Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Wednesday October 14 2009
Not an article so much as a compendium. With international football proving inadequate methadone as ever, there really is very little to write about, talk about or even do. So I've compiled some of my favourite ever quotes from Arsenal's greatest custodians and bunged them in a piece for you to onjoy. Feel free to add your own on the forum.
'I realised when I joined Arsenal that the back four were all University Graduates in the art of defending and Tony Adams was the Doctor of defence.' Arsene Wenger waxes lyrical about that defence.
'First man in a tackle never got hurt.' 1930s hardman Wilf Copping outlines his edict.
'When I first came back to Highbury as a Newcastle player, it was in the title run in 1989. I had a perfectly good goal disallowed in the last minute that would have made it 1-1. Had that goal stood, Anfield 89 would never have happened. That's the sweetest injustice I ever suffered as a player.' Kenny Samson on his emotional comeback to Highbury.
'A team can attack for too long. The most opportune time for scoring is immediately after repelling an attack, because opponents are then strung out in the wrong half of the field. All the men are expected to play to plan, but not so as to stifle individuality.' The legendary Herbert Chapman invents counter attacking football. The Invincibles owe him a great debt!
'They were at their most dangerous when they didn't have the ball!' Kenny Dalglish in April 1998, after seeing his Newcastle side succumb to a 3-1 defeat at Highbury. Chapman's influence echoes through the ages.
'Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of TEAM MANAGER. He must be experienced and possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exhorbitant [sic] transfer fees need not apply.' Henry Norris' job advertisement that roused the interest of Mr. Chapman. Ironically, Chapman's first act would be to break the British transfer record for the purchase of Charlie Buchan.
'I was a scorer of great goals. Great own goals.' Steve Bould. If thousands of your own supporters are going to serenade you about your baldness for over ten years, I guess you have to develop a sense of humour.
'We arrived at the hotel half-an-hour early. Chapman immediately went into the lounge bar. He called the waiter, placed two pound notes in his hand and said: 'George, this is Mr Wall, my assistant. He will drink whisky and dry ginger. I will drink gin and tonic. We shall be joined by guests. They will drink whatever they like. See that our guests are given double of everything, but Mr Wall's whisky and dry ginger will contain no whisky, and my gin and tonic will contain no gin.' Chapman's assistant Bob Wall reveals how the legendary Arsenal manager negotiated the transfer of Bolton's David Jack for a curious knockdown price.
'It's 1-0 to the Arsenal and that's just the way we like it.' Chapman's successor George Allison gives the Pet Shop Boys and idea for a song.
'Everyone thinks he is a nice guy, but he is a son of a bitch.' Patrick Vieira comes over all diplomatic about Arsenal nemesis Ruud van Nistelrooy.
'I always wanted to play in English football and Arsenal and Highbury IS English football to me.' Dennis Bergkamp. Arsenal IS Dennis Bergkamp to many people too I dare say.
'My father always felt he should have been Prime Minister.' Peter Hill Wood reveals how highly his father Denis thought of Herbert Chapman.
'I ran home immediately to my wife in excitement and said, 'I've seen the nearest thing to a Brazilian footballer you'll ever see in our Academy…..and he's from Lewisham!' David Dein on Rocky Rocastle.
'If you were constructing a team of nice people, David Rocastle would be captain.' Record appearance holder David O'Leary on his ex team mate.
'Once an Arsenal man, always an Arsenal man.' And Bob Wilson would know.
'Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.' Arsene Wenger's legendary response to Alex Ferguson's 2002 assertion that his United side played better football than champions Arsenal.
'It sticks in the craw because nobody likes the Arsenal, but you simply can't help but enjoy watching the football they play.' Brian Clough after seeing Arsenal break his Forest side's record of 42 games unbeaten. Clough would pass away three weeks later.
'If even a little part of you doesn't enjoy a goal like that, you shouldn't be in football.' Kevin Keegan after watching his Manchester City side undone by a 30 yard Thierry Henry thunderbolt.
'I think we can go a whole season unbeaten.' Arsene Wenger's Mohammed Ali moment in 2002. How he was ridiculed.
'They (the press) are loving it because not much comes out of Highbury. But keep your self respect and remember who you play for and what that represents.' George Graham addresses his Arsenal team after they are docked two points by the F.A. for a bout of handbags at Old Trafford.
'I recall meeting him at a club magazine function some time ago and he came up to me and asked if I had seen the game last night. He was talking about Gillingham v Nottingham Forest in the Auto Windscreens Shield.' Arsenal Magazine Editor Andy Uxley reveals Thierry Henry's unrivalled passion for the game.
'I am Gooner.' Andrey Arshavin announces himself and spawns a million tee shirts.
'There is no chance of Sol leaving for Arsenal. He is a Spurs fan and there is not a hope in hell of him playing in an Arsenal shirt.' How did that turn out David Buchler?
'Highbury is like my garden. There's just something about Highbury that is difficult to describe. When you first arrive, you hardly see the stadium and wonder where it is but then you find it between two blocks of flats.' Thierry Henry looking for properties in Avenell Road?
'We do not buy superstars, we make them.' Arsene Wenger writes his own epitaphs.
'I was once fined £5,000 for calling Coventry fans wankers. Best £5,000 I ever spent.' The ever diplomatic Ian Wright.
'Arsenal and its neighbourhood was for me much more exotic than anything I would ever see around the King`s Road, which was full of an old-hat ho-hum glitz; football had gripped me because of its otherness. All those quiet terraced streets around Highbury and Finsbury Park, all those embittered but still peculiarly loyal used-car salesmen … now that was real exoticism.' Nick Hornby knows what romance is. LD.
Date:Wednesday October 14 2009
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