Tuesday, December 7, 2021

On this day: Limpar, Lauren and Henry bust-up, Clichy’s missing finger

Hey, it’s an Interlull, and there’s little or no Arsenal news. So, let’s do an ‘On this day’ from blog posts from the past. Starting with:

March 29th 2002

I remember transfer deadline day in 1994, opening up a newspaper and seeing Anders Limpar holding up and Everton shirt. Well, my heart just broke. I loved Anders and he had been sold. And then we bought Eddie McGoldrick…..I mean, seriously.

I think Anders summed it up best when a few months after joining Everton he said “Sometimes I wonder what the f*ck I’m doing here”. Too right.

This was when transfer deadline day wasn’t at the end of January. There were no transfer windows. You could basically make transfers all season long up to a certain point in March when they cut it off.

Of course there was no such thing as social media then (2002), and in 1994 there wasn’t even Internet (for most people), so news like that came out of the blue. Everton blue. Man, I really loved Anders Limpar. He was small, Swedish and exciting, and he looked like the kind of bloke who would be great fun on a night out. To say I was gutted at his departure would be an understatement, and to find out off the back of a newspaper … ugh.

That said, he was part of the Everton team which won the FA Cup in 1995 against Man Utd, and obviously that was good. He was heavily involved in the only goal of the game too, and that was also good. But bless him, Eddie McGoldrick was no replacement. It was like having your foot chopped off and replaced with breeze block.

*Note: I just realised this wasn’t on this day but the day before, but given it was almost 20 years ago, who is going to argue?

*Extra Note: This time frame has made me feel especially old this morning.

March 29th 2004

The big story this morning comes from The Mirror who are reporting that Lauren and Thierry Henry had a punch-up in the tunnel after the game. As they were leaving the pitch you could see Lauren talking to Thierry, who was obviously pissed off that Lauren hadn’t passed the ball to him for an easy tap-in late on. As they got to the tunnel Henry allegedly went mad and the pair started throwing punches at each and had to be separated by other Arsenal players. According to an eye-witness “Henry was like a wild man. He was going crazy and the two of them were really going for each other.”

Now that I read it again, I remember this, but it’s quite funny that I’ve basically forgotten it. Nowadays, you can’t even say you’re Lauren without being thrown in jail etc etc. Or something. But imagine how a story like that would play out over social media these days.

Lauren fighting Thierry Henry. The Laurenites would battle it out on Twitter with Team Thierry, and there’d be all kinds of nonsense as people picked sides, dug their trenches and refused to see any other point of view. Most of them would be with Henry, I guess. There’d be calls for Lauren to be sold or fined or dropped or whatever, and it would rumble on for ages rather than just being a thing that happened in the heat of the moment and then forgotten about.

Lauren though, ooof. He didn’t give a fish’s tit about reputations. He also had a bust-up/fist fight with Patrick Vieira on the team bus after a Champions League, and those are just the ones we know about. Who else did he administer a sound thrashing too in his time at the club? I guess we’ll just have wait for his book. Is he the kind to duff up and tell?

It took me some time to warm to him as a player, but I look back on his time at his best for us and wish we had a bit of that now. Is that an excuse to post his challenge on Ronaldo? You’re god damn right it is, and for all the tut-tutting from Martin Tyler and Andy Gray, let’s be honest, it’s 97% a dive.

March 29th 2006

We’ve just beaten Juventus 2-0 in the Champions League on the way to the final, and a young lad called Cesc Fabregas came up against former skipper Patrick Vieira and dominated.

However … too soon.

March 29th 2007

Gael Clichy talks about losing a finger, dying and how Armand Traore breathing down his neck keeps him on his toes.

What? Hang on? And WTF?! I suppose Traore did have knuckle-dusters.

March 29th 2013

2013 sounds very recent, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s 8 years ago. Now you feel old. On this day the blog dealt with the news that Abou Diaby had suffered a cruciate ligament injury, which felt spectacularly cruel given everything else he’d been through. As I wrote:

It must also be frustrating for him, as somebody who simply wants to be fit, to see players at Arsenal who have the gift of good health and who remain mostly injury free, waste away their careers, content to pick up their money rather than play the game. While it’s clearly not an either or situation, I’d be firmly on the side of the guy who was trying his hardest, rather than the fella who has given up and doesn’t care anymore. I’d rather see him paid than the bloke who did nothing at all and still lapped it up.

Funny how that could be, until recently anyway, still so relevant. I think Diaby was a player who obviously never realised his potential because of all the injuries, and what he endured during his time as a pro must have been so tough. I remember a picture from late in his time at the club when the scarring on his knees was so obvious, it was pretty grim.

At his best he was really good, everyone mentions that game at Anfield as a ‘What might have been’ performance from him. He was imperious that day, no doubt about it, but there were plenty of times when he was fit when he was nowhere near that good. The truth of Diaby, as with most things, lay in the middle.

Whatever he’s doing now, I hope he’s doing well.

Right, there you go. More tomorrow, but as ever James and I will be recording an Arsecast Extra for you this morning. If you have questions or topics for discussion, send to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you’re on Arseblog Member on Patreon, leave your question in the #arsecast-extra-questions channel on our Discord server.

Podcast will be out before lunch, until then, take it easy.

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