Ceching Out Safe Hands

If I said “goalkeepers are crazy”, you’ll be able to tell the age of the respondent by their answer. Born in the 21st Century, you’re talking Higuita, possibly Neuer when he first burst onto the scene. The trouble with German goalkeepers in this category is that like Harald Schumacher, actions were calculated. Except for Jens and he was just a psychopath. But he was our psychopath.

Older fans may remember Ramon Quiroga from the 1978 World Cup. The video is worth watching for Denis Law’s manaiacal laughter as co-commentator:

The first thing which springs to my mind with the phrase is Bob Wilson’s bare hands diving at the feet of the onrushing forward. This is the late 60s and 70s when goalkeepers were a different breed. Bravery was taken as read with those between the sticks the lunatics of the team, the characters.

A decade before, Bert Trautmann broke his neck in the FA Cup final and played on. Forget the Titanic band playing on, this is real heroism; Manchester City won the game.

Gordon Banks tried to play on after a car crash despite losing the sight in his right eye in 1972. These days a well-aimed boot kicked at a media darling’s head is a national tragedy but the stiff upper lip still prevailed back then.

Mind you, Peter Shilton’s car crash moment didn’t unduly hurt his career. More than a decade of chants of “Tina! Tina!” and “Does your missus know you’re here?”. Highbury was, I believe, the last bastion of those serenades.

Petr Cech never suffered such ignominy; he’s too much of a bloody nice bloke. Like Bob, Pat and Dave before him, a gentleman by all accounts. A great help to Ryan Mason which was unprompted by anything other than human decency.

Wherever I Lay My Skull Cap, That’s My Home

Hanging up his boots now is no surprise. Relegated to second-choice in the XI is repeating his history at Chelsea and not a welcome memory; a retrograde step he didn’t wish to take.

Is it surprising that at 36 he is hanging up his boots? Not at all. He’s seen the likes of David Seaman move onto other clubs to prolong his career and it not working out; time waits for no man nor the goalkeeper’s reflexes.

Along with David Ospina, his contract expires this summer. It’s an example of the previous regime’s mismanagement of contracts. Ozil and Sanchez’s deals expired in the same summer; it’s almost as if someone wanted to make the manager’s life difficult. For the contracts to become a catalyst for change…

It leaves our summer budget stretched further. If I look at the younger goalkeepers at the club, going into a season with Leno backed up by Martinez and Iliev doesn’t inspire; inexperience is a hefty price to pay if relied upon for half of a Premier League season. I know young players have a career path to follow but throwing them in at the deep end is a huge risk for the club.

If we are going to pursue that route, significant investment in the defensive side of the playing staff is absolutely essential. To put a young goalkeeper behind Mustafi is the sort of cruelty which the RSPCA successfully prosecutes.

Every time Unai Emery looks at the squad, he must wonder how we’ve got to this position. It’s taken a number of years and the answer remains “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.

It’s That Time of the Post…

The same is true of Mesut Ozil. It’s set for him to return to the team on Saturday and produce a blinding Man of the Match performance. Whether he does play to that level is another matter.

David Seaman observed between casts yesterday that “there’s something really weird going on and I don’t think we’re getting the full story.” Safe hands, safe quote.

He’s more concerned about the impact on the squad fo the situation:

That can cause a lot of problems, especially with the amount of money he’s getting. It’s almost double what everybody else is doing, if not more in some cases.

It can cause problems because the guy who is getting the most money is supposed to be the guy who is setting the example.

He’s the best player at the club and you want to see that.

But when you see that he’s not doing it, and he’s not doing regularly it breeds a little bit of discontent.

The players get the hump with you.

When Arsene was in charge, there was no chance of anyone getting the hump. The players were all too nice, too amiable and willing to get on. Now there is some edge to the sqiuad, a rebellious streak is surfacing? I don’t think so somehow.

He’s not wrong in believe that a parting of the ways is on the cards but like the goalkeeper situation, it won’t be sorted out until the summer.

Busy days ahead.

’til Tomorrow.

19 thoughts on “Ceching Out Safe Hands

  1. Very good read YW, yet again Btw have we tried Laca in the nr 10 role. Think maybe he has skill set for that?

  2. We did have a little to an fro on here a little while back about the impact of salary gaps in the dressing room. Glad to see that Dave agrees with my take on that (just sayin’). Any way you look at it the position is untenable and our owners are never going to say no to a chance to reduce costs are they?

    If we can free up funds to help restructure the squad (and I doubt a new keeper will be a high priority, unless it’s another Mark Schwarzer fiasco) then great. Of course Stan may well just bank the cash, that’s the biggest fear.

  3. You’ve done it again Jonny!

    Ras, Jonny pointed out I mixed you up with Northbank1969. He was the one with spicy sausage earrings!

    The last I read Northbank1969 had moved to a cave in the south of France without an internet connection. He had some great stories on his blog about the Cally Road gangsters of the 60s and 70s.

    On that note where’s Nicky? The Methuselah of Arsenal blogs.

    Jonnygunner:

  4. Cech hasn’t done much wrong really. A few rickets here and there, but all keepers do them. He’s going out at the top, he likes London, he’s got plenty of dough. Maybe he can become a coach? Can’t do much worse than Peyton surely?

    Leno hasn’t done much better than Cech so far. Yes, he’s better at kicking, but the jury is out on his decision making. He’s young…

  5. Pete the Thirst,

    Pete Jonnys days are numbered, done .I’ve been on t’other side of the Globe for a period.

    Et maintenant j suis à chez moi . Demain Matin – Tomorrow morning we will see 😄👀

  6. Ras:
    Pete the Thirst,

    PeteJonnys days are numbered,done .I’ve been on t’other side of the Globe for a period.

    Et maintenant j suis à chez moi . Demain Matin – Tomorrow morning we will see

    Oooooh….I love a gauntlet 🙋🏼‍♂️😂

  7. It is fun to reminisce about some of the true characters we have had on this blog, i’ve been reading on and off for at least ten years now i think. is that possible!?? I am just checking the history books, in the 09-10 Champions League we made a pretty deep run, I think it was the game where Fabregas broke his leg or whatever but still scored a pen? We had 2-2 score going to Camp Nou for 2nd leg. Bendter scores first to put us up 3-2 on aggregate and an away goal to boot. Then Messi dropped 4 on us.

  8. thrillbo,

    Bloody Barcelona! If we’d beaten them in the CL final 2006 history could have been so much different. I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the game and was behind the goal when Henry raced clear. Chip the keeper and it’s 2-0. You’d lay your money on him finishing it and he scuffed it…

    Great city though.

    In 1999 got tickets from a tout and sat behind the goal among the Barcelona faithful. Kanu’s equaliser didn’t go down very well with the locals.

    🙂 🙂

  9. I recall the Trautmann incident, diving at the feet of Peter Murphy who was in clear. Trautmann, a German former POW was extremely popular in Britain and I saw him play a number of times. In his book, “Steppes to Wembley”, he described one particular game and being too nonchalant with the ball with Trevor Ford lurking. Next thing he knew, both he and the ball were lying in the back of the net and Ford was celebrating his goal. Trautmann, knowing the rules allowed fair, shoulder to shoulder barging, said he should have known better with Ford – one of the last but best-known exponents of the shoulder charge in football – in the vicinity. I saw Ford many times, as well, and the crowds loved his aggressiveness and goal-scoring.
    A decade earlier, Harry Fearnley of Huddersfield Town saved a penalty taken by Tommy Lawton. Lawton, known as the hardest kicker of a dead ball in the game, hit it so hard it broke the keeper’s both wrists. Fearnley played on, even though the pain was excruciating, and the double-break was only discovered when an X-Ray was taken the following week. Unfortunately, I saw Lawton only at the end of his career, with Arsenal.

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