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Bye bye Wojciech Szczesny: the great Gooner who loved Arsenal more than some of the “fans”.

By Walter Broeckx

Bye bye Wojciech Szczesny. So it seems. I’ve seen a video of you entering what appears to be the place where you would do your medical to join Juventus.

I must be honest and say you that I will miss you. Even though you have been in Italy for 2 years I was still hoping that you would come back to Arsenal and become our first choice keeper again. If I can believe reports (I know) the move this time will be a permanent one.

Do you actually realize how much time it took for me to write your name correct? But after some practice I managed to write it without having to look at the official site. Szczesny. I must say I don’t know if in my language or in English you have such a number of consonants in a row that seem impossible to say it correct. We probably have been saying your name wrong all those years….

Now if you go I must say I am one of those supporters who never really had a go at you. I know you made mistakes. I think you probably know that better than most. But the fact is: every keeper makes mistakes. Cech has made a number of mistakes. Ospina has. Martinez has. But for some strange reason they (apart from Ospina maybe because he is too short) never got the abuse you had to suffer if things went wrong.

Did you know some of our moaning fans even made a celebration video with a compilation of all the penalties you have given away. And adding that they were happy to see you go. What a way to support one of your players….. I don’t get it.

Anyway I really feel sad. I was one of those supporters who didn’t understand why you had to leave to make room for Cech. You had as many clean sheets as Cech the season before and yet some of our fans said you were a poor keeper…. I still can’t understand it.

What I liked about you apart from your goalkeeping skills is the fact that you so openly identified yourself with our club.  The club that is still my club but by now maybe no longer your club. But I do think that deep down there you will be a Gooner forever.

The passionate way you celebrated some moments in our history is one of the reasons I loved you so much. The sitting on your knees pumping your fists after we scored and won against Barcelona, springs to mind. That is the image I will keep in mind when I think of you.

I know you had a few bad moments at Arsenal. The smoking incident …… But you were young and we all have been young. I admit to having smoked in my younger days. Hell I have even seen Wenger sitting on the bench for Monaco while smoking. And he wasn’t that young anymore in those days. So he too should have known better.

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When you had to make room for Cech (a Gooner for a mercenary…. Oh Arsène this is one of the moves I never understood….) you went to Italy. And you became the keeper I had hoped you would become at Arsenal.

Mind you there was another smoking incident after a 6-1 defeat against Barcelona in the champions league. It seems that after a painful defeat you are in need for a cigarette as it was also a painful defeat at Southampton that caused you problems with Wenger.

But in Italy they don’t seem to be upset by smoking footballers. And it only cost you one match suspension in Italy.

Last season you were the keeper with the most clean sheets in Italy. 14 of them. And now Juventus is looking at you to be the replacement of football legend Buffon. Who is getting on a bit.

Damn it. If that doesn’t show the appreciation you have got in Italy then I don’t know what more you can do. If the top club in Italy wants you to become their next keeper, it shows that you are a great goalkeeper. And it shows that those who have been moaning at you know nothing about football and goalkeepers.

In my younger days I have been a goalkeeper myself. I know what a lonely job it can be and how each error can lead to a goal. A forward who misses 10 chances in a match will be called unlucky. A keeper who makes 10 saves but has one howler will be called useless. That is how it goes and certainly how it worked for you at Arsenal.

So it is with pain in my hear that I see a Gooner-Gunner leave our club. It is one of the decisions that I completely disagree with Wenger. I think it is funny to think about the fact that those who wanted you out are almost the same that want Wenger out.

Anyway I thank you for more than 150 matches for Arsenal. I thank you for helping us win the FA Cup against Aston Villa. Polish goalkeepers winning the FA cup signals the end of their Arsenal career it seems…. You had 48 clean sheets for Arsenal if I remember correct from the past and that sure isn’t bad in a team that can’t defend. (As some say)

So farewell Wojciech. Maybe we will meet when you play Arsenal in the future. That will be a day I would love to see you get defeated. But for the love you showed to Arsenal I can only wish you the best in your future career.

And thanks for this great memory….


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21 comments to Bye bye Wojciech Szczesny: the great Gooner who loved Arsenal more than some of the “fans”.

  • MickHazel

    I absolutely agree Walter. I have always defended Szczesny to the hilt and I am sad to see him depart.
    Good luck at Juventas.

  • Jack

    Great article Walter. We join you to wish Szczesny (I hope I spelled the name correctly) the very best for his footballing career.

  • Chris

    You are dead right Walter.

    Thinking about it, I wonder if smoking is some kind of real issue with AW, as Wilshere got into quite some trouble as well. Then again, i^d say he and Jack are two stand-out characters.

    On the other hand I don’t get all the issue that is. This politically corect stuff is going far too much.
    How about banning pictures of players WAGS showing too much skin, while we are at it, under the justification that in our ‘fazone-marketing area’ in the Middle East this would be bad for the club ? Or ban alcohol in any form at the EMS and 5 miles around on game day or whatever….

    Anyways, I wish Wojciech a career as long and successfull as Buffons in the goal posts of Juve.

  • Kevin

    Couldn’t agree more Szczesny is a Gooner through and through you could see he never wanted to leave. If you watch some of the Video stuff he has done whilst at Roma he’s never said a bad word about Arsenal in fact the Roma players often remark how he was always bigging Arsenal up. I thought 2 or 3 Years in Italy would have been a perfect platform or learning experience for him to come back and be our No 1 for many years to come.

    I Very Sad to see him go but wish him all the best in his future exploits.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I have a tee shirt with that image on it! A sad day for Arsenal. Good luck in Italy at Juve and I’m certain that you will prove a worthy successor to Buffon. May your need for a cigarette be few and far between.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Talking of ex Arsenal keepers, Mannone joined Reading yesterday on a 3 year deal.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Sad to see excellent Szczesny go. I dont think smoking alone is the reason for his departure, after all we stuck by Bendtner through all his off the field antics for a lot longer. Wonder if Martinez is the reason why we eventually let him go. May be the club sees a better long term prospect in Martinez than in Szczesny.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Either way, sad to see Szczesny go.

  • Stevo

    Great tribute to such a young ‘keeper who gave all he could to Arsenal. I will miss him but wish the best of luck for the future at Juventus. I will remember him for his courage when he had 2 broken arms at the same time.

  • Swapneel

    Good luck to Szczesny at Juventus
    Great talent, will hopefully be a legend at Juventus.

  • Chris

    Thinking about it, having 4 keepers for 3 positions, and among the 4 of the, 3 of World Cup level, Arsenal are being fair with him.
    Another loan deal is just not ok for someone as good as he is.
    We are not in the know, but who says Ospina wanted to move anyway ?
    He got used to Italy, he integrated well, so they let him go as it is a fair thing to do, better than another loan I think.
    I don’t beleive Juventus would have loaned him for 12 months, and the opportunity is just fantastic for him.

    So I think the club managed that one ok for him

  • Menace

    Good luck Chez. You will always be Chez to me. A super keeper who always did the splits in his warm up. You would be an awesome kick boxer if ever that was your choosing.

  • Hisham

    Well written Walter, you expressed our sentiments very correctly. I join you and others to thank Wojciech for all those moments that brought us joy as a Gooner. Wojciech is truly one of those “Gooner Gunner”.

    All the best at Juve.

  • OlegYch

    Those who wanted Woj out are surely biting their tongues now. Hope they will shut up for a while.

  • Nitram


    Well said.

    ” I think it is funny to think about the fact that those who wanted you out are almost the same that want Wenger out.”

    And there, in one sentence, I think you some up perfectly the mind set of the pathetic aaa’s.

    I think they, and there media cohorts, decided long ago that Wenger couldn’t build a decent defence. This line of thinking followed on from an early assertion made by Wenger’s media detractors, and endorsed by the fledgling aaa’s, that Wenger’s initial successes where not in fact the result of his purchases, but more to do with the defence he inherited.

    From the moment that that assertion was born it became forever necessary to propagate the notion that every keeper, or more generally defender, that Wenger bought was a dud.

    Even Lehmen was ridiculed as a clown.

    Of course Cech escaped, and still does escape, the same level of criticism, because it was the media and the aaa’s that had continually insisted that we couldn’t win the league without buying a World class keeper such as Cech, in which case they could hardly criticise him when he did arrived could they? In fact they went completely overboard, suggesting he was going to be worth 20 points a season. Well they got that right, alas it was for the opposition. Only joking, but World class or not, Cech brought no more or less to the team than a vast majority of all the other keepers that Wenger purchased, but had nothing but ridicule.

    The same has happened to a massive percentage of defenders Wenger has bought, especially centre halves, almost all of which, on arrival, have been ridiculed as not good enough.

    Again similarly to Cech, Sol Campbell was an exception, having arrived from media darlings Spurs with an indisputable World class reputation, so it would of been lunacy to deride him.

    Apart from Sol I think the only other centre half to finally win the aaa’s and media critics round is Kos.

    So as far as I can see there is an historical requirement to denigrate any keeper, centre half, or just about any other player, who joins our defence.

    So in summery Walter I think you are right in what you say, a lot of the criticism aimed at Szczesny is on the back of the dislike of Wenger, but more specifically, the historic need to criticise ANY keeper he buys, seemingly no matter how well he actually performs.

    Goodbye and good luck Chez.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sad it did not work out , but in fairness it’ll probably be the best for all concerned.
    He will always be a Gooner/ Gunner at heart.
    Best of luck .

  • Polo

    Well written Walter, thank you.

    I also would like to say a big thank you to Wojciech Szczesny for his service at Arsenal. I wish him all the best at Juve.

    Read his farewell message to Arsenal and watched his press conference and you can see he much he love Arsenal. Forever a Gunner.

  • Josif

    Wojciech Szczesny… I was trying to learn how Polish names are pronounced but I must admit I didn’t get too far with it. When I heard Jacek Krzynowek’s last name is pronounced something like “Šinovek”, it was that for me. Sorry, Poland, I love your goalkeepers and your beautiful women but some things I will never learn. Our Chez, for instance, is “Ščenšni”. I tried to call him that when I talked about him.

    He is a passionate lad and for that matter at least Italy should suit him better than England. I liked him and – unlike supporters who like Chez and dislike Čech – I was pretty excited at the possibility that Chez would improve under the guidance of Petr Čech, a true professional. Combine Woj’s reflex and passion with cold professional attitude of Čech and you might get yourself a world-beater for a decade. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be but we still have Emi Martinez with incredible physical frame as Čech’s apprentice.

    When I think about Chez at Arsenal, I recall of one double save that nobody mentions. Why would anyone mention it? It wasn’t that double save from the Liverpool game in 2013. No, this was a double save that perhaps changed the season for two London clubs.

    It was the second league game in 2013-14. We lost the first game to Anthony Taylor’s Villa at home and there was a lot of bad feelings around Arsenal (yes, even more than usual). We took the lead at Craven Cottage but the hosts had a great chance to equalize – there was a long shot from Taarabt that Szczesny saved but Duff’s follow up seemed as an inevitable equalizer…only for Chez to save it as well! Podolski scored two goals to make it 3:0, Bent got a consolation goal but it was Woj’s double-save that won us the game.

    I hope Woj will find his happiness in Juventus. At least he won’t get non-existing red cards and face non-existing penalties in Serie A now that he is a Juventus keeper.

    When it comes to cigarettes and alcohol, IMO, both things are connected with diseases. Tabaccomania and alcoholism are addictions and neither of those two things should be either sported or promoted by the sportsmen.

  • Damilare

    Thanks Wojciech Szczesny for your love and years of service at Arsenal.

    Thank you Walter for the beautiful article to a passionate gooner.

    So long ‘Sesan’, I wish you a successful career at Juve.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Chez.
    Agree to disagree with Wenger on this one.
    Heard rumours this keeper fell out with backroom staff.
    Even Wenger makes mistakes, think he has made one here.
    Good luck to a great keeper

  • Pat

    Lovely article. Another thing he will not have to put up with in Italy will be being wrestled in a neck hold by an opposing player and the ref not even calling a foul. That was in the notorious match against Newcastle. Never mentioned in the frequent media eulogies to that match.

    I agree with Chris, Arsenal has done right by Woyciech. He has had two really successful years in Italy and now he will be successor to Bouffon. Amazing! But it is lovely to see that he still loves Arsenal and credits the club with making his career, and that he shed a little tear when asked about the club.