As many long term readers know during international break I love a list. by Dan Smith
So as I travel back from Wembley my mind turns to domestic matters.
Arsenal know they have 10 fixtures left this season, so near and yet so far from immortality.
I truly think we will struggle to be in this position again, with Chelsea and Liverpool not likely to be as bad next year and the Manchester clubs likely to invest heavily.
We have an 8 point lead at the top of the table but still have some tricky away days.
We routinely lose heavily at the Etihad and Anfield so what’s the likelihood we suddenly win when the pressure is more intense than previous visits?
If we do win our 4th Prem, comparisons will naturally be made with the previous Arsenal teams that have lifted the title.
Some Gooners are not old enough to remember these triumphs.
So, to get us in the mood I will start my mini-series,
Arsenal – Champions – Where are they now.
Class of 1998
David Seaman (GK)
Won another double in 2002.
Fitting final game for the Gunner saw him keep a clean sheet and be captain in the 2003 FA Cup Final against Southampton, which meant he got to lift the trophy
Failed to sign the deal on offer from Mr Wenger, with player and manager not agreeing to what our keeper’s last year would look like.
The thrn 39 year old still felt he could play at the highest level while his boss wanted him to transition into a coach.
A few months later at Man City and Seaman’s body gave up on him, forcing him to retire.
Was interested In taking badges but was put off by realisation that part of the courses meant having to work with outfield players even though his sole interest was working with goalies.
Also made decent living on reality TV circuit, often with his wife.
With Seaman injured, kept 6 consecutive clean sheets out of his 7 league games, one of which being our famous victory at Old Trafford.
So more than deserved dispensation made by the FA so he could qualify for a winners medal.
At that time he was very much viewed as our future GK but this was in fact as close as he got to that happening.
Eventually would drop to third choice in the pecking order.
Since retirement, he works in furniture and real estate.
Another Double followed in the season he retired from football.
One of the longest serving Gunners to work consistently in the media.
Started off at BBC (where rumour is he didn’t like working with Alan Shearer), now with ITV In the UK and NBC in America.
Has co-commentated on some big games including the FIFA game for a couple of years.
Tony Adams (CB)
Been claim and counter claim over the years, but it’s believed our ex captain was hurt by the club’s reluctance to invite him back in a coaching capacity.
It took Mr Wenger perhaps too long to trust former players to work with him and help develop the next generation.
Adams was instead given a chance by Harry Redknapp after leaving Wycombe, with the duo leading Portsmouth to an FA Cup win and Europe.
Only got Pompey job full time due to their financial straits, and in hindsight not the best vacancy to pick?
In 2010, Adams signed a surprisiing three-year contract to manage Azerbaijani club Gabala FC of the Azerbaijan Premier League. He departed as coach of Gabala due on 16 November 2011
In 2017, Adams was named as manager of La Liga strugglers Granada He lost all 7 games as Granada boss and seems to have swapped the managerial bug for occasional TV work.
98 would be first of three titles for the defender.
One of the most active pundits around, can be found working on BBC, BT and Talk Sport.
One of the first ex-players Mr Wenger trusted.
Bould firstly worked with our younger age groups with tremendous success before replacing Pat Rice as assistant manager.
It was always well speculated how much input Bould had within the first team, such was his bosses refusal to delegate.
Currently works in Belgium in his first attempt at being a manager.
Occasionally works in the media but not as busy as others.
Helps out Arsenal’s Website channel sometimes as a pundit and commentary.
One of the first ex-players Mr Wenger trusted to help him, with Grimandi being the club’s scout of France.
Did such a good job was strongly linked with what eventually became Edu’s job at the Emirates.
Mr Wenger’s exit saw him reunite with Vieira at Nice as Director of Football.
Now runs a wine yard.
Having retired at Man City, he looked like he was going to be gobbled up by the system being built at the Etihad .
Those in power were impressed by Vieira and it was believed Jobs in their academy and their American franchise were essentially him being groomed to be their future boss.
When he ran out of patience, took charge of Nice.
The same would happen at Palace, Viera improving individuals initially, but sacked in his second season.
Partnership with Vieira was labelled as the best in the country with the duo adding the 98 World Cup and Euro 2000 to their resume.
Petit numerous times has admitted regretting pushing to leave Arsenal in 2000.
Injuries meant he had to retire in 2005 after knee surgery.
Does media work back in his homeland?
Parlour (CM / RM)
Many Gooners felt this was Romford Pele’s best season and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t included in England’s squad for France 98.
He would continue to be underrated by those outside of Highbury until his retirement.
Occasionally works for Talk Sport.
David Platt (CM)
The first from this team to try his hand at management.
His first two jobs left a bitter relationship with both sets of fans.
Left Sampdoria before relegation, with the Italian media questioning if he was qualified to be coaching in Serie A.
Failed to get Forest promoted despite spending lots of money.
Worked for three years as Mancini’s assistant at Man City.
Injuries meant he couldn’t kick on from his debut season for us.
Found consistent game time eventually for Coventry in the Championship.
Can be heard on Arsenal I-player.
Overmars (AM/ winger)
Like several of their former players, Ajax welcomed Overmars back into their family as their Director of Football in 2012.
Was doing so good in this role was even being put forward to the job Edu is now doing.
Arsenal’s (and several other clubs ) interest died in 2022 when he admitted to sending inappropriate messages to a female co-worker.
Did well to get a job in Belgium.
One of three ex-players to have a statue outside of the Emirates. Bergkamp has admitted he dreams of working with Arsenal again one day.
Having rejected a scouting role after his retirement, the striker mostly worked with youth groups for Holland and Ajax.
A big hurdle to any managerial role would be his fear of flying.
Ian Wright (Striker)
After retirement, the entertainment industry tried to take advantage of Wright’s renowned personality by having him host Friday Night and Saturday Night TV to various success.
When he began working in the football media Wright wasn’t happy how he was being micromanaged, saying the BBC treated him like a ‘comedy jester’.
After time away Wright worked for ITV, BT and again BBC, clearly being allowed to be himself, showing his allegiance to Arsenal and England.
Famously Anelka’s brothers sat down Mr Wenger and David Dein and demanded their brother be sold to Real Madrid.
The youngster couldn’t look his mentor in the eye when Le Prof explained he had a contract that needed respecting and this wasn’t how he should do business.
Signed for half a million, he was sold for 23, which paid for a new training ground and a certain Thierry Henry.
The striker would play for 12 clubs, win trophies and earnt a lot of money.
Yet even he admits he regrets leaving Arsenal.
Became a cult hero in North London for scoring crucial winners in the title / FA Cup run in.
Became a journey man footballer afterwards ,.never prolific at his next 10 clubs around the world.
Has worked as Liberia’s assistant and under 21 manager.
Part 2 soon – 2001-2002 Champions
Great list! I really enjoyed reading the article
Overmars was lucky to get a good job after having the scandal. Fortunately, Arsenal didn’t sign him and chose Edu instead
I heard he had a heart attack in December last year and his heart could only pump out thirty percent of its volume. He became bloated after getting the director job at Ajax
I always considered Nigel Winterburn to be a very good left back and due to other players ahead of him, never had the chance to make more inroads in the England setup
Vieira and Petit were just awesome together.
Marc Overmars went to view a house opposite the school gates of my sons’ junior school. Safe to say, he got mobbed by a load of 11 year old boys and that was the end of that!
Tony Adams, whilst mighty on the pitch was fighting his demons off it. His record in management wasn’t a roaring success and we all know how difficult club management is
Always a pleasure to read about some of Arsenal old stalwarts, Anelka what a hard and intense lad he was.
In retrospect I would like to think Henry did enjoy himself more in football that the very travel man.