Stylish power football from Bergkamp, Vieira & Ljungberg

From Colin in San Diego

I’ve been reading you daily since ’98 with my morning coffee and bought The Professor new when it first came out. I have always enjoyed your rapid fire, staccato style.

In very good writing, the style sometimes supersedes the content. In great writing, the style and content are on level pegging. Your writing can and does approach this. The writing of Magnus Mills also comes to mind.

As a diehard Gooner, I pine for the days of power football in the late 90’s and early 00’s that Wenger revolutionized the English game with.

Oh, just once more to see PV4 win a ball at the center circle and pass it to DB10 all in one motion and then have the master take one touch moving it forward a yard and then splitting the backs wide open with a laser pass to the red mohawk of FL8 steaming in one on one with the GK with unequalled bottle and bollocks the size of basketballs. Oh those were the days!

What a shame that Wenger wouldn’t try to recreate his winning play, albeit with new actors. I too, gave up on him about four years ago when it became all too apparent that those days of that mixture of power and sublime skill were gone never to return, replaced by the sideways pass and achingly boring slow build-up play while the opposing team parked 9 or 10 behind the ball.

I suppose the last straw for me was when he shipped Edu off or maybe it was when he signed Baptista. Are you serious? Baptista an Arsenal player? Don’t you have to be able to control a simple pass to be a professional footballer?

And I thought Wiltord was bad! Even though I was sitting at the corner flag that he ran to at Old Trafford after his goal that won us the league in ’02. One of the few good things he ever did for us, he was quite handy at the discos off of Oxford  Street though, mind you! I still remember him turning with the ball in games, it was like a 747 turning on the tarmac.

And I think you and I are the only ones in the universe that noticed him swapping shirts with N’Gotty or some French player at half-time in that game at Bolton, when we threw away a two goal lead and the ’03 title with it in the 2nd half.

Win that game and it would have been an Arsenal sweep from ’02 thru ’04.

Well, enough of my rambling memories.

Let me tell you, I’m a Yank in San Diego and have seen just about every match either live, on tv or on an internet stream for the last 12 years.

My mom lived in Muswell Hill as a child and my grandad first took my to the Arsenal in 1979 when I was 12.

When I was doing quite well, I bought a bond in 2000 and hence became a season ticket holder and used to go to Highbury and follow the team around England and Europe in person for about 20 matches a year. I used to stay in the same hotels as the team and had a few chats with Wenger, Pat, Boro in the hotel lounges over the years. Freddie and I also became friendly as we had a mens clothing shop owner friend on New Bond Street in common. Always quietly wondered why we have been so defensively inept when both Boro and Pat were uncompromising defenders? Thoughts?

As you’ve indulged me enough in reading this, let me kindly ask you a couple of questions…

After visiting your brother in Colorado, I believe, do you regret tarring all Americans with the same brush in that article you posted long ago which slated everything and all things American? I too share your exasperation at the political regime and it’s allies responsible for such destruction, and surely you must have known that millions here shared that view?

Why don’t you ever mention Mark Knopfler? What happened, anything?

And as a rock critic and journalist, weren’t you aware of all the esoteric, occult and druidic influences at work in the genre and with the elites in the corridors of power, ie. the red schields?

Love to hear your comments, as always.



PS – I like him too, but to be fair the little Russian bailed out more than Song on the free kick, he didn’t want anything to do with that missile from Alex!

Speaking of Alex, remember when he dominated us in the CL with PSV, he looked like the best defender in the history of football! TH14 took one look at him and quit. He just jogged in little circles out on the left with his hands on his hips. Remember when he used to do that? He wanted no part of Alex those nights, haha… cheers


Myles replies:

Blimey !

What a perceptive and generous letter from Southern California.

Do I remember Thierry Henry posing?

I recall one day being in the Junior Gunners at Highbury, about 25 yards from the left corner flag, and seeing Henry put the ball down in the quadrant to take a corner, then half-turn to look at the big Jumbotron screen to see himself take it. He couldn’t watch himself take that corner. He wanted to but he couldn’t. He took narcissism to a level I’d never seen in football. Against Deportivo and PSV, he just gave up.

I’m glad you preferred Arsenal when the team was dynamic, rather than pretty. Not that many Gooners admit how clumsy Wiltord and Baptista were.

I don’t remember that rant about Amerika because I’ve written a few, I suppose.

The USA seemed very prosperous and fairly happy when I first landed at JFK in 1972 but in 2011 government debt will be 95% of GDP. This not a regular recession, it’s a debt-deflation crisis. Your shares can go down by 15% in a heartbeat.

Even so, I love Amerika more than I hate it. There’s a lot more right with the USA than wrong.

I often wonder what the USA could have been : the  potential was amaaaaaaazing. Time has proved that the super-rich are mostly vicious and greedy and that the power elite cares only for itself.

Having said that, I’ve had  rocking, thrilling times as a journalist  in Pittsburgh, New York, Nassau Coliseum and Boston Gardens, and on holidays in New York, in Texas,in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in Greensborough, North Carolina, in Villanova, PA, and up in the Rocky Mountains in Boulder. And I’ve had hilarious and educational times with so many American musicians in London over the last 40 years. Wow! Is it really forty years?

Have to admit I’m wholly ignorant of druidic influences in rock.

My unauthorised biography of Mark Knopfler is too complicated to describe briefly but I’ll try.

 Had a meeting with Susan Hill at Sidgwicks to discuss 10 ideas I had suggested for rock books. She was the main girl who commissioned such books in London and five of my suggestions were ideas she’d already had.

Towards the end of an amicable, wide-ranging meeting, Susan suddenly said, “Could you write a book about Mark Knopfler?”

“Sure,” I said.
My policy is: Say yes to everything, you can always say no later,
“Can you let me have a 2,000-word synopsis by the end of next week?”

So I found 50 people who knew Mark Knopfler, or had worked with him, and it took me 18 months to finish the book, and I gave Susan the MSS on the day that the 1990 World Cup started. I wasn’t a Dire Straits fan but we had two young kids and she had made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

My book said that Dire Straits was not really a group. It debunked a myth. The publisher buried the hardback because they were scared of being sued by Knopfler, and they later buried the updated paperback for the same reason. Quite soon after the paperback came out, Dire Straits broke up.

Earlier, I had written a 40,000-word illustrated paperback on Woody Allen, another man I had never met. When Woody was published in Japan, my name was at the back.

I’m not the world’s unluckiest author. But I’m in the top 2,000.

Stylish power football reminiscent of Arsenal in 1998

By Myles Palmer

Thierry Henry was phenomenal in the 3-0 win at Charlton which put Arsenal on top of the table and keeps them on course for the Premiership title.

It was one of the best games Henry has ever played.

He scored two goals and helped create a third,turning Rufus and feeding Bergkamp, who went round keeper Kiely and crossed low for Ljungberg.

Dennis did not look up.He didn’t need to look up because he knew Freddie would there for the tap-in.

Henry scored the first goal in 16 minutes after bursting away onto Sol Campbell’s clearance.

Then he kicked the corner flag out of the ground.The last time I saw him that fired up was when he scored the first goal against Bayern in the 2-2 draw.

But Thierry should NOT make a habit of kicking corner flags so violently.

The FA banned him for three games for mouthing off at Mr Poll, so they will hardly feel such incidents set a good example to young footballers or to kids in general.

Keown came back for Adams, as seemed likely.

Arsene thought the game might be a close scrap, so he stuck with his four forwards but brought in Grimandi for Edu.

The second half WAS quite a scrap and Seaman made a fine tipover from a lob by Jason Euell.Suddenly,Seaman looks like an international goakeeper again.

But Charlton had been blown away by three goals in the first 25 minutes-Arsenal had won more comfortably than I expected.

I had made the mistake of judging Charlton by their performance in that 1-0 win at Spurs,who looked, that night,like a mediocre collection of old men.

The Vieira-Edu partnership is still developing and when it evolves a bit more the manager will play Edu in away games.

Edu is becoming more mobile, sharper, tougher. He is showing why Arsene signed him – and waited six months for him to get the right passport.

The Brazilian is a footballer of fantastic ability. There is a lot more to come from him.

I expect Edu to play in the semi-final against ‘Boro and I’d be very surprised if he does not start against Spurs on Saturday.

Vieira’s ninth yellow card means that he is on a tightrope. One more booking and he will miss two games two weeks after the offence.

Deportivo La Coruna v Manchester United tonight ?

La Coruna is a Spanish town of 250,000 people and Man Utd Megastore PLC is the biggest club in the world.

It would be better for Arsenal’s title prospects if Man Utd reach the Champions League semi-finals, where Liverpool will kick lumps out of them.

I’m told Roy Keane has refused a knee operation because he would miss the World Cup and is having cortisone injections. Which are still common in football.

If that is true then Keane will be limping round the golf course when he is 50.

Keane and Scholes missed the 1999 final, you’ll remember. They got medals but they did not play against Bayern in Barcelona that night. Both will therefore be VERY hungry for this one.

Lately there has been talk about United being the better side in both previous games against Deportivo, and that they lost unluckily. Twice.

Personally, I think Deportivo will beat United over two legs.

We shall soon see.

2nd April 2002.