Tag Archives: Ian Wright

I am sorry Kenny, Twitter isn’t going to help

Something has bugged me for a few weeks now. Something which I wanted to blog about, but wondered if it was too insensitive or would be too far against what many people want to read, that something is with regards to Arsenal legend Kenny Sansom.

The frustration’s began a while ago, when a Twitter account surfaced rumoured to be from his nephew. It became clear it was indeed, his nephew, but it also became very clear that his nephew was clearly attention seeking. I do not know how old his nephew is, but it was obvious that he was trying to build a Twitter following through being Sansom’s nephew. It came across as very sad and attention seeking.

Then the news about Kenny Sansom being an alcoholic broke. I had a massive issue with this at the time, the reason being this ‘World Exclusive’ of Sansom’s cry for help, appeared in the very first Sunday edition of a well known tabloid. I took this original story with a pinch of salt, wondering how much Sansom was paid by said tabloid to ensure it had a massive World Exclusive on its first edition.

My frustrations with the Sansom situation increased, as no sooner had he come out (for the 3rd time in the press, no less) as an alcoholic, another Twitter account appeared, with it’s Bio being:

“An account created to show support for suffering alcoholics & homeless. Inspired by my uncle Kenny Sansom to help others like him that aren’t in the public eye.”

How sick in the head must you be to set up a Twitter page about a family member who is an alcoholic? Anyone who has dealt with an alcoholic family member (my family has a history) knows your 1st thoughts are with helping them. Clearly in this case, family members see it as a way to increase publicity. Maybe it is this exploitation of Sansom which drove him to drink to begin with?

The final straw for me came when Kenny Sansom begun his own Twitter account. It became clear immediately that it was unlikely that it was him tweeting. The tweets were in the same childish manner as the previous accounts, set up by his nephew. Was this a coincidence? Was this his nephew giving advice? Or was it his nephew once more using his Uncle’s great name to grow his own ‘popularity’, increasing his own attention, living his life through Kenny?

On his account, Kenny begged the attention of other ex-players. Continually tweeting them, begging for RT’s. I begun wondering once more, whether this was Kenny himself, or his nephew hoping to open up dialogue with the likes of Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, et al.

Most recently, a tweet from his account made me disgusted that it became the straw that broke the camel’s back:

“It’s Ben. Kenny’s really down & struggling big time having fallen off the wagon a few times. Trying to find some ideas to pick him back up?”

This is exploitation. Kenny’s name, his illness, is being used by those around him. His family should be helping him fight the battle, not making his dirty laundry public at every opportunity.

Yes, alcoholism affects a lot of people, and those who suffer from it need to seek help, but they also need to help themselves. What they do not need is to be exploited by those closest, their family, for the sole reason of gaining followers.

Kenny, turn Twitter off and tell your nephew to stop being an attention seeking prick. The Arsenal are with you every step of the way. Other’s are simply exploiting you.

Sporting Chance Clinic
Alcoholics Anonymous


Nicklas Bendtner – Majestic Ninja or Toppled Turtle?

Although the player is widely derided by most knowledgeable Arsenal fans, and probably rightly so, is it fair to knock a man for believing in himself, in his ability and his ambition?

Although eight years without a trophy at Arsenal cannot be blamed on the Ninja haired Dane alone, to quote another news article “the Danish international has been widely recognised as exactly the sort of player who has held the Gunners back.” And god knows Arsene Wenger has signed a few.

Now, true enough, he hasn’t quite set the premier league alight. He’s not really even been an average guff at a world farting competition. But he’s an established international and that must surely count for something right?

I admire anyone who has the guts and determination to strive to fulfil their full ambition and potential, but there can also be the dreamers who wish they could be the best and will never achieve their goal. We’ve all been over the park, pretending we’re Brady, Bergkamp, Henry or Wright. And there in that one sentence we get some sort of answer to the question. Nicklas Bendtner is NEVER going to be anywhere near any of the afore mentioned names. Donatello or Leonardo (The Turtle not the player) maybe, but never a world class player of their ilk.

We are always being told, and I quote Sir Ian Wright “If you believe in yourself and work hard enough, you’ll achieve your goal.” Now, that is easier said than done as surely you need to have the raw talent in the first place. I always believed that I would make it as a professional footballer. I believed I had what it takes, but in truth if I had trained 24/7/365 I would never have got so much as a sniff. I just never ever had the natural ability needed (Although I was probably better than the hapless Gus Caesar). Bendtner obviously had the minimum requirements otherwise he would not be a professional.

So who are we to mock the man’s ambition or self belief?

“How do you envisage continuing your career?” Bendtner was recently asked by Danish publication ‘Politiken’.

“At Real Madrid or Barcelona” came the instant answer. This despite being unable to find ANY club willing to pay him their ever so hard earned wonga to strut his self conceited stuff.

So I ask you all the question again, although I suspect I know the answer already. Is he a deluded Ninja-esque lunatic twat or should we just admire his egotistical self-aggrandizing?

You decide.


Highbury Classics Vol 2 – The Arsenal Vs Southampton May 1992


Great game to end an era

It’s not often that you walk away from a 5-1 victory with a feeling of sadness to go with the joy. But for thousands of Arsenal fans a sense of loss dominated a wonderful final game of the 1991-92 season. It was the last ever game of the beloved North Bank terrace which had been a place to stand and watch football for decades. The Taylor Report was soon to dictate law and top flight clubs would have to replace the standing areas with seats. After the game, a few thousand fans stayed behind for a couple of hours to remain in the old terrace for a little bit longer. Fight Sing where ever you may be – we are the North Bank Highbury was the chant heard two hours after the game, as the last fans left the stadium after a solemn sit in.

As for the match itself, there were two main focuses of attention. Firstly a win was necessary so that the old North Bank could go out in style. Secondly, there was a chance that Ian Wright could end up the league’s top goal scorer. At the start of the day he was one goal behind Tottenham’s Gary Lineker and Spurs were playing away at Old Trafford. If Lineker were to get just one goal, then Wright would need a repeat of the hat trick that he’d at scored against the Saints earlier in the season.

At Highbury in May 1992 the first half of Arsenal-Southampton was quiet and goalless, with the main highlight being a disallowed goal from Wright which looked like a harsh decision. The second half however, was symbolic of the final third of the season. Up to February, Arsenal had been inconsistent and had put up a weak defence of the title. Then everything came together with a 7-1 thrashing of a strong Sheffield Wednesday side; six of the goals coming in the space of just 20 minutes. From that point onwards Arsenal would remain unbeaten and put in a late challenge to finish third and gain a European spot. It may have been too late to get back in the title picture but Arsenal’s rampage on the final three months of the season was thrilling. In contradiction to reputation, George Graham’s team were capable of playing free flowing entertaining football, with Limpar, Merson, Wright, Rocastle, Campbell and Smith providing a formidable attacking force. If there was a fault with the 1991-92 team then it was the leaky defence. Overall they conceded 46 league goals, whereas the season before only 18 goals went past one of the meanest defences in English football history.

The walloping of Southampton began when Kevin Campbell scored from a header for his 14th goal of the season. A few minutes later and was back to square one – Glenn Cockerel scored from a Le Tissier cross to put the Saints level. Arsenal reacted quickly and Paul Merson made a run into the box and was brought down to earn a penalty. Lee Dixon would normally have taken the kick, but Wright was after the Golden boot and allowed to step up and score his 27th league goal of the season. Just like Kevin Campbell had done with the opener, Alan Smith also scored a header from a corner to for his 17th goal of the season. 3-1. Smith and Campbell had combined brilliantly as a striking partnership the previous year to help Arsenal win the league title for a tenth time. In 1990-91, Smith would earn the second golden boot of his career, but on this afternoon with the clock ticking down, it looked unlikely that his team mate Wright would achieve the same honour. With 90 minutes gone, Wrighty was still one goal behind Lineker who had managed to score for Spurs at Old

Trafford. Wright’s chances of becoming top goal league scorer in his debut Arsenal season depended on two goals in injury time. It was a farfetched dream, but for the last ever game of the North Bank terrace a miracle happened. David Seaman leaped to catch an incoming cross and fed the ball to the deadly striker. From deep in his own half Wrighty ran on goal, beat a couple of defenders and smashed the ball into the bottom corner of the Saints goal. Seaman said afterwards that he normally would have just let the ball go out for a goal kick, but in the last split second he decided to catch it and keep the ball in play. Wright was level with Lineker, but the icing on the cake hadn’t been spread just yet. A minute later, Alan Smith and Kevin Campbell made a surge into the penalty box. The ball found its way to Wright who scuffed it with his shin to make it 5-1. Of all Wright’s 29 league goals that season, it was by far the luckiest and the worst – but also the most satisfying. The North Bank went truly ballistic. Campbell lifted Wright on his shoulders in a joyous celebration that was as messy as the goal. Not only did Ian Wright win the golden boot, but Arsenal would also be the league’s top scorers. Incredibly, despite being the most lethal and exciting striker in the country, Ian Wright was not picked by Graham Taylor for the England squad that went to Euro 92. In three lacklustre games in Euro 92 England would score just the one goal which was in contrast to the Arsenal attacking force of the 1991-92 campaign. It may not have been a trophy winning season, and in the end we didn’t even achieve a European spot. But the North Bank terrace was more important than any piece of silver wear – and the attacking performances and great goals in the final games of the season were a wonderful send off. Arsenal-Southampton was a perfect conclusion to a beloved era of history. The old North Bank had seen some great moments over the decades and this Highbury classic was up there with some of the best.

Matthew Bazell

Matthew Bazell is the author of Theatre of Silence: The Lost Soul of Football


Old North Bank