English emphasis at AFC at long last?
by Sean Taylor
So Gibbs, Jenks, the Ox, Wilshere and Ramsey seemed to have negotiated contract extensions. Theo is still a work in progress (fingers crossed). In the last couple days Wenger has stated that his focus for the foreseeable future is that Arsenal’s core be a British-based one. Sounds like good news to me.
The last four years have been the most significantly horrid part of the seven-year trophy drought. Players have left for greener pastures as has been recycled in the press time and again. Personally I have always said that the foreign influence at AFC while giving us a wealth of talent has also hurt the team significantly with the recent exodus.
A lot of fans are reeling at the fact that they may have to see more of Aaron Ramsey in the AFC midfield for years to come, and put up with Gibbs’ brittle frame. How can this be good for the club?
It’s simple. When you look at Barcelona (apologies for using “the enemy” as an example), the majority of their starting lineup are Catalan players. They mostly were born and grew up within the city limits and would probably give an arm and a leg for the club. When you have that sort of commitment and love from your players, results will become a requisite.
Carl Jenkinson is one of my favourite players at the club. He is ordinary admittedly, but more important than ability he is first and foremost an Arsenal fan. His dad is a gooner and to say he was proud that his son got to play for the Arsenal is an understatement. As a result Jenks has improved in his season and a half here, and will get much better – he seems to be the long-term replacement for Sagna.
The foreign players no longer should be the focal point in the player hierarchy. That privilege belongs to the local boys. If we get to hold on to Walcott and deploy him as the centre forward, a position I think he deserves at the moment, who knows what his finishing may leave in store for us? Certainly much more than the image of a braided African toe poking wide past a gaping goal.
I endorse this focus on keeping the club for all intents and purposes, an English club. With the self-serving model the board is adamant is necessary showing little sign of amendment, the best bet in my opinion is to invest in players who even more than silverware, put the club first no matter what. Few foreigners nowadays share that noble cause understandably because they didn’t grow up near Ashburton Grove and may not be loyal to a seemingly neurotic Frenchman. And we all know the chaos the outsiders have caused in the last four years or so, stretching all the way back to the Gallas acrimony.
With a combination of these English players, along with Colney graduates, the odd Wenger bargain and hopefully a title somewhere in between should surely steady the rocking North London ship. Needless to say, I endorse this latest Wenger vision.