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The Most Important Thing

The Most Important Thing

This week here on Vital there have been many comments about clubs and the players nationalities. Much has been said about Arsenal and its players and lack of English players and questions have been raised whether it is right for a British club to field so many foreigners.

Arsene Wenger has said many times that if a player is good enough then he plays no matter what his nationality, yet many quarters of the games supporters continue to berate that comment and call us names.

I have a different stance, my opinion is that the name on the front of the shirt is more important than then name on the back, and I don`t mean the sponsor.

Do fans really worry about where the player is born, if they produce the type of football that wins your beloved team games, does it matter? I would ask any supporter, if you fielded 11 non British players and won the league, would you be saying "oh excuse me; we would prefer to win the league with British players!" I very much doubt it.

When I first started going to Arsenal games, the team was made up of English, Irish & Scottish players, but I remember looking at the European players dreaming of seeing them come to Highbury and play their attractive style of play and bring a different type of football, the beautiful game. Now don't get me wrong, just because they are foreign doesn't automatically bring quality and skill, and many a manager has had a few blunders, our own Arsene himself.

But what else do they bring? I think they bring professionalism, you don't hear of the foreign players out on the town living it up till the early hours, they treat their bodies with respect as their bodies are their living at the end of the day. It can be said the English mentality is to get drunk, to party hard and is probably what has held us back as a nation for so many years. Players like Gazza who had so much talent but wasted it, Tony Adam and Paul Merson, great players but what would they have become if they were more like the Henry`s and Zidane's of this world?

At the end of the day, the most important thing is I don't care who plays for my team as long as they win, the name on the front is Arsenal and it doesn't matter to me who the name on the back is, it`s about my team playing well and winning.

Article submitted by PureGold

Articles submitted by Vital Arsenal members are based on the opinion of the member and not necessarily the view's of the network itself.

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

Date:Saturday January 6 2007
Time: 1:06AM


I think that an English club should field at least a couple of English players. I agree that a player should not be judged on their nationality, and if they are good enough then so what? But for the good of the English game I'd like to see more English players at Arsenal. Your team play some amazing football, which I have witnessed first hand as a Reading supporter (3-0 & 4-0 over the past two games), and it would be excellent to have some English talent learning under Wenger. Hoyte is just a stop-gap, leaving Walcott as your only likely Englishman!
06/01/2007 01:13:00
if your team won the league without an elnglishman, would you celebrate any less ?
06/01/2007 01:16:00
I see where your coming from Rogue and yes, it would be nice if a couple of English players were good enough for Arsenal. That doesn't mean to say I am bother by the fact that we can field a team compiled of 11 different nationalities, infact, I think it's something to be proud of.
06/01/2007 01:22:00
I'm not being negative towards Arsenal's policy, I'm just speculating on how Wenger could add to English football by teaching our own players the joys of passing football.

I would celebrate if my team won the league with a single Brit, but at the same time I'm not sure I'd feel as connected to the team in general. It's hard to say to be honest.
06/01/2007 01:37:00
Being a non-English Arsenal fan, I am proud that Arsenal has such a national/cultural diversity which functions like a family. The point by Rogue is well taken. but heard before. Again we could enter a discussion which has been dissected here many many times: 1. who of the current English 'stars' are good enough to play for Arsenal (meaning better than the ones we have in the team, Ca$hley doesn't count) 2. who is available on the market? 3. What is their silly price? 15 mil for Hargreaves? 18 mil for Richards? More than 7 mil for Ashley Young? It is ridiculous and the only ones buying good English players (Carrick excluded) are ManUtd (at a 'reasonable') price and Chelsea (more 'reasonable' than ManUtd). Others are buying 'prospects' and 'Jenases' of the Premier League. So let's drop this nationality subject once and for all - it's taken too much space.
06/01/2007 01:41:00
i understand what you mean Rogue, but Arsene himself has said that at this point the english academies are still 2-3 years off their european counterparts, and consequently, so are the players they produce. And, without wishng to sound like someone getting all flouncy about his club, that crucial aspect of technique and top notch quality is somethign crucial to the game we play. But it's not just about that. As PureGold wrote in his article, far too many english players prefer the celeb lifestyle, living in the fast lane, popstar girlfriend, *****ty book brought out at the age of 23 when they've achieved jack in the scheme of things...), whereas the majority of foreign players we have tend to knuckle down, work hard and improve and bide their time, instead of bleating about how they should be in the first team instead of 'top international player x'. Hello Bentley (who seems to have finally got over it now, thank goodness...). Or Mr Jermaine 'The Tag' Pennant. »»Arsene Knows««
06/01/2007 01:55:00
And I don't just identify with a player cos he's english and plays for my club, i will identify with hiom more if he displays a true love and feel for the club, much as i do. Going back to what i was originally saying, M. Wenger aniticpates that by 3 years time, we should be seeing a crop of english players coming through our youth academy of an equal standing, level in terms of technique and hopefully mentality) with the ream of europe and south america, that he has brought to the club. And i know you're not being negative against our policy, it's good to hear constructive viewpoints, makes for a good discussion, something I'm sure we all enjoy :-) »»Arsene Knows««
06/01/2007 01:59:00
* cream of europe »»Arsene Knows««
06/01/2007 02:01:00
You seem to be ignoring the fact that I am a Reading supporter, who watches two former Arsenal youth-players week in, week out. Steve Sidwell is still only 23 despite maturing years ahead. In my opinion he has been our best player this season, and is more than holding his own in the Premiership. This being the case, why are there not more Steve Sidwells and James Harpers coming out of Arsenal? Instead there are Denilsons, Larssons, and Bentners, who are all fantastic prospects but none of whom are English.

Like I've said, nationality does not mean a great deal to me, and the playing having ability is more important. I'm simply saying that I'd like to see a few English players coming through at Arsenal as it would benefit our country. I understand what is said about the life-style of the English, but this is not applicable in every case.
06/01/2007 02:04:00
I think the opening of the David Rocastle centre will be looked back on as a turning point in English football history. As far as I know, it's the only youth training centre in the country dedicated to technique. And it's funded entirely guessed it...Arsenal.
06/01/2007 02:06:00
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