Rix and Brady = Gibbs and Wilshere??

April 30, 2010


A couple of days ago Arsene Wenger had this to say on afc.com

“I have definite transfer targets and I have been talking to people but I will not tell you to who,”  he told the Arsenal Matchday Programme.

The Frenchman then revealed there was a desire to bring in players ahead the summer tournament. He went on: “I believe the earlier you settle your team the better it is and the less anxiety you have.”

Wenger added that he would not sign a player on their strength of their performance in South Africa “unless there is an exception there that nobody knew before. Also post-World Cup the prices are always artificial.

“Overall I feel it is very dangerous to buy on the strength of the tournament because sometimes there are players who are fresh and have not played the whole season. Everyone can have three weeks of glory as a football player. Ten years is a bit different.”

Being realistic, of course Arsene isn’t going to tell the world who he ‘is talking’ to, I wouldn’t either, no shrewd business person would.

If you read NewsNow and believed every story about who is top on list of transfers for our club, we would have to sell most of the team to make way those players we are meant to be buying… Mme, would that be such a bad thing, ok I am joking!!

Here’s a list of some of those we have been linked to:-

Jack Rodwell

Philippe Mexes

Sebastien Frey (after going on a diet)

David Villa



Lassana Diarra

Phil Jones

Steven N’Zonzi

Felipe Melo

Stephen Ireland

Hugo Lloris

Arda Turan

Nevan Subotic

There are more, and the transfer window hasn’t even opened yet. I think Subotic is the only real possibility from that list, I’m assuming the Chamakh deal is all but sorted out.

As Wenger said, he wants a player who can play to best for ten years, not just three weeks! Blimey, shock horror, who was the last player he kept for ten years?

Yesterday, our boss then added this, and it’s from afc.com – He said, 

“Certainly, we will announce one player before the World Cup. After that we will see.”

I think that player will be Chamakh.

Later on the website he added this,

What is for sure if Gallas doesn’t extend his contract we have to go out and strengthen this position,” “For the rest we will see.

“There is a cut off point for Gallas. It doesn’t depend only on me. Gallas can come and say ‘Boss we will stop the talks because I signed somewhere and that’s it’.

“I could set a deadline for us and that will certainly be before the end of May because we then have to look for someone else. We have more talks planned.

The World Cup kicks off on the 11th June 2010 – so I now expect us to see Chamakh, Torres, Villa and Subotic all signed up by then and paraded  in their new red and white Arsenal Shirts – then Arshavin might shut up, he will have great players around him, sadly though he’ll be watching from the bench as he won’t get in the side – careful what you wish for Mr Arshavin – its seems you have now peed off your boss and we all know what happens when you do that!

Being serious we should see one if not two new players signed by the time the little tournament gets going and reading between the lines maybe another one later on. I honestly think Gallas will go as will Silvestre but as long as Wenger keeps his promise and strengthens the defence, I’m not bothered about either of them leaving, just a shame we won’t get any money for them!

Kenny Sansom made reference to Kieran Gibbs yesterday, he said he is like Graham Rix, in footballing terms I mean, not someone who ends up in prison for being naughty!! Sansom thinks that Gibbs should be played as a winger.

Rix was a good player for us,originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, he joined Arsenal as an apprentice in 1974 and turned professional the year after. His first game was against Leicester City on 2 April 1977, and made his mark by scoring the opening goal. He instantly became a regular on the left-wing, replacing George Armstrong – he and Liam Brady formed a very impressive attacking midfield pairing.

Possibly his worst game for us was against Valencia, the game finished 0-0 and Rix missed his penalty, we lost!!

But during a week when we have talked about the kind of player we need, Rix is another – we have the next Brady in Wilshere, all we need now is the perfect out-and-out winger to form the same kind of impressive attacking midfield – could that be Gibbs, or maybe even Traore….

It sure as heck is not Diaby!!

He says he believes in youth, as I’ve said before, start playing the ones who are good enough and stop playing those who clearly are not…

Finally, if you didn’t support the mighty Arsenal, would you rather be a Liverpool fan or a Fulham fan this morning. I know my answer and I’m still smiling after last nights results.

Have a good day all, not long until kick off 🙂

Rodwell To Arsenal And Is Arshavin Doing An ‘Ade’??

April 29, 2010

With the season dwindling out into another year of pathetic nothingness at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has now conceded that changes need to be made within the clubs playing staff. Le Gaffer has stated that for years his hands have been tied in terms of bolstering the squad with top class talent, even though the evidence suggests otherwise. In seasons passed we have seen signings such as Theo Walcott-12 million, Samir Nasri-12 million and Aaron Ramsey- 5 million, all come into the club. This suggests that Wenger has always had funds to play with, yet has proceeded to go down his ‘youth experiment’ route when signing players..

After 5 years without silverware, Wenger seems to have woken up and finally realised that spending money on top class talent isn’t ‘Championship Manager’, it’s an amazing little invention otherwise known as footballs transfer market.. Something where all the clubs get together and sell their deadwood and top the squad up with quality players from other teams. For a small fee of course… When we lived at Highbury there was nobody better than Wenger in this field..How I miss that Wenger..

After witnessing a certain number of his protegés once again fail at the final hurdle and show they can’t even fight their way out of a wet paper bag, Le Gaffer has officially come public and said there is now more funds to spend than ever before and he is already in talks with the players he wants to improve the squad with next year.

A name that is persistently being linked to us is Everton’s ‘wonderkid’ Jack Rodwell..I like Rodwell and I think he’s going to be a top player. He’s got a good engine and he’s big and strong with two good feet..He’s a player who likes to drive the ball forward and glides across the pitch. I think he would be good for us, in a few years time anyway..But heres the dilema..Rodwell would no doubt cost anywhere between 15-20 million such is Everton’s reluctance to let their young players leave..We saw with Rooney and to a certain extent Lescott that Moyes doesn’t take any rubbish from any team with financial might and he digs his heels in until they give up or he gets top dollar..

Do we really need another under 21 player who costs a fortune who will take 3-5 years to start performing consistently? When what we really lack is experience and proven quality at international level? I’d love to see Rodwell in an Arsenal shirt and I would kick myself if he goes to Man Utd or Chelsea and turns into a top player, knowing we had the chance to sign him. But I think the days of spending big on young players should be over..We have more than enough young players, and whats wrong with our own academy? Are we not developing players like Rodwell?? The answer is yes we are, but we don’t have enough experienced players to compliment them..So although I like Rodwell I think we should leave him at Everton to develop some more and spend 15-20 million on some experience..

Other rumours that seem to be circling the club is that Russian Motormouth otherwise know as Andrey Arshavin, seems to be trying to make himself Arsenals new enemy number one,  jealous of Adebyewhores status. He seems to be rather unsettled at Arsenal and is trying to manufacture a move to Barcelona..

If this is true then let me speak on behalf of all Arsenal fans and say ‘F*ck Off then’..If you don’t want to play for us then pack your bags and off you trot.

But to me it doesn’t appear as cut and dry as it seems..

The difference between Ade and AA is that Arsenal made Ade..Without us he would have been an unknown still getting splinters on match days in the French Leagues. Ade’s words were also his own. They weren’t only newspaper reports. Ade’s scandalous and stupid comments came from his own mouth on national TV..We all remember the interview on Sky Sports don’t we? Where one minute he was staying at Arsenal and the next Milan were after him and he wanted to talk with Wenger about his future. After one good year?? Pillock..

On the other hand Arsenal didn’t make Arshavin..Arshavin made himself, coming to the worlds attentions by tearing teams a new one in Zenit’s UEFA Cup win and also single handedly tearing Holland apart in the Euros..He was Russia’s player of the year a zillion years on the trot and when we signed him he was ranked 6th best player in the world..Arshavin was a somebody when we signed him and he didn’t come to Arsenal to wait patiently for all the babies to develop sacrificing trophies in the process..

His ‘recent’ comments about Barca seem to be old news. Theres a familiarity to them. They appear to be the same comments he made before he joined us and although the tabloids are adamant its a new story, I don’t think any of us have heard the words come from AA’s mouth..So far its all been paper talk..

The reports also say he doesn’t rate Wenger in his top managers, but if we cast our minds back, Wenger also said AA wouldn’t make it in the PL..Then we signed him.

We all know he wants to win trophies and we all know he wants Wenger to sign some top  class players, but Cesc and RvP have said the same thing and the majority of fans agree so I don’t see a problem..

Arshavin’s situation is nowhere near the same as Ade’s and until I hear Arshavin actually say he wants to leave I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt..One thing is for sure though. If Wenger sticks to his side of the bargain and gives AA some top quality players to play with, then AA better pull his socks up and play better than what he did this season..Or I’ll carry him to Barcelona myself..

“You Haven’t Got A Prayer Arsenal”.

April 28, 2010

That’s what the Daily Mirror had as its headline back in 1989, but they forgot we had Michael Thomas, he and the rest of the Arsenal players shoved that headline right back up them……..

You all know what i’m referring to, the final game at Anfield and we needed a victory by two clear goals to win the league…

Just imagine if that was how the league was looking this weekend, having lost two games we should never have lost, would you feel confident with two games left we could still win the league? I wouldn’t!

But back in 1989 we had a very different side, full of a very different kind of player. A good job to as going to Anfield needing a victory was always a mountain, let alone to win by that kind of scoreline.

Liverpool were confident they would be safe, they had just won the FA Cup and confidence was sky-high – they were actually quite a good side back then, so some say…

No doubt every Arsenal fan felt a little bit like we do right now about any impending transfers – we all think/hope Wenger will buy the players we want/need, but deep down we don’t believe it will happen.

Well, back then it did happen, we won the game 2-0 and were rightfully crowned Champions of England….

One man stole the show, one man had no fear, even when it involved his manager, George Graham..

Alan ‘Smudger’ Smith told a story about the hero of that day, and one of the all time favourites, Sir Michael Thomas. Ok, he isn’t a Sir, but every Gooner who supported our club back the and to this today will think he should be!

Back to the story – and don’t forget I’m telling it as Smudgers story, not mine….

Smudger has a special memory –

“One day while training at London Colney, George Graham decided it was a time for press-ups, down we went, up and down to the count. He often joined in but this day he walked around the group to make sure everyone was pulling their weight. Always a stickler for the right technique, George didn’t think Mickey was doing it right, he wasn’t going down all the way, so he stood over the player to turn up the heat. Still the manager was not satisfied so he started pushing on Mickey’s shoulders to encourage him further.

When that didn’t work, he climbed right on top, virtually sitting on Thommo’s back in an effort to force down to the ground. But when he wanted to be, Mickey could be incredibly stubborn. Not only that, he was as strong as an ox.
The episode turned into a battle of wills with George trying desperately to
get his own way and Mickey refusing to budge, showing incredible strength to keep his arms out straight in the press-up position.

What a sight, it was hard not to laugh.

Finally, the boss had to admit defeat, which, I can tell you, didn’t happen very often!!

For me, it wasn’t just his goal against Liverpool, it was his extraordinary energy. Our central midfielder was everywhere, perpetual motion, closing down opponents, getting up and down the pitch with a feverish level of dedication and desire.

Before or after, he never enjoyed a better 90 minutes…..Who could argue that Michael Thomas is firmly entrenched as a principle part of Highbury folklore?”

I for sure wish our next two games meant we were still in with a chance of the Premier League title and that we had players like Michael Thomas in our side.

But I guess it was oh so different all those years ago, can’t imagine that scenario taking place at Arsenal now, can you?

1989 was special, very very special – not many Liverpool fans have forgiven us for that day, not even twenty-one years later…… Oh those days……. I wonder what The Daily Mirrors headline was the day after 😉

Finally, The Emirates Cup, July 31st – August 1st, will see us host Celtic, Lyon and AC Milan, that should be our first trophy of the 2010/11 season in the bag 🙂

Have a good day…

Campbell and Keown get together ….

April 27, 2010

With their opinion of course, what did you think I meant….

I’m going to cheat today and for two reasons,

1) All is quite quiet on the Arsenal front as we head towards the season’s close.

2) I have a busy day or so ahead, so I’m just making life easy for myself.

Sol Campbell has said this

The main thing is you have got to get the right balance, there is a fantastic amount of talent here and we just have to believe we can win a major trophy – and you also need a bit of the rub of the green now and again.
That said, I believe you make your own luck in the game – how you play, how you conduct yourselves, how you approach matches, making sure you are seriously thinking about football, you create luck with all those things combined.

Training-wise, you have to work on your weaknesses, preparing yourself properly for the game, on and off the field.
It is not that you have to be locked up 24/7, but I think all these things do add up – you ensure that things go your way by doing all the things which come before you actually step on the pitch.

We have got a lot of that in place here and I am sure that, once everything comes together, there will be no stopping Arsenal winning trophies season after season. You have to truly believe in your skill and trust that you can do something.
‘Wherever we finish, we will have to build on it and keep on going.

Martin Keown has said this,

The staff have worked hard for another year and they will go away disillusioned for another summer because this year has been a missed opportunity. The title was there to win this season.

If you look at the age of the team this year then I think they have over-achieved. They are all very young but we can’t keep saying that forever.

Arsenal need to buy in a sprinkling of proven quality players and introduce them alongside the current players, and they will drag them over the line.

It’s very important that you have these people in the squad. They are people who have been there and done it. They are people who you can look up to and rely on to show that quality. When you have a squad full of youngsters you get inconsistency and you are never quite sure how they’ll perform.

All the Arsenal players are now playing for their futures, they only have a few games to prove that they deserve to play at their club and that they deserve to have a future and that goes with the territory when you are playing for a big club.

The minute you can’t win a trophy then you don’t deserve a place, it’s as simple as that!!

Finally, Arsene Wenger has ‘allegedly’ said this,

“The construction of the Emirates Stadium meant that for many years we could not spend a lot of money. Our financial situation has greatly improved. We are finally able to buy the players we think we need.”

Will the summer of 2010 finally see one plus one make three?? I hope so because all three comments together are very positive 🙂

Have a good day peeps…..

Manninger, Wright, Taylor – two out of three weren’t bad……

April 26, 2010

Having suffered a bore draw against Citeh and witnessing the horrid injury suffered by Given, I thought I would write about Citeh’s number two keeper….

No no, not soon to be Gooner Joe Hart, but old has been Gooner Stuart Taylor…. 🙂

I liked him, always thought he would be the next David Seaman, he looked assured, played with confidence, but sadly, like so many players since the arrival of Arsene Wenger, he didn’t really get his chance in my opinion.

Since David ‘Spunky’ Seaman retired, things have always been a strange affair between the sticks – we had a very very good keeper in Manninger, in the 1997-98 season he was immense for us while Spunky was out through injury but as soon as Seaman was fit again, Manninger went straight back onto the bench. Spunky was 34yrs old then so I guess he still had a season or two left in him, Manninger was only 20yrs old…
Why oh why did we end up letting him go? More importantly, why oh why did we buy Richard Wright, the keeper who was let in, allowed to take over the number two shirt and along the way let one of the few good/great keepers in the making leave?

Right now Manninger is at Juventus playing week in week out, well, not quite, but he plays when Buffon isn’t fit 😉

Where is Richard Wright??!! I won’t go there as he plays under Roy Keane, back at the club we bought him from….

So, back to Stuart Taylor, a lad born and bred in Romford, a London boy, maybe thats why he never had a chance??

How on earth is a player we let go all those years ago still deemed to be good enough for Citeh, especially when you think they prefer him to Joe Hart…
Taylor stayed with us for eight years, during that time he played in only thirty matches and sadly, he was loaned out several times, maybe too many times…

Bristol Rovers – September 23 – October 23, 1999
Crystal Palace – August 9 – October 1, 2000,
Peterborough United – February 15 – March 15, 2001
Leicester City – November 18, 2004 – January 23, 2005.

Taylor was often our club’s second or third-choice keeper, he only made ten League appearances in Arsenal’s 2001–02 Premiership season, we won the league and he qualified for a winner’s medal, although this was only achieved in the final match,with the title already won. Taylor and Richard Wright were on 9 appearances so manager Arsène Wenger picked Wright from the start but substituted him for Taylor on 85 minutes so that both were entitled to a winner’s medal.

During his time at Arsenal Taylor was tipped to become Spunky’s successor, but sadly, despite seeing off competition from Alex Manninger and Richard Wright, the signings of Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia in 2003 and 2004 respectively led to his decision to seek opportunities elsewhere.

What a shame, look who we got stuck with!!!

Did you know that Stuart Taylor was once asked what the price of an Arsenal Matchday Programme costs? His reply was a corker…

£2.50 – I should know I have bought it many times!!

Here he is, against The Old Lady….

You wouldn’t see The Spanish Waiter stretching this much…….

Have a good day all…..

Guess she’s singing now….

April 25, 2010

Before the game started I had high hopes of a victory and with it three points that would cement our third place.Song was back as was van Persie, our captain for the day.

Robin was up for the game, he nearly opened the scoring soon after the kick off, it old boy Toure hadn’t made the kind of
tackle that Arsenal Fans hadn’t seen him make in last couple of seasons with us.

Just before the half hour mark Bridge had to go off for the visitors, good I thought, surely this was Theo’s chance to make an impact against a ‘rusty’ Richards who had himself missed the last four games through injury.

We had a few chances, good ones – Robin’s perfect ball to Nasri who had timed his run perfectly in my opinion but again a
man in black, who obviously needs a trip to specsavers, raised his flag for offside. It was going to be one of those days!

Walcott fluffed another half chance and Given saved from Nasri..

Up the other end, I thought Paddy was going to break the deadlock, but for a crunching tackle from Sol Campbell which rolled back the years, he may well have done. The game was pretty boring, it lacked a real spark or a moment of magic that players like Cesc and Arshavin can give.

Home fans warmed up their vocal chords as the Big Fat lazy lump warmed up to come on in place of a once Highbury Hero, Patrick Vieira.

With the temperature raised, Bellamy and Song squared up for a fight, my money would have been on Song, I can’t stand that thug Bellamy.. Dean stepped in and peace was resumed, shame I thought, this game needed something 🙂

Rosicky fired in a low shot from 18 yards straight at Given after a little give and go with Nasri and we raised our game a

Lardy nabbed the ball from Silvestre, who had slipped, but in typical Lardy fashion, he ran the ball out of play – much to
the delight of the home fans. City then raised their own game, but thankfully there was little chance of them taking a lead.

Nicklas Bendtner then came on for Walcott, he nearly made an impact straight away, putting in a cross which eventually found Diaby, hoorah, for once he took a shot from 25 yards out, yes, honest, it was that far out, Given managed
to make a great save – the shot looked to be heading in the bottom corner until he got his fingertips onto it. The save
came at a cost for him though, the game for him was over and so is his season.

Bellamy was booked for tripping Bendtner and Van Persie followed him in the book after a nice late challenge on Lardy.
It was becoming a busy afternoon for referee Dean, as Pablo Zabaleta was also shown a yellow card for obstructing Eboue, the resulting free-kick from 25 yards out was taken by Van Persie but his effort went just inches wide of the top
right corner.

All in all, a dull old 90 minutes, Citeh were nothing special and maybe with a bit more effort from a few of our players we would have gained all three points. Sums up the second half of our season really.

The title race for us is over, The Fat Lady really is singing.

We knew that really but while the mathematics showed we still had a chance, we had a chance….

Have a good day all, at least we didn’t lose, if that is any consolation…

Mancs to win and lose in the same day….

April 24, 2010

That’s my prediction today, Red Nose Mancs win and the money bags Mancs to lose!! If that happens, by my maths we are definately in the Champions League next season… If however I have had yet another ‘grey’ moment, I am sure someone will put me right 😉


Sagna Campbell Silvestre Clichy
Nasri Eastmond Diaby
Walcott Rosicky Bendtner


Onuoha Toure Kompany Bridge
Johnson D Jong Barry Bellamy
Lardy Tevez

Thats how both teams lined up in our fixtures last weekend. We both lost, but the opposition and the way we lost was quite different. Citeh were kept out by a few great Van de Sar saves and a very late lucky goal by Paul Scholes. We just chilled for ten minutes and watched a Wigan side romp all over us and over take a 2-0 lead.

Disgraceful, utterly disgraceful and I hope Wenger has kicked the backside of every player who took part in last weekends fixture, except Sol and Clichy, I thought they were the only two who stayed focussed from start to finish.

I think we can expect two changes tomorrow – Song in for either Silvestre or Eastmond, Robin van Persie in for Rosicky or Walcott.

Assuming Citeh are unchanged….

Personally, I would bring Robin in instead of Diaby, play Eboue instead of Silvestre and leave Song and Eastmond in the centre of midfield – this is how I would line them up though…

Eboue Sagna Sol Clichy
Nasri Eastmond Song Rosicky
Nik van Persie

I think that side and that line up could beat Man City. If we see a lazy Diaby, an old has been in Silvestre or another lacklustre performance by Arsenal we will get battered. And I mean battered.

Sol can deal with Lardy, trust me, he won’t need sitting down and reminded of what he task is tonight, he will be up to prove his worth and show all the fans just how much he loves them.

Song and Eastmond together can boss the midfield, they are both calm and just go about their game in a very similar fashion and Eastmond should relish playing alongside a player who he admires so much and wants to emulate..

Van Persie and Nik, well isn’t that combination how our season started? Isn’t that the combination that saw us score goals for fun back in September?

Well if Arsene Wenger has the balls to play them together today, we could see a few goals and at the right end of the pitch…

Clichy can win the Bellamy battle, he has got so much better the last few weeks and Eboue will piss off Tevez, big time!!

I’m up for this game, I’m optimistic about this game, but only if we see Wenger pick the right eleven from the start.

Theo and Vela can wait in the wings for this game and come on for fun at the end…..

The final point though and the biggest IF is, IF Fabianski can put in a display to justify Wenger saying he will be a top keeper then we will be ok, but if he starts playing basketball early on, we are doomed…..

Just quickly on the transfer speculation – a snippet from afc.com!!

You can forget all the transfer speculation you might have read this week – because it’s “all wrong”.

That was Arsène Wenger’s blunt assessment of the latest round of stories linking Arsenal with any number of summer signings.

Transfer rumours have gathered pace since last weekend’s defeat at Wigan effectively ended Arsenal’s title bid and, inevitably, reporters wanted Wenger to shed light on the speculation at his pre-match press conference.

They didn’t get far. Goalkeeper Joe Hart was the first and only name to crop up before Wenger snuffed out any further probing.

“We are at the moment not on the transfer market,” he insisted.

“What is important is that we focus on the challenge we have in front of us and finish well in our final three games.

“I read some transfer rumours in the newspapers and they are all wrong. All of them. So you do not even need to ask me one name – they are all wrong.”

Doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence, or does it?? You just never know with Arsene do you…..

Have a great day all, three points in the bag 🙂

Song back, is that good news??

April 23, 2010

Alex Song could return tomorrow to face our new bitter rivals Manchester City. Sad isn’t it what money has done to them as a club? They bought the lazy man from us who then kicked our own Robin van Persie in the face during the away fixture and scored the inevitable goal to rub salt into all the Arsenal Fans wounds.

Song is due a late fitness test today so we should know for definite whether or not he will be ‘risked’ – I am unsure whether this is good or bad news. If such a late test is needed, would it be better to give him another week to recover and make sure he plays in our last two fixtures rather than play and suffer a set back tomorrow?

A win tomorrow secures our Champion’s League qualification and I think if we lose/draw and the other Manc side beat the Spuds we are safe to.

So Bassong will be cheering us to win tomorrow, I however will be hoping he and his side get a battering! I also hope that Stoke City travel to London and go home with a least a point from the Chav game, no way do I want them to win the league.

Wouldn’t it be funny though if win our last three matches and both Chavs and Mancs lost all theirs……. ok ok, dreamland..

The Joe Hart rumours are still doing the rounds, I watched him on Question of Sport last week, he seems a really nice chap, he certainly knew a lot about sport!! Surely he wants his future sorted out, to have stability at one club and not keep being farmed out on loan knowing he isn’t going to displace Given for a few years yet.

If its true, and Hart is a real target of Wenger’s, I think he would jump at the chance. He’ll know that he would get the No1 shirt for club and probably then go on to be the regular England No1 to. What player could resist such an opportunity?

Arshavin, Almunia and Denilson are all still out for tomorrow so I guess that means another start for Flapianski and Eastmond. I think if Song is fit he will play alongside Sol.

Pretty much the same team as last weekend then, just hope it’s a better performance.

Don’t know about you, but I’m dreading it 😦

Anyone fancy another ‘Alpine Man’??

April 22, 2010

Gilles Grimandi, a gutsy, fearless kind of a player, a player who I once dreaded seeing play for us but who in the end, turned out to be a favourite of mine and I’m sure of many others.

I recall him playing in the Dennis Bergkamp Testimonial, ex spud Edgar Davids was through on goal – he was odds on to score, mme, he had an open goal and was about to pull the trigger –  that was until Gilles Grimandi took Davids out, literally, no goal and I think I’m right in saying no telling off from the referee either.

Grimandi didn’t care that the game was a friendly, I think all he saw was a Spud ex, he knew what the fans thought of that didn’t he…

No way on that day was David’s going to spoil Dennis’s day.

In case you’ve never seen it, click on the link….


Don’t suppose Gilles needed motivating for the local derby either – yet he was from France, so the overseas players have no excuse do they?

Grimandi grew on me, big time – his curls, his attitude, his commitment – yes we had to wait a season or two, but he got there and my fears left me…

Instead of having the dreaded Denilson or Diaby, wouldn’t you just love another Grimandi there on the bench, a player who if called on to start would give all for the sake of the club and fans? I know I would…

So who was he?

Gilles Grimandi, born on the 11th November 1970 in Gap, France – no, that doesn’t mean his mother was shopping in the big clothes store, there is a place in France called GAP  😆

Grimandi joined us in 1997, another typical Wenger signing – French, defender but can also play in midfield. The latter I think turned out to be his better position. Fondly known as the Alpine Man, Mr Man Mountain by his team mates, we all learned why by the time he left in 2002…

In his time he even bagged himself six goals, not many, but I’ll forgive him just for that Davids tackle !!

Quite a few years ago, Kung Fu kicker Erick Cantona once refered to Didier Deschamps as ‘Water Carrier’ – the refernce was made exactly how it sounds to, bit of an insult, the player who was only good enough to carry on the water – yeah right Erick!!

But what that expression really means in the friendly world of football is, The Utility Man, the man that can do whatever is called on him to do, that was Gilles Grimandi. He didn’t seem to care where he played, he just loved playing and at that time it was clear to see that he loved playing for Arsenal..

Prior to joining us, Grimandi began his career with AS Monaco in 1990 and made his first-team debut in 1991 against AS Nancy in the French top division.

His career was set back after a call up by the French military service, he went on to make 67 appearances and score 3 goals for the club, mostly as a centre back. He helped the club reach both a UEFA Champions League and a UEFA Cup semifinal and won the league title in 1996-97.

The following season, Grimandi left Monaco and signed for us, he obviously missed Arsene, he made his debut at Leeds United, and was part of the squad that won The Double in his first season.

He made 113 league appearances as a midfielder, centre back, and right back. He was also part of the squad which won second Double in his final season (2001-02) along the way I think he became a fans favourite.

Grimandi is still with Arsenal, in a scouting role – he say’s he is lucky and that for most people, life after Arsenal is mainly downhill!

He also had this to say not long after he left our club…..

I think many players have done a lot more for Arsenal than me,. I just tried to do what was asked of me and give it my best – I’m not being modest, its the way I think. When you play alongside players like like Vieira and other top players, its easy. You just have to know your job and work for them. Playing at the back was always a bit harder – it wasn’t my natural position – but I was just delighted whenever I was part of things. I might have been on the bench a lot, but for me just being included in the first sixteen, with so many wonderful players around me was a great thing’

That says it all for me –

1) Its easy to play football when you are surrounded by wonderful players

2) More importantly,’You just have to know your job and work for them’ AND ‘I just tried to do what was asked of me and give it my best’

And Grimandi did just that, he gave it his best and that’s why I would love to see us sign another man like him….

Have a good day all…

Next up is Lardy and his lot….

‘Heroes in waiting’ he said, but….

April 21, 2010

On a morning with not much gossip in the world of football, I thought I would reflect back on another article from Arsene Wenger written in 2003, a year that saw us beat sides like Manchester City 5-1 at Maine Road but then lose to Blackburn Rovers at their home ground 2-0.

The team that beat City was Taylor, Lauren, van Bronkhorst, Keown, Campbell, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Wiltord, Bergkamp and Henry. Substitutes for the day were Ray Parlour, Edu, Jeffers, Cygan, Warmuz.

I wish we still had a few like that playing for us today, not Jeffers, no, but a Vieira, Pires or Keown would be welcome and of course, so to would be Henry and Bergkamp…

Back in the same year though we started to hear from Arsene about how well the Youth Academy was doing and how important it was for the FUTURE of our club.

This is what he said,

‘I personally feel that we have about nine or ten players who are really close to the first team and to able to say that is fantastic’.

‘I am talking about the players who are aged between 18yrs and 21yrs. For example we have, David Bentley, Jeremie Aliadiere, Ryan Garry, Jerome Thomas, Sebastian Svard, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant, Graham Stack, Kolo Toure and others too, there is also a young Swiss defender Philippe Senderos who will be joining us in the summer’.

‘When you look at that list there are ten or so players who are the top level, that is great for the future of our club and is a guarantee for us. The condition of our young players look tremendous.’

Arsene also said back then ‘I’m in a situation now where I can look at the younger players coming through, which I couldn’t do so much when I first arrived at the club, I had to buy players.’

All very interesting I am sure, but apart from Kolo Toure and David Bentley – just where are the players now?

Aliadiere – Middlesbrough

Ryan Garry – Bournemouth

Jerome Thomas – West Bromich Albion

Sebastian Svard – Roda JC

Moritz Volz – No club

Jermaine Pennant –  Real Zaragoza

Graham Stack – Hibernian

Phillipe Senderos – I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on with him.

My point is, in 2003 Arsene Wenger was telling the world that we had so many play ready to play for the first team. Well, not many of those he bragged about back then went on to play for us on a regular basis, only Toure and Senderos and I wouldn’t call either of them a hero.

Has anything really changed since then? – Are there a few Heroes in waiting right now, or will they go the same way as some of the players above?