News Review – Season so far: December

By Ian Grant


The Jekyll and Hyde performances continue – but you can’t criticise too much when Arsenal are top of their leagues.

Cole and Keown continued an underlying theme of the season being charged by the FA.

The capturing of Philippe Senderos, to add to the growing collection of young talent at Arsenal, is fantastic news… and a good note to end what has been a great year for Arsenal Football Club:

Servette defender Philippe Senderos will join Arsenal at the end of the season. The 17-year-old central defender with the Swiss club, said to be the hottest young property in European football, spurned overtures from Sir Alex

Ferguson and Gerard Houllier, and was wanted by other European clubs.

The fee is said to be in the region of £500,000 and one of the reasons was that Arsenal would let him carry on with his education. He is good at history, apparently.

Martin Keown has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association following his spat with Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy in the game at Old Trafford earlier this month. …

FAME Academy voice coach Carrie Grant has got a new challenge – teaching Arsenal fans to sing. The red head, an avid Gunners fan, has been recruited by brewer Carling to pass on a few hints to fellow fans in the Highbury


According to the Sunday Times, transfer speculation ‘in’ focuses on Danny Mills, Stephen Carr and Stephane Dalmat while the ‘outs’ feature Francis Jeffers and Igors Stepanovs.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Arsenal are interested in Geremi, following reports Middlesbrough are stalling on a £8m permanent deal.

Ronaldo said he harbours dreams of playing for Arsenal or Man U one day.

Johan Cruyff believes this year’s European Player of the Year award should have gone to Arsenal’s Thierry Henry and not Ronaldo.

Arsenal have won the most corners in the Premiership this season at 135.

Luton manager Joe Kinnear is ready to offer former Arsenal striker Christopher Wreh the chance to relaunch his career in England when the transfer window reopens next month.

Lauren, 25, announced his retirement from the Cameroon international team.

It is the first time Arsenal have lead the Premiership on Christmas day. The previous two occasions in 1986 and 1989, they finished fourth both times.

Manchester United and Arsenal could be on a collision course over the of their crucial Premier League fixture at Highbury from Easter Monday. Man U want it earlier. Arsenal want it later.

Robert Pires has confirmed in French sports paper L’Equipe that he has opened negotiations with the club over extending his contract by two years to 2006.

Dennis Bergkamp, has been found guilty of improper conduct during the Blackburn game and fined £5,000 by the FA.

In the BBC documentary on David Seaman he said: “There’s no way a goalkeeper can say, `I’m not going to make a mistake’,” His agent co-produced the programme incidentally.

Bob Wilson believes that David Seaman is capable of playing on at the top level beyond the end of this season.

Les Ferdinand is banned for three matches after his sending-off in a reserve game against local rivals Arsenal following a tussle with Stathis Tavlaradis.

Rumours of Arsenal and Spurs playing permanently at Wembley were scuppered by Brent Council planners last week.

Meanwhile, the club has asked the merchant bank Rothschilds to seek the backing of two more banks to raise a £200m loan, which will be secured on the value of the land and on the future income of the club. The plan is due to be examined by the banks’ credit committees this week.

Robert Pires has written off Liverpool’s title chances and warned that Merseyside rivals Everton pose a bigger threat to Arsenal’s bid to retain their Premiership crown.

Valencia’s Miguel Angel Angulo was banned for their next three Champions League matches by European soccer’s governing body UEFA after his sending off against Arsenal.

Graham Poll will take charge of Arsenal’s Boxing Day game at West Bromwich – his first Gunners’ game since his infamous bust-up with Thierry Henry 12 months ago.

By the Independent’s reckoning, Patrick Vieira is the best player at the club on 6.9/10 for the season.

Wenger said: “There is a long way to go and we have decided to go from game to game. It is difficult to maintain the level of concentration and commitment for 11 months. You have dips, subconscious ones.”

Arsene Wenger revealed he consulted Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier as he aims to bridge the recent gap in class between sides from the Premiership and La Liga. Valencia beat Liverpool twice in this year’s Champions League


The Football Association will investigate the clash between Martin Keown and Ruud van Nistelrooy during the match at Old Trafford on Saturday. Keown has accused van Nistelrooy of provoking him, by threading on his foot. He is the

fourth Arsenal player this season to be investigated by the Football Association for on-the-field misconduct.

According to the Daily Star, one of the reasons Arsenal lost on Saturday was that they were staying in the Lowry Hotel, the same time as Coronation Street’s Christmas bash. At one stage Arsenal officials asked the hotel’s security staff if the noise could be toned down.

Manchester United went from 7-2 to 7-4 to win the Premiership with Blue after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Arsenal.

Paul Merson told the Express he has serious doubts as to whether Matthew Upson has got what it takes to make it at Arsenal. Upson is back At Arsenal after three months on loan at Reading.

Upson says he will quit Highbury if he fails to win a place in the Arsenal side. He said: “I will keep my head down, work hard and see what happens, but if I don’t make it then I will definitely have to leave for the sake of my career.”

Robert Pires, back in action after seven months out with a knee injury, told Reuters he is expecting to reach his best form in March next year.

Thierry Henry, prior to the Valencia game was branded a show pony who goes missing in big matches by Valencia midfielder Vicente Rodriguez.

Arsene Wenger warned Arsenal to use their defeat at Old Trafford as a “wake-up call” even though he defiantly insisted it would be “crazy” to under-estimate their title chances.

The Irish Times said Wenger’s boast that Arsenal could go through the season unbeaten, “is a certain entry in the “Famous Last Words” section of Cassell’s Sports Quotations.”

According to Football 365, Arsenal are still hoping to add to their batallion of goalkeepers, with the next recruit likely to be Bastia’s Nicolas Penneteau.

Oxford United edged past their local rivals Swindon and were rewarded with a trip to holders Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper and football presenter Bob Wilson advised Jerzy Dudek that, “When I made a mistake I couldn’t sleep, paced around all night and drank a lot of tea.”

Meanwhile Arsenal goalkeeper Graham Stack, who is on loan at Beveren, does things differently. He has become the toast of Belgian football after punching fans who ran on to the pitch following his side’s 3-1 win over Antwerp.

Granada has yet to make a £30million payment towards building Arsenal’s new soccer stadium. Granada agreed the payment as part of a deal to take a stake in the football club four years ago. However, after the collapse of

ITV Digital there have been worries over the financial state of the company.

Arsene Wenger will oppose any moves to lure unheralded assistant Pat Rice away from Highbury. Rice has emerged as a surprise candidate for the vacant England coaching post.

The lack of Francis Jeffers’ first team appearances is saving Arsenal money. Everton would collect another £1m after Jeffers started 30 games for Arsenal and another £1m for his next 30 starts. In 18 months Jeffers has started just five games for Arsenal.

Tony Adams said: “The most crucial area of any game is getting the numbers and balance right in midfield. Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires are wonderful players going forward, but I don’t think you can play them both

away from home.” He predicted a United win last weekend.

The Sunday Mirror says Real Madrid have gone public with their interest in Thierry Henry. A spokesman said: “Even though the club have signed Ronaldo, they would always be interested in Henry.”

Early December

Arsenal remain the team to beat in the Premiership, according to Kenny Dalglish, the former Liverpool player and manager. He said that double winners of the quality of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry were so good that

you really have to go and watch them.

Ashley Cole, the Arsenal has been charged with misconduct for alleged remarks to referee Paul Durkin after the 3-2 Premiership defeat at Southampton last month. The England left-back has been charged under rule E2 which refers to insulting and/or abusive language or behaviour to a match

official. He has 14 days to respond.

Thierry Henry joined Zola and Shearer and Beattie heading the Premiership scoring charts on nine goals this season. Wiltord, van Nistelroy, Owen and Anelka have eight apiece.

Wenger said on Henry: “I think every team that plays against us is worried about him. He is extremely strong and recovers so well. You need a special strength to deliver that kind of performance.” He added that Henry has to remain humble to further improve.

“Heading is certainly the main area where he can improve as he can jump to the sky if he wants. It’s just a decision that he has to make – do I want to be strong heading the ball? Once he has made that decision, he will be it as

he has the technique to do it. He’s already frightening without it. With it, he will be even more so.”

Wenger hailed Thierry Henry as better than Brazil’s World Cup hero Ronaldo after the French striker made it five goals in two games, and is one of the favourites to win European footballer of the Year award.

Arsenal moved to 1-2 favourites for the title after the week-end matches. Man U went from 9-2 from7-2 from 9-2 Manchester United to win the Premiership with Blue Square with Liverpool, who have been eased from 11-4

to 7-2.

Ron Atkinson said the more Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva play together, the better they become as a pair. “People might think of them as defensive midfielders but we saw again on Saturday how their partnership has made

Arsenal an even stronger attacking force.” Ron Atkinson expects Vieira to score ten a season, if his shooting improves.

However he blew it when German cable TV viewers heard what he said off air during the Roma match: “He actually looks a little t**t, that Totti. I haven’t been a big fan … Are there any sandwiches?”

Spanish international keeper Jose Canizares looks set to miss Valencia’s Champions League Group B clash at Arsenal next Tuesday after being carried off in the 0-0 draw at Alaves with a knee injury.

Pires said: “When you are in this team, with the atmosphere at Highbury, you just want to be back as quickly as possible. I am getting stronger and will last the whole 90 minutes at my best very soon. I’m feeling better and


Arsenal had the second youngest team out on Saturday at 25 years 3 months. Spurs had the eldest at 29.3 months.

According to the People, Roy Keane is being lined up for a return in Manchester United’s Premiership title crunch with Arsenal tomorrow. And it says David Beckham could also be back after his rib injury.

Wenger said of Kolo Toure’s brother who plays for feeder club Beveren: “He is still young (19) but he has true potential. I see Yaya Toure as a future great player for Arsenal.”

However, his manager at Beveren and Arsenal players, Stack and Halls say although he has more talent, he takes it easy too often and doesn’t have the personality of his elder brother

George Graham was 58 this week.

News review – season so far: November

By Ian Grant


Manchester United have gone to 9-2 from 8-1 to win the Premiership with Ladbrokes after Saturday’s 5-3 win. Most bookies still offer each-way title betting but are now paying only a third the odds on the first two.

Arsenal were just 9-5 with Coral to beat AS Roma in the Italian capital on Wednesday. Arsenal have lost their first game at this stage in the past two years. Roma side, were 11-8 to win. The draw was 15-8.

Wenger admits he is haunted by visions of Argentinian striker Gabriel Batistuta and his goal at Wembley, which knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League.

Roma manager, Capello, said: “For me, Arsenal are the strongest side in Europe at the moment. Firstly, they’ve got players of the very highest standard now. They’ve got strength, they’ve got quality, and above all, they

have pace and they have technique.”

Alex Ferguson said Arsenal and Liverpool players were generally bigger than Man Us. Indeed, players are getting bigger overall. In Arsenal’s double-winning season of 1970-1971, the average height of the first division

goalkeepers was 5ft 11in, three inches less than their counterparts in the Premiership this season.

Former Arsenal defender Willie Young was 51. Alan Smith was 40.

Ashley Cole has been reported by referee Paul Durkin for using foul and abusive language as the players left the pitch on Saturday, and could face a three match ban.

Wenger said: “Durkin is Durkin, what can you do.” Durkin has previously sent off Emmanuel Petit and Giovanni van Bronckhurst in controversial circumstances.

Liverpool and Arsenal last lost a league match on the same day on November 26, 2000.

The Mirror points out that Arsenal have experimented with 6 back-five formations this season.

Glenn Hoddle said: “Arsenal have got over their blimp now.”

Arsenal have received 31 red cards in the Premiership since Arsene Wenger joined. The club with the second most red cards is Everton with 26.

Sol Campbell said: “All artists have their own quirky little ways. I’m like the tiger roaming the jungle or an eagle soaring over the skies.”

According to the Sunday Mirror, Glenn Hoddle has asked the Spurs board to finance a £7million bid for Francis Jeffers. ANR believes Jeffers is on his way out of Highbury.

Rules governing penalty shoot-outs are set to be changed following a campaign by Arsenal and Football Association vice-chairman David Dein. UEFA’s clubs committee have given the green light to a proposal that the end of the ground at which shoot-outs take place be decided by the toss of a

coin, with the winner choosing either which goal to use or to take the first


The Times points out that Arsenal fans still visit a house in Woolwich, to see the ruins of Arsenal’s first stadium – a few muddy steps in a garden.

The Evening Standard said Arsenal are close to agreeing new deals with Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Sylvain Wiltord.

Henry, Vieira and Wiltord are among 50 nomination announced by France Football for European Footballer of the Year award.

Thierry Henry said Ronaldo shouldn’t be in the European Footballer of Year awards. “The awards must take into account what a player has done throughout the whole season and not what he has achieved in a single tournament.”

The Manchester Evening News reported that Kevin Keegan wants Ray Parlour for £4m. Parlour has already turned down West Ham, Sunderland and Portsmouth.

Parlour is set to return from injury this week. He has been out since September with a hamstring problem.

Times reports that Juventus remain keen on signing Patrick Vieira. Luciano Moggi, the Juventus general manager, said that the midfield player was top of their wanted list.

The FA confirmed it would be studying video evidence of Ledley King’s tackle on Freddie Ljungberg at Highbury.

The Daily Star says But Wenger he offered a 20 year-old Zinedine Zidane to the Gunners for £700,000 in the early nineties.

Newcastle United’s match with Arsenal at St James’s Park will now be beamed out live on Sky and switched from Saturday, February 8 to the following afternoon.

Former Arsenal winger Anders Limpar has announced his retirement from football at the age of 37.

Valencia’s Argentinian international Pablo Aimar is expected to miss the next six matches including against Arsenal after tearing muscles in his left thigh during his team’s 1-0 Spanish league defeat at Osasuna on Sunday.

Freddie Ljungberg has won the Swedish the Player of the Year award.

Ex-Arsenal player Paul Merson, 34, wants to try soccer management when he finally quits.

Kanu could be out for up to six weeks amid fears that his knee injury could need an operation. The Nigerian has already been out of action for a fortnight and will undergo further tests this week.


AS Roma coach Fabio Capello believes his team have been given the toughest draw possible for the Champions League’s second group phase.

Roma, who will face Valencia, Arsenal and Ajax Amsterdam, are the only team in Group B who are not champions of their domestic league.

Wenger said: “Newcastle could be the Bayer Leverkusen of last year. I cannot see Basel making it to the quarter-finals, but Newcastle have a real chance. That’s the group they would have wanted to be in. They have a good chance against Inter and Barcelona.”

George Graham is backing his former club Arsenal to win the Champions League this season. “They are good enough to do it. The team have talent all over the park and the time is right for them to win the competition.”

Arsene Wenger is confident this week’s international get-together will not damage his Arsenal team’s revival. the club’s. However, reportedly, seventeen players will be on international duty around the globe this week

“This time they are away for three days and it is for friendlies, so their minds will be on their club rather than the international games. Last time the rhythm was broken,” he says.

He singled out Silva though:”Gilberto must go to Korea on a 13-hour flight to play probably 45 minutes in a friendly, but you can do nothing at all. We tried to keep him here but they want everybody there. “

Sylvain Wiltord crept up on Gianfranco Zola and is now just one goal behind in the Premiership hot-shots league eight to nine.

Several Man U stars look like missing the clash with Arsenal. Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Beckham, Keane are all currently considered doubtful.

Ron Atkinson said Spurs’ mistake after the Davies sending off was to play Sheringham on his own up front – allowing Arsenal to isolate him, pass it around, picking off midfielders.

Fulham Ladies beat Arsenal 2-1 at St Albans putting them eight points clear. Arsenal have two games in hand though.

Some Frenchmen have been complimenting Arsene:”To me, he is like a father. He is one of the people I respect most in the world. He is brave and he is intelligent,” said Emmanuel Petit. While Guy Roux, manager of Auxerre said, “he is wonderful”.

Laurent Feger, a Paris Saint-Germain fan, says that Wenger deserves more credit for the World Cup and European Championship than Houllier.

Simon Kuper in The Times, says, “Old” French fans tend to follow Liverpool, partly because of memories of the Seventies and Eighties. But the new fans prefer Arsenal, and they are the majority.

Pascal Boniface, a French international relations expert, remarked, “For certain people, Arsenal practically is a French club”.

Rami Shaaban, is a Swedish citizen of half-Egyptian descent can play for either country. He has told Egypt he wants another six months before deciding, and the feeling is he wants to play for Sweden.

Thierry Henry has the most right foot shots on target in the Premiership at 23. He has also the most right foot shots off target at 17. Also currently he has the most assists at 6.

Thierry Henry said: “I have only one life and in this life I am going to play with Arsenal, if I can, till I retire. You have to be respectful with what your team has given you and I owe a lot to Arsenal. Since I arrived here, my name and my career have changed; they know me now because of Arsenal.”

Francis Jeffers said: ” I’m an Arsenal player, I’m happy here and I’ll do everything I can to fight for my place. I’m only 21. We’re trying to achieve something special here and I want to be part of it.”

“This is the club to be at. And I’m sure if you speak to any other Premiership player and you asked them honestly what club they’d love to be playing for, I think they’d say Arsenal.”

According to the Mirror, Arsenal are lining up a £5million January swoop for Sunderland keeper Thomas Sorensen. Sunderland will pay £2.5million for Mart Poom and allow Sorensen to move on.

Rangers say they, and all Scotland’s senior clubs, will benefit greatly from the Arsenal trade mark case which went in teh London club’s favour in the European Court of Justice this week. The old firm clubs reckon they have lost £14m in revenue last year from ‘fake merchandise’.

One Scottish paper said, with many clubs still reeling from the loss of television revenues, the Arsenal decision is particularly good news in the run-up to Christmas.

Freddie Ljungberg said: ” I don’t really go for the really big designers. I like to find new designers like Lerac, D2, Alessandrini and Roberto Cavalli.”

Why does Freddie dye his hair? “I have rat-coloured hair, so since I was 14 I’ve been dyeing it.”

Greg Lincoln who was with Arsenal for 11 years, is now fighting for a place in the Northampton team.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has named Seaman, Cole and Campbell for an England

training session between 18-20 November.

Kevin Keegan explained why Nicolas Anelka is feeling the weight of pressure:” He went to Arsenal for about half a million, left for £23 million and they built a training ground on him.”

And another strange quote from Mick Miller: “I was at Port Vale with Ray Kennedy and we got free transfers. Ray went to Arsenal, I went to Pontin’s. He got £300 grand, I got £11 a week and a rash.”

And another old boy quote, from Malcolm Macdonald on Football 365:” Wayne Rooney is something very special. He’s the most exciting thing I’ve seen. He reminds me of me. It’s like watching my own videos.”

After saying: “Jesus Christ couldn’t come in here with a system that would cure the way we had been playing,” after beating Arsenal, Howard Wilkinson said: “Now we’re looking for answers to problems, rather than finding problems for every answer.”

Bobby Robson thinks: “Arsenal are the best side at present – just. There is a lot of ability and pace in the team. They have a lot of confidence, a lot of skill.”

Robson added: “Arsenal are such a clever team. They suck you in and then suddenly, they have five at you on the counter. They reverse the situation so quickly, and nobody matches them for speed on the break.”

The chances of Manchester United having Roy Keane in their line-up for next month’s showdown against Arsenal look slim.

Middlesbrough’s Joseph-Desire Job said Liverpool are stronger than Arsenal and can beat them to the title. “I have seen Arsenal and I prefer their style of play going forward with all that movement but Liverpool are so

strong at the back, more strong than Arsenal, and that’s what will decide


Wenger said of Vieira: “I had to fight hard to keep him because Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus all wanted to sign him. The media kept trying to sell Patrick. But we stayed strong and there hasn’t been another

approach for him for about a year. Now Patrick has said he wants to stay and we hope soon to have him sign a new contract.”

Gary Speed said he [Vieira] was best midfielder he’d ever faced, while Sir Bobby Robson called him the best player in the world.

Vieira added: “I am happy with the way I performed. I was feeling good, feeling fresh, because I’ve had a few days off. I really enjoyed it, because I’ve missed playing.”

On Luzhny’s dramatic change in form, Wenger said: “Maybe it was making him captain in the Worthington Cup that made him so fantastic.” One paper claimed his nickname means moose or elk in Ukranian.

Arsenal youth player, Steve Sidwell has joined Brighton on a month’s loan. He joins Graham Barrett there. Sidwell played for manager Steve Coppell at Brentford, who said: “He is a player who got stronger and stronger for me and he has the pedigree.”

This season, says Arsenal Ladies coach Vik Akers, the little forward Ellen Maggs – she wears size three boots, her socks come up over her knees and her shorts go down almost below them – has been “fantastic”. So much so, she

received her first senior England call-up for the second leg of the World Cup play-off final against France on tomorrow.

“It’s not just about winning prizes, although that’s the most important thing, but setting records.” Dennis Bergkamp said.

Incidentally, a Dutch financial paper reported that Dennis Bergkamp has amassed a fortune of £34m.

It was revealed that an attempted kidnap took place on Edu on September 6,2000. Armed men held Edu in a car while others kept his family hostage, asking for credit cards. One of the robbers a Corinthian fan, even asked Edu

to sign his shirt.

Edu said: “Wenger is incredible for a coach. He always asks ‘how are you? Are your family OK?’ It’s not ‘you have a game tomorrow’. Here, we’re more than a team, we’re friends.”

“In Brazil it’s different because you play with two midfielders behind, defending, and two midfielders in front, attacking. Here it’s two in the middle and two on the sides, so you have more space in front of you. But you’ve got to know what to do with the space and when I first came I was


Wenger insisted prior to the PSV game that he will not make the same mistake as two seasons ago, when Arsenal were in a similar situation against Shakhtar Donetsk and fielded a second-string side. They were hammered 3-0 by the Ukrainians and it began a barren league run for Wenger’s side.

He said: “We want to finish well and to win at home. It’s important for our pride and for our confidence. And financially as well, it’s much better to win.”

According to The People, Wenger has claimed Europe’s top clubs will one day form a breakaway league. He believes the influential G14 group – will walk away from their domestic leagues if, as expected, the TV cash doesn’t continue to increase.

Ex-Manchester City player Barry Silkman, whose reported clients include Arsenal’s Brazilian midfielder Gilberto Silva has been cleared by a court of French-kissing a 14 year-old Scots girl, by a jury.

The Daily Star reported that Arsenal are interested in signing William Gallas from Chelsea.

One Sunday paper re-iterated Wenger’s interest in singing Turkish international goalkeeper, Rustu, and intimated it could be in the winter transfer window, rather than in the summer.

Early November

Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva has authorised his solicitor in Brazil to start legal proceedings against his old club Atletico Mineiro for unpaid wages and other debts, the player’s agent has said:”He wanted to come to

an agreement because Gilberto has a lot of affection for the club. But it just didn’t happen. Among other things, he barely got 50% of what we should have got paid for his transfer to Arsenal.”

Alex Ferguson has admitted he made a mistake fielding under-strength sides in the Worthington Cup. There had been rumours that Ferguson was furious with opposite number Arsene Wenger for going against an ‘agreement’ to field

teams of similar strength, last year. Ferguson however, refutes those suggestions, admitting he had made a mistake.

At time of writing, Giovanni van Bronckhorst is set to make a comeback for Arsenal against Sunderland in the Worthington Cup. Wenger said: “He had a different operation from Pires and it has taken him six weeks longer to recuperate.”

And added: “It will help to have everyone back with the second phase of the Champions League coming up. You have to rotate your players these days or they will get tired.”

The Children’s Hospital Campaign in Oxford benefitted by more than £3,000 after a charity football match at Witney United’s Marriotts Stadium. Martin Keown presented the cup to BBC Radio Oxford.

Arsenal were engaged in talks this week with 17 of their European counterparts. Thomas Kurth, the general manager of the G14, said: “Since a large part of the expenditure is salary costs, obviously that will be involved in these measures.” And added: “The clubs do not envisage cutting

the wages of the players with whom they have contractual agreements. It is just about how to handle the amount of money which they generate as revenue.”

The Brussels meeting also discussed the reform of European competitions, players’ club versus country availability, the clubs’ congested fixture lists and the commercialisation of Champions League television rights.

A man cashed in his entire share portfolio to place a £64,000 bet at a Bishop’s Stortford bookmakers on Arsenal to retain their Premiership title. A William Hill spokesman said it was the largest wager ever made in the

branch and the largest amount ever placed on the outcome of the Premiership. He’ll scoop £144,600 if Arsenal retain the title.

Sol Campbell came second in the best known chess playing celebrities.

Wenger said: “A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her so, she forgets she is beautiful.”

Dennis Bergkamp said: “Liverpool are doing really well in the league at the moment and they’re the team to beat. They’ve had a lot of good victories and it’s going to be difficult for us, but when we get going we’ve shown we can

get on a good run. Our next game against Newcastle is another difficult one, but we need to build another good unbeaten run.”

Thierry Henry said of the Fulham match: “That was a very important win. It was a great result for our team spirit. We didn’t play our best, but that can happen. We had a bit of luck and we’re more than happy to take it. You have to keep your feet on the ground. When you win, you’re not as good as

people say but also when you lose, you’re not as bad. We are second in the Premiership and we are safely through to the next stage of the Champions League. It was never a crisis for us – but it was time to stop the losing run.”

FA vice-chairman Frank Pattison has resigned from the board at Soho Square. Pattison, was one of just two FA vice-chairmen along with Arsenal’s David Dein.

Sunderland manager Howard Wilkinson has admitted that his substitutes’ bench was be akin to a “creche” as he adopted a safety-first policy for the Worthington Cup tie at Arsenal Craig Turns, Kevin Kyle and Michael Proctor, and rookie midfielder Mark Rossiter were in the squad.

Sky have announced that two matches will be televised live between now and the end of the year, featuring Arsenal:, Manchester Utd v Arsenal on Saturday 7 December. And Arsenal v Liverpool on Sunday, December 29.

Arsenal youth/reserve player Jo Osei-Kuffour has moved from Arsenal to Torquay , on a ‘non-contract’ basis.

News Review – season so far: October

By Ian Grant


A key feature – the Vieira ban for saying to Andy D’Urso he’d no personality. Robbie Earle said of the Vieira ban: “So if Vieira has been punished simply for questioning the referee’s personality, things must have changed a lot

since my playing days. You could even question the parentage of a referee and get no more than a stern look.”

The Daily Star said Vieira is serving a two-match ban because of who he is, not what he has done. The red card at Chelsea by Andy D’Urso was a joke, the disciplinary hearing on Thursday farcical. Quite.

Racism reared its ugly head, primarily at PSV – and some other matches involving English sides abroad:

Freddie Ljungberg has resurrected the flame-red hairdo hoping his new cut would be the impetus the Arsenal need to arrest their losing streak.

It has emerged that both Freddie Ljungberg and David Beckham both wear designer Roberto Cavalli, clothing.

Phil Neville said: “We are too far behind in the championship race at the moment and we need to cut the deficit to two or three points by December.

That means we will have to beat Liverpool and Arsenal, which we didn’t manage last season.”

Michael Owen joined Henry and Wiltord on six goals in the Premiership, this season.

Dennis Bergkamp said of the Blackburn game: “It is unbelievable the bad luck we had. The goal against us (from Edu), and so many moments in front of goal from which we couldn’t score. It is not that we are playing badly. We are

just missing a bit of luck. Maybe we could have done better with some sharpness in front of goal, but it is not that we are losing our confidence. It was just one of those games. But there is no need for panic. We played

some good football and we know we can do it again.”

The English Football Association (FA) has asked to see the video of a clash between Dennis Bergkamp and Blackburn Rovers defender Nils-Eric Johansson in Saturday’s premier league match at Highbury.

Francis Jeffers is wanted by Middlesbrough, who are set to make a £7m offer for the Arsenal striker when the transfer window reopens in January.

Surrey batsman Mark Ramprakash wants to coach Arsenal youngsters and is working towards attaining his badges.

On using the more relaxed passport rules in Belgium to get African players to the Premiership, the Home Office has confirmed that both clubs [Arsenal and Manchester United] are “using the rules fairly”, and claimed the only

thing Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have been guilty of is being more clever than other English club managers. Arsenal have a relationship with Beveren, United with Royal Antwerp.

Following the treble – three defeats, the Mirror asks: Can Arsenal really go through the rest of the season without winning another game?

Wenger said of Pascal Cygan: “Confidence goes quickly and comes back slowly, but I thought Campbell played very well. It’s difficult to accuse Cygan. He was a bit fatigued coming into the game. I felt perhaps he was impatient on

the ball, but that was because the other players wanted the ball played quickly into the box.”

Mark Lawrenson said, if there is one failing in the Arsenal team, it is the lack of natural leaders to help steady the ship when things are going wrong.

Liverpool have gone from 2-1 to 11-4 to win the Premiership with Ladbrokesafter. Arsenal, still as short as 4-5 with the Magic Sign, have been pushed out to evens by Coral.

This week a government inspector will hold a preliminary meeting before beginning the inquiry into compulsory purchase orders served on businesses in the Ashburton Grove area.

Edu’s goal on Saturday means that Arsenal have scored in 50 consecutive games.

Mid October

On the outbreaks of racism, Sol Campbell said: “Arsenal are one of the most multi-cultural teams in the world and supported by a multi-cultural fan-base.”

Campbell said of Wenger: “He has definitely improved me as a player. He has awakened things within me that I sort of thought I had but couldn’t get out.”

One of Sol’s pastimes, incidentally is chess.

Leading black footballers are to hold a meeting to consider a possible boycott on playing matches in Europe unless more action is taken to clamp down on racism in stadiums across the continent. Thierry Henry, had already expressed support for a boycott.

PSV Eindhoven were fined £12,944 by Uefa after Henry suffered racist abuse and had missiles hurled at him during a recent Champions League game.

Ashley Cole revealed that the abuse in the Bratislava Stadium was so severe that even the stretcher-bearers around the side of the pitch were joining in. Cole said: “It was all over the stadium, and when I went to pick the

ball up a couple of times, even the stretcher staff were making monkey chants.”

Vieira added: “You start to get worried because it looks like the problem is getting bigger and bigger. It doesn’t put me off when I hear it on the pitch. It just makes me play better. It will never intimidate me but it hurts to hear it. But if it is going to happen week in, week out, it is going to be a big problem so it is time to start to do something.”

Jimmy Boco has joined Patrick Vieira and former French star Bernard Lama to build a £25million football academy. They want it to give new hope to poor African children and help them escape lives of crime, poverty and disease.

The UN-backed Diambars Academy will be built 50 miles from Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

The Guardian said: “Now that Arsenal are in the habit of starting matches with nine black outfield players, England’s grounds are more or less free from demonstrations of racial hatred.”

Thierry Henry thinks the quality of the English Premiership helped to inspire France to a 5-0 victory over Slovenia in their Euro 2004 qualifier.

“There were eight [France] players out of [the starting] X1 who play in England. We must say `hats off to English football.’ Matches like the one against Slovenia you see every weekend in the premier league. Games are far

more intense. The English only want to win.”

He added: “At Arsenal, win or lose, you still make jokes in the back of the bus. Not because you don’t care about losing, but because you’ve turned the page and are looking ahead to the next match.”

The Mail on Sunday said: “France’s strident movement and second-guess understanding, born of practice more than instinct, was from Arsene Wenger’s stable. Arsenal, without question, offer the outstanding blood stock to

Santini’s re-emerging team.”

Ex-Arsenal old boy, Graham Rix is in the frame to be manager of Exeter City.

The Africa News Service reports Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has admitted that he may have been a little hasty in accepting an apology from Nwankwo Kanu for missing the

Nations Cup qualifier against Angola in Luanda.

Most of the bookings – 64 – at the Golden Tulip hotel near Old Trafford, where the Champions League final takes place on May 28 have come from Arsenal fans convinced the Gunners will get to the final. Real Madrid fans have booked 16 rooms, while other inquiries have come from Moscow,

Galatasary and Rome.

Robert Pires played in a specially arranged reserve game against QPR today. It was his first game since damaging cruciate knee ligaments nearly seven months ago. He is targeting a full return for the Auxerre game on the 22


Arsenal Ladies crushed Sheffield Wednesday 11-0 in a Premier League Cup first round tie.Wales’ Jayne Ludlow scored four times while England international Angela Banks completed a hat-trick.

Coventry’s youth player, Calum Davenport – was asked to train with Arsenal last season by Arsene Wenger following an impressive reserves display.

Ex-Arsenal centre back, Jeff Blockley has made it to the Observer’s worst ever England XI.

Manchester United and Arsenal are both 20-1 for the Worthington Cup.

The People point out Arsenal’s seven-year shirt sponsorship with Nike ends next May, and they are already locked in talks about renewing the multi-million pound contract, and two other industry heavyweights – Umbro

and adidas – have joined the bidding for one of the most lucrative deals in the business.

England Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson revealed he will leave David Seaman to decide how long he continues playing at the top level as he restored him to the England side.

Ex-Rangers player, Davie MacKinnon said: “When I was with the Arsenal reserves, I was being paid (pounds) 120 a week which doesn’t sound like much, but my dad, who was a skilled engineer foreman for Babcock, was only earning (pounds) 28 per week.”

Arsene Wenger is now the fifth longest serving manager in the 92 league clubs. Only eight have more than five year’s experience at one club.

Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano has singled out Arsenal as one of the main threats to the Spanish club in this season’s Champions League.”(Arsenal) are a team that have shown real consistency. They are well-organised, have an attacking approach to the game and have some great

players. They also have a coach (Arsene Wenger) who is tactically astute and has got the complete backing of the club. Over the last three or four years

they have started to reap the rewards from this.”

Niall Quinn said: “When I was a player at Arsenal, Graham Rix had an agent, and Charlie Nicholas had two, but nobody else. We were totally in awe.”

Brazil World Cup winner Phil Scolari visited Arsenal in a personal capacity, to see the ground and because he has a good relationship with Arsene Wenger. He is not going to work as a consultant as reported in the press.

Dennis Bergkamp said: “When I first saw him [Kolo Toure] in training, I thought he looked nothing special. It’s been quite moving to see how hard Kolo works in training and how keen he is to make it. This pre-season he just grew and grew. He’s done so well and looks to be an immense player. He will be a huge star.”

Freddie Ljungberg can beat Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord …over five metres. Ljungberg puts it down to his recent hip operation which lets him move more freely. However he has been hit by another crippling migraine this week.

Ljungberg believes Arsenal’s blistering form has made them even better than his national side. He said: “There are a lot of skilful players at Arsenal and they can get themselves out of tricky situations with skill or with good

passing and movement. You cannot always to do that in the national team.”

Wenger revealed that he has repeatedly snubbed the chance to buy Scottish players for Arsenal – because they are totally unprepared for the rigours of top-level football.

Joe Cole said of Francis Jeffers: “Cole insisted: “When Franny gets a foot in at Arsenal he will show he’s a very special striker. He’s just got to keep at it and realise he’s got the same qualities as Alan Smith who was a

reserve for Leeds and England for so long but has made the breakthrough with both squads now.” Jeffers retained his place in England’s u21 match against Macedonia.

Early October

Arsenal have gone 30 games since their last league defeat, at home to Newcastle on December 18 last year. Now Wenger wants to overhaul Nottingham Forest’s all-time league record of 42 games unbeaten.

Sunderland’s Bob Murray decided to act and sack Peter Reid after Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Arsenal, and the forthcoming Euro 2004 qualifying ties give Sunderland almost two weeks before their next Premiership game.

Two ex-Arsenal players are in the frame – David O’Leary, negotiating a compensation package following his exit from Leeds, is favourite to succeed Reid, along with the former Leeds and Arsenal manager George Graham.

The Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen will be out of action until the new year after dislocating his elbow on Sunday.

Sunderland’s Niall Quinn, now a player-coach, said: “Arsenal are playing football like the Kings of Europe, not just the Kings of the Premiership. They have a look of invincibility about them. They have pace in abundance, skill and finishing power – it is a step ahead of anything I have ever seen

at Arsenal.

And added: “You wanted it to be a basketball game, a sport where you could take the players off after a couple of minutes to regroup. But we had to wait until halftime. We were three down and the game had gone by then.”

The Daily Star reckons Vieira was quick to aim a celebratory smacker straight at stunning fiancee Chery Plaza after his goal, who was watching from the stands.

There are already clubs going by the name of …. Arsenal in Argentina, Africa and Ukraine. Now they are popping up in junior soccer – with Wells Arsenal and Bath Arsenal.

Robert Pires, who returned to full training this week said: “I long for my first-team comeback, but nothing is easy in life and I know it is going to be tough to get back into the first team. They are playing so well, not only

in England but now in Europe as well. It will be a big challenge for me to get back. More and more, people are talking about Arsenal and I think people are afraid of Arsenal now.”

Eriksson said on Seaman’s England recall: “I think he deserves to play because he is still playing very well.”

Racism will be on UEFA’s agenda this week, following English clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool, Fulham and Ipswich Town complaining of their treatment in Champions League and UEFA Cup away fixtures.

Goalkeeper Romain Larrieu has signed a two-year contract extension with Plymouth Argyle. Larrieu, whose outstanding form over the last two seasons has attracted interest from double winners Arsenal, put pen to paper on Saturday night.

Jermaine Pennant and Francis Jeffers have been included in England’s u-21 squad for two forthcoming internationals.

Kanu (5) is catching up Thierry Henry (6) and Sylvain Wiltord (6) at the head of the Premiership scoring charts.

Arsenal fan, and broadcaster Tom Watt is in the frame to write David Beckham’s life story.

Liam Brady said: “You’d be pushed to find a Scottish boy in any of the clubs in London…the policy at the Scottish FA makes it hard to get young Scottish players. There is a large amount of compensation required and that’s maybe backfiring on them. Irish kids, for instance, come relatively easily to England and that’s why there are many more Irish players coming through.”

Arsenal has become the first football club to officially register (registered design) its badge of allegiance as a design.

The Mirror reckons Kevin Keegan is keen on Martin Keown, while the People says he wants Francis Jeffers for under £3m.

The Express reports that Patrick Vieira is ready to commit himself to Arsenal for a further five years.

Wenger says: “This team have been together for four, five years, and that is important. The team is more than just adding players to each other.”

Scottish manager Bertie Vogts said: “Look at Arsenal, the best team in Europe, maybe the world. What is important for them is speed.”

Dennis Bergkamp says: “I will get a team-mate to make the same pass to me time and time again so I can practise my reaction to it.”

Guilleme Balague says “If they [Arsenal] are to take control when they have scored first, Arsenal require more Gilberto Silvas in midfield who can hold the ball for as long as they need to, to patch the holes at the back. They

also need at least one centre back who can distribute comfortably and can offer the first offensive pass.”

According to the Observer, Arsenal have watched Spartak Moscow defender Igor Mitreski.

Patrick Vieira is negotiating with Arsenal to extend his contract beyond 2004, according France Football. “I’m negotiating to extend my contract, which runs until 2004. I see no reason why I should not stay. I love my

club, I have no reason to leave and Arsenal showed how fond of me they were.”

He added: “I’ve lived through so many things with this club. For me, it would be much stronger to win the Champions League with Arsenal than with Manchester United or Real Madrid.”

Vieira will attend a personal hearing at the Football Association on October 24 to defend himself against a charge of misconduct, in relation to the Chelsea game.

Prior to the Auxerre game, Arsenal have never lost on seven visits to France, winning three times and drawing four. Their record against French club is: P14 W7 D6 L1 F17 A9.

Guy Roux, the Auxerre coach, said prior to the game: “Our win at Nantes will have no bearing on the game with Arsenal, who are the best team in the world. Eindhoven and Dortmund are in a similar category to us, with a little more experience.”

Sylvain Wiltord and Thierry Henry share top spot in the Premiership hotshot league with six goals. And an Arsenal old boy is in close pursuit – Kevin Campbell on five.

Dennis Bergkamp said. “I am 33 now and although I think I’m still getting better as a player, I also know I will not be faster as a player if I continue. And the thing I want to do is to stop at the top and with the biggest club I have played for Arsenal.”

“I’ve always said I will make my decision at the end of the season, when a number of options will be open to me, including staying at Arsenal. The way I and the team are playing, retirement is the last thing on my mind. Despite

what you may have read, I have not decided I will quit Arsenal.”

Arsenal are reported to be offering him a new contract in January.

Gabriel Ford, an Arsenal fan from Leyton, ran the demolition crane which is knocking down Wembley. It will take around six months, and some £93m, to complete the demolition.

Thierry Henry has denied reports he would walk off the pitch if he was subjected to racism by opposition fans. “Football means too much to me. You would have to cut off my legs or substitute me. I would never walk off the pitch and I never will.”

However, players’ union boss Gordon Taylor has insisted he will not condemn Henry if he carries out his threat to walk off the pitch the next time he is racially abused.

Thierry Henry is due to sign a £9 million boot deal with Nike that will catapult him into the international league of sports sponsorship. Some papers say it is worth £5m.

It has emerged that Arsene Wenger has lots of tapes featuring the teams he admires, like the Borussia Moenchengladbach side of the 1970s, of Real Madrid, Ajax, and Liverpool.

Tony Adams has started a three-year degree course in sports sciences at Brunel University. Adams, 35, left school with only a CSE in art. In August he also accepts a role as a UNESCO goodwill ambassador.

Arsenal set new records, at the weekend by scoring for the 47th consecutive match, beating a mark set by Chesterfield more than 70 years ago, and extending their unbeaten away run to 23 matches.

The Independent reckons Kevin Keegan, is hoping to buy Francis Jeffers. Keegan is looking at the former Everton forward as a possible partner for Nicolas Anelka and is arranging a £3m offer.

Arsenal have moved from 40-1 to 28-1 to win the treble.

Arsenal Ladies progressed to the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. Arsenal now face either the Portuguese or Russian champions.

Leeds Danny Mills says: “The signing of Gilberto Silva has given Arsene Wenger’s side an extra dimension. To call him a holding player would be a disservice as he is an integral part of the unit whenever Arsenal switch

from defence to attack.”

And added: “When they break, he is always available to switch the play and complements Patrick Vieira so well. He stood out for me when we played Brazil in the World Cup, where he performed an identical role, and, although

he might not attract the headlines, he is invaluable.”

News Review – season so far: August

By Ian Grant


Holidays restricted ANR’s weekly review – although a couple may be lurking in cyberspace in a Franch internet cafe.

The football business ruled August. Wenger said a European league was inevitable, and the European Commission started moaning about monopolies and TV rights.

Arsenal even entered the financial market setting up loans, accounts and insurance with partner Bank of Scotland.

The transfer window showed its ugly features according to Wenger. He also said there’s a goalkeeper on every corner at the moment, after trying lots for his Number 2 position.

Significant that of the players that started games in the Premiership, 88 were from these shores and 132 from abroad. Arsenal tops the list of overseas registered players at 24.

Arsenal youth player, Joe Kuffour released by Arsenal after three years went on trial at Grimsby:

One paper said: “It’s no coincidence that the two biggest football clubs in the UK, Arsenal and Manchester United, are sponsored by mobile companies –

O2 and Vodafone respectively. Both have cottoned on to the idea that football fans love nothing better than to gossip about their clubs.

Arsene Wenger has called for a “real Champions League”, a new slimmer version of the competition containing only the winners of the leading domestic leagues in Europe. “I believe we want to go forward and create a European League because that would create real interest for the television


“What they are proposing is not the right formula. The formula we have at the moment is not attractive to all the television broadcasters. It leaves you with two choices, go backwards or forwards. And I believe what they are

proposing is a regressive step.”

Arsene Wenger also said that he thinks a European super league is inevitable as the top clubs prepare to fight Uefa’s decision to reduce the Champions League to a single group stage.

“You cannot kill the domestic league: that is compulsory. But you have to create a shorter European league and have bigger squads at bigger clubs. It will happen or all of Europe will collapse.”

Arsenal are waiting until the end of the week before signing a No2 goalkeeper.

German keeper Sven Neuhaus has been training with them, but they may revive interest in Fabian Carini, whose loan move from Juventus looked to have collapsed.

Wenger said: “I don’t know how many we’ve been offered but there seems to be a goalkeeper on every corner at the moment.”

Dennis Bergkamp has been ruled out for two weeks with a calf injury.

Ron Atkinson says Arsenal often don’t capitalise on it because there’s no one with the drive or instinct to get up alongside the Frenchman for a pass across the box. “Very often Henry has to shoot when he’s looking for someone

to roll a cross to. A partner for Henry would move Arsenal up another level. They’re the best team in England but, in Europe, they might need that helping hand.”

An internet punter lost £20,000 with William Hill on Saturday after backing West Ham at 1/10 to beat Arsenal when the Hammers were 2-0 up. It ended 2-2.

Thierry Henry said: “My goal was an anger strike. I had so much anger at being two goals down. It was instinct because I was so fed up.”

According to the Daily Express, Arsenal have £2m to spend by the end of the transfer window.

Arsenal have a better Premiership record against London sides (2.02 points per game) than against the rest (1.98).

At least one of Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg has scored in 23 of their past 24 Premiership matches.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger has reported Espanyol to FIFA after his contract with the Barcelona-based club was terminated after just a few weeks.

David Dein said: “We’re astonished at Espanyol’s behaviour. They entered into a contract with us on July 3. Alex had been with them since July 15. He passed his medical and played a few friendlies for them.”

Arsenal are currently 8th in the attendance league.

At least Arsenal aren’t topping the yellow card league. Chelsea have 6. Arsenal have 5.

Arsenal and Manchester United are 13-8 joint-favourites for the Premiership.

Nigel Winterburn said: “I don’t think anyone could dispute that Arsenal are the best team in the Premiership, but any satisfaction in ending their run would only be from getting on the scoreboard.”

Arsenal became the latest Premiership side to enter the financial market, in a joint venture with the Bank of Scotland to offer fans loans and savings accounts, as well as the existing credit card. Your Financial Arsenal, also

offers insurance.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is set to star in a US remake of Nick Hornby’s best seller Fever Pitch which switches the obsession from Arsenal football club to a baseball club.

Wenger said of Vieira: “He’s only 26 but it looks to me like he’s already the natural successor to Marcel Desailly as captain of the French national team. And maybe now that Patrick has a privileged position and can communicate with referees, he will be more protected by referees.”

Vieira said: “England is one of the best places in the world to be a footballer. The atmosphere in the stadiums is so good and the football is so fantastic because people here play to win the game; in some countries, they

play not to lose the game.”

And: “Travelling a lot with Arsenal makes me realise my good fortune because there are so many problems around the world.” He acknowledges a frustration in being unable to explore the countries Arsenal touch down in. “We travel a

lot but never visit the country. When I retire, I want to go around the world, going back to all these places.”

The Premier League doesn’t want shirt numbers retired with players [Tony Adams No 6], according to the Independent: “Squads have to have shirts numbered consecutively.” Gilberto Silva refused to wear it, Sol Campbell

wanted to stick with No 23, Pascal Cygan, is No 18. Arsenal also have A N Other at No 2.

Arsenal’s youth player, Birchill has been called into the u-21 Welsh squad.

Arsenal youth forward Graham Barrett who scored his first goal for the republic of Ireland said “I have no regrets about moving there. Liam Brady and his coaching staff have been unbelievable.”

Don Givens said: “He has a good touch, great movement and his work-rate is phenomenal. But if there is one weak point, he is not selfish enough.”

Wenger has attacked the transfer window system: “I can’t understand why they would want to take away something from the game. But it is like every political decision and compromise – a case of ‘you give us that and we’ll

give you that’ and at the end of the day you have two bad decisions instead of one.”

“We have to build teams by fitting in different pieces of the puzzle. Maybe buying a new player, even for just 100,000 pounds ($152,100), would make a difference, but if you can’t do that because of the rules, a manager cannot show (his expertise).”

El Pais reports that The Economist magazine, places Inter Milan, Rome, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Leeds and the Glasgow Rangers as less financially well off than the two Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona.

A survey in Dutch publication Het Financieele Dagblad places Patrick Kluivert (on Barcelona’s payroll) euro 7 mln/yr, followed by Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal, euro 6.8 mln). In third and fourth place, Phillip Cocu and Marc Overmars of Barcelona. (

When the 20 clubs kicked off the new season last weekend just 88 English players ran out on to the field alongside 132 from 42 other nations. Arsenal tops the list with 24 overseas players, one more than Chelsea.

The Star says the European Union is set to rule on whether a collective bargaining agreement can be struck by the Premier League with broadcasters on behalf of all 20 clubs – or whether the clubs will be free to dictate their own TV deals. If individual clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are allowed to sign own deals it will lead to even richer pickings for them. The Big Three can expect £100m a season – each

Walsall have named ex-Arsenal assistant manager Stewart Houston as boss Colin Lee’s new assistant.

Francis Jeffers, 21, came through unscathed through his 90 minute run-out against West Ham Reserves.

The Mirror says Freddie Ljungberg is on course to return to first team action next month, four weeks ahead of schedule after surgery on his hip.

Joe Kuffour released by Arsenal after three years is on trial at Grimsby.

News Review – season so far July

By Ian Grant

July review

July was dominated by the Rio Ferdinand transfer talk, with Arsenal mooted by some papers as likely bidders.

After the inevitable happened, at least it threw up a ridiculous quote from David O’Leary: “the £30 million transfer of Rio Ferdinand has endowed this season’s title race “with less competition than the egg and spoon race at the local school”.

Still bookmakers William Hill cut the odds on Manchester United regaining their English premier league title following their purchase of Ferdinand on Monday to 5-4. Arsenal were 13-8.

Wenger confessed he turned down the French national coaching job.

The much talked about van-Bommel transfer to Arsenal failed to materialise – mostly to do with PSVs £14m valuation. Kanu was hawked around – but got no takers.

The capture of World Cup winner Gilberto, although didn’ t capture the imagination smacked of great business in the climate. It followed the earlier capture of Pascal Cygan from Lille for a similar relatively low fee.

Keown, Seaman and Luzhny signed extensions to their contracts.

Steve Carr and Rustu Recber were the most prominent names on the transfer speculation lists – and five months later, still are:


A Brazilian judge going by the name of Caio Luis Vieira de Melo has cleared the transfer of Atletico Mineiro midfielder Gilberto Silva to Arsenal. The Brazilian club owed around £200,000 to former players, and the transfer money would lift the club out of debt.

Arsene Wenger said: “I am delighted Gilberto Silva has joined us. He is a naturally gifted, world-class player who has proved by his performances in Japan during the summer that he is a winner. He will give us extra quality and his competitiveness in midfield will provide us with a good balance and added strength.”

“He has a competitive instinct that I like and he showed in World Cup that he is a winner.”

Silva said: “I am delighted to be joining Arsenal. They are the champions of England and have a squad full of world-class international footballers.”

Edu said on fellow Brazilian’s arrival: “He’s a cool guy and a great player. It’s a good deal for everybody – for me, for Gilberto and for Arsenal. I’m very happy about it.”

“We’ve never played against each other as we competed in different state championships when I was at Corinthians but I do know he’s a very strong marker who’s intelligent and good on the ball. He has plenty of assets.”

Silva has previously worked in a sweet factory and a quarry.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Gilberto Silva is set to meet up with his new team-mates before their FA Community Shield match with Liverpool on Aug 11. Other papers said he was in Austria last week-end.

Uruguay World Cup keeper Fabian Carini has signed a one-year loan deal with Arsenal.

Wenger said: “I am delighted to have signed Fabian Carini on loan. He is a young international goalkeeper with outstanding natural ability and a great temperament.”

Wenger confirmed that he has now completed this summer’s team rebuilding programme. “I have achieved what I set out to do. The squad is stronger than last season and it hasn’t cost us a fortune. I’m happy that I stuck to what I wanted to do in terms of the players I wanted and the money I wanted to pay.”

Wenger said in response to the Wright move: “I have not made any assurances to Carini. At the moment he is a player who does not play at Juventus. Both he and Stuart Taylor are there to offer a strong challenge. But they are not waiting behind a player who is 27. If I was a young player I would think that I would get a chance to play.”

His former Ipswich boss George Burley backed Wright’s move at the weekend and insisted Wenger should never have taken him from Portman Road as early as he did.

According to the Independent, Southampton are keen on £3m rated Igor Stepanovs.

The People says Michael Thomas who played 375 games for Arsenal, is without a club prior to the start of the season. He has been training at Crewe but could end up at Grimsby.

Arsenal have angrily denied that they called off a match against Austrian minnows TSV Hartberg last night because of fears over safety. Arsenal officials say there was never a game scheduled against Hartberg.

Spotted at the High Court ITV Digital hearing, David Dein and Charles Allen’s of Granada – Arsenal’s chief media partner.

Emerging from the half yearly reports of environmental consultancy RPS, was a contract to assess the predicted noise level generated by fans at the new Ashburton stadium.

The Austrian tour party is without Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Jermaine Pennant, representing England in the European Under-19 Championship in Norway, and Moritz Volz, captaining Germany in the same tournament.

Included are: Craig Holloway, David Bentley, Jeremie Aliadiere, Juan, Sebastian Svard and Jermaine Brown.

Robert Pires has urged the game’s top officials to reassess the amount of games footballers are expected to play, blaming France’s World Cup failure on exhaustion.

On his movements he said: “I’ll stay in St Raphael until August 15 then I’ll go to Arsenal’s training centre in St Albans where I’ll train on my own until the end of the month but I hope to return to the squad early September as scheduled,”

Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira are currently both restricted to light training because of injuries.

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has called on the Austrian FA to launch an inquiry into the violence on Saturday. The trouble could have an impact on Austria’s bid with Switzerland to host the 2008 European Championship.

Thierry Henry said, after the World Cup: “Anything other than a repeat of the double, and a better performance in Europe, would be a let-down as far as I am concerned. I have a burning desire to make up for it [the World Cup] with Arsenal this season.”

Arsene Wenger has revealed he turned down an offer to rescue the fortunes of the French national side. “Unlike a club trainer, it remains almost part-time work. For this reason, today I say ‘Les Bleus? No thank you.'”.

The Sunday Mirror says Aston Villa, Everton and Arsenal are interested in Ecuadorian international Edison Mendez.

Football Supporters’ Federation, with more than 100,000 members is campaigning to have more matches kick off on Saturday 3 o clock.

Kanu was 26 this week.

David O’Leary is seriously considering a move to Italy after receiving official offers to coach at Juventus and Parma.


Perry Groves turned out for Arsenal in the London Football Masters


Gilberto Silva’s agent claims that talks with Arsenal are ongoing and that a bid of around £6.5m has been lodged for the Atletico Mineiro midfielder. The Guardian and Evening Standard reported the story.

At time of writing Arsenal reserve Richard Wright is expected to sign for Everton at around £5m.

Alex Manninger said: “I think there are probably a few goals a season he [Dave Seaman] doesn’t save which a 20-year-old might.”

Following the signing a one year contract, Dave Seaman could very well continue as Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach.

Latest Arsenal goalkeeper rumours emailed to the website include Rustu coming on a free in June 2003, with Fabian Carini, the Uraguyan international coming on a loan for a year. The Evening Standard says Arsenal are after Sunderland’s Sorensen.

Rio Ferdinand’s transfer makes Sylvain Wiltord the tenth most expensive transfer in the Premiership.

And on the world transfer scene, Arsenal’s exports to Spain – Nicolas Anelka is ninth at $35.7 with Marc Overmars at $35.5.

Arsene Wenger prior to the Ferdinand move said: “Leeds look like they have a hesitation and once you show hesitation, it means you lose the player. Rio will go to Manchester United and that will make them stronger and Leeds weaker.”

According to David O’Leary (ex-Arsenal), the £30 million transfer of Rio Ferdinand has endowed this season’s title race “with less competition than the egg and spoon race at the local school”.

The Times says that the best hope for Arsenal and Liverpool is that Ferguson continues to sabotage his own chances by playing Juan Sebastian Veron at the expense of Nicky Butt or Paul Scholes in midfield.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Francis Jeffers and pals ordered £1200 of champagne at the Blue Bar and Grill at the weekend.

Meanwhile the People says, Arsenal have received a discreet but serious inquiry from Middlesbrough about Francis Jeffers. Champagne and Maccarone?

According to one paper, Wenger, determined to inject more discipline into the Highbury dressing room, told pals at this week’s French Embassy Bastille Day party: “I’ve told him [Seaman] to cut off his ponytail. I think it makes him less aerodynamic.”

British bookmakers William Hill cut the odds on Manchester United regaining their English premier league title following their purchase of star defender Rio Ferdinand on Monday to 5-4. Arsenal are 13-8.

According to Hills, Arsene Wenger is the least likely Premiership manager to lose his job this season at 10-1.

The Sunday Mirror reckons both Manchester United and Arsenal are ready to tempt Chelsea with offers of £10m for striker Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Wenger said: “If he [Edu] keeps improving he will be more and more influential.”

A charity auction for Absolute Return for Kids (Ark), involving Prince Charles, included a chance to meet Arsenal football stars.

Martin Keown was 36 this week.

Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 11:15:53 -0000


Junichi Inamoto, released by Arsenal after a year’s loan from Gamba Osaka, has gone to Fulham on a similar agreement with a view to a three-year permanent deal.

According to Deloitte & Touche Sport’s annual report into football’s

finances, Manchester United generated merchandising revenue over three and a half times that of their nearest rivals Leeds during the 2000-01 season.

Spurs have signed England u-20 midfield prospect Rohan Ricketts from Arsenal on a free transfer. Ricketts, 19, said: “Ledley King, Simon Davies and Anthony Gardner have become members of the Spurs squad. I hope that I can follow in their footsteps.” Ricketts said Arsenal had too many foreigners.

With Juventus denying that Olivier Dacourt is about to sign for them for £15m, Arsenal may be ready to take advantage of Leeds’s need to sell players with a late bid according to

Arsenal’s O’Hara, came on as substitute in the England u-17 game against Brazil,which ended 1-1.

Richard Wright doesn’t want to quit Arsenal for Goodison Park.

The Daily Star says Arsenal wanted to lure £9m Lee Bowyer to Highbury and Arsene Wenger was willing to offer Ray Parlour in part-exchange. But he didn’t want to leave Highbury.

Man U ce, Peter Kenyon said: “”I don’t deny Arsenal their triumph, but what’s remarkable is we still could’ve won the title despite losing so many games. I’m sure Arsenal remember what happened the last time they won the Double.”

And on Veron he said: “Everybody saw what happened at Arsenal with Robert Pires, how difficult he found it in his first year and how well he played last season. I believe, absolutely, that Juan can make the same impact for us this year.”

The Express says: “The 26-year-old (Carr) has long been a target for

Arsenal, who are now expected to move in – providing Carr can prove his fitness. Spurs will want around £8million.”

Arsenal are considering a move for the 19-year-old Ajax midfielder Rafael van der Vaart after their offer of Kanu plus cash for Mark van Bommel was turned down, according to the Express

The Mirror says Arsenal could raise £3m by selling defender Igor Stepanovs to Auxerre.

The News of the World reckons Arsenal and West Ham are in talks with Internazionale about Sierra Leone striker Mohammed Kallon.

The Mirror reckons Arsenal are interested in unsettled Villa defender Alpay Ozalan.

Arsenal have been told by Sevilla they must double their offer of £10m for top prospect Jose Antonio Reyes, the 18 year-old attacking midfielder.

The Observer reckons Manchester United, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Leeds are chasing Gilberto Silva currently with Atletico Mineiro revealing they’ve received a bid from a mystery Premiership club.

Derby’s young midfielder, Tom Hoddleson, 17 is being watched by big clubs, including Arsenal.

Arsenal’s pre-season fixtures are as follows: July 17 Stevenage Borough (a) KO 8pm; July 26 Reserves v FC Neuberg (a) KO 7pm; July 27 Rapid Vienna (a) KO 8pm; August 1 Roma (45min game, Kapenberg Tournament) (a) KO TBA ;August1 Panathinakos (45min game, Kapenberg Tourn) (a) KO TBA;August 3 1860 Munich

(a) KO 7.30pm; August 6 Barnet (a) KO 7.45pm

Former Arsenal players Joe Baker (62) and Bob McNab (59) had birthdays this week.

David Dein has spoken out against UEFA’s plan to scrap the Champions League’s second group phase in favour of a knockout round: “It was a surprising decision for us. At the beginning of February, UEFA held a club workshop for those competing in Europe. The vast majority of clubs voted to maintain the status quo but the UEFA executive committee obviously deem it was appropriate to change the format.”

Arsenal keeper Alex Manninger is believed to top Celtic’s wanted list, after a move to Espanyol didn’t go through.

Arsene Wenger said: “It was a worry that they [his French World Cup players] went out so early. It may benefit us physically but mentally, I always prefer my players to win, because then they can come back stronger.”

The FA Nationwide Women’s Community Shield involving Arsenal and Fulham will kick off the women’s season on Thursday, August 8, at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium.

Oleg Luzhny has signed a new one-year contract.

Martin Keown has agreed to stay at Highbury for two more years.

Wenger expects David Seaman to sign a new one-year deal when he returns from a holiday in Portugal.

Wenger said: “Recently I have been offered players that haven’t been paid for five, six, seven months. Not in England, but from foreign countries. And once you stop paying the players any more, there is a deep problem.”

Ipswich Town have been linked with a move for Kanu following reports he is available for £2million.

The Standard said: “on the day that Arsene Wenger likened the deflated transfer market to a car crashing into a wall, he unveiled a central defender who looked like he could walk through one.”

At the start of the 2001-20002 season Lille won their first eight or nine games and manager Halilhodzic spoke to the players and said, “Look, if anybody’s tired and wants a rest, come and talk to me.” Cygan said he wanted a rest. The coach stripped him of the captaincy and left him on the bench for a while. Then Cygan apologised and was back in the team.

According to Nigerian paper, This Day, “Arsenal are set to splash a whopping £13 million for the services of Super Eagles’ sensational striker Julius Aghahowa”.

David Dein said: “If there is a break in the premiership, the fans of clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham might decide to go and watch Leyton Orient or Wycombe Wanderers instead.”

There was a difference of £23,469,000 in Arsenal’s pre-tax profits from season 1997-98 and the current latest figures (£5,932,000 to £29,401,000). Real Madrid said winning the Champions League brought them £23m.


According to Busines AM, Arsene Wenger will receive a basic £48,000 a week next season, a 127% increase on his current deal.

£5.5m French centre-back Pascal Cygan signed for Arsenal from Lille on Monday night.

David Seaman said: “I’m having talks with Arsenal. We’re negotiating at the moment so that’s a big step in the right direction.”

Freddie Ljungberg had surgery on his hip this weekend and will miss the first month of the new season. He said: “Everything has gone well and theinjury could be less serious than we first thought. Just now I feel groggy and dazed and it hurt s after the operation. But I know the pain will settle in the next few days.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst said:”I’m not saying that any of those [French World Cup] players have anything to prove. But after a bit of a disappointing World Cup, especially for the French lads, they will be eager to get out there and play great football.”

The Mirror says Milan and Barcelona want the Tottenham full-back, Stephen Carr, although not at Spurs’ £15m asking price.

It also says Arsenal’s Sylvain Wiltord is a £14m target for Roma.

Arsenal fans who bought into the North Bank 150-year bond scheme in 1991 are also sitting on a tidy profit. Bonds which cost £1,500 and £1,100 in 1991 are now trading at £4,200 and £3,800, according to Stan Lock at Brewin Dolphin.

Observer says Valencia’s Kily Gonzalez could join Arsenal. However Valencia appear to be sticking to their valuation of £17m.

Alex Manninger has moved from Arsenal to Espanyol for £1m, despite interest from Celtic.

Graham Stack has gone out on loan from Arsenal to Beveren (Bel) (loan). Arsenal play Beveren in a pre-season friendly.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Glenn Hoddle wants to get defender Ledley King signed on an improved contract to ward off potential big-money offers from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Leeds.

The S.Mirror says Rustu Recber advisers have already held preliminary talks with three leading Premiership sides, Manchester United, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

Spurs are ready to cash in on defender Stephen Carr – but the unofficial price tag of £15m is likely to scare off potential bidders, including Arsenal says one paper.

A sixpence Cardiff City soccer programme has been bought for the “bargain” price of £800. The rare programme is one of the few to survive from the historic 1927 Cup Final when Cardiff City beat Arsenal 1-0.

Liverpool are confident of landing Arsenal target Lee Bowyer from Leeds by biding their time until December when the 25-year-old midfielder will have just six months left on his contract.

Reports in Italy yesterday suggested that Juventus would offer both Thuram and Edgar Davids, the Holland midfield player, to Arsenal in exchange for Patrick Vieira.

C Stoney (Arsenal), K Pealling (Arsenal), R F White (Arsenal), J Fletcher (Arsenal), L Champ (Arsenal) all made the England squad to play Nigeria at Carrow Road on 23 July.

One paper said Arsenal striker Angela Banks has decided to take a break from women’s international football only weeks before England enter their vital World Cup play-off games against Iceland.

The Daily Mail says Arsene Wenger has made a bid for USA international right back Tony Sanneh.

A fee of £2.5million has been agreed with Nuremburg for the 31-year-old, who will decide on whether to join when he returns from holiday next week.

Arsenal’s offer to PSV for van Bommel for £8m and Kanu was dismissed by the Dutch club. A spokesman said Arsenal wouldn’t be back for van Bommel unless Vieira left Arsenal, and added that both van Bommel and Hofland are staying.

Harry van Raay, PSVs president said: ‘Arsenal have made it clear they want Hofland and Van Bommel but have told us they need to sell four players before they can buy.’

Papers are predicting Wenger will step up his offere to land Van Bommel who will cost around £14million.

Lens coach Joel Muller has told Senegal stars Ferdinand Coly and Papa Bouba Diop to ‘come down from the moon’ after they were linked with moves to Arsenal and Fulham: ‘They are under contract.’ –

Robert Pires is ready to sign a one-year extension to his contract. He is undergoing rehabilitation at a sports clinic in St Raphael in the south of France

Most papers say Arsenal are entering the bidding for Rio Ferdinand, after making three enquiries. Some say Fredinand is excited by the prospect of joining Man U. But others say joining up with his international colleagues and being close to family in London could swing it Arsenal’s way. Any transfer is likely to be a British record.

The Daily Telegraph reckons Arsenal are to make a £10 million offer for the18-year-old Spanish prodigy, Reyes. Arsene Wenger, has been monitoring the Seville striker for some time.

The Telegraph predicts that Tony Adams will end up at Watford in a managerial capacity next season.

The Guardian suggests Damien Duff is an Arsenal target.

The Standard reports that Martin Keown is talking about a two year contract, and his preference is to stay at Arsenal, rather than move to West Ham or Newcastle.