Out for twelve months but life went on in grass roots football, are those days over?

If your one for statistics, or Arsenal memory reminders, then this post is probably not for you but if you have sport in your blood and anything football rings your bell, this could just be up your street. I’ll start off with how this idea came to me and try not to bore you to much.

After reading the daily posts and commenting on one or two points, an idea struck home and I started thinking back to the time I played in our local football side  and it made me wonder if what we played, was anything like the real thing.
Arsenal in those days was always one of the best teams in what was then termed as division one, they usually held their league position from midway up to the top.

I of course, was Arsenal through and through, so when I played local football, I always imagined myself as our latest center forward and having Tottenham’s training ground just round the corner from where I lived, gave me the benefit of seeing how professionals trained. I must admit our local team was miles away from it. (Yep, even from Spurs 😉 )

On our match days we would meet in the pub, have a couple of pints, then make our way to the ground. Some of the guys used to arrive late because they couldn’t leave the pub but we normally managed to start with eleven. Sometimes the groundsman never turned up, and we would have to change on the touch-line, leaving our clothes there until the game ended, hoping it wouldn’t rain. More often than not though, it did and the facilities were so poor back then, we’d have to change back into our damp clothes….

As years went by we got a sink  but even then you had to wait your turn, I often wondered what the professional clubs facilities were like, bet they didn’t have one sink to share!! 

Poor old Steve.......


We had to take our turn in washing the kit, funny thing was, we played in Arsenal colours but by the end of the season, with all the boys taking turns to wash the kit, we ended up playing in pink, we got a lot of funny looks from other clubs though. We all paid about a pound a week subs, that helped to pay for a match ball and a new strip for the next season, the referee needed paying as did the rent on the ground we played, we even had to pay for our place in the league.

Some, like me, had two lots of fees as we played in the Sunday league as well. 
Then we had the cup games, once we’d been knocked out of these we’d all go off to Highbury and watch Arsenal. I used to watch the players come out and get that thrill, something I still get at the Emirates today as the fans start to cheer the lads on.  As we watched the team in what looked like a brand new pristine strip, swaggering around, we looked at all the boots they had on, hoping we would some day be able to afford them.

One of the games I watched, someone got injured and stretchered off, another had to be carried carried off. It made me think back to the week before, when one of the other side that we were playing, broke his leg, and the game was stopped, until the Ambulance came and they took him away, close on an hour we waited and then the game resumed, a win for us as they never had a reserve. 
Injury happened in our games as well, I don’t believe we were anywhere near the fitness of teams like the Arsenal, funny really I played local football for almost thirty years but I cant remember the term metatarsal ever! We had sprained ankles and broken legs ,concussions and the odd hamstring injury but the posh ones of today, never.

I suffered a hamstring injury once and the pain was unbelievable, so I know how Cesc must have felt, with mine though, despite it hurting like f**k,  never stopped me working! Maybe i was lucky…..

As I drew towards the end of my playing days, my cartilage went. Twelve months I waited to have treatment, I was in much pain during all that time but I had to carry on. When it was done, I was in plaster for a fortnight, then back playing about two months after, needless to say my playing days were really over after that. 
Players come and go in the Arsenal team, some turn out to be legends in the game – that’s usually a player that left a legacy of outstanding play in the minds of the fanatical supporters, players of skill and long service to the club or players who are idolised and sorely missed when they leave. But life goes on and a new player steps up to the plate and it starts all over again.

We, that is the guys I played with, often heard there was a scout out watching certain players in games played on our communal grounds, that’s when we all tried their hardest hoping to make an impression. In one of those so called games I scored five goals, got the headlines on the back page of the local rag but, like thousands more, I was never judged to be good enough.

So the difference between local and professional football was massive. 
I often think back to those days and believe that at least we had a chance to become big stars but just wasn’t good enough. Right now I worry that with all the foreign players that are being brought in, the grass roots of football is a thing of the past. I am not against foreign players as they posses amazing talent but are British players are being passed over in preference to foreign?

I must admit, I was shocked when Arsenal was the first English club to field a complete foreign side, I felt we had let our country down but I suppose in this multicultural country we live in today, we have to accept change. This is happening throughout, be it religion football or politics. Foreign players playing for foreign owners in what seems a foreign country, I suppose the British will just have to try harder.

The trouble is, you cant make a silk purse, out of a pigs ear, so I don’t expect change.
Does grass roots football help the professional game, or is it over?

Written by Steve Palmer

90 thoughts on “Out for twelve months but life went on in grass roots football, are those days over?

  1. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 9:56am

    Morning all…

    Howard Webb MBE – what a load of rubbish!!!

  2. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 10:07am

    Thanks for the post Steve, takes me back to my playing days too…. we had running water though but not always a changing room :)

  3. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 10:11am

    I think the day of grass roots has gone, it is academies now which for me is ruining football. Where are the maverick talents whose skills were honed on streets.

    Now all players are very formulaic, pass to B and dribbling is a way to lose the ball etc etc.

    A great shame.

    I was born and bred in Tottenham and we played on busy streets where we had to stop for cars and a sliding tackle was a no no and there was no way on earth did we want to go over and land on concrete so we learned balance and skill. sadly gone now.

  4. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 10:13am

    Morning Will….

    B&B in Tottenham, you poor thing 😉 😉

  5. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 10:24am

    Hi Rico.

    Have you ever been to the Tottenham ground?

  6. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 10:32am

    Morning All
    Many thanks Rico, you made it readable, your a star

  7. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 10:33am

    No Will… Only been to Highbury, Emirates, Elm Park and Mad Stad… and a couple of div 2 & 3 grounds…

  8. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 10:34am

    Morning Steve, my pleasure, you look good in the photo 😉

  9. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 10:35am

    I really like the post Steve, I bet many fans can relate to it :)

  10. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 10:44am

    Shame Rico, you would have seen my schools and my home.

    does anyone think the modern academy is removing any individuality from players?

  11. Steve palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 10:46am

    Cheers Rico, at least you helped me with the mangle

  12. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 10:48am

    What made you support Arsenal Will?

    yes, players are all being taught the same way with the academies, depending on which team they play for of course but look at ours, they are all taught the ‘wenger’ way which means if the are a centre forward they get put in defence 😉

    gone are the days of a good old fashioned english player, except Carroll…

  13. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 10:51am

    My entire family Rico, I would have been cast out if I has supported Tottenham.

    It just seems to me that all players now are 5 yard passers, how many Gazza’s or Merse’s do we see now?

  14. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 10:53am

    You have a good family then Will 😉

    We don’t, City’s Johnson is not all about passing but then I guess that’s because he came from the lower divisions but in the top flight it seems to be either hoof or short passing…

    I’d love to see a Malcom McDonald kind of centre forward in our side again…. i haven’t a clue how he ran, the size of his legs….

  15. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 10:57am

    As I said, there are no mavericks any more. No Rodney Marshes et al. The last person we saw like that was Henry but that was mostly down to his pure physical attributes.

    I wish Walcott had an ounce of individuality.

  16. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 11:01am

    He may have done, but wenger would have changed him, he does it to so many – look what he’s doing to song, he’s a really good defensive midfielder but wenger wants him to roam… when it works its great, when it doesn’t it looks dreadful….

    any english players that we have or buy will just be ‘clones’ of players gone by sadly.

  17. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 11:03am

    I am holding out hope that Jack is one and not one of Wenger’s tippy tap clones.

    Anyone seen what Wenger is saying about the defence?

  18. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 11:07am

    good call re jack Will, he has his own game, a great attitude and he’d lay his body on the line for us – hopefully wenger won’t be with us long enough to knock that out of him…

    i read he says they don’t speak, well why did he buy them??

  19. Red Arse

    December 31, 2010 at 11:11am

    Morning Rico, :-)

    Excellent post Steve, well written and evocative of a lot of sporting pasts and the changes when compared to the sporting present. All we need is for you to cast your mind forward and we will have a view of the sporting future.

    Dickens move over! :-)

  20. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 11:16am

    Morning RA….

  21. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 11:26am

    Exactly Rico. For ages Arsenal fans have been saying we need a commanding centre back and he has ignored our please and now he reaps what he sows.

  22. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 11:27am

    Sadly so do we Will, it’s frustrating and very annoying…..

  23. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 11:28am

    I have to go out for a couple of hours, visiting before 2011 arrives – catch you all later this afternoon….

    Have a good day….

  24. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 11:35am

    Wengers time is running out and we should be looking for a new man to bring the rewards we deserve,Wenger has been stubbon and his lack of defensive tactics are zero,with a manager with just an incling of savy he would bring those victories home, i hate to say this but he is stopping us for reasons that i dont understand, with a manager with a winning mentality we would be well clear of the rest, in all my years i have not seen this self destruction that Wenger keeps dishing out

  25. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 11:48am

    He inherited a great defence and got lucky getting Big Sol. Since then, we have had one great ddefender and that is TV. We need to sign an English centre back that doesn’t care who gets hurt, just that the ball doesn’t go into our net.

  26. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 12:07pm

    Agree with you Will,I cant see Wenger buying British established defenders as the British players tend to express themselves and speak their minds, but any decent ones yes i’m with you.
    the whole concept of defending needs to change our defensive midfield are attacking and not supporting, we have our strikers heading balls off our line,clearances are turned straight back into pressure because we have no one up field whats all that about, forwards to score and defenders defending get that right and were on our way

  27. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 12:16pm

    Yes Steve, that annoys me when we have everyone back, it means we have no out ball. Not only that, but the opposition have time to bring the ball down and knock it straight back in because we no one closing down.

    I am all for giving Wenger some more time but he needs to listen to people. He needs to realise that because 45% of the goals against us come from set plays (ie: high balls into the box) we need to change something.

    I am not the most intelligent person but even I can see that is you let that many goals in from one type of play, you need to be able to counter it.

  28. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 12:30pm

    Will you sound intelligent enough for me mate you understand the problem, we don’t need to be Einstein to know we have problems

  29. Red Arse

    December 31, 2010 at 12:42pm


    You have a point about the need to defend set piece crosses by getting the big forwards back. :-)

    However, that is hardly unique to AW or Arsenal. Chelsea’s best aerial defender, time after time, is Drogba. Crouch when he plays, is a key defender for Spurs at corners etc. There are many more examples of clubs expecting their tall forwards to do this.

    On the other hand, I know what you mean by cleared headers going straight back to the opposition putting us under further attack. But that is the fault of our small unfocused midfielders not anticipating the bleeding obvious out ball! :-)

  30. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 12:47pm

    I really don’t care who is out of the box, as long as one or two are to chase down the cleared balls.

    Also, watch second ball, when a tackle is made and it bobbles away we are always second to react. We hardly ever win second ball.

  31. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 12:49pm

    hi riclicious..

    will/steve..good afternoon

    good post..i was reminising also after the wigan result and the debate on here got me thinking about when i played football..

    the issue for me was resting players..when i was a teenager and until i was early 20’s i played 4or 5 games a week..id play for my school, my local team, and pub league on sats and sundays for two different pubs..

    sometimes we would enter a saturday tournament and play the whole competition in one day..upto 3 games from 1/4s to final if we were up for it..

    my point is footballers just want to play regardless of how many games they have..if they cant play those games they in the wrong job..these guys are atheletes its why they are paid so much money..manu citeh and spurs had the same teams as they played at weekend why did wenger make 8 changes….i dont understand why pro footballers cant play three games a week..

  32. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 12:52pm

    guys..thats why i like rvp

    he defends from the front when he plays and you will see him in our box when we defending corners..

    think he cleared two just v chelsea..defo got rid of one by the spot when terry was steaming in,…class defending..

    defenders are the last line its essentially their job to deal with the threats but it helps when the rest help out..defend from the front and we wont see as many issues

  33. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 12:54pm

    Back in a couple of hours guys.

  34. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 1:03pm

    Its not that they cant Jon Jon, its because Wenger wont let them, Professional players want to play every game some leave clubs because they don’t play enough, its the managers telling them they need a rest why i don’t know mate defeats me

  35. Stef

    December 31, 2010 at 1:04pm

    Happy new year guys n gals.
    May the next year we end the drought with a flood of trophies.

    All the best wishes…

  36. joshua

    December 31, 2010 at 1:05pm

    Morning Will.

    I have to say that I know that most people keeping going on about Wenger inheriting a great defence but I’m not sure that it is that simple at all. We finished 10th and 12th in the league with that defence and I distinctly remember that a lot of fans and a lot of pundits in the press were saying that Wenger’s first task would be to replace Arsenal’s ageing defence when he took over all those moons ago.

    The second point worth making is that The back four or five that we hold in such high regard freely admit that without Wenger’s new training methods at the time none of them would have played on for as long as they did… and that is the players themselves speaking so we should take note of what the men themselves say. So i think that it must be fair to give Wenger credit for not only giving the guys a chance to prove themselves but also giving them the means to extend their careers. The legends on the other hand deserve great credit for not being hidebound and stuck in their ways and taking on board the things they were told about Nutrition and rest and stretching etc, etc

    The third point to make is that Arsenal’s football has evolved beyond what it was… we no longer play anything like we used to under GG. Playing that type of football makes defending easy but quite frankly it’s time has passed. nowadays you need defenders who can actually pass the ball not just hoof it.

    Finally Wenger’s Invincible back 4 of Lauren; Kolo; Sol and Cole as well as Mad Jens in goal seems to me to be a tad more than just “getting lucky with Sol” as you put it. that was Wenger’s defence and it was every bit as good as what he inherited, if not better. I guess my point is that we don’t need to pretend that Wenger is clueless about defence and defending to make a point about the current deficiencies in our Defence, especially with the 2 new CBs… Wenger did inherit a great back 4 but he had to work on and with them too.

    Also the defensive performance in our run to the ECL final was not short of totally outstanding. And that particular defence had Flamini at LB most of the time with Eboue at RB and Senderos and Kolo as CB’s… the key then was Gilberto’s covering and Ljunberg’s hard working flank play. Defending is not just about the back 4 TBH.

  37. joshua

    December 31, 2010 at 1:12pm

    Steve Palmer…

    Wenger is resting players because it is scientifically proven that the human body can only perform at it’s optimum under certain conditions. Wenger doesn’t just make decisions on a whim or to annoy the fans. Anyone whose played the game knows that playing a pressing game for 90 minutes is tough… that is at pub level. To try it at Premiership level with the pace and fitness of the every opposing team and then go out and repeat the same thing again two days later is not very sensible. The body needs time to recover or else you invite injuries.

    Wenger, whatever anyone thinks, is not just doing things to aggravate us… there are reasons for what he does, we may not agree with the reasons but it really is in our interest to, at the very least, try and understand what those reasons are so that we can criticise him fairly.

  38. SD-London

    December 31, 2010 at 1:14pm

    Have a wonderful New Year everybody.
    It has being an experience posting ,arguing, rejoicing and pissed off with you.

    See yah next year

  39. joshua

    December 31, 2010 at 1:16pm

    BTW very interesting blog post. Thanks.
    Got to go out Now… Happy new year to you all and especially to Rico for doing such a fine job with this site. May the New year bring us much success in our personal live and, of course, as Gooners too. Cheers all

  40. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 1:18pm

    exactely steve..

    wenger was just showing off..
    ‘look at my squad’
    ‘look what i can do’

    not for the first time..dont get me wrong im not in the wenger out camp i think hes still got alot to offer but his decisions at times have been diabolical..

    i reckon we have a strong squad thats obvious cos we are third in the table but the back up players are not as good as wenger thinks they are..its ok bringing in 2-3 and playing them with the regulars for the odd game here and there but to bring in 8 back up players all at the same time is ridiculous..

    weve spent years hearing the excuses that we lose the odd points here and there because of our injury situation..those players have to play we have no choice..fair enough..
    but the fact is now that the injuries have cleared..all the regulars are fit, for once we had a choice and we still used the back up players..there is no excuse or reasoning behind wengers team selection v wigan..those players didnt have to all play at the same time and i hope it proved a point to wenger..

  41. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 1:22pm

    weve got a cup tie v leeds in a few days if there was a time to totally change your side its then…not in a PL where three points would have seen us joint top after man u drew..

  42. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 1:27pm

    everybody on here to day seems very clued up on the ins and outs of present day football, but consider this. five forwards three halfbacks and two full backs, fullbacks never went passed the halfway line, never needed to because of wingers, the five forwards normally stayed forward and sometimes went back and the halbacks covered the central part of the field but went back for corners and free kicks, offside was anybody pased the back line when the ball was played and the goalkepper could pick a ball up from a passback and kick it straight back into play, is it any better now do you think

  43. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 1:40pm

    its better cos its quicker steve..
    all the formations and rules are designed to create high tempo

    whoever heard of a wing back 10 years ago??

    sweepers dont exist anymore and its no longer important for a centre forward to score..its more important for him to create..

    lol sounds like the worlds gone mad but the reality is the games better than its ever been..

    the english game anyway..the italian league is 10 years behind and i fall asleep trying to watch that league now..dont bother anymore..

    PL football is better than ever..the problem is the money now involved..its made football a business and not just a sport and thats where its gone wrong

  44. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 1:45pm

    espeially at arsenal..we have been run as a business for so long that sometimes it appear like the club totally lost interest with the fans and the football side of things and just banged on about credit crunch and bricks and mortor for 5 years..

    need to get that winners momentum back on the pitch but every time we seem to turn a corner (chelsea) the manager makes it hard on himself (wigan) and totally pisses everyone off lol

  45. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 2:00pm

    Jon Jon, i have to admit i do love to see the boys playing when their in top form, the passing and the possession, the tricky little passes and the creative goals that they score, warms the cockles of my heart but then i look forward to the next game and the formation is changed, the players are changed and the results are changed, it hurts, i thought the idea was to find a winning formula with the same creative players and bring home the silverware, but what do i know, if we have to rest best part of the team on a regular basis, and that’s the type of football i want to see perhaps i follow the wrong club, shame because i’m to old to change now

  46. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 2:03pm

    years ago the only thing a football club had to worry about was players getting called up to go to war..lol

    money was never an issue agents didnt exist players had trades football was just a sport..

    the reason why football teams have been around for so long is cos money was never an issue..naturally the richer clubs did better but my point is it didnt matter if you were rich or poor you werent gonna go into admin and lose your players..
    footballers played thru recessions to forget about it they didnt worry that recession would get end their careers..lol

    its no coincidence that the amount of teams now going bust, into admin or liquidation is all to do with the money flooding into the game now and the way clubs are run because of it..

    started in the 70/80s i reckon..
    triggered by jimmy the chins demands to make footy an occupation and the sale of trevor francis as first million player
    jack walker comes in PL and buys the title for blackburn and away you go money makes the world go round..

    arsenal fc becomes and full time estate angents and the footy side of things is no longer the priority..its making the club as much money as possible becomes top of the agenda..

    football as a sport is the best spectacle in the world but to be honest all the money in it ruins it for me.. 10 years ago you would never hear of arsenal having money problems..since weve built those flats and stadium the manager and the baord make out we are lucky to still be affloat..
    weve gone from signing players like bergkamp to signing players like the dreggs we have now..i dont get it we moved to be richer why are we still acting like if we bought a denis bergkamp we’d go under..

    whats with all this money bullshit just get on with the football i say

  47. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 2:13pm

    steve good point on silverware

    thats also where footy has gone wrong..footballs always been about winning. if its not about winning why do we keep score?? give out trophys to the winners??

    ive never in all my years of watching football have i known a period where its ok just to take part..ive never known an era where its ok to not win anything..

    until now…

    even at the smaller teams..supporters go watch their team in the hope they will win and cheer them up..supporters go to games wanting their team to win

    i dont get why trophies and winning have become less important

    or is that a myht??? just something some arsenal fans have created over the last few years lol

  48. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 2:13pm

    or should say some arsenal fans..not all

  49. Tim

    December 31, 2010 at 2:23pm

    When I use to play football, I always use to play it on the streets or if on your own up against a brick wall and learning how to control the ball with both feet. As for the foreign invasion this has been going on for years and as a matter of point and as far as i can remember, it was Liverpool who fielded the first complete non English (as opposed to British) side, their side comprised as Welsh, Scots and Irish. In the footballing world they are all foreigners and cannot join the England side. At least Arsenal are bringing in potential world class players rather than the lower clubs using cheaper imports instead of our lads. At least Jack Wiltshire and Theo Walcott are training day in and day out with world class players and they are improving. The lesser sides are only training with players of less ability. You cannot blame the top clubs for this, this is down to the lower clubs.

  50. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 2:31pm

    JJ, The stadium was built to double the money coming through the gates we all know that the numbers that they say at any different game is not true because we see the empty seats but those seats have been paid for, for a season whether there full or not,a football day out is not cheap, but they know fans are faith full they turnout in all weathers and that’s why people like us spend hours talking on sites like this because we care, were winners waiting to happen they on the other hand are business people in it to make money it is not necessary to actually have to win to make money, top four makes them about 30mill from the CL top five or six whatever it is puts them in a lesser euro comp but still with a payout, so that’s why it is more important to us than them we want the bragging rights and they want the money

  51. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 2:47pm

    ‘top four makes them about 30mill from the CL’

    see this is what wenger is asked to do by the board
    make them as much money as possible…

    maximise profits with minimal input..
    see the difference in prize money for finishing 1st or 4th in the league is very small..all the money is in the cl and wenger knows this..
    the squad wenger has gets him 4th spot and maximises profits…
    the difference between 4th and first for arsenal as a squad is a cb and cm for bwt 20mil….
    wenger wont by in jan cos spending 20mil only makes us a 10mil profit and we still might finish 4th..
    he sees that as a risk..a risk he wont take cos that 30mil will still be there at the end of the year with what he has..
    trophy on the line or not he always sticks with the safer option and the board love him for it.
    its all about the money…

  52. kelsey

    December 31, 2010 at 2:59pm

    Avery Happy and healthy new year to all the regulars on here,and may Arsenal prosper.

    Steve which year did you first attend,as I find your article very interesting.

  53. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 3:01pm

    perfect eg is when we bought AA

    the only reason we got him in jan was cos we were 8 points of 4th spot and cesc was out half the season after alonso tackle and we needed goals..

    no matter wat the club said finishing outside top 4 would have been a disaster..think we were 6th when we got him

    wenger would have waited until summer if he could like chamkh and get him for free but paying 15mil for a player who helped ensure you top 4 and 30mil jackpot was seen as a neccessary risk so we got him..

    it worked..

    thing is if we reverse the situation to what it is now and say we need a player in jan to win us the title wenger wont do it..the risk is uneccessary just to win a cup..the 30mil top 4 is practically secure (unless your chelsea lol) the profit margins are seen as a bigger priority

    perfect example was chamakh..rvp was out all season again and we were in with a shout for title at xmas but cos 4th spot wasnt under pressure wenger waited til summer to get him..

    whats the difference between not waiting for AA to become a freebie and waiting for chamakh to become one???
    that 30mil wasnt under pressure last jan..thats what..if we;d of been 6th last jan chamakh would have been signed

  54. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 3:03pm

    I realised a long time ago that going to games was expensive, so i must admit i don’t go to many live games these days, but i still support i pay for my sky so as i can watch all of the games that are televised, the games that are not i stream in some of those streams are so frustrating i probably miss a lot of the game but I’ll watch it later on the highlights, i suppose nowadays i am an armchair fan but whether i am there or watching from the chair i am still devoted to the Arsenal, that’s why when i see our team get beat and i know we should have done better a rage builds up inside and i look for someone to blame, i may be in a bad mood for a day or two my old woman tolerates me she’s a diamond also an Arsenal fan. i know only to well what our capabilities are, you watch the players and see who’s limping and watch the tackles and you know who gives their all and the shirkers i can see that, and get frustrated that Wenger can’t he buys a cheap guy that i have never heard of, and i watch when he is introduced, i watched Vermaelen and straight away thought Christ almighty a player at last, but he doesn’t buy that many Vermaelens. Good buys at the right time should bring silverware but its the team selections like the team put out against Wigan just does my head in.

  55. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 3:15pm

    Kelsey Hi mate
    When you say attend, do you mean start playing, i started in a cubs league at about ten that would be in 1960 then under sixteens and then Waltham And district, Enfield Alliance,finished in the nineties

  56. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 3:38pm

    Hi Tim, sorry for the delay, you were in moderation :(

  57. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 3:39pm

    Afternoon all……

  58. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 3:55pm

    hey rico..

    just watching wengers interview today..on about vela going out on loan but nobody will be sold or bought

  59. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 3:58pm

    hi jj, well what a surprise to hear him say that, you believe him??

  60. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 4:02pm

    Ian Holloway is a gem, seen his comments about Wengers changes the other night??

  61. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 4:03pm

    sort of rico..

    think vela needs to play and agree it should be loan and not sold i suppose but i think we need to release a couple of players for a tidy fee and bring in a couple of guys who are at least better than our backups to take their place..

    never know with wenger talks rubbish when it comes to transfers dont he

  62. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 4:16pm

    I’m with Vela going on loan too, he is such a talented player who needs to gain confidence and playing week in week out is the only way forward for him…

    I hope he goes to a PL Club that plays him…

    As for Wenger, I don’t believe a word that comes out of that mans mouth anymore….

  63. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 4:31pm

    see rico

    chances are AA will let his contract run down and leave in summer..rosicky will probably move on as well..

    come summer i think we will need vela to come in on that left hand side..not 1st team but he’ll get alot of games if those guys leave..

    loans a good idea..i think next year will be velas chance

  64. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 4:35pm

    we would be best sending vela to a pl club like we did with jack

    a manager like martinez or coyle..someone who likes to get the ball down and play..

    prefer bolton cos they tough sods as well ….coyle did well with jack..let him have vela for 6 months and see if he can break him in for us as well

  65. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 4:41pm

    Would he get a game at Bolton now jj? but i have respect for coyle, he’s going to be a top top manager, he’s not far off now when you think he has little money…

    i’d sell AA now, regardless of the loss, better that than he leave for nowt, great player yes, but its always when he feels like it and hes so hit and miss. we didn’t need him against the chavs, we don’t need him fullstop…..

  66. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 4:46pm

    i think we’d all like to think we could sell AA now
    if hes leaving then yeah lets try get some cash but problem is what manager is going to pay cash for a player in his 30s whos got 6 months left to run..

    chances are they will wait until hes free until they get him..we stuck with him im afraid but as long as he gets the goals im not too bothered

  67. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 4:50pm

    i dunno if vela would get a game at bolton to be honest i dont know who bolton play in his position..

    one things for sure if he goes to valencia i hope its part or some deal for mata cos that lads class and after valencia sold villa silva and albiol you’d have presumed mata was next..

    i think mata is the spanish nasri and hes way better than AA and rosicky..better team player anyway..perfect for that left side

  68. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 4:51pm

    ‘Arry would 😉 😉

    Seriously, i think Russia want him back for all the SC prep…. i think he’ll go, i really do and maybe one or two others….

  69. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 4:52pm

    JJ but you know wenger won’t do that, JET will ‘fill the gap’….

  70. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 4:55pm

    dont mind JEt either lol

    think he needs a chance but i think striker is gonna be where he ends up eventually

  71. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 4:59pm

    The big rumour i like is the RvP/Melo swap plus money…

    I love Robin, i really do but he’s a luxury and he’s too predictable these days, he’s lost his touch and his shooting boots…..

    I’m not convinced on JET – but its early days yet….

  72. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 5:05pm

    Joshua, did Wenger make them good athletes or good defenders?

  73. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 5:06pm

    im not sure on robin

    we need him he is world class he showed that v chelsea..if he gets a run of games he can score and assist 20 a season..

    now chamakhs here i think rvp will stay fit cos we now have a player upfront who can do the job we dont have to rush robin back everytime his ankles break..nikis ok but was never good enough..ok for backup but chamakhs the real deal…it will help robin..wenger will be able to rotate…probably wont see robin for brum but will for citeh..

    and melos just turning into another mexes..we always linked with him although i would swap them both for kos and denilson

  74. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 5:14pm

    Nik B need to be shipped out and a real striker needs to be brought in. I would love to have three 20 goals a season strikers plus Vela.

  75. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 5:20pm


    good point..todays game means that strength and conditioning are important but at the end of the day you need a football brain to make it work properly

    eg..diaby is one big lad..scary..but he has nothing between his ears..scotty parkers a better player and hes smaller than denilson..

    cannavaro is one of the best defenders thats ever lived and he was 5’10..

    its all about whats upstairs at the end of the day..if your a big quick bastard and you can think and play football in your sleep then you end up like vieira..

    if you a big quick bastard and you dont know what your own name is you end up like diaby or eboue..

    bottom line is having atheletes in the squad is a bonus but if we fielded a team of linford christies would we win a game of football????

    answers on a postcard please.. 😉

  76. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 5:26pm


    nikki is 4th choice striker who scores more goals in a season than berbatov does for manu

    our 4th choice striker is better than most teams 1st and its that strength that will see us through the season

    im not saying nikkis class cos hes not..hes behind both robin and chamakh and now theo in pecking order..we all know that.. but i think he needs to stay albiet on the bench

    if hes not happy then fair enough sell him hes not that important but he does get goals it would be nice if we can hang on to him..

    prefer to sell AA if we talking strikers but i think we need to replace denilson and get a strong cb in jan..

    leave the strikers alone unless they wanna leave..

  77. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 5:30pm

    Troble is though jj, rvp won’t stay fit, like i say, he’s a luxury and the best thing he could do is quit holland, give himself a decent chance….

  78. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 5:31pm

    Will, i’d have shipped nikki out a long while ago, he talks the talk but never quite does it for me….

  79. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 5:41pm

    how do we know he wont stay fit though…hes stayed fit a season before..rvp just gets rushed back into games too quick (like torres) cos we had nobody who could replace him properly..

    chamakhs come in and works hard and scores goals..we can let rvp rest now and not overload him and i think for that reason he’ll play more games..

  80. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 5:49pm

    history says he won’t stay fit jj, he’s fragile… like i suggest, he should stop playing for his country so he can prelong his club career… look what that has done for giggs and scholes… and even the ugly sister neville 😉

  81. Steve Palmer

    December 31, 2010 at 5:51pm

    I wouldnt think anything will change BenDy will stay cause no one wants him AA wont go cause he only lasts an hour Vella probably will go on loan cause the guy can play and Wenger dosnt like that RVP will stay who else pays that amount of sick pay and Walcott will still be a winger untill he leaves

  82. Will

    December 31, 2010 at 5:51pm

    Nik B is just not good enough. I guess i am being greedy with wanting three top class strikers

  83. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 5:54pm

    thats the thing though

    history tells us at club level he dont last
    history also tells us that he plays lots of games at international level cos their games dont come round that often..nothing like a league

    if wenger uses robin like hes used for internationals we could see a better fitness record..and now we have chamakh wenger can do that..

  84. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 6:02pm

    we know nikki aint good enough so does wenger thats why hes on the bench..

    but your right unless we have citeh money we cant have 3 top strikers..

    but we have two and an average 22 year old as back up..

    strong enough and realistic enough..better than what most teams have livepool would kill to have a bendtner to come in for torres

    would anyone swap nikki for ngog??? no chance

    everyone bases their idea on selling nikki cos they want a world class forward but where does this world class forward play and will chamakh and rvp be happy sitting on the bench the way nikki has??

    probably not..i know selling nikki seems a good choice but unless he asks to leave we should no way sell him we have three players who can all lead the line in the formation we play and score and assist goals and we shouldnt disrupt that

  85. JonJon

    December 31, 2010 at 6:04pm

    we score goals for fun why are we debating the strikers??? lol

    its the defence and midfield we need to improve we ok attack wise..

  86. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 6:25pm

    trouble is, what happens when, like now, chamakh is tired, we then get mr average in and it lets us down…

    jj, i don’t see it like that, i’d rather someone from the reserves gets a chance to sit on the bench and get his chance….

  87. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 6:26pm

    i’d swap them….. right now..

  88. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 6:59pm

    I’m off for dinner and a few drinks, back in a bit if anyone is still around then, if not, have a good evening and if you drink, leave the bicycle at home 😉

  89. rico

    December 31, 2010 at 9:02pm

    Looks like evryone is off partying…

    have a good one, til tomorrow…..

  90. rico

    January 1, 2011 at 9:40am

    new post up

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