Having watched a middle of the table team throughout the 60s, not imagining winning anything was for MY CLUB! Then attending two losing League Cup Finals at the old Wembley ploughed field, a new season and decade saw a light on the horizon.
This was especially the case as, in January 1970, Arsenal spent a new Club record – £100,000 – on “the next George Best”. One month after his 20th Birthday, Peter Marinello arrived at the Home of Football from Hibernian and the Swinging Sixties were to become the Salivating Seventies, surely!
A Scotsman by birth, he scored on his debut against Manure at Old Trafford. Bring it on!
Despite our wonderful victory in the Fairs Cup that year to release us from 17 barren years, and the joy that was the 70-71 Double, Marinello played little part in that success.
A “celebrity party lifestyle” and knee injury didnt help! He played 51 times for The Arsenal in three seasons and scored 5 goals, leaving us eventually to join the mighty ranks of Portsmouth. A disappointment, you might say.
Some forty years later, Gervais Yao Konassi, a new dynamic winger from the Ivory Coast, joined the Mighty Gunners. Gervinho as he was more commonly known, joined us from Lille in France, having scored 36 goals in two seasons with them. He cost us £10.8 million and was given shirt No 27, recently relinquished by Eboue. An omen!
He too set off like a rocket! A goal in his first game in a friendly against FC Koln, and a sending off in his Premier League debut against Newcastle for slapping Joey Barton (not all disappointing then!), Gervinho was with us also for two years, scoring 11 times before leaving for Roma.
So what of today? On the 1st August 2019, another Ivorian joined our ranks. Now it is not Pepe’s fault that he cost £72 million ( although I’d like to get hold of the agent on his and Lille’s side, and whoever did the deed at our end and smash their heads together!!).
I have to admit I was also one who strongly suggested Pepe would need time to settle into our team and League, but even given a pandemic season, the two years is approaching fast and I’m not sure, for all his natural talent, the boy has the right “mental state”.
For balance, Pepe scored 35 goals in two seasons at Lille and has scored 10 so far for us.What do you think? Will Pepe fulfill expectations, or will he be a flatterer to deceive.