Sol Campbell’s relationship with Tottenham seems fractious at best since he crossed into the light in 2001. Abused and harangued ever since, a moment of honesty won’t have done anything to inspire cordiality. Moving to Arsenal, according to The Invincible, “was a big progression for me. Everything about Arsenal was better than Spurs at the time from the players, management to the mentality of the club and the facilities.”
Fair play, Sol; whatever slim chance of you returning to White Hart Lane as one of the ex-pros wheeled out for the stadium tours just went completely south. Not that you suspect he cares one jot about such trivialities, loftier aims inspire the former Arsenal captain now although the hunting lobby has gone curiously quiet…
The bumbling Lassard would capture the moment best, repeating the word “many” before completing the phrase with “years“, in any context confirming the decades since Tottenham were the superior team on the pitch in north London. Campbell’s views are nothing particularly new; he is merely repeating Jimmy Greaves words,
Arsenal have class. I remember when I was at Spurs, the Arsenal players would arrive for matches in their navy blazers with the gold gun emblem sewn into their pockets and grey slacks. We couldn’t match their ground with that beautiful main entrance, marble halls and spiral staircase. Even in 1961 when we won the Double, we were never as big a club as Arsenal
It’s an inferiority complex which is salt that we love to rub in their wounds. Building a new stadium has been something of a PR disaster for the club. Arsenal had similar problems in acquiring land but managed to avoid being linked to fires which began under “suspicious” circumstances or taunts that the level of grants obtained made it a community asset where the club would need to book their own time on the pitch for Premier League games.
Perhaps there will be a time when the tables turn although the previous cyclical nature of football seems less likely the more the gap in finances comes. You have to go back to the early to mid- 1980s to really remember a sustained period when Tottenham were dominant. The likes of Hawley, Hankin and Chapman were never likely to propel Arsenal to a title but George Graham’s return ensured some semblance of order returned to the universe.
It was a strange time, not just in the sense of Tottenham’s one-upmanship but in that the popular image is of their popularity. If you read contemporary media reports, you would believe they were the nations favourite ‘other’ team; a 1980s Fulham if you like. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I lived to the south and to the west of London growing up; they were detested in both parts of England. Indeed, I can’t recall knowing any Tottenham fans until my late teens which may just be down to alcohol erasing brain cells as much as that being the truth.
Such has been their desperation to join the clubs which now constitute the ‘Big Four’, Tottenham have become very adept at selling well and buying badly. Arsenal know that phase well but we’ve come out the other side.
Which is why this transfer window has been quiet. Times past, we would have seen some dubious acquisitions by now but when the retention of a player is more news than those joining, it feels like a welcome relief. Mathieu Flamini has apparently turned down a move to Turkey, despite Arsenal agreeing a £4m deal with Galatasaray. The midfielder may not have tattooed ‘Slave’ across his cheek but his record of never being sold by a club; the words of Jose Anigo on his departure from Marseille would haunt Arsenal. It was “a beautiful treason“.
In football, certainly at the top-level, I can’t think of an immediate comparison to make in that sense. Never caused a transfer fee to be paid; in an industry where that is the norm, he is as rare as a one-club player in the Premier League.
Neither is David Ospina moving to Turkey. During the Copa America, he was reported as confirming that his Mr20% was in talks with Fenerbahçe. He didn’t leave which was surprising given Petr Cech’s arrival. Being the first choice goalkeeper of the Colombian national team, it seemed logical that he would want to retain that position and not risk losing it in a battle with Cech for Arsenal’s custodian. It would surely have been a conversation he had with José Pékerman.
Facing competition from an experienced goalkeeper cannot be easy but Ospina doesn’t lack belief,
Now I have to work hard in every training session and make the most of every opportunity. There’s a lot of competition for the No 1 spot. Therefore, I can’t look anywhere beyond the next game. I will face each challenge and look forward to it.
Fair play to him but it would be a major shock if he usurped Cech from the starting line-up. Ospina’s decision to stay is one of the reasons Szczesny went on loan. We will never know if this is Arsène’s preferred choice but it is the path which the club had to follow. Certainly Ospina’ view will be put to the test,
The most important things is winning titles. At Arsenal, whoever is out of the line-up will cheer up and support their team-mates. We all have to stay united and head in the same direction.
You never know he might get to make history by being the club FA Cup goalkeeper as they celebrate three consecutive triumphs.
The summer has seen the goalkeeping area strengthened and with the back four fit, there is a confidence that Arsène has addressed areas considered to be weaknesses in the past. But that’s the life of a football supporter in close and pre-season; it’s all on paper. It is during the season itself, of course but there is at least something tangible – three points or the next round of the cup at stake. Only another week or so to go and that becomes the reality once more.