Thursday 7 January 2010

Team of the Decade - Andy Gray eat your soulless heart out

With the game being cancelled last night and only transfer rumours in the news, I am resorting to the completely pointless task of creating teams of the decade. Andy Gray has inspired me to come up with a Premiership team of the decade, not because I think Andy Gray's opinion deserves one iota of respect; no, this is a man who changes the rules for different teams, he is the little dog that sits on Rupert Murdoch's lap telling him exactly what he wants to hear and doing some rather explicit things too I hear. Take his team of the decade for example, the fact that he has the immensely average Gary Neville in it tells it all, quite frankly enough said. Looking at it there have been plenty of other teams of the decade, Henry Winter's, Phil McNulty's, Tony Cascarino's, the Wail's, and many more I'm sure.

In fact virtually all of the above 'teams of the noughties' included Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard. Call be a biased Gooner, but Gary Neville has never been anything but a solid player, he's never looked good against top wingers, he's never looked outstanding at an international level, he's a hard working pro who's made the most of limited ability, he is just in there by default, there haven't been that many outstanding right backs this decade. Now to Steven Gerrard, if ever there was an over-hyped Englishman whose bark is louder than his bite then it is this man, he can be outstanding on his day, but his day comes far too erratically and infrequently, fluking an undeserved European Cup is about the sum total of this lad's achievements, he's been consistently woeful for England, has gone missing in numerous games for Liverpool and is a utter scumbag.

In order to get around the problems that other people have had in naming their teams, I am going to have a big fat hole at right back to signify that there has not been one outstanding player in that position who has performed for long enough over the decade to deserve the slot, I will therefore have an extra slot in the midfield.

Goalkeeper - Brad Friedel is my pick. A fantastically consistent performer and I just can't think of anyone better. Cech is error prone and only had a couple of great years, Given is a very good keeper but has never maintained the consistency of Friedel, I'd love to give it to Jens but that wouldn't be fair.

Right Back - Not Gary Neville. Bacary Sagna is the best right back around but has simply not plied his trade here for long enough.

Centre Backs - Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand. Vidic came close while Terry is an unpleasant one-paced bully and would never get into any team of mine. Sol Campbell in his prime was simply a brick wall, Rio Ferdinand until his injury woes was an exceptional all round player.

Left Back - Ashley Cole. To select this man given his complete lack of class shows how good a footballer he is, enough said.

Central midfield - Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane. These two titans would make a fantastic pair, assuming they didn't try to eat each other. Gerrard is too erratic and has never done enough at a Premiership level, Lampard has never stood out as a great footballer to me despite his great goalscoring abilities, Scholes can't be far off selection in anyone's book.

Attacking midfielders - Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Robert Pires. Ronaldo was brilliant despite all the cheating. Giggs is a rather unique player, so silky and such a natural understanding of the game. Bobby was one of our best players ever, such a seamless worker, so much ability and so consistently a match winner, such a shame we didn't keep him longer.

Strikers - Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba. Henry's record speaks for itself, a player who could take apart the very best defenders without even looking like he was trying, also an incredible creator of goals. Drogba, like Ronaldo, is an idiot on the pitch but at the same time he routinely wins games on his own, simply an unstoppable juggernaut when on form. It is hard not to put Dennis Bergkamp in there but he peaked in the late nineties, he was outstanding in the early noughties but I just can't quite sneak him in there.

(Empty slot dedicated to the Gary Neville moustache) Ferdinand Campbell Cole
Ronaldo Vieira Keane Giggs Pires
Drogba Henry

So that's my team of the decade. What a pointless exercise it is compiling these imaginary teams, still it does pass the time. It's got me thinking about my Arsenal team of the decade. I'd probably go for: Lehmann; Sagna, Keown, Campbell, Cole; Ljungberg, Vieira, Cesc, Pires; Bergkamp, Henry. Let the debate begin.


Anonymous said...

Hate to say this, but you've got 12 players in your team

1979gooner said...

I haven't.

The right back slot has been left empty to demonstrate how undeserving the tashed Gary Neville is of this position.

Anonymous said...

Why is LAUREN not your right back??????
He was outstandingly cosistent during his time at Arsenal!

1979gooner said...

Lauren did very well at right back but he was never a natural right back for me.

He wasn't far off but I just don't think any right back has done quite enough to deserve the slot on their own.

Also if I stuck Lauren in I wouldn't be able to insult Gary Neville so cruelly.

dr gooner said...


G.Neville Campbell Ferdinand Cole

Keane vieira

Ronaldo Bergkamp Henry

1979gooner said...

hi dr gooner,

schmeichel only played til 99 for united, hard as it is to believe!

i can't see how giggs can't make it into anyone's side of the nineties either, he's done it all, has been consistently outstanding

Ted said...

I would pick Lauren as well. A truly hard bastard. But otherwise I like 1979's selection for Prem team of the decade.

Apart from Giggs. If Gary Neville can't be picked because he was never that good, and Gerrard is too erratic (both of which I agree on), then you simply cannot pick Giggs.

Yes, his career is incredible, and he had a purple patch last year, but has been average (by his standards) for most of the 00s. (Maybe good in 02/03 - scored a lot that year I think).

We also should not pick players in a "team of the decade" simply because they are still playing at the end of it.

Arjen Robben should be in the frame. For two years at Chelsea he was unstoppable.

1979gooner said...


The lauren point is good.

I disagree strongly on Giggs.

Whenever I watched United in the 2000s, apart from maybe the last couple of years, he has been such a key player for them.

Beckham often took a lot of the plaudits, but Giggs was always their key creative man:

His assists record is pretty incredible. Not only that but he works hard, tracks back, scores a few goals and is very consistent.

It was rubbish that Giggs won the BBC award this year as over this last year he has played way less games, however look over his career and his record is pretty spotless:

He's even Arsene's player of the decade:


No way in my opinion. Amazingly talented but a naturally selfish player. Only a flash in the pan, turned to sh*t for him pretty quickly at Chelsea, admittedly that wasn't all his fault. Not enough to justify being in the team of the decade in my opinion.

The interesting thing about a lot of the players we have named is that very few were amazing straight away, the guys who look great on their debuts often dissappoint in the long term, it is often the more acquired tastes that become the legends.

Ted said...

Its a good debate about Giggs, for sure, but in my mind I am always delighted to see Giggs on the Manure teamsheet. He never hurts opposition in the way RVN, Ronaldo and Rooney can. Even Beckham was truly lethal with a dead ball.

Giggs has played second fiddle at United to a string of more potent players. The suggestion that he is a workhorse in midfield is not good enough. Scholes or Lampard should be in on that basis.

If you want someone for classy passing, assists and a bit of goals, then you have got to pick Bergkamp, Fabregasm, or accept that Gerrard is better than you admit.

1979gooner said...

Nope, disagree with that.

Giggs has an assist record that is as good as anyone over the last ten years. He is a very creative player, he sees the passes and gaps as cesc does.

He has it all, or had it all. He hasn't had the killer pace that he did have for the last 3/4 years, true, but for the majority of the noughties he would be the player that the opposition sh*t their pants thinking about before the game in the dressing room.

He skins defenders for fun, even in recent years he has scored some absolute belters, remember that goal at upton park a year or two back.

Don't put RVN in the same category as giggs/bergkamp/pires etc. RVN was a poacher, admittedly a good one, but nothing more than that. He was a selfish c*nt, never helped anyone else, had a very average touch, not that quick and not a good all round footballer. Always a vastly overated player in my opinion.

Lampard and Scholes can't be far off, I just don't think they are as good as the others.

Gerrard has never done it consistently enough in my opinion. He's had a couple of brilliant seasons. But combine his erratic output with the fact that he's never won anything at league level, I just don't think he cuts it overall. He is often useless, spraying passes straight to the opposition.

Of the five I selected in midfield and the two up front:


One of the things I have subconsciously selected on is consistency. Obviously everyone has their off days, but generally these players didn't have many for the majority of their career when in their prime years.

What also makes these guys stand out is that they all scare top top defenders and teams.

RVN never looked good against decent defenders. Gerrard is great on his day, I just think he's been too erratic and I dislike him (being honest!).

I would be interested to see who fergie and arsene would pick.

ceetee said...

nice blog

Ted said...

Fair enough, but when was the last time Giggs had a good game against a good side?
Fergie did not even play Giggs in the Arsenal semis last year because (with a 10 second exception in 99) we eat him for breakfast.Every single game.

He was truly woeful against Barca in the final last year and was taken off at half time.

You criticise Gerrard for his performances for England, but what has Giggs done for Wales? Fuck all !! Craig Bellamy and John Hartson have done more.

This bizarre Giggs lovefest has spread through the minds of the weak over recent times. You may as well put Gary Speed in the team of the decade.

Would I say the same if Giggs played for Arsenal? Probably not, but I would never pick Giggs ahead of Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes or Bergkamp.

But then, that's the pointless fun of these lists!!

1979gooner said...

I am not arguing that Giggs has been brilliant in the last eighteen months, he hasn't, his form has tailed off. However prior to 2008/9 season he was excellent.

He has had many outstanding games for Wales, it's not easy when you're playing in a very weak side.

I'm not being weakened by propaganda here, I have seen Giggs play many times and he's a f*cking good player in my opinion.

One goal stands out, that FA Cup Semi goal that almost broke my heart, bastard, but what a goal.

Anonymous said...

I never take any notice of media ''teams'' because basically there all the same and have to put in the media favourites or there articles be worthless(most are anyway).

Again in these ''teams'' there have put a cheat,a thug and greed on a pedestal which gives a bad reflection on the game and puts out a grime message to kids.

Agree a about gerrard,totally over-rated as is terry(take calvalho out and terry would struggle)and if the media wasn't so baised and did it on purely footballing ability Bergkampf,Pires,Le Tissier etc would grace any team sheet.

Forget these arse-licking,media favoured jokes of teams just remember the glory days of our own players and know that we had the best.

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pedro velasquez said...

Up front would be Gianfranzo Zola, a greatdominical costa rica tours professional and a wonderful guy, which helps, just a supreme talent, so he would be in my team.My other frontman is Thierry Henry; from the right or left-sided midfielder that they brought from Juventus, who looked totally out of place, he turned into this graceful swan, who just changed the way people think about how you score goals - and left a massive mark, not only on Arsenal, but on this league.