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The recent departure of Harry Kane and its impact on the fan base of our beloved North London neighbours started me thinking about moments in our history when a player (or players) has departed and they seem irreplaceable. The loss of a superstar says many things, as I suspect we will see in this article, but perhaps the biggest is a sense that a club lacks ambition and that other clubs hold greater attraction. In a cheesy sense it is like being passed over by a girlfriend for a richer, or better looking, new beau. This rarely happened to me because of my innate sex appeal but I have tried to put myself in the shoes of those who did suffer such a fate!

Over the course of my Arsenal-supporting life there have been moments when the departure of a star player seemed to represent a watershed; a moment when the club needed to reset or at least step back and look at why such a departure had occurred. I’ve picked what I think have been the most significant (and depressing) exits of Arsenal superstars in my supporting lifetime. Some situations are depressingly familiar, some could have been avoided with greater ambition and some have been, as is so often the case in football, the result of a gigantic personality clash between manager and player. The first such example came in January 1966 and cast a giant shadow over my mid-teenage years.

1966 – The Baker and Eastham exodus

Other than to go fishing I can only remember being woken up early three times by my father, who was a night worker and arrived home in the small hours. Once was to surreptitiously get me up to watch the first Clay/Liston fight (without my mother knowing), once to castigate me for what he considered an under par performance in my O levels, and most importantly a morning in January 1966. Dad used to bring home all the papers (although he was the proud publisher of the Times) and he gently laid on the bed the Daily Mirror. It contained the genuinely shock news that Arsenal had transfer listed George Eastham and Joe Baker following an ignominious third round FA Cup defeat at Blackburn . For younger readers it is hard to get a parallel but imagine Arsenal deciding to get rid of Saka and Odegaard at one fell swoop and without any warning.

To  give some context that Arsenal team under Billy Wright, an English football idol (think an earlier version of Bobby Moore) but making a porridge of his first job in management, were woefully inconsistent and had not won silverware for thirteen years. The FA Cup was one of two real opportunities to do so and we’d flunked our opportunity at the first hurdle. Wright’s reaction was to drop and transfer list by far the two best players in the team: George Eastham, who was what used to be known as a schemer and was to form (an unused) part of England’s winning World Cup squad later that Summer; and Joe Baker, who was a prolific goal scorer and, as I have mentioned before, an idol of Dave Faber as well as myself. They were the star players at Highbury and to compound Wright’s folly the team went on a dismal run of defeats after the decision, which created real concerns about possible relegation. To visit Highbury in the second half of that season was a miserable experience. The team was devoid of confidence, inspiration, and method. Some older fans will recall a crowd of just over 4,000 gathering for a 3-0 defeat at Highbury by Dirty Leeds right at the end of that season. The crowd (what there was of them) chanted almost continuously at home games ‘Wright must go‘ and in the Summer mercifully he did, to be replaced by the physio, Bertie Mee. The rest is history.

Joe Baker was immediately snapped up by a very good Nottingham Forest side and made them even better although he wasn’t able to maintain top form for too long. Eastham stayed for the rest of the campaign, without playing, and moved to Stoke the next season where his biggest achievement was to score the goal that won them the League Cup, beating Chelsea in the process.

We’ve seen examples of stands taken by managers against players many times. But the lesson is that if you do this you must improve the side not leave the best players stewing on the bench (or in this case in the reserves) while the team plumbs new depths. Billy Wright was a speculative appointment to create buzz and glamour but he was not able to galvanise a club in the shadow of its North London neighbours. A fit of pique aimed against two of the very few superstars in that team just cut the heart and soul out of the club. But it didn’t take long to recover.

1980/1981 The loss of an Irish genius (or two)

In Bob Wilson’s last game as an Arsenal player in May 1974, we limped to a 1-1 draw with QPR at Highbury. Alan Ball broke his leg but on an otherwise depressing night Arsenal fans left the ground with a sense of optimism because of the performance of a young Irishman who scored his first goal for the club. It was Liam Brady, and he went on to become one of our finest-ever players. I often see him making his way to the ground nowadays, a portlier figure than in his heyday but with the same pleasant demeanour and cheeky grin. Liam was the hub of an Arsenal side that went from relegation candidates in the mid seventies to a team that by the end of the decade had appeared in four cup finals and were genuine contenders for the league title.

Very left-footed (but note his right-footed cross to Stapleton for our second goal in the 1979 Final) he was the best player in the league for several seasons and was voted PFA Player of the year in 1979. It was worth the admission money just to see Brady orchestrating a young and improving Arsenal side and he understandably attracted the attention of the best clubs in Europe. He expressed a desire to experience continental football and Serie A then was a richer and more glamorous league than our First Division. But he also loved Arsenal and wanted to be part of a side that took us to the title.

I’ve spoken to several people who know Liam and some who were involved at the club when he left. They believe that if the board had shown greater ambition we could have retained him at least long enough to bag that elusive title. But the response of the Directors to renewing his contract was too passive to keep him from the clutches of a Juventus team we’d just knocked out in the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup. So we lost a genius and the heartbeat of the team to Italian football and despite struggling to establish himself over Platini at Juventus, Liam enjoyed a long and successful career with clubs like Sampdoria and Inter Milan after Juve. He had been expected to return to Arsenal after his Italian sojourn but George Graham turned down the chance to resign him and he ended up at West Ham. Subsequently he came back to serve with distinction as the man in charge of our youth development and it was good to see him back at the club.

We sort of replaced him with Clive Allen (who we then swapped for Kenny Sansom) and finished third the next season. That wasn’t enough to convince our Irish striker Frank Stapleton that Arsenal was a better place to continue his career than Old Trafford and he left to join Manchester United in the summer of 1981. The main reason apart from a better contract was the lack of ambition we’d shown in trying to retain Liam Brady. The third member of our Irish triumvirate David O’ Leary rejected many overtures and stayed with Arsenal until 1993. Having spent a lot of my life in Ireland I know the hold that United and Liverpool have on lads over there but one feels that  had we retained Brady, Stapleton would never have left either. The club plunged into a frustrating period after that seeking to replace Stapleton with the likes of John Hawley and Ray Hankin! It was a frustrating period to be a Gooner. If the accusation was that we lacked ambition we would have found it difficult not to be judged as guilty. What made it particularly galling was that we were close to having a very successful side prior to the big departures.

2011 – The inevitability of a long-delayed Adios

We jump forward thirty years past the Graham era and well into the Wenger years for our next moment of real loss. Cesc Fabregas was a prodigy, 16 years old when he joined us, spotted and developed by Arsene Wenger and parachuted into a team that had just gone the whole season unbeaten. He was an incredibly mature player forged in La Masia and London Colney probably the two finest football cauldrons of that era. To move from Barcelona at that time and at that age was a sign of Cesc’s confidence, ambition and ability. It didn’t take him long to establish himself as the fulcrum of a side which Wenger was remoulding. There was understandable angst when Vieira, Henry and Pires left but we obtained excellent fees for the first two and there was a sense that their best days were behind them. In the Champions League quarter final first leg in 2006, Fabregas dominated Vieira and underlined the wisdom of Wenger’s decision to move Vieira on and replace him with Fabregas. In his pomp Wenger was an uncanny judge of when to let players go. Very rarely were there examples of players released by him who came back to haunt us.

But by 2011 a saga had developed. Spain had won the World Cup the year before and some of the players dressed Cesc in a Barca shirt after the match. Arsenal had won nothing since the FA Cup in 2005, but we had produced some wonderful football with Cesc at the helm of a sometimes thrilling side. But Barca wanted Cesc back.

Probably only Wenger could have  resisted  the entreaties of a club managed by Guardiola and who were the best in Europe when they came calling for Fabregas after the World Cup. Before Chelsea made it fashionable Wenger had signed Fabregas to a seven-year contract. He made Fabregas stick to that contract in 2010 but the following year things turned to custard at Arsenal. Fabregas and and Nasri were sold against Wenger’s wishes, we lost 8-2 to United at the start of the season, and went on what was referred to as “a late trolley dash” which brought in the likes of Arteta and Mertesacker but also Andre Santos and Park the Korean who joined Gervinho at the club.

Wenger faced big problems – a financially-doped Chelsea and Manchester City, and the continual need to repay the stadium debt which severely restricted his spending. On top of everything he faced the continued battle with Ferguson. One senses there was little clarity in football terms around him  and that Summer I started to believe that he would never lead us back to past glories. But he still managed 3 FA Cups which is a lot better than the Spuds or almost any other club managed in the same period. Wenger’s star did fade, his confidence in paying large amounts faltered without David Dein beside him but he still retained the ability to coax special performances out of his squad and never lost the respect of his players.

2012 – Robin Van Payslip departs – but can you blame him?

My misgivings about the future in 2011/12 were clearly shared by Robin Van Persie who had emerged as the most potent striker in the league. His prevarication over signing a new contract indicated the likelihood of his moving on. Here I diverge from many of my fellow Gooners who were appalled at his treatment of the club. Many of the same Gooners were supportive of what Sol Campbell did to Tottnumb because it led to huge success at a better positioned club. While I was horrified to lose Van Persie I absolutely understand why he left. Arsenal were not in a position to challenge for the League and the move he made worked out very well for him. I don’t accept that had he stayed we would have won the league instead of United. Arsenal at the start of the 2012 season were a mess. Careers are short and while it is easy to see Van Persie as a mercenary it was a great move for his career. His subsequent rationalisations (‘the little boy in me‘) weren’t easy to take but Wenger did negotiate a decent price for him. His departure came because  of the confusion that reigned in our club at that time: Ivan Gazidis was not someone who created strategic clarity.

The one who should have got away

I am closing with a player who we gave a huge contract to – a move that met with almost universal approval at the time and yet proved to be a big mistake. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was the major reason why we won the 2020 FA Cup. He was out of contract and massive media pressure – and pressure from the Arsenal fan base – insisted that we retain him at any cost. Despite a recent problem with Mesut Özil, who we had rewarded (with less cause than Auba) with a very large contract and seen his performances tail off, we then did exactly the same thing with Aubameyang. With much the same result. Not long into the period of that contract Mikel Arteta took a very firm decision to move him on. Viewers of “All or Nothing” will be aware that this was a decision that was opposed by the rest of the Arsenal hierarchy. Arteta showed huge resolution and has been proved completely right. So was the decision to re-sign Auba wrong? With the benefit of hindsight it probably was but looking back at the post-FA Cup euphoria in 2020 it was hard to do anything else. That underlines the difficulty of signing and retaining players and being prepared to let them go. So often fans don’t have all the relevant facts at their fingertips and aren’t in a position to make the right judgement.

Tottnumb already appear a club refreshed after Kane’s departure. New solutions emerge…sometimes …and over the years Arsenal have survived the loss of key players. But what might have happened if we’d retained Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton, or Cesc Fabregas? We can never know, and that is part of the intrigue of football.

65 Drinks to “Coping with the loss of a fan favourite”

  1. 1
    bathgooner says:

    What an excellent read, TTG. This piece reignites those pangs of loss felt most recently in the departures of Cesc and RvP that ripped the heart out of Arsene’s youth project. I would add the departure of TH14 to my own list – I remember sitting at my desk reading the news and feeling gutted as it felt like the end of an era, though with that flicker of hope that we could continue to compete with the growing talents of Cesc and RvP. Cesc was another punch to the solar plexus and I too could not then condemn RvP too harshly for the action he subsequently took. It’s the hope that kills you!

  2. 2
    Ollie says:

    Still can’t stomach the RvP thing (howemuch the mind agrees with what’s said above).
    I did still buy a few Arsenal shirts in subsequent years (though haven’t for a few years now), but never considered putting a name on the back after that.
    I’m tempted to say ‘until this season’, but the price of these replica shirts means I’m not really considering the idea (only use them when playing football now anyway and I have a wide enough array, despite getting my old SEGA yellow nicked many years ago).

  3. 3
    Ollie says:

    ‘however much’

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    That’s a real trip down memory lane TTG. Brady was the star of the team I was watching regularly and it was a body blow when he went to Italy.

    Brady, Brady, Brady Brady
    Born is the the King of Highbury!

    The other one that caused me physical pain was Rocky Rocastle, the lad who, in David Dein’s words, dribbled like a Brazilian, but came from Lewisham. The player who came up with the words “Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent”. He was evidently gutted (along with most Gooners) when Graham sold him to Leeds. There were rumours of a knee problem, and of a contractual issue, but I felt the loss hugely.

  5. 5
    TTG says:

    What compounded the Rocky misery was that we then went to replace him with Geoff Thomas ( a fine chap and wonderful fund raiser ) but a bit of a donkey . Rocky had a chronic knee condition and never reached the heights he did with us but his departure caused great angst among our ranks. He was by all accounts a quite delightful lad

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks TTG, I always missed Liam too. He was of course largely forgiven as he disappeared to Juventus unlike Stapleton who took some ferocious hammer when he returned with Man U, worse than anything RVP got I think, though memory might have amplified the anger it did seem visceral enough at the time.

    I know what people mean about Cesc but I was expecting it by the time he went and after the final few months of his stay I was in a way glad it was done, like ripping off a plaster I suppose. Just to mention i couldn’t give a toss by the time Nasri went.

    What Ollie said about RVP. Fuck him.

    Personally, I was sad to see Ray Kennedy go way back when, and later on apart from Rocky of course, I missed Micheal Thomas and Paul Davis from the GG time.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bravo, TTG. An engrossing and thought-provoking read. As fans, we just have our heroes, we don’t have to make the hard decisions about employing them. Stars burn bright and undiminished for fans for far longer than they do for managers.

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    On RvP, his move to Manchester ensured Ferguson won the league that season. His goalscoring was the missing piece. Had he stayed, the title race might have been closer but it is far from certain that we would have won it.

    The Auba saga reminds me that Wenger had a policy of offering only one-year contracts to players over 30, even his stars. Like much of what he did, that policy looks a lot smarter in retrospect than it appeared at the time.

  9. 9
    Trev says:

    Thanks TTG – an expertly put together trip through Arsenal sadness.
    It was when van Persie left, following the departures of Fabregas and a finally promising Nasri, that I decided “I support the club – not the individual players” having seen far too many of them leave too soon. Charlie George was another “one of our own” who went too early.
    It’s your last paragraph that sine up the problem though. In a “business “ where humans are your assets and pressures – especially nowadays – are many and varied, losing or letting players go is a very difficult thing to get right. There are so many uncontrollable variables – will a player improve or languish in the reserves losing value; will another financial superpower emerge; will a player suddenly suffer a career ending injury; Will playing styles change rendering players less use, as has happy to our own Rob Holding;

    There’s a very good piece by Stillman on Arseblog dealing with some of those today. It’s titled “Are We Bad At Selling” and he deals with some of the less obvious variables that have made selling most players at a decent profit extremely difficult.

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@9: Thanks for the heads up on the Stillman column. A worthwhile read. It made me wonder what impact it would have if loans were banned, except perhaps development loans for U-21/academy players. Would PL clubs become more cautious buyers?

  11. 11
    OsakaMatt says:

    Are Arsenal bad at selling?

    The link for the Stillman piece. As Trev said it’s an interesting read.

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    Thankyou for the link to the Stillman piece . This has become a hobbyhorse of mine and a concern of a few other knowledgeable denizens of the bar . Our best sales are for youth products and until Balogun our record fee received was for the Ox. That deal was under Wenger . I remember Fergie saying Arsene should have been a member of a Govan card school so inscrutable was he when selling RVP . As Ned said RVP won the league for them and we got a decent price so both sides did okay from the deal but we still felt a bit raped because we sold to our traditional rivals .
    I once went to see the old South East Counties League team play Gillingham at the Garrison Ground around 1998. My SatNav was not at its best then and I arrived after the game! Wandering around I recognised an Arsenal coach who was happy to chat . The conversation soon turned to Wenger and he told me with awe in his voice how brilliant Wenger was at selling players. We had sold Isaiah Rankin to Bradford City that week for about £1 million if my memory serves me correctly . I remember his words ‘ Isaiah is a lovely boy but he’s not worth a fraction of that but Arsene can persuade almost anyone to buy Arsenal players if he wants to sell them ‘. I take Stillman’s point that the world has changed nowadays but I really do think we could do a little bit better in this respect .The big lesson is be careful who you buy because you may never be able to sell them !

  13. 13
    bathgooer says:

    TTG @12, you’ve summed the essence of the road to successful player sales in your final sentence! Caveat emptor, as CER might say.

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    So it seems the optimal policy is to produce a stream of Academy players with the express purpose of selling them and write off more senior acquisitions once they are surplus to requirements. We still have to solve for the stickiness of high wages, where the main issue would be getting around FIFA’s rules that ensure clubs honour their contracts with players rather than national contract law.

  15. 15
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks TTG
    I’m with Trev @9 re Charlie George leaving – so many good memories, not least the FA cup goal against Liverpool right in front of me at Wembley.
    Perhaps a little more controversially, I was also shocked that we let Cashley Cole go when and in the way we did.
    Anyway, UTA.

  16. 16
    TTG says:

    I’d not included Charlie George because I had to leave out some but he’s an excellent shout. At one stage he looked headed for Tottnumb- can you imagine that deal . It would have been the nearest thing to a reverse Sol Campbell deal so when he joined Derby it was almost a relief.When I met Charlie on the stadium tour he said relations with Bertie Mee had broken down completely and playing for Clough in a very good Derby side revived his career. But he is a true Arsenal man
    Cashley Hole is very controversial ! Yes I regretted his departure and to get the execrable Gallas in exchange was highly unsatisfactory but Ashley behaved so poorly I didn’t want him at the club any more . But an interesting call !

  17. 17
    Esso says:

    Cheers TTG! Great read.

  18. 18
    North Bank Ned says:

    Not sure where Pepe falls on the fans’ favourite spectrum (off the end, perhaps) but he has joined Trabzonspor on a free.


  19. 19
    bt8 says:

    A very interesting read, TTG. The careers of football players are so short, and their peak years are considerably shorter still so the business of getting rid of underperforming players is an inexact one, and the same applies for legends such as those you mentioned.

  20. 20
    bt8 says:

    Details of the latest sexual assault allegation against underperforming Manchester United star Antony rolling off the presses.


  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@20: For some reason, I am reminded of a quote from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

  22. 22
    Ollie says:

    Well maybe Ian Stock is my lucky charm, got a pair (with Esso) for Sheff U in block 31!

  23. 23
    Ollie says:

    Stock? Where did that come from? Stone.

  24. 24
    Ollie says:

    Still no e-mail, money not taken out either, but I incidentally found out while wondering while there was a blue dot near my account icon whole desperately trying to find a ticket for Spurs on the exchance.

  25. 25
    Sancho Panza says:

    Great read and another one to add to my list would be Samir Nasri. At the time it highlighted their rising and our falling. He definitely did the dirty on Arsene and got what he wanted.

  26. 26
    Sancho Panza says:

    Remember reading an article in WSC about Cashley and his agent on the phone waiting to see if Arsenal’s final offer would drive up Chelsea’s package. When we offered him an extra 5k or something like that he was quoted, “That’s a carrot that don’t belong in fair justice.”
    Gallas aside good riddance.

  27. 27
    bathgooner says:

    That’s you beaten me 2-0 in the lottery, Ollie. Well done!

  28. 28
    bathgooner says:

    Keenos has written a good summary of Pepe’s career trajectory to date and the reasons for it (https://shewore.com). Our ‘scouting’ team clearly did not undertake due diligence before we (Sanllehi) decided that he’d found his marquee signing despite the player not being the target the coach wanted. there may be more to it than that but I couldn’t possibly speculate.

    I’m sure that we tried hard to hawk him around Europe but failed to generate suitors. The absolute lack of interest in him despite his OK numbers and clear talent (albeit not suited to an Arteta team’s work ethic) suggest that the grapevine contained some discouraging information.

    I can’t see TTG adding him to his list of lamented lost idols when he writes an updat of this post in a few years time.

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks for the Keenos link, Bath. Little to disagree with about his analysis of the rise and fall of Nicholas Pepe. Being the best in the playground is no longer enough. Being on £140,000 a week probably reduced the Ivorian’s allure, too. I don’t think Keenos is right about Balogun. There was interest in him from top clubs but he wanted to join a team where he would be sure to get regular starts. At 22, he needs those to keep developing. Otherwise, his career risks taking a Holdingesque turn.

    It will be disturbing if there is anything to the reports that the Chavs intervened to prevent Wolves from signing a starlet from the Bus Stop’s newly acquired sister club Strasbourg. https://www.footballinsider247.com/revealed-chelsea-blocked-wolves-from-signing-french-sensation-diarra-sources/ That would be the exercise of a clear conflict of interest, in my book, and require a sanction of Boehly’s multi-club model by the authorities (not that I am holding my breath over that).

  30. 30
    North Bank Ned says:

    L’esprit de l’escalier, but the same thinking may apply to Balogun’s decision to choose the US international team over England. Elite clubs might see it as an Achilles heel in his mentality.

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    For anyone interested in the minutiae of football governance (and in an interlull, it can’t only be me, surely?), multi-club owners gained ground in the board elections at the European Clubs Association general assembly this week with the elections of Josh Wander (777 Partners), Ferran Sorriano (City Football Group), Michele Kang (Eagle Partners) and Oliver Mintzlaff (Red Bull). The ECA is the big European clubs’ club, chaired by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who also chairs PSG-owner Qatar Sports Investment.


    Our own Vinai Venkatesham was elected to the board as one of the five ECA representatives on the joint UEFA/ECA committee.

  32. 32
    Ollie says:

    Without going into specifics, dismissing Monaco on the basis of them finishing sixth in L1 is a bit disingenuous (at least in terms of L1), they did fall at the end but were in the running for a CL place very late in the season. You can’t dismiss Liverpool (or Arsenal a couple of seasons ago) as a top destination on the basis of that.
    They are still a pretty big club historically and with a sizable budget.
    Very early this season to draw conclusions, but some commentators are mentioning them right now as the only viable Challenger to QSG in Ligue 1.

    Sorry to hear of another échec in the ballot, bath. 🙁

  33. 33
    TTG says:

    Our ladies are out of the Champions League beaten in a penalty shootout . A massive blow to the club

  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    Very disappointing to go out in the qualifying rounds when the team was expecting — and had bought for — another deep run in the competition. Being eliminated on penalties makes it feel doubly worse.

  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    Tim Stillman on the Arsenal Women’s CL exit is well worth the read.

    Stay with the pain: on Arsenal Women processing the disappointment of their European exit

  36. 36
    Countryman100 says:

    Superb piece on She Wore about The Angel by Louis Dunford and the negative attacks about it by West Ham and Spurs fans. Personally I love the way we we sing the chorus before every home game and join in loudly, if not always tunefully!

    The Angel is not an anthem for The Arsenal, it is an anthem for London

  37. 37
    TTG says:

    Thanks for posting that Paul.
    What has ‘ I’m for ever blowing bubbles got to do with West Ham or John Brown’s body with the Spuds orYou’ll Never Walk Alone with Liverpool ?
    The London clubs are jealous that Arsenal are forging such a strong identity . It is a very emotional song and creates a great atmosphere
    I didn’t know Louis Dunford was Linda Robson’s son

  38. 38
    Ollie says:

    Getting fairly sick of ticket exchange. For reasons I can’t fathom, I am seeing an inordinately high number of tickets coming and going on that for the Spurs match.
    Yet, I can’t ever seem to be able to find one that is actually available.
    I check fairly regularly but does that mean there are either bots or people who spend every second of their life refreshing the website?
    To be perfectly thorough, I did once manage to actually find one available. But £350 club level was a bit too steep, I didn’t feel I was quite at that point of desperation…

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@36: Thanks for the link. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles and You’ll Never Walk Alone are both show tunes from Broadway musicals (The Passing Show of 1918 and Carousel (1945), respectively) for Pete’s sake. Spammers and Scousers can go whistle Dixie.

  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cedric and Lino Sousa are both included in our 25-strong A list of players registered for the PL. Although he is 18, Sousa hasn’t been with the club long enough to qualify for the unlimited B-list, which is essentially U-21s who have been with the club for at least two years.

    Goalkeepers: Aaron Ramsdale, David Raya, James Hillson

    Defenders: Cedric, Lino Sousa, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ben White, Gabriel, Jakub Kiwior, William Saliba

    Midfielders: Mohamed Elneny, Jorginho, Thomas Partey, Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz, Fabio Vieira, Emile Smith Rowe

    Forwards: Leandro Trossard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Jesus

  41. 41
    North Bank Ned says:

    That is the CL not PL squad. Spillchucker.

  42. 42
    TTG says:

    Super performance from Rice tonight . Ramsdale had very little to do
    Saliba picked for France but Germany ( who left out Havertz) won 2-1 .
    It woukd have been nice to see Eddie capped tonight

  43. 43
    ClockEndRider says:

    Havertz played a very good assist pass for Sané to score for Germany, TTG.

  44. 44
    Esso says:

    Who remembers the days when – “She’ll be coming round the mountain” was the Arsenal anthem?

  45. 45
    Esso says:

    and I mean the original, not the grotesque anti-Semitic shit that followed years later.

  46. 46
    Countryman100 says:

    A useful interlull round up from Arseblog

    Interlull round-up: Goals and assists and video clips

  47. 47
    North Bank Ned says:

    To add to the reading list, here’s a recent FT interview with Everton’s prospective purchaser, Josh Wander of 777 Partners, a Miami investment group.


    It may be behind a paywall. In short, Wander complains about the terrible job football clubs have done ‘commercialising the product’. The telling paragraph is:

    “The vision for this football group is that one day we’re not selling hot dogs and beers to our customers; [it’s] that we’re selling insurance or financial services or whatever,” he said. The intensity of fans’ engagement with their clubs meant “they want to be monetised”, he added.

    So don’t complain about being made to roll over for your money, people. You know you really want it.

  48. 48
    ClockEndRider says:

    Ned @47 – what planet do these people inhabit? I suppose what he’s talking about is the worldwide diaspora of fans who, he believes, can be trained into a Pavlovian response to buy anything as long as it appears to share *insert name of club *branding. I just hope he’s wrong.

  49. 49
    Ollie says:

    That’s a ‘reality’ I don’t want to inhabit indeed, Ned/CER.


  50. 50
    North Bank Ned says:

    Nudges a single with feet firmly rooted on this planet.

  51. 51
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER@48: 777 Partners comes from that planet which is ‘an alternative investment platform that helps bold entrepreneurs transform visions into enduring value’.

    Whenever one hears ‘Miami’ and ‘private investment partnership’ uttered in the same breath, it is rarely an uplifting moment.

    Multi-club ownership may just be a perfect use case of the private equity portfolio company model.

  52. 52
    Ollie says:

    Well in Ned!

  53. 53
    North Bank Ned says:

    This Norweigan investigative football journalism site has an unflattering takedown of 777 Partners by Paul Brown and Philippe Auclair, the latter being a familiar name to some here.

    The 777 football mystery

    Again, it is behind a paywall, but, in a sentence, “Multiple club-owner 777 – a US private investors group – has a patchy record in honouring its financial commitments and is the subject of several court actions in the USA.

  54. 54
    Sancho Panza says:

    High brow – thinking you’re playing cricket and never get out.
    Low brow – super rich investors thinking up new ways to make us all poorer.

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ollie@52: Cheera, and thanks for a deft assist.

    National Basketball Association, which is the California of sports leagues, doing what other sports will do later, is restricting teams from resting star players.


    Can’t endanger the monetisation of product.

  56. 56
    North Bank Ned says:

    UEFA says the average tenure of a manager across Europe’s top divisions last season was less than 16 months.


    Here is the absurdity of that. Clubs sack a manager after a poor run of form. They hire a replacement, who has to turn around a team with players not of his choosing who are on four- to seven-year contracts. He starts to clear out the ones he does not want and brings in his new players, who are also on long-term contracts. He, too, gets sacked when he fails to work the magic of transforming a team he did not assemble into winners while not being given enough time to rebuild with players he has signed, who his successor inherits. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  57. 57
    bt8 says:

    Well in at the mid-century, Ned. And that is a very familiar scenario at 56. The desperation of the chief executive, not that I would know first-hand.

  58. 58
    ClockEndRider says:

    Ned @53 & passim – truly dispiriting.

  59. 59
    Pangloss says:

    Silly interlull question:

    I happened to spot that the Fulham substitute goalkeeper picked up a yellow card in the game against us the other week; presumably for being abusive to a match official, probably in the fracas following Eddie’s goal.

  60. 60
    Pangloss says:

    damn you premature submit…

    Does anyone know of a publicly-accessible resource that I could use to verify these assumptions?

    Thanks in advance.

  61. 61
    Pangloss says:

    Stand down, anyone who was reasearching my question immediately above. (FX: Pauses for sound of people standing down to subside.)

    The Premier League website includes minute-by-minute summaries of each game, and the one for our game v Fulham shows Rodak’s booking as coming in a minute after Eddie’s goal.

  62. 62
    Esso says:

    53 – North Bank Ned

    If you follow Philippe on twitter, @PhilippeAuclair, which is well worth it, he posts these articles free from the paywall, if only for a limited time period, usually a few days.

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    Esso@62: 👍

    Everton sale to 777 Partners agreed in principle. subject to regulatory approvals. ‘Hyper-commericalisation’ coming to Merseyside. Outgoing Farhad Moshiri nails it; ‘The days of an owner/benefactor are seemingly out of reach for most, and the biggest clubs are now typically owned by well-resourced private equity firms, specialist sports investors or state-backed companies and funds.’

    Will we avoid new-owner bounce at the weekend?

  64. 64
    bt8 says:

    I’m actually pretty surprised they didn’t schedule a Friday night fixture this week. Probably something to do with the end of the interlull. Come to think on it, Tottenham should be forced to play Friday nights after every Interlull, with a rotating set of opponents from Manchester City, Manchester United and name your fourth.

  65. 65
    scruzgooner says: