Last Saturday before the Fulham game, BBC Football Focus published an interview from ex-Arsenal great Martin Keown with current left back Gael Clichy. Keown has been heavily involved with Arsenal since his retirement and has often turned up for club events. This was another one with the official launching of the Highbury Square. Below are not the exact words spoken by either one but it’s the gist of it [you can only blame me for not being able to write faster, there goes my secretarial career 😦 ]
MK : When we played here at Highbury, we always felt that it would be a certained 3 points? Do you feel that by going to the Emirates that we’ve somehow lost that home advantage in any way?
GC : Yes, at Highbury it was always special. Going through the tunnel you get that special feeling and the fans creates that special atmosphere you knew you were always going to win.
Me : How about that for stating the obvious. Highbury was steeped in history of club’s existence. Teams coming to Highbury was always going to fear us. That’s almost half the work done.
MK : Do you feel now that Emirates is your new home and you feel nice and settled there?
GC : Emirates is still new and I consider myself more as a part of Emirates than Highbury since I’ve been here from game 1. You can’t compared to Highbury which has a smaller pitch and the fans are closer and the atmosphere is different but Emirates is bigger and that’s how the team feel.
ME : He didn’t quite answer the question did he. Yes, I think by now the team has already considered Emirates as their home but definitely not settled there yet. At Highbury, no matter what, you always felt that Arsenal is going to score if not win. Sadly that hasn’t been the case at Emirates.
Then he was asked about his position as a left back and unfortunately I have to censure that part as Cashley was mentioned.
MK : Who is the joker in the pack?
GC : It’s really different cos we are all about the same age 23/24. Last time you can’t really talk to the senior players cos you need to respect them. Now the respect is still there but we can mix around. Like Wilshere for instance, making jokes aboutht older players even though he’s the youngest in the group. It’s more chillout if you like. We have joker in the team but we don’t have a Ray Parlour unfortunately. Now he’s a real character.
Me : You’ve got Eboue. That’s character too.
MK : As a defender, is it more difficult now to be a defender at Arsenal considering Wenger’s team that has certainly evolved to be a total attacking football?
GC : Sometimes you may misunderstand what the Boss is asking you to do but a defender is still a defender. You can pass the ball well and help with the attack but at the end of the day, the back four wants to keep a clean sheet. It’s good that Pat Rice is here because sometimes you get carried away and he’s always there to tell you where and how to defend.
Me : That means less mistakes from you from now onwards. Ring it into his ears Pat.
MK : You seem to have boundless energy running up and down the field. How tired are you after games?
GC : I’m getting old now. Maybe you notice I’m running less. I’m naturally gifted in the speed and stamina and it’s a good thing to have but at the end of the day, you can’t be running 200 km every game but end up you can’t play football and lose games.
Me : Which means you can’t just bombard forward and leave your defense like in the Man City game if you can’t run back fast enough
MK : How shocked were you by Adebayor’s behaviour?
GC : Ade was not my best friend but he is a friend. I said hello before the game and after the game we spoke. I said you shouldn’t have done that, you just scored in the game, what do you want? What else do you ask for? I won’t speak about this anymore, the FA already punished him. I just hope that the next game, we won’t give him anymore chance and don’t allow him to score.
Me : Make sure it’s not only your resolve but the entire team as well
MK : Will you be speaking to him again when the next game comes around?
GC : No. I will just say hello but when the game starts, that’s it, I won’t say anything anymore. We’ll surely think about what he did in the first game and do everything we can to prevent him from scoring.
Me : Attaboy. Does breaking his leg counts as preventing him?
MK : Is Wenger more determine than ever this season to win the championship?
GC : People have been for a couple of seasons now that we’re too young and inexperienced to win anything. But the first one who really wants to win something is him. He sacrificed a lot of his time for Arsenal and the 5 years we have not won anything so maybe it’s been really difficult for him. We just want to repay his faith in us and in the young boys. For a manager like him, you want to do your best and try to win things for him and hopefully this season we can achieve that.
Me : It’s about time. And do it for us fans too as well Gael.
MK : Do the players believe they can be successful this season?
GC : Yes I believe so even though we’ve been saying that for 5 seasons now. But we had a good start inspite of the 2 defeats at Manchester but I’m sure we’ll do things right this year because the spirit is there and that’s what the players want.
Me : I believe in thy spirit as well. May the force be with you.
MK : Do you see your role changing in the dressing room now that you are considered one of the senior players?
GC : I’m still only 24 but yeah when the younger players come to me for advice, I will help them the best I can. For new players, they always want to impress the Boss and always try to do things their way, maybe dribbling more and being a bit more greedy. But I will tell them to just play the Arsenal way and the Boss will notice you.
Me : Tell that to Diaby
MK : You left your country when you were young and how did you manage yourself then?
GC : The first year I did not know anyone on the team, I can’t speak English so honestly I just went for English classes and played Playstation (the rest are about the family and friends)
Me : Guide to budding young talents. Make sure your parents get you a Playstation.
MK : Who is your real mate in the team or it doesn’t work like that anymore?
GC : For me, I’m not someone who talks a lot but those close to me are Theo, Robin, Gibbs and Sagna. The rest as well but these 4 are the closest to me.
Me : Keep your friends close but keep your enemy (Gibbs) closer. Smart
With that I leave you with a little something I caught on The IT Crowd that made a reference to Arsenal.