I know some readers enjoy my count down lists, so this week I have been inspired by the events going on at Old Trafford. In a week where Paul Pogba has been accused on being unprofessional it got me thinking to which gunners have let themselves down in the past ………
The man who provoked the ‘Battle Of Old Trafford’. It has to be called unprofessional based on it resulted in 6 players getting suspended and fined. Whisper it quietly though, gooners loved him even more for doing it.
How I wished we had those type of characters now.
Everything was written for the perfect final game for Robert Pires as a gunner. The Champions League final in his own country in front of family and friends. Yet he was subbed 16 minutes in, to him the final evidence that Arsene Wenger no longer trusted him.The Frenchmen’s ego was so wounded he used the media the criticise his boss, so hurt he didn’t speak to him for years. What he failed to mention was Arsenal were forced to sacrifice an offensive player in Paris due to having their keeper sent off. Thankfully the two have kissed and made up with the midfielder now coaching at the club.
Our keeper was never shy in telling everyone how good he thought he was. Therefore he wasn’t afraid to voice his disagreement when Arsene Wenger wanted to transition him into helping out his younger peers. While it’s okay for us to question how Manuel Almunia played so many games, he shouldn’t be being mocked by a man who was meant to be improving his confidence. Instead when the Spaniard made a run of mistakes the man he replaced told the media that our current number 1 ‘had no class’
The media like to build a talent up just to enjoy watching them fall from a great height. Therefore Arsene Wenger was eager to protect Wilshere when he broke onto the scene as a teenager. Some were already beginning to question if the midfielder really would become a future Arsenal and England captain when they became frustrated with his fitness issues. It seemed a PR disaster when a youngster out injured was pictured out clubbing, vaping. Despite ankles being the reason he wasn’t playing many put two and two together. Should a role model be living this lifestyle if he wants to get the very best out of his career, especially when ignoring his bosses advice ?
I often wished others In our dressing room had the self confidence of the Polish keeper. He had started to ignore Arsene Wenger’s advice about a smoking habit. What spelt the end of his days as our number 1 was when he was caught taking a cigarette in the Southampton showers. This having just conceded 4 goals! Something tells me the Juventus dressing room would not tolerate this ?
Arsenal didn’t have to accept an offer from Real Madrid and in hindsight 23 million was a very good piece of business. It was how the teenager went about getting the transfer that led to him getting the nickname ‘Le Sulk’. It’s an image he has never shaken off, getting his big brothers to auction him out to the highest bidders. They argued it was the press that forced him to leave England. It was never explained why he returned to the country years later?
Reading his autobiography it’s clear that Sol is quite a complex individual. A combination of problems in his personal life and realisation his Arsenal career was coming to an end affected him mentally. Subbed off at half time when losing to West Ham, one of our main leaders drove away from Highbury. Worse he went abroad for a couple of weeks, refusing to communicate with the club. Only the lure of a Champions League final convinced him to come back and play in April. He gave us the lead against Barcelona, so nearly a fairy tale ending.
Such was our desperation for Sanchez to extend his contract he got away with a poor attitude In his last few months with us. Despite being paid thousands to be one of our leaders, the Chilean didn’t hide his disatisfaction when his team/mates did something wrong, clearly feeling they were not at his level. This led to reports of a physical altercation in training, forcing Wenger to drop him for key games. Even then he was caught laughing on the bench when watching us lose.
I’m surprised the Nigerian didn’t get a harder time for this. In a season where he had clearly lost some confidence, he was pictured partying late into the night before an FA cup tie. In a clear sign players were too comfortable under Arsene Wenger, the Frenchmen still selected him despite the breaking of club protocol. Iwobi would have known his manager intended to field a weakened team. Instead of having the mentality to use the tie to make an impression, the midfielder was invisible.
When Gallas agreed to be involved in the Ashley Cole swap deal he knew what the criteria was. The defender was being asked to come in and lead a inexperienced dressing room, the opposite of what he had at Chelsea. He seemed to take his role too literally. He wasn’t afraid in the view of cameras to verbally attack team/mates and he made Clichy feel better about conceding a 90th minute penalty by kicking advertising boards and staging a one man sit down protest on the pitch.
10- Ian Wright
Wright has since said he regrets how he handled his falling out with Bruce Rioch. The striker handed in a transfer request, admitting he was using his legend status to force David Dein into forcing picking him over the manager……it worked
9/8 Adams and Merson
This isn’t a debate about addiction. Like you wouldn’t question a player if he was injured for three months, nor should we judge a person missing work due to getting support for an illness. What it does highlight though is that how serious the drinking culture was at the club. Obviously this environment did nothing to support the personal demons two of our biggest stars were experiencing. Early foreigners who arrived in the Premiership were bemused by how little British players did in looking after their bodies. Arsene Wenger was credited with prolonging Adams’s career thanks to the dietary and training techniques he introduced. He would have done the same for Merson but he chose to leave. Ex pros mock the current generation of sitting in their rooms playing FIFA. Clearly that’s better then old school habits?
It always seemed when and not if our young Spanish star would return home. Fabregas had time on his side so never pushed for a transfer. It was clear that all involved parties had an agreement that one day he be allowed to go back to Barcelona. Eventually though our then captain ran out of patience. He didn’t fight off Spanish team mates who celebrated lifting the World Cup by putting a Barca shirt on him and in the end refused to play for us in pre season.
In hindsight the Dutchman’s ‘letter to the fans’ seems accurate. It’s hard to argue with his view that our owners lack ambition and it would have been an injustice if he never added to his sole FA Cup. Writing his own statement though was going into business for himself. He revealed confidential meetings he held with the club. Given how long Arsene stood by him during injury plagued years he deserved more respect.
The story goes that Nasri and his agent jumped up and down in their car when they realised the salary Man City were willing to pay. With Arsenal’s squad stretched by injuries, suspensions and a refusal to buy anyone, the Frenchman was asked to start against Liverpool even though his transfer was all but confirmed. Not wanting to risk the move he refused to help the club who made him a star, despite his insistence of how much he owed to Arsene Wenger. Then he realised that contractually he had no right to say no so put on the red and white one more time, falling out with Frimpong in the process.
I often wondered if the Dutchman would of got the grief he got if he had just kept his mouth shut. His goal to game ratio was okay but by coming out with ridiculous statements he was setting himself up for mockery. He’s an example of a talent Arsene Wenger gave too many chances too. Even when he had his own chant of ‘he only scored -cause your…..’ his manager gave him a second chance. The strikers response was to live a lifestyle where crashing cars and being kicked out of clubs became the norm.
Considering how much Arsene Wenger got critisised for giving youth too many chances, the fact he was quick to wash his hands of Pennant is telling. The irony is the teenager credited football for helping him escape the gang culture that existed in his neighbourhood. The Classic example of a young man receiving too much money too soon. Arsenal lost faith that he was ever going to mature and grow out of that life style. As the only Premiership player to play with an electric tag you could say they were proven correct.
It hurts that someone who grew up dreaming of playing for us would end up enjoying our struggles while he won everything at Stamford Bridge. Cole’s argument is that he feels our board were not as innocent as they make out, more happy for the transfer saga to exist then they make on. Dealing with facts though, both Chelsea and the left back were heavily fined for their ‘illegal meeting’. As a lifelong gooner that’s like treason.
The majority of this list, even the worse, all still manage to speak of their respect for Arsene Wenger. The striker has nothing pleasant to say about the club which makes no sense. Without us he wouldn’t have had the platform where he would earn so much money, he auctioned out his services for the highest bidder.
Have I missed anyone out_