Saturday, 6 August 2011
The need for a proper British spine
Something that I have given a lot of though to recently is the reasons for our failure to win anything in the past six years and I feel one large factor has been our lack of a strong British spine in the side. Take Arsene's double winning sides and the invincibles, they all had this British spine in the squad and this is what we have lost in the past few seasons. The reason for the importance of this British spine shall be explained.
Firstly I have nothing against foreign players, this is no tabloid rant of xenophobic drivel. However it is ludicrous to forget the importance of team spirit, leadership and togetherness. It is imperative if one is going to be successful to have a squad without divisions, a squad that gets on well together socially and that all speak the same language fluently, a squad that understands what Arsenal Football club represents and a squad of players that above all wants to die fighting for the club that they love.
In recent years we have seen too many players represent our club who do not have the right mentality to be Arsenal footballers, players who do not give their all on the field every week. We have also seen too many first team players become uncommitted to the football club. These factors combined with the lack of leadership from the club captain have seen our ship become rather rudderless. Gallas was an appalling captain, Cesc has been no leader, the handing of the captain's armband to the uncommitted Nasri was an insult to our football club. Players who do not want to play for our football club should not be made club captain and should not be kept at our football club, no matter how good they think they are.
The future of our football club is better off in the hands of players like Jack Wilshere than Cesc Fabregas. We need more players who love the club and who support the club. Players like this are far less likely to ever be tempted away by the big foreign clubs, they are also far less likely to be tempted to run their contracts down and shaft the club they support. Carl Jenkinson is a Gooner and one thing one knows is that he will always put his heart and soul into every single game he plays for us.
Players brought up at the club from a young age and who have the club's mentality instilled in them are far less likely to ever want to leave for big money elsewhere, they will be far more loyal and dedicated to the cause. Part of the reason for Alex Ferguson's success is that he has kept hold of his great players on the whole, the likes of Scholes, Giggs and Keane never wanted out. Generally British players do not want to play abroad, unfortunately many of our great foreign players have wanted to go to Italy or Spain in their prime.
It is also important that the foreign players we bring in around this core of British talent have this Arsenal ethos instilled in them, they must know that a lack of commitment is not acceptable, a larger British core would instill this in our squad and when combined with our technical excellence it would have the potential to be truly unstoppable. The players brought in must be of the right character and sort.
It is to Arsene's great credit that he has revolutionised our youth system and we are seeing a generation of committed British talent developing at the club. We have seen Jack Wilshere become a first choice starter in the last year, Ramsey can do the same, Gibbs can too provided he can stay fit. There are some other fine fighters waiting in the wings in the form of Frimpong, Bartley when back from his loan, Lansbury, Jenkinson and Afobe. It would be great for the long term future of the club if as many of these homegrown British players can make it as possible, they are not going to start pining for a return to their homeland at a later date, Arsenal is their home.
We have some truly excellent and highly committed foreign players who also give nothing short of 100% every time that they put on their Arsenal shirt. The likes of RVP, Vermaelen, Sagna, Song and Szczesny always give their all and fight for every scrap. We must weed out the uncommitted, keep this core of committed foreign talent, combine it with our homegrown fighters and then make the right additions to this group, then we have a chance. If we do not do this and persist with some of the uncommitted players who simply do not have the right attitude for Arsenal FC, then the rot will persist and the failure will continue.