Tag Archives: Emmanuel Eboue

Former Arsenal duo’s harrowing stories are reminder – Footballers are human

Footballers are human. We often forget that.

From a young we idolise players, they are our idols, they are Gods. Put on a pedestal it is almost like they are mythical characters. invincible.

As we grow old, they become less of idols and often more of a punching bag. Someone to shout and scream out to release the tensions of  a bad week. Someone to take your frustrations out. They also give us joy – occasionally.

With high wages and the growing distance between fans and players, it is very easy to treat players like robots instead of humans. We see it on Twitter. People sending vile messages to players that they would simply not send to a “normal” person.

Abuse becomes part of the job.

None of us would go to work to be shouted at and abused all day. Yet for footballers it is part and parcel, with the justification being that they are very well paid.

A few weeks ago we lost Jose Reyes. It was a reminder to all that footballers are human and life is fragile.

This week we have two Arsenal related story that act as a stark reminder that footballers are human too – and no matter what they earn they are still affected by the horrors of life like the rest of us.

n a revealing documentary by Athlete’s Stance, Jack Wilshere talks about how he almost gave up football because of the stress of caring for his young son, who suffered epileptic seizures.

For the first time the West Ham United midfielder revealed that his long absences were not always spent purely in rehab and that Arsène Wenger, his former manager at Arsenal, allowed him more time away from the game to be with his family.

His son, Archie, suffering from seizures and causing Wilshere sleepless nights. During the 2015-16 season, Wilshere was out for eight months with a fractured fibula.

“It was tough to take because I was making my way…

During the time a lot of people were getting on Wilshere’s back. Labelling him “Jack Wheelchair” and accusing him of having a substance abuse problem.

Speaking in the candid documentary with Athlete’s Stance, he said: ‘I’ve had different types of injuries and types of injuries that have affected me different mentally.

‘I always think about one injury and it always plays in my head. It was in 2016, maybe 2015, and I picked up an injury in training. It was tough to take because I was making my way back to where I wanted to be and all of a sudden my four-year-old son was having seizures on the floor.

‘It happened time and time and time again, every day for maybe three or four months and there were times when in the middle of the night I’d be rushing to hospital.

‘Me and my wife would sit up most nights because most of the seizures were happening at night. So we’d put him to bed but most of the time we couldn’t sleep because we didn’t know what was happening with him, so we’d just sit up.’

Wilshere was a 23-year-old dad with a son having unexplained seizures.

Yes, he has the wealth and support that enabled him to not have to worry about the bills, but that becomes secondary to your thoughts when you see a loved one in pain and you can do nothing to help.

In an emotional interview on French television, former Arsenal full back Emmanuel Eboue about his battle with depression and said he had even considered suicide.

The 36-year-old revealed his problems started when he was suspended by Fifa from all football-related activity for one year.

The ban, a result of failing to pay money owed to a former agent, led to the termination of his short-term contract at then Premier League side Sunderland in March 2016.

Without a professional club and shattered financially after a bitter and acrimonious divorce case, he said he had suicidal thoughts.

“Sometimes I would lock myself in my room for three or four days. Just thinking and asking ‘what’s left?’,” Eboue told RMC Sport’s Le Vestiaire (The Locker Room) in France.

“Even today, I still take antidepressants to help me because it is still a long road for me. But here I am hoping others would learn from this.”

“Being away from a competitive football pitch for a year was heartbreaking,” he added.

“I had to train by myself, and I was really ashamed because people looked at me differently.

“Some would say ‘look it’s Eboue, a Uefa Champions League finalist with Arsenal in 2006’, to them it was surprising or shocking.

“Personally, I prefer to train in the morning, but there were people who were training at that time. They’d come to take a picture and post it all over [social media]. So I left to train at night.”

As things got worse he began to lie to his family.

“I couldn’t train during the day and was too embarrassed to stay at home,” he admitted.

“My children always asked me when I was going to return to the field, so whenever I stepped out in the morning, I pretended to go to work.

“Unbeknown to my children I was staying outside and returning home when they were already in bed. I didn’t want them to ask me why they didn’t see me play on television.”

Depression is a real problem faced by footballers.

The Secret Footballer talks about how following a defeat, he would often not go out for days bar going training for fear of abuse from fans. Players end up isolated. Hiding away in a mansion, training in the morning with little to do in the afternoon.

It often becomes even worse when they retire. Having been in the game for decades and with enough money to not work another day in their life in the bank account, they find themselves at 35-years-old without a reason to live.

Suddenly they go from being extremely relevant to completely irrelevant. with friends still working 9-5 and no longer having the routine of training and the dressing room, they find themselves alone with nothing to do.

Being a footballer does not stop a loved one getting ill or dying. It does not stop the dark cloud of depression from floating over.

The stories of Wilshere and Eboue are a reminder that footballers are human. The recent deaths of Jose Reyes and Justin Edinburgh further reminders.

North of the border, Rangers legend Fernando Ricksen has been suffering from has been suffering from motor neurone disease. He is losing his battle with the terminal illness and reports are he is living the last days of his life.

Reyes was 35. Edinburgh 49. Ricksen is 42.

Whatever you’re going through, call the Samaritans free any time, from any phone, on 116 123


Two former right backs set for Arsenal return?

As Mathieu Debuchy edge’s closers to a temporary exit from Arsenal, the talk has now turned to “Will Arsenal get in a replacement.” And with his exit, and other news going on in the footballing world, people, and journalists, and bloggers, and Tweeters alike are putting a lot of 2’s together with a lot of other 2’s in the hope that they come up with a 4.

First of all, we have the situation over at West Ham (we’ve stolen your song) involving Carl Jenkinson.

He seems to have fallen out of favour over in East London, starting just 2 of their last 8 games. With West Ham recently signing Sam Bryam for £3.7million from Leeds, his days are certainly numbered.

There has been a lot of talk that Arsenal might look to break his season long loan deal with the Hammers, bringing him back to provide the back up to Hector Bellerin. But whether this is feasible is unknown.

It is very rare that a season long loan deal is broken, especially when money is involved. West Ham paid £2million for the loan deal. I am sure (but not 100% sure) that if a fee is involved, the deal can not be broken. And if it can be, it would involve Arsenal having to pay back some of the loan fee. I just can not see Arsenal doing this.

Alongside the Jenkinson conundrum, there are reports that West Ham did not really want Bryam until the summer, and only moved now due to Everton sniffing around. There is a chance he could be loaned back to Leeds for the rest of the season, before replacing Jenkinson in the first team squad for 2016/17.

The likelihood is that Jenkinson will not return.

The second option that people seem to be discussing is the return of an Arsenal legend. One of the greatest of all time. Perhaps THE greatest of all time.

Emmanuel Eboue.

Before I start, why does Eboue not yet have a statue? In fact, he deserves more than that, Arsenal should rip up the stadium naming deal, and change it to the Emmanuel Eboue Stadium.

But in all seriousness, news of a return of Eboue to Arsenal has kind of come out of nowhere.

The last anyone knew of him, he was still getting up to high jinks at Galatasaray.

As it turns out, his last appearance for the horrible Turks was on the 19th April 2014.

Having returned to the club for pre-season training for the 2014/15 season, he was informed that he would not be playing.

“I came back for training and I was told I would not be playing,” Eboue was quoted as saying in The Sun “The president told the manager at the time not to pick me.”

As Galatasaray’s number of foreign player limit was full, he played the entire season for the under 21s and his contract recently expired with the club.

He has been quoted as saying as he would love to come back to Arsenal.”

That’s all well and good, but whether he would be wanted back is another story.

Discarded by the club in favour of Bacary Sagna in 2011, there would be question marks over his fitness having not played a competitive game in 18 months.

A possible scenario could be for him to return to the club just to train and get his fitness back up to standard, like so many before him have done. And then maybe, just maybe, if we are desperate, him to sign on a short term contract till the end of the season.

As far as I know (but I reserve the right to be wrong), as he is on a free transfer, he can be signed outside of the transfer window. But I am not sure where it stands with Premier League registrations.

At 32, he certainly would not have a long term future at the club. Just until this summer if signed. With Jenkinson returning for next season.


Personally, I can not see either of the two deals happening. If Debuchy does go, Calum Chambers has the ability to step up and be the second choice right back. That is the route I imagine the club will go.

Then again, there have been reports that the club are looking to loan out Chambers – possibly back to Southampton – for the rest of the season. That would leave us short. Coupled with the fact that Debuchy has not yet gone, it could be that Arsenal are awaiting to get in a replacement for the Frenchman before letting anyway leave. Whether that is Eboue returning, or Jenkinson’s loan deal breaking, who knows?

Whilst I am thinking about full back’s, I watched the Leicester game last night and was highly impressed by young Ben Chilwell. He also impressed me in the first game against Spurs.

Just 19, he looks to have a bright future ahead. Without attempting to hype him up too much (something which Arsenal fans, and football fans in general tend to do) as last night was his first home start for the club, he is clearly a player.

Arsenal should maybe take a risk on him. Sign him now whilst he is a lot cheaper than he could be in 18 months time. Look at Luke Shaw (yes I know he is now injured). Everyone knew about him 18 months before Manchester United signed him. Sides dithered, and he ended up costing around £30million.

The opposite is Dele Alli. Another talented youngster. Spurs jumped in early and snapped him up for £5million. He is not worth double that, maybe even treble, at least. Sometimes you need to take the risk.

Just 19, with him and Bellerin, Arsenal would have their full backs for the next decade.

Of course, Monreal has just signed a new 3 and a half year contract with the club. By the time that ends, he will be 33. Chilwell will be just 22.

A scenario I can easily see happening is Arsenal signing the youngster, leaving him at Leicester for the next 18 months to continue his development, before he returns in 2017 to compete with Monreal for first choice right back.

So there we have my predicitions.

No right back will be signed.

A left back will come in.

Have a good one all!


shop pic

%d bloggers like this: