Title Winners Feel The Shirt

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
May 30th, 2013

“It wasn’t the fact that we qualified for the CL, it was the fact that we kicked them out and we went in… AGAIN” – I love this quote from Thierry Henry. It shows passion, it shows that he knows what it means to wear the red and white of Arsenal.

Thierry Henry as we all know is a true Arsenal legend, not just because of what he achieved on the pitch for Arsenal but also because of his passion for the club. He is an Arsenal man and as Bob Wilson famously said “once an Arsenal man, always an Arsenal man”. Not all of our ex-players show the same passion for Arsenal as Thierry does. In fact, in recent years I don’t think a lot of our team showed that they knew what it meant to play for Arsenal.

He knows what it means

He knows what it means

Adebayor, Gallas, Nasri and Van Persie are such players. The first three are abhorrent in their own right but the last is the worst of them all.

Adebayor left Arsenal for whatever reason; celebrated like crazy when he scored against us and then joined Tottenham.  Gallas left Arsenal and joined Tottenham which is something you don’t do if you feel the shirt. Nasri claimed he wanted to win something with Arsenal, not with a money club, and then joined City. You don’t say the things he said and then leave for more money elsewhere.

SN: Do you know what it means to wear the shirt? NA: You don't get cold? England is cold

SN: Do you know what it means to wear the shirt? NA: You don’t get cold? England is cold. SN: Haha Nic, very true. I burn £50 notes in Manchester to keep warm

The worst of the lot was Robin though for two reasons. Firstly, he joined United. You never join United. Secondly, the way he played and the way he led the club –let us not forget that he was a great captain for us that year – and the way he spoke about the club he had supported since childhood said that he knew exactly what it meant to play for the Arsenal shirt. And that is why his treachery is all the more worse than the others.

But these are just a few of the players that didn’t know what it meant to play for the shirt and easy targets because of the way they left or who they play for. Other players like Santos, Denilson, Flamini, Hleb, Arshavin, Song, Reyes and Diarra also didn’t know what it meant to play for the shirt.

Did I know? Meh

Did I know? Meh

This isn’t an attack on those players and I have very fond memories of all of them and they served a purpose whilst they were here but it is important to know what it means to play for the shirt and to truly feel it.

In Thierry’s exclusive interview with Sky Sports he also said:

People gave them a go about the pictures and the celebration. But I can tell you I think it was more the fact, for any Arsenal player when you really feel the shirt and really play for that club, putting Tottenham out of the top 4, and I do hope that is what they were celebrating about because that’s the only thing you can celebrate about, if you’re an Arsenal man through and through that is like winning something for me. I said it when we did it to them also in 2006, it wasn’t the fact that we qualified for the Champions League, it was the fact that we kicked them out and we went in AGAIN

That’s what I believe when I look at the team we have now. When I look at the players I think will stay and be a part of the squad we will have next season I see players who feel the shirt, for one reason or another but whatever that reason is they feel it.

Players like Jack, Carl, Woj and Kieran know what it means to wear the shirt, to love the club, support the club. Players like Aaron, Theo, Alex and Per also know what it means to support the club belong to the Arsenal family. Players like Olivier and Laurent feel a special connection to the club, mostly through the manager but you can feel their love for the club growing, because Arsenal are a top team in the best league in the world and they’ve been chosen to play for this wonderful club despite their humble beginnings in football.

We know

We know

Players like Santi and Lukas feel the shirt because they feel the love from the fans and you can see on their faces that they are just so happy and grateful to be at Arsenal Football Club. Mikel you can tell is just so proud to be at a club like Arsenal, to have been given the chance to play for such an historic club and be an integral part of the team at this late stage in his career.

Then you have players like Bacary, Abou and Tomas who have been at the club a long time, long enough to appreciate what the shirt means, long enough to appreciate the way the club has stood by them during injuries – more so in the cases of Diaby and Rosicky.

So do we

So do we

Players like Nacho and Gervais may grow to love the club, they may already, but it’s not important if they don’t feel the shirt the way the others do because we have the others.

You’ve probably seen loads of blogs by now talking about how good this team is, the season reviews talking about the quality and improvements and I don’t need to do it as well but I will say that I think this team got to where they are this season because they feel the shirt. They got there because they know that anything less than 4th is a disaster for this club. They know that anything less than a trophy is a disappointment but they also know that St Totteringham’s Day is one of the most enjoyable days in a Gooners calendar so celebrating finishing 4th, ahead of Spurs… AGAIN, is worth celebrating.

Copyright belongs to Stuart Photo AFC

“95 never again, 95 never again”

Players who feel the shirt are much more likely to push themselves that little bit harder to win the game. The Invincibles had it, the 2002 double winners had it and the 1998 double winners had it.

If you ask me, I’d say the 2013/14 have it too…

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

6 Responses to “Title Winners Feel The Shirt”

  1. George says:

    This post got me really excited about next season! Great article, although it’s only made the long wait even more unbearable.

  2. wenkev02 says:

    Loved the blog and the subject. I think success ,trophies etc. has a big bearing on loving the shirt especially with the foreign players. Rvp. would have stayed if we had won the trophies we were close to,not that I forgive the mercanry little shit…

  3. Johnson says:

    Wow it’s obvious the glory days is nearby,beautiful article with beautiful meanings,so lucid and imaginative,the shirt is irresistable tbh……….COYG!!

  4. The reason I’m upset with RvP is because he attempted to hoodwink us and shift attention to the club and not to the fact that he had demands which we could not meet. The man-u move is not all his fault however as other clubs were in the run for him but we chose to sell to the highest bidder. We could have accepted all offers between X price and Y price and then allowed him to choose, then we would know for sure it was 100% his choice to move to Man-U. I also believe Robin’s move sort of woke Wenger up to some sort of realisation, so good riddance to bad rubbish on that.

    You cannot say for sure that all the players apart from Wilshere (who has committed his entire life-span to Arsenal now and in the world to come)know what it feels to wear the shirt; for the moment they’re with us they key into our tradition aka leaving Spuds forever in our shadow. To them, it’s a job and I also think we shouldn’t expect too much from the players of this era other than they do their jobs while in our shirt, we may be disappointed if we do.

    Henry’s era was an era of loyalty and such, very rare these days. I’m sure we wouldn’t mind Wilshere is an Arsenal man if he was complete rubbish or turned an Abou or Arshavin, we WOULD sell him or want him sold, truth hurts. Won’t be surprised if Na$R¥ decides to do a Monaco…just saying.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I look at the players efforts on the field, I see the expressions on their faces and the emotion in their eyes. I can tell they feel the shirt.

  5. ARSENAL 13 says:

    nice blog there. I have seen (always) that people with humble beginnings often appreciate what they have earned and often have the hunger for more.

    This team is destined for greatness (I somehow feel this), a couple of additions and a few promotion from the academy can help them achieve that.

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