A good Friday to you. 2 more days before our last game of the season. Depending on where you stand on the European Championship, it’s not going to be a very long and arduous break between football. Plenty to discuss so we might as well just jump into it.
First of all, Arsenal has officially announced the upcoming retirement of Pat Rice at the end of this season. A lot of people expressed their thanks and gratitude towards the service of Rice to Arsenal Football Club, not least his manager. Arsene Wenger paid tribute to the man who has been alongside him since the very beginning. There will be a period of adaptation for Wenger without the service of Rice and hopefully that won’t affect him.
In the same tribute, it was also mentioned that Wenger has had many disagreements with his assistant. Something which is very common in any form of work. No two person ever have the same ideas/opinions on all matters. What the disagreements relates to is unknown but it goes to show how far away are those opinions of Rice being a “yes man” to Wenger. Ultimately, Wenger is Rice’s boss. Whatever opposition that Rice has towards an idea/opinion could be override by Wenger. One can only hope that this finally put an end to that theory and doesn’t harm the legendary status that is richly deserved by Rice.
One goes, another comes in. That’s just the way with life and it’s no different with Rice’s job. Steve Bould comes into the breach and will step up from his youth role. After all the rumours, the former Arsenal defender that is part of the famed back four will be the one doing all the shouting from the touchline from next season onwards. He will also carry that all important task of signalling to the players who are warming up to get back and get changed.
Honestly though, it is a good appointment. Personally I was rooting for Tony Adams to get the job but happy all the same for Bould. He has quietly done his time with the youth. That we play the same type of football, top to bottom, will only help him integration to the first team. I’m sure those in the first team already know him, if not for his previous work as a player for us, then as part of the coaching staff at Arsenal. He would have no problem putting his message/advise across. Congratulations Bouldy.
During the same press conference where all the above Wenger quotes came out, he also spoke about the “transfer situation“. There isn’t anything we don’t already expect from the manager. He’s not one to speak openly about any impending transfer(s) unless it has been confirmed. That has always been the way he works. It doesn’t mean that we’re no longer interested in Yann M’Vila or any other player for that matter.
It doesn’t help the club that the word gets out that we’re extremely interested to sign this or that player. We all know other clubs don’t do their scouting and rely on us to do it for them. Whoever Arsenal are interested in, we’ll join in the bid. I bet that’s their motto. Sometimes, you wish we purposely state our intent and send a few scouts to one game. When in fact we have no interest in any of those players on the field. That will throw the thieving clubs off the scents.
Wenger though, wasn’t the only Frenchman who spoke at length about Arsenal. Laurent Koscielny also did likewise with France Football who kindly provided Arsenal with the English translated transcript. Something which The Sun failed to do. It is a very lengthy interview with a lot of very good points. Koscielny equates conceding a goal to having his house being in flames. No wonder he defends like there’s tomorrow. He also said some kinds words of the strikers he has marked and at the same time remarking Peter Crouch’s quality as just being tall.
It’s hard not to grow fonder and fonder of Koscielny. Even now, he doesn’t speak about playing for France in the Euros. He’s so committed to the cause at Arsenal that it’s the only thing that matters to him presently. Such is the discipline and dedication. I will always remember the moment early last season when a fellow Gooner ask who between Koscielny and Johan Djourou should partner Thomas Vermaelen when the Belgian comes back. I’m glad my answer hasn’t been proven wrong.
If everyone else shares his dedication on Sunday, we might actually present Rice with a wonderful parting gift. At least we’ll have a better ending that the one received by the pitch at the Grove.