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  • The Irish in Arsenal

    Augustine Worth

    The Irish have declined


     Once upon a time the Irish were supreme at Arsenal

    It is sad to say but the Irish influence at Arsenal has been greatly reduced. Many fans come over every week but nowadays we don’t get to see Irishmen in Arsenal colours on the pitch. Women, yes, men, no. Anyway I have  decided this week to choose my top 11 Irishmen and compare them to what seems to be our first 11 now. We once had 7 Irishmen on the pitch, Pat Jennings, Sammy Nelson, Pat Rice, David O’Leary, John Devine, Frank Stapleton and the incomparable Liam Brady. Now only Kieran Tierney has an Irish background although we do have a few coming through in the youths.


    7 Long haired Irishmen

    Anyway let’s see what we have. Pat Jennings in goal for sure. I can only think of Graham Stack as a real challenger and he never made it. For me, at the moment, I would put him ahead of Aaron Ramsdale but I hope that can be reversed as that would make Ramsdale a truly great goalkeeper.

    So, Pat Jennings in goal.

    Pat Rice Right back. Only John Devine springs to mind as a challenger and he was a superb prospect but injury meant he never quite made it. Up against Tomiyasu or maybe even Soares. Pat Rice had such a long and distinguished career for Arsenal that I have to give it to him but I feel Tomiyasu could well become an Arsenal legend. If he can overtake Pat Rice he will be some player for us.

    But Pat Rice, for now, right back.

    Sammy Nelson Left back. Again it is hard to think of a challenger. So he is against Kieran Tierney of the modern side. Tierney looks real class and truly the only worry is his injury record. I am still going to give him a shade over Nelson as I feel he will go on to be an Arsenal icon.


    Tierney: I believe he has great potential for us

    Kieran Tierney, left back by giving him credit for an Arsenal future.

    David O’Leary- centre back. Our most appearances ever and an elegant defender who could tackle any position at the back. Often used as a sweeper by George Graham, you don’t get to have the most appearances for Arsenal without being a great. Against Ben White, well he is too young and still finding his way so it has to be O’Leary.


    O'Leary: Our most appearances and a great partner for many centrehalves

    David O’Leary centre back

    Terry Neill at centre back. Up against Gabriel. Neill was a superb defender for Arsenal with over 300 appearances and played at the highest level for Northern Ireland. Gabriel is too new for us to truly give him the nod here but he could and I hope does, become the obvious choice for this position. I feel he could become the number one choice for a world 11 if he progresses.

    Terry Neill centre back

    We struggle in midfield with Steve Morrow and John Devine as options but both were also defenders and never managed to truly become regulars so that makes it easy.


    An easy decision

    Partey and Xhaka as central midfielders.

    Liam Brady left midfield. Here it is easy. Revered as one of the best players ever to play for Arsenal, it is hard to not choose him over such young players. But if say Odegaard  goes on to overtake him he will truly be an astonishing player for us. That would be great.

    Liam Brady left midfield.


    These 2 will be the hardest to knock out

    Eddie McGoldrick Right midfield. He was a good player but never quite made so I can’t put him in front of Emile Smith Rowe.

    Emile Smith Rowe, right midfield.

    Frank Stapleton and Niall Quinn, strikers. At the moment we don’t seem to have a centreforward so I think I am going to give it to these two. Both won trophies, caused much trouble for opposing defences and had long careers. Lacazette is doing his best but not quite getting there and Martinelli could well be, like his compatriot Gabriel, a very easy choice in this competition, as he may well become a strong pick for a world 11. At this moment, it is hard to give him the pick.

    Stapleton and Quinn strikers

    So there we have it, Jennings, Rice, Tierney, O’Leary, Neill, Xhaka, Partey, Brady, Smith Rowe, Stapleton and Quinn. What would Arteta say if given this choice assuming the Irish were at their peak? The thing is with the potential this young team have they could knock out even the best of the Irish. If they could strip out even Brady we will have a team of worldbeaters.  I have great hope for these young guns.


    Where can we finish update?

    Never try to be a psychic, football makes a fool of you. Palace 3 Arsenal 0 was not something I could have written down. It changes things for sure but not if we take it on the chin, and win our next 2. We have some scope for losing matches but not much. Spurs now have some momentum and have truly emerged as our closest challengers. But we cannot rely on Spurs to be Spursy, we must start winning again. Tierney and Partey, if out for a long time, is a big big problem. Elneny and Lokonga are not the class to replace Partey and Holding or Mari seem to be possible for Tierney as Tavares seems to lack confidence. But neither will bring what Tierney brings. I think we need both back quickly or the season could unravel. I retain hope. The others will drop points too. C’mon the Arse!






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