Smoke And Ash

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The more this Cole nonsense goes on, the emptier my well of admiration for him becomes. I heartily agree with what the venerable arseblogger says today, and just add that, if Cole plans to take this whole thing to court and challenge the rules, it won’t just be Arsenal fans who come to dislike him. Everyone will.

As much as I believe top sportsmen should be well remunerated for their work, they need to behave in such a way as to merit accumulating levels of wealth that the rest of us can only dream of. Thierry Henry, to me, earns every penny of his salary, and is a shining beacon to all. Team player, modest, and above all, grateful of his position as one of the luckiest 1% of employees in the world.

There’s a raft of young players – Cole is one, Ferdinand is another, in my opinion – who just don’t seem to get that. They already earn vast salaries, but they still insist on hawking themselves for more. It’s unseemly, and when they’re already earning more in one week than the rest of us earn in one year – and we’re chuffing well paying them – it’s graceless in the extreme.

Ashley Cole is an excellent footballer, and he can still come out, make all the right noises and stay. But he is only what he is – a footballer. And we, his bottom-line paymasters, are not stupid.

Elsewhere, Fulham’s Chris Coleman had to be restrained by WWF wrestlers (well, that last bit’s wrong, but you get the point), following Rob Styles’s award of a penalty to Boro last night. The tackle was miles outside the box, yet the ref awarded it anyway. And the best news of all is that Rob Styles is the cup final referee! Hurrah, huzzah and double hoorays.

Amidst all the excitement, I’ve totally ignored the fact that we’ve got a massive game on tonight. We’ve not lost to our oil-laden hosts for ten years in the league now, and I’d very much like that to continue. Of course, with them just six points off claiming the title, they’re all giddy with excitement and will be hard to stop.

Who can blame them? It’s certainly very exciting to win the league for the second time in your history. I am reliably informed that Arsenal fans were similarly giddy in 1933, when it happened to us.

And to end on a positive note, we’ll be wearing red in the cup final.


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

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Farnborough Gunner

    Wenger’s insistance that Cole will remain at Arsenal worries me. Not that I am that set against him staying, but I can see Cole running his contract down and leaving on a free transfer, as he has reportedly threatened to do. I can’t see Wenger sitting him down in May/June and telling him to sign a new deal (a very good one by all accounts) or leave.

    Letting players like Wiltord and Edu go for free was bad enough (both were good enough to command a decent fee while under contract) but letting a possible £20m slip away due to misplaced loyalty, or naivety, would be scandalous and something Arsenal can ill afford.

  2. halfNice

    This probably won’t make me popular but I agree in principle with Cole’s argument. The type of contracts that bind players and clubs is ridiculous. I love my job (unfortunately I don’t get paid £27,000 a week for it) but I wouldn’t sign a contract saying I have to stay here for the next 4 years – and my boss wouldn’t sign one saying he’s got to guarantee me a job for that long either. So why should footballers ‘suffer’ something the rest of us won’t tolerate?

    I know that they earn so much money that maybe ordinary rules shouldn’t apply to them, and I know that football would be completely mad if footballers can turn out for Arsenal this week and then Chelsea next week and West Brom the week after, but I’m just saying they do operate under rules that aren’t completely fair.

    Having said all of that I still think Ash is being a complete sh!t. I don’t believe for one second that he went to that hotel because he was thinking of the injustices of the contract system. He went there cos he’s a greedy and ungrateful bastard

  3. Soop

    Quite honestly I couldn’t care less whether Cole feels the existing rules are fair or not – he damned well knows what the rules are and chose to break them anyway.
    I’m really sick of this type of behaviour and wish Wenger would take a much more hardlined approach. If Cole wants to go, we should cash in and get rid of him. Forget sentimentality, he’s shown his true colours and I for one will NEVER support him again.

    If players want to leave Arsenal then they should be sold. There are thousands of excellent players who’d kill to get a chance at our club, so why persist with players who’d rather be elsewhere.

  4. Farnborough Gunner

    The debate about fairness of the current rules should not be allowed to detract from the central argument here. As halfnice goes on to say, it is not the motivation behind Cole’s approach to Chelsea; that was greed. Cole is bringing the morality of the present system into this in a desparate attempt to avoid saying “I was wrong, sorry”.

    I have some sympathy with the argument that footballers should be more free to talk to other potential employers, like “normal” employess do. However football clubs who have paid maybe £20m plus to secure the services of a player do deserve some assurances that the player is not about to leave at any moment. Maybe transfer windows and transfer fee tribunals cover this anyway though (?).

    Unfortunately, with greedy b*st*rds like Cole around the rules are more likely to be tightened than relaxed.

    I work in IT, where people tend to move from job to job quite frequently. The result is that getting training out of an employer in this fast changing industry is like getting blood out of a stone, because so many people have taken the training and then used the new skills to secure a better paid job elsewhere. The lack of training is affecting the industry, with companies running under trained/skilled IT departments or buying skills abroad. So freedom mof movement has helped nobody in the long run – employees or employers. I don’t blame football clubs from trying to avoid going down the same route.

  5. Farnborough Gunner

    What also strikes me about this is that while Chelsea are apparently making legal & illegal approaches to almost anyone who has their own boots, Cole had to make the running and approach Chelsea. Is he really so greedy that he couldn’t wait for the inevitable call from the Chavs? Or are they really not as interested in him as he might like to believe? Is Cole actually the only international player in the premiership NOT to have been tapped up by Chelsea? Is this the real story?

  6. RotorGoat

    And of course, there are fundamental differences between sport and reality. Nobody buys a shirt with my name on it, watches me do my daily job or sticks posters of me on their walls.

    They’d never get to sleep, for a start, but you see my point.

  7. halfNice

    I’ve got a RotorGoat shirt. Haven’t we all?

    But I see your point – there’s probably no need to even pretend that they live in the ‘normal’ world. Maybe AW should do what Ferguson is doing to Rio now and come out and criticise Cole. Obviously Rio’s an even bigger sh!t considering all that Man U have done for him.

  8. Denb10

    I have to be honest, I think the Ash saga is the least of our worries! I’d be gutted to see him go, but I do think Gael is as good as Ash was at that stage in his career. Give Gael another couple of seasons as a regular and he’ll be right up there. There are far bigger concerns that I just cannot see Wenger filling this summer. GK (obviously) Centre Back, Bergy replacement (sorry, not convinced by Mad Robbie Van P), a winger to cover for Freddy and Bob. Heck, I’m even thinking we should sell Ash for some inflated price to Chelski if he wants to go or not, so we have some kitty to buy the required 4 world class players…hahaha, that’ll be the day! Anybody else share my sentiment that Robbie Keane would be a fine aquisition? Him and Ledley together infact….nice! Oh, and hell why not Robinson too! Never thoguht I’d see the day I WANTED to buy 3 Spurtz players!

  9. Arseluck

    Chelsea is being used as a stalking horse by greedy players, with the latest being Rio Ferdinand. I thought he was decently treated while banned for 8-9 mths for his failure to take a drug test. He must have publicly expressed his gratitude to ManUre for standing by him at the end of the ban. Loyalty is spelt thus: “£oyalty”.

    Ashley deserves a raise, but not in the way he went about it. Absolutely deplorable.

  10. Arseluck

    Loyalty is spelt thus: “£oyalty”.

  11. McCool


  12. vivb

    Cole has legal advisors and they will what ever arguement ensures their client does not face a fine. Tapping happens all the time, whether Real after Vieira or Arsenal after Wiltord. 95% of Footballers are stupid and greedy but do have a short career and the bulk will spend the rest of their lives with injuries and joint problems. Also 10% of that salary ends up in their agents pockets.

    I also think Chelsea/Kenyon are more than happy for these stories to be leaked as they unsettle their key opposition as well as swaying other players in these teams if Arsenal and Man Utd have to pay more for existing players with their existing budgets they can’t pay other players what they want to. Like Newcastle forcing Man Utd to part with their entire transfer fund on Rooney they are trying to erode competitors resources. Hence most teams are trying to incentivise pay rather than pay a high basic.

    If I were Wayne Bridge though I would be really fucked off, 12 months ago he was touted as the best left back in England now he is facing a future on the bench! like Parker, like Cole (once Robbin is fit), like Johnson etc etc.

  13. Farnborough Gunner

    (sorry – I seem to be hogging it a bit today).

    Thinking about this, footballers are not that different from people in the real world as regards talking to other potential employers. Bear in mind that footballers generally sign a fixed term contract with their employer, rather than being a standard “on the payroll” employee. In any industry if this happens then both sides are expected to honour the full contract unless there is mutual agreement otherwise. There are no hard & fast rules to stop one side reneging on the deal, but it is frowned upon and rare. If players don’t want to be tied down in this way they should negotiate escape clauses, as some players do (e.g. if a top club wants them they can leave) or sign shorter contracts.

    Ashley Cole was talking to Chelsea with a view to breaking his contract with Arsenal. This is different from, say, Edu talking to Valencia to set up a deal to start after his contract with Arsenal ended, which he was entitled to do.

    So I still think Cole is a greedy git!

  14. Michael

    I think the Premier League rule is probably illegal, and I think Arsene thinks that too, so he doesn’t have a go at Cole, in public anyway. Whereas Ferguson will have a go at Ferdinand but he can’t bring a compaint against Chelsea because he’s tapped enough players up in his time.

    But I still think Cole’s an ungrateful bastard and if my money isn’t good enough for him I expect him to stop taking so much of it.

  15. halfNice

    All who think Cole is a greedy git say Aye.


  16. Gerry Gooner

    Contracts work both ways for players. If Cole had broken his leg or fallen out of favour with nobody willing to buy him- he’d be happy enough to collect 27,000 a week as Bogarde at chelsea. The problem arises when he feels he’s woth more – he’s in demand and the likes of Chelsea are willing to meet his demands. Footballers are like any other workers- the only constant loyalty to a club comes from the fans. Cole will only stay at Arsenal if he can’t get better elsewhere. by the way- while we’re criticising our’ future captain’ lets not kid ourselves into thinking that our prsent one is still at the club cos he loves it here- he either failed the medical at Reall or wasn’t getting offered enough money.
    Yes Arsene is a big softie and I agree that Cole should be sold if we risk losing him for nothing as with Wiltord and Edu. Unfortunately the club can’t compete with Chelsea or Man Utd- Rio is in the same boat as Cole- he will stay at Manure though cos they can afford t offer him the massive wages he is now able to demand as a result of his accidental rendezvous with that pr**k Kenyon. When he does sign he’ll proclaim how he never wanted to leave for Chelsea, how Utd are the greatest club in the world etc and those dimwit mancs will believe him just as we dimwits nearly believed Vieira last september. But they’ll still have one of their best players and we risk losing one of ours regardless of what we think of hi.

    By the way Roto: ‘ I am am reliably informed that Arsenal fans were similaly giddy in 1933’- LOVE IT!

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