By Tony Attwood and the Catastrophists Union of Nautical Turnips.
(Spell it, you’ll see what I mean)
‘Tis noticeable that in the last couple of days Barca have gone very quiet on the Cesc front. Within the space of 10 days we have moved from “We’ll sign him by the weekend” to “We won’t be held to ransom”.
It does show that the prime motivation behind the whole game is Barca’s attempt to answer Real Mad’s laughs about “keeping your children under control” and keeping their own fans happy.
Of course I could have egg and chips all over my face by the time you read this (in that I am writing ahead of my trip to France, so that Walter can publish when he’s ready), and by the time the button is pressed Cesc might be up and gone. But this is how it looks at the moment. Cesc is not going.
Back in the very old days, we had a manager called George Elcoat: he is now known (on the Woolwich Arsenal site at least) as the last of the one-year managers.
George Elcoat actually lasted less than one year, resigning in February after a terrible defeat by Derby in the Cup, but his main claim to fame (and not mentioned in any of the official or unofficial histories, the authors of which just copy each other’s work, shame on the lazy buggers) is that he changed the entire first team.
Of the team that opened the league season in 1897 not one player remained for the opening of the league season in 1898.
Even more amazingly, of the team that played the last league match of 1897/8 only one player played in the opening league match of 1898/9. And even more interestingly, Elcoat wasn’t the only manager who did this to us – several others did the same thing when they came in. (There’s more details of all the Woolwich Arsenal managers than I think has ever been published in one place before on the Woolwich Arsenal site.)
So if you think having several new players come in for the new season involves getting up a bit of steam, you ain’t seen nothing. And if you think that if we do lose seven or eight players this close season (as the catastrophists have been predicting for months), that will be as nothing to what has happened in the past.
Just to show what is going on, here’s a list of the players predicted on various sites to be leaving, or who should be leaving. Number before the name is his position in the “25” list that follows. Number after the name is the age. I’m not sure what it shows
1 Almunia 32 (not good enough)
2 Fabianski 24 (not good enough)
8 Clichy 24 (poor season)
10 Denilson 21 (poor player)
11 Diaby 23 (not up to it)
12 Fabregas 22 (off to Barca)
13 Rosicky 29 (never recovered from injury)
14 Arshavin 28 (always critical of the rest of the team)
16 van Persie 26 (will leave if Cesc leaves)
17 Eduardo 26 (never recovered from injury)
18 Bendtner 21 (off to Barca)
19 * Gallas 32 (Pissed off)
20 * Silvestre 32 (Too old)
21 * Campbell 35 (Unreliable at his age)
Makes you think.
Anyway, what follows is based on slightly firmer ground.
So, as I so brilliantly predicted (along with the rest of the universe) we got Chamakh. And the Lord Wenger has announced that he will be buying some defenders. In the plural. At least two. Maybe more.
Some commentators are still (despite my earlier clear exposition of the issues) saying, “Oh my God, Wenger can only buy one player, because we can’t fit them all in the squad under the new 25 player rule. We are doomed, doomed, doomed.” John Laurie as an Arsenal supporter. Who would have guessed it.
(Sorry – explanation for non-UK residents, in the old TV series “Dad’s Army” John Laurie played a Scottish undertaker who said in each episode, “We’re all doomed, doomed, doomed, I tell you, doomed”. I met John Laurie once at Broadcasting House, and he was a lovely guy – nothing like the characters he played at all. A Shakespearian actor… but I digress…)
Alexej Behnisch did much of the hard work on the analysis that follows. I am just updating it every now and then through the summer. If you want the official announcement on the 25 player rule try the official announcement from the Premier League. I have reprinted how it works at the end of this piece.
The Squad Part One: Over 21 years old as of 1 January 2010
1 Almunia 32
2 Fabianski 24
3 Mannone 21 (Home Grown Player No 1)
4 Sagna 26
5 Eboue 26
6 Vermaelen 24
7 Djourou 22 (Home Grown Player No 2)
8 Clichy 24 (Home Grown Player No 3)
9 Song 22 (Home Grown Player No 4)
10 Denilson 21 (Home Grown Player No 5)
11 Diaby 23
12 Fabregas 22 (Home Grown Player No 6)
13 Rosicky 29
14 Arshavin 28
15 Nasri 22
16 van Persie 26
17 Eduardo 26
18 Bendtner 21 (Home Grown Player No 7)
19 * Gallas 32 or New Defender of Any Age or Background
20 * Silvestre 32 or New Defender of Any Age or Background
21 * Campbell 35 (Home Grown Player No 8) (eight – my computer is being silly)
22 Chamakh 27
23 New Recruit of Any Age of Background.
24 New Recruit of Any Age or Background.
25 New Recruit Any Age or Background
* Contract expires at the end of July 2010
Which means that we have….
- Spaces for New Recruits of Any Age – 3
- Spaces for New Recruits of Any Age to replace Gallas / Silvestre – 2
- Space for Home Grown Player if Campbell leaves – 1
The Squad Part two: Under 21 years old as of 1 January 2010 who played in or near the first team last season.
Remember these players don’t count in the 25 even if they were raised in Dorking, and became cattle rustlers in Poole. We’ve noted if they are home grown, even though at this age it is irrelevant. All that counts is how old they were on 1 Jan 2010.
1 Szczcesny 19 Home Grown
2 Gibbs 20 Home Grown
3 Traore 20 Home Grown
4 Eastmond 19 Home Grown
5 Ramsey 19 Home Grown
6 Wilshere 18 Home Grown
7 Walcott 20 Home Grown
8 Vela 20
- So, all of our first team squad can be accommodated and we have a place for three other players without any reference to upbringing and without kicking anyone out.
- If Gallas and/or Silvestre don’t renew we can replace them with anyone irrespective of colour, creed, age, race, Football Association, place of birth, type of soap used in the bath, colour of washing-up liquid, country they choose to play for….
- All of our favourite kiddies from the season just gone can be accommodated.
- And we still have room for as many of the staggeringly brilliant youth team that has just won the league for an unprecedented second year running, as we want – irrespective of their race etc etc.
Part three: The up and coming
So who are we going to bring in to the first team squad, given that we have so many spare places? How about
- Goal: Szczensy (he’s already on the list above)
- Central defence: Nordtveit, Bartley
- Wide defence: Coquelin
- Defensive midfield: Emmanuel Thomas, Coquelin
- Attacking midfield: Lansbury, Barazite
- Attack: Wellington Silva (not available until January), Afobe
Some of these players can play in several positions – the most obvious case of Emmanuel Thomas who can play here, there and everywhere, and then some. I put Coquelin in twice because he played in those two areas this year.
And so, ladies and gents, I give you our updated and revised squad, 2010/11, all within the new rules of the game, and no restrictions on replacing a home grown or under age player with someone older – we’ve plenty of space.
The squad of 39, as of 28 May 2011
Goal: Szczensy, Almunia, Fabianski, Manone
Central defence: Vermaelen, Djourou, Nordtveit, Bartley, Gallas*, Silvestre*, Campbell*, A N Other, A N Other
Wide defence: Sagna, Eboue, Clichy, Gibbs, Traore, A N Other
Defensive midfield: Song, Denilson, Emmanuel Thomas, Coquelin, Eastmond, Ramsey, AN Other
Attacking midfield: Nasri, Lansbury, Barazite, Diaby, Fabregas, Rosicky, Wilshire,
Attack: Arshavin, Van Persie, Wellington Silva, Afobe, Eduardo, Chamakh, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott
* Players who might leave to be replaced by younger versions
Squad registration list must be submitted at the end of the transfer window: 31 August 2010, and then again on 31 January 2011.
Squad size limit – Maximum 25 players over 21 years. No limit for under-21 players.
Age definition – 1 January of the season’s starting year. 1 January 2010 for the 2010/11 season.
Home-grown quota – 8 of the 25 squad places can only be filled with home-grown players. Thus, only 17 foreign-grown players (over 21 years) are allowed.
Home-grown (1) age – All club registrations before the age of 21 (at the end of the season).
Home-grown (2) home – All clubs registered with the English or Welsh FA.
Home-grown (3) length – Minimum period of 3 seasons or 36 months (continuous or not).
Parentage – clones are not allowed.
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