Racism has nothing to do with it + Arsenal news wrap-up

I'd like to keep Toure at ArsenalGreetings from a very sunny Brisbane. After a weekend of drizzly rain the sun is out and it’s a glorious sight. Still a bit chilly though, for our standards, and that means I’m rugged up on the couch as I write this.

Before I move onto today’s Arsenal news I want to clarify a couple of things from yesterday’s post, where I spoke about the central-defensive options in our squad and who I would like to see begin next season as the starting pair. I went with William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen (or Johan Djourou) and unsurprisingly I received a fair bit of criticism about leaving Kolo Toure out of that selection.

Some people seemed to be of the opinion that I don’t like Toure or would like to see him go. This is untrue. All I said yesterday was that I feel that Gallas is a better player than Toure and given their inability to gel as a pair, I’d prefer to see the Frenchman start ahead of the Ivorian. It’s nothing personal, just that I feel Gallas is a stronger player at this stage of their respective careers and I think he showed that in the second half of the season after being stripped of the captaincy.

One point I was trying to make yesterday was that given a choice between keeping Gallas or Toure at the club, I would keep Gallas. As well as being based on my opinion that he is a better player, it also takes into account the fact that the Toure would command a far higher transfer fee and that he is due to head to the African Cup of Nations for a couple of months at the start of 2010. As such, I feel that losing Gallas would have a far greater impact on the short-term future of the club and I would prefer him to stay.

That said, I would certainly like Toure to stay at Arsenal as well. Previous seasons have showed that we need as much depth as possible and I think going into next season with Gallas or Toure providing the experienced half of the defensive pairing and Vermaelen and Djourou providing the up and coming half, things look pretty good. Alex Song and Mikael Silvestre could provide emergency cover while I can’t really see Philippe Senderos staying at the club.

Someone made the suggestion yesterday that I have been racist towards Toure and the other Africans in the squad which I want to stress is absolutely untrue. I’m a huge admirer of Toure and Alex Song and I’ve stated many times before that Emmanuel Adebayor is my favourite Arsenal player. While I felt his attitude last season was poor and I feel it’s probably best for the club and player that he leaves, I’m also of the opinion if he was to get his head right and choose to stay then I’d be the first to welcome him back. I must admit that Emmanuel Eboue frustrates me beyond belief with his diving and attitude at times but the notion that this is because he is African is laughable.

Anyway, I hope that clears things up and I just want to do quick news round-up to finish things off today:

  • Although there’s been no word on the official Arsenal website, The Daily Star has claimed that Robin van Persie has signed an extension to his contract to keep him at the club until 2012. It’s obviously good news if true. Van Persie is a huge favourite of the fans enjoyed his best season at Arsenal in 2008/09 and to lose him at this stage of his career would be very disappointing.
  • Nicklas Bendtner’s father has refuted claims that his son is interested in joining Roma. Apparently the Bendtner’s are on holiday in Rome and some jerk of a journalist has started the rumour that he is there to cut a deal. Yawn.
  • Abou Diaby is getting personal conditioning training over the break to prepare himself for next season. I think it shows there is fire in the belly of a player who is often criticised for being lackadaisical and lazy. I’m still of the opinion that he’ll come good and hopefully his efforts will improve his on-field performances next season.

And that, my friends, is that. Enjoy your Tuesday and please refrain from calling me a racist! Or ugly. Or stupid. Wahhh.

Have your say on all things Arsenal by leaving a comment.



  1. “Emmanuel Adebayor is my favourite Arsenal player. While I felt his attitude last season was poor and I feel it’s probably best for the club and player that he leaves, I’m also of the opinion if he was to get his head right and choose to stay then I’d be the first to welcome him back.”

    after me lol

  2. Kolo should stay because we have noticed that Gallas is good but constant fall to injury which has been part of our defencive problem. Melo should please come and we need another tall defender in case of jury.

    Please Arsen Wenger and your team of management, do not give us hypertension this time around and for me I am tied of being bood by my other club fans. In Nigeria, Football is a big business that keeps the fans happy.

    I very much appreciate the reform, but I think Wenger should rethink about the NIgerian Goalkeeperand consider him, his goo.

  3. Saleh, it’s Kolo who’s been injury prone thank you very much. He hasn’t been right since he got done in the stupid African Nations Crap.

    Plus we lose him for that pointless tournament again right in the middle of the season (why have the f**king thing in a World Cup year?!). If he wants to leave us in the lurch, then he doesn’t deserve a place in the Arsenal starting line-up, simple as.

  4. not racist but definitely stupid for having adebarndoor as your fav player. 😛

  5. Toure is d best, most dedicated player we have now.i would rather lose gallas(injury prone).sel diaby and silvestre with senderos and get melo.then sel ade 2 chelsea and get 20million + kalou.

  6. @ harry barracuda,words such as u used to describe an event, eagerly anticipated by a population of about 500 million people,shows how stupid and insensitive people such as you can be,the African nations cup is not,”stupid,crap,pointless or in your words f**king thing,”if that is the case, then you are implying that such players that represent their nation, do that for a “crap pointless stupid f**king reason.Get a grip my friend,this is a place to dicuss arsenal related issues,not a forum for your biased foolishness.And,oh yeah KOLO stays.

  7. Kolo has been a great servant, but is leading a very charmed life. Last season he played in many an erratic defensive display and seems to have lost the calm he once brought. Though much of that could be credited to his partners.

    Either he refinds his best form, drops a pound or two, or this relationship could come to an end.

    Wenger loves him and so do the fans, but that can only take him so far.

  8. Just a point of clarification, SF –

    Doesn’t van Persie’s current contract end in 2011? I understood that he had just under 24 months left on the deal – ending with the completion of the 2010/2011 season. If that’s accurate, the new deal as described by the Star would take him to 2013, no? I think the end date of his current deal has been misreported in the press.

    Just want to be sure I have things understood correctly. 🙂

  9. No need to explain SF, the regulars here know youre a good chap. Where did all these folks who keep posting nonsense come from anyway?

  10. whatever happened to the loyalty in football? sure gallas is the better player but who epitomies arsenal 110% every time he steps on the pitch?
    one bad season and cold arsenal fans rather have gallas than toure. I would sell gallas any day even though he is the better player becuase i rather have toure, a true arsenal player and fan. Maybe we don’t win a title but is football really only about winning trohpies? cause if that is the case then go support chelsea,real madrid who treat their players like cattle and discard them when they are no longer in “fashion”

  11. @ harry barracuda,
    People like you should not speak least be spoken to. It is worthy to note that the stupid (in your clearly useless words) african cup of nations discovered stars like drogba, eto, kalou, toure, eboue, song et all.
    Please I take offense as an african because I am an african before I am an arsenal supporter and I have being on this blog for close to a year and this is the first time I have heard a rif-raf like you insult a tournament that is watched and anticipated by over 550 million.
    Please SF I think you should lay some ground rules in your forum. I log on to this blog first thing in the morning cos like you must know in Nigeria football is big so I would not like to see useless and pointless comments relating to racist chants.
    For all your attention SF is not racist.

  12. i certanly dont see or hear any rasicm from your side. who ever says you a racist are stupid.may i just tell those idiots that they must colour blind. news flash people, they both black. cant waite for next season to start. to all the man u, chelsea and liverpool fans: we coming for you. you gonna get knock the fuck out!!!! peace out my bitches!!!

  13. Just relating to Harry Barracuda’s comments, I don’t think he is being racist, merely upset at the timing of the African Cup of Nations. I see where a couple of people are coming from but I don’t think he’s bagging out the tournament, simply the fact that it is played mid-season in a World Cup year.

    I think the timing is a problem, but I also think the ACN is a brilliant tournament and as you say Scope Knight, sees many great players discovered.

  14. Get shut of the African spine in the side. I have said it all along.
    Adebayor is lazy and is caught offside more than a schoolboy; Toure had a poor season and although I like the kid’s attitude, it’s about time he moved on; Eboue I cannot stand – his body language and the fact that he’s a drama queen when he’s tackled does absolutely nothing for me; I’m not that bothered re: Song or Diaby either.
    Unfortunately they are all black and so the black Arsenal fans – and believe me there are a lot of them (quote Fotball Factory) are going to play the “you’re a racist card”, but in reality it’s more of a “because they’re shit card”…
    Henry, Viera, Lauren, Campbell and Gilberto were black – but they were good.
    There’s a massive difference!
    The ACN robs the team of the players too.
    Offload the lot of them.

  15. Lets let everyone of the last seasons’ players stay. It is very important not to loose anyone of them because they won’t be the same failurers as they were. These are experienced, grown ups and well trained guys. What happens to the club after loosing one or two players is always catastrophic. We cant afford to face the Patric Viera or Tiery Henry’s experience do we or do we ?

  16. I think we’re all getting sidetracked by this racism issue. I don’t think anyone who has racist views could possibly stand to be an Arsenal supporter. We’ve had a good number of black players in the first team for 20 years now. The clubs 2 highest scorers are both black (Henry and Wright), and there has never been any accusation that the crowd at Highbury or the Emirates has ever been racist.

    I agree with Harry Barracuda’s comments from the point of view that to us in England, the ACN is a major inconvenience as it robs us of valuable players for a long time in the middle of our season. I understand that the terms he used may have upset you African guys, as it did show a lack of respect for the tournament. For me, it’s just the timing that’s the problem. To have a long competition in physically draining conditions a few months prior to a World Cup probably doesn’t do the African teams much of a favour either I wouldn’t have thought.

    Does it mean we at Arsenal shouldn’t buy African players? Not necessarily, but it is something that must be taken into account when building a side, especially if you don’t have a massive squad with loads of cover. We could easily lose a third of our first team for weeks at a time if we don’t consider this.

    Let’s drop the racism focus and concentrate on the football.

  17. Djourou is from the Ivory Coast, yet replacing Toure(also Ivorian) with him, is considered racist. It just goes to show how quick people are to label each other and how fragile their mental states must be.

    I think, selling Toure over Gallas would be stupid. Gallas is three years older, He is known to cause problems throughout the squad and will be guilty of this again before he leaves. Toure has been loyal to the club for many years and Gallas doesn’t know what loyalty is. If Gallas was any better than Toure last season, it was due to the fact that he could deal with the problems in their relationship, while Toure couldn’t, Toure had been left unfit after catching malaria in the African nations and Wenger’s choice of handing Gallas the captaincy after such a short time at the club, while he had been with us for so long must have been hard to swallow. People seem to think Toure’s poor form is a long term issue. I think it was a direct result of the bad experiences of last season and if Gallas was sold Toure would soon be back to his best.

    Vermaelen and Toure should start.

  18. is this an arsenal or a racist blog?i’m so pissed off with all this race related junks on this blog.aw knows about anc and it’s timing before signing african players.so all you adebayor’s,ebou’s,toure’s haters why don’t you tell wenger to stop signing africans instead of calling beloved africa and anc’s timing senseless,stupid,crap and so on

  19. Kolo has been a great servant, but there is no sentiment in football! My favourite players were Henry, Vieira and Pires – not much sentiment there when they all left!

  20. How true is this statemement? that: “Emmanuel Eboue concedes he may leave Arsenal after revealing that he is unhappy at the Emirates”

    I think we still need him in the club. Management pls do something to make him happy!!!

  21. sf, i mean nobody should fault the ANC timing ‘cos wenger knew about it before signing african players

  22. Spanish, I think that post was as very interesting as usual, but I don’t think you’re right about Kolo. He struggled last season due to lack of form and the friction between himself and Gallas. This does not make him a bad player. His years of loyal service do not in themsleves mean that he should stay, but the consistently high level to wich he has performed during that time do.
    On top of that, he has more pace than Gallas, which is critical to any centre back pairing. Because of this; I feel that he would gel better with JD or Vermaelen than Gallas.
    Lastly, Gallas is older than Kolo and seemingly less mature, with all the things he has come out with during his short time at our club.
    It would be a grave error to get rid of such a faithful and able servant of Arsenal football club.

  23. They should both stay. Gallas is better so should be first choice, and unless Vermaelen finds it hard to adjust at first or just isn’t very good at all, then he should be starting considering he’s the most expensive defender in the history of our club. If we received a bid of £12m+ for Toure then I think it would be best to let him go, but if he does leave then we absolutely have to find a replacement for him and not just do what we did last summer in the transfer market.

  24. Hrm, I have to say I prefer Toure to Gallas. Ability wise, I find it hard to compare – though both play centrally, they have different styles. I’d like to see Toure and Vermealen played together, but lets see Vermaelen play first!

  25. I love Kolo, and I hope he returns to form. However, he just hasn’t been right since the ACN. Not sure if it’s “Malaria hangover,” extra weight, age catching up, friction with Gallas, something else, or all of the above. However, I just have a sinking feeling that for whatever reason, he’s reached his “sell by” date. That said, I hope we keep Kolo and Gallas, and get rid of Sylvestre.

  26. Bottom line: keep everyone except for Eboue and Senderos, because they are terrible and refuse to work to improve, and sign another defender, prefer him to be tall.

  27. @ SF, I have said it and will keep saying it,if only u are sincere with urself why will u support Harry Barracuda’s comment about ANC, you could not even come out strong to condem his comment rether u re backing him.
    I used to read loads of ur blog for 1yr + but if u notice, lots of meaningful contributors have left cos of ur oneside support. I will not blame u 4ever considering ur age.

  28. SF,
    If people are claiming your racist for preferring to get rid of Toure as opposed to Gallas then they’re talking shite. The facts are as you state –

    He’s off to the African cup of nations.
    He’ll command the bigger transfer fee.
    And finally, Gallas is the better defender.

    Race has nothing to do with it.

    I think Song is no where near good enough to be starting for Arsenal. Good enough as a squad player but not to be starting every game, doesn’t make me a racist just means i have an opinon.

    Just to prove a point, give me Essien anyday, give me Drogba (2 seasons ago) any day, Eto’o ditto.

    Sorry to go on but i hate it when people jump on the race band wagon at every opitunity.

  29. @ MYWAY – Harry’s comments about the tournament being pointless are wrong, as I’ve already said it is a very important tournament and everybody in Africa should get the chance to watch their team play for the continental title. I can sympathise with his point of view that the timing is not great however, as someone pointed out, Wenger should have taken that into account before he purchased players.

    Anyway, I fail to see how this is racism. I’m not racist and I never have been writing this blog. If people have stopped contributing because they don’t like what I have said then of course I find that disappointing, but I can’t see why someone couldn’t have contacted me to ask questions or clarify my point of view.

    I speak to many African supporters of Arsenal via Facebook from Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria etc and enjoy learning about their countries and have nothing against Africa or the African players in the squad.

    I don’t know what else I can say really.

  30. Hahaha. Are you accused of being racist for championing the talents of the world cup finalist Bill Gallas over the confidence-stricken under-performing King Kolo? You might as well set that cross on fire now, SF.

    The English media are guilty of racism a whole lot of the time for sure. Black players (particularly African) are always lauded for their physical talents, like power, strength and stamina. They are rarely praised as skilful, artful or creative, these attributes are reserved for predominantly white players. That happens in the professional media all the time, but it’s a mistake that SF and this blog has never made in the time I’ve been reading it.

    Not to mention that SF is one of the most stoic and measured journalists I’ve ever seen on the internet, particularly in a topic that invokes a lot of passion. I think it would be impossible for him to write something that was even remotely accidentally racist. What ridiculous and unfounded claims!

    I hope that both of them stay at the club and that Kolo picks up a knock just before the ACN tournament so we can keep him! Eboue can go and get some match practice there though.

  31. @ sf you will have idiots on this blog that come across it once and judge you straight away as your views don’t match, you have a great blog and I’ve really enjoyed the last year on here and so has 98% of the people that have come across it.
    @ tony adams Djourou is swiss mate that’s why we would rather him than tourre but ade is crap compared to kanu as that lanky bugger had sooooo many tricks and who could ever forget that hat trick against chelscum when kanu scored his 3rd from the most stupid angle. Eboue should be kept as a 2nd choice rb but can anyone tell me when the african league starts and finishes then as if it’s along the same as europe why doesn’t the afn play the same time as the uero championships?

  32. Oh boy, here is a slippery slope for you SF. The more you explain the more criticism comes your way. I’m an African and don’t live in Africa anymore, but travel there often. ACN is a pain on our collective arses as it takes away our players in the middle of the season. Don’t get me wrong I love to watch the tournament, but the fact remains that the players come back completely knackered.

    Black vs white athletes issue is decades long argument in Europe and North America. To be honest racists don’t rationalize most of the times. In Italy or Spain they would boo the away team black players while cheering on their black players. Blackness is not confined in Africa either. Blacks live everywhere in the world and come in all shapes and sizes. Most of the great players coming out of Brazil are black and we love them for it. Here is some fact: some are smart, some are damn, some are cute, some are ugly, some are rich, some are poor, some are driven, some are lazy,…you got my point. We are not different than any race and don’t need special handling.

    As a moderator, you can only explain your reasoning behind your statement. Some will like it and some won’t. If we all actually agree in everything, we wouldn’t be here as we will be parroting each other. So we need to chill about the race issue and focus on Arsenal as there are other forums for that issue.

    SF, you have been excellent with your thoughtful postings and unbiased opinions. Please continue your great work in the future. That’s the reason I keep coming back to this blog. Mind you, I don’t necessarily agree with everything you’re saying. And that is my right, right?:)

  33. Arsene says no one’s being sold so that means Adebayor is staying. Ok!? You got that!? You can all shaddap about it now! Ade stays. Next season when he bangs in 20 goals you’ll all be cheering him again anyway and pretending you liked him all along.

    The interesting to me is what’s going to happen to Senderos. Although he’s another who seems to have invoked the ire or many Gooners I’d quite like to see him back. When he first broke into the first team he was great. A revelation. Later he had some bad games and all the fans were on his back. Well he’s big (6′ 3″), strong and a centre back. Maybe we don’t need to splash more cash and ‘Big Phil’s our man?

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