George asked if anybody wanted to write about their favourite player via twitter so I jumped at the chance, it was a little strange really because I had the very same conversation with an old friend the day before so it kinda felt like fate.
I became a fully fledged Gooner during the George Graham days, I didn’t pay much attention to football in my younger school years, preferring to make Sonic the hedgehog jump across a screen rather than play football in the street. There was something clearly very wrong with me. In the very early 90s I had changed, I caught the Arsenal bug.
I missed the 1989 triumph, Arsenal were the team I ‘supported’ but I didn’t pay any attention to any of the games or indeed results. I remember standing outside my friends doorstep with him when his dad ran down the stairs screaming with joy. ‘Arsenal have beaten Liverpool to win the league’ my friend said to me shrugging his shoulders, in truth we didn’t quite get what all the fuss was about. A couple of years later I had got it, I understood loud and clear.
Season 1990/91 was my first proper season as a Gooner and I had grown incredibly fond of our attacking players and you have to remember that this was before the day that George Graham was infected with flooding the midfield with destroyers syndrome.
David Rocastle and Paul Merson were two players who I immediately took to and my hero Ian Wright came a season later. Ian Wright was the bubbly charismatic match winner that most Gooners my age looked up to, I was no different but there was another player who fascinated me even more, a player that had something special about him when in possession of the ball. It was the original super Swede, Anders Limpar bought from Italian side Cremonese for about £1.2m if I remember correctly. He had hit the ground running and added additional flair to Graham’s Arsenal team.
Wright may have been my hero but Limpar was my idol.
What caught my attention was his incredible ability to use both feet, I had never seen anything like it before and it was thanks to him that I had practiced my right foot so much in my youth. Santi Cazorla has only this season replaced Anders as the most two footed player I’ve ever seen.
Anders had a great burst of pace over the first few yards and he used this to zip away from opponents, he was able to not only shoot or cross with both feet but had the perfect weight of pass to slice through defence’s. Ian Wright used to benefit from this on a regular basis, so much so that he had scored four goals against Everton in one game at Highbury, all his goals were laid on a plate by super Anders Limpar.
His most memorable goal for Arsenal was against Liverpool at Highbury who were the equivalent of the Manchester United of today. Anders drove at the Liverpool midfield from inside his own half, from just inside their half Anders adjusted his feet had a glance at Mike Hooper in the Liverpool goal and fizzed a stunning chip over his head and into the Liverpool net.
In Limpar’s first season at Arsenal he had tasted domestic success, Anders had scored 11 league goals from 32 starts which helped Arsenal win the league title. We had lost only one game that season which is quite amazing and even more so when you consider that not too much was made of that. That was my first title as a supporting Gooner which I guess helped secure Anders as my first footballing love. I bought the end of season review on VHS (youngsters should ask their parents) and watched it so many times that I learnt pretty much all of the commentary. In those days we didn’t have Sky Sports or streams so those videos meant the world to me, I got to watch Limpar ripping through defence’s up and down the land, including his hat trick against Coventry City on the final day of that title winning season.
In the following season, Anders had suffered a knee injury whilst playing for Sweden, so he only managed 23 starts and a further 6 from the bench. It all went pretty much downhill for Anders after that. George Graham had ditched his attack minded philosophy and instead turned more and more defensive in approach. Anders Limpar and his flair was ditched for more industrious players so the Swede was soon to be marginalised. The following season saw Limpar only manage 12 league starts, coming on from the bench in a further 11 games. George Graham had already inexplicably sold David Rocastle to Leeds during that pre season so it was little surprise when he sold Anders Limpar to Everton the following season. Replacing the talented winger with no other than Eddie McGoldrick. If this is a little before your time then the best explanation I can give you is that it is like Arsene Wenger selling Santi Cazorla and replacing him with Scott Parker. Sorry, Scotty Parker.
It pained me watching Limpar lifting the Everton side, I remember one ridiculous outside of the left foot (weaker foot) pass with backspin into the path of Duncan Ferguson. I cried into my pillow that night. Everton won the FA Cup in 1995, beating Manchester United in the final and Anders played a big part in that victory.
Anders is seen as somewhat of a cult hero amongst Gooners and in truth it should have been so much more than that. Unfortunately for him, he came to Arsenal in the wrong era. When Arsene arrived in 1996 I still had hopes that he would take him back even if his powers had started to wane. The pair had crossed paths during one testimonial, I cannot remember which player but I have ever since wondered what could have happened if a younger model was around the club when Arsene Wenger had a close look at the players left to him.
What would have been the result of an Anders given the freedom of the pitch to express himself offensively. What could he have been like with other players on his wavelength? Technical footballers like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. I think he would have been a special player for many years and not just the full debut season but that is life. I am sure Pedantic George may have similar feelings about a certain Russian meerkat.
A few years after Anders left Arsenal, I bought a new home shirt and wanted to get a name and number on the back. Even though he had left the club, he was the only choice for me and I got Limpar 11 sprawled over the back. I still have that shirt today and still feel rather proud of myself for doing that. Well I did until the bugger recently told a reporter that he supported Everton over us now. How to break my heart.
If Arsene looked after him you can be sure that he would have something completely different to say today.
Anders wasn’t Arsenal’s best ever player, not by a long way but he remains my favourite player and will always be my first love.
Lovely article Mean Lean – a very enjoyable read. Thanks.
I wonder what the fan of today would make of Rocky and Anders being sold ?
Bin bags and scarfs no doubt,.
Great stuff Mean
I loved Anders, magnificent player. The article in the Independent gives a good account of the circumstances of RVP exit. Wenger is just such a consistent man. It’s more or less how I expected the exit to have been.
Love it Mean -brought some good memories back
Anders also had an increasingly rare capacity among footballers – he smiled, he certainly gave the impression of actually enjoying the game and what he was doing. Any player who does that makes it difficult for me not to like them.
Regarding Rocky wasn’t he sold because his knee was so badly gone ? Ruthless but that was George
Excellent piece, thank you. You hit the nail on the head – “What could he have been like with other players on his wavelength? Technical footballers like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. ”
The mouth waters at the prospect.
Thanks enjoyed that. Most of the great Arsenal teams of recent years were blessed with good wingers. limpar, Marwood, Armstronng, Helder (kidding). To name but a few. Seems to me that these guys were much better crossers of the ball than today’s crop of players. Something to do with the ball maybe?
Thanks. Mean Lean.
Made me smile this morning. Yeah, some of GG’s transfer decisions were well dodgy…..and we found out later why. I’ll never forgive what he did to Rocky.
Here’s hoping the Hammers, Wigan & Swansea will do a bit of work for us this weekend.
I’m a bit of a tart,my favourite Arsenal player changes all the time but round about the time Leans talking about-Limpar was the man,fantastic write up Lean!,any more of these George? Which players have been taken?
Thanks for the kind words guys. I think I took to Anders so much because of timing as well as obvious ability. I was impressionable back then and I guess it always brings you back to the good times of your youth.
I guess things are a little different today (2013) as many of the squad are relatively new to us. When people judge the quality of this squad I find it astonishing that so many do not take this into consideration.
Anyway good luck Wigan today and of course three points please mighty Gunners.
ML – I am very late to the Arsenal party having arrived in 2005 to be exact. Being a late convert I am always happy to read pieces that deepen my knowledge of the history of the club and its culture. Since falling in love with this club I have always found you, via cyberspace, one of the most honest, level-headed supporters around. Keep up the good work, my friend.
Thanks to Mean Lean for today.
Should anyone else feel able to do a similar thing with their favorite player .Just speak. up.
Perhaps the star of Arsenal.com would see fit?
Anders Limpar was a little taste of what our future was going to become back then.
I thank him for that and am truly grateful for the service he gave us. He showed the media fools then you could blend the continental flair players into a British isles guts n grit style team. You really have to go back in time to remember that ‘foreign’ players were very very rare novelties.
Without Anders showing it could be done so well, would we have taken a punt on Dennis?
Yes even our worst ever manager left us with a true foundation stone to rebuild from. that is The Arsenal Way tm.
if it hasnt been done and its of interest I’d like to have a crack at writing a piece on the 70/71 double season
Bob ,I have sent you an Email
Yes, I think we’re well overdue a piece from Mel.com.
Great article Mean Lean, thanks. Strange that we always have a “true” (albeit several natural right footed players) left winger when we do our thing? Bobby, Anders, Geordie Armstrong, Cliff Bastin, Don Roper for all his faults and not forgetting Joe Haverty, the leprechaun. Certainly not a star but did he keep us entertained!
wigan has equalised. but i to say wigan a playing too poorly without any confidence. lots of back passes in dangerous areas.
Wigan, W.T.F. are you doing?
Anymore of that malarkey in your own box and you deserve to go down.
Roberto Martinez, you have been so good to us those past few years… don’t fail us now! COY(Wi)G!
Nice one Mean Lean. Enjoyable read.
Whoops and I forget Overmars
Not bad from a player who should be on a long suspension for a real horror potential knee breaker of a tackle.
lovely, Sir Mean of Lean. Life is full of what-might-have-beens, isn’t it?
Limpar was before my (Arsenal-supporting) time, but you brought him to life for me and I understand why he is so cherished by some fans.
wigan is relegation specialist
I hope you mean specialists at avoiding relegation, layksite?
And on a very happy note, Arsenal Ladies beat Liverpool 2-1 to make it into the FA Cup final.
Ref doing his bit for the Spuds.
Wigan got done there by the ref. never a free for the LWC equaliser. And he gsve a last second fee for a dive too.
And shit, did the spuds start to play dirty to get back into the game.
But I would be happy the points dropped, it matches our dropped points against Everton.
2-2. Could have been a lot worse. Wigan will be kicking themselves for basically gifting them 2 goals.
Now if Swansea would like to finally get over their post-COC malaise and do a number on Chelsea tomorrow…
A shit call by the ref allowed Spuds to get a point. Beausejour and Walker were tugging at each other equally. That should have never been a foul. They got comprehensively outplayed by Wigan.
That was as good a result as we could have reasonably expected.
Might have been better ,but could have been horrible at the death.
Had Spurs gotten all 3 their collective tail feathers would have been up
Who was the ref?
Dang, that’s annoying and oh so predictable.
The orcs have got their magic 40 point troll horde now so when the play the spuds the wont give a shit.(especially if the can help stitch us up).
Wigan will have something still to fight for in all probability when the play us.
The season is back in our hands, LWCs were 7 ahead, now there are 1 behindwith a shot GD too.
3 points needed tomorrow, end of.
All else is an irrelevant sideshow.
I felt the same way when I found out Stoke will be with us one more season. The good news is that they’ve been getting progressively worse. I don’t think they’ll stay in the top division next season.
Well our fate is back in our hands. We absolutely must get something from tomorrow’s game; a win would be fabulous but if I was guaranteed a draw I would grab it. Absolute nail biter tomorrow. How Atkinson granted a free kick vs Beausejour no longer amazes me. Both players were over each other. Wigan and Kone in particular had two great chances to make it 3 and kill the game still haunts me and I am not a Wiganner.
All in all, the results was as good as we could expect. As George said if they had got all three points the tails of those cocks would be in the air. Now they may crow and “play bad” but that is all bluster and bravado. The pressure and full weight of history is back on them. Their game with Chelsea is an absolute six-pointer. Better them than we.
What you said.
A Double that from me.
Ditto Gains though I suspect Pulis won’t survive the summer especially given availability of decent alternatives (Martin O’Neil being one that springs to mind).
Mancini will probably be available by then, too. Then there’s Rafa, not to mention AVB when Spuds fail to qualify for Europe …
Hahahahaha. Made me laugh!
And the translator would be impressed with the £120m that Pulis was allows to squander.
Imagine that,! moe at stoke, in fact their ‘style’ (vomit) suits him to a T.
Since it wasn’t an Arsenal match, I didn’t have any special connection to the players, so I didn’t bother holding back. That KOne guy frustrated me to no end! He kept wasting chance after chance while often failing to see the obvious pass and deciding to go for himself. I guess if I was a Wigan fan, Wigan positivistas would’ve been calling me a doomer!
sorry lads but Anders much like Hleb were good players but not great players, both were capable of greatness but would regularly beat three players only to give it away to the next. Give me David Hillier any day.
The chip against Liverpool was truly great it was in a testimonial game for Ray Kennedy, I had taken my Mrs and as the whole stadium stood up to applaud such a wonderful goal she said to me she couldn’t see what the fuss was about as the keeper wasn’t in his goal and she thought she could have scored it. As you could imagine I never took her to many games.
shottas right we need something out of tomorrows game, with stoke and Southampton safe and Sunderland possibly safe by the time the spuds play them it means their only hard game could be chelski. With us having to play wigan, quarter pound of rubbish and the geordies all needing points our run-in is now harder.
the win tomorrow just got twice as important..wonderful!!
a or b
Agree with you on Hleb. He has wonderful playmaking abilities in the sense he made the football flow. He had that knack of moving the ball well. However his final touch the move was always a little wayward. He was a wonderful player but he could have been so much more.
Little mozart is technically the best player Arsenal have had since I started watching (1999-2000) not including Dennis and Henry.
I rate Rosicky higher than Pires, Arshavin, Overmars, Hleb in that order.
Rosicky is a gem, but Pires in his pomp was easily top five in the world.
Tomas and Robert were far to different to compare,
But Rosicky is as good technically as anyone since Dennis
George is right ( kindaalways).
Rosiskey is the classiest Arsenal footballer we have had in a long time. A better footballer than Dennis but Dennis was the world’s first 9 1/2 position for us.
TR 7 would be recognised ( on the rest of the planet apart from bbc land he is what he is) as the world class super star that he is except for 3 things:
1. Czech Republic aren’t the force they ione were. ( see 2 below).
2. Tommy has had a shit run of injurers for years ( see 1 above) .
3. Tommy wears a red shirt with white sleeves for a living; Wenger brought him in and has stood by him for years, therefore he is shit ( see WOB blogs !).
Any time Tommy is fit to play and Mr. Wenger picks him to start, my heart sings with pride and joy that we have a gunner THAT good in our team.
I am a Tommy loving fan – he is what a footballer is supposed to be. Not a shawcross, a Perfect footballer: better than any muppet in barca, any day all day.
Name me any footballer in midfield on this planet better than Rosisky right now?
I am kinda a fan of Tommy, if you didn’t guess.
d/c @ 12:45am
Hope Tomas starts tomorrow. 2 games in a row he should be purring like a well oiled machine. It will be a huge plus for us.
I’ve gotta comply with double canister love that TR7, I too get excited to see him in the team sheet another player I have defended against our own fans as well a manure fans (who always seemed to have an opinion on my team & manager, I remember many telling me what a waste of space van judas was).COYG!!!
Very nice write up ML.
one of my top five gunners for the past two decades. An artist on the football pitch.
Time to make a statement tomorrow. Rip them mancs to pieces. COYR&W
no to get a little sleep.
DC, Dennis was a better player than Tomas.
Dennis was a better player than anyone on the planet apart from Messi.(he seems to be a class apart)