Tag Archives: raul

What Is A Legend Anyway?

I have an infatuation with words.

 

There is always a better word to describe things. Much like the late Robin Williams describes in the film, ‘The Dead Poets Society,’ why use the word ‘tired’ when you can use ‘fatigued.’ Why use ‘happy’ when you have the word ‘overjoyed.’

 

The beauty of the English language is that we have so many to choose from, picking the right one is an art form of sorts.

 

The ruination of the word ‘legend’ though, is something that is blighting everyone’s lexicon – and everyone is guilty of it.

 

Now, you can use the word ‘legend’ to describe a friend who volunteers to make the cheese on toast for everyone. Or the guy on your night out who is the designated driver. It’s been devalued to a huge extent.

 

So, what constitutes a legend?

 

I had this very discussion while attending our recent Arsenal Legends versus Real Madrid Legends game at The Emirates.

 

There was a generous helping of bona fide Gunners players who had achieved glory with our side.

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Bobbi Pires, Ray Parlour, Nigel Winterburn, Jens Lehmann, Gilberto. These men had won big trophies with our side, and also had amassed plenty of appearances in a Gunners shirt.

 

Then there were players who had won titles with Arsenal, but their name was not as familiar as the above. David Hillier, Perry Groves, Jeremie Aliadiere. They had played their part in campaigns, they had made their mark and the title medals in their possession are proof enough that they should be held in high regard.

 

Some would say – and have via social media – that some of the players who lined up against Real Madrid on this game that raised funds for The Arsenal Foundation, didn’t warrant a place.

 

The legend status comes in varied forms though.

 

Tomas Rosicky won very little in his time as a Gunner, but he is held in high regard by the Gooner faithful. He stayed when all and sundry were jumping ship, and if it weren’t for injury, his career at Arsenal would have been very different.

 

David Hillier is a youth product of the club, and played a huge part in the title winning side of 90/91, which was his breakthrough season.

 

There are inevitably players who are the first we recall when harking back to halcyon times, but every single player who was on the pitch for the Legends fixture came back for the love of the club, and to raise vital money for a worthwhile charity.

 

It was great to see them all pit their wits against Real, who had the likes of Raul, Morientes, Campo and Butragueno. There was precious little goalmouth action, but the chance to see our heroes again is always one we should relish.

 

They are all players who have donned the jersey and gave their all, and now have returned to give more for a good cause.

 

To be called a legend is a high honour, even in these times of varying impact of the word, but each one heartily deserve it.

New Backroom Staff To Bring Fresh Winds of Change?

There has been much change within our club recently. More change than ever, since Arsene Wenger began his era at Arsenal.

Hossam Fahmy working his legal and contract magic, in from TeamSky.

Darren Burgess and Shad Forsythe, leaders in the field of sports physiotherapy and recovery.

Sven Mislintat, renowned for his talents in player recruitment.

Jens Lehmann, former Gunner and outspoken coach.

Raul Sanllehi, a man with more connections than the London Underground system.

These men are in place and set to revolutionise the operations at Arsenal.

While Wenger is still at the helm though, Is it a case of changing the shoes on a tramp and expecting to change his appearance?

A large swathe of our fans see it this way. Wenger is the rust in our gears and until he has departed, then no matter of change can rouse us from our reverie.

The truth though, is that for once, our Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, has finally come good and acted on his words, rather than spouting clever rhetoric.

He mentioned this summer that change was coming, the winds of variety would sweep into our dusty halls and blow away the stale funk, and slowly but surely, he was right.

We now have the pieces in place to transition change in the right way, to drag ourselves to the front of the sport once again – just like we did when Wenger first joined.

Everyone is well versed about the Wenger revolution when the Frenchman signed from Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan. His dietary changes, his training methods and frameworks were well ahead of anything in the Premier League at the time, his football knowledge surpassed the majority so we also gained a jump in player recruitment.

Now, we have the tools to again make that massive leap to the front of the conga line of football, and lead the way.

Mislintat could have set up shop anywhere, such is his pedigree. Sanllehi was working his magic with Barcelona. Burgess and Forsythe were regarded as true leaders of their sector.

We truly have recruited the best in each field.

This is cause for optimism. We all know though, that change after an extended period of the same thing requires a transitory spell, one that needs velvet gloves. Manchester United replacing Sir Alex Ferguson spells out how cautionary we need to be to pick the right man – and have the perfect team to oversee the change.

We can all offer opinion on who should come in to replace Wenger when he finally calls time on his era. Some say a seasoned veteran to oversee the turbulent first couple of years. Others say a promising younger manager who has a firm grasp on modern tactics and hasn’t let time destroy his ideals.

It is very much up for discussion, but for now, we can rest assured that we now have the most solid of foundations in place to guarantee that if we do slip up, then it will only be down to the new man in the hotseat, not the network that is in place to help him.

We’ve been slipping for a while now, but these appointments mean we are moving in the right direction in the background. Good times are coming.

Arsenal’s new Head of Football Relations – Raul Sanllehi

Our club have been busy in the last year to replace the regime behind Arsene Wenger.

Jens Lehmann, Darren Burgess, Shad Forsythe, Sven Mislintat are among a raft of names brought in to rejuvenate certain facets of the club. 

Some say it is part of the new setup to ensure the transition to a post-Wenger world is as seamless and trouble-free as possible.

Some say it is Ivan Gazidis actually staying true to his word when he promised change.

Regardless, we are actually acting on the years of falling short, and bringing in people who have a reputation of delivering at the front end of the game.

Now, we have a new Head of Football Relations. 


We have recruited Raul Sanllehi from FC Barcelona to come in and work closely with new Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat. This new team will help source new talent for the club, and get transfers over the line.

Sanllehi has come in to replace the outgoing transfer ‘guru’ Dick Law. Our transfer policy in recent years has gone from praiseworthy to laughable, so a tried and trusted man like Sanllehi is extremely welcome.

Who is this new fellow though? And why is he an improvement?

Raul Sanllehi was Director of Football from 2008. This is no mean feat when you consider the many turbulent presidencies of Juan Laporta, Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu. It shows he is a safe pair of hands.

He was at the Camp Nou to get deals over the line, something we have lacked with the incompetency of Dick Law in recent years.

Before his years at Barcelona, Sanllehi was involved with Nike. Experience at a big brand like Nike means he is unfazed by anything thrown at him. It also means he has excellent contacts. His rolodex will be a who’s who of sport.

Indeed, even Ivan Gazidis said of his experience and contacts; in a club statement;

“Raul’s appointment is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level. Raul has extensive contacts across the football world and has been directly involved in some of the biggest transfers in Europe in recent years. We look forward to bringing that expertise to Arsenal.”

Sanllehi will initially be working alongside Wenger, but this appointment is very much planning for the future.

We now have excellent and intelligent people in the most important posts at the club who are in touch with innovative methods and the modern game.

We are well placed for the future with this recruitment drive. When the time comes to replace Wenger, our team should be able to keep the club firmly on track.