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Building Rome: Arsenal and its English spine.

Untold Arsenal and Arsenal History on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

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Untold Arsenal Index

History of Arsenal with a new series on the Rioch year, and onto the Wenger years.

Making the Arsenal – the book of Arsenal death and rebirth

By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes it is a wise thing to have  deeper look at some things that are said in the media, then repeated by a part of the fans and then because of the repetition it becomes a general accepted truth. Not on Untold of course.

So in the past years people have often said that Arsenal couldn’t win anything because they lacked the English spine. Now when I come to London I usually see people just like me. And I don’t see any difference between their spine and mine. But I’m not a doctor so maybe there a difference. Is there a doctor in the audience?

Seriously though, I know what people try to say when they use the popular expression: Arsenal has no English spine. They just want to say that they need to toughen up. As this is what the English spine is all about.

So all those years without a trophy because of the lack of the English spine. Is there any truth in it? And yes one could say there is. Because for some 4 years now the only English player to have played for Arsenal on a regular basis was Theo Walcott. And as he was more out with injuries from being kicked by other English spine players he missed a great number of games. So yes for years we had no real first team players except Theo who are English.

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And we were not good enough to win the league with Arsenal and one English player. We can use all kinds of arguments but at the end of the day the final league table (no matter how bent it may have become) is there and you cannot cancel that.

People have been saying: Wenger must buy Cahill or Jagielka. Both with a firm English spine. People have been saying: we need more English players. People have been saying: we don’t need those soft foreigners any more. I know over here most people said: where ever they come from, we just want them to do their best.

And now since our defeat at Stoke in the third last game of the season we got thrown out of the title race. It was over. So again some people come up with the same argument: the lack of the English spine.

But now something got me wondering. Because for the first time since….er…. since …I don’t know how long in fact we played at Stoke with 4 UK players in the starting line up. 3 English players and 1 Welsh player. Now I don’t want to step on any long toes but I think it is fair to say that when people say we need more English players that they include Welsh players, or Scottish or even Irish players in their description of English. Or was Keane not considered to have an English enough spine? Or Giggs is he considered to have an English spine? And Fletcher is he considered to have an English spine?

So I guess it is fair to say that in the popular opinion Walcott, Wilshere, Gibbs and Ramsey are all considered to be walking around supported by an “English spine”.

And yet for the first time in I think more than 7 or 8 years we had 4 English spine players on the field both in the Stoke game and in the Aston Villa game and we lost both games. Now before some of you come racing out and start spouting violent talk about me as a foreigner blaming the English player for our defeats: I DON’T BLAME THEM AT ALL!!!!

No, I love England. I love people from the UK. I have no problem with them at all.  I usually only meet nice and friendly people in London and wherever I have been in the UK in my life.  So I don’t have anything against people from the UK.

But the fact is there: for the first time in many years we play 4 UK players and we lose two games in a row. And against teams that when we lost before to them it was considered because of the lack of UK born and bread players.

So it is not as easy to just say: add more English players and we will be fine. It is not as simple as the one liners make you believe it is.

But what I do can tell you is that what we are now seeing as nothing but utter gloom and doom. Those two lost games with those 4 young UK born lads in our starting line up will be something that we will remember in many years time from now.

I will be saying in 10 years time: I was there when Theo, Jack, Aaron and Kieran where at the start of their careers. And it wasn’t the easiest of starts. No, they got beaten by Stoke and Aston Villa. I sat there in the Emirates. And look at them now. They have got the support of their manager. They have got the support of the supporters. And they have turned in to world beaters.

Because let us not forget and this is maybe the most important thing to remember: they are 19-21 years old. And they are starting for Arsenal. At the most difficult times of the season when all goes wrong and nothing works. But they will get stronger from this. They will learn. The talent is there without any doubt.

Just look at what Ramsey was doing before his injury and how you can see him slowly getting back to this level. He is just 20 years and missed a whole season.

Just look at Jack. 19 years old and what a season he has had. And he can only get better. The more experience he get the better he will become. And even the bad experiences from now these days are very important to experience.

Just look at Theo. 21 years old and he looks to have been around for ages. Well since this season he has become a more complete player and like he said himself: he is still learning and working to improve himself. Having more goals and assists than the player of the year should ring a bell.

And look at Kieran. The most inexperienced of them all. Looked vulnerable at Stoke but now playing a few games and against Villa he was much better and he will get better. I don’t doubt this at all.

So why don’t we all keep this in mind when we see Arsenal play these days? Yes I know how hard it is when we lose a game. But please do be careful when you start booing players. You might destroy the likes of those 4 lads. They are the youngest in the squad and the most vulnerable for hard criticism.

Why don’t we support those lads who will bring the so needed according to some English spine to our team in these difficult days. Give them time to grow. Give them time to develop their English spine and let us not break them down before their career has started.  Give them time to learn to play the game at the highest level. Just remember Tony “donkey” Adams. He got the time to learn, he got the time to make mistakes and learn from it. What a player he became.

I will support those young lads and will not break them down that easy. Rome wasn’t build in a day not even in 6 years. But once it was built it conquered the world and remained the dominant force for many years to come. So will they.

58 comments to Building Rome: Arsenal and its English spine.

  • Um…when have the English done anything relevant in football? Seriously…the best players in the world ARENT English so to use the term “English Spine” is insanity. SPINE is all that matters. For the country that invented football, their only WC win was when they hosted?

  • Stevie E

    I think I made the same point the other day when somebody mentioned this nonsense, have a look at the invincible and tell me how many English players were in that team, actually I’ll save the the effort… 2, Campbell & Cole.

  • Zack

    Well I understand the satire here, but I think it’s pretty obvious a “spine” means CB-CM-CF? Not too sure about GK..

    Like Ferdinand-Scholes/Giggs/Carrick-Rooney, Dawson-Huddlestone–Defoe/Crouch, Terry-Lampard-(insert non-existent English CF), Carragher-Gerrard-(insert non-existent English CF).

    Or my favourite, the full spine from the back to front: Green-Upson-Parker-Carlton Cole. All of them are(or were) even English internationals and are currently propping up the EPL. with some of them linked to Arsenal some time or another when this “English spine” argument was thrown to the Arsenal.

    If the English spine is so good, then why does England flop so much at international tournaments, or West Ham with their awesome 100% English spine?

    However, I must admit that there is a clear benefit to having English players… To sway the refs’ decisions in our favour..

  • Robert

    SPINE is the word that’s important.

    I think Arsenal are closer to having it than many think. Vermaelen, RvP, Wilshere, Wojciech, Song have some backbone.

    I think we’re still missing that nasty snarling CB or Def Mid that will grab any1 not pulling their weight and drag them forward by the scruff of their neck. Someone a little bit mental.

    We had it with Jens, Vieira, Adams. We need that person to kick some1s arse when it needs to be kicked. We all need that sometimes.

  • coob23

    keown????? he had some spine… the nsationality does make a difference, as english players know and love this league more than other ones. im not saying recruit loads of just english ones, but we need some hard nosed cunts basically. wheres the vieras??? the campbells???

  • Dark Prince

    As said earlier, spine means mostly a def-mid-att… You cant say gibbs or walcot include in that spine. Wilshere yes.
    On another note, have you ever noticed why all the teams which have ever won the league title has always had an english centreback?? It cant be a coincidence for 100 seasons.

  • Skwam

    Zack….top marks. Point well made. Tevez. I think he’s got spine. More than some English/England stalwarts in his team. And heart too.

  • Phil F

    This comment cut because it was nothing to do with the article.

    To repeat for the 93rd time, taking the essence of an article and saying “this is not what it is all about, the issue is….” is not what this web site is about. There is an article for commentary on Mr Wenger’s management and it is still open to comments – but here the issue is about an “English spine”

  • bob

    @dark prince: c’mon man. so going by your “logic” (unless you’re being tongue in cheek, hard to know from the posting), I rhetorically ask back: well, how many of the losing sides also had an English centreback. say, a few thousand by now? is it genetic aggression that is this English “essence”? And btw,would that include or exclude Scots/Welsh? And what about World Cups…spineless world champs that lot, I suppose?


    What this arsenal team lost is leadership. The players has to have atleast one player whom they fear or listen when he talks or even guide them when they loose the track. Players like Tony, Viera, Giggs, Gerrard, etc…

    I remeber when I was looking one of ManUTD game and Evra made a huge mistake and almost cost them the game. And soon after Ferdinand was shouting at him. Evra was looking at him calmly and even turned his face to the bench (defenitely he was looking at Fergusson)and start playing.

    When we come to Arsenal, everybody can remember the fight b/n Van persie and Diaby in the dressing room. We all know that in the current team VP and Cesc have to be seen as those leaders. But see what a response he got from Diaby. If you didnot hear what your captain or Vice captain said to you, then I don’t know what kind of team leadership they have. That is what costs arsenal. There is no accountability. If today we loose the game b/c of Diaby, next week it’s b/c of Eboue, then by clichy and followed by the keepers etc. Where is the end. I remember the reason why Anelika left us is b/c Viera shouted and even kicked him in front of his collegues as he doesn’t want to follow the instruction. Viera wasn’t even the captain at the time but he was senior to Anelika.


    I am sorry for my grammatical/spelling errors.

  • Wrenny

    There’s only one advantage to having English players, and that’s to get favourable decisions from the English refs. That’s it. Any talk of English players having some kind of inherently superior ‘grit’, ‘bottle’, ‘desire’, ‘loyalty’ or spinal structure compared to those feeble little foreigners is jingoistic codswallop.

    Zack’s already beaten me to it, but just look at West Ham. Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Mark Noble, Carlton Cole. Oooh, what Arsenal should give to have a vertebral column as strong and big-bollocked as that! Except those beautiful blue-eyed British boys are sitting rock bottom of the league. Must surely have been the foreigners?

  • bob

    @wrenny: so well said! so it’s the refs that keep the “E” in EPL – otherwise, what does the brand EPL mean? And the brand rules, dunnit?

  • Gaz

    To Stevie E and Keown wasn’t English was he? DUH

  • slugboy

    I dunno, its only words, but I think the British spine really alludes to spirit. The Dunkirk Spirit etc.

    We are lacking winning mentality, whatever stats you throw at it, be it a British or just an individual thing. We lack toughness and resilience. You have mentioned 4 British guys, but they are all young and when people talk about British spirit, they really mean men, not boys. Unfortunately the four guys you mentioned are good young talents, but really don’t come close to the Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn, Michael Thomas, Frank McClintock, George Grahams that we’ve had in the past….they are just boys. If we mix this fantastic talent with the toughness which comes with age, then we have the winning formula. Sorry, but I think you have missed the point with this blog today.

  • bob

    @slugboy: c’mon, mate. spirit of men? the Dunkirk spirit? weren’t the majority of our troops at Dunkirk young men? aren’t the majority of men at FA/HQ not-young men. Perhaps you’ve missed something as well: that spirit you call for has nothing to do with nationality, whatever your fantasy it might be. It’s down to character, your spirit, and finding it married to talent is what great scouting and a bent-free pitch go a long way to help deliver. Nationality does not make winning spirit more or less probable. Good scouting, wise purchasing and bent-ref removal would go a long way to at least help a lot.

  • Stevie E

    @slugboy… INVINCIBLES!!! 2 English players!!!

  • manny

    If Wenger thinks that his current squad will finish in the top four next
    season without major surgery he is mistaken and if Kroenke thinks that Ashburton
    Grove will still be hosting 60,000 guests without Champions League football he
    could be mistaken too.

    Villa beat us fair and square, as did Stoke last week and there is very
    little point in my going over Arsenal’s well publicised problems. As Lee Dixon
    said on MOTD2, “Ignore the Arsenal defending as I’m not going to go into it
    anymore than I already have for the last few weeks!” and Mark Lawrenson really
    hit the nail on the head when he said “I think that one or two players were
    already on the beach. Listen, it’s not a secret, everybody knows what Arsenal
    need. Absolutely everybody knows. Until the manager addresses that in the summer
    it’s going to be the same old, same old, same old”. Not just my opinion this
    time folks, it’s the professional diagnoses of two men with doctorates in
    defending from the school of hard knocks.

    Darren, Darren, Darren. You have the cheek to call yourself a Gooner? Funny
    way you have of showing it there pal. Do you think that you could find it in
    your heart to maybe, just maybe, you know… STOP SCORING AGAINST US!? Every
    time this man plays against us he seems to find a way to score and our manager
    should be thinking of making a bid for either him or someone like him. We can’t
    just keep depending on our reliant Robin to score all of our goals because, as
    fantastic as he is, he has a terrible accident history and service record.

    It has really come to something when Arsenal fans are looking at Stoke
    defenders and Aston Villa strikers and saying how we’d love to have them in our
    squad – like it’s some far off pipe dream for us to have Robert Huth or Darren
    Bent in our squad! Have we really fallen that far?

    Time to splash the cash then Mr. Kroenke or you might find your stadium
    profits dwindle while the attendance figures become harder to fiddle as the
    Arsenal fans slowly wake up to the fact that they are being diddled.

  • A Casual Observer

    It has really come to something when Arsenal fans start quoting the apologists on MOTD as ‘professional diagnoses’.

    We crave Darren Bent and Robert Huth?


    Manny, you turd, you have just vut and pasted this from an article on the online gooner:

    Jog on son.

  • Wrenny

    Your post covers similar ground to Walter’s article, but the point is that if collectively we do lack a certain mental strength, then what we need is to find players with the mental strength – their nationality is utterly irrelevant. Do players like Lehmann, Petit and Vieira not deserve to be named alongside your list of steely, spirited Brits?

    But also, would Arsenal’s character be called into question anywhere near as it is if the figthers in the squad we do have such as Szczesny, Vermaelen, RVP were English? Because I don’t think so. Aren’t the pundits who cite our lack of Englishness as a reason for our shortcomings really just looking to slag off foreigners as ‘weaker’, rather than offering any real insight?

  • Wrenny

    This English spine argument is in fact no different to the idea that used to go round that having too many foreign players made communication on the pitch difficult and caused mistakes. Pundits would made silly jokes about how they must take translators into the dressing room and such. *guffaw* In reality many foreign players speak better English than the English players do. The likes of Wenger, Bergkamp, Henry, RVP and Cesc are certainly easier than understand than Ferguson or Rooney.

    This English grit nonsense is borne out of the same sort of jingoism as the alleged communication problems were. It’s just a shame that the daft prejudices aired by these pundits so easily become widespread ‘public opinion’.

  • Stroller

    I don’t think that you have to look beyond Wilshere to see the characteristic that we most need to replicate in the side. Putting aside his technical attributes you can see the committment in him which minifests itself in a willingness to chase, tackle and not be bullied, which others (apart from Vermaelen) do much less, or not at all. OK at times Jack has overstepped the mark and picked up cards for bad tackles, but he’s not a dirty player just genuinly committed.

  • Pat

    Walter, I really like your article, especially what you say about encouraging our young players – and to be honest, even the older ones could do with some encouragement as well. I don’t often get to live matches, so I felt lucky to be at the Villa match. I wish we hadn’t lost, but I agree that the ref had a lot to do with that. And I still saw great Arsenal football skills on display. I was shocked at the booing by a lot of fans. There was a woman in front of me who starting shouting at and insulting the players pretty well as soon as the match started. What can that achieve?
    Thanks to you and Tony and everyone else who runs this website. You do a great job.

  • RedGooner

    Im not so sure nationality is an issue I prefer Wengers answer If you are good enough I dont care where you come from.
    BUT that also has to be if your NOT good enough I also dont care where you come from.

    People say well what has England done at International level.
    In my humble opinion the PGMOL are responsible for crap england performances over the last 20 years.
    You can hack people down elbow them behave like prats give away stone wall penalties and probably get away with it in england.

    we all remeber beckham kicking out getting sent off and rooney also. they wouldnt have in the epl…. we all have seen the defenders try shit they get away at world cups in the EPL but it doesnt wash. you can kick players like Arsenal ones up and down the pitch disalow goals not be interested in technology tired ref decisions with 16 in the league.

    Then the same players go out thinking an ammeture perfomance thats allowed back home will win a world cup …its all a joke.

    MikeReilly the current problem whats wrong with the english game. Nationality if your good enough play BUT against what kind of obstacles.

  • RedGooner

    Im not so sure nationality is an issue I prefer Wengers answer If you are good enough I dont care where you come from.
    BUT that also has to be if your NOT good enough I also dont care where you come from.

    People say well what has England done at International level.
    In my humble opinion the PGMOL are responsible for crap england performances over the last 20 years.
    You can hack people down elbow them behave like prats give away stone wall penalties and probably get away with it in england.

    we all remeber beckham kicking out getting sent off and rooney also. they wouldnt have in the epl…. we all have seen the defenders try shit they get away at world cups in the EPL but it doesnt wash. you can kick players like Arsenal ones up and down the pitch disalow goals not be interested in technology tired ref decisions with 16 in the league.

    Then the same players go out thinking an ammeture perfomance thats allowed back home will win a world cup …its all a joke.

    MikeReilly the current problem whats wrong with the english game. Nationality if your good enough play BUT against what kind of obstacles.

  • Davi

    @ dark prince – England does not produce technically gifted players in general, but always seems to come up with at least a couple of very good centre backs – and these players are more often than not bought by the biggest clubs in the country. Campbell and ferdinand were/are world class and terry is very good, but if you put, say, vidic into chelsea’s side when they won the league, do you really think it would have made a difference? If carvalho was playing for Utd now instead of ferdinand, do you think their defence would be any less solid? It’s nothing to do with nationality, it’s ability and attitude.

    All this nonsense about british players is really quite sickening. Flamini ate every midfield in the country for breakfast in 2007/08, noone could touch him. He had more “backbone” than any of them. In fact we were screwed out of the title that season, and that was a side with 0 english players in the 1st choice starting line-up.

  • Stuart

    I don’t agree that the lack of determination is down to a lack of SPINE or English players, I think it’s more to do with the fact these players have never won anything before and are not influenced by winners. There is no one within the team to look up to and try to impress / mimic.

  • GoonerVance

    I saw this kid kicking a ball around the other day, he was like 2years old…think about how great he’ll be 20 years from now. Surely the next Pele.

    Age means nothing…how many promising reserve players have amounted to nothing for Arsenal? Either you’re good or you’re not. Chicharito 20 years old, he is already a world beater. Wilshere 19, he is already a world beater. Rooney at 18, world beater. This idea that players will get better simply because they are young is ridiculous and overstated. Are there still people waiting for Denilson to come good?

    Here’s a great experiment. Untold should name the top ten 18-22 year olds in the EPL and let’s see where they are a couple years from now. At best it’s a 50/50 chance they are capped nationally and I’m guessing there will not be one legend in the lot.

  • GoonerVance

    Senior national caps, in case someone wanted to get smart

  • Robbie

    Walter, it would be nice to hear your opinions about what is missing in this team. You and Tony doesn’t share much of your thoughts about the team. I’d be most interested in hearing which player you rate, and which you don’t. What realistic signings you think could improve the team and so on.

  • XX


  • WafflingWenger

    @ XX

    Settle down there buddy.

    Rjikaard: top player but a horrible coach. And this coming from a Dutchman.

  • Gouresh

    looks like we all agree that this English Spine talk is all bu****t. but they still don’t get it do they? we the fans are not angry that we did not win anything…but it’s the manner in which we lost! all of us knew what area needed strengthening but AW being soooo stubborn did nothing and that when we lost. we need just 2/3 playes and we all know for which position and we should be fine., but reading the papers [if you beloeve them ] it looks we have only 30 mil to spend. that means cecs will leave so that we can cash and hopefully the rest of the deadwood.

  • catjoy

    I can agree no more,and thank you very much because I can hardly argue more clearly.Would you please write an article on captain’s leadership which is another focus point when someone try to blame arsenal ever since Viera left? Few seems to agree with Wenger when he talked about “shared leadership”.What do you think of that?

  • Anne


    I’m with you on Rjikaard. I don’t think he was terrible as a coach, but he wasn’t a genius either.

    And XX:

    I’m just wondering, what have “DHINO, DECO, ETO’O, MARQUEZ, ETC” done for Barca in the last year or so? Can Barca truly attribute their recent success to these players?

  • Anne


    And just in case there was any doubt, I fully support “CLICHY, DIABY, SQUILLACHI,ETC.” If you really want to get into a debate about Barcelona, I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say…

  • Sharpshooter

    @Dark Prince, I think that any team that ever relegated from PL had at least one English center back…

  • Shard

    These sort of nationalistic generalisations MAY have had some relevance in older times, when the influences and information that was available to someone was restricted on the basis of where they were born and the society there. Though location and society still plays an influence on an individual, it’s importance has reduced in playing the defining role. Indeed, Societies around the world are not free from each others influence. People have access to the entire world these days which makes these national stereotypes pretty much irrelevant.

    Your contention of if you are NOT good enough it shouldn’t matter where you come from, doesn’t apply anymore. At least not completely, with the homegrown rules along with the 25 man squad. While talking about the signings Wenger needs to make we should consider these rules and many of our reserves who will have to be registered in a years time as they turn 21. It is a very difficult calculation to make. Of course most if not all media outlets ignore that aspect of it and only talk about the money.

  • vretou

    i was watching the ‘highbury years’ on my break at work and couldnt help but think about my opinion of wenger and how he has divided opinion so massively this season.there have been times this season (bolton away springs to mind) when i have perhaps rashly called for his head.when i have time to calm down i always come to the conclusion that i would like him to stay…maybe…as long as he changes a few things.thats the thing with arsene.some people want him gone.some want him here.others are like me…cant decide.however when i see him on that dvd talking about the history of the club and his love for what the club stands for i cant help but want him to stay.i have always maintained that even if wenger doesnt win anything else before he goes i will always think well of him becuase of what he has given us over the years.i know people will call me all sorts for having the cheek to praise wenger in the current climate but its just my opinion.i so want him to change and fix the problems in our squad.he has made some big mistakes of late but at the same time he has been badly let down by some players and his biggest fault if probably the underserved amount of trust he has in some of this squad.this summer is the biggest of wengers reign and i really hope he much as i like him i know the club is more important and if he doesnt do what is needed (providing the cash is made available to him) then i am still willing to admit he will have to go.

  • Micko

    I sort of agree with you but it’s not British experience we missed it’s just simply experience. We let too many experienced players go in a short space of time and only replaced them with more youthful players. We lost Keown, Campbell, Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry etc.
    The youngsters coming through (as someone pointed out in an earlier post) had no experienced players to learn from/be criticised by. Even now, when you see some of these outrageous decisions go against us, it’s only really Cesc who continually complains to the refs about it. This is only because he is really ahead of his years experience wise.

  • Shard

    Even though it’s a bit off topic, and worse I’m linking to the Sun, RVP’s comments are worth reading (beyond the fluff about spying that the Sun tries to proclaim). The Express has a similar story but cuts out some RVP quotes. Guess which ones

  • Adam

    @ Shard, Did you notice that uefa did not charge RVP for his comments about the barca ref (or am I mistaken). When a player states that the ref is a joke you kinda expect the powers that be will pipe up with something. Also, I would like Mr Oliver to explain his decision making for the incidents that RVP states in the link you added.

  • Ben

    S0 with an English spine England should be undefeated world champions. We just need players with heart, the youngsters coming in tend to have that because they are young and want to make an impact and be known. I find it exciting when Arsene brings youngsters in through the ranks, but this needs to be balanced by having experienced players as well. Like when RVP said he loved training with Bergkamp and Henry.

  • jayj

    We still need players
    a striker
    a Defensive midfielder
    a centre back

    Like I’ve said we are not a million miles away, just look at the liverpools, spuds.
    We are closer than the media will have you believe but Wenger has failed to address the issue, it could mean we need a english man doing the dirty work as Ref’s kind of notice the nationality.

  • bob

    @Shard, all: Cheers for the great link, Shard. Please note, to get back to our real business, that The Express interview has RVP, Arsenal’s “foreigner with a spine” (wink, wink) saying exactly what Walter/UA is saying:

    “I am the first person to say when something isn’t good enough and I’m not trying to hide from our results. But we should’ve won against Villa. We had a Marouane Chamakh goal disallowed and it was a clear goal.And Aaron Ramsey had a clear, 100 per cent penalty that wasn’t given. Just before that, someone passed the ball to me and Richard Dunne basically kicked me. I didn’t do anything, I went past him, one against one, passed to Ramsey and the ref awarded a foul against me. What I’m saying is that it’s not just down to bad luck, it’s sometimes bad decisions as well.” Nothing bent, of course, in that ref performance; just multiple coincidences, unconscious biases, all-too-human flaws, and, well, Arsenal is a foreign team (with 4 English starters, ahem) in’it? [Thought for food, methinks!]

  • Anne

    @Shard all,

    I just wanted to point out that the RVP quotes from the Sun are completely unsourced. It’s certainly possible he may have said these things, but on the other hand, when a news article directly quotes a player, they should also tell you when the statements were made, where, and to whom. When an article fails to do so, it should be a warning sign that the statements should maybe not be taken at face value.

    And the Sun is a repeat offender when it comes to publishing fake interviews with football players. I forget how many times they’ve been accused of it now. RVP’s alleged comments about the ref seem on, but I personally have trouble believing that he said all that stuff about the GPS. I don’t know…not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, just thought a word of caution was warranted 🙂

  • Anne

    @Shard, all:

    I take that last post back. The Daily Star sourced the RVP quotes:

    “Van Persie was speaking at the launch of adidas adiPower Predator boot in London.”

    On the other hand, I think I’ll need video evidence before I’m willing to believe that RVP said all that GPS stuff. That sounded kind of weird 🙂

  • Shard


    That’s a fair point. The Sun do say that RVP was speaking at some adidas event. I checked with the article on the express and there is a slight discrepancy with direct quotes. Perhaps you are right. But at least to me, none of the quotes the Sun prints appear out of character for Van Persie. Of course that could just be that the Sun are very good at faking quotes.

    Here is the link to the article in the Express. They do not mention quotes about the Villa game.

  • Dark Prince

    @To all -i forgot that i was commenting on a AKB website. You guys just dont seem to know the logic behind having English Centreback in every title winning squad. Just to answer your questions, just ask yourselves – why do our defenders defend so pathetic?? Whats the difference between a Wilshere and Fabregas? Look at the attitude…you’ll come to know.

  • Shard


    LOL.. Talk about timing.. regarding the GPS quotes, I think that was meant more as a joke. I don’t think that should be taken too seriously. Certainly in the Sun. You notice no Arsenal fan, even the ones who like to decry everything at the club, mentioned the GPS spying thing.

    The club has introduced that to aid in the training and endurance building, and cope with injuries. He was probably asked how it was going and he decided to tell a joke about it. He’s certainly not criticising the club. I remember when Gazidis announced the GPS the tabloids ran stories saying Arsenal are turning to solutions from Space, using satellite technology to solve their injury crisis.

  • Shard

    Dark prince

    The English CB being in every title winning side in the Premier League era is a statistic and is quite interesting, but I don’t think it is a very telling statistic. I wouldn’t base my team selections on that basis.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- i agree it doesn’t come down to nationality. But it definately comes down to what type of player is useful in different leagues. English league is the most physical league in the world. And to have a defence worthy of being champions in this league, we need the most physical defenders. Now jus tell me one thing, which country produces the most physical of players?? Ans- England!!!!

  • Dark Prince

    Almost every English player is physical in nature, no matter what size they are. Look at Wilshere, he’s probably d smallest yet most physical player in our squad…he single handedly brought down a 6 foot 8 inch Zigic. Thats the type of physicality thats necessary while playing in EPL. remember, we’re not in la liga, this is epl, technical skills can only take u to a limit, but eventually u need physicality to compliment it. Or else, we’ll always end up short. Look no further than our own league winning teams of 1998, 2002 n 2004, they had a combination of both technicality n physicality.

  • Dark Prince

    To be more exact, you need a combination of technicality and physicality, and also a combination of youth and experience in the starting 11 (which again is missing from our starting 11) . Both these combinations are essential to win a trophy.

  • slugboy

    Maybe i said what i meant to say wrongly. I was saying that if we had had the older english players (or players of any nationality for that matter, to balance the younger guys. we would have hopefully been mentally and physically stronger. I was mere saying that the four british guys that we have are very young and lightweight compared to some we’ve had in the past. because they are young, we give them some slack. really ramsey, walcott and gibbs have not had any impact on the team overall. Wilshire is playing beyond his years, admittedly. sorry for confusing. The article had suggested that we had four british guys in the team recently and had lost. if we had had ferdinand, rooney, lampard and cole, we may have done better because they are older and stronger

  • Phil

    I’m looking forward to:
    Lansbury, Emanuel Thomas, Frimpong, Bartley and Afobe coming back from loan this summer!!

  • Sharpshooter

    I can’t help myself, but “the English spine” is one of the most idiotic things that I ever heard. When I’m also hearing things like “Almost every English player is physical in nature, no matter what size they are”, “England produces the most physical of players” (hear that, Samba, Luca Toni, Chiellini, Davids, De Jong, etc.?) I’m really laughing.
    First of all, I suppose that Wales, Scotland and Ireland produce the same type of players, not only England, so we might say that the quotation is at least nationalistic. Secondly, it doesn’t seem that some English players like Walcott, Defoe, Lennon, to name just a few, are very physical.
    At the same time all these quotes are at the edge of jingoism. The mountain men of England and the foreign midgets…Yes, the foreign midgets might win The World Cup, The European Championship, but they can never succeed in England, something like this…
    Btw, anyone noticed that mountain men like Ferdinand, Gerrard, and even John Terry seem to suffer a lot of injuries – attention, not injuries provoked by other mountain men, but hamstrings, leg nerve problems, knee ligaments (a bit strange for such physical players, isn’t it?)- and half men like Messi, C.Ronaldo, Sneijder are playing full seasons without any major problems?