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Kenny Sansom – A Great Gunner

Mention the name Kenny Sansom to most modern day fans, and the former Gunner’s recent battle with alcohol addiction will be what is conjured up in their minds. 

This is a great disservice to a player who served our club with such distinction, so this article is here to set the record straight.

Kenny joined the club in 1980, after blazing a trail with a highly impressive Crystal Palace team which tore up the Third and Second Divisions. His acquisition should have told Gooners what to expect, as Arsenal gave the Eagles Clive Allen in a swap deal with cash involved. Allen was also highly rated and had been bought just weeks earlier and had yet to play a game in anger in a Gunners shirt.

So it is fair to say there was a fair amount of pressure on Sansom’s robust shoulders from the moment he signed. 

Sansom never missed a game in his debut season and the next season saw him win the club’s Player of the Year gong. His style of play was a projection of where the game was going; more focus on attack from the full-backs, with pace and strength in equal measure. The hirsute defender was as adept at holding the famed George Graham backline as he was adding another asset to the attack. Sansom was the perfect player for George Graham, but the majority of his career was not spent under the tutelage of the Scotsman. 

The left-back was signed by Terry Neill, and spent three years under him, Don Howe, and less than two months under Steve Burtenshaw, until Graham arrived in 1986. George should have loved Sansom and what he offered to the team, but the relationship between the two is what caused Sansom to first lose the Captaincy to a green Tony Adams, before leaving the club in 1988.

In eight years at Arsenal, Sansom may not have been snowed under with accolades, but he raised the bar in terms of consistent excellence. Just one League Cup in 1987 was the sole piece of silverware for Sansom, but what he lacked in baubles, he more than made up in other ways.

For example, Sansom earned 86 caps for England, and this was a record for an Arsenal player until Patrick Vieira broke it twenty years later. Sansom was pretty much unrivalled in terms of delivery of the ball from out wide, and could put the ball on a sixpence whilst on the move too. Whether it be for his country or in an Arsenal jersey, Sansom almost always made a difference. Kenny was part of a pretty fantastic group of England players who were amongst the elite of the game and had real shouts for tournament glory. Sansom would have fitted into any setup around Europe on a tactical basis. He had every tool a coach could wish  for, and he held the respect of his teammates. 

In total, Sansom played 314 games for us, and made the First Division Team of the Year every season from 1979 through till 1987. His fantastic hair, his moustache were just as much his trademark in the end as his rapier runs forward and his hustling of opposition wingers. 

What really is a testament to what he gave us though, is that Sansom adorns the outside walls of our Emirates stadium, as part of the 32 legends that are part of the external circumference of the ground. Arsenal recognise his worth, and we all should too. 

Sead Kolasinac – Arsenal’s New Defender?

Originally published on Goonersphere. ​

The general rule of thumb when it comes to transfer rumours is, you should never listen to transfer rumours.

This easy, Fight Club-esque list of regulations should be quite simple to grasp, but the majority of us occasionally have our heads turned when we read or hear a juicy titbit regarding a player ‘apparently’ being linked to our club.

When it comes to rumours in football, they are used as a tool. Either a newspaper or website is angling for a larger audience so they drop tantalising bait into the waters, or it is an agent who is manoeuvring his client so he can get a fatter contract. 

Either way, what we are left with is a steaming pile of oxen-excretion. 

Sometimes, well, occasionally, the steam that is rising from this fresh load of defecate is not actually steam at all. It is smoke.

And where there is smoke, there is fire.

This could well be the case with the latest gossip doing the rounds around the footballing equivalent of the watercooler. The story of Schalke 04 left-back Sead Kolasinac signing a pre-contract agreement with Arsenal has been published not just by one newspaper, but by all the rags and all the sites. It has been jumped on and Arsenal have been loath to deny or confirm. 

So, there may actually be substance to this one for once. 

The more we dig up on Kolasinac, the more this move makes sense too.

First and foremost, he is a free agent come June. This has meant that Kolasinac has been able to hawk himself around to interested parties since January. One of those that was sniffing around the Bosnian has reportedly been Chelsea. If it is true that he has turned down the Blues for us, then he is more than welcome to join us!

The left-back is 23 and has played for his country 17 times already. In 31 games this season, he has registered 7 assists. Not a bad ratio for a defender. He has a great delivery into the box and is constantly on the overlap, so he would fit right in with us. Kolasinac is quite a hefty build too, so the rigours of the Premiership will not be such a shock. 

This move is a good fit for us, and with our current left-back seemingly losing his ability for consistency, then Kolasinac would be a great move. Nacho Monreal s again being courted by Athletic Bilbao, so Nacho going back home for a more sedate last few years is in everyone’s interests.

Kieran Gibbs may well have his nose put out of joint, but hopefully this will be a reminder that he has to shape up or ship out. The England defender is capable of so much more, so a rival for his spot can only push him on to better things.

Kolasinac may or may not have signed a pre-contract with us, but his pedigree is more than good enough to cause a little excitement with the potential news. 

Cohen Bramall Signs for Arsenal and Lives the Dream

The transfer window has opened and Arsenal have acted early and signed a player! Will wonders never cease?

Before you start frothing and frantically searching for this hotshot who will revitalise our season, the new recruit is not exactly bound to make strides in the first team – at least not yet.

The new signing is aimed at strengthening a position that may be under scrutiny in a couple of years, but this left-back has much to prove before we see him rampage down the flank.

Cohen Bramall was announced officially by Arsenal and the peculiar amount of fanfare for this kid from non-league Hednesford Town was strange to say the least.

Starved as we are as Gooners of transfer activity, the club must have thought the photoshoot and interview of Bramall would fill the gap and sate the hunger for any news on the signings – or even contract extension – front. 

Also, with the reach that the club has and how every piece of news, important or not, is quickly digested by millions, the club cannot be wholly blamed for using this underwhelming signing as a means to show that Arsenal are active and preparing for the future. Or at least showing fans that we have eyes on talent everywhere.

Regardless of what the club thought when parading Bramall, the bottom line for every new signing is whether they are actually any good? Can they benefit the side now or in the near future?

Young Cohen isn’t going to blaze a scorching trail across our immediate fixtures, nor will he make any impact on the first team this season – injuries permitting. Bramall is set firmly in the future category. Any player that isn’t ready yet always carries a risk when purchased, as thir skillset isn’t honed nor are unfisnished articles capable of offering a guarantee to what they will be able to give when they do come out of the figurative oven. Potential is a beautiful, yet dangerous trait. Potential does not win you matches.

We do know that Arsene Wenger values pace above many assets. In this regard, it is quite clear why Bramall is now resplendent in Arsenal colours. According to his former coach at Hednesford Town in an interview with the Birmingham Mail, it is claimed he can run the 100m in 10 seconds. The national qualifiying standard for 100m is 10.18seconds. There are other reports that claim different times over the same distance, but what the universal theme is on Cohen Bramall is that he is fast. Lightning fast.

If speed was the only skill we required, then Usain Bolt would be our Number9. We also need many other things to have a decent prospect on our hands. With our extensive coaching system at London Colney, if Bramall has the basic building blocks, then we can be confident that the club will coax out a decent player in Bramall.

Let us all take a minute to bask in what is a sepia-toned Disney family movie moment though. Separate yourself from gritty reality just for a moment and remember the hazy dreams you used to have as a kid. Bramall lived his.

Sacked from an industrial type job, he then gets snapped up by a huge football club to live his fantasy. It truly is movie-script worthy. Can’t we all get on board with this rose-tinted transfer and keep a close eye on this kid who above all odds, might just make it? Do we have to bemoan this £40k transfer simply because we want that superstar instead?

This transfer is at the heart of football. That money will boost a non-league team. The kid represents the dreams of many. He also could go on and aid our team at the highest level. We just don’t know at this point in time.

I’m just happy to see how happy Bramall is, and trying to envision how he felt the first time he walked into training. Talk about an eye opener when he sees Alexis Sanchez lacing up his boots for a kickabout with him.

Good luck Cohen. Welcome to the Gunners and keep that dream alive. Not only for you but for every kid who loves football.