Where are They Now?

January 17, 2019

I always enjoy researching the fate of players who have retired or left Arsenal. So many descend into depression, addiction and financially destitution. This is understandable because for most players the knowledge that the pinnacle of their lives is in the past is too heavy a burden. No more adulation, no more dressing room comraderie, no more endorphin-inducing physical training, no more highs of performing in front of thousands of adoring fans, and there is no way back. The bell has rung for you.

For most people their middle to late 30’s is a time of job advancement or life development. For football players, particularly in the less well paid lower leagues, it is a time to re-start life and for many this is an challenge they struggle to meet.

Damn it …. this is not what I set out to write, this is meant to be a post about Kieron Gibbs!


Kieron’s career path was a meteoric rise into the Arsenal first team and then an England shirt. Where is he now? West Brom via Norwich City.

Arriving at AFC as 1 5 y.o. his dreams were fulfilled early. An injury, a loss of form, the arrival of Nacho, led to him being given the Spanish Archer (El Bow). It must have been devastating., imagine his thoughts when he walked out of Mr. Wenger’s office. Thankfully, Kieron seems to have adapted to his new life but how must he have felt on his first week at WBA.? And then relegation? From Arsenal captain (when Kos was injured) and the England team to the Championship in just 2 years.

However, compared to, let us say, Abou Diaby, he has been fortunate. Diaby had the potential to be a world superstar but despite his very best efforts injuries took their toll – he is a free agent today.

I heard a podcast with Tony Cotteee talking about his post-football career and his slide into gambling addiction, which thanks to the wonderful Tony Adams Sporting Chance clinic, he has overcome. Tony said, “how in the remainder of his life will he ever re-create the feeling of scoring a goal in front of tens of thousands (and millions at home)”? He won’t, so how does he come to terms with it and find a purpose for the next 50 years? For Cotteee it has been a job in media but few can achieve this, for others it is coaching at club or ground level.

Damn it – I am back to the “what next” theme! Must be the grey skies above.

This could, and perhaps should, have been a post about the off-field shenanigans at Arsenal, or about the effect of Brexit upon the club but I will leave that for next time. Be thankful it is not another post about Mr. Ozil 😀

written by BR

Arsenal have found the new Diaby …..

January 12, 2016

I have made no secret of my admiration for Jeff Reine-Adelaide – hereafter to be known affectionately as just plain ‘Jeff’


He joined Arsenal last summer after coming through the ranks at Lens. On the Arsenal site he is described as….

Possessing great pace and close ball control, excelling in wide attacking midfield positions

Unsurprisingly Arsene believes the teenager has all the attributes to become an all-round central midfielder. “Comfortable playing up front, on either wing or behind the striker, Reine-Adelaide is in almost every way the archetypal Wenger signing.”

He already has international experience having represented France at Under-16 and 17 level

I watched Jeff closely when he came on against Sunderland and his performance confirmed the quality and potential I had seen watching him in The Emirates Cup against Lyon and Wolfsburg. This guy has the potential to be a great player.

He’s physically and technically advanced for his age but still only 17. Arsene is being cautious and clearly doesn’t want to heap too much expectation on his young shoulders. He had this to say …..

He looks very promising, but needs to work with us for a year with the first team, to play with the Under-21s and develop. There is fantastic potential there and he will stay with us.

I’m sure one of Arsene’s greatest regrets is that he was never able to realise the enormous talent that was Abou Diaby …. Jeff’s abilities are very similar to those of Diaby, let’s hope that with careful management and a resilience to injuries he can evolve into the player we all wanted Diaby to be.




Diaby Day

May 24, 2015

End of a season. For some players this will be their final day at the finest ground in the universe, for others a glittering future awaits. I always hate the final day of the season, if we have not won the title it means my hopes fade and die – as far as I am concerned it is never over until the fat lady sings.

And the chubby lady’s voice is echoing all around Abou Diaby. I cannot recall a player who has had such a frustrating career. The man could have been the answer to all our midfield woes – tall, strong, pacy, and blessed with fast feet for a big man (I love a cliche´). Injury did for the poor fellow. Imagine how frustrated he must have been as season by season he worked his way back to the first team only to be knacked in the first game of his return. My sympathy for the loss of his Arsenal career is tempered by the many millions he will have earned sitting in the stands and lying on the treatment table. A story is so much better with a what might have been.


This is not the place for a season review, we can leave that until after the big game next weekend, and it is with that in mind that we come to the selection of the team to play West Bromwich Albion.

Will Mr Wenger rotate the team? He surprised us all mid-week by playing the Crown Jewels (or The Holy Trinity as chas calls them). They have to be rested this afternoon. So should Per, Kos, Hector, Aaron, and OG. We have the squad…. Use them.

And what of WBA? Pulis has done a remarkable job – never liked the cut of his jib but credit where credit is due. Could Berahino be a summer signing at THOF? He has a touch of the IW8’s about him and I think if we can control what appears to be a massively inflated ego (see Raheem Sterling) he could do a job for us, especially if Theo leaves.

WBA are the usual Pulis team – hard working, organised, strong in defence and pacy on the counter – they are a decent team; mid-table decent.

Can we score? For a team with such a varied supply of attacking talent we have been toothless the last 4 games. This has to change and change fast. Not playing Theo mid-week was IMO a huge mistake because we seem to have lost the confidence and ability in front of goal  – Theo adds something different. What is the point of Bellerin crossing repeatedly into the box when all our players are dwarfed by defenders (apart from OG who has lost his mojo)?

There is the possibility we could ship 4 and MU could beat Hull by 3 so 3rd is not 100% guaranteed. Of course it is, that will never happen!

How would we feel if our players downed tools as Chelsea did last weekend? I would be hugely unhappy if any Arsenal player did not give 100% every time he stepped onto the field in the historic red and white; I expect nothing less than a sparkling display this afternoon.

Barca had a Xavi Day yesterday. We should have Diaby Day.

I am 72% confident



All the Kings horses and all the Kings men….

January 14, 2015


Abou Diaby


Abou Diaby, the glass man who cannot be put back together again. Every time he seems to get fit to play, we hear that he is injured again. There are those who are romantics and think the club are doing the honourable thing by keeping him on the books, paying his wage and hoping that one day he will play again. Alternatively, there are those who believe he should be sold and a place will be made for a new player to come in.

It is a tragic case I know, none of us want to be seen as heartless, but the reality is that he is taking up valuable space in the team. It has come to the point where questions have to be asked about the feasibility of his tenure at the club and the financial consequences.

Should we keep him or should he be sold?

What, in the best interests of the player and the club, is the answer?

Written by northbank69

Give Us An A: An Arsenal Alterative Alphabet

May 22, 2014

Throughout the Dog Days of summer, between the euphoria of Cup Final day and the Big Kick-Off for 2014/15, Arsenal Arsenal will be taking its own idiosyncratic amble through the dictionary.

For each letter of the alphabet we will offer up some suggestions for entries that can ultimately go in the Arsenal Alternative Dictionary (available during the pre-Christmas weeks at all branches of Wasterstones or to download direct to Swindle).

Today we start with the letter ‘A’. The numerate among you will quickly have deduced that – with one letter per day – there will be 26 “alternative alphabet” Posts throughout the summer, which should help swallow up a chunk of the silly season. If only Arsenal Arsenal was published in Russian we would be able to fill up even more days, there being 33 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet.

This will be an occasional series, appearing on those days when there is nothing better to write anout.

Naturally you are encouraged to suggest your own entries in Comments.

So let’s get going…


Anfield ‘89

Like 1066 and 1945, the year 1989 will be remembered through the ages as one in which great things happened. Specifically it was on May 26th of that year that our lads, managed by Gorgeous George Graham, went to Anfield for the last game of the season needing to win by 2-0 to clinch the First Division title. No-one gave us a chance and even – at 0-1 in Arsenal’s favour, with the clock ticking down and Steve McMahon running round the pitch giving everyone the finger, few thought we would do it. But cometh the hour, cometh the Micky Thomas… bursting through the midfield… it was all up for grabs – and grab it we did. Probably the most remarkable, unbelievable, spectacular moment in my 44 years of supporting Arsenal.

Arsenal Stadium Mystery

How many other teams can say they’ve had a film based on them? Made in 1939, the film focused on a murder mystery at the stadium. Strangely, our neighbours down the Seven Sisters Road have not yet cottoned onto the idea of entering the movie business, even though they seem baffled every May about who murdered their season…


I love the word ‘arsenal’. A place where munitions are made seems such a brilliant word for a football club to share. In our case the Arsenal in question was the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, South-East London (and a mere hand grenade throw from where I was born). The Royal Arsenal provided the hardware for our troops to defend the nation from the late 17th Century up until its closure in 1994, reaching its peak size during the First World War. And, as you all know, our team started out as the works team for the establishment.

Al Qaeda

While the West lives in fear of more terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Al Qaeda, only the Arsenal stands secure as a place that will never be touched by the terrorists. Rumour has it that Osama Bin Laden was a regular on the terraces when he lived in London in the 1990s. He even bought an Ian Wright shirt for his son Abdullah. His time as a gooner led to him getting his own song: “Osama, woah-woah, Osama, woah-waoh, he’s hiding in Kabul, he loves the Arsenul“.


Players won’t normally get a look-in in this alternative Arsenal alphabet (they belong in the official alphabet), but little Geordie Armstrong, the flying winger of our 1971 Double side, gets a mention because his picture was the avatar for our dear, departed fellow blogger Dandan, who now supports from the great North Bank in the sky.

Avenell Road

I’ve been to Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington and to Fifth Avenue, New York. I’ve got drunk on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and I have walked down the Champs Elysees in Paris. But there is no finer street in all the world than Avenell Road, N5.

Right, that’s half a dozen to get the ball rolling.

Now, over to you…


Ramsey’s 15th and Jenkinson’s 1st – match review

May 12, 2014

Many called this game a dead rubber but most were thinking first and foremost who would start and more importantly how to avoid injuries while keeping up the momentum of four successive wins in preparation for the Cup Final.

We weren’t disappointed. We started the first half in quite a cautious fashion and Ruddy made a couple of excellent saves, although I thought Giroud should have scored around the 32nd minute. Having said that, I thought he had a very solid game. Giroud has been improving as the season drew to it’s conclusion and the deadlock was broken when he lofted a beautiful ball for Ramsey to volley home.

What a player we have in Aaron Ramsey and one wonders how much nearer we would have been  to the title if he had remained fit all season.

Jenkinson settled the match with his first goal for the club and his facial expression on scoring will live long in the memory.

All in all the whole team did just enough that was required though I thought Ozil had a very quiet game. Maybe he is saving himself for next week.

With Fabianski starting one could presume that he was given his last game today and our Number 1 will be in goal at Wembley.

One can never second guess Wenger even after nearly two decades and when he said afterwards

if you look at our overall season I think we need to focus first of all in keeping everyone together” and when asked about possible transfers in the Summer he said “World Cup transfer markets start after the World Cup, usually.”

We will see if those words run true.

Those who read my comments know I am a great Sagna fan and yet again he didn’t let us down playing with Koscielny in central defence, regardless that it was against Norwich, so keeping everyone together by the boss was an interesting comment.

To see Diaby back after a full fourteen months was greeted with loud applause from our fantastic away fans and he even applauded them as he came on.

Jack had a cameo and it was hard to tell if he is absolutely fit, though not spectecular,  it was good to see him come on and by all accounts we will have The Ox back midweek, so it will be really interesting as to who lines up for The FACup Final.

Finally Wenger said he would still be here next season. I just wish  he looked a little happier.His post match interview was very low key or even sombre and subdued, which frankly, surprised me.






Can you help cure our injuries?

April 27, 2014

Morning Gooners

Injuries have blighted us again this season, although we’re in fourth place with three games to play, which in a league of twenty that’s not a bad position at all, but injuries I am sure have robbed us of at least two or three  positions. I know this is not just this year as we all know we seem to suffer more than a lot of others.

What causes these seasonal injuries, we could say our players are just not robust enough, but we do have a fairly large squad and we do bring in the odd one or two in, but are we doing something wrong, or are we just unlucky. Do we encourage injury by the way we play, many’s the time I hear players and managers commenting that if they get in our faces and play physical we are easily turned over.

Now I am not sure that is the answer, as we seem to get our fair share of bookings. Are we easier in the tackle than the rest? I always remember in my playing days that it was said, that if you go into a tackle half-hearted you always come out worse off. Many would say that size may have some bearing on it. Our midfield are not the biggest around and after all it is the engine room of the team, so power must come from it, but I must admit I never really feel that we are that powerful. We have little Santi, Jack and Arteta and Rosicky isn’t so big either but then you have Aaron, who seems pretty sizeable, but he’s only just come back after quite a spell out and Koscienly too.

Diaby has been out for a season but he tops six feet so it appears size is not the reason. Diet and training has to be considered as it seemed to make a massive difference when Wenger first came, enough for other clubs to follow our lead so that seems out of the question. So what has changed that we now suffer so badly,

You would be justified to look at equipment, Football boots, shin guards, cycle shorts and now I see some players wearing under shielding. Football boots have changed over the years from ankle protective boots made out of natural leathers butwe now don the latest man made fibre low cut shoe type footwear, maybe that can account for some injuries.

Maybe even the footballs. They also have changed from lace up leather heavy balls, to lightweight man made  symmetrical shaped balls, that tend not to fly straight. Maybe stretching for a ball you feel should come straight to you, but at the last second it moves could cause a stretch, but then that would be for all teams so that is out of the question too.

Now I seem to be running out of possibilities, but I shouldn’t exclude the medical staff. They massage the players before, during and after the game , they nurse the players back to fitness, and their advice is also used in warm ups and warm downs, could that be a reason as all clubs must have different methods. In my day a hamstring was just a hamstring but today its Hamstring 1 2 or 3 that seems to denote how long it takes to repair. Metatarsal and cruciates and other injuries I have never heard of, also seem to be a modern thing, Maybe the equipment used today has brought some of those ailments to the fore, but others also would suffer the same, so maybe not.

I seem to have run out of options and haven’t cleared up this problem, so perhaps you have some suggestions that may solve this important fault, then maybe we’ll be the team at the top. instead of where we are.

Written by Steve Palmer1