An older Gooners views on lazy players and on those who work their socks off By Jon Fox
I grew up in North London in the fifties and sixties and, though my brother and I never suffered from poverty and hunger, I saw as I grew older, how many people had to work endless hours simply to put the basics of life, in food, clothing and a roof over their heads, in front of their own families. For most good honest people back then, holidays were taken in Britain and few people ate at restaurants, because there was not the spare money to do so.
Life was by and large, routine, ordered, generally decent in behaviour but sadly, the class system was rigid and prejudice against perceived “outsiders” of all sorts was accepted as normal. The contrast with today’s North Londoners is chalk and cheese by comparison. In my considered opinion, life now is immeasurably better today than back then, in MOST respects. Prejudice is far less, society is far more welcoming of immigrants and, in the larger cities at least, we in Britain live in a more vibrant, tolerant, diverse and culturally richer society.
Our football has changed enormously too. We football fans who had no choice but to live through the hooligan decades prior to this century have seen massive progress in almost every way, EXCEPT among how elite level footballers are both financially worshipped, even though often pilloried on social media and in SOME cases in the stadiums too. The Premier league level is far ahead of the teams of yesteryear and today’s best teams would wipe the floor with the top teams from my younger age self.
One important way, however, in which players differed back then was that lazy players were so rare as to be almost non-existent. Ironically, “Stroller” George Graham, perhaps our laziest player of the late sixties and early seventies, was a demanding hard taskmaster as our manager. Back then we had workaholics everywhere. Geordie Armstrong was our single hardest worker in my football lifetime, and he was quite capable of playing on both wings “at once”, as older Gooners will testify.
Football was physically tougher, pitches were often sand pits, or frozen in deep winter and even half time lasted only ten, not fifteen minutes. Society both within and outside football is far softer today and that is reflected in the number of players – all teams have them – who have become mercenaries, in love with the obscenity of today’s high salaries and often refusing to give anywhere near enough back in effort for the financial rewards they receive. NB: I say “receive” and not earn.
I say not a single person in football, can actually “earn” hundreds of thousands of pounds each week, whether or not they are fit. Or even wish to be fit, as some are perfectly content not to turn out, if they would rather not.
It would hardly be a surprise to anyone, I suggest, if the name of OZIL was now mentioned. You will surely have seen his name coming.
This lunacy of routinely paying ridiculous salaries to almost all players, many of whom are not even fully established first teamers, is BY FAR, the single worst difference between now and several decades ago. I suspect many of us would privately agree with me but would also say nothing can ever be done to change the status quo and that we must just go on holding our noses and put up with it. Though that can NEVER be my view – as I always think some change can, and MUST, be made to reduce salaries – I venture to suggest it is the majority view.
But the real purpose of this piece is not to tackle obscene salaries (even though I have railed against them!!) but to expose the growing number of today’s mercenaries who are idlers and who are IMO conning a living off the financial backs of ordinary non wealthy football fans, who pay through the nose for admission to most top teams and to OUR team, more than almost any single other club. I regard this as a monstrosity and wish to expose, in particular, three of our ex- players as the guiltiest in my time watching Arsenal, which is over six full decades and counting.
Ozil is by far the guiltiest of all Arsenal players EVER, for refusing point blank to give back in real and wholehearted effort for the craziness of our club which stupidly – beyond belief stupidly too – awarded him all his contracts and esp his final one, after which he to all intents and purposed “retired” while still wearing our shirt. I have called him, a fraud, a cheat (wages-wise), a con man and many other words, and I stand resolutely by every single charge I ever made in calling this idler supreme out for extreme laziness.
When his career is finally over, I believe he will come to realise that he cheated his own career at Arsenal, but he cheated HIMSELF more than anyone else. No fan doubts he at one time possessed supreme talent. He proved that in his first two seasons, but thereafter he pretended to try by coasting towards opponents when closing them down, but never really meaning to get involved in any physical side of the game. Many will say that wasn’t his game but as MA is proving and all other top managers too, no team can win without REAL 100% effort from the whole team. His phantom backaches and sickies were entirely predictable and just the nature of that particular “beast”!
My other two legendary idlers were Walcott, more or less throughout all his years here and Auba in his last two seasons when he too “retired” while nominally playing left wing /striker.
In our club today we have not one single lazy player. We have players who work their socks off and who earn my admiration because they do so. It gladdens my old heart to see such as Martinelli and many others giving their all. Jesus is the antithesis to OZIL, all work, never stops running and such determination to actually EARN all the money he receives. About HIS salary, I find myself NOT holding my nose and that is a blessing my friends.
I urge all those who agree with the thrust of this article to say so and to support all 100% tryers even when they may not be the most talented players, whilst condemning idlers everywhere – Pogba was another OZIL, now sensibly got rid of, sadly for us, by United – and by never again defending half-hearted coasters and convincing themselves such idlers were really trying, when self-evidently, they were not.
In short, my fellow Gooners do not be conned next time we get an idler in our club. I do not see it being allowed under MA in any case, as he at least got rid of both OZIL and AUBA, albeit on both rather late in the day. But better late than never I say!
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