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Never Explain. Never Apologise.

Never Explain. Never Apologise.

Willy Gallas seems to have fallen into a classic media bear trap that he has himself put in place. In trying to affect media perceptions of himself he has now discovered that it will always first go in the direction the media most wish it to.

Prior to the international friendly against Uruguay this week he was asked a number of questions concerning his role in both the french national team and Arsenal. These comments and interviews are connected with the promotion of Gallas` autobiography due to be published in France today. In a general theme about young players he apparently informed the Parisien that young players have a different attitude now than in his day.

'These conflicts [between young and older players] exist in all the clubs. Simply, we did not expect this,' he confides 'Youth of 20 years, they have everything for them. I am surprised by some of their reactions. Their way of responding by example. In my time it was different.' He gives an example of a conflict between Benzema and Thuram during the Euros last summer and claimed that he also had a skirmish with a player in the French national team. This player is reported in France to be Samir Nasri whom L`Equipe reveals also had a falling out with Thierry Henry after taking his seat on the team bus. The falling out is included in the Gallas autobiography and apparently relates to a training ground incident in which he took exception to the response made to 'advice` offered to communicate clearly on the pitch. Gallas claims that the player has come to accept that he was in the wrong and the issue now settled.

He also responded to questions about criticisms of his captaincy of Arsenal in which he again pointed to the role he has to play in trying to settle conflicts within the team. It is naïve to think that these conflicts don`t exist in all teams and have always existed. Overmars and Anelka were widely reported to have had a fractious relationship during the early days of Wengers reign. Accepting this truth privately and speaking of them publicly are different things.

In an attempt to explain himself and deal with criticism levelled at him, much of it unfounded, he has given more ammunition with which others can increase the pressure on him. Those comments referred to one player 'insulting` him, and others, when confronted during a match. Frankly, I would be surprised if it couldn`t be shown that on pitch criticism isn`t regularly treated with a dismissive four-letter instruction. The media is only too happy to lap this up and comments which were originally published as 'Gallas urges youngsters to be brave` has been turned into 'an astonishing attack`.

Taken overall these comments are pretty innocuous but together with those in his book reveal a difficulty that Gallas has with his expectations of young players. Unfortunately Arsenal is pretty well all about young players and any sign of difficulty is bound to be amplified in the media. Show them an itch to scratch and they will do so until it bleeds.

I don`t suppose Gallas is the best captain the club has ever had, nor is he the worst, but it is perhaps a more difficult team to captain than some others. Vieira was captain of a team that didn`t need captaining with players like Campbell, Ljungberg and Gilberto having experience of the job themselves while other senior players like Pires and Henry were hardly the types that needed keeping in line. Vieria still managed a widely publicised physical confrontation with Lauren though. This young team needs more considered thought to get the best out of them.

In some ways Gallas takes the job of captain too seriously and his comments will not help him but stripping him of the captaincy now, as much of the rabid press are urging, will not serve the cause of harmony within the team well. Forget the froth and bubble of the tabloids and soundbite obsessed media and avoid the temptation to feed them further. He, and the club, should now follow the advice of Disraeli 'Never explain. Never apologise`.

Ironically consistent as it is with the attitude he is so uncomfortable with from modern young players, it might have been useful for Gallas to have had that advice a little earlier.

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Date:Friday November 21 2008
Time: 9:49AM


''he has now discovered'' don't you think he should've have learnt that a few years back when at Chelsea? Sorry, no excuse for this one. And why write an autobiography's sickening.
21/11/2008 10:12:00
He isnt exactly the sharpest knife drawer. Some of his comments i like, we need to be braver, more warriors etc. To say the player in question is 6 years younger is like squirting petrol on a flame.
21/11/2008 10:15:00
in the drawer* Also he never learns from his mistakes. How many times does he need to be misquoted, have words twisted, say the wrong thing before he thinks to himelf, hold on...
21/11/2008 10:22:00
Gallas was extremely naïve, he's had his words twisted by the press so many times I wonder why he hasn't learned yet. The first thing to say is that a lot of crap has been written about Gallas attacking his team mates for not being brave enough, which several Arsenal bloggers have really fallen for today. He didn't, he used the qualifier "we" thereby implicating himself. However, there is an old saying in management speak, "don't bring me problems, bring me solutions." If there are problems within the club, as captain he should be in there solving them not bleating to the press about them in order to sanctify his image. As captain he should be broad shouldered enough to deal with the criticism without ratting out his team mates in this way. If there is disharmony in the squad, don't tell everyone about it, do something about it. As a pretty famous playwright once said, "action is eloquence." It's a lesson our entire squad would do well to learn, because frankly, I wish they would all shut up.
Little Dutch
21/11/2008 10:24:00
Not the best comments from Gallas, but they certainly ring true in some aspects. It is unfair that the finger of blame to our current inconsistent form is being squarely pointed at him. It's more than his captaincy that is to blame. Mistakes are being made all over the pitch, and surprisingly often, by our 'bigger' players. But Gallas should know better; he's been the target of many a witch-hunt before, and the media, and disgruntled Arsenal fans/analysts need no encouraging. If you direct your ire at one thing, it's so much easier than taking the wider issues into consideration. Case in point: Arseblog.
21/11/2008 10:28:00
A good captain would know when to keep his big **cking mouth shut and concentrate on improving his own crap form and that of the team he captains, not blabbering away at the press! What a **nt! People may not like him for a vvariety of reasons, but Gallas actually tries to be disliked, how else can you explain him constantly winding everyone up without taking into account his blunders in matches quite often this season. I don't think one player with his ability and desire has ever dissapointed me so much in my entire lifespan as an Arsenal supporter. I think now the sooner he goes the better as he just causes disharmony, wether that is his fault or not, Arsenal are bigger than Gallas, bigger than Wenger bigger than Hillwood! Time to go "Capi"
21/11/2008 10:48:00
gallas is a liability on and off the wouldnt surprise me if hes still on the russians pay roll....theres something not quite right about him,and the sooner he disappears out of north london the better
fran merida
21/11/2008 10:49:00
My only problem is stripping him of captaincy now would probably mean him leaving the club. If this were the case it would leave us with Kolo Toure & Silvestre as CBs with Djoruou & Song covering.
21/11/2008 10:52:00
so he is not wanted at Arsenal then........??
21/11/2008 10:52:00
He's our best defender by a country mile - what will do without him? I wish he'd shut the ***k up too, but we need him on the pitch. If he went we really would have a defensive crisis on our hands. As promising as Djorou is, he's prone to making mistakes, more so than Gallas.
21/11/2008 11:03:00
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