back to Barca and he must have been devastated to be forced to become a Southern Oiler.
Probably earned a few bob though to make up for the awful shame he felt every time he ran out alongside John Terry.
Cesc won La Liga with Barca and the Prem twice with the chavs.
Three titles in the 7 years since he left us; he undoubtedly made the right decision for his career.
Rubbish Chas. There is no higher honour in life than playing for The Arsenal
Brilliant, very funny and, yet, somewhere in the back of our minds we all know that is true.
To borrow from Wrighty:
“When I am ready to get my pipe and slippers out and look back at my life, I will able to say I am among the great names of Arsenal’s history – and nothing makes me happier.”
Cesc can’t say that……yet
Come back win us a title with Mesut and you’ll have a statue young man….
A bit of atmospheric nostalgia for a rainy London in 1939. It is Lower Regent Street, replete with brollies, horses and an impending sense of foreboding. The shadow of Nazi Germany was spreading its fingers across Europe and six long years of war stretched ahead.
Funny old thing really, but Regent Street has no landmarks as such but is the most easily identifiable road in London