Tag Archives: Liam Brady

Mesut Ozil – “A waste of money and talent”

Waste of money and talent was one comment when a friend of mine stuck up Karma is a bitch eh Mesut… in a Whatasapp group, The discussion was about Mesut Ozil being set to face a humiliating Arsenal climb down having failed to attract any offers for his services elsewhere.

Lazy, bug eyed c**t was another response. Needless to say, the majority of the Whatsapp group have not been impressed by Mesut Ozil and his performances for Arsenal.

They moan that he is lazy, that he does not put in enough work. Well I am sorry that Mesut Ozil does not run around as much as Francis Coquelin.

“F**cking run around a bit” was what Harry Redknapp once asked one of his strikers to do. The opinion being that showing a bit of enthusiasm and topping the KM’s covered charts is what makes a good footballer.

This is why England have always struggled. Fans champion the likes of Jordan Henderson, Jake Livermore, Lee Catermole, Emile Heskey, Danny Welbeck. Players who have very little technical ability, but put in a shift. Work hard. Run around a little bit.

Whilst this is an important attribute for smaller teams, the likes of Stoke City, Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur, Republic of Ireland and Scotland, at a top side, during a league campaign, you do not want your key attacking players to cover every inch of grass, wasting energy on lost causes.

Mathieu Flamini covered a lot of ground for Arsenal in both spells at the club. He often topped the charts for distance covered. He never stopped running. But who would you prefer in the side? Flamini or Cesc Fabregas? Flamini or Ozil?

But you need balance is what you are crying. You need a Flamini to play with a Fabregas, to cover the ground. Correct. You are right. You are basically agreeing with me. That it is not the job of the likes of Fabregas and Ozil to track back all the time. To cover a big load of KM’s. That is others in the team.

Aaron Ramsey loves to run around a little bit, but is then frustrating when he is asked to be the midfield play maker. I can probably count on one hand how many number 10’s are high energy, covering the ground. In fact, my pal Paul could probably count how many of these players are known for running around and he does not have a hand to count them on.

The Juan Mata’s of this world, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, James Rodriguez, Mario Gotze, Tomas Muller. Some of the best Number 10’s in world football. None are exactly known for running around a little bit. Mesut Ozil is amongst them.

So my first point with Ozil is simple. Understand his role in the team. He is not there to defend, he is in the side to attack, to create. Leave the defensive side to those behind him. We are not good enough at defending, blame Granit Xhaka, blame Aaron Ramsey, blame Arsene Wenger. Do not blame Mesut Ozil. It would be like blaming Laurent Koscielny that we do not score enough goals.

On the other point, about Mesut Ozil being a waste of money and talent it reminds me of two daily Mail articles that I read on their app. They were next to each other so reading one after another made interesting reading.

The first was about Mesut Ozil. About how he had been a flop at Arsenal. How he had been a horrendous signing. That Arsenal would be good to get shot of him.

Following on from the article was a second one about Tottenham Hotspur. It was the usual BS about how great they were. How great Mauricio Pochettino is. That Harry Kane is the best striker in the world. Dele Alli the best Number 10 (no mention that he is lazy).

Now for a bit of perspective…

So Ozil is a failure, having won more trophies at Arsenal in the 4 years he has been in London than Spurs have won in the last 26 years. That great Spurs team. The brilliant side that they are…

If I wanted to play silly buggers, I could say that Spurs have only won 3 trophies in the last 33 years. That my mates 5 year old has seen Ozil lift more trophies than his 32 year old father has seen Spurs lift.

A final thought on this matter, and I am not making an in depth comparison, just a final thought.

Liam Brady is considered an Arsenal legend. A left footed, classy player who glided over the field. How does Mesut Ozil compare to him?

So whilst Ozil has played half the amount of games, the German has a better scoring ratio – yet some moan that Ozil does not score enough.

And ultimately, Ozil has won more in his Arsenal career than Liam Brady.

Has Ozil been that much of a flop?


Who is Andries Jonker?

This morning Arsenal announced the appointment of Andries Jonker as Academy manager. He is a name that is fairly unknown in football, and any blogger who pretends to know anything about him is clearly making it up. On his appointment, my first comments were:

“I know nothing about him, but it is an interesting move and clearly highlights the globalisation of our academy as we have gone for a multilingual, well travelled appointment.”

Further exploration (ie Wikipedia) shows that he is an appointment that we could potentially be getting excited over, even if we all know nothing about him.

What will jump out to most people is his time at Barcelona, arguably the best academy in football over the last 10 years. This should be ignored. His tenure at Barcelona was short. One trophyless season alongside Louis Van Gaal.

Much in the same way, his tenure at Bayern Munich (firstly as assistant to Van Gaal, then as caretaker manager, finally taking a role as their reserve team manager in 2011) should be written off as well. The Bayern youth project was well under way at this point, and being an assistant manager is very different to be manager of a youth academy.

Where we are to get excited is his work for the Dutch FA. He spent 2 spells working for them – 1990-97 & 2000-03. Using Wikipedia (and other research) it is not completely clear, however, according to our site, his time in Holland was spent

“Developing and implementing youth coaching reforms for the KNVB (Dutch FA), in Haarlem and Amsterdam, and two seasons working as a senior coach in the youth setup of the Dutch Federation.”

Reportedly, our academy is in a state of disrepair. As revealed on shewore.com, the academy nearly lost its status with Liam Brady taking a lot of criticism by the FA for his running of it. We have bought in someone who, reading between the lines, reformed and re-organised the Dutch youth system. He is clearly experienced to do the job at Arsenal.

What is also exciting is the period’s of which he worked for the Dutch FA. In the last 20 years, the Dutch have had 2 strong teams. The side in 2000 should have won the European Championship, and the 2008 generation made the World Cup Final.

When you look at that 2000 squad and the names in it, the majority of the players (Stam, Davids, Seedorf, Overmars, van Bronckhorst, Zenden, etc) came to prominence in the early 90s, coinciding with Jonker’s tenure with Holland. Whilst this also coincides with a period in time of a brilliant Ajax academy, you have to think Jonker must have some credit for this – especially as his remit seems to be that of the Amsterdam region.

The second team was that of 2008. It contained the last generation of truly great Dutch players (Van Persie, Huntelaar, Van Der Vaart, Sniejder, Robben, Babel) all at some point or another being part of the Dutch youth set up between 2000-03.

What can not be a coincidence is that the last 2 great Dutch teams have been on his watch, and since he left his post with the KNVB, the Netherlands have failed to produce a truly top class footballer.

Finally, Andries Jonker  has worked closely with Louis van Gaal throughout his career. A man who Dennis Bergkamp holds highly. Whilst Jonker might not have been mentioned in Bergkamp’s autobiography, what is for certain is that he will have the same values and methods of van Gaal, who Bergkamp compares a lot to Arsene Wenger.

Is Jonker a good appointment? Who knows. But his CV and experience seems to suit Arsenal’s needs at the moment.

And a Dutchman on the coaching staff could be the first step in employing another Dutchman who used to play for us in the 90s (not Glen Helder…)


The Arsenal and Me – Lee’s Story

Boxing day 1978.

Arsenal 1  West Brom 2.

A wide eyed 9 year old sat in the east upper watching his first match at Arsenal was probably the happiest person in the stadium. Yes it was me and I didn’t care that we had lost because Liam Brady had scored our goal. Ok, it was a penalty but it was Liam Brady!

Growing up in Holloway I was only going to support one team. The Arsenal, but having a father who despised football I had to do it off my own back, although the 78,79 & 80 cup finals helped.

Decorating my bedroom window with pictures from the Islington Gazette & Evening Standard and rosettes started becoming as regular as putting up Christmas decorations. It was an Uncle with a spare season ticket who took me to that first match and I had to wait just over 2 years for my next match when I started going with friends at the ripe old age of 11! It seems strange these days to think of that but its what lots of kids did. Some of the kids round the estate used to just go up there for the last 15 minutes when they opened the gates to get in free but I would dig deep into my pocket money & cough up the 90p to get in the schoolboys.

That was it then every other Saturday (yes Saturday) and through the 80’s I done the Arsenal apprenticeship of schoolboys, North Bank, Clock End and when seating came in West Lower. We didn’t go because we thought Arsenal would win a trophy or challenge for the title, we went to watch the Arsenal.

It went deeper than just football. Some games were spent crowd watching and as a teenager growing up the best fashion trends of the 80’s would be seen on the Clock End on a Saturday afternoon. Items that were hard to come by or not on sale in Holloway sports would be looked at in awe. Some of the older lads were the smartest dressed supporters in the country.

To todays fans, winning the league cup means very little but back in 1987 it meant the world to me. After going Arsenal for the best part of 7 years I finally got to see them win something and a first trip to Wembley. No memberships or away credits needed then, just queue up after a match with a voucher from the turnstile. Even that great day couldn’t compare to what happened 2 years later and I was lucky enough to have a ticket for Anfield 89. The best football match I’ve ever been to and I don’t think I will ever see anything like it again. You can’t put into words the feeling of being there that night.

I used to love going to Highbury and  the whole match day experience. I would walk to Highbury via a pub when I was old enough (well nearly old enough) passing Arthur Daley type ticket touts ‘I’ve got seats upstairs’, the smell of horseshit, hamburgers’ and cigars all rolled into one, the reassuring click of the turnstile, then you were in. Some of the most funniest things I’ve heard in my life are comments that were shouted from the terraces. You can’t explain the pandemonium that hits a terrace when a goal is scored compared to todays cheer clap and then take a photo.

The 90’s were great and some of the players Arsenal had you would only dream about as a boy. But things were changing, all seating really hit atmosphere’s at games & it started becoming harder to get tickets, and then every game became all ticket and memberships arrived.

The trophies I’ve seen Arsenal win has been unbelievable and if you would have told me when I was standing on the Clock End in the pissing rain watching a 0-0  bore draw v Birmingham or the night we lost to Walsall at home I wouldn’t have believed it.

I still go to the odd game now and again but I have been priced out and feel I’ve been taken for granted and I’m not a fan of the new stadium but that’s the way it is now.

I’ll always be Arsenal through and through, it doesn’t just go away.


If you would like to tell your Arsenal story, click here