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August 2021

Szczesny: signs new contract, spelling checkers go crazy, Tony becomes desperate…

By Walter Broeckx

Earlier this week the news came out. Bad news. Well for Tony probably. Because from now on he will be certain that he will be called a racist whenever he doesn’t spell the name correctly of what seems will be our goalkeeper for the next few years and beyond.

Wojciech Szczesny has signed a new long term contract with Arsenal and so we will be seeing him around a bit. And Tony will have to spell his name. Or just call him the Pole between the sticks. Now we must admit that Fabianski is easier to write down. Or Viviano.  That is something you can hear and you can write it down just the way you hear it. But Szczesny… do we actually know what the correct pronunciation is?  Because we go with the “Chesny” pronunciation but has anybody checked that this is the way Polish born people say his name?

The same for his first name. Wojciech. People, including myself say something like Wojchech but where has the “ i “ gone? Or do people in Poland not say the “ i “ in the “ie”? I know in Dutch it would be pronounced as a long sounding “ i “. But now I realise that most of the time in English the “ i “ is mostly pronounced short or as an “I”.

Whatever we do with the “ i “, it is for certain that Wojciech Szczesny has put the dots on the i (this is getting silly – my spelling checker always want to change my “ i “ in an I and I have to go back time and time again to correct it), possibly crossed the “t” also where it should be crossed. In fact only one “ i “ to dot as he has no ‘t’ in his name. But I don’t think you came here to read about spelling names and pronouncing names. Let’s talk about what it means for Arsenal and for him.

[Ah, Walter – didn’t want to interrupt but the answer is that the Polish pronunciation of the name is ˈvɔjt͡ɕɛx ˈʂt͡ʂɛ̃snɨ – Tony]

As Szczesny is 23 years young he could become a legend at Arsenal. If he does become one, that will be completely down to him. If we look at his career it is a bit of an extra ordinary one. Making his début in the Polish top division at the age of 15 years for Legia Warsaw is rather unusual.

What also is unusual and this will make Tony a huge fan is that Szczesny his first sport was not football but dancing. Ballroom dancing it says in Wikipedia. So when the players are having a party, he will be leading the dance I imagine.  [May I add that ballroom is in fact Mr Wenger’s mode of dance – he is actually surprisingly good.  My preferred modus operandi is jive, and indeed I have just come back from a week of jiving in Tenerife but we’ll let that pass.  This is after all supposed to be a football blog – Tony]

His career at Arsenal that started in 2006 was first hampered by breaking his two arms. What might spell the end for a successful career for any keeper was turned in to getting stronger. I think mentally it was a big blow but it might have helped him later to overcome bad things.

After than he was sent to Brentford on loan. And I remember that he played some excellent games in the wild west. And after that he made it quite sure that he was expecting himself to be the number one really soon. He still had to wait a bit and when Almunia and Fabianski both were injured he got his chance at Manchester United of all places. Not the easiest place to make your début but he did it in a great way and wasn’t to blame for the 1-0 defeat on that day.  One could say that since then he became the real number one of Arsenal.

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He did have some bad spells. Notably last season when he had a few bad games with some mistakes. He was dropped and Fabianski took over and played really well and it looked as if Szczesny had lost his place to his compatriot. Much to the annoyance of his father Maciej Szczesny who he himself played seven games for Poland as a goalkeeper.

But as with breaking his arms, Szczesny wasn’t broken completely. As he said himself later and contradicting the criticism said by his father on Wenger, he swallowed the disappointment, started working harder than ever before and then he had to wait for a lucky moment. His lucky moment came when Fabianski got injured again and Szczesny could come back in goal.

Since then he became the indisputable number 1 at Arsenal. A number of important and great saves at the end of last season helped us to 4th place in the league. And this season he has followed that path. Showing great confidence and making some important saves when needed. I think it is clear to see that he has grown a lot over the last year. Always lots of confidence (which is needed as a goalkeeper) and now he is somehow using that to impose himself in the games and upon strikers from other teams.

His weak point is his kicking. But it has improved in fact compared to his first days. And at times he was a bit rash in his decision making. But as with the kicking it has improved already. And at 23 years young we can expect him to improve on that even more. As most of the times that is something that goes with experience.

And as most goalkeepers he has that little bit of craziness in him. Something he should keep I think. As it is just part of being a goalkeeper. Of being a good goalkeeper in fact.

Szczesny has played 123 games for Arsenal in total. 89 of them in the PL. So if all goes well he will enter the 100 club in the next months. And that at the age of 23 is a high number. And with his new contract it is almost certain that many more games will follow when he stays fit.

What also has changed a bit in the last seasons is that I noticed him being calmer on the field but also outside the field. As if he has became a completely adult person in the last 12 months. Thinking before speaking as a few years ago he was talking and talking…maybe a bit too much at times. But he has grown up.

What I don’t want him to lose is his passion. And the passion for Arsenal. I think we all can remember his passionate celebration when we beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Emirates. If you don’t, here you can see it

As one of my friends said when the news came out about him signing a new contract: Great news, a Gunner and a Gooner in goal. And that sums it up quite nicely I think.

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13 comments to Szczesny: signs new contract, spelling checkers go crazy, Tony becomes desperate…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ok thanks Tony now the matter is solved on how to pronounce it properly once and for all…
    Untold Arsenal, the educational Arsenal blog….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Very good move to tie him on a long term contract and stablise the defence in general and the team in particular.

    A blonde began a job as an elementary school counselor, and she was eager to help. One day during recess she noticed a boy standing by himself on the side of a playing field while the rest of the kids enjoyed a game of soccer.

    She approached and asked if he was alright. The boy said he was. A little while later however, she noticed the boy was in the same spot, still by himself. Approaching again, the blonde said, “Would you like me to be your friend?”The boy hesitated, then said, “Okay”, looking at the woman suspiciously.Feeling she was making progress, she then asked, “Why are you standing here all alone? Why don’t you go and join those boys playing soccer over there?””Because,” the little boy said with great exasperation, “I’m the goalie!”


  • @Swales68

    Listening to the experts on sky/itv/BT I thought it would be spelt SirChesNey not sure if it’s with an S in the middle or a Z though. Could the es be pronounced Z?

  • Mick

    I fear the experts on sky/itv/BT and add talkshite to that list as well, will always struggle with our goalies name. After all most of them cannot pronounce Wilshere properly, they insert a ‘t’ thus turning little Jacks surname into Wiltshire, a county in South West England.

  • OMGArsenal

    Regardless of how one spells his name, the morons in the media will continue to mispronounce and misspell it prolifically. What matters is that he is developing each season in confidence and consistent skills. He has overcome some horrendous experiences; two broken arms, an 8-2 drubbing at old Toilet, a poor period where he was benched and yet he has flourished partly because of the following:

    1)Wenger’s faith and patience in all his youth players,
    2)His(Szceszny’s) wonderful sense of humour and inner strength,
    3)His innate potential and talent which is ,as yet, unrealized,
    4)The support from his teammates and family,
    5)His versatility and mental equilibrium,
    6)His inner conviction and sense of destiny and his goalkeeper genes.

  • Tom

    Seems to me it’s the first four letters in Szczesny that give most people problems, so try this for size.
    The “sz” in Polish makes the same sound as “sh” in English (as in shush, be quiet ) and “cz” makes the same sound as “ch” in English word cha cha ( as a dance).
    Now the trick is to say those two sounds in the same breath and the rest is easy.

    However if you still are having difficulties saying his name then just call him “lucky” because that’s what “szczesny” means loosely in Polish.

    I for one am very glad Wojtek signed a new contract and I hope with improvements to his kicking game( he’s already shown major improvements in his judgment ) he can become one of the top keepers in the PL or even the World.
    Take care.

  • OMGArsenal

    Before Brickfield gets his latest joke in, here’s one I really enjoy:

    Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.

    Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out. When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna’s heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.

    When she went to tell Edna the news she said, ‘Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you’re being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love… I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness.

    The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he’s dead.’

    Edna replied, ‘He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?’

  • ARSENAL 13

    Szczesny. How much has he improved over the past 6 months?????……Well, As a marker we should look at the media reports. Its changed form new no.1 to a good solid back up for Szczesny.

    This season hez been immense. Let the good work continue….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice one , Dom , and in reply ….

    Seeking Charity…

    A big, burly man knocked on the door of the pastor’s house one day and asked to see the minister’s wife, a woman known for her charity work and her love for the poor and helpless.

    The woman opened the door and saw the man had tears streaming down his face.

    “oh, whatever is the matter?” She cried out.

    “I come to you today, dear woman, for the purposes of doing charity and good work.” Said the man in a hopeless voice.

    “Come in, come in!” The woman admitted him inside and they sat in her living room.

    “Madam,” said the man in a broken voice, “I wish to draw your attention to the terrible plight of a poor family in this district. The father is dead, the mother is too ill to work, and the nine children are starving. They are about to be turned into the cold, empty streets unless someone pays their rent, which amounts to $400.”

    “How terrible!” exclaimed the preacher’s wife. “May I ask who you are?”

    The sympathetic visitor applied his handkerchief to his eyes. “I’m the landlord,” he sobbed.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Jack R,
    thanks for the link.

    And as I suspected the way it is pronounced by the media is wrong. When listening to the Polish person you can here in the first name ‘Wojciech’ that you pronounce it with an ‘ie’ and not just the ‘e’ we usually hear.

    And you have to be Polish to pronounce the Szczesny thing correct I think 😉

  • Gf60

    The two old colonels were having lunch reminiscing about days gone by. “Oh for the days when we ventured abroad and taught the masses the proper use of language. Take this fork here…the Germans call it ‘ein gabel’, the Poles call it ‘widelec’, the Zulus call it ‘imfologo’ but we English call it a fork…which is precisely what it is.

    Which explains why I shall continue to call our wonderful keeper “Ches”.

  • Gord

    @Walter (and others).

    I ran across another person who’s surname also starts with Szcz. He says that English does have incidences where the required sounds occur close to each other, but it is across words instead of within a word. The example was “fresh cheese”. The Szcz is pronounced like “sh ch”, except without the slight pause.