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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 na´ve 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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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 21 2008

Time: 9:49AM

Your Comments

''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.
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.
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...
Gallas was extremely na´ve, 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
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.
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"
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
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.
so he is not wanted at Arsenal then........??
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.
paul_ownz - That is fine by me mate! Lets keep those 4, I mean how many do we need. This isn't a knee jerk reaction to what he has just said. The fact is it hasn't worked out for Gallas as captain or as a player, so time to go and quickly! When it didn't work out for Reyes, atleast it didn't affect the whole team and moral, this is and it is poisonous for us! I don't dislike Gallas the person, I dislike Gallas the Arsenal player!!
Getting rid or doing anything now would not solve anything, it would only make things worse, as the article points out. The absolute worst fall out you can expect to see from this is that Gallas will pick up some diplomatic injuries until the summer when it's readdressed. I would expect Wenger will speak with the player and seek what he meant, apparently Gallas has been gagged from conducting an interview with Philippe Auclair today which suggests as much. Cesc has made very similar comments in the past and not been castigated for them, ignore the hysteria and see this for what it is. Ill advised? Absolutely. An foam mouthed attack? No. A lot of our players have been making stupid comments to the press this season, like I said earlier, action is eloquence, it seems this team are great talkers off the pitch, sadly not so on it.
Little Dutch
It's alright, we'll win 3-0 tomorrow = crisis over!
LD, i mentioned this on another thread, regarding Cesc, Ade, RVP, GAllas and Toure. Why do they find it so difficult to keep their **cking mouths shut. They are footballers, only footballers, not philosophers, not great intellectuals, not Churchillian public speakers. Hell, even the landlord at my local can string together more coherent sentences than the cretins that pass for footballers nowaday. So what makes them think we are even remotely interested in anything they have to say? Wenger should ban all those **nts from talking to the press, honestly, you give a prat some rope, they WILL hang themselves with it. I m tired of our over paid players making us look like idiots, even indirectly with media assistance! Shut up you bunch of morons!
Many supporters have called for Gallas to be demoted as captain, but Winterburn said: "In my view he won't sack Gallas. "Arsene has put his trust in Gallas to lead Arsenal forward - to suddenly turn round and sack him says I don't trust you as a player. "And if you don't trust him as a player it also means he's not going to pick him. Is he going to do that? I don't think so." Thats the bottom line really. Its not a good move to get rid of your captain mid season, especially when you are short of leaders in the team as a whole anyway. Lets judge him in may, and make changes based on his performance then.
Can you see Gallas suddenly turning things round in his own performances and suddenly gaining ability as a captain? Would it do more harm than good removing the captaincy from him? Probably not as it is not exactly doing us much good either! Maybe it is time to do something a little drastic and start pulling up a few trees. Wenger's way is currently not working (we can all see that) so what do you do when things aren't working? If you had a hole in your pocket that money fell out of, would you leave it and keep losing money or do something about it. Easy scenario. You have a problem, do something about it! What you do is not the easy part, but identifying the need for something to be done is very, very simple!
Trouble is without Gallas we'd have an even s***er defense, form or no. Toure is all over the place, Sylvestre is a bit dopey, Djourou is too raw, and Song is about as consistent as snot. Sacking/demoting Gallas would be a disaster in my opinion.
Good article. The thing that sticks out for me the most is LD's point that unlike previous Arsenal captains Gallas has no one on the pitch to help him. There are no experienced vice captains to assist Gallas in guiding the young players. For me the blame rests entirely on AW--he's built this young, inexperience team and shorn it of older, experienced players. Cesc learned alongside Vieira, Pires, Henry, etc. These other kids are not learning alongside veterans like that. There's only Kolo. So AW gives it to Gallas -- a totally new player with no Arsenal pedigree at all, while Gilberto and Kolo are right there. Gallas has never been a captain, he's been learning on the job. So AW hands the captaincy to a player who's totally new to the club, never had been captain before. AW gives such a player the responsibility of leading a team of young kids all by himself, with apparently no help from Kolo. Added to that is the thing that Gallas is entirely right about: these young players do not respect authority of older players; they do not have the fighting, winning mentality to win games; they're arrogant well-paid kids with no experience of learning alongside strong, commanding personalities like Adams, Lauren and Vieira--players who commanded authority and who'd never tolerate the kind of insubordination and disrespect these kids give Gallas. Gallas doesn't command their authority. It's been a very poor decision all-round on AW's part, few players could win in such a situation. You need a very special character to lead all by yourself an arrogant, erratic bunch of talented kids like this. So even if you take the armband away from Gallas, who in the squad is up to the job?
I personally think Gallas is the best of a very poor bunch and I want him stripped of the captaincy!!! Which doesn't say much for "capi" or the rest of the team......No one said it would be easy for Gallas or the team (that much is true) but they have both so far this season failed in their respective roles. What about RVP? As one of themore senior players, what has he contributed this season other than patchy form? Kolo? forget about it, he's in line at the eat all you can buffet! Almunia? He's a goalkeeper, no thanks! Sagna? Is he vocal enough? Cesc appears to be the only one who has the pedigree, "experience" (if you can call it that) and the faith in the club. Although he needs to stop talking to the press aswell!
Okay sack Arsene, sack all the players waste of time get a complete new team in, what a load of rubbish. It sells newspapers and should be treated as a load of dribble. come on fellas take it for what its worth just newspaper crap. Hey Amos your the lad for stat's whats the education level for our players? (equal to the Lewisham boy?? Dont take offense i love your articles, well most of them)
Myles Palmer claims that Gallas quits as skipper and the players are 'meeting to elect a new captain':,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=1127&cntnt01returnid=42
Hey, I was educated near Lewisham and I am MUCH smarter than any of the braindead idiots that play football! :-)
Little Dutch
Myles Palmer's ramblings make David Icke look like a Tory MP.
Little Dutch
Ouch have i touched a nerve he hehe
And i did say was it equal to the Lewisham boy, I hold you in high esteem.
Wish I was as brain dead as them earning their type of money hmmmm
Saying you are equal to a Lewisham boy in education is like claiming to be the prettiest person at an ugly competition!! ;o)
For the record, I've never been to Lewisham! :D Yeah it's funny that Palmer published this piece very matter-of-fact-ly. Will see what happens there but he remains an idiot. I supported the decision of giving the armband to Gallas when it happened. But I agree with you guys, it's disappointing to see him, a veteran who's been in the game for so long, talk to the press like this when we just can't throw more problems onto our plate. Still can't name a better person than him to wear the armband and it's disruptive to make this kind of change in the middle of the season.
You've never lived Lou, pack a lunch pay a visit. This captain thing is just a storm in a teacup. The boss will decide not us not the board but the gaffer. Never liked my Captain but he put me in the cells.
Yeah I suppose. But did you read that Palmer piece? He said it's down to the players, not the boss apparently, which is quite unusual and not something I'd take at face value, judging by Palmer's credibility.
GoonerLou I blame Gallas for this.
Little Dutch
After reading that LD, its obvious he should be relieved of the armband.
Oh dear, hope the boy recover soon and fully. Yep it's all Gallas's fault! >_<
I think the manager has to shoulder the responsibility for all that is going on at the moment. It was a gamble to bring Gallas to the Emirates and an even bigger gamble to make him captain given his history. The captaincy should probably have been removed from Gallas after the Birmingham incidents last season but it wasn't, le Boss presumably judging that it would do more harm than good. It would seem that his judgement was flawed on that occasion! I don't think it is now a viable option to take the captaincy from him not least because there is none else suitable except perhaps Clichy. Almunia has stood in from time to time but I don't see him as a full time captain because he seems a somewhat nervous character. Many will say that Fabregas should have the arm band but he is playing poorly by his standards at the moment and needs to concentrate on his own game. Kolo has the experience but doesn't - I think - have the right character and is struggling for form in any case. No, the only option is Clichy which in my view is really no option at all and that is why the team have to get together behind closed doors and get whatever is in there out of their systems and then rally together and start behaving like a team again. All these problems have been brought about because of various management decisions - and it hurts me some to say that because I think AW is terrific in many respects - but he has dropped a few clangers recently; why let Gilberto, Flamini and Hleb go so readily - all experienced players with a few seasons under the belt and known quantities with no obvious and ready alternatives in place? Another gamble? The youth policy also means a lack of experience, seniority and gravitas when looking for someone to captain the side. However what's done is done and the thing to do now is have it out, clear the air and get on with the game!
norfolk dumpling
first of all it was totally wrong what Gallas did, but in a way i think it will do us some sort of good. Wenger has always been good at defending his team in the public eye & making sure they dun repeat whatever they do ever again. dun think he has really been successful with that with the current lot. i love each and everyone of them & will support them till my last breath, but some of the trouble makers in the squad need to know that they are not untouchables, & if they keep on doing mischeivous things, some of it will one day come out in the public eye. Who knows what Gallas has had to put up with since he became captain. He was wrong to come out this way & blast them, but part of the problem as most of yu here have pointed out is the lack of support he has from anyone else in the squad, he just had a mental breakdown or something. whatever it maybe, we need to ignore everything now & just concentrate on the football. let the Boss decide whatever he wants in jan or in the summer..
szczesny - What a berk! lol
Oh dear. Now we get rid of Gallas just when he has started playing well. Hopefully Silvestre and Djourou can make a good partnership with G Hoyte at right back (nobody else)
breaking news is he has been stripped.hmmm
wt crap paul? where did yu read that? there is no news on about it..
Are you under a rock where only vital Arsenal is available?
Also he has not travelled with the rest of the Arsenal squad. Clichy, Silvestre, Djorou, Song in defense. Diaby, Ramsey, Denilson & nasri in midfield. RVP & Ade up front. Gallas future at Arsenal finished? Dont look good....
Not that i want to post 3 times in a row. But i have read from a reliable site that Gavin Hoyte will be making his debut at RB tommorow. Assuming this is right, then id expect to see Song & Denilson in the middle.
lol no guys i read paul's comment n then went to & sky, but there was nothing official about Gallas getting the sack. i'll check it out again now..
There is never anything on It is a sad pile of internet crap. And paul is right, Gavin is very likely to play (as I predicted before the article was published :D) and I think Ade is out as well, as is Vela. Almunia (C); Hoyte - Djourou - Silvestre - Clichy; Eboue (I think he is fit) - Denilson - Song - Nasri; Diaby; van Persie. I would play Diaby alongside Denilson and Simpson up front but whatever. Amd Fabregas has been given the armband.
I think he could be on his way out in january .... he has been dropped out of the squad for the game tomorrow ... breaking news on sky sports ... it must be serious for arsene to drop him out .... he doesnt normally let the media get to him ... i think it could be game over for billy ....
Toure for captain!!!!
boiling point.
Why should Toure get it? he isn't even going to play most of our games due to poor form.
After the storm............,there can only be calm. What else can possibly go wrong,so things can only get better,right.I have always felt very uncomfortable wit Gallas,u know he is like that slightly unstable roommate,u never know wat to expect from him. I was horrified when he was made captain and am sure we all felt AW treated Gilberto a little harshly and its come back to bite us in the a#*s. Peep this,Gary Neville for Man u,J.Terry for Chelsea,S.Gerrard for Livpool,W.Gallas for Arsenal....... which of these things is doin his own its time to play our game.
Gallas is a loose cannon which I would of been happier in your team than out, but if I were a gooner I would be pleased to see the back of this trouble maker........why did he leave Chelsea again??
Scott Spur
Im sorry, but quite clearly Gallas is the worst captain i think ive ever seen, although Robinho "Ive wanted to play for man city all my life" was captain last week so maybe that was worse. But Gallas is such a tool, hes not popular with fans players manager or media, he causes more trouble than anyone in the modern game with the possible exception of joey barton, he threatened to score own goals while at chelsea ffs
lets pray to god liverpool cant pay their debts so theyll get repossed, maybe wenger will raid skrtel and xabi alonso, or either one
no official conformation from the club. we'll just have to wait till the game & find out whether Gallas really has been stripped off it or not. my money is still on him being there today and remain captain atleast till the end of the season..
gallas gone!!!! Best thing to happen to the club for 30 months. Known to his French team-mates as Pierre Richard (Mr Bean), he's been the biggest retard ever seen at the club. Now if we can get rid of the cartoon cat, sylvester, we WILL stop shipping loads of goals. Djourou and any one of the reserves/youth team will be better than that useless pair. I suppose we'll have to stomach sylvester for a while yet though.
Nah Luckys, all the reports are saying that Gallas was left out of the travelling squad. The boysre all up north today and he's staying in London or something. Also interesting that some press said Ade's being 'rested'. According to Young Guns, Gavin Hoyte will start in RB and some youngsters will get a chance - good to know; though Vela can't play any big role as he's not had enough rest after the long flight back from international duty.
damn lou, it's really a shame, i dun agree with the way Gallas went about saying all these things, i dun see much wrong in what he said though. these players have got enough protection from the manager in the past 2-3 seasons & they just dun seem to learn & are happy being in their comfort zone. and have any of yu seen Gavin Hoyte play? i dun know much about him. & if we blood a few more younger players, it's like going back to the 05-06 season where we had so many youngsters playing in the team around this time of the season. looks like our only realistic chance of winning something major will be the Champions League. these recent turn of events are so *****ing off..
Gavin Hoyte looks like a promising kid who plays primarily in CB but is also a decent RB. He's as pacy/athletic as his brother but physically bigger/stronger and I think his reading of the game is better too. The blooding of youngsters will only continue. But it seems that Wenger only decided to use Gavin when Sagna and Kolo are injured, Gallas is dropped, Song didn't perform well last time he played RB, the just fit-again Eboue is needed in RM in absence of Theo and Rosicky, you know what I mean. It's necessity but also a great test for Gavin - a baptism of fire doesn't come much bigger than facing Robinho. Fingers crossed - I'd be happy enough to at least get a draw and no further injuries. (Knock wood!) Re Gallas, I agree that what he said was just an honest assessment of things in the team, but we really don't need this extra pressure from the press. And how many times have we said this - that what he said is true but should be kept in house?! I also have my hopes in the cups this season - unfortunately we just don't have the consistency required to win the league. But hey, it's all backs to the wall again, here's to at least a good performance! :)
I have to say, even tho I don't think Gallas is a great captain, I'm glad he came out with his statement. I think his job as a captain was difficult with so many young players in the team as has already been pointed out. It's refreshing to see someone being open and honest in this era of media trained players. It might not be in the best interests of the team but with the current situation I think something like this may shake things up and make AW rethink his overall strategy. Maybe he can start building a strong winning team again instead of trying to break records for fielding youngest players. I know we can't compete financially with MU and Chelsea but I want him to at least try winning trophys. As for Gallas I hope he stays till the end of the season, as we're desperately short of experience as it is.
lucky 10 ony chance if winning something is champions league, wow u have great faith, i think its more like carling cup and im not been smart

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