So in this season where we have to start counting home growners, I started to cast my mind back to who were the greats, when I say home grown, I mean they had no other clubs before us and they joined as schoolboys.
I’ll start from my early days and the top of that list was none other than the great Charlie George, a real product of the North bank and a real ‘One of us’ Charlie of course still is, and a top, top bloke to this day, I know Charlie well, in fact Charlie was the subject of my ‘O level’ art GCE, so I have Charlie to thank for that, I passed! I painted him on the floor at Wembley with his arms outstretched when we done the scousers in the cup final of 1971, the year of our first league and cup double.
Many followed, with the next golden generation of Adams, Merson, Thomas and Rocky Rocastle, I loved Merse, but him being a self confessed Chav fan, set him back, Thomas, although he scored the greatest goal in the history of football, left us to join the enemy, Adams, a career player was up there, but he’s lost it a bit with his lack of judgment with the bottle and Rocky although very, very special, sadly didn’t make my all time number one.
So who have I missed out? For me the greatest of them all, Liam Brady. Liam is still at the Arsenal, he is a true gent, matter of fact he let me play through him at La manga club once when I was with Pedro, the same year we sold Petit and Overmars to Barca, we had a nice chat that day, not one he expected as I was a little peeved that our great manager sold our two best players, but he said, ‘you can’t keep unhappy players’ hmmm I thought, however, he had the sweetest left foot, his goal against Spurs was the finest I had seen and still sends a shiver down my spine, for those of you who never got to see him, I PITY YOU FOOLS! He was the real deal and gets my vote for the greatest ever Arsenal home grown talent, when he left us for Juventus, I was genuinely gutted, and didn’t feel good about the Arsenal until we signed Charlie Nick.
I remember going to Pat Jennings testimonial, and the biggest cheer of the night was reserved not for him, but for Liam Brady (at Sampdoria at the time I think), he wanted to re-join us and said so, but George Graham was having none of it, and he went to West ham instead.
Years later following spells with Celtic and Brighton, Liam returned home and become the new master of the next generation of young home grown talent, and that brings me on to the next best player I have ever seen come through our ranks, Jack Wilshere, and his goal against West ham at 16 reminded me of Liam’s against the spuds all those years before, so Arsene, why is he not starting in our team like you started Cesc, Denilson, Flamini and Eboue? He’s better than the lot of them and if given the chance, he will stay for life, and he’s English, which for me is the cherry on the cake.
That’s all I have for today, sign who you want, sign as many frees as you like, but please, please make a starting place available for one Jack Wilshere, the new Liam Brady, and Liam, thanks for what you did and for what you continue to do, you are my all time favourite product of youth.
A final word for our Spanish youth product, Cesc Fabregas, the grass isn’t always greener, the preperation you got from the Spanish coach did your team no good yesterday, you didn’t play and that is a sign of things to come, don’t take my word for it, ask Hleb, Henry and YaYa, Barcelona are a team of spoilt brats, and you know what? THEY DON’T EVEN PAY THEIR BILLS!
The new fixture list is also here… away at Liverpool!
Have a great day Grovers, today we can have a huge snigger up at the Spanish national team, ha, ha, ha!