Date: 7th February 2007 at 10:32pm
Written by:

This post was taken from the article comments on the Arsenal: The Last Big English Club article, and I thought it deserved a wider audience.

I do believe that these ‘non-English’ jibes are based on nothing more than pure jealousy (have you noticed the clubs these criticisms are coming from are more than happy to accommodate foreign players when it suits them. Can you say that they would turn down players of the class of Henry just because he isn’t English? I think not. They’d sell their granny to have a player that talented that loves their club as much as TH loves Arsenal) I think alot of fans get confused between nationality and spirit.

We all know that every club has it’s own ‘personality’ or character – prioritising different attributes, placing importance on different qualities, different ways of doing things. I believe that what fans actually look for in players is what we call ‘English spirit’ (think Terry Butcher, never-say-die, unquestionable loyalty, get stuck in, etc.), and that the influx of money into the game has ‘watered down’ the amount of visible players who possess these qualities (diving, cheating and conning are more abundant as some players do not have that ‘I’ll fight to stay on my feet’ mentality, thinking more along the lines of ‘I’ll get that penalty/free kick if I flop over like an oscar nominee’) It’s seriously misguided, though, if we think that all English players possess these qualities and no foreign players do.

I have no doubts about the character of the players that AW has signed – I actually believe that the character of players is as important to him as their playing skills (who wants a flash diver that thinks he’s bigger than the club he plays for, no matter how technically brilliant) For all the money that they earn, I have seen most of our players kiss the Arsenal badge on their shirt, proud to wear it – that’s the kind of player I want in an Arsenal shirt.

Our players possess what we term as English spirit, despite not been born here – it’s definitely about character and not nationality.

With regard to our board – I have been proud that they have conducted the growth of Arsenal Football Club in a very intelligent way, and am proud that we are still domestically owned. I do worry about our future – they must at some point be looking to retire – I just hope that their love of Arsenal (and I do believe that AFC is as much in the blood of the board as it is in the fans) will have some influence as to their decision, as and when they make it. Just an afterthought – all this criticism of us being non English – if I remember rightly our 1979 FA cup winning side had 7 non English players, I don’t remember any jibes then.

Article ‘submitted’ by Bergkampsboot

Articles submitted by Vital Arsenal members are based on the opinion of the member and not necessarily the view’s of the network itself.


6 Replies to “Character Over Nationality”

  • To be fair Bergboot kissing the badge means absolutely nothing anymore!! It really annoys me when players do it! We signed Geary from that shower from the other side of Sheffield and two weeks later he was kissing the Blades badge. It was embarrassing. As sad and disappointing as it is, most players are now out for themselves and not the club. It used to mean something when a player kissed his shirt but you see it every week now on MOTD and half the players are at another club the next season 🙁

  • Loyalty in football is in short supply these days, money for services is the bottom line, can you blame the players for wanting to earn as much from their tallent as they can in what is a shortish working life. No one comments when CEO’s leave companies when headhunted by other companies for large ammounts of money, it makes me wonder why we feel footballers should be any different. The bottom line is we are Supporters for life, come hell or high water our club is our club. No one pays us to support our club, maybe we should remember the payers are at the end of the day only employees and have no affinity to the clubs who ever they may be.

  • A couple of good points there fallas. It is very seldom nowadays that you have a Tony Adams or his type staying at 1 club for their entire careers. After watching that shower of s*** last night I am becoming more and more relieved that we don’t have many Englishmen.

  • col8:
    Fair point about CEO’s but on the other hand the majority of them work very long hours and are out on there ear fairly sharpish if they have a bad run of form.
    A footballer may be dropped from the team or transfer listed but still collects his money every week.
    And when it boils down to it a couple of hours training a day, few rounds of golf and a run out for 90 mins on a Saturday afternoon isn’t really the same as running a multi national company with shareholders wanting their dividends!

  • You are right, Blade, about kissing the club badge meaning nothing to certain players, but I don’t belive this applies to the majority of our players. (I should have perhaps expanded on it, rather than using the badge kissing to represent what I meant)
    Cols statement that no players have an affinity to their club is, in my opinion, a bit cynical. Despite the huge wage packets, the players are still human beings and will respond as such (didn’t TH
    choose to stay at Arsenal, stating that his decision was based on more than money? Look how long he stayed on the pitch after our last game at Highbury – it was obvious that it was a very emotional moment for him. That is not a player with ‘no affinity’)
    One of the things I still love about Arsenal is that the club still trying to adhere to our “Victoria Concordia Crescit” ethos, where everybody at the club is respected/valued. I think that players do respond to being shown respect and being made to feel as though you belong – it generates good team spirit. I believe that there are many players, past and present, who have an affinity to Arsenal Football Club and, as long as we continue to remain true to the spirit of our club motto, will continue to do so.

    Regarding the issue of nationality, I really do question the motives for the criticisms directed at us. The arguments tend to be based on the English game, therefore the England team, suffering. It seems as though we are being held up as scapegoats by dissatisfied (non-AFC supporting) England fans who are sick of the teams performances. Arsenal Football Club are not responsible for the lack of spirit shown by our national side.
    One last point, how far do we go when it comes to where our players come from? All Everton and Liverpool players must be native scousers? All Arsenal plyers from Islington? Setting ‘acceptable’ and ‘non-acceptable’ boundaries based on place of birth alone is wrong and pointless, and goes absolutely against the true spirit of the game.

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