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Expectations Rising

When I was a young boy (around the time Hannibal crossed the Alps on an elephant) our Christmas present choices were more limited. XBoxes and PlayStations had not been remotely thought of, so at Christmas I used to love to be bought, and to play, Waddington’s finest board games like Monopoly, Cluedo, and a horse-racing game called Totopoly. If you agreed to play Totopoly with a lot of people you might have to devote four hours to it. The reason was that there were two boards — the exciting bit, the race, but before that, if you played it properly, you had to go through training. That took forever but it was the key to winning the ultimate race. It helped if you had a strategy that you could stick to as the intensity of competition got tighter. Often you’d do everything right and your horse would burst a blood vessel in the final furlong. It was a lesson for life — and the Premier League. How often have Arsenal players been found to have gone in the fetlock at a crucial time?

That is a laboured analogy but it illustrates very well how success is obtained in modern football. You have to get the preparation right before you can enjoy the end-product and you need a modicum of luck. If there is one lesson from 22-23 so far it is that the better quality your preparation…and the more intelligent your strategy, the greater the dividends you can reap.

By Jcmagot – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64792781

We are among friends so we can be honest. There is scarcely an Arsenal fan alive who expected the club to do this well so far this season. The reality is that a straw poll of Gooners would have been mightily pleased with fourth place and maybe winning the Europa League (another route into the Champions League) at the end of this season. Some tell me they still would be — see later!

The frustrating part is that all we have so far experienced is the foreplay. We‘ve played fourteen games and have to play another twenty four.  Two of those are against our greatest rivals, Manchester City. We play Newcastle twice, an away North London Derby, and a game at Anfield. Last season in those games we took a total of three points.

Ok, I’ve pissed on your chips, so lets find something a bit more optimistic to ruminate on. How close are we to the Champions League? Automatic qualification to the Champions League for fourth was introduced to the Premier League in 2012/13 but the number of points needed to secure that spot was on the rise well before then.

Here I quote from Planet Football: “In the first ten seasons from 1995/96 the average number of points needed to grab fourth spot was 65.5. For the following 16 seasons that number has risen to 70.8.

That number has been bolstered by Arsenal’s 79 in 2014/15 and Liverpool’s 76 in both 2007/08 and 2016/17. Interestingly, all three seasons’ points totals would have been enough to win the Premier League in 1996/97 when Manchester U, took the crown with just 75 points.”

Arsenal have already amassed 37 points from 14 games . They have 24 games left to get another 35 to almost certainly qualify for the Champions League. We are 11 points ahead of the fifth-place team, Manchester United, with a vastly superior goal difference (22 goals better). Liverpool, in 6th, are 15 points behind us.

So short of a major collapse we have undertaken a lot of the groundwork necessary to put us back in the Champions League. We are very well on course. I have an image of many denizens of this bar becoming very uncomfortable at this sort of talk. We are tempting fate in a very big way if we start talking about being champions after fourteen games.

But football fans are also greedy as well as pessimistic. Suppose we continue with excellent results and start to isolate ourselves with Citeh (if that hasn’t already happened). Would we be pleased with fourth place if we are top of the table with ten games to go? Expectations get ramped up spectacularly when you are playing well. You can feel inside Ashburton Grove an atmosphere that we’ve not experienced at that ground before. The place is rocking, it’s positive, and it’s been marvellous fun . Whisper it quietly but we do have a chance of the title. 

What are the main reasons? Well we’ve really thought out how to succeed. We have an intelligent template for identifying and signing talent and a sparkling academy that regularly produces stars. Look at our last one and a half seasons and compare them with Manchester United’s. How much of a demand was there to take up Piers Morgan’s puerile suggestion to sign Ronaldo on loan to cover the absence of Jesus? Answer: virtually none. Our coach may well be rated the hottest young property in Europe at the end of this season, and his relationship with a cabal of Edu, Lewis, Mertesacker, Garlick, Josh Kroenke, and a set of very innovative coaches generates terrific excitement for the future.

Last season there were several awful moments – Brentford away, Palace away, and the games at the Spuds and Geordies. Outclassed at Anfield and at Citeh. This season we played really well at Palace, and murdered Brentford where they had murdered us a year before. We’ve seen fine away performances at Chelsea and Bournemouth, and resilient efforts at Leeds and Wolves.

At home we’ve been sensational in the League, efficient in the Europa League, and although we went out to Brighton in the Carabao Cup I believe that has to be a blessing in disguise. The Brighton defeat coupled with the Eindhoven capitulation away illustrates that while our first eleven is a match for anyone we lack the depth to fill in for long if we lose key players. The loss of Jesus is a much bigger challenge than the need to buy another winger in my view. Up front we have Nketiah who is still relatively unproven and now faces a lot of games with no obvious cover. Martinelli can definitely do a good job of replicating Jesus, but that affects the balance of the side. On the wing, however, we have Saka and Martinelli and could use Smith Rowe, Vieira and Marquinhos. And we saw in his cameo against Forest that Reiss Nelson is not a spent force.

Our one league defeat at United was deeply frustrating as a Salford-domiciled referee chalked off a perfectly valid goal, and Sambi Lokonga failed to get anywhere near to the level of Partey in playing the holding role in midfield. We looked naive in conceding on the break but we wouldn’t have done so if Partey had played in place of Lokonga. Elneny wasn’t available but there’s also a big gap in quality between him and Partey.

We have an excellent defence. White, Tomayisu, and Saliba alongside the underrated Gabriel provide a strong barrier in front of the revitalised Ramsdale. In my opinion, Partey and the transformed Xhaka have dovetailed beautifully with the woefully underrated Ødegaard to provide a midfield that enables us to control matches against almost anybody.

On the wings we have two of the most sought after players in world football in Saka and Martinelli. Both lads bleed red and white, and we must confirm their new contracts soon. I am confident we will. Hopefully we will complete a hat-trick with the signing of Saliba. Our two signings from the Etihad have adjusted brilliantly, although we will lose Jesus for around three months after an injury sustained in the World Cup. What other impacts that ghastly, mistimed tournament will have on league football will become evident as the season unwinds.

This is where we get to the complicated Totopoly effect. We have prepared superbly for the first third of the season. Now we have to decide what we need to take us forward…and maybe decide how far forward that can be. It is hard not to feel we are seriously in the title race as I write, especially if we take up where we left off and Citeh falter at all, or Haaland or De Bruyne picks up a serious injury. Pressure builds though when expectations grow. We haven’t had those expectations…until now.

If we do sign Mudryk it is not because we need another winger but because we believe that he has a huge ceiling. We must, in my opinion, be able to mitigate the potential loss of Partey, and reduce the strain on a player whose injury record suggests he won’t come unscathed through the rest of the season. If we could also find a high-quality loan striker from a cash-strapped major club like Juve, or Barcelona, or Atletico, we could see if he was able to fit into the structure, give rest and rotation to Jesus and Nketiah and find out  whether PL football suited our temporary import. Options MIGHT be loans for one of Griezmann, Vlahovic, Felix, Torres, Taremi, Giroud (!), or Morata. All have big plusses and some have obvious minuses. We lost Champions League last season because we stayed with Lacazette who gave us very little towards the end of the season. If we are determined to sign Mudryk for say £40-45 m it will be because we expect him to be worth double that at least before too long. Midfield is more difficult and again a loan gives us options but McAllister at Brighton and Caicedo for that matter are fine players, and if we did get Griezmann his versatility in midfield could be a huge asset. Tielemans is a good player but isn’t a priority at this stage in my opinion.

Typical wish-list stuff which I believe indicates we need a holding midfielder and an attacking player who can be the focal point of attack. But one or both could be loan signings if Bloody Edu can do his stuff. So I might have concocted a wish list but it is based on an assumption and belief that the foundations of this club are exceptionally strong, KSE have a willingness to help the club financially in intelligent ways (they won’t be pumping huge amounts in but they understand sport finance and how to juggle balance sheets), and that this is a golden moment we didn’t expect but one we’d love to see the club seize with vigour and ambition.

This is a season like no other. The impact of a huge disruption in the middle of a winter programme which will stretch out interminably until June will not only stretch our resources, it will stretch everyone’s. Many fine players will suffer injury and burnout but that happens when FIFA accept bribes from Qatar. We must hope and pray that our plans and our obvious quality continue this glorious domestic season, and that something special is about to occur in N5. I really believe it is. Who shares my view?

52 Drinks to “Expectations Rising”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    A beautiful job of setting the stage and reminding us of where we stood pre-tournament and wherewe stand now, as well as what our expectations can reasonably be for the next 24 games. Thanks, TTG, I am raring to go for Boxing Day and the resumption of our title (Champions League 😉) chase!

  2. 2
    bathgooner says:

    A superb helicopter analysis of our season so far, its tantalising possibilities and the challenge facing MA8, Edu and KSE. This blog is up there with your best ever, TTG. The title may remain within reach if we reinforce in the two areas identified as the season began (before the disruptive injury to Jesus), namely additional firepower and midfield cover. That prize may slowly drift away if we fail at least to address the former.

    Mudryk’s name has been in play for weeks whilst the young Brazilian midfielder whose name I forget has also been cited for months as a potential January signing. Jesus’ absence for 3 months makes reinforcement up front even more essential but may not change the target given the philosophy of eschewing short term fixes that we saw a year ago. Yet we went for Douglas Luiz at the end of the last window – so perhaps the philosophy is not fixed in stone. Your list of loanees is interesting. One of those would certainly help fill the gap and keep theis thrilling show on the road.

    If we can effectively fill the gap left by Jesus (and that may simply be Eddie proving his mettle) then your optimism is certainly justified and we will be very happy bunnies in May. However I feel that at the very least we have to add another useful player to the forward line both to add that ‘additional firepower’ and more importantly, to relieve those we currently have of the physical and mental workload facing them. If we fail to do the utmost to sign that player then we will kick ourselves for yet another missed opportunity as we fall away.

    You are also correct about our expectations. While fourth would meet pre-season expectectations, it would be a disappointment from our current position. However, realistically our young guns have done amazingly so far this season. Can we really expect them to match the depth and fiscal firepower of UAE FC as the season progresses? I really hope they can but a top four finish would both meet our stated target for this season and be a more realistic expectation after a gruelling and exhausting run-in. But what a chance we have! Just do it, Stan! Re-inforce the front line!

  3. 3
    North Bank Ned says:

    A thought-provoking piece on many points, TTG. As league leaders, we are, by definition, in a title race, although being frontrunners is different from ending up as winners, as you point out, especially after only 14 games of a 38-game season.

    At the minimum, we need to split the points with City, take four off Newcastle, draw at Anfield and win the home games against the Mancs and the Chavs. That is a demanding schedule, especially for a young side still being tempered.

    Keeping Partey fit will be essential. You only notice how essential he is to the team’s rhythm when he isn’t there. He is our Achilles heel in that we have no adequate replacement or Plan B formation. Upfront, Nketiah needs a run of games if he is to blossom in Jesus’s enforced absence. On the other hand, should anything happen to him, our striking options are thin (Martinelli moving to the centre). Your suggestion of taking a seasoned striker on loan is sensible.

  4. 4
    OsakaMatt says:

    Excellent piece thanks TTG, thanks.
    I’m still pondering over the various points you raise so no comment yet,
    Just wanted to say we knocked in a couple of goals against Juventus –
    courtesy of Rob and Granit. Sadly they were in our own net though
    Xhaka’s was a fine finish.

    We played well in the account I read and dominated the game but
    lacked the finishing touch – a worry that brings us back round to TTG’s
    concerns above.

  5. 5
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks TTG
    A comprehensive summary.
    I’m still not a huge fan of Nketiah and would prefer the option of Martinelli in the middle until proven wrong and ESR/Nelson taking up the outside role.
    Also agree with the obvious need of a back-up for Thomas although unsure of who that may be. Hopefully Arteta/Edu are better informed than me – not hard to be fair.

  6. 6
    Countryman100 says:

    I really enjoyed this piece TTG. Can we keep up that marvellous start to the season? We go in with a bang with West Ham, Brighton away (usually a banana skin), Newcastle (we were so badly beaten at SJP last season) , Spurs away, and then Manchester United ( to whom we lost our only game so far this season), with the FA Cup against Oxford in the middle. 15 points to play for in that period. What can we expect? If we win all the home games and draw the two away games we get 11 points. Sufficient?

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@6: On the basis that beating the bottom ten home and away and the rest of the top nine at home while drawing away should amass enough points to win the league, then 11 points would be sufficient. However, we really should be winning at Brighton — less of a banana skin post-Potter, I suspect — and a win in Middlesex would just be in the natural order of things, so we should be looking for the full 15 points, 13 at the very minimum.

  8. 8
    Countryman100 says:

    Our boy Saka completes a rather tasty front three in L’Equipe’s team of the World Cup.

  9. 9
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah, Saka certainly had a good tournament.
    Thé even younger Rehan Ahmed just had a good day too.

  10. 10
    OsakaMatt says:

    Having had time to think it through I can say that I do share your view TTG.
    It is as good a chance as we’ve had for many years.
    Last January we gambled and went with what we had and it so nearly worked
    but I hope we don’t go that way again. For me the midfield is the priority.

  11. 11
    Countryman100 says:

    Indeed Matt. A Michelle on debut at 18 years old. Well bowled sir!

  12. 12
    Bathgooner says:

    Tim @ 7amKO recently linked to this article about Morocco and its hybrid culture which is well worth reading, if you’ve not already beaten me to it. The world is a fascinating and endlessly schismatic place when one ignores politically expedient generalisations:


  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    Now the Qatar World Cup is over, it is worth re-upping C100’s post in the previous drinks about FIFA’s plans to introduce a 32-team club World Cup, expand the 2026 World Cup and further expand the international calendar with regional confederation tournaments. As C100 said, another bloody stupid idea from FIFA. It is unadulterated money grabbing (and makes criticism of the ESL for being the same look like the pot calling the kettle black). There is a huge conflict of interest between being the game’s governing body and the organiser of an ever-expanding roster of lucrative competitions. The same can be said for UEFA and the other regional confederations.

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@12: Thanks for the link. Like many places on the periphery of larger geocultural landmasses, Morocco has always been a place of its own (a bit like California or Scotland in their different ways), but it was fascinating to read how that manifested itself at the World Cup, and as you say, a reminder to avoid political generalisations. It was also a reminder of how, for all FIFA’s sanctimony about football, this was a hugely political World Cup.

  15. 15
    Bathgooner says:

    Ned, I did think of the history of Scotland as I read it.

    Here’s Macron following his own advice and keeping politics out of football which is clearly quite distinct from a reptilian politician shamelessly attempting to take advantage of the popularity of the people’s game:


  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@15: Was it the Lion Rampant and the Atlas Lions link, or the unintelligible dialects? :

    As for Macron, the People’s President…

  17. 17
    Trev says:

    Great work, TTG, thorough, imaginative and an enjoyable read.

    We certainly have to sign someone for that striking role as Nketiah, however well he does, and a post operative Jesus can’t see the entire season out on their own. It would help if we could rely on a returning Emile Smith-Rowe, but that seems to have gone a bit quiet too..?

    As Ned says, Partey’s full value only becomes apparent when he’s not there – a fact reminiscent of another defensive midfielder, Gilberto Silva.

  18. 18
    Bathgooner says:

    Ned @16, it certainly wasn’t the swift, incisive passing and movement! 🤣

  19. 19
    TTG says:

    At previous big tournaments I enjoyed a bit of unofficial scouting . In Euro 1992 the Danes had a powerhouse midfielder called Jensen who on the basis of the final was a goal machine . I don’t know what happened to him !😃
    I also noted Gilberto in 2002 one of the most underrated players we have ever had . But I e not seen this tournament so my suggestions would all come from journos or other bloggers and that can be disastrous.
    What we need is a 2022 Johnny Jensen – a goal machine with sublime skills . But players like that only come along once in a generation 🎅

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    Arsenal thrashed Millwall 6-0 in the YouthCup tonight. It woukd be nice 5o lift that prize again under LJW

  21. 21
    ecg says:

    I’m bored, so let’s talk transfers. I would be surprised if we sign a striker. Everyone and their uncle thinks we are desperate for a striker and they will want to extract a massive fee. Plus, the timeline doesn’t really play out. Jesus had surgery near the beginning of the month, so with the restart of league, he will be roughly 3 weeks post surgery. Arteta has been playing his cards close, so we don’t know for sure but let’s assume 3 months before he is ready to play. Realistically, the earliest we would sign a player would be mid to late January, and that player would have to be integrated into the squad. So now we are 1.5 to 2 months through Jesus’ recovery. January is going to be one of our toughest months with Newcastle, Manure, and that crappy team up the road, and a new striker is not going to help us. So the smartest plan might be to bring Balogun back from his loan.
    My guess is we are going to focus on what all of us at the bar think we needed prior to Jesus getting injured, which are backups for Saka and Partey.

  22. 22
    Noosa Gooner says:

    On a WC related issue, what an absolute knob-head Martinez has proven to be throughout the tournament, culminating in his puerile presentation performance. Good keeper but absolutely no class whatsoever. Maybe that’s why we let him go and I would be embarrassed if he were still with the Arse.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Countryman100 says:

    Reports on Twitter that Gabigol has signed his new contract. Report comes from a Spanish newspaper from the angle that Barca have had to give up on plans to sign him. No idea if true or not but obviously really hope so. The boy’s a diamond.

  25. 25
    TTG says:

    Mikel Arteta joined us three years ago today . I’m very pleased he did . I’m sure most agree

  26. 26
    Sancho Panza says:

    Thank you guys for keeping us entertained during the wc. Really interesting articles and comments.

    And now we can get back to the serious stuff and all things Arsenal.

    I for one am looking forward to seeing Eddie in the forward position as I think he will thrive knowing he is number one choice. His different playing style will mean the squad will have been practicing in a way to suit the team with him up front. In a way the break has definitely worked in our favour.

  27. 27
    Trev says:

    TTG @25
    I think Arteta, with his clear thinking and quickness of mind, is going to be a top, top manager.
    He initially had to play with what he had, but as he has reshaped and rejuvenated the squad his true quality had been allowed to take over.
    Poor man management ?
    Got rid of Gouendouzi, Aubameyang, rehabilitated Xhaka into a player hardly anyone could recognise, and managed Martinelli back to full fitness after a couple of injury riddled seasons.

  28. 28
    Trev says:

    Arteta is doing an interview with Jamie Ckharragghher tonight at 10.30pm on Sky Sports

  29. 29
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent review TTG of the season so far. Did the North African pachyderms crossing Alps look distinctly different from their sub-Saharan cousins to you? 🙂

    I am happy taking the ride with this team without expectations or fear. 🙂 As you mentioned a lot can happen and to sustain our position on top of the league we would need a bit of good fortune, hoping especially for an injury free squad. Hopefully ESR, Tomiyasu and Zinchenko are back very soon and Reiss’s injury isn’t anything severe.

    I think Jesus would be a difficult player to replace, especially in the immediate future. If we don’t end up signing a striker — permanently or in loan, and in addition to a wide forward player — I will then guess that Arteta’s medical team is certain about the Brazilian’s availability sooner than is officially projected.

    I am also looking forward to Vieira establishing himself as a genuine first team contender.

  30. 30
    TTG says:

    A 0-0 draw against Luton at Colney today does not augur well especially given our line-up
    Ramsdale (Turner), White (Sousa), Holding, Gabriel (Foran), Cedric, Partey (Lokonga), Xhaka (Elneny), Odegaard (Cozier-Duberry), Saka (Vieira), Martinelli (Marquinhos), Nketiah (Cirjan). Subs not used. Sajoe Jr.
    Points to note are the absence of ESR and Zinchenko who are still clearly not deemed to be fit . Zinchenko has scarcely been fit since he joined us. Tierney and Tomayisu, other notoriously fragile players weren’t playing either .
    The West Ham game will have a big psychological effect . Win and score goals and we will alleviate the pressure that is building up because of the injury to Jesus .
    We appear to have five injuries – two were sustained at the World Cup , two were players who were injured before the World Cup and Nelson got injured in a friendly

  31. 31
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Looking at the match report it seems Marquinhos played particularly well.

  32. 32
    bt8 says:

    Zurich 1 – 9 Arsenal

    Even without the injured Mead and Miedema. They can’t stop us. 👍🏼

  33. 33
    bt8 says:

    Sky reports “There have been 48 VAR interventions during current Premier League season, with 42 correct and six deemed incorrect; Gabriel Martinelli’s disallowed opener by VAR at United in September reportedly one of the errors”

    May I say, NO SH*T, SHERLOCK.

  34. 34
    OsakaMatt says:

    Congratulations to Beth Mead, a well-deserved award👏👏👏

  35. 35
    Countryman100 says:

    A full transcript, courtesy of Arseblog news, of Jamie Carragher’s discussion with Mik Arteta aired last night on Sky

    Mikel Arteta’s “Monday Night Football Special”- full transcript

  36. 36
    North Bank Ned says:

    What OM said @34. An annus mirabilis for Beth Mead after being excluded from the GB team for the Tokyo Olympics.

    I am thinking that not having had to play a round of the league cup over the past couple of days makes elimination at the first hurdle look even better.

    As TTG says, win at West Ham and the world will look like a much cheerier place.

  37. 37
    bt8 says:

    Even a win at home against West Ham would cheer me considerably, Ned. While I am enjoying my Christmas grog of course. Cheers!

  38. 38
    bt8 says:

    If you’re looking to watch a game on Christmas Day I’m afraid there’s not much going unless you have access to the Turkish Super Lig. Galatasaray looking for a happy outcome in their derby smashup with Istanbulspor. Maybe I will pass.

  39. 39
    TTG says:

    I’m grateful to C100 for attaching the Arteta / Carragher transcript
    Of course the words are great but if you get to see the film the body language shows a very confident, organised young man and his articulacy is remarkable in a foreign language . Several things impressed me but he made a remark about Xhaka- he talked about unlocking something in his head and showing him that where he was playing with great confidence wasn’t hurting the opposition. That is EXACTLY what several of us have been saying about him for years . Arteta clearly loves him and has great respect for his passion and dedication . But getting Xhaka to realise how much more impact he could have is arguably his biggest achievement.
    And he was fairly unequivocal about the need to sign more players with the demands on the team.
    It is a hugely impressive performance by Arteta and considering that English is Carragher’s second language he does pretty well too !

  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    at = against – gains, bt8.

  41. 41
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Howard Webb says sensible things about refereeing and has a role where he may be able to influence and improve them. Obviously, time will tell, but it’s encouraging.

    Mike Riley must be spitting feathers.

  42. 42
    Countryman100 says:

    RIP the great George Cohen, Fulham and England. World Cup winner.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    Countryman100 says:

    Charlton J
    Charlton B

    Not many left

  45. 45
    bathgooner says:

    TTG @39, nicely summarised. Arteta comes over as a highly intelligent, ambitious and focused young man with a core work ethic who holds himself and others to high standards and has clear ideas about the qualities he desires in the people around him. And what charisma!

    The piece provides an interesting perspective on the somewhat uninspiring football he had us playing during his first 12 months – for which he was heavily criticised – but which was clearly all he could do with the players then available who were incapable of meeting his standards. In truth, we are extremely lucky to have Mikel Arteta as the Arsenal manager and I am sure we will enjoy his contribution to Arsenal’s history. I hope he will be able to fulfil all his ambitions at Arsenal but I am sure that on the basis of his achievements to date, he will already have been approached by the obvious predators. Continued support from KSE is clearly an essential component to Arteta’s realisation of his ambitions at the Arsenal and our last two windows give me confidence that they are fully behind him.

    Exciting times! COYG!

  46. 46
    bathgooner says:

    Sad news about George Cohen. Excellent defender with an eye for a forward pass. Came over as an extremely grounded and nice man. RIP.

  47. 47
    Countryman100 says:

    Only Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton left of that team listed @44.

  48. 48
    North Bank Ned says:

    Very sad news about George Cohen. I had the honour of playing against him in a match arranged by the FA some five or six years after he won the World Cup. A more gracious man with ready advice and encouragement for young players you could not hope to meet.

    Only Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton survive from the ’66 team, a shockingly high rate of attrition, at an average age of 75.

  49. 49
    TTG says:

    May I echo the tributes to George Cohen. Like Johnny Haynes he spent his career with Fulham but has the ability to play for anyone in Europe . Fulham mates recall a huge improvement in his crossing as he matured . He was a fine defensive fullback. He and Wilson were very underrated.
    RIP George !
    Of the two WC survivors one has Alzheimer’s and Sir Geoff has survived cancer . Maybwe treasure them while we can

  50. 50
    North Bank Ned says:

    A festive half-ton seems in order.

  51. 51
    Countryman100 says:

    Well in Ned. And a little snippet of interest above – you played against George Cohen !

  52. 52
    scruzgooner says: