By Walter Broeckx
I must admit that for many years I loved Gael Clichy. Maybe it was because of the fact that he reminded me of my oldest son. He also played left back and always played his heart out. He was rather small so had to be clever. He had a tremendous clean tackle in his foot (something he got from me, I guess LOL). Not the greatest player in the team but a player that would work his socks off and who always tried to do his best.
At first it seemed as if the whole Arsenal supporters community took Clichy in with open arms and loved him. I think this had a lot to do with the way the left back before him went away. The money grabbing C…..ole. I know Clichy couldn’t score but you never expected this from him. But he always gave it all.
The first bumps and bruises between Clichy and a part of the supporters came after that terrible game at Birmingham in the season 2007/2008. A part of the supporters blamed Clichy for us not winning that game. I don’t agree with this. It was Mike Dean who cost us that game. Yes Clichy made a mistake when he let the ball run but he corrected this by kicking the ball away again. It was then that Dean invented a foul and gave a penalty to Birmingham from which they equalised. It was also Dean who seconds earlier didn’t give a penalty to Arsenal when Adebayor his shirt was almost pulled to pieces in the other penalty area right under the nose of Dean who did nothing.
But suddenly a part of the fans turned on Clichy. And he became a scapegoat for them. When we conceded a goal: it was because of Clichy. Even if it was a goal from the right hand side.
But things got worse for him. It was Clichy who slipped against Tottenham and with this slip was guilty for their come back in that 4-4 draw. I think no player will slip up like that just for fun. This is just one of those things that can happen.
But from that moment Clichy was one of the main targets from a part of the fans. I say fans. Because real supporters understand that there will have been no one more down after that than Clichy himself. Real supporters would have said: bad luck, come on Gael keep your head up, better next time.
Well that is the message I like to send to players if I had the chance after something like that happening. But others disagreed. He was called useless, sh*t, and someone who we had to get rid of. I remember on Untold and on another side a blogger trying to show that if you looked at the statistics Clichy was one of the best left backs in the PL. But it all was in vain for a particular part of the fan base: Clichy was found not good enough and we should get rid of him.
Now I am not saying that Clichy did not commit mistakes. He did. Just like any other player makes mistakes. But you could see he cared about Arsenal and he certainly did not made those mistakes deliberate.
Up to today I wonder what the real reason was for Clichy leaving us. Was it because he felt that he couldn’t do anything right for a part of the supporters? Was it for the name calling he got from some part of the Arsenal blog world? Seeing your name spelled as “Clishit” by a part of your own fans is not a nice thing for a player.
Was he sick and tired of that abuse? I don’t know. As far as I know Clichy never said anything about it. I think he loved Arsenal and the supporters for a long time. But just imagine getting abuse from the ones you love every day. Just imagine how it must feel for a player to hear your own fans constantly moaning about you and saying what a rubbish player you are.
As far as I know Clichy has in general been kind for Arsenal. As far as I know he remained respectful for the club and our manager.
What we do know is that when City came along and bought him the supporters who wanted him out were happy. I was not. I cried (just a way of speaking) in silence because I still rated him as one of the best left backs in the PL. I also rated the fact that he never made a big fuss about things. He just went on and did his best.
The fact that he went to Manchester City should have rang a bell for those who considered him as not good enough. Manchester City can spend all the money they want on a left back. And yet they wanted him. Manchester City who only buy what they think is the best and pay all the money in the world for those players. Could it be that those supporters who wanted Clichy out were the ones who were wrong?
Last Sunday I turned on the TV to see how the game between Newcastle and Manchester City was going. A win from Manchester City was needed for us. Who really cares who wins the title this year? The money grabbers part of Manchester or the diving part of Manchester. The important thing for us was that Newcastle would drop points.
And they did. I didn’t feel joy Manchester City winning the game. I felt joy for Newcastle dropping points. But I do admit that there was a moment when I did felt happy. When Clichy gave the assist to Yaya Toure to score the second and decisive goal I felt happy for Clichy.
When he has played for City he has been doing what he always has done for us. Just doing his best. It was not good enough for a small part of the Arsenal fans. But now at the end of the season his assist sealed the game for City. And apart from a very strange event next Sunday will have sealed the title for City.
If Clichy left us because he was sick and tired of the abuse he got and for the way he stayed respectful for our club and manager after leaving us, I can congratulate him with the title.
And this might be another good example of how a player that a part of our fans wanted us to get rid of because he was not good enough suddenly turns out to be not that bad after all when we let him go.
So should Wenger listen to those same fans who want us to get rid of Ramsey? I bet SAF will snap Ramsey up in a second and he will be winning things with United. And yet those same fans are doing the same like they did with Clichy. Once the love is broken the player will leave. So be careful, there might come a time when you see a player you wanted out because not good enough celebrate a title with another team.
When will they learn that they know nothing about the real value of a player and that abusing our own players will never help our team and the player in question. Never….?
I will not be happy if City buy the title with money they didn’t earn. I would not be happy if United dived for the title with some help from the refs. But for this one player I will make an exception. I hope Clichy still remembers the other supporters who supported him even when things went wrong. And I hope that some of those morons who abused him in the past will grow a brain and stop abusing and booing our own players and driving them out.