It’s ironic that Edu should be named our new Director of Football as part of the reason he left us in in 2005 was that he was feeling under appreciated, with Arsene Wenger taking too long in offering him a new contract. Now the Brazilian returns in one of the most powerful positions at the club. He’s done a similar role at the at Corinthians, the Iran National team and his own country. With Pires and Ljungberg already coaching for us, it can only be positive to have proper Arsenal men behind the scenes. Out of all our ‘Invincibles’ though, Edu is the first to return in such a crucial role.
So what has his ex-team-mates been up to?
The big German was largely responsible for 2005 FA Cup Final win, which was for 9 years our only trophy. He arrived as our number two but was never shy in pointing out he was better than Almunia (he was right). He became the oldest player in our history to play in Prem when injuries meant he was offered a new short deal (we won at Blackpool). Arsene Wenger took too long in trusting ex-employees to come work with him. His presence would have helped the mentality of the group. He retuned as coach for Wenger’s last season, but when the Frenchmen left, he followed, taking a coaching job back in Germany.
One of two untouchables still playing, although now considering a coaching role with Frank Lampard. The new Chelsea manager was impressed with his ex-teammate’s professionalism and influence at Derby.
Our ex captain was believed to be offended not to be considered as Arsene Wenger’s replacement while other ex gooners were, like Arteta and Henry. He was doing his managerial apprenticeship at Man City, who used their American franchise to groom him as Pep Guardiola’s successor. He could have stayed safe and remained under that set up, but returned to France to take charge of Nice who finished 7th in Ligue 1 under him last season.
I have always argued Mr Wenger should have given our famous back 5 coaching roles the moment they retired. Keown was invited to work with our defence in 2006 and despite a makeshift back 4 setting a record for how long without conceding a goal, on route to CL Final, this didn’t become a full time role. He has become one of the most respected pundits out of the Invincibles, working between BT and the BBC.
One of the first ex-players Arsene Wenger trusted to come back and coach with us. This mended the relationship between the two, with the player unhappy how his final game as a Gunner ended. In front of his friends and family, the midfielder felt not trusted when he was taken off early in the Champions League Final, hosted in his country. In reality we had to play against Barcelona for an hour with ten men, so it was logical to sacrifice an offensive talent.
The Swede is slowly working his way up the club, having experience with the under 15, under 23 and now the senior squad under his resumé. Swapping roles with Steve Bould could be based on his knowledge and relationships with the youngsters at the club, at a time when Mr Kroenke doesn’t want to spend money. He has positioned himself as the most likely ex gunner to replace Emery?
Jose Antonio Reyes
The only Invincible no longer with us. He returned to Spain where he added 3 Europa League, Super Cup, La Liga and Copa Del Rey to his Premiership and FA Cup he won with us. Passed away 1-6-19 after a car accident. He was only 35.
Like many Ajax stars, he returned to his former club to work with the next generation. This was despite turning down a coaching offer from us, insisting he wasn’t interested in working in football after retirement. After 6 years at Ajax was sacked by, ironically, ex team-mate Marc Overmars. He could be future Arsenal boss but what about his fear of flying? Now helps out at Almere City for free of charge. His son is on the books of the Lower League Dutch side.
He was one of the few Invincibles after retirement not to get involved in coaching. He went down the Reality TV route, taking part in a TV series Dropped which would never air. Two helicopters crashed into one another, claiming the lives of 3 contestants, two pilots and 5 members of the film crew.
Luckily the striker had been eliminated from the contest the day before.
Given his stance as an Invincible, combined with him winning the Cup of Nation’s with Cameroon, the full back was the natural choice to be Arsenal’s Africa Ambassador. Essentially, he acts as the club’s representative at events/clinics, not just in his home continent but around the world.
As the face of the Renault Clio advert and Sky Sports pundit, the Frenchmen didn’t need the money. He is one of the most vocal ex-gooner s about returning as manager one day. He did work with our under 18 squad but it’s believed Arsene Wenger didn’t like him being on TV criticising the club he was employed by. Although all parties played down a rift, he chose the Sky gig over working full time at the Emirates. After being assistant coach with the Belgium national, he only lasted 3 months at Monaco with the club in 19th place in Ligue 1, with just 4 wins out of 20. He has had sympathy given the French sides problems off the pitch, so could still get a decent job one day.
He now works in the media. Sometimes with the BBC and BT but unfortunately mostly with Talk Sport. The sooner he gets away from that radio station, the better pundit he will become
It might not surprise gooners that one of the less celebrated members of our unbeaten season hasn’t been snapped up for his footballing brain! He did feature for Arsenal’s ‘Legends’ side against Real Madrid last year, and he played well to be fair..
The Brazilian never got enough credit for stepping up his leadership qualities and helping the transition fromthe Invincibles to a younger squad. Probably came the closest to identifying with Edu as he had same role with Panathinaikos. Anyone who knows about Greek Football will know that’s a hectic job. So, don’t be surprised if he too returns to the Emirates. He has done lots of charity work, the Patron of Street League. Oh, and he’s got a giant anteater at London zoo which he adopted.
One of two Invincibles still playing. The youngest Prem winner in our history currently plays in Turkey.
He is very outspoken and has suggested that if he were white, he would have found it easier to break into club management, having had to go all the way to Trinidad and Tobago to get a chance as an assistant boss. He claims in his book the same reason was why he didn’t captain England more. He finally got his opportunity at Macclesfield, keeping them up on final day of season. He is the only Invincible managing in the UK.
He works for many charities, including the Kanu Heart Foundation which had helped raise money for over 520 heart operations. He is alsom a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and is the owner of Kanu TV, a streaming service to bring more sport to the eyes of those who live in Africa. We did a full profile here.
He benefited from working with Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. The manager was so impressed by the defender’s leadership qualities he took him with him to Celtic, where the Ivorian went undefeated for a season yet again! Meeting Rodgers has launched his coaching career and he is now his number two at Leicester.
I wrote in previous article how, after serious injury, Arsene Wenger used his contacts to get him signed for Lille. It’s that father/son relationship which got him employed with our Arsenal Player service. This might have been based on him being very open about his battle with mental health. If him talking about depression helps one person that’s a great contribution.
So, 20 players qualified for a medal in 2004 and it’s nice to see the majority are still within the game.
2 still play
2 are managers
1 was a manager
1 went into reality TV
2 work for BBC/BT
9 are doing/have done coaching
3 are part of the current family (let’s increase that number)
Good read Dan
Not being biased but that team from about 2002-2005 played the best football I’ve ever seen on these shores .
Pires ,Henry ,Bergkamp, 3 of the best footballers I’ve ever seen .unlikely to see that kind of class in our team for along time .
Also the only team to own a gold premier league trophy if I recall aswell.
Wenger wasn’t so bad after all was here ?
Arsenal worsened when they injected the squad with too many small playmakers like Fabregas/ Cazorla/ Rosicky/ Wilshere and adopted Barcelona’s playing style
But they seem to want to change it by chasing pacey and strong players
Cazorla and Rosicky were amazing players. Exactly the type of players we need NOW.
Pace isn’t everything
Creativity and skill is
Innit,, you have just summed up Ozil for the likes of Jon Fox and TH14.
Well said sir, if Phil and Sue see this post of yours, you will automatically get a Ozil Appreciation T shirt…that’s if there are any of the 100,000 that were printed left.
You see,the growing demand for these shirts have caught them on the hop, something that would never happen to the man himself.
Agree completely with your sentiments regarding Caz and Ros, poetry in motion some would say!!
We have Iwobi Innit
Goal! Nigeria 1, South Africa 0. Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alex Iwobi (playing in the number 10)
Yeah-The Nigerian Messi is certainly tearing it up at ACON.Playing as a No10 and DRAWING AGAINST SOUTH AFRICA.
God help us…….PLEASE
Final score 2-1Nigeria and Iwobi advance… it’s coming home ?
This post is about the greatest team these shores have seen and you talk about a player and a team that wouldn’t look out of place on a Sunday morning at your local park .
I would rather watch netball than watch that sh1t ,I saw the crowd the other night on one game and there must have been 2000 watching and it looked like the stadium could hold 60000.thats how interesting that tournament is .
You must be so so proud.Still in the …..errrrrrrrrr
ACON yeah that’s it.
I really am so pleased for you and all your fellow countrymen.When you day its “Its Coming Home” I hope and pray you mean Alex Iwobi.Thats because if he is back “Home” in Nigeria he is nowhere near Arsenal Football Club.You have know idea how much I pray your wishes come true.
Great article. I thought Lehmann was recruited to be the first choice GK
Looking at the current Gunners, I think only Aubameyang has similar skills and physicalities as the Invicibles’
The Invicibles were renowned with their quick counter-attacks, skills and physical attributes. Our squad lacks the pace, the strength and the height last season, but this seems to be changing with the new recruits
Nice article. A change from all the transfer madness! ahhh Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Pires, I mean how are things so bad when we werE once INVINCIBLE?
A good interesting read thank you.
Nice article indeed. Keep up the good job
An excellent read Dan, wa it really that long ago?
It seems like yesterday to me!!!
What a great time to support our club, it’s players and our manager.
Good article, but I dont get the talksport rubbishing !………nearly every site I`ve been on call it talkshite and why ?
Arsenal are heavily talked about on it whether good or bad and it has ex-gooners onit.
They(talksport) heavily crack down on racism, homphobia and bring up talks on depression amongst other topics.
As a van driver it`s good to listen to any transfer rumours…..listen to live games and all for free !
I wouldn`t call this site Just Shite for all the 100`s of tranfers window licking rumours……….honestly dont get it !
Come on Arsenal, announce someone, anyone ? off on pre season tour tomorrow with a smaller more inexperienced squad than last year ?
Hellooooo!! 4 games in the States.. all on Premier Sports, plus at awkward times (for me anyway ?) you never know, I may still be awake for 2 of them!!
Trying to find something to be excited about, Kev… that Saliba is close apparently, but to loan him straight back! Urgh! And that’s it, a lot of rumours seem to have died down! Even Wilf ?
Oh doubt you’ll see any of them Sue you’ll be on your 10th dream before kickoff ? yeah good signing for next year but what about now ? pure geniuses that run our club ? Mustafi is still an Arsenal player Sue you couldn’t make it up ?
Chelsea drew with league of Ireland team Bohemian with a strong team out ??
They should have won as Predator was playing ?
Oh I know – Mustafi, Elneny & even Xhaka ? the clock is ticking, would like at least 2 of them gone!
I hope whatever we’re having to wait for, will be something special, as it’s a killer!!!
Haha did you watch it Sue ? ? Well we know Xhaka won’t be sold Emery like Wenger before him see something that nobody else see’s ? it better be De Ligt or Koulibaly at this rate I couldn’t stand watching Mustafi all season again Sue and possibly no incomings it’s torture ?
Oh good god no – I watched Catfish ?
I’m sorry to say we can’t afford your man, Kev & tbh I don’t think we can afford mine either ?
Wouldn’t surprise me if we have the same defence as last season, we sign Tierney, but then something goes wrong with his op recovery & is out for much longer, we sign someone & loan them back, we don’t buy a winger & end up selling Bielik for peanuts.. ? anything different to this and I’ll be pleasantly surprised!
I don’t even think the Tierney deal will happen Sue I’m not even confident we’ll sign anyone tbh maybe a loan deal somewhere! If we go again with the team right now we’re bang in trouble ? oh they can afford them they just choose not to spend the money Sue all the wrong people in charge of Arsenal ?
Reckon the final week will see a lot of business ????
You said that last week and the week before ? I’m surprised they’re even paying for flights to America Kroenke probably got a loan out ? so did you watch this is spinal tap ?
Hahaha I know!! Who am I trying to kid ?
I saw some of it on YouTube.. 10 minutes was enough ? not sure I could sit through all of it ?
? it’s really funny Sue it got an 8.5 on IMDb ? the band went through 37 members mostly drummers because they all died.. one spontaneously combusted on stage and one died in a gardening accident that authorities said it’s best left unsolved ??? not me anyway the Arsenal board don’t really fill you with much confidence a bunch of old geriatrics playing dominoes when we need real sports men ?
What you’ve told me about it is more than enough thanks ? who knows, maybe I have a weird s-o-h… or more to the point – maybe you do – ??
I wish I was going to America today!!! Anything except work ?
always nice to be reminded of past glories that won’t be recreated any time soon
What a team! What a time to be a gooner! Absolutely brilliant…
Nice article 15yrs down the line and still memories as though it happened yesterday
I think Arsenal might be delaying Unveiling of new players so as not to show their spending power to other teams reason being other teams can evaluate your expenditure and play hard when negotiating for players.
Would love to get Bergkamp back to the club in a development role after his time at Ajax who have the best development in the world.
I hope Edu coming in as technical director he will be able to use his contacts in South America to get some emerging young talent to the club early before they get noticed.
The South American zone is untapped and could be a gold mine for us. It would be amazing if we could get the next Malcolm or Neres before they become known.
Take a look for Everton from brazil…great player and young. He starts on the bench un copa america and he finish being in the starting eleven ahead of Neres, willian and richarlison
The only thing I can see as to why Dennis Bergkamp has not returned to Arsenal is his fear of flying. He had all the right credentis to be Director of Football at Arsenal.
Great that Barca’s new boy de Jong confessed he always had Arsenal as a stepping stone before joining s big club!;)
we will never see the likes again,the best team I have ever seen over the period of one season,I feel priveliged to have been here to witness their greatness, the only team that comes close is the 1970s Brazil world cup team.