A Great Big Dirty Old Morning

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Guilty: Of going for tea with Chelski
Guilty: Of doing it four days before a crunch tie against one of our big rivals
Guilty: Of trampling all over the rules
Guilty: Of burying his head in the sand and feeling wronged

And that’s just Ashley Cole.

So the whole sorry mess has come to a head, and as we were warned, our left-back does not come out of it smelling of roses. He might not have set the meeting up, and he might have been “manipulated”, but he’s a grown man and he knew full well what he was doing. For that he has been punished.

As Das Blogger points out, he seems hell-bent on blaming everyone bar himself for this, and is even threatening to blow the cosy world footballers enjoy apart with his “restraint of trade” defence. If he does that, he runs the risk not only of helping to change the face of football forever, but also of going from being a well-regarded footballer to becoming a hate figure in one fell swoop. I hope he is aware of that.

Of course, in keeping with a situation in which everyone is desperately trying to cover their own arses, all parties feel wronged here. Cole for his £100,000 fine and for not being allowed to break the rules, and Chelski for feeling they have been disproportionately blamed, despite not making the first approach. The Chelski chairman also seemed to blame Arsenal for having an “agenda”, whatever that may mean. The Standard seems to have an idea here. Perhaps he was angry that the club had the temerity to launch an official complaint. Nor does he seem to accept that attending a meeting with someone else’s player, even if they did not set it up, is such a bad thing. It beggars belief.

Christ only knows what the truth is here, but if you think it’s messy now, then think again. According to the Grauniad this morning, it could open the floodgates to litigation between Arsenal and the Russians. Bring it on, I say. Personally, if Arsenal did have “an agenda”, I want to know about it. I’m not foolish enough to believe the Arsenal board is whiter than white, but if the Chelski chairman believes there’s an agenda, then let him prove it.

What I find particularly galling is that the two men who were undoubtedly key in the whole affair – the agents – have got away with it. There’s talk of the FA looking into Barnett’s actions, and the FA into Zahavi’s, and that’s got to happen, somehow. If Cole and Chelski are guilty, then the middlemen are doubly so, and they need to be brought to book.

Given all that has gone on – and the appeal that is to come – I just don’t see how Ashley Cole can now remain an Arsenal player, short of a contrite u-turn that would not be in keeping with him, or his agent.

He may well wish to run his two years down and leave on a Bosman. Who knows, perhaps by then he’ll be leaving on a Cole.

But can you see him signing a new deal, saying ‘Sorry, I was wrong’, and ditching his agent?

It’s what Arsenal want, but I won’t hold my breath.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Double98

    Cole looks set to challenge the rules governing Clubs ownership of players registration and the restraint of trade caused by this. He wants players to be treated like employees with freedom to move aroud at will.
    Is he missing something?
    If this rule is changed will clubs not be entitled to stop all payments to players while injured refering them to social welfare agencys etc.
    Will clubs be stupid enough to give signing on bonus’?
    Will players not be responsible for there own massage, Physio Therapy, Medical treatment etc costs -I do not get these at work.
    Obviously big clubs will probably always give decent pay and conditions but what about the 95% of player who don’t play for them.
    If Cole gets his wish – Wenger calls it right – “chaos” will reign and i fear individual players will suffer th emost

  2. simon talker

    Good post Rote

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – neither of our previous No.3s would have acted like Cole did.

    Are we really that fickle that we are willing to support a player that by his actions – doesnt want to continue wearing the red and white of the arse?

    I really like Cole as a player, but his behaviour is that of a cunt.

    Ship him out – he obviously doesn’t want to be with us.

    As for Buck – what a turd.

  3. dom

    I just can’t see any winners in this, and can’t see anything other than the whole thing just getting messier and messier.

    I find it very hard to believe Ash’s appeal is based on a genuine, alturistic prinicpal of employment law, rather is just an attempt to get off having to pay his fine. If so – how much is his legal representation costing him? Good money after bad, young man. Surely from a financial point of view he should just sign a new improved contract with Arsenal. After all Chelsea can’t really buy him, and I doubt they’d want to after all this, (plus I think they’re got the Spaniard Del Horno lined up – certainly every sports headline writer in the land hopes so) and they’re aren’t that many clubs around who could afford the 20 million plus transfer fee Arsenal would want and the 60K plus weekly wages Cole would demand. I think he’ll sit on his contract and go on a free.

    Interesting as well reading the Evening Stahhnaaad and seeing which journalists are who’s mouthpiece. Steve Stammers is quite obviously the club’s spokesman, and anything by Matt Hughes is the opinion of either Barnett or Chelsea.

  4. Oliver

    pfffff honestly who cares?? I am so sick of this whole topic, I’d much rather we talked about the signing of Ricardo and all the other players we’re going to sign, apparently. After all, this is silly season.

  5. Ambrose

    bunch of cunts, the lot of em,

    chelski are cunts
    agents are cunts
    cole is a cunt, i never thought id say that, but if he loves arsenal like a true fan, then none of this bullshit would have happened, now fuck off you greedy cunt, step up Clichy

  6. Farnborough Gunner

    We should sell Cole ASAP, because:
    – I can’t see him signing a new contract with us and sacking his shady agent; he intends to run his contract down, so we must cash in now.
    – we need to move on from this episode, but Cole does not seem to want to draw a line and move on – let some other club carry his baggage.
    – he has shown complete disrespect for the club and it’s fans.
    – he is a great player, but no player is so good he can treat the club & fans like this and expect to command any respect afterwards. Henry is a better player and Cole could learn a lot about loyalty and respect from him.

    Unfortunately, I can’t see Wenger or Dein getting tough with Cole and giving him an ultimatum – sign the new contract or leave now. I bet they let him run his contract down and distract the team by dragging this matter on endlessly.

  7. Oliver

    As we all know, Clichy is a fine replacement for Cole – but if we sell Cole, what happens when Clichy gets injured?

    Ajax have a Brazilian player called Maxwell. He’s injured at the moment, but when fit he’s a great left back and good enough all-round to play on the wing as well. Cheslki were interested in signing him a few months back – but now they have Kaladze.

    Sell Cole, buy Maxwell (the price will be knocked down because of his injury) and we can finally see an end to this bloody saga.

  8. vivb

    If Cole didn’t think his pay is enough why didn’t he ask for a transfer?
    Chelsea expected Arsenal to roll over like Liverpool did over Gerard.
    How could it be good for the game to have players talking to competitors, opens the way to corruption in my book.
    Ricardo would be a disaster.
    The Standard Journo’s are all Spud fans.
    West Ham want Hoyt and Crystal Palace Ryan Smith (probably on loan).
    Barca’s offer for Henry is based on getting a large fee from Chelski for Eto.

  9. Farnborough Gunner

    Tapping up is not uncommon in football, but the way that the Cole/Chelsea meeting was conducted so openly makes this case much worse than most. Chelsea clearly thought they were above the rules and, as vivb says, they just expected Arsenal to roll over. They seeme dto be trying to demonstrate that they could just take any player they wanted, from any club, including a rival at the top of the PL. Someone had to stand up to them, and the FA had to make it clear that this would not be tolerated.

    The point is that Chelsea and Cole et al have not just broken the rules and got caught, they have openly flaunted them, and still think they can argue their way through the mess they have made.

  10. DC

    I feel Cole’s fine was disproportionate compared with Chelski’s or Jose’s, but you have to look closer to home to point the blame for the whole affair.

    Professional players get ‘tapped up’ all the time but they have a legal (and in Cole’s case moral) obligation to their club.

    This incident has come to be the kind of slippery behaviour you’d expect from someone as greasy as Mourinho. Has every gooner defending Cole lost the plot??? The little shit was involved in the instigation of a ‘big money’ move to our very own blue london cunt rivals!!!! A true gooner??? Need i say more!

  11. Lee.

    Well said most of you, get this p***k (Cole) out of my club “now” before he brings more s**t upon us. He now looks to be on a crusade to change the way contacts are formulated, as a few of you have noticed.
    This can only drag this sport further down the toilet, with the Press & Sky TV loving every min of it.
    Can you imagine what will happen long term if contract negotiations were allowed to change in this way.
    Before every game that was played the bigger club (financially) would be doing there best to undermine every team they play against when it mattered, ( I just bet Ferguson is gutted he never had the balls to use this method) with regards to going to press for whatever player they intended to buy???
    Arsenal you’re bigger then this shambles. Sell the c**t to a Spanish/Italian team & let’s see an end to this.
    “Please not in our name”.

  12. Farnborough Gunner

    So Ashley Cole thinks that the rules preventing footballers from speaking to other clubs are too restrictive compared with rules governing people in “normal” jobs. Footballers’ terms of employment are different from “normal” peoples’ in many ways:

    – Footballers are a major asset of any football club, and I mean in strict financial accounting terms. I’m sure the balance sheet of a football club shows the value of paying staff under “assets”, along with buildings, company cars etc. These companies are entitled to protect their assets in the same way that they and any other company would protect assets such as buildings, machinery etc.

    – Most employees working on a contract basis (like footballers) do not get company benefits such as payment when off sick or on holiday, or access to company medical & welfare facilities. Footballers do.

    – Most employees working on a contract basis (like footballers) have to fund their own training. Footballers do not.

    – Employees who do not perform to the necessary standard are sacked. Footballers are not – they are released at the end of their contract.

    – Football still has a lot of emotion attached to it (for fans), even these days. Some continuity amongst the players in a team is necessary for the identiity of the team. And fans expect (and deserve) some commitment from the players in return for the adoration often poured on them. Who cares if a member of staff leaves your local supermarket to join a rival – you are not likely to have a £50 shirt at hole with their name on the back of it.

    – Clubs and their sponsors use players for marketing & PR purposes. This goes towards funding the players’ salaries, and is part of a player’s
    commitment to the club (probably written into their contract). The sponsors need to have some assurance that the player will remain at the
    club for the duration of any marketing programme they are featured in, and beyond. Players can use their image to negotiate higher salaries (e.g Beckham plc). “Normal” employees don’t get asked to appear in advertising campaigns, apart from that tw@t from the Halifax (nuff said really).

    – Normal employees often have to change jobs to increase salary because they actually need the money. Footballers have no such money pressures, except greed.

    I’m sure there are many more.

    Also bear in mind professions such as teaching that have restrictions on changing jobs and jobs that have long notice periods (3 months is now common, even for fairly junior roles in many industries, with longer for key staff). These do not prevent us from talking to other employers, but actually leaving to go to work for them is another matter.

    Poor old footballers, eh?

  13. vivb

    I don’t blame Cole he is just a man of little brain. Solicitors will run any legal arguement they can and if he is stupid enough to run this case further he is going to find himself with a very big bill. It’s very interesting that Taylor who normally defends the most money grabbing of players isn’t interested in defending Cole’s pursuit of this case. Ferdinand is another case, pocketing Man Utd’s salary for 8 months after he got himself banned and then using Chelski to get an extra £20,000 pay rise.

    The way Chelski did this whole thing in public etc smacks of trying to unstable Arsenal at a key time of the season. Mourhio lied directly on camera about this, as he did about Frisk as he did about the linesman. If the media think this club is a glowing example of how football should be played and run they are truely deluded.

  14. uncle fester

    We all know players get tapped out but this caper was really crass they should have put flashing lights up,but seriously Cole’s days i think at highbury might be numbered i think he as been disloyal he if is unhappy why did’nt ask for a transfer the whole thing stinks,how can D.D. say he feels sorry for Cole i believe Cole and his ponce approached those greasy back sliders and king shit Kenyon and the other tosser could not wait to stick one up there rivals Kenyon as behaved like this in the past as utd fans have told me this wont be the first or last,the back sliders have been fine on the pitch but totally arrogant and disrespectful of it and i fear we will see more of there arrogance next season.

  15. Alan

    I really want to leave a comment about this but it’s all been said by you guys already. I’ve never seen so many comments being of the same view. Cole must go, because, as great as he is, he’s no longer a Gooner and cannot, therefore, wear the shirt with pride!And that’s what we at Arsenal have more than anyone – PRIDE!

  16. yogithebear

    I just don’t buy the whole “Cloe being stupid” concept. I don’t care how stupid you are, to attend the meeting before such a pivotal game with MangeUnited is transparently disloyal. I used to not only rate the player, but saw him as a future captain, a homegrown boy who bled red and white. Now nothing short of the sacking of his manager, an addmission of the error and request for forgiveness will change my position. If he persists in this appeal, I say ship him to Spain or Italy.

  17. Gerry Gooner

    Very disappointed but not surprised. That Buck shithead seemed to be so smug and quoted Mourinho from the case who siad that if he had a footballing problem with his palyer he would sort it out – if it was a financial problem he would go to the board and get them to sort it out- Buck said Arsenal didn’t sort out their financial problem. Well shithead its easy to sort out a financial problem when you have a bottomless pit of money. I would go as far to say that Ashley Cole deserved (past tense) to be one of our top paid players. He has been one our best peformers and reperesented the future (maybe captain?) of the club. Initially I dismissed this meeting as a mistake and expected him to apologise, plead to the charge and carry on with his career- lesson learned. Howver the attitude from him now , however influenced by his solicitor etc, shows he is not sorry and to argue the judgement on a matter of principle of restraint of trade shows how little he values what life has given him. If anyone one of us commenting on this page had been thrown the hand in life that Ashley Cole has we would jump at it- a supposed Gooner playing for the club he loves. He should be sold immediatley but to who? He can’t go to chelsea- Manure have Heinze. I’m just disappointed as a fan- we have Spaniards, Brazilians, Frenchmen, Ivorians, Germans who have shown more loyalty in their little fingers than a North London native has to the club. Yes he deserves the best he can get but his means of getting thiat have come back to haunt him.

  18. Nader

    I will never, ever sing his name. He should go now. I hope all my friends in the North Bank do the same……..

  19. Rob

    Cole can get bent for all I care. I certainly don’t want to see him in Arsenal shirt again.

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