Date: 6th January 2007 at 1:07am
Written by:

This week here on Vital there have been many comments about clubs and the players nationalities. Much has been said about Arsenal and its players and lack of English players and questions have been raised whether it is right for a British club to field so many foreigners.

Arsene Wenger has said many times that if a player is good enough then he plays no matter what his nationality, yet many quarters of the games supporters continue to berate that comment and call us names.

I have a different stance, my opinion is that the name on the front of the shirt is more important than then name on the back, and I don`t mean the sponsor.

Do fans really worry about where the player is born, if they produce the type of football that wins your beloved team games, does it matter? I would ask any supporter, if you fielded 11 non British players and won the league, would you be saying “oh excuse me; we would prefer to win the league with British players!” I very much doubt it.

When I first started going to Arsenal games, the team was made up of English, Irish & Scottish players, but I remember looking at the European players dreaming of seeing them come to Highbury and play their attractive style of play and bring a different type of football, the beautiful game. Now don’t get me wrong, just because they are foreign doesn’t automatically bring quality and skill, and many a manager has had a few blunders, our own Arsene himself.

But what else do they bring? I think they bring professionalism, you don’t hear of the foreign players out on the town living it up till the early hours, they treat their bodies with respect as their bodies are their living at the end of the day. It can be said the English mentality is to get drunk, to party hard and is probably what has held us back as a nation for so many years. Players like Gazza who had so much talent but wasted it, Tony Adam and Paul Merson, great players but what would they have become if they were more like the Henry`s and Zidane’s of this world?

At the end of the day, the most important thing is I don’t care who plays for my team as long as they win, the name on the front is Arsenal and it doesn’t matter to me who the name on the back is, it`s about my team playing well and winning.

Article submitted by PureGold

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


36 Replies to “The Most Important Thing”

  • I think that an English club should field at least a couple of English players. I agree that a player should not be judged on their nationality, and if they are good enough then so what? But for the good of the English game I’d like to see more English players at Arsenal. Your team play some amazing football, which I have witnessed first hand as a Reading supporter (3-0 & 4-0 over the past two games), and it would be excellent to have some English talent learning under Wenger. Hoyte is just a stop-gap, leaving Walcott as your only likely Englishman!

  • I see where your coming from Rogue and yes, it would be nice if a couple of English players were good enough for Arsenal. That doesn’t mean to say I am bother by the fact that we can field a team compiled of 11 different nationalities, infact, I think it’s something to be proud of.

  • I’m not being negative towards Arsenal’s policy, I’m just speculating on how Wenger could add to English football by teaching our own players the joys of passing football.

    I would celebrate if my team won the league with a single Brit, but at the same time I’m not sure I’d feel as connected to the team in general. It’s hard to say to be honest.

  • Being a non-English Arsenal fan, I am proud that Arsenal has such a national/cultural diversity which functions like a family. The point by Rogue is well taken. but heard before. Again we could enter a discussion which has been dissected here many many times: 1. who of the current English ‘stars’ are good enough to play for Arsenal (meaning better than the ones we have in the team, Ca$hley doesn’t count) 2. who is available on the market? 3. What is their silly price? 15 mil for Hargreaves? 18 mil for Richards? More than 7 mil for Ashley Young? It is ridiculous and the only ones buying good English players (Carrick excluded) are ManUtd (at a ‘reasonable’) price and Chelsea (more ‘reasonable’ than ManUtd). Others are buying ‘prospects’ and ‘Jenases’ of the Premier League. So let’s drop this nationality subject once and for all – it’s taken too much space.

  • i understand what you mean Rogue, but Arsene himself has said that at this point the english academies are still 2-3 years off their european counterparts, and consequently, so are the players they produce. And, without wishng to sound like someone getting all flouncy about his club, that crucial aspect of technique and top notch quality is somethign crucial to the game we play. But it’s not just about that. As PureGold wrote in his article, far too many english players prefer the celeb lifestyle, living in the fast lane, popstar girlfriend, *****ty book brought out at the age of 23 when they’ve achieved jack in the scheme of things…), whereas the majority of foreign players we have tend to knuckle down, work hard and improve and bide their time, instead of bleating about how they should be in the first team instead of ‘top international player x’. Hello Bentley (who seems to have finally got over it now, thank goodness…). Or Mr Jermaine ‘The Tag’ Pennant.

    »»Arsene Knows««

  • And I don’t just identify with a player cos he’s english and plays for my club, i will identify with hiom more if he displays a true love and feel for the club, much as i do. Going back to what i was originally saying, M. Wenger aniticpates that by 3 years time, we should be seeing a crop of english players coming through our youth academy of an equal standing, level in terms of technique and hopefully mentality) with the ream of europe and south america, that he has brought to the club.

    And i know you’re not being negative against our policy, it’s good to hear constructive viewpoints, makes for a good discussion, something I’m sure we all enjoy 🙂

    »»Arsene Knows««

  • You seem to be ignoring the fact that I am a Reading supporter, who watches two former Arsenal youth-players week in, week out. Steve Sidwell is still only 23 despite maturing years ahead. In my opinion he has been our best player this season, and is more than holding his own in the Premiership. This being the case, why are there not more Steve Sidwells and James Harpers coming out of Arsenal? Instead there are Denilsons, Larssons, and Bentners, who are all fantastic prospects but none of whom are English.

    Like I’ve said, nationality does not mean a great deal to me, and the playing having ability is more important. I’m simply saying that I’d like to see a few English players coming through at Arsenal as it would benefit our country. I understand what is said about the life-style of the English, but this is not applicable in every case.

  • I think the opening of the David Rocastle centre will be looked back on as a turning point in English football history. As far as I know, it’s the only youth training centre in the country dedicated to technique. And it’s funded entirely by…you guessed it…Arsenal.

  • Rogue, if Sidwell, Harper, Bentley, Pennant, Upson and other such players had stayed at Arsenal they would have had to accept that they are not goint to play every week due to players like Cesc, Helb, Djourou, Rosicky and bide their time. I don’t think any of them players were prepared to do that. As I said, I would like to see one or 2 more English players in the Arsenal team. Not for the national interest but because it would shut a lot of people up.

  • Thats bold Rogue. Rosicky is yet to adapt to English football. While I do rate Sidwell, Rosicky is one of Europe’s bes midfielders. You seem like a decent bloke, feel free to drop in on the forum.

  • That last comment was said with tongue in cheek.

    I see where you’re coming from with regards to young English players not really getting a chance, and the fact that you paid £12million or so for Walcott highlights the points made about English talent being vastly over-priced.

    I’m not sure if I’m coming across as I’d like, but I don’t hold it against Arsenal. I’m not one of those who complains, in fact I think Arsenal are the best footballing team in this country, and that has nothing to do with nationality. When I watched Fabregas’ array of passing carve us open, Van Persie’s sublime skills, and Henry’s pace and finishing, I dreamt of the English equivelants. I’m saying this from an outsider rather than a support of your club, and do not mean to be coming across negatively at all!

  • Your point is fair Rogue, and I am pleased to see Sidwell enjoying success and first team football with Reading. He knew that at Arsenal he would probably sit on the bench or play for the reserves, so in pursuit of first-team football he listened to AW’s advice and found a great home in Reading. Again, I am sure that the scouting team at Arsenal is not anti-English, and that they are looking for good younger players in England more than they do in Brazil or Sweden. The wonder-kids like Theo, Rooney, Richards, Bale etc. nowadays are very rare and come at a high price. I also believe that the English kids have the same chance if not even better, of making it at Arsenal than the foreign ones – it is just the standards that have risen immensely in the past years – and the fact that some continental football academies are more advanced than some of the English ones.

  • Far from it Rogue, from the few comments we have exchanged you seem like a very level headed man. Genarally we Gooners get nothing but resentment from supporters from other teams. Your right, English players are over-priced and they are also technically inferior to their European counterparts. I think that in the coming generation of English footballer is going to do better than it’s predecessor. The likes of Walcott, Rooney, Lennon and Richards have the technical ability that their senior counterparts do not, as a result I think you will see Arsenal going for more English players in the future…transfer fee permitting.

  • I cannot disagree with any of the above, and can only reiterate that it is what I would personally like to see and do not agree with there becoming some sort of law to have English players.

    My point was meant in a very complementary way – I was highlighting the esteem that I held Wenger in as a coach and simply said that it’d be excellent from an English point of view if there was more home grown talent at Arsenal. This is not to say that I begrudge the foreign players in any way, because I don’t!

  • lol. ‘Would like to see’. I agree. Any attemapt by FIFA to bring in quota’s will be torn to shreds in a matter of seconds by anyone. It would be nice to see a couple more English players at Arsenal but I couldn’t care less if our players come from Islington or Baghdad. Rogue, I would like to say I have a great deal of respect for you based on the little I have spoken to you. You should be a Gooner. 😛

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