A Styles Point

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Oi, Ref

There have been some positive noises from Lauren, and from von Nistlebaum, about putting the past behind us and playing a game to thrill the watching millions on Saturday. I’d much rather the game was played in the same spirit as the two matches against Chelski, but I’m not holding my breath. I hope that Rob Styles – a disciplinarian, they say – gets a decent grip on proceedings and doesn’t let the usual suspects get away with murder. I read somewhere that the FA has a policy that a referee can only officiate one FA cup final, and that’s why Styles has got his turn. The thing is, he’s never refereed an Arsenal Man U game. That said, it could be better that he hasn’t. We’ll see, but this article doesn’t exactly fill me with glee.

Franny Old Game

I once knew a bloke – Spuds fan as it happens – who started his working life as a manager of an off licence, then slowly but surely relegated himself down the off licence rung (he didn’t want the responsibility) until he had the job he considered least stressful, that of being one of the delivery blokes. His career started at the top, sort of, then went backwards, which is not quite the way it’s supposed to happen, at least it’s not if you believe in careers.

My point here, tenuous though it might be, is that it reminds me of Francis Jeffers. He hit the ground running at his hometown club, before securing a huge £8m transfer to Arsenal. What he didn’t probably realise is that the day he walked through the doors of Highbury and into the Marble Halls could well have been the summit of his career.

He had all the stats to back him up, but what he didn’t seem to have was A) luck and B) the sufficient dedication to succeed with us. Off he went to Charlton for a knock-down £3m or so – still only about 24-years-old – where everyone who had seen him play in his pomp (aged 17) once again promised he’d come good and prove himself to be a bargain.

Not so – according to the Standard, Charlton are now trying to offload him for something like £1m. In four years, his value has dropped by seven eighths. There’s a cautionary tale in there somewhere.


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

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Farnborough Gunner

    I’m not worried about Rob Styles being a disciplinarian or his record for showing red cards; we will only stand to gain from this as long as he is even handed about it, and if that includes punishing the original foul and not just the aftermath as many refs do (i.e don’t send Reyes off for reacting to the tenth attempt to break his legs unless the foulers have all been sent off as well).

    Slack refereeing in past games has allowed ManU to get away with their Sunday League tactics. Take that away from them and we will win – Arsenal are currently a far better footballing side.

    I’m not so confident about the reports of dodgy penalty decisions from Rob Styles, considering how often ManU players take dives.

  2. vivb

    I worry a great deal, Vieira and Lauren both often make late tackles. I can see the journos working on there 125th red card under AW reign despite our coming top of the fairplay league and having one premiership sending off compared to Man Utd’s 5.

    Seems to me though we will have a young side, but without Henry, Man Utd will have the big match players i.e. Rooney, Scholes, Giggs and Van N.

  3. Green Gooner

    Apparently G Nev is doubtful for the match as well as Heinze. P Nev may be drafted in to replace him. If so, I think I’ll wet myself with joy- the thought of Jose or RVP running at the less talented Neviller should be enough to cheer up any Gooner currently in despair over the loss of Titi. Might even have a wager on him to be redcarded…

  4. halfNice

    I usually wish ex-Gunners well, but I really can’t be bothered what happens to Jeffers. Wasn’t he the one saying his career had suffered cos AW wouldn’t let him play? Then he goes to Charlton, via Everton, and f**ks it up again.

  5. Farnborough Gunner

    Re Francis Jeffers. It’s always worth citing him when Arsenal are criticised for not fielding enough English players. £8M well spent – I think not!

    Basically he has always had a poor attitude – didn’t he go on strike over pay during his first spell at Everton?

    When Arsene bought Jeffers he spoke of the importance of an English spine to the team – Richard Wright, Sol Campbell and Francis Jeffers. I wonder if his eagerness to keep some “Englishness” in the team blurred his better judgement, given Jeffers’ poor discipline & injury record? RVP has had his lows, but he seems to be able to learn & improve from them – something Jeffers did not seem willing or able to do.

  6. Steve

    “ur coming top of the fairplay league and having one premiership sending off compared to Man Utd’s 5”.

    Chelsea came top of the fair play league – mainly because they didn’t have one sending off all season.

  7. Feverpitch

    Vicious rumour i just heard that Henry is not injured but has argued with Le Boss and Patrick. Anyone heard this, I am sure it is nonsense.

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