Welcome back to TGIF, a feature that was the brain wave of Perry_Groves’ Lovechild, where I try to bring together the themes of the week into hopefully a summary of the Arsenal World so far. This week there are many things to talk about, but the news of Professional footballers being given jail sentences again reminds us all that our players are just human after all, apart from Joey Barton who is clearly an extra terrestial who has hijacked a human body.
The Big Issues
Several as usual, so let’s start off the field, Stan Kroenke’s takeover ambition was increased by another ten shares on Monday, which seems to suggest that this drip drip of share activity is to remind Usmanov that any thoughts of a hostile takeover being launched by Red and White will be blocked when he reaches the magical 29.9% I wonder if this teasing is meant to flush out Usmanov and get him to reveal his hand? Sooner or later Lady Nina’s shareholding will be the subject of transfer, but to which party I wonder?
Arsenalisation of the Emirates is looking good, with the Mural that Arsenalinsider’s Carl Eldridge exclusively revealed when the planning consents were applied for. But I ask you as an Arsenal fan who attends the Emirates, won’t this be more of a home when a stirring victory by the Gunners over the Scum takes place? Like tomorrow…lol?
Goalkeeping at the Arsenal,
What on earth is going on in the first team? Almunia’s recovery from his chest infection was so long that he must have had a lung transplant, because normally my Doctor says it takes a week to recover. Arsene Wenger remained tight lipped about the selection tomorrow. Vito Mannone must be keen to retain his berth, but to be honest do we really want to give the scum the opportunity to win at THE HOME OF FOOTBALL? C’mon this is a no brainer. Tottenham have not beaten Arsenal at home since May 11th 1993, we are not going to put more pressure on our third line keeper surely? We have excellent goalkeeping prospects in our Academy, but we need a more imposing figure between the sticks who will provide input to help out the back four.
Arsenal’s Roll of Dishonour
Outside Arsenal, the jail sentence imposed on Marlon King of Wigan for a sexual and physical assault is on all the newsfeeds. Professional footballers are supposed role models say the pundits, well at the age of 29yrs Marlon King, having already had a string of convictions including physical assault, criminal damage to property and theft to name but a few, how the hell could this person be a role model???
I think that the PC brigade need to understand that when you give a young person £30,000 a week with the equivalent of 3 whole days free time out of a week, then boredom is bound to set in. This is not a recipe for producing role models, far from it. We should know after all, for at the Arsenal we have our own roll call of shame and tragedy…
Paul Vaessen (1978-1982)
Former Arsenal player Paul Vaessen and good friend of Arsenal and England physiotherapist Gary Lewin scored a late winner in the Stadio Communale in Turin 22 years ago, as a substitute for Arsenal which beat Juventus who had never lost at home to a British team in 25 years of European competition. A Bristol newspaper noted the following:
‘Addict Paul Vaessen was found dead in his Henbury home by a friend after overdosing, an inquest heard,’
Vaessen’s depression deepened in the late 1990s, He was prescribed methadone to wean him off heroin, but he repeatedly fell foul of the law. He was charged with assaulting a policeman after stealing women’s tights from the Asda supermarket in Farnborough in 1998, he was sentenced to 90 days for assault, and was bailed on condition he resided at his brother’s home in Henbury, north of Bristol. The conviction and sentence were later quashed on appeal. In August 2001, a friend found Vaessen dead in the bathroom. He was found to have high levels of drugs in his blood and a Coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Peter Storey 1965 -1977
Former Arsenal and England player who following his retirement from the game, served a three year prison term for car theft, fraud and coin counterfeiting, and illegally importing pornographic videos as well as running a brothel. He now lives in France with his third wife and runs a small farm.
Graham Rix 1975-1988
Graham Rix joined Arenal as an apprentice in 1974 he was a left winger who replaced George Amrstrong. Rix was a great partner for the iconic left footed Arsenal legend Liam Brady. The pair helped Arsenal to three successive cup finals between 1978 and 1980 with victory coming in 1979. Rix played the final ball into Alan Sunderland whose last gasp winner broke the mancs hearts. This last minute winner made all the more poignant as it came just seconds after United had equalised to level the score at 2–2.
Rix was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl in 1999 and indecently assaulting her. Six months of the sentence were suspended. His conviction came whilst he was employed as a coach at Chelsea, who decided to keep faith with him, the club explaining that the decision to continue to employ a man whose name will remain on the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years as Rix would be “unemployable in football” following the sentence. Pity Chelsea didn’t show such leniency to Mutu who faces bankruptcy following his multimillion pound fine imposed on him by the court of Arbitration for sport for breach of contract following a drugs offence.
Tony Adams 1983-2002 MBE
“Mr Arsenal” was jailed for drink-driving following a battle with alcohol which started in the mid 1980s as part of a drinking culture at the club. On May 1990, Adams crashed his Ford Sierra into a wall near his house in Southend on Sea, he was found to be more than four times over the legal drink-drive limit. Adams was imprisoned for four months and was released on parole on 15 February 1991. He went on to become Captain of England as well as Arsenal gaining the distinction of being only player in English football history to have captained a title-winning team in three different decades. His traumas are detailed in his autobiography in 1998 entitled Addicted. He was supported by Arsenal football club, and following the arrival of Arsene Wenger, the famous Arsenal football club drinking culture was consigned to history.
Ian Wright MBE 1991-1998
Wrighty has revealed in his new TV series that he had ended up spending a few weeks in prison for conviction following the non-payment of parking fines. Whilst most of the youths featured in his series have been involved in violent crime, Ian Wright reflects the following:
“I know what it was like to alone, locked up and thinking ‘How have I ended up in here? I knew then that I was never, ever going to get in trouble again. I trained to be a plasterer before I became a footballer, so I would have tried that. I would have been a bad plasterer, but I would have tried.”
Jermaine Pennant 1999-2005
Jermaine Pennant was an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately, it was a lamp-post! Which was dragged around a Leisure Centre car park in the early hours of the morning, with Pennant being two and a half times over the legal limit. He gave Police a false name to begin with and he was jailed for three months by magistrates. He had already been banned for 16 months for a previous drink-driving incident, having been found driving the wrong way up a road. Pennant was a player who was bought by Arsčne Wenger for £2m from Notts County at the age of 16. He was then the country’s most expensive teenager. Pennant became the then youngest player in Arsenal’s history to make his debut that year aged 16yrs and 319 days. His first start in the Premiership was in 2003, he scored a hat-trick on his debut but never managed to convince Le Boss that he would be a regular first team selection. He was loaned out to Watford and then Leeds United and Birmingham who despite his jail sentence bought his registration that Arsenal allowed to expire. He is now at Real Zaragoza following spells at Liverpool and Portsmouth.
Robin van Persie
Our Dutch Striker spent two weeks in police custody in Rotterdam following his arrest on 13 June after a woman claimed that he launched a sex attack on her. Although Van Persie was not charged with rape, claiming that the sex was consensual, the case was finally dismissed following questions about the character of the victim who was an exotic dancer in Holland and a complete lack of any evidence. So strictly speaking he shouldn’t be on this roll of dishonour, but as Editor I reserve poetic licence to illustrate how the pressures of the media can impact on our current stars.
Extending that licence still further, I present our big Dane was pictured all over the tabloids after being escorted out of a trendy nightclub in South Kensington by a doorman with his trousers around his thighs exposing his black underpants after Arsenal’s 3-1 Champions League semi-final defeat by Manchester United. Nice pants Nik!
I am pleased that I am not alone in being critical of Le Boss’s selection tactics this week. I was particularly disappointed to see Arsenal’s answer to the court jester one Emmanuel Eboue back to his worst… the fallout from the draw against the Hammers touched a few raw nerves. Diaby also came in for much criticism as did Arshavin for his apparent poor form. Yes our five foot Russian dynamo who scored four goals against Liverpool last season has had a poor start to the season, but I would rather have in the team than sitting on the bench as he is one of the few Arsenal players not inclined to walk the ball into the net.
Poor old Mannone’s error was predictable and I am thankful that it only contributed to a draw being the final result rather than a defeat for his sake. Why Arsene Wenger has these selections is beyond me. I recall how Jens Lehmann had to sit out whilst Manuel Almunia came in following the Blackburn error. What ever the concerns over Manuel Almunia, the team must come first and frankly Arsene, you get brickbats from me today for putting at risk our title chances by playing Mannone in one game too many. If this is the way to build confidence forget it! Because you and I both know that Mannone will be dropped as soon as he makes more errors, hardly character building in terms of confidence eh?
Arsene’s Quote of the week
“He is back to his normal level. I have no worries [about playing him on Saturday] but I don’t want to give you any indication because I don’t know myself what I will do for Saturday.”
Oops speaking about Fabianksi before he was confirmed as having suffered a thigh injury which rules him out for three weeks. So will he put Mannone back in goal? and what exactly has Almunia done wrong to warrant this very public humiliation? Yes, Humiliation is exactly the word to use when our supposed number one keeper cannot instantly dispatch our previously third choice keeper from between the sticks. Take Manchester United, as soon as Van der Saar was fit again, Ben Foster was relegated back to his number two position in 30 seconds. Lets hope that Arsene is playing mind games with the Scum, if not then my message is to buy Robert Green in the January transfer window.
Performance Of the Week
Well without doubt, the 2-1 victory over Rafa’s youngsters proved a fitting response to the West Ham debacle. I have not seen such a fluid demonstration of Wengerball in a long time and it is because the youngsters are playing for something they desire, that enables them to play with such gay abandon. Having said that of course, there were six “first team” players. Nasri, Eduardo, Bendtner, and Ramsey who in addition to Gibbs and Silvestre seemed to complement the demonstration of high technical skills. Some of the one touch pass movements were breathtaking and a joy to see.
Fran Merida is a player that I rate very highly. His first goal was long overdue and it was taken with style. A firmly struck left foot shot which cannoned in off the upright from 18 yards. Cavalieri the Liverpool keeper never had a chance. Craig Eastmond recovered from his early nerves to put in a solid performance as did the re-emerging Kerrea Gilbert who reminds me of Lauren. His crunching tackles were well timed, and he kept Babel in his pocket for most of the game. His attacking skills are clear, but defensively his tackling apart, he needs to develop more anticipation for the opponent counter attacks. My question after all of this, is why cannot the first team up their tempo and play like this when two goals up? We would have blown West ham away…
The Friday Finger
Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Hotspur…
Do I need a reason? NO,
but heres a few for starters. They are SHITE, their team is SHITE, their proposed new stadium is SHITE, Nuff said.
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