10 Things We Learnt in Lockdown With Kevin Campbell by Dan Smith
For obvious reasons hopefully Arsenal won’t have to make another series called ‘In Lockdown’.
Their latest guest was Kevin Campbell. What I learnt about the player was his love for Arsenal is such that the club always came first. Where some strikers have that greedy side of needing to score, he was happy if the Gunners were winning.
In his own words, ‘Arsenal are my oxygen’.
Here Are 10 Things We Learnt in Lockdown With Kevin Campbell
10 Boyhood Dream
Campbell has the stereotypical dream story to tell. He, his brothers and his friends grew up as gooners, but never could afford to get into Highbury. So imagine a scout approaching you and saying they work for the club you support?
9 Arsenal’s Values
As part of a youngster’s education at Arsenal, you were not just taught about tactics and formations. Campbell said the youth team had it drilled into their heads the values of the badge and what it meant to be at The Arsenal. Something that Arteta is trying to replicate in 2020.
8 Training with ‘that’ back 4
It’s well known that George Graham’s priority was his defence. The manager would work with his back 4 in training, often calling over some youth talent to work some drills. At the time a young Campbell assumed he was just a body to help prepare the likes of Tony Adams. Now though, he sees the genius in what the coach was doing. It achieved two objectives in one. While teaching your current defenders, who better for a raw striker to learn off then the most famous back line in the country?
7- Happy Arsenal Signed Wright
When Alan Smith was on this podcast, he admitted to not understanding why Arsenal felt the need to buy Ian Wright after having won 2 Golden Boots in the previous three seasons. Smudger would even admit to its affecting him mentally. Campbell on the other hand, despite 7 goals in 15 starts and winning the title, had the attitude that if it helped Arsenal win, that was his first priority.
6- Sacrifices For Wright
Campbell does have a theory why Alan Smith wouldn’t be as prolific once Ian Wright arrived. He cites that the Champions of 1991 all played towards one ethos. Wright on the other hand was so good, many played towards Wright strengths. Campbell himself would drop deeper or go out wide. Unlike Smudger, he enjoyed the chance to show his manager how versatile he could be.
5 – The Stars Line Up
Perhaps Campbell’s most famous goal was the winner in the Cup Winners Cup Semi-final against PSG. Ironically, he was never due to play that night at Highbury, only starting because Paul Merson got injured in the warm up. As they say, the rest in history.
4- Calming Down Ian Wright
At half time against PSG in the Semi Final, instead of focusing on his header giving Arsenal the lead in the 2nd leg, Campbell had to try and calm down his strike partner who was in tears and destroying the changing room. Ian Wright had been booked, meaning he was suspended for the Final if we advanced. Having been friends for years, Campbell realised what Wright needed was some time on his own to calm down. This worked and Wright composed himself to help the team see out the second half.
3- Leaving Arsenal
When George Graham was sacked, Campbell’s contract was due to expire that summer. The striker wanted to wait and see who the new manager was going to be. A conversation with Bruce Rioch convinced him it was time to go elsewhere.
2- Giving Fans a Voice
Since retirement, Campbell does work in the media including commentating for La Liga. Campbell though also independently uses social media to interact with all fans, feeling their voices get ignored by those in power.
1- Second Generation
Campbell’s son Tyrese was at Man City ‘s famed academy with the likes of Foden and Sancho. Despite being offered a contract the teenager turned it down believing a path to first team football would be blocked at the Etihad. At Stoke he has scored 14 goals, 5 on loan at Shrewsbury.
Including his youth career, Kevin Campbell was at Arsenal for a decade. He won the League, Cup Winners Cup, FA Cup and League Cup. He scored 46 goals in 228 games.
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