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The current Arsenal squad is something akin to an advertisement for the united colours of benetton. This has drawn derision from lazy hacks and their terrace parrots. What I will attempt to do is deconstruct the arguments most commonly aimed at Arsenal and venture an explanation.
In my opinion, the most distasteful argument is that having a foreign all star XI is somehow disrespectful to English values and heritage. First of all so-called 'English values' is a lazy media buzz term, like 'political correctness.' It is a loaded term that is designed to set off an alarm in one's brain. It also implies that foreign people do not have values and that they are all mercenaries intent on threatening 'our culture.' This tabloid buzz term 'English values' has no actual meaning or substance, it is advertisement without product. Those so keen on spouting this term might like to tell me what 'English values' are and why foreign people are apparently so incapable of them?
These criticisms are not new to Arsenal fans older than myslef. Arsenal was similarly chided in the 70s for it's strong Irish contingent and in the late eighties, Arsenal were again trailblazing as the likes of Davis, Thomas, Campbell and the late, great Rocastle were the objects of similar terrace tittle tattle. There is a strong sense of xenophobia in the current criticisms that, in twenty years time, will sound equally as ridiculous as the former consternation surrounding Black and Irish players. I am 22 years old and these attitudes will apall my children of that I am sure. The same way I ask my brothers in law and my mother just how widespread racism was in the seventies football ground, my children will exhibit the same lack of understanding towards the xenophobia that exists now.
Of course there are also those that internalise the above criticism. There are those that say Arsenal fans are somehow removed from the team because of its multi cultural facets, who are not as acutely aware of the club culture as English patriots. 'How can you relate to them?' they cry. The first thing to say, is that anybody who feels they cannot relate to somebody because they are foreign has my pity. Anyone fortunate enough to witness the tireless work rate of Adebayor, the clenched teeth of Toure or Henry beat the cannon on his chest with ashen faced pride can be left in no doubt that these guys appreciate the demands of the supporters every bit as much as the snarling Keown, the folically challenged Bould.
The sad antithesis to the club values argument is one Ashley Cole. Oh, our Ashley. The boy born into a single parent family in Stepney. The boy who grew up on the unforgiving streets of East London with a cannon emblazoned onto his baby grow. The boy who came through the Arsenal youth team to dislodge Silvinho with his gritty resolve. The boy who helped Arsenal to many a title, becoming a formidable part of the invincibles. The boy who decided to meet with Arsenal's title rivals, three days before a match with Manchester United because he would not be offered £60,000 a week. The boy who refused to take responsibility for his actions, blaming his club and releasing an autobiography scathing them. The boy who married a pop star wearing a white zoot suit and silver medallion. The boy who wrote 'I nearly swerved my Bentley off the road when my agent told me Arsenal would only be offering me £60,000 a week.' Anyone relate to that?
Those that argue the patriation of our squad somehow compromises our club culture have obviously never ventured to N5. Highbury is an area that houses a plethora of different ethnicities, particularly African communities. Given Arsenal's history of diversity, it is perhaps no surprise that Arsenal have the highest non-white fan base in England (8.8%). We are also the second highest supported British club in Scandanavia, most likely because of the successes of Limpar, Jensen, Ljungberg and Lydersen (?!). On that basis, I would say our culture and heritage appear to be in fine fettle thank you very much.
However, that is not to say that all of the criticisms aimed at us are as irksome or ill informed as the ones above. There are those that worry Arsenal are destroying the prospects of young English footballers and stunting their development, thus having an adverse effect on our national team. Personally, I don't care one jot about the national team anyway and I want the best players available for my team, and if that means fielding eleven black, wheelchair bound lesbians from mars, then so be it. But I appreciate that some do concern themselves in these matters. Well, to them I say you should perhaps aim your criticisms at the Football Association. Most are painfully unaware of the restrictive legislation on young English players. A team can only pluck English players for their academies from a fifteen mile radius of the training ground. Now this presents a problem, particularly for a London side. We ostensibly grapple on a congested battle field for young English talent. These restrictions harp back to a bygone age whereby fans demanded that their team be made up of local boys from within the regional area. (See the point earlier, this seems a trivial argument in hindsight, but we're essentially having the same one now, the geographical parameters having shifted). However, these inhibiting rules do not apply in Europe. Clubs with scouting networks as meticulous as Arsenal's can cherry pick the cream of Europe without the need for tape measure and a map of the London Underground. Therefore, a club with a serious youth policy such as ours has to be predominantly foreign. It is interesting that the Spuds like to harp on about promoting British talent, yet Robinson (Leeds), Murphy (Crewe), Jenas (Notts Forest), Keane (Wolves), Davenport (Coventry), Lennon (Leeds), Dawson (Notts Forest), Defoe (Charlton), Carrick (West Ham) were all developed in other club's academies.
The harsh truth is English players just are not good enough at the moment. This boils down to two common deficiencies; attitude and technical ability. Egoism is an unfortunate epidemic sweeping the modern young English player. If one is to look at Arsenal, Cole, Pennant, Bothroyd, Crowe and Bentley are youth prospects who have fallen by the wayside under Wenger due to disciplinary problems. Pennant is a player blessed with a cross better than Beckham. At the age of 15 he arrived at Arsenal under a wave of hysteria, trumped up as the next big thing. Unfortunately, JP began to believe his own press. Not only did he consistently break curfews, turn up late for training and crash team mates cars, but having endured a semi successful loan spell at Leeds, he demanded first team football. Unfortunately, he could only turn out average performances amongst the Gunners literati of stars. Having done nothing to inspire in terms of work rate and performance, he skulked off to Birmingham. At the Brum he repaid Steve Bruce's faith by turning up drunk for training and then reneged on a promise to stay at the Blues if they were relegated as a mark of thanks. Bentley's is a similar situation. Bentley made an inspired debut against Oxford United in the 2003 F.A Cup, all tricks and flicks that left Gooners purring. A year later in the same competition, Bentley's succulent chip over Schwarzer at Highbury had Motson breathlessly exclaiming, 'there's a player in the making here.' However, Bentley's loan spell at Norwich was marked by indifference. A cluster of average performances punctauted briefly by flashes of genius. He reached his nadir when Worthington threatened to send him back to Arsenal for breaching club discipline. Bentley looked to be what I call a once every six games player, much like Laurent Robert. One awe inspiring game followed by five disinterested average ones. His three goals in thirteen months at Blackburn have done little to change my mind. He should have arrived back at Arsenal bright eyed and bushy tailed. When he was told that he would not automatically be handed a starting place ahead of Ljungberg, Reyes, van Persie, Pires or Bergkamp, he asked to leave unwilling to prove his worth.
But it is not just our youth academy that has been marked by indiscretions. Arsene's transfer policy has similarly been blighted by buying British. Have any of his foreign acquisitions taken to the treatment table with the same impunity as Wright, Jeffers, Upson, Cole or Campbell? If one is to compare the contrasting commitment and attitudes of Fabregas, Toure, Eboue, Senderos, Djourou and Song is it any wonder that Wenger goes foreign? Of course, this is not universally the rule. Jose 'wah mummy' Reyes and Emmanuel 'can I come off now?' Petit have committed similar folly. But in general, our foreign kids have acquitted themselves better. This is probably because having repatriated at such a young age, the importance of success is greater. In a strange country and without the temptation of a night on the sauce with their pals, football becomes the primary focus. They are also not given to the same hyperbolic hype as their English counterparts and so there is less chance of head up arse syndrome.
This brings me to my next point. The sad fact is English players are plain over rated. Firstly in terms of price. Had Arsenal bought Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney we would have spent comfortably in excess of £100 million, about a quarter the price of a 60,000 seater stadium (that doesn't write crap autobiographies). This summer, Arsene Wenger expressed interest in young Curtis Davies but was quoted £10m for a player with no international experience and one season in the Premiership. When one considers that Senderos cost £200k, Clichy £200k, Cesc free, Kolo £500k, one despairs.
The other point of consideration is that Arsenal play a high paced passing game and I'm afraid I can think of very few English players with the technical nous to compliment it. If one is to look at the England side's long ball fest at this summers World Cup, you can see Wenger's angle. This comes down to a fundamental problem in the way English youngsters are coached. Most young players are prized for their size and power. Coaching methods usually necessitate giving them a ball, a pitch and leave them to it. In fact, it is quite ironic that those who castigate Wenger for damaging the English game forget how his training methods and dietary regimes have been employed by every other club in England. Unfortunately, this attitude has yet to filter down. We English have an almost endearing arrogance, 'we invented football, we don't nee Carlos Kickaball to show us how it's done.' Racially, we may have invented the game, but as a nation we have stood still as the Brazilians, the Dutch and the Spanish have taken the idea and moved it to new spheres of aesthetic beauty. The same attitude is exhibited towards tennis, cricket, the London Underground. The British trailblazers of the last century have become empirical currency. In the meantime, England have lagged behind, caught in the ghosts of yesteryear.
Thanks to our sensationalist media, these facts are ignored by the hacks of braodsheets and red tops alike. No, Frank Lampard IS world class. Forget that Claude Makelele really does all his donkey work as Fat Frank watches the world go by. Forget Frank's paltry scoring record against the the cream of Europe and England. Steven Gerrard IS world class. Capable of a cracker against the likes of Olympiacos, Luton Town and West ham he may be, but against the likes of Vieira, Keane and now Fabregas neither of these players produce. With Xabi Alonso alongside him, quietly pulling the strings in midfield, Gerrard is able to marraud upfield in pursuit of glory to feed his ravenous ego. Without Makelele and Alonso on the international stage however, both Lampard and Gerrard have been found wanting, outfought and out thought by the illustrious Trinidad & Tobago. Even boy wonder incarnate Wayne Rooney does not escape such slander! Shrek has played in every England defeat of the last two years, failing to score in a competitive match in that time. He has yet to score a Champions League goal since his debut. His suspect temperament cost England inestimably against Portugal, choosing to thuggishly brand the testes of Ricardo Carvalho. Of course, having trumped him up as our saviour, the fact shy media could not then blame Rooney for his cranial lapse. No, the wagging finger and winking eye of Cristiano Ronaldo were to blame. Yes, he forcibly hammered Rooney's studs towards Carvalho. Of course, because everybody has told young Wayne that he is not to blame he is now acting like an unconchanable arse. Threatening to withdraw from the F.A's commercial activities because they had the temerity to suspend him. Rooney is undoubtedly a precocious talent, but his current bout of the big time charlies threaten to derail his career. Indeed, the current spate of autobiographies is confirmation of the English players inflated sense of self worth. Gerrard's laughable and quite distasteful tyrade against Walcott in his booker prize effort shifted the attention away from his mediocre World Cup quite nicely. It also elucidated the extent to which this tireless self promoter will go to protect his celebrity and that of his WAG.
Those of you ready to defend Gerrard by quoting Liverpool's CL success of 2005, don't bother. Gerrard stopped performing the second the group stages were over. Leaving the likes of Luis Garcia, Xabi Alonso and is entirely more palatable compatriot Jamie Carragher (the exception that proves the rule) to lift them through to the final. People credit Gerrard with inspiring the comeback on that magical night in Istanbul when his performance was a damp squib, neutered by Rene Gattuso. It's just that Gerrard happened to score the goal to make it 1-3, and yes he clenched his fist. Oooh, how I tingle in awe. He also passed up his penalty taking responsibilities at 2-3, leaving the burden to Xabi Alonso.
I also find it quite laughable that Arsenal's oft scapegoated foreign charges bare the brunt of this criticism. Liverpool and Manchester United's academies have not produced a player for the national side in eight years or more. West Ham for all their 'we won the world cup' posturing, have a single England international on their books. Chelski have been widely lauded for improving the careers of Frank Lumplard and Joe Cole. Yet tea sipping journalists pay no mind to the once promising careers of Glen Johnson and Shaun Wright Phillips. Fortunately, Scott Parker realised the error of his ways and soon jumped ship. If you throw enough mud some will stick.
Now do not misread me, I am not saying that all English are bad, all foreign are good. The career that potentially lays before Theo Walcott imbues me with vigour and can hopefully go some way to renewing my faith. Similarly, one cannot ignore the follies of some foreign players. The likes of Marco 'me no head the ball' Boogers and Winston Bogarde have at best been mercenaries. But what grates is the myopia of the media and consequently the English public in viewing our own situation with objectivity. The following is an extract from Malcolm X's autobiography, 'You cannot be so blinded by patriotism that you cannot see wrong. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.' Until English players demonstrate the testicular fortitude or the technical abilities with which they are credited, I'll keep my faith in Arsene thanks.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 21 2006

Time: 3:49PM

Your Comments

Wow that was quite stressful, there were some points I had to leave out because of a limit on characters (this is why I also haven't used the first names of any players). Consequently the article isn't as firm as I wanted. I also wrote a piece on how the last 3 sides to appear in CL Finals had a total of 9 englishmen, not enough for a starting line up.
Little Dutch
What a load of tosh!! Your paragraphing was awfull. you teach ENGLISH. What a joke!!!!!!HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!Geta life man! Hve you ever kicked a ball in your sad life.
cockeril
The paragraphing is fine actually. I was unable to leave a line between each paragraph due to a character retsraint (as mentioned above). I have kicked a football thank you, I played at a fairly decent level as a teenager and had a trial at Palace when I was 9 (I failed miserably). What that has to do with the article I've no idea. Nice to see you can offer an articulate and considered response to the points I raise though. You should be in Parliament with debating skills that good.
Little Dutch
A GREAT article...! Keep up the good work!
NyssietheGooner
Ignore that dick Little Dutch - a BLATANT Sperz fan if ever I heard one... As I said previously, a GREAT article!
NyssietheGooner
Ignore Cockerill, or better still, do a Paul Davis on him .. Anyway, been really enjoying your articles little dutch, very articulate and insightful. I have been moaning about English players with my dad for ages. He puts the blame on Sky and MOTD for their ridiculous over-hyping of English players, based on flashes of brilliance which look good in a highlights package. Why do we not export our players if they are so good? Only Becks is currently playing abroad and he is loved by the Madrid faithful not because he has extraordinary skill but because he works harder and runs further than the galacticos. Would you anyone honstely swap Cesc for any creative midfielder in the prem? I wouldn't.. and he still isn't out of his teens. Sure, I'd like one or two English players in the team as we are sometimes guilty of lacking the necessary 'balls' for a wet Tuesday night in Bolton. However, I don't want them in the team at the expense of technically proficient players.
A Magic Hat
The other thing I put in the article was that England's best performer at the WC was a Canadian who was raised in the German league. I also wanted to suggest that more English players should ply their trade abroad. That would benefit the national side greatly.
Little Dutch
Good article but for god's sake cut to the chase. . . Don't use 10 words if a hundred will do! Can you provide the article on CD ROM?
Emkay
Unfortunately I'm not as proficient with technology as I am with words. Be greatful, this version is greatly edited and many of my twittering asides were sacrificed for the word limit!
Little Dutch
It's a hark back to my uni days when I would do some major league padding to meet word limits. Worked a treat as it turned out!
Little Dutch
Please donot sacrifice quality for limits of words next time; you can always have part 1; part2 :-).
Barnet Gooner
Little Dutch, thanks for a absolutly facinating and quite insightful read. Your article actually got me to sign in.
Robin Your Persie
great article little dutch, but i have a question, we have a youth academy, and the kids in it are brought up the arsenal way, and have our values instilled in them from a very young age, and im sure arsene is very much invovled with our youth system, so wt i mean is our youth system is based on the principles of wenger which are different from all the other clubs in england, then why is it that we havent produced talented english players in the last few years? what is ur view on this?
luckys_10
and like u said we had guys like bentley, pennant who came through our youth system, who were obviously talented, but dont u think the club could have made them better as human beings, and kept their inflated ego's in check, so that they would have been similar to the likes of fabregas, toure, and company..?
luckys_10
Holy S*** thank god I don't have to listen to you. I can feel blood running from my ears at the thought. Do you have a day job?
Emkay
Well we're still to see the benefits of this because Wenger had to flush out a lot of crap in the beginning. I'm hoping that Connolly, Gilbert and Randall can beat this trend, unfortunately, we don't really get the pick of English youngsters. Again, I'd say there's a draught in terms of technically gifted young English players. We have a habit in this country of ridiculing geniuses like Le Tissier and Gascoigne, preferring Phil Neville.
Little Dutch
Ah, another articulate and well considered point from one of my detractors. Would one of you guys care to actually tell me what in the article you disagreed with. In answer to your entirely more sensible point luckys, I think both players were given numerous chances to knuckle down, but passed them up. In fact, I've a feeling something similar happened to Quincy, who had attitude problems. Some people have to want to be helped, those with big ego's will not do this.
Little Dutch
yeah i hope these newcrop of youngsters are more like fabregas, toure and co. and i was just thinking when u said that the best england player at the world cup was of canadian origin who plays in germany. so what do you think about the idea of sending kids from the academy from the age of say 10 onwards to places like holland for a few years to develop their game, and then when they are 16, 17, bring them back to england. don't you think this can really develop their talents, as they would be better coached in places such as holland and spain, rather than here..
luckys_10
That's a good idea I feel. When I was 13 I played for a team that did this end of season tour of Holland every year. The aim was that we were coached by Dutch coaches for a week and the Dutch kids got English coaching for a week. The things we did blew my mind, simple things like games of two touch football and putting a plimsol on the stronger foot and a boot on the weaker foot, they also worked on running style etc to make you more balanced. I learned more in that week than I did in 3 years in England.
Little Dutch
yeah just forgot bout quincy, he came here with a very promising reputation, and wenger even gave him a chance in the first team last year, and then in jan, i was really suprised that we sold him, but ya guess ur rite, but i still dun understand why don't these guys learn from watching the likes of henry, bergkamp, lehmann, pires and all those seniors of our team who were so professional, and their dedication to the club was unquestionable, why wouldn't they not want to be like these guys is really beyond my understanding..
luckys_10
yeah thats what, that is how the game in england can be developed, there should be more such similar things happening all over the country, n i doubt if any english coach can even think of such creative things, im wondering wt the dutch kids would have made of the english coaches after the week's coaching..
luckys_10
who wants english players anyway? by the time they reach 13 they are already playing long ball. even wenger cant do anything with most of the lost causes. give me merida and fabregas everytime! great article.
gazzap
luckys_10, I understand what you are saying but it boils back down to little dutch's original point about only being able to have english kids from a certain radius (15 miles I think). Its not like we sign 100's of spanish kids or 100's of french kids (which is shown in the fact we set a new champions league record for having a whole team of different nationalities last week). Wenger tries to get the cream from each country & I am sure he would love the cream from england but unfortunately it just doesnt work like that. Cesc being the prime example barely that cost us a penny. Toure, Eboue & Senderos were all very cheap & we all know there are plenty more examples. Compare that to Walcott who cost an initial 5 million just for his potential & if he does live up to it then it will cost arsenal another 7 million on top!! If you ever get to see the arsenal reserves though you will notice that some english talent is beginning to emerge now & that is due to the training at arsenal, without that no english youngsters would get through to the first team.
Ashburton Gooner
LD a master piece and very very interesting.. i echo your point about our lack of englishmen, it doesn't bother me one bit, Arsene buys the best players for which ever position, its upto the FA to sort out the English player problem, and if they don't do enough at grass routes and bring the players through then it is of no fault Wenger, Mourinho, Rafa if they buy abroad.
PUREGOLD
but no gazzap,l we are a english club, and we'd atleast want a minimum of 2-3 english players in our starting 11, it's just a mental thing, but it would be nice to have a few people in the team who know the culture of the club better than the foriegn players, and they can teach our english players more about football and make their game better whereas our english players can make their mentality more strong and just instill the feeling of the club in them. u watch thierry henry, the way he represents the club, and plays for us and talks about the team, you don't feel like he has come over from a different country, he seems like someone whos been brought up around Highbury and been Arsenal all his life, and the reason for him having this english like Arsenal mentality is because of mentors like Tony Adams whom he has played it, thierry would always say that when Adams would talk, he would so be in awe of everything that Adams said, and because of these home grown legends like him that people like thierry who have come from a different country, yet so feel like a part of our culture..
luckys_10
Good stuff, once again, Little Dutch. The content of your articles is always top quality, well worth the three hours it takes to read them! I think, now that Wenger has got his talons firmly in the youth set-up - after a decade at the helm - we will being to see some outstanding English talent coming through the ranks. When they do begin to come through, I hope Wenger has the sense to keep them out of the public eye as much as possible to reduce the chances of over-hype so early in their careers. The higher you build them...
Parano!d
I think AW is currnetly doing that with Walcott, he's giving him a gentle intro when all around him are screaming for him to be a fixture. England will have to eat humble pie when AW helps Walcott become first class. Personally, I'd like Walcott to score a hat trick in his next England game then instantly retire from international football, forcing Gerrard to issue a grovelling statement, begging him to come back.
Little Dutch
hey guys i was just wondering that if people like gerrard, lampard, the neville brothers, beckham and a few others, had they come through the youth ranks at arsenal, how many of them do you think would have actually managed to break into the arsenal first team, and how many would have the same reputations (and i mean purely reputation not talent) in the media that they have now? all of them are really good players, but lets say ten years back in time, how many of these you think would have actually had wenger believe in them that they can be a part of the arsenal team?
luckys_10
and ya we all have great epectations from theo, and like you said LD, i just hope that everything that Wenger has in mind for him, he will listen to him more than those around him, and become the player we all think he can be..
luckys_10
great article Mr LD you`ve expressed my sentiments spot on (especially the cost of the english we wanted to buy)as i replyed to in another article of yours.one thing though without trying to penny pick on small issues.Having moved from the glorious surroundings of N4 to a scummy area situated in the norwegian fjords(watching the Queen mary and the QE2 sail past my bedroom window)this view of being the second biggest supported club in scandanivia i find it hard to accept,true say i cant justify how it is in sweden or denmark but here in norge the under 16`s are nearly all manks and the over 25`s are nearly all scousers.so i think more realisticly we are the third.I dont know if you can plug another site here but there was a very well written article on this caught off something or the other titled"spurs so wrong,arsenal so right,again"cockril you should read it!.its giving an extremly honest opnion,shared by the many responces of your fellow supporters of how it really is.I especially like the start of the end paragraph where it says,and i quote"you know you are getting the better of your rivals when you stop caring about whats going on at their club"every time i come on this site i see your name with some anti post every day...you see the point i`m trying to make.
arsenor
Walcott will become great,and as much as i would love to see gilbert and muamba be first team regulars,two great english prospects, how are they gonna get picked ahead of lauren and Eboue in the RB postion and diaby,baptiista and gilberto in that central midfield role?
arsenor
Really enjoying your articles Little Dutch. How can Kolo Toure cost 500k? I think he's in the top 5 defenders in the prem league. I also heard a romour that Buffon/ Coupet are very keen to join Arsenal. Anyone know anything about this???
Tugboat
I did not mean I dont want to see English players at Arsenal, just that nationality is not all that important. if wenger can unearth english youngsters with the right attitude AND play the right style of football then all well and good but to me it seems that bit more difficult to find that here than in say France, Spain or Holland. if wenger never found a suitable english boy he would not bow to media pressure and just buy one for the hell of it. he was sure walcott is exactl right and so far has been proven right again. It seems English players make decent strikers and pretty good defenders but lousy midfielders. their passing, movement and composure on the ball is not what wenger wants.
gazzap
hey guys i found this very old article that i had saved on my comp some 3-4 years back and in that it's given that kolo only cost us 150k not 500k, that is like a week's salary of henry or beckham, it's just unbelievable, and apparantely wenger knew about kalou even before he joined feyenoord, i read this article again and it's really unbelievable how much wenger knows about youngsters all over the world, here is a little extract from it..................................................And it has not surprised Roland Scheubel. He has been a close friend of Wenger's for some 30 years and witnessed the Arsenal manager's start in professional football at Mulhouse. Scheubel was a journalist on a local paper and went on to become head of the commercial department at Olympique Marseille......................................He has retired now but has kept in touch with Wenger, who trusts his judgement about potential talent. And when Scheubel recommended he look at the young Ivorian, Wenger listened. He needed little convincing to give Toure his chance and a transfer fee of around £150,000 was soon paid to his club, ASEC Mimosas.................................The fact he ended up in north London shows how Wenger works. He has scouts and contacts all over the world and chief scout Steve Rowley never tires of recounting a conversation he had with Wenger some years ago..............................Rowley was at the World Youth Championships in Malaysia and his manager rang him to find out if there were any promising players. 'I have seen one,' said Rowley. 'His name is Bonaventure, er...'..................................Wenger helped him, saying: 'That will be Bonaventure Kalou. He comes from the Ivory Coast, he is 17 but there could be work permit problems. But a good player.'................................Kalou's presence at Feyenoord proves the point. 'He knew everything about him,' said Rowley. 'It was amazing.'..............................
luckys_10
thats a good article ive never read it luckys_10. . . i love the way wenger is he has belief and has made a new era what a manager he has been for english football. he just has tealent!
abdleb
Top five in the Prem? Kolo's top 3 in the world. AW's record at developing young talent is unsurpassed, don't forget that he is responsible for George Weah, Lilian Thuram and David Trezeguet as well. He also tried to sign Ronaldinho for Arsenal when he was 17, but agonisingly, we could not get him a work permit. He also spotted a 16 year old Zlatan Ibrahimovic but was put off by his attitude.
Little Dutch
Plenty of food for thought in that article. I certainly liked your points about English values. Keep it up!
sandgroanun
this has to be one of the best articles written on ur post LD, very insightful. I personally have no issues with none english players in the team bring them on. they seem to have their feet planted firmly on the ground. specially the african boys. well in wenger
mish
Although I agree in the main with your article I do have some problems with it both as an Arsenal supporter and as an Englishman. I do care about how England performs and will always care which is contrary to your thoughts. I do believe that all the teams in England or any other country have a responsibility to help foster and bring on players for the National side. I would be very distressed to have eleven lesbian wheelchair players representing Arsenal, the same as having females play for the Arsenal men’s team, no matter how great they were. There are situations that circumvent or require restrictions no matter what. I do think that there should be a restriction in the future on how many home grown players represent each and every side in England or elsewhere for that matter otherwise the grim reality is a national side with no chance of winning the World Cup. I believe that coaches such as AW should be encouraged to provide his undoubted skills to foster this aim on behalf of England.
alwaysgunner
Might I say the culture at Arsenal is giving everyone (irrespective of all variables) a "fair go" ? That is one thing that has markedly hit home in me since I became a Gunner.
SWPACIFIC
I'm sorry, alwaysgunner, but that is a ridiculous assertion. It is not Arsenal's, nor any other club's responsibility to be a pipeline to England. That is the FA's responsibility. In any case, many players who didn't make it at Arsenal have still praised the academy for giving them a good education to be able to ply their trade elsewhere. That is part of their responsibility to their youth, whether they be English or not, and they have done well in that regard.
Tripping
"Now it's down to me to win my place back in the Arsenal defence." Did you ever hear a comment like that from Bentley, Pennant, or Upson?
Tripping
i completely agree with this article... really well written.. Its AWs job to make Arsenal win everything they can in a year... not try to field players for the benefit of the England national team... so.. to say that wat he's doin is wrong is ridiculous!
arsenalrulz4ever
The problem is if we bring in a quota of young players, clubs like Chelski, United and ourselves will just buy up all the young players and sit them on the bench, which will be detrimental to their development. I don't understand why more English players don't try their hand abroad, THAT would improve the national side. On international footie, I just don't care, I'm not gonna kid myself and pretend I do or all of a sudden pretend that I love Gary Neville because he was born within 200 miles of my gaff. I used to try and convince myself I supported England, but the fact is when they conceded a goal once, I thought to myself, 'you know what, that doesn't hurt me even a bit. Not in the way Arsenal conceding does.' So I stopped pretending.
Little Dutch
I believe that coaches such as AW should be encouraged to provide his undoubted skills to foster this aim on behalf of England. This what I wrote how can the following mean the same? Quote 'to say that wat he's doin is wrong is ridiculous!' unquote. arsenalrulz4ever In reply to LD as I said I agree with your comments in the main however I do still believe in England and always will. Otherwise the national team like the current Olympic team will just wither and rot on the vine. If teams like Chelski etc sit them on the bench that would of course defeat the argument, but the effort must be made. Whether on not you agree I have the very strong feeling that the policy in the future will be a certain percentage of Uk players will have to be in each side.
alwaysgunner
alwaysgunner, dont you mean a certain percentage of english players would have to be in each side?? Having scots, welsh or irish in the team in no more helpful to the english national side than having french, swiss or spanish!! Its amazing how many commentators claim there are not enough british players coming through when its clear that only english players will make a difference to the english team. Like little dutch I have no time for international games, I will admit I watch world cups & the euro's etc but thats because I love football. When it gets to the final I like to see the best nations playing & unfortunately that has not been england for a very long time.
Ashburton Gooner
The interesting thing for me, is that of all the other articles where the fans of rivial clubs, namely Spurs and Chelsea, come here to grief us, not one (as far as I can see) none Arsenal fans has commented on this article. Could it be that LD has sucssessfully hit the nail firmly on the head and as such these football fans have no counter argument....I think I might just be right!!
Rocky7
LD, I am not going to go into a critique of the article, but if you are really an English teacher I think you need to edit you pieces a bit better, I thought "padding it" went out with Hemingway. As for the title, "difference" is a feminine noun in French, therefore your title should be "Vive La Difference" BTW with the new FIFA rules on local content in the team how long do players need to have been in a country to be considered "local"? I suspect you'll be ok at the outset, but you may be somewhat constrained on bringing in new talent from abroad.
Westl
rocky 7 your blind if you cant see the post already here by cockrel ill be the other one to critise your policy. not only has wengers policies made all of you not care for your country, your chairman who is meant to be british thru and thru is a mug theres one thing selling your stadia name to arabs, but to have an arabic country printed on your away strip is outrageous, i wont talk about you not having english players and how bad it is, because you already know that, and all you scum are the biggest hypocryites ever as your short minds have forgotten when you were all boasting how great it was when arsenal had so many players in the england team.
sffsd
sffsd you have obviously completely ignored half of my article. Why is it so outrageous to be sponsored by an arab airline, yet it's o.k to be sponsored by an american casino? Someone who's business it is to take people's money. Yours is the distasteful sense of xenophobia I was talking about, you have not managed to answer one of my points, instead just regurgitating tabloid garbage. As for westl, on the homepage alan buckley has vive la difference so I rwalised my mistake, infortunatly my French is not on par with my English. The new FIFA directives will harm us little because by the time the rules become more stringent, our foreign youngsters will have been here for years. Looking at the England team sffsd, I'm delighted we have nothing to do with that useless shower. Read the article again and try something a bit more constructive than racism.
Little Dutch
And my typing is SHOCKING! Jeez.
Little Dutch
sffsd, i thin rocky made an accurate point when he said not one other than arsenal fan.. thing is mate we think cockeril is really a closet gooner, he spends more time here than his own forum and seems to know so much about arsenal, he must live and breathe it ! so infact rocky is right upto that moment.. and i think LD writes a great piece, or should i say NOVEL hehe, took me my whole lunch hour, but i did enjoy it LD, well done son.
PUREGOLD
okay well your all up your own arses, only gooners would clap an article that puts gerrad as a mediocre midfilder, just out of jealousy that he was at the centre of attention when they won the CL, whilst your main man henry apparently best in the world was a complete flop and made a ***** of himself in front of the cameras. and little dutch there is nothing wrong with your sponor or the mansion group, but printing dubai on the away strip, with out mentioning anything else does not advertise airlines, you are advertising a country you nimrod
sffsd
My assessment of Gerrard is based on fact, you are just quoting press rhetoric. You ignore that he has been dreadful time and time again against big opposition (plus he's a serial diver- something else nobody mentions). What's wrong with advertising dubai? I'm told it's a place well worth visiting. Why is it a minute ago having fly emirates as a sponsor was so wrong, but the second I pulled it up as xenophobia it's o.k. If I were you I'd put the newspaper down and actually WATCH the game of football. Go and look for yourself Gerrard's scoring record at Old Trafford, Highbury, Stamford Bridge.
Little Dutch
Oh and if my comments about Gerrard were about jealousy, why did I go to such lengths to praise Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia? Congratulations, you have qualified as completely ignorant.
Little Dutch
Excellent article mate, totally agree with the suggestion to make them part one and two in the future. Nice to read something interesting. @sffsd: First point is that Dubai is not a country you moron. Secondly: advertising one of the worlds most popular holiday destinations is really not worse than advertising casinos. When even the corporate ******s up at man u turned down an advertising deal with the casino the spuds were ready and bent over cheeks firmly spread.
firingblanks
Seen as it was the emirates group that decided what arsenal would have on their shirts & nothing to do with arsenal themselves it makes sffsd's comment fairly ridiculous. If two clubs are sponsored by the same company the away team has to have something different on their shirts, which is why in the home game arsenal will be back to fly emirates & hamburg will probably have dubai or another destination. What I think is of more interest but has been washed completely over is the fact that ENIC quite clearly told Prague they had to lose to spurs because spurs get more tv money. We all know they own both teams, funny how uefa are not investigating this though. Lets face it the spuds will only beat teams in europe that enic own.
Ashburton Gooner
Yeah, they'll get Glasgow Rangers and PAOK Salonika in the group stages.
Little Dutch
lol sffsd. Dubai a country. Funny guy. failure of a person supporting a failure of a team
TheBeast
in regards to the article. Although i agree with most of it. Your points towards gerrard are total nonsense. And very disapointing concidering the usual quality of your articles. And at the same time that i dont care where our players come from as i beleive in the best man for the job cliche, thats not to say that If we could swap any of our foreign players for exact copies in english, i wouldnt do it in an instant. The problem is like you said they simply dont exist. Which the great engish footbaling ambassador of the scum is finiding out now, by his summer signings.
TheBeast
Buffon/Coupet??? Talk to me people
Tugboat
Until I see Gerrard perform in a big game my feeling towards him will be the same. I'm not saying he's rubbish, he's very good. But the fact is even Benitez does not trust him as a CM, he always plays Sissoko and Alonso there. Gerrard is show business and I've never seen him perform internationally or against a team of any repute, that's just the simple truth. It's not a popular view, because Gerrard puts his face to a lot of products, so a corporately owned media will never let you know he's over rated. Just look at David Beckham.
Little Dutch
It has nothing to do with not trusting him. Its a simple fact of balance in the team. I dont support them at all. im a gooner as everyone knows. but having watched pool alot its obvious this is the case. And as for beckham being overrated. there was a time when no pundit around the world would have debated how inredible he was. I dont know if you dont remember or something when he played for man u, but you are mistaken. Gerrard is not just good, he is sublime, excellent, fantastic etc. Gerrard won the final for liverpool as far as im concerned. You may say simply scoring the first goal. But thats scoring the first goal when they are 3-0 down and everyone else had given up hope. I have never seen any player running around with his arms like that motivating the players and i for one think it had a massive effect. The goal against west ham in the fa final and many more like it. The fact he scores like 25 goals a season from midfield. Theres not many who can say that. (no fat frank comments please, there not in the same league) Its an opinion based business. But in my opinion your wrong and seem somewhat biassed against english players for some reason YOU RACIST. lol joking im not an idiot like COCKeril. But if you are biassed, its understandable because england as an international team are useless and massive under achievers and always let us down. But i recomend you watch pool more and see just how outstanding and sometimes influential he is. I would surely take him at the emirates every day.
TheBeast
Also about sissoko and alonso. Benitiez prefers two defensive midfielders. simple as that. Always has. Gerrard definately is not.
TheBeast
Oh and also when rafa put him at right back at the end of the cl final. He was inspirational. Damn i keep thinking of great things about steve g but ill shut up now. Each to their own, but i think you do him a massive discredit on what seems like not much knowledge of their game, team and his play. Err but enough spouting about him. Lets just hope he helps destroy the failure scum tomorrow and we beat the blades. 11 - 0 for me.
TheBeast
lol gerrard never scores 25 goals a season, not even 15, and please dun count his goals in the champions league qualifiers last season, which were against crap teams, and refering to ur point of him changing the champions league final last season, it was hamann who changed the game not him, gerrard is just over rated by everyone, he is so good in the liverpool team, because he has the license to attack more than anyone in the team. you say alonso is a defensive midfielder, id like to see him play in a attacking role, and he would be so similar to Fabregas, and you talk about gerrard being their best player and so inspirational, he has so much license to attack, and he puts in atleast 100 crosses and through balls every match, and 99% of it are crap, and if you give that many chances even to our Eboue, even he is bound to produce one killer pass or ball with so many attempts, but ya he won the champions league, he led liverpool to glory, and you cant take anything away from that, cuz that's a fact, but still he will always be over rated for me atleast, and i think it's the england fan inside you that's getting the better of you, and thats why you like him so much, but then hey as gooners, dun think we can have many reasons to not like him if he keeps assisting one Henry goal every season :d..
luckys_10
Lucky hits the nail on the head, Gerrard is something of an egomaniac, he wants, wants, wants the ball. Most of the time what he produces isn't great. I take your point beast about the cup final, he scored two great goals, but the truth is Reo Coker was awarded man of the match which suggests Gerrard lost the midfield battle. Luckys is also right about Hamann, he came on at h/t and did a responsible job. I'm aware that Gerrard has a lot of good games, but there are a lot of average teams. Your opinion is fair and I understand it, but until I see Gerrard produce against United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Barca etc, my opinion will stay the same.
Little Dutch
 

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