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October 2016
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Farewell, farewell. The released players’ list 2015.

By Tony Attwood

Players released in June, as per Premier League rules, may still be re-employed by their club on a new (and normally lower salary) contract, but also may leave to seek employment elsewhere.

Hence in the list below of the players released today, it is possible that this will happen with one or more of them. In particular Abou Diaby may be given the opportunity to keep training, and play on a pay-by-game deal.  But he might also choose to go elsewhere or finally give up the unequal struggle.

Here is the list, with a few comments.

Abou Diaby

On 1 May 2006, Diaby suffered a severe ankle fracture after being attacked by Sunderland defender Dan Smith.  Sunderland were already relegated (winning just three games all season) and Arsenal were sailing to a comfortable 0-3 victory.

The near universal verdict was that the tackle was “horrendous”, although Arsene Wenger called it “a bad kick and an unnecessary one”.

Amazingly, and unforgiveable the Sunderland “manager” Kevin Ball said “Smith is not a malicious, dirty player and I think it’s unfair to make that call on him and say he deliberately went to do it.”  To their eternal discredit Ball is now senior professional development coach at Sunderland.

The phrase “not that kind of player” entered the language to represent all that was wrong with the management of certain English clubs.

As for the wretched Dan Smith he only played three games for Sunderland before doing a loan spell at Huddersfield.  He was last heard of in Australia.

Season Club Lge games
2004/6 Sunderland 3
2006 Huddersfield Town (loan) 8
2006/8 Aberdeen 9
2008 St Johnstone (trial) 3
2008/9 Gateshead 11
2010 Blyth Spartans 0
2011/2 Chester-le-Street Town  ?
2012 Darlington 1883  ?
2012/3 Dunston UTS  ?
2013 Seaham Red Star  ?
2013/4 Gateshead 0
2014 Holland Park Hawks 1

Holland Park Hawks play in the fifth tier of Australian football.

Semi Ajayi

He has played for Nigeria, and said that he had “a number of competent displays for the under-21s last season.”  They also called him calm and composed.

Jack Jebb

Accoding to Wikipedia, Jack was once called the new Jack Wilshere, but as fast as such accolades can be given they can be taken away.  He signed a professional deal at Arsenal in 2012 and was reported as a “technically-gifted central midfielder”,

But in  2013 he was banned for four matches after he racially abused a Norwich City player in an Under-18 game.  He was quickly shipped off to Stevenage, but the damage was done, and he has now gone.

Austin Lipman

Austin went on loan at Boreham Wood last season and played as what is known in the journalist business as a “pacy striker”.  He can also play on the wings. He played in the Next Gen competition, and scored two against Napoli in a 4-1 win.

Ryo Miyaichi

Ryo came as the great hope of our finally finding a Far East player who could play in the team, and initially made a huge impact at Feyenoord.  But then the injuries kicked in, and he only played once for us.

Lge games Goals
2011/5 Arsenal 1 0
2011 Feyenoord (loan) 12 3
2012 Bolton Wanderers (loan) 12 0
2012/3 Wigan Athletic (loan) 4 0
2014/5 FC Twente (loan) 10 0
2014/5 Jong FC Twente ( loan) 14 3

Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill

Described by as “Lightning-fast left back Brandon continued his development by holding down a regular starting place for the under-21s last season, making 15 appearances for Steve Gatting’s side.

“The defender, who loves to get forward with well-timed overlapping runs, captained the under-18s towards the end of the 2012/13 season.

“Brandon was an integral part of the Youth League and Youth Cup squads last term and scored one goal in his 32 appearances for the academy sides.

Josh Vickers

Josh spent the 2013/14 season on loan at Canvey Island where he played 36 times.  He then moved up a league to play in 2014/15 for Concord Rangers in the Conference South.

He also played in Arsenal’s Youth Cup games and was said to have impressed.  But clearly not enough.


It must be heart-breaking to some of the young players to have made it to Arsenal and then find it doesn’t continue, but maybe they have long since known it was coming.

As for Abou, all I can do is wish him well, and say that there are a lot of us who have felt the pain of seeing such a wonderful talent destroyed in such a way.  Proper punishment of Dan Smith and serious reprimands for his manager on the day would not have helped Abou recover, but they might have acted as a warning to others that this sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated.

But football would have none of it, and so the activities of the mindless thugs have continued, with Shawcross being just one more example – a man whose disgraceful behaviour led to an England call up.

These players, their managers, and those who run the game and do nothing to stop the barbarism, have a lot to answer for.

38 comments to Farewell, farewell. The released players’ list 2015.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Jack Jebb was probably the best taker of free kicka at the club, sadly his maturity failed to match his ability, so not sorry to see him go. Ryo always seemed too fragile to withstand the rigours of the Premier League but was lightning fast. The other juniors sadly aren’t likely to be Premier quality anytime soon but may find their feet in lower leagues – expected wastage I guess.

    Abou had immense talent till his career was taken away from him. I would hope that maybe he could find another role, possibly part of the coaching or scouting staff, if he would accept something like that. A great shame!

  • rich

    Well said.

    No doubt it’s not unheard of, but it must be pretty unusual for a player who is deemed good enough to play a premier league game not to be good enough to play more than 10 games at much much lower levels in the football pyramid, despite a number of attempts.

    One plausible explanation in this case would be his conscience playing havoc with him and his losing any aggression in his game, but that seems hard to square with a very weak non-apology apology a few years back.

    Maybe I’ll let it go one day, but for some time yet it’ll pain me thinking of what Diaby and the club lost because of that challenge.

    Top honour in the disgrace stakes has to go to the FA ,though. Players in France were surely a little safer this year thanks to their FA deciding that ,though there was clearly no intent in Zouma’s leg breaking challenge, there was also a huge amount of recklessness- it was impossible for him to calculate what would happen to his opponent when he launched himself full force as he did- a calamity for his opponent, and they did the right thing for him and for all other players and dished out a hefty ban (eight or ten games)

    It was nowhere near as bad a challenge as those of Smith, Taylor and Shawcross, and in a way wasn’t even as bad as Mcnairs. Zouma’s was the only one where there was no intention to foul. Sad, and all you can do is keep everything crossed that we don’t get caught again. Luck is all we have to rely on unfortunately.

  • Mukhtari Abdu Kanwa

    Please buy correct and sharp shooter striker. We need to take EPL, FA & League Cups next season by God’s grace.

  • Steve0

    Giving Diaby a roster spot at this point would be a massive mistake, even on a one-year pay to play deal. Arsenal only has 17 international spots to work with, and can’t afford to take those sorts of risks.

  • Jambug

    Nial Quinn was in the Studio on the day Abou Diaby’s career was effectively ended, and was equally defensive of the angelic Smith.

    I do not recall a single word of reproach for Smith from the Commentary box or the Studio.

    I certainly don’t recall it being labelled ‘Horrendous’. Perhaps my memory deceives, it wouldn’t be the first time, or I may of just missed it.

    Either way it didn’t stop it happening again. And again. And again.

  • Jambug


    How Sanchez got through the season unscathed I’ll never know. As you say, luck.

    The thing is, your luck ALWAYS runs out.

    I fear for him next season.

  • AL

    Would be really sad to see Diaby go; a massive massive player who never realised his true potential due to having his career curtailed by thuggery.

  • rich



    On that note, I’d be very excited about the chance to begin our season facing off against Chelsea- if I didn’t think it represents a hell of an opportunity for Mourinho to target one or two of our key players.

    My anger at that Cahill challenge and my incredulity that a ref can be yards away and give a yellow hasn’t dissipated one bit. The ball’s there to contest, and it looks more obvious every time you see it that instead of an interest in it, Cahill simply sees his chance to hit Sanchez.

    Incredibly cowardly, incredibly stupid (unless he really was ok with the thought of breaking Sanchez’s leg)… and never have I felt more convinced that I was watching a guy who’d been given specific instructions to foul a particular opponent.

    I’d be happy if Wenger hates and distrusts Mourinho to the extent I do. In which case he may well think, before the charity shield, ‘which one of the players can we least afford to lose this year?’ and not choose them for the game.

    Sanchez may well not be involved anyway, thanks to the Copa America, Ozil is smarter than any player I’ve seen in avoiding situations which give an opponent the chance to wreck him, kos is relatively safe, being a centre back, so for me the man in most danger would be Coquelin. Totally honest, shirks nothing, heart of the action and ,to me, indispensable to us going forward.

    I’d really like us to win the Charity shield, but to be honest I wouldn’t trade a single point in the league for it. Coquelin has edged ahead of Koscielny now as the guy I’d least like to see unavailable for any length of time.

    As for Sanchez…jeez. Imagine people had targeted Messi like that this last decade. It’s unthinkable. And if players are able to think ‘no way will I risk being the man who brings the hatred of the football world upon them’, it just proves they always have a choice about how strongly or recklessly they challenge opponents.

    It was a really unusual sight when Pogba appeared to have gone in recklessly at speed on Messi in that champ league final. I thought ‘whoa, you never see that; he could easily have injured him there’- it turned out Pogba had got his own legs tangled up and fallen over into him.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    Oh dear me! Aboi Diaby released by Arsenal? It’s all coming to that, isn’t it? But there is still hope for Aboi to rise from the ashes of stagnated injuries if the Boss makes good of his package for him to remain at Arsenal. If I were Aboi, I will under the prevailing circumstances accept the package if offered to me. So, Aboi Diaby, accept the package if the Boss offer it to you. Who knows your football could still turnaround. My God! The CB Semi Ajayi, is among those released by Arsenal? Graciousness! Save Cuba Akpom, there are no more any recognized Nigerian players that I know of at Arsenal as Benik Afobe was sold to Wolves. Well, I hope Akpom will carry the Nigerian flag flying high at Arsenal.

  • Lanz

    @ Rich. Could all these be really deliberate?

  • Jambug


    It is worrying no doubt.

    What is even more worrying is that some people doubt that the ‘targeting’ of players could be employed by certain managers when you see how there teams behave.

    To them I say go look at some of the videos and tell me there’s no intent.

  • Chrissie

    So, so sad to hear Diaby is going, such a talented player. Kept hoping that he would make a come-back but not to be. Wish him all the best wherever life takes him.

  • Anaekwe patrick

    It is unfortunate Abou Diaby is leaving. He was a good player and a good dummy seller at Arsenal. I wish him the best in whatsoever he puts his hand to do.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Good luck to all of them, but especially Abou. A talent given by the Gods, taken away by the scum that is allowed to permeate English football

  • Pete

    Really interesting about resting players to avoid Chelsea targeting them in CS. The more I think about it, the wiser I think that is.

  • rich


    Don’t know what exactly you’re referring to. The three worst injuries? Undoubtedly they were deliberate fouls. Cahill on Sanchez? 100%

    In twenty years playing amateur football it was pretty rare for me to foul unintentionally, and very easy to judge how hard to kick someone when you do foul them. A couple of my dirtiest fouls were elbows- neither time did I mean to connect half as hard as I did, but I was unusually fired up and did mean to connect each time. I also had a good sense of what I couldn’t judge : you’re converging on the ball at speed- too fast to calculate what’s what… more often than not I’d hold back and,often, that didn’t have to mean losing the challenge.

    I figure if it’s like that for me as an amateur, professionals can only be much much better in judging what’s safe and what isn’t, how hard to kick someone when you do kick them,etc.

    Even allowing for the greatly increased speed, and importance (they can’t leave 50-50s unless they’re as good as Ozil), of the professional game, their judgement ,of their game, should still be way better than an amateur player’s judgement of their own game

    100% the media, managers and players are lying if they say Smith, Taylor or Shawcross intended to play the ball- you could not play professional football if your judgement and aim was as wildly off as that.

    I think they probably evade their consciences in various ways, but even in a challenge like the one by Nigel De Jong on ben Arfa, -where the ball was there and De Jong could cleanly touch it before hitting Ben Arfa- players have a great understanding of the situation. In that case De jong knew he could get the ball, and hold his hands up after and say , ‘I Got the ball cleanly’ but also that his opponent had nowhere to go and it was a great opportunity to hit him with a ton of force.

    In other words, even in that case the player was surely guilty of not giving any sort of shit about someone else’s safety, and caused a lot of harm to his opponent because of the actions he knowingly took. (it was a near mirror image of Barton’s challenge which nearly did for Diaby’s leg again)

    So, when you aren’t even willing to wait for one where you can get all or at least a bit of the ball…

    It should be the most obvious piece of work among all the FA do to deal with it. But there’s something wrong with that lot.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Its really sad to see Diaby released….

    I hope we do all in our powers to give Diaby a good future. Help him get a coaching badge and make a career out of it.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    While its sad to see these players leave , I’m sure they will be highly recommended by AW to their future employers or clubs. Best wishes to them .

  • apo Armani

    Thanks for this information and overview of the released players Tony.

    Whilst we all can accept the ‘fall out’ of young players who do not quite make it to the next level and time runs out for them, I am sure we do NOT accept it when a player with the talent,character, and loyalty that Diaby has, must have his dreams of a successful career with Arsenal CUT by a THUG!!

    Deeply disappointing for me and I am sure its devastating for Diaby. I sure hope he has new dreams/plans which will be accommodated by our sensible club!

  • markyb

    If I recall Mr Alan Smith was commentating on that game when Diaby got that ‘tackle’ and barely thought it was a yellow card. One of the clearest straight reds I’ve ever seen.

  • Damilare

    So proud of Diaby’s determination to come back after every of his many injuries. I’m very proud of Arsene for having great faith in Abu’s potentials. A big shame on ALL football THUGS.

    I wish Diaby’s all the best in his future endeavours (which could possibly still be at Arsenal)

  • Jambug


    Didn’t mean it? Went for the ball? Unintentional? Not like that?

    As you say, utter bollocks.

    First off, I played at a very low level.

    At my level I was originally a tricky, nippy winger. Then I got injured and was out for 4 years.

    When I came back I had lost a lot of my pace so I moved to Left or right back.

    I ended up being a better fullback than I was winger. I soon learnt how to stand on my feet and time a tackle to perfection.

    Even at my level I knew EXACTLY what I was doing. Instinctively I wasn’t a ‘dirty’ player and only once in my entire career did I try to hurt a player, and that was because of something personal outside football.

    I hardly ever gave away a free kick let alone get booked or sent off, until THAT tackle. Late, high, and over the top. I was rightly sent off, although the ref cancelled out at the end of the match as I don’t think he fancied the paperwork. Luckily the guy I tried to hit, not only got the girl, but got the ball too. Oh well.

    But the point is I knew exactly what I was doing.

    Going to ground. Leaving the ground. High. Late. All things inherently dangerous, and you know exactly what you are doing when you do it.

    Now I’m going to make one thing clear. I do NOT believe that the intention, before going in late or high etc. is to actually break a leg. But the intention IS to hurt. To leave a mark. To let him know you are there.

    I liken it to a motorist speeding at 60mph down the high street. He certainly doesn’t intend to kil anyone, but by doing something so inherently dangerous he knows that one day he will hit someone. The fact is, in that scenario, he knows that if he does it often enough, that eventually, one day, he WILL almost certainly kill someone, deliberately or not.

    And that’s what these guys are doing. They are tackling in a such a way that it is almost inevitable that they will, eventually, seriously injure a player.

    Ask yourself, if the speeding driver killed your kid, would you shrug your shoulders and accept the plea…’I didn’t mean it’?

    Of course you wouldn’t. And neither should we accept the pleas of the Smiths, Taylors and Shawcrosses of this World, that they ‘didn’t mean it’.

    That is simply not good enough. There is no excuse, they know exactly what they are doing.

  • Menace

    Jambug you’re absolutely right. These evil bastards get away with their GBH because it is on the sports field & the Police do nothing to protect players or for that matter fans (Cantona). It will take a death before any FA officials react. They will then make more excuses.

  • para

    “…Mourinho to target one or two of our key players.

    This is some thing we are going to have to highlight this season i tell you. Not just from Mourinho and Chel$.

    Jambug, i agree, i watched them again just to see if i have changed my mind. I had not, the tackles were surely deliberate.
    “…But the intention IS to hurt. To leave a mark. To let him know you are there.” So I agree that most players do this, although there are a few players who would aim to hurt too.

    I remember the days when the commentators immediately and the pundits after would have taken it apart and shown without a doubt that this sort of thing should not be allowed to go on.

    Now they do not even show the replay, and when they do they play it down so as not to show up the ref. “I don’t think he meant to hurt him” is one of the most used phrases today. This and the useless talk are the reasons i prefer not to listen to the commentary anymore.

    I know Arsenal are going to have to be aware of the players who just don’t care if they hurt the opposition players this season: Fellani is one that comes to mind and they are plenty others.

  • Menace

    Maureen is banned from driving – caught speeding. We need a song to take the Mickey.

  • bob

    I hope Diaby, if finally fit, gets a pay-per-play arrangement going, which is still possible. And, in fairness, let’s consider not forgetting the criminal attack by Stoke Ork, Marko Arnautovic, who shoved our Mathieu Debuchy into a broken shoulder and loss of 3 months+ – a stretch that may have pre-empted his Arsenal career. It will be interesting to see what he might yet add to the side. (Recently, there’s been very little about him in most quarters that I could find.)

  • rich


    Glad you posted that. I doubted my memories a bit yesterday while writing that. But in the end I thought, ‘yeah, that really was how it went playing, and how it is’, i.e you are in control.

    I’m not going to get started again properly on it, as I can rarely stop saying a thousand words about those injuries once I start, but yesterday’s thinking made it stand out as starkly as ever how extraordinarily bad those challenges were.

    Basically, the only situation on a pitch where broken legs and ankles are open to debate as not being deliberate are in fifty fifty challenges- you both converge on the ball at speed, that generates force, a collision of limbs…it’s unpredictable.

    I’d say that even then what generally needs to happen for a bad injury to occur is someone, either through cowardice or malice, not going for the ball- think Evans with his career-finisher on the Bolton player, or Agger on Wilshere last year.

    None of the really bad ones have been anything like that. It always pisses me off to hear people calling them, in neutral tones, tackles, challenges,etc, for that reason. They weren’t 50:50s, or 70:30s, or anything. They were just ignoring the ball and smashing someone’s leg deliberately

    I watched the Diaby one yesterday purely because i’d heard a few mentions of what Alan Smith said on the day and wanted to hear that. It’s just ridiculous. I’d only hit someone like that if they’d hurt a member of my family.

    Strangely enough, I used to dream years ago of the chance of breaking the leg of someone who mistreated my ex-girlfriend. (unfortunately, the timing was wrong- used to play football against him in school but the stuff happened later.) Point being- I can only imagine fouling someone like that… if they’re a scumbag I hate for a good reason and want to hurt. Smith the player did it to a stranger within minutes of entering the pitch!

    Alan Smith meanwhile emphatically confirmed I was right to mistrust and dislike him.

    You did well to come back after four years, by the way. (Don’t want to think how bad an injury that must have been) I missed a couple of seasons voluntarily and had the shock of my life first game back. Football was not as easy and my skill set was not as good as I falsely remembered

  • Jambug

    It was pretty bad my friend.

    Had the bottom half of my leg bent sideways at the knee.

    ACL: Ruptured

    Medial Meniscus: Large tear

    Medial Femeral and Tibial torn.

    It was a real mess, but what made it worse was that at the time it was badly diagnosed, badly treated, with poor post op physio.

    People moan about the NHS today but I was on a 4 year waiting list for a cartilage op that only reduced to 2 due to my knee collapsing and basically giving up the ghost all together.

    After the op I just kept training, playing, collapsing, training, playing collapsing until eventually it just sort of hung on in there.

    Last year, 35 years later, it collapsed and locked again and had to be cleaned up. The surgeon said, and I quote “I will see you in about 5 years for your first knee replacement”. Honestly. Can wait.

    This is why I am so passionate about the protection of the players welfare.

  • Jambug

    Corr: Cant wait

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some reports saying it mayn’t be quite over after all for Diaby!
    As for Alan smith, I have come to the conclusion that either he is a media submissive, to a degree that borders on perversion, he is hard up and has to do as he is told, or he genuinely hates the club as it is now.

  • rich


    What a nightmare. Reminds me of Paul lake’s troubles. A horrendous catalogue of medical mistakes for him. Was glad to hear that earlier this year he finally had his knee replaced and for first time in 25 years isn’t in serious pain and was able to do some exercise which he previously couldn’t.

    It’s pretty great that you still love football after putting up with that and, yeah, I can see you have more reason than anyone to care about protecting players and hating those who do the opposite.

  • RichSAAlao

    Was it difficult to see that those brokenlegs tackle were ill-intended? It started with Eduardo, 07-08 season. Then cheapest squad was almost running away with the title.The only way to stop them? ensured those players would not be on the pitch. So all the players in the attack were taken out. next was ROSICKY,then Persie, and the team running away with the title was catching breathe to make top four. I said it in 2013 to editor of jusearsenal, it the 3-lion that will suffer it and teams going to Europe.

  • RichSAAlao

    I think if it not criminal, it is reasonable that fans get armed with banners to ask the FA take the next thug off the pitch before another leg or season-long injuries is sustained. if this is done consistently, they should be embarrassed enough to ”referee to not put the game in disrepute” in EPL.

  • Mandy Dodd

    The Spurs loving media are encouraging our players to get injured again.
    A complaint going in about the way this article was written

  • Menace

    rich, jambug while I dislike malice on a football pitch I can understand why it happens. It is because the officiating & admin is so damned poor. Any player attempting to hurt another should be banned for 5 or10 matches and fined heavily. Any player who successfully hurts another should be banned for 15 or 20 matches & fined 6months income & made to pay for the opponents treatment.

    This kind of penalty will soon clear the decks of mistimed or deliberate dangerous tackles. The official must be culpable for treatment costs if he/she does not act with sufficient vigour in order to stop such players.

    jambug – I feel for you mate, injury to any joint is miserable particularly in winter. Yoga is a great help & healer.

  • Jambug


    To see how serious chronic injury can not only change your working life, but can contribute to a downward spiral into hell, read Stuck in a Moment: the Ballad of Paul Veasen.

    Terribly sad, but a gripping read.

    rich and Menace

    Thanks for your concern but honestly I always kept things in perspective. Yes I missed playing but I still went to games every week. Between failed comebacks I ran the line, carried the bucket and served the half time tea. I still loved it.

    And as for pain. I’ve been really lucky. Apart from when it first happened(that did sting a bit) it only really troubled be when it collapsed and swelled up. But really I’m very lucky.

    I was told I was certain to get Arthritis but touch wood 🙂


    Read that Mirror piece.

    Un fucking believable. That is just disgraceful. Openly encouraging Spurs players to physically Assault Arsenal players simply to ingratiate themselves with the fans.

    How is that even legal ?

  • Va cong

    And jambug and Mandy Wilshire gets fined by his verbal banter ? Go figure?

  • Pat

    Until players in England are punished with long bans, players like Diaby will continue to be under threat. I saw him playing recently for the under 21s and he was really good. But someone told me he had another setback after that. I really hope he can still salvage something of his career.