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Arsenal an English FC?

New Vital Arsenal member questforavalon has marked his arrival on Vital with a bang.

Here he asks some questions of Arsenal's identity. Read on Gooners, read on...

In the past there have been numerous shots at Arsenal fielding too many players from other countries. These people argue that there must be restrictions by FA to restrict the number of foreign players to play in the each team of EPL.

But I have a basic question 'What is Arsenal? Is it a English club which plays in a league or is it a club that plays in an English League?'. I think the answer to this question should settle at least few confusions regarding the Identity of the club.

Let me elucidate further: Do you identify with Arsenal because it is the closest stadium to your home so it is a local club, or you like to watch the team play beautiful football even if you are away half way around the globe like myself. I may be biased but I have a few questions.

1) If you want to restrict the number of foreigners who are playing does that mean you would restrict the number of foreign fans and fan club who watches you and contribute significantly to your kitty? Does that mean you would refuse the money of the sponsors because they are not English?

2) Why not stop with the players, lets take it to the logical conclusion. Why not restrict the number of managers of the club. Lets have only 1/4 managers foreign born. So which clubs get to keep the foreign born managers?

3) Lets take it even further. Why not stop the visiting supporters into the stadium because they are not born and brought up near your stadium. No. What about lets not play with other clubs (esp. outside England) at all, because they are not natives? Then we could be the BEST club known to us. It would be the story of frog sitting inside a well and thinking it to be the entire world.

The archaic rules of FA about recruiting youngsters within 15 mile radius was for the time when EPL was in the like little league of baseball in US(where the locality kids joined together to play against next street kids). Not anymore when EPL is touted as the 'greatest show on earth'. Is it fine with EPL and FA to restrict the places in which the EPL is broadcasted (if I am not mistaken FA gets a share of broadcasting money - doesn`t it?).

I am a very recent supporter of Arsenal FC, I started in earnest only last season. I had seen Arsenal on the way to CL finals once n a while. and I had three favourite footballers Henry, zidane and Ronaldinho(ironically because of his amazing goals against England in the 2002 world cup). The CL finals decided me - the spirit and heart shown by Arsenal and I have tried not to miss a single game ever since even if they are shown at 3AM and I have office next day. I want to go there sometime to watch arsenal play live.

Would you say I will have half the team who are the best and half average? How would you feel if you are in army and your commander comes to you and says I know you are the finest trooper so I am going to put you into a life or death situation with the shi**iest guy (no disparagement to English players) because he is from so and so place. I am telling you from experience in day to day life in India where reservation rears its ugly head in almost all aspects of life based on caste, creed and community. I think it is slowly killing the democracy of what it meant to be. That rant is for another time.

Sport has always been one of the finest expressions of mankind's excellence. Like all other expressions it must be beautiful, graceful, powerful and full of speed. It is an art. And it is magic. And it is the unending search for excellence. For an example of how good it can be watch this:

One small point on English values. What is it? Grit, beauty of savage power? If you wanted to watch people knocking each other senseless go watch rugby or American football. Football now is a sport with its own values: speed, agility, skill and co-ordination. Play the football with values of football.

So back to the question: What is Arsenal? Is it defined by the geographical boundaries or is it a concept created in men`s minds? In the words of Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator: 'There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile'. Don't wake me from the dream that is Arsenal. Not yet.

Article Submitted by questforavalon

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 4 2007

Time: 5:43PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Excellent piece of writing you should write your next piece about global warming !! Dunder heads
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04/01/2007 18:21:00

Cusop, he is from India and has a better grasp of the English language, and football come to think of it, than you could ever have.
Report Abuse
04/01/2007 18:26:00

Too intelligent for you Cusop? Suprise, suprise!
Report Abuse
04/01/2007 18:30:00

ahh.. finally i have a compatriot at the vital arsenal forum.. the indian fan following for the gunners is growing exponentially.. as for the article.. i cant help but remark that from the point of view of any neutral fan.. that should settle all the debates cropping up abt the english contingent at arsenal and blah blah ****.. very well written.. and u cusop.. i dnt think u understand english do you??
Report Abuse
04/01/2007 18:49:00

It's really not that difficult is it Iceman?
Report Abuse
04/01/2007 18:50:00

A true gem! Well done!
Report Abuse
04/01/2007 18:58:00

fantastic piece of writing, questforavalon - look forward to reading more of your pieces. cusop = you've just degraded yourself, can'y you recognise a fine submission when you read one. As for what is arsenal? Arsenal is not just a club, it is a feeling, a spirit, an institution, and i am proud to swathed amidst it. »»Arsene Knows««
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04/01/2007 19:44:00

This is an excellent article that gets at the crux of the issue. I always ask people about patriotism etc, how far do you take it? Most who exthol the values of patriotism travel to Northern towns and decry the locals as backward.inbred etc. So they practice regionalism. They then go to other parts of their own city and mock, eventually if you keep it to its logical conclusion you end up becoming so insular that you live and die alone, unable to relate to anybody. Football is a sport and the only condition of enjoyment should be its quality, not its nationality. Well done mate.
Little Dutch
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04/01/2007 19:51:00

thx all!
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04/01/2007 20:56:00

jesus, we get a new supporter to Vital and his first excellent article is flamed by the idiotic cusop.. ignore him, he is a bitter twisted jealous individual, if he team performed with as much flair and talent as this piece of writing they would be ontop of the world for a lot longer.
Report Abuse
04/01/2007 21:49:00

I think the content of this article is exactly the reason that no restrictions can ever come into place in this league, it would open a whole can of worms. However I think any competent lawyer could easily pick holes in any case constructed from the 'pro restrictions' camp.
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04/01/2007 23:05:00

It's already been done boss, not in any great detail but in short it breaks EU employment laws.
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04/01/2007 23:46:00

brilliant article
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05/01/2007 00:41:00

Me, too, me, too. Great article. It was a very enjoyable read. I don't know why but I always thought all these why don't we field more homegrown players rant stemmed from the lack of success England has had in the World Cups.
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05/01/2007 05:31:00

its a gr8 article.. well its gr8 to know tat fellow indians r here... ive been followin arsenal from 1997 season onwards... and im a mad fan.. we all follow arsenal.. we need to see them play best and beutiful.. i really dont care who plays.... :)
Report Abuse
05/01/2007 08:14:00

What a conceited attempt at self appreciation! Pat on the backs of you all for having no British players playing regularly and being so proud of it!!
Report Abuse
05/01/2007 09:38:00

Baldy we are proud of the football our players play, we are proud of the values of our club, we we don't let their passports come in the way of our football, and that's why we are appreciated all over the world and we're very proud about it. great piece questforavalon, quality stuff, LD has some serious competition here now ;)..
Report Abuse
05/01/2007 11:18:00

Liverpool only had to English players on the pitch when the won the Champions League, so it's not just us!
Report Abuse
05/01/2007 11:23:00

Luckys...he wasn't that good!!! :-) Baldy, yourself, cusop and the other Spud cretins never provide a counter argument though do you? You just recycle your Little Englander cliches which have little or no baring on reality. How many English players have played in World Cup or CL Finals since 1990? TEN. That's not even a whole team, and that points to the real problem, English footballers are not really as good as the media would have you believe. How many English players do Barca, Inter, Seville, Madrid, A.C, PSV etc have? ONE between them (Michael Ball at PSV). Arsenal demand quality, not xenophobic, groundless prejudices.
Little Dutch
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05/01/2007 13:30:00

actually LD, most of the time they just hurl abuse at us if we attempt to write anything on their site, i get words like PURETARD and stuff, just goes to show how they lack articulate inteliigence and class.. but did you expect anything more ?
Report Abuse
05/01/2007 16:37:00

Lovely piece of writing Questforavalon. You ask "What is Arsenal?" In coming up to 60 years of watching them, loving them (and occasionally hating them) and sharing in their triumphs and their sorrows, my answer is very simple. I don't know! It's certainly something greater than the sum of the parts. It certainly takes up a more than fair proportion of my memory bank. It certainly leaves me grateful every day for the combative genes I was born with that made me a Gooner...because if my dearly loved gran had had anything to do with it, I would have been a spud! And that doesn't bear thinking about. Gooner for 59 years
Gooner for 59 years
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06/01/2007 05:42:00


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