Tag Archives: She Wore

Unai Emery’s Red and White Army

There is not much to moan about down The Arsenal at the moment.

9 wins in a row, 2 points off top, the place is brimming with positivity. However, there is something that has done me head in since the arrival of Unai Emery.

The backing the manager has got since he joined has been tremendous. We are now singing about him once more and his army. But this is what is annoying it.

It is not “Unai Emery’s red army”.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.

It was “Georgie Graham and his red and white army”. It was “Arsene Wenger’s red and white army”. But at Fulham, it was “Unai Emery’s red army”.

Has it been that long since we sang about the manager that we have forgotten the words? Or does it just sum up society, that we are now lazy, looking for short cuts through life. That dropping off the “and white” is systematic of society.

Well let’s stop being lazy, lets get it right.

We became “Herbert Chapman’s red and white army” back in 1933 when he introduced white sleeves to the shirt. Despite kit manufactures meddling in away kits, it has remained that way for 85 years.

We might sing “red army” at times, but it will always be the managers “red and white army”.

Let’s start getting it right please.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.



Q&A with Theo Foley

What was your thoughts at your 1st game and sitting on the bench at Highbury ?

I genuinely could not believe it as I’d never have believed in my wildest dreams that I’d make it at Arsenal all the way from Inchicore, Dublin. It was the top level possible, like the home of football, the tradition, the history, the Marble Halls, the heated floors, just the sheer class of the place. I was dreaming. We had Manchester United too for the first game another huge club with a new manager in Alex Ferguson. We won 1-0 at Highbury with a Charlie Nicholas goal, that’s as much as I remember from the game. I remember having better Adidas training gear, a lovely glass dugout and plenty of Wrigley’s chewing gum to chew on. Not forgetting some top top players that were a cut above the lads we’d been working with for the previous four seasons at The Den.

 Every ex-player at The Arsenal talks so highly of you and says they could goto you but couldn’t always goto George Graham, was this set up planned between you both ?

It just happened that way because we were both very different characters, even if we had very similar football beliefs. It worked very well at the club as players felt at ease with me whereas George was a disciplinarian so the mixture combined well. The players could always approach me for my views and I’d never hold back so they appreciated the honesty. I’d never betray George though and I was always his closest ally otherwise it would never have worked.

 Who was the best and worst in training ?

Tony Adams and David Rocastle were both great trainers, never moaned, just got on with it. They had great attitudes which made them what they were, great players

The worst? Quinny. Forwards are generally a bit moanier, a bit lazier (it’s all in the book) and Quinny was no different, he moaned like hell when he wasn’t happy with what we were doing. Then he’d start moping along the big old Dub lump. He was a great lad all the same.

 Was you as confident as George Graham on that Friday night heading upto Merseyside in 1989 ?

Believe it or not, I was yes. You have to really believe you can win or there’s no point turning up. Maybe a couple of the lad’s needed convincing but with players like Tony, Lee Dixon, Bouldy, Nigel, Mickey, Richo + David Rocastle on the pitch, they will all fight to the end and so it proved. Then we had George acting so calm and convinced that the ones that were unsure took to the field full of confidence. He adjusted the routine, adjusted the formation and pulled of a couple of masterstrokes. He was a wonderfully shrewd man, he still is. My job was to cajole, to support, to rally round and keep the energy levels high.

 Anfield 89 aside, what gives you the greatest feeling of pride from your time at The Arsenal ?

Literally just being there, I never took it for granted and pinched myself most weeks. I loved the place. Everything about it. Once an Arsenal man, always an Arsenal man.

 Which up and coming youth player really suprised you ?

Tony Adams again and Michael Thomas, both real talents that took that next step up no bother. We had Tony + Martin Keown coming through together but there was never any hesitation, Tony was the key player coming through. Michael could be as good as he wanted to be he was so talented and he was one lovely boy. David (Rocastle) came through a little slower maybe but just got better and better and never looked back. Everyone knows that I loved David like a son.

 Did you ever go out with The Tuesday club ?

No – I couldn’t become too close with the players and that was their thing so I stayed well away.

 Have you been to the Emirates ? If so what’s your feelings on the new ground ?

Yes it’s a wonderful stadium and a great place to watch a game – but nothing beats the atmosphere and tradition of Highbury, for me. The Emirates is the next best thing I guess and I understand why the club moved.

 What are your initial thoughts on Emery ?

Early days still but he looks promising and some welcome organisation and pragmatism as well as the flair. Let’s hope he follows in the footsteps of George and Arsene to bring success back to the club.

Theo Foley has been involved in professional football for over six decades as a player, coach and manager. During the early days of his playing career, whilst captain of Northampton Town, Theo ran a pie and chip shop to supplement his income from football, a far cry from the riches enjoyed by footballers today.

In his autobiography, Theo Give Us a Ball: A Life in Football, co-authored with his son, Paul, Theo details the highs and lows of professional football in a bygone age. From kicking a ball about on the streets of 1950s’ Dublin to captaining a First Division team during the 1960s and becoming assistant manager at Millwall and Arsenal, this book provides a fascinating insight into football in the days when a love of the game came before wealth and fame.

During his time at Highbury, Theo became a local legend and fans would chant ‘Theo, give us a ball,’ to which he duly obliged. In this honest account, Theo reveals the highs and lows of his life in football and shares his memories of working with some of the football greats of the past.

She Wore

Laurent Koscielny, Miguel Almiron & the UEFA Nations League

Laurent Koscielny

Yesterday Laurent Koscielny announced that he was retiring from international football. It did not exactly come as a surprise.

The 33-year missed out on a World Cup winners medal this summer and admitted that it was hard to see his team-mates lift the trophy in Moscow.

It seems Koscielny’s decision was driven by a lack of communication from French manager Didier Deschamps.

The Frenchman picked up an Achilles injury back in May, hobbling off after 12 minutes in the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

Koscielny claims that since his injury, Deschamps has contact him just one – wishing him happy birthday.

He made 51 appearances for France, making his debut in November 2011, and took part in the European Championships in 2012 and 2016, as well as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“The injury is one thing, the victory of the World Cup is another,” Koscielny said. “I think the victory certainly made me much more psychologically hurt than my injury.

“I think I gave the France team what I could. For me, my injury has not changed anything. The Blues are over, after that, I will always be a supporter of the French team but what is certain is that I will not put on the blue jersey.

“I have a new state of mind, there will be the Laurent before and the Laurent after injury. I want to continue to Arsenal, I want to return quickly. I want to fight.”

At his age and with his injury record, you have to wonder how long there is left in the career of Koscielny.

With his Arsenal contract set to expire in 18 months, his career in London is also coming to an end. It would not be a surprise if this summer he returns to France to see out the rest of his career.

PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 28: Laurent Koscielny of France applauds the fans after the International Friendly match between France and Spain at Stade de France on March 28, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Miguel Almiron

We are pretty much equidistance between the closure of the summer transfer window and the opening of the January window.

It is no surprise therefore that we have seen an increase in transfer speculation as  outlets look to increase their advertising revenue.

One name that seems to be at the top of Arsenal related news is Miguel Almiron.

The 24-year old Paraguayan has been linked heavily to Arsenal recently with increasing intensity. My take on it is that his agents are using Arsenal to get his name in the papers, to make it clear his client is available for a potential move to Europe.

He has had a good season in the MLS, with 12 goals and 14 assists. However the step up from America to the Premier League is a huge one.

Whilst the scouting reports that I have read highlight him as a good player:

“Almiron is the epitome of a 21st-century playmaker: strong in the pass, equipped with outstanding vision and technical ability, but also with the physical attributes to match.”

The consensus seems to be that Almiron is both a technical brilliant, two-footed play maker, but also has the industry and work rate to press the opposition high up the pitch.

With Aaron Ramsey set to leave the club at the end of the season, Almiron could provide a decent, low-cost understudy for Mesut Ozil / Aaron Ramsey replacement. Although I am unsure if he is that much of a step up from Alex Iwobi.

There is talk that Atlanta are holding out for double the £12.6million that Arsenal were rumoured to have “agreed”. At this point he no longer becomes the cheap understudy.

Almiron’s statistics this season are not too dissimilar to former Arsenal star Carlos Vela.

In a league where Bradley Wright-Phillips finished 3rd top scorer, you have to question the quality of the league.

Ultimately, the deal could come down to whether Sven Mislintat believes that the MLS and Premier League are too far apart in terms of quality. And whether they see the point in investing for cover for Ozil when you already have Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Keep an eye on this one.

UEFA Nations League

What a load of rubbish. Glorified friendly’s. Scrap it now.