Arsenal History: The “Double Invincible” Kolo Toure

Kolo Toure!

Kolo Toure is one of a rare breed of players who carries the nametag of two times “Invincible” at Arsenal and Celtic.

At The Gunners the reliable defender achieved one Premier League title, two FA Cups and two Community Shields. He would go on to taste even further glory in the Premier League with Manchester City earning himself one more league medal and an FA Cup, before winning a Scottish Premiership and League Cup in his final days at Celtic. He also threw up in the air one Africa Cup of Nations for Ivory Cost.

After having been at Arsenal for two years Toure finally got his hands on 2003/04 Premiership title as an “Invincible” after The Gunners went the whole season unbeaten. He was virtually irreplaceable during the heroic run appearing in all but one league game. This was something Toure couldn’t believe either when he later spoke to the Arsenal media team.

“I didn’t expect it, but what really helped me was that I wasn’t thinking about that. I was young and every week I gave my best so I could stay in the team.

“I never felt comfortable with my place or that I owned the position. I always had the feeling that every single time I played I had to prove to the manager I was able to do it.”

The title was won at our North London neighbours for a second heroic time in history after it was lifted in 1971 for the first time during Arsenal’s first of three double wining seasons. Toure also talked to the Arsenal media team about it being one of the best days in his life!

“What a special day! It was incredible, one of the best memories in my career. Coming from Ivory Coast to Arsenal – people back home couldn’t believe it. But I played and shocked everybody, and then I won the title too.”

The historic feat made up for missing out on the 2001/02 Arsenal double winning campaign which saw the Premier League and FA Cup secured. However he did notch onto the end of the success claiming a 2002 Community shield against Liverpool in a 1-0 win versus Liverpool.

Toure came off the bench picking up his first proper winners medal at Arsenal in the 2003 FA Cup final once Southampton were marginally tackled 1-0. Toure had firmly cemented his place in the first team that year at last; in fact he made 26 appearances scoring twice. His first strike for the Gunners couldn’t have come at a better time in a 1-1 draw versus Chelsea to rescue a point for Arsenal in the league.

Toure won his final piece of silverware with Arsenal come May 2005 once Manchester United had been beaten on penalties in the FA Cup final following a 120 minute dual with the Red Devils.

Within four years Toure declared he wanted a change of scenery from the Arsenal dressing room he had become too accustomed to for himself. It would take two attempts to leave the Emirates with the first being declined and the second accepted after he stayed for the remainder of the 2008/09 season. In the summer of 2009 Toure at last said goodbye to North London, and Arsene Wenger who had done so much for him in his career and on a personal level as well.

The £14 million bargain would end up captaining the Citizens before his skippers armband was stolen from him during the 2010/11 season which would still prove special in the end. His joy in the FA Cup continued as he took home a third Cup medal after Manchester City narrowly beat Stoke City 1-0 under Roberto Mancini’s reign, all due to his brother Yaya scoring the winner keeping family ties alive. A year later something special happened. Toure kissed the Premiership for a second occasion after Manchester City won the title on the final day of the 2011/12 season against QPR in the dying moments of the eventual 3-2 victory.

At the end of the 2012/13 campaign Toure moved to Liverpool for free where he narrowly missed out on lifting the Premiership with a third team for the third time in the last game of the 2013/14 season.

Not long afterwards Toure left The Reds in 2016 where he would end up joining former Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers at Scottish giants Celtic. Despite being picked only 20 times during the 2016/17 campaign the defender still helped the Hoops wrap up a precious Treble consisting of the Scottish Premiership, Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup. He lost out on the latter but received medals for the first two. Toure lined up for Celtic at Hampden Park in the League Cup final where a handsome display of performances witnessed Aberdeen tucked away 3-0. After The Bhoys went the whole domestic season unbeaten it meant that Toure had qualified for a second “Invincible title” which he can happily brag about.

Many would think that being an invincible twice is his greatest accolade in world football but many would think wrong in Toure’s case. Family means more to him than trophies and being with his brother in arms at Manchester City meant the most.

“It was special. For me it was the best moment of my career I would say, having Yaya with me.”

Their relationship was perfectly highlighted through the “Yaya Toure! Kolo Toure chant” which can still be heard over a decade later following their short Citizen partnership.

Toure played a mighty 120 times for Ivory Coast in a lengthy International career spanning a decade and a half from the start of the new millennium to 2015, netting seven times. He finally claimed a piece of silverware for his country in his final year on the International stage, after Ivory Coast were handed the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations once Ghana were narrowly beaten 9-8 on penalties, after 120 minutes worth of a 0-0 stalemate. Toure was recognised for his commitments on an individual basis being awarded Player of the Tournament.

Toure is most remembered for his performances on the pitch rather than off it, which is probably the best for him, after a tricky winless nine games in management of Wigan Athletic in 2022/23 season who were foot of the Championship he was fired.

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  1. One can only try and digest the honours this man has won at club and international level.
    His modesty, personality and dedication sets him apart from so many others and his partnership with Sol Campbell was superb.
    I watch Saka in interviews and that genuine humility and respect reminds me so much of Kolo, both when he was a player and now, as a pundit.
    I suggest he should become an Ambassador of the club back in his country and also Africa itself.
    Genuine respect for a great human being who never let any of the clubs he played for down.
    Thank you for the memories Sir!!

  2. Probably my favourite player from the invincibles because he came from nowhere and didn’t even have a set position when he joined. He was a raw, but talented, athletic and extremely motivated young footballer who I think played his first few games at right midfield and right back. He was good enough that he could play those roles quite well, but moving him to cb was a masterstroke. His dedication, concentration and aggression paired really well with Sol.

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