Smith Rowe ditches junk food and is punished with an England call up

If you have a meal at any English cafe, you will always be presented with a little array of sweet sauces like brown sauce and ketchup (which psychotic people spell “catsup”). For the average Brit, these sauces are spread liberally on many foods from bacon butty, eggs, to just a plate of chips. I have even been reliably informed that some folks put “brown sauce on everything.” Though how and why, I can’t bring myself to imagine.

Ketchup in this family is reserved for fries (chips) and while I have made brown sauce for one of my sandwiches, and I’ve had brown sauce on my trips to England, and I’ve liked it, I’ve never been one who put a lot of sweet sauces on my other foods. As a sandwichist I get it, it’s sweet and salty and tangy and it makes things taste better, but I guess I just like my eggs plain. Maybe I should try it someday. I’m sure it’s fabulous.

And I’m not judging folks. If you want to sauce your entire breakfast, go for it. I spent my entire adult life saucing my liver with whiskey, I’ve no right to judge you and your indulgence.

Footballers, it turns out to my great dismay, are also human beings and they too like a nandos, some chocolate, a takeaway, a fryup, and plenty of brown sauce. Speaking to Dave Hytner of the Guardian, Arsenal’s young star Emile Smith Rowe admitted that he recently changed his diet and had to give up the junk and drink more water.

“I’ve tried to cut out chocolate and takeaways as much as I can. The club have sorted me out with a chef. His name is Chris and he comes to my house every day. I live with my mum and she normally cooks but she doesn’t have to any more. Chris cooks for me and her. With hydration, there’s loads of stuff we should be taking before a game and, yeah, before I was a bit too lazy.”

As cheeky as I’m being he’s doing the right thing, even if he’s not an athlete trying to gain an advantage. Eating more fish, less meat, and more fresh vegetables correlates strongly with better health outcomes and I’m sure he’s gained some endurance and strength. When he first started playing regularly for the Arsenal first team he looked brilliant for about 30 minutes of his matches and then dropped off significantly. He was always subbed off about the 60 minute mark as well. It was clear he had some kind of fitness problem and I recall suggesting that as soon as he got fit he’d be irrepressible. Was that down to his diet? Perhaps.

I want to be clear to say again that I’m not judging you if you’re eating a lot of bacon buttys with brown sauce. It is difficult for the average person to eat a whole grain fish-based diet with almost no takeaways or packaged sweets because it’s expensive and takes a lot of time to prepare your meals. Most of us also can’t have a private chef, though we can hardly scoff at a billion dollar sports team sending a private chef to take care of their multi-million dollar athlete.

Changing diets can be an effective way to improve your health, stamina, and endurance. Though, I would probably talk to a nutritionist about that and not listen to “some guy in Tacoma who writes a blog that I sometimes (ok, almost never) agree with”.

I’m happy for Smith Rowe. He’s playing much more regularly and he’s scoring goals and I can’t help but feel that’s down to fitness.

The only complaint I’ve got about all this is that Smith Rowe was “rewarded” with an England call up.

I know he wants to represent his country and that it’s a huge honor, but still.. it’s dangerous! He’s got to hang out with Harry Kane and the other Tottenham boys and according to their latest press releases they are all brown sauce addicts! Antonio Conte just had to tell the world that he’s banning sweet sauce from their cafeteria and that means those guys are going to be going through serious withdrawals. Putting Smith Rowe in with those degenerate brown sauce users is like throwing a junky into a heroin convention. I’m not sure if this call up is a just reward or a terrible punishment.

And I know what I’m talking about here. Not only am I an alcoholic but I’ve recently started cutting out sugar (no more in my tea) and red meat. I’ve added a lot more fresh veg, more beans, less cheese, and I’ve also switched to 100% whole grains for my bread making (which is quite a pain de mie). So, I know exactly what it’s like to live the ascetic life of a professional athlete.

And in my currently fragile state, I couldn’t imagine bunking up with a user like Eric Dier or Harry Kane. You and I both know they’re spending all day ordering plates of chips and smothering them in the brown, showing up to training with ketchup stains on their shirts, and running around with their breath smelling like peri peri chicken.

I just hope that our Arsenal beautiful young men are able to see the example of Kane and Dier, how they have never won anything, and thrown away their careers for the comfort of the brown, and stay off the sauce.



  1. Brown sauce is too sweet for my liking (same with overly sweet ketchup). But the real travesty is what they call “bacon”, which is sadly undercooked and fatty compared to how it should be(though this didn’t stop me from eating it when I lived there).

    On the ESR front(and Saka as well), having too much Spurs rub off is a concern…but in all seriousness, I’m more worried about them ending up Michael Owen or Jack Wilshere. Overplayed when too young and ending up burned out and/or injured. At least ESR doesn’t seem to have Wilshere’s tendency to hold on to it too long in midfield and leave himself open to ankle-destroying tackles.

    1. What next Tim? Kale? Has it come to kale now Tim!? The moment you make a whole grain kale loaf, I am outta here.

  2. BTW. Regarding your response to me on the last thread? I’ve never shown you anything except respect on your blog. My comments had everything to do with a comparison to the negativity here and not a thing to do with xenophobia. That wasn’t meant to be personal.

    When I post positive commentary on my views on the club here– I take flak.
    Just expressing the long-running negative commentary here has been off base for months.

    1. I used to want to do this thing all the time where I would go on a forum, usually this one, and try to be the smartest kid on the block. Of course that means being the most objective, having all the latest information and being totally up to date an everything. It was exhausting. I only ended up annoying everyone and not getting much satisfaction from being a football fan. But then I realized that my crusade for objectivity and scoring points online was destroying my love of the game. I cared more about being right than about Arsenal. Arsenal became a vehicle for my hubris rather than a past time to be enjoyed. I cared more about defending the narratives I invested myself in than how the team actually did. I don’t think I’m alone in falling into this trap and I still do from time to time. Objectivity is of course a lovely ideal, but the truth is none of us are truly objective. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we alone can see the picture clearly while those around us have their vision obscured. I’ve become much more philosophical about being a supporter in my “old age.” There is no one truth about anything, only shades of grey. People around me can believe whatever they want to without that having to affect me in any way. I watch football when I genuinely want to and I post about it here when I feel I have something constructive to say. When I’m no longer enjoying it, I go do something else. This has helped me not be upset by being a fan, which is something that’s supposed to be fun. When I see storm clouds, I think to myself that they are there but know that they will pass. When I see blue skies, I try to enjoy the warmth as long as I can.

      This is a bit of a ramble, and it’s all about me because I can’t and won’t tell anyone else what to think or do. But your comments reminded me of myself and so I hope you’ll forgive my musings. Of course none of this applies to you or anyone else directly. It’s not a parable or a guide that nobody asked for. It’s just a man and his thoughts and a place to write them.

      1. Appreciate your insights Doc. And honestly, I’m really a pretty optimistic guy and happy about the club right now. I’ve been through that period, those days of creating or expressing narratives and trying to back it up.

        Perhaps the difference for me now versus then– is I had taken a much longer view of the situation at the club– dating back almost four years. The machinations have differed from my original ideal for how the club might reorganize post-AW. But except for variance in length of the timeline (Sanllehi hiring Emery and a global pandemic) it’s panned out close enough to that ideal to be satisfying for me.

        I’ll hazard a guess you and I are closer in ‘old age’ than we are with the majority of this audience. I’ve had the joy of being a fan of several great teams over a number of decades. Watching some recapture a modicum of success in the period after their heights. Though very few replicate it– and almost never do you see a dynastic team retake that peak.

        What I’m seeing from this team (and Mikel Arteta) is a vestige of how teams used to be constructed and developed. A throwback if you will. The way professional sports have modernized, with movements of players between teams and clubs– and and disposable managers? It’s a rare thing to watch a team/club commit to a project and follow through thick or thin.

        And it’s happening at Arsenal. Possibly– the last time I’ll bear witness to a team I bleed with– and for– rebuild from the ground up. Because I’ve seen teams I follow(ed) closely– over years– go from perennial losers and grow into world champions– three different sports, in three different eras– and watched those organizations develop?

        Just– one of those things. You know it when you see it.

        I’m not predicting Arteta’s Arsenal will ever be champions at the height of their sport.
        What I’m seeing and enjoying is– to this point– what’s being done, has the earmarks of a successful organization.

        I can’t help that others don’t see what I see.

        (Thanks Doc. That was cheaper than therapy.🙃 )

      2. ” I realized that my crusade for objectivity and scoring points online was destroying my love of the game.” Took the words right out of my mouth. Supporting Arsenal or any team is completely illogical, makes no sense, and won’t cure cancer or stop the planet from warming. But that’s the idea. It’s a release. a hobby – an intensely passionate one for some – but to my mind, very much a hobby.

    2. “Negative commentary?” That has been “off base?”

      Surely you mean a variety of views, the “negative” ones to be filed under “views that are different from mine, and I therefore do not like?”

      Im not getting into the xenophobia thing, but with the greatest respect JW, youre going to encounter views you strongly dislike. And people (Tim especially) should have their say… robustly and generally respectfully.

      Doc professed as “upsetting”, the trenchant criticism of Mikel Arteta. Seriously? I dont detect a lack of strength of argument from people who take the opposite view. Let all PsOV compete, and do so respectfully.

      No one is owed a “positive” view of Arenal FC. Or an “on base” one. And by the way, those who take opposing views on the coach? There was a lot else that they found common ground on, on that post and the one after. Striking a balance, is, imho, more important than being “positive”, whatever that is.

        1. It wasnt at all. As always, I was just expressing an alternative point of view. Bugs Bunny style, I looked down at myself, and saw no grazing or bullet holes 🙂 Dissent is healthy. One love.

      1. I also get personally offended when people tell me how to support Arsenal. Arsenal are a multimillion dollar investment vehicle for a billionaire. Arsenal aren’t my child or loved one. I don’t have to be 90-100% uncritical in my love of a sports team.

        There’s been a push the last few years (from the club) for the fans to “get on board” and stop criticizing. They even went so far as to do advertisements with that lovely lady who has been a fan all her long life with the main message being that we just support the club no matter what. It’s a message I’m acutely aware of: “real supporters support”. I am told this any time I criticize the club, players, or manager.

        I find it interesting that many of the fans are buying into that message. It feels like more than ever before. But we aren’t even that far removed from when this club fired Gunnersaurus and asked the players for wage cuts, then turned around and spent £100m on transfers, treated certain players poorly, and played the worst football I’ve ever seen from an Arsenal team (just last year). And let’s not forget that they wanted to jump on the Super Club stuff. This club has been pretty mediocre from a moral standpoint the last few years, certainly nothing like they were when I first started following.

        We aren’t the Saudi-backed sportswashing vehicle that Newcastle have become and man it’s depressing the way their fans are acting all the sudden. And it’s even more depressing how quickly the abuse rains down on anyone who dares to ask about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

        Again, we aren’t owned by a murderous state and none of you are Saudi apologists (that I know of), none of you are abusing me in that way either but these two things do have threads in common; how fans are so quick to forgive bad behavior, and how quick they will turn on other fans who dare express any criticism. It’s tied in to our love of sport, our community of fans that we’ve built around the club, and also tied to how easily these corporations can and do manipulate that sentiment. Sports teams, it’s often said, are the perfect marketing tools because the people who consume their product aren’t just consumers, they’re brand ambassadors.

        Supporting the club means literally giving the club my time (and to an extent my money) but time is our most precious commodity and I’m still not sure how much of my precious time I want to spend praising this club (and especially this manager) just yet. I think you’ve all been around long enough to know that if/when Arteta does win me over, or shows real progress on the pitch, I’ll be the first to sing his praises. I mean, shit, I was one of his biggest supporters the first 8 months or so.

        1. “ Sports teams, it’s often said, are the perfect marketing tools because the people who consume their product aren’t just consumers, they’re brand ambassadors. “
          That is deep. Now understand why decent owners put in such a lot of money into the Club. Shirt sales is obvious , but those passionate guys going about and pontificating about the Club is a multiplyer.

        2. Tim, you provide a superb summary of how the game has changed over the last 40 years or so. A simple game that grew into a social phenomenon as a result of parochial tribalism and a sense of belonging with the added bonus of emotional highs and lows and the struggle against ‘the other’ has now become the plaything of multinational billionaires and a vehicle for the exploitation of those tribal instincts. A sad trajectory which has distorted competition and will only get worse. The upside is that it’s far easier to take an objective view of the club or even to cut that tribal umbilical cord now than ever.

    3. It’s always going to be personal when you compare my blog to le Grove. First, you know it’s an insult and you meant it that way. You definitely didn’t mean it as a compliment. Comparing us to that site is meant to say that basically we are just running around spewing bile all the time (which you’re repeating here again).

      We have a wide variety of commenters here and I post articles that are funny, critical, and so on in equal measure.

      You also meant to mock us when you said you read the comments and have a laugh at our negativity.

      You’re not just saying “the commentary is negative here and this is why I disagree” or “this is why it’s bothering me.” Instead, you figuratively said “this place reminds me of that blog that was so negative, that it became the butt of jokes, and was widely ridiculed as one of the most one-sided Arsenal blogs of all time.”

      I am slightly negative about Arteta. I don’t think this run of form has been as great as some are painting it. I see that the results are slightly better and I’ve praised him for his handling of players like Maitland-Niles. But I want to see how we fare at least through the first full 19 matches before I start praising him for “turning it around.” And some of the comments on here have been negative but it’s not just mindlessly negative, like Le Grove was. I don’t read all the comments but I think it’s at least fairly reasonable commentary here.

      Maybe you don’t remember what le Grove was like? “Taking flak” on that site meant being called a “septic” and having them tell you you didn’t have a clue about football – from the owner – because you’re a Yank. It wasn’t disagreement, it was complete and utter shutdown of dissent including being banned for disagreement.

      “Taking flak” here typically means someone disagrees with you and maybe will argue a bit over the top with their analogy. Hey, I’m guilty of it, and maybe you are too? Saying we are analogous to le Grove? Pretty top shelf level of disagreement. And pretty personal for a guy who says he’s being respectful.

      If the conversation here crosses the line into anything nastier than disagreement, if it gets personal and especially if it’s xenophobic, racist, or sexist, I think I do a good job of stopping it. But if I missed something that happened to you, you can always email me directly and I would be happy to deal with the situation.

      1. Tim,

        We all talk bollocks and think we’re right and everyone else is wrong. It’s all part and parcel of being a football fan! No need to beat yourself up. The only difference now is that our views literally go right the way around the world. Is that progress? Maybe. Maybe not.

        By the way, I’m still waiting to hear your account of the Tacoma Bridge disaster. Before your time, obviously. I watched a black and white clip during a physics class as a kid. I think it was an example of resonant frequency. It left quite an impression as you can imagine, watching the bridge twist like a snake.

        Is it ever mentioned?

  3. Harry Kane and Eric Dier are also both mouth breathers. I recently learned from James Nestor how detrimental that is to a person’s bodily and mental health and it makes me wonder if his decline in form is really just the advanced stages of chronic hypoxia and hypocapnea. Has anyone thought about the role of brown sauce predisposing youth to becoming mouth breathers and, later in life, Tottenham fans? There must be a correlation here.

  4. Wilkin & sons TIptree ketchup. Even the Americans I know in London agree this is simply the best ketchup known to mankind..

    1. Reading some of the commentary since I posted this, and the xenophobia etc referenced within, I just wish to clarify that by ‘even the Americans’ I mean the nation who I’m pretty sure invented ketchup and no doubt have generally the best versions of it!

      I don’t know which nation was responsible for inventing brown sauce (I dread it may have been the English), but I would have no problem with them being invaded and eternally punished for this heinous crime against taste and decency.

  5. To all my fellow west coast Americans: You can make your own healthy chicken dish or side and (very lightly) season it with Nando’s sauce, which is readily available at Ralph’s. I generally blend the medium garlic one with the hot one.

    1. Any idea what’s in nando’s sauce? The one time I ate there (of course I did, last time I went to the UK) I thought they had several options.

      Also, why is it considered so great? I thought my chicken was a bit dry and the sauce was somewhat meh.

        1. South Africa has a large Portuguese ex-pat community- they immigrated from the former Portuguese colonies, Angola and Mozambique, after the civil wars in those countries. There were so many Portuguese kids in my junior school that they offered Portuguese as a school subject. Anyway, I digress…

          There’s also a pretty large Greek community in South Africa. Many local groceries (called “corner cafes”) in the 80s and 90s (even to this day) were either Portuguese or Greek owned. These cafes opened fast food counters in their stores. Nando’s was one such grocer/cafe/fast food outlet which started in a predominantly/historically Portuguese area of Johannesburg called Rosettenville. There are probably over a hundred of these grocer-cum-fast food outlets and restaurants in the area and many offer better value and are tastier than Nando’s. Nando’s were just better at franchising and advertising*.

          In the context of fast food franchises, Nando’s is in my opinion way better and healthier than KFC, McD, Burger King, et al… Although it’s probably overpriced.

          *What Nando’s did really well when it firsted started franchising was satirical advertising campaigns. They didn’t have much advertising budget so they contracted a young/fresh advertising agency, who apparently were willing to work below their normal rates as long as they were given creative control/leeway. So they’re often lampooning African dictators, politicians, celebrities and current affairs in their marketing- quite refreshing and edgy for post-apartheid South Africa.

      1. I tease a Portuguese friend incessantly about how great and authentic Nando Peri-Peri sauce is – it drives him crazy. So crazy, that he gave me a bottle of home made sauce from his avó in Coimbra. “It was okay, but it isn’t Nando’s!”, said I. Nothing of the sort of course, it was delish, apologies to his grand ma. But I do like Nando’s.

      2. Peri-Peri. There are also Nando franchises on the east coast; I ate at one in Virginia very close to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The chicken is OK and the sauce is at least unique, but perhaps not to someone having Tim’s culinary chops. It probably gets old if you have it all the time.

  6. Rockin’ ‘orse as it is affectionately known in South London. Used to cover up the fact that post war English food didn’t taste of anything. A cheap way to give it some “flavour” and an integral part of breakfast. Impossible to have a bacon sandwich without it.
    I’m surprised to hear American describe it as “sweet”. I’ve sat in US diners and watched people tuck into pancakes drenched in maple syrup at 8am. I’ve also eaten my way through a tin of baked beans from Publix and was left wondering if I’d just had dessert.
    Brown sauce tends to come in 2 varieties, “fruity” and “spicy”. As David points out, if you go for a posh version (Wilkin & Sons) then it is a cut above the cheap stuff (HP)
    If you are resolutely middle class, then you reach for the Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce.
    Incidentally, the US version you get in Whole Foods is really good, maybe even better.

  7. One other point. The Wilkin & Sons sauce comes in ridiculously small glass bottles. Hardly contain anything and being glass you can’t squeeze the last drops out. Nice, but a complete waste of time and money.

  8. A return to form, Tim. Sandwich talk is much more fun than watching international football.

    Brown sauce wins 80% of the time over the red stuff. There’s usually a touch of spice in there to awaken the senses.

    HP or Houses of Parliament is the best variety even if Mark thinks it’s ‘cheap’. There was a time not so long ago when a plate of sausages was considered a delicacy in South London.

  9. Plate of sausages? I should be so lucky! Pie and mash mainly. Jellied eels if I played my cards right.

  10. I go through a lot of sites as I sit with a cuppa , but must must say 7amkickoff is a place for intellectuals . Starts with Tim, of course, but level of discourse is up there.
    Guess some of us should restrict to speaking about the sport, bread ,whatever lead topic. When it gets into arguments is when the problem of waste of time and space sets in. It serves no purpose ,except vitiate the atmosphere.

    1. You have to look on the bright side. I could have ended up supporting Millwall or even Charlton. Best not dwell on that.

  11. Tim, I can explain the 669 vs 672 Tony Adams career appearances. 3 appearances were in the Football League Centenary Trophy in the 1988/89 season to celebrate the founding of the football league. Arsenal won it 2:1 vs ManUre. Paul Davis and Michael Thomas (one of my all-time faves) scored.

    1. Thank you for that! I now see that it’s listed in the wikipedia page. I wonder why Arsenal doesn’t count those matches? Any insight into that?

  12. I was at Tokyo Disney Sea in September 2019. Walked myself close to starvation and when I finally got myself a basket of fries at noon, they served that with Del Monte ketchup. I’ve not looked for any other make since.

  13. Many of you will be aware the homeless charity Shelter approached the Premier League this week with an initiative regarding the Boxing Day fixtures:

    It’s a great cause and quite frankly costs football nothing. I’m extremely proud of the charitable and community work undertaken by Arsenal and hope the club (and all PL clubs) lobby for common-sense to prevail. #NoHomeKit for you social media warriors.

  14. Proud of Emile for earning his first cap for England. And huge credit to Mikel Arteta for setting him on the right road with a dietician/chef. Good coaching is about so much more than chalk and cones.

    I know that Bill has said repeatedly that we get too high on the youngsters, but no one is saying he’s going to be the next Leo Messi. Watching a good youngster progress is a feeling that will never grow old. Many gooners were livid when Gareth Southgate let Saka take that penalty. We like and want our youngsters to do well, and are protective of them.This time last year, Emile hadnt yet broken into our starting XI. He’s a lovely lad… humble, hardworking, unflashy.

    Im hoping for White and AMN to again push for England squad places (joining Ramsdale, Saka and ESR), although Ainsley is employed in midfield, which isnt where he was picked for England, and where England is rich. If he wanted to go to Qatar, he should have made it unnecessary for us to buy Tomi.

    On the not so good side, Martinelli’s star has faded at Arsenal. We are overstocked at striker/forward, and he cant get a look in. I hope that that situation gets resolved.

  15. I thought that when he came Wenger revolutionised the dietary regime at Arsenal (as well as everywhere else) so why is this now being billed as an Arteta triumph, unless this is another aspect of the Wenger’s principles that were shown the door at the same time as he was?

  16. “Ozil wants to play more. From now on, he needs to focus on his game and keep his commercial interests out of it. He needs to think about contributing to Fenerbahce.”
    So says their president.
    Well there’s a surprise!
    There are undiscovered tribes in Papua New Guinea who could see that coming.
    Must pop off to my local 39 Steps Coffee Haus for a Mesut Latte. I’ve got my number 10 T shirt.
    Won’t be long.

  17. So the Ozil beaters still can’t leave him alone, even though he has been away for nearly a year.

    Do we have a player who has his abilities? No.

    Do we have one even near them? No.

    Do you expect anyone to believe what the Fernebace president says as though it was brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses with the Tablets of Stone?

    Do you know all the facts, so that you can comment? I would be surprised if your answer was yes, because if so, then you would enlighten us.

    Next time we lose, no doubt, the Wenger bashers will be out in force to say that it is his fault.


    1. Taking those in turn:

      Yes. Emile Smith-Rowe.

      Yes. Saka, Odegaard, Lacazette, take your pick really. Arsenal attracted great creative players long before Ozil was born.

      In isolation, just some comments. In context, part of a pattern of clubs discovering the full depth of Ozil’s prima donnation.

      See above.

      Arsenal fans in general loved Ozil with all his faults, until he decided to kick off a social media war with the club to mask the fact that Emery (then Arteta) had quietly communicated that being paid what he was while taking games off was no longer an option. Didn’t help that he tried to make his little charade about religion, when his own ‘friends’ are knee-deep in persecutory muck.

  18. The quote has been widely reported in the more reputable sections of the UK national press, verbatim, so I think we can take that as fact.

    Is the President of the club lying? Why on earth would he do that? What would have been the point?

    Ozil is currently not being selected for the Fenerbache starting XI. That suggests that his performances and or attitude aren’t up to scratch. Surely if his form was good enough then as an expensive import, he’d presumably be the first name on the team sheet.

    His business interests aren’t conjecture on my part, they are a fact. If you could be bothered to check online on the business sites you could easily verify this.

    Have you ever watched Ozil play? As a season ticket holder of more years than I care to remember then I must have watched virtually every home game Mesut Ozil played for Arsenal over the entire length of his contract. A talented player I agree, but his performances dropped away very badly. If youd have stood outside the Emirates on any given Saturday and asked the fans as they streamed out of the stadium, I guarantee the vast majority would confer with that.

    Is that enough “facts” for you, or would you like me to go on?

    I don’t understand the reference about Arsene Wenger. Where is the argumentative connection?

  19. Could the president of Fernibache be angling towards getting Ozil off his wage list and could it be that they are doing to Ozil what Arsenal and Arteta did to him?

    That seems to me to be adequate reason for him to be less than truthful.

    Also. is there any part of the UK national press that can be relied upon to be completely reliable when it comes to accurately quoting what a football president says in Turkey, and whether there is any truth in what he says?

    I assume that you are quoting the same National Press who year in year out make statements about who we are buying or selling which are not true (see Untold Arsenal during all the last few transfer windows).

    You have the advantage over me in that you have seen him play more often that I have.

    However, is it not correct that fans tend to be always looking around for someone to blame when things are not going well, and a player who is not seen to be running around like a lunatic may fit the bill.

    I note that you feel qualified to speak for or have spoken to “the vast majority” of the fans who stream out of the stadium after a home game.

    So, more than 60,000 fans attend the games, so you have spoken with 40 or 50,000 of them as thev are leaving the ground after each game.

    The point that I am making is that Ozil left the club nearly a year ago. What is the point or need to repeat what may very well a libellous statement by the president of a Turkish club who may very well have ulterior motives for saying so? Indeed what is the point of mentioning it all?

    Look, you can say what you like, but please do not expect everyone to sit back and studiously nod their heads in agreement when you make an irrelevant and unproven statement about a player that left nearly a year ago.

    1. “What is the point or need to repeat what may very well a libellous statement by the president of a Turkish club who may very well have ulterior motives for saying so? Indeed what is the point of mentioning it all?”

      Because we’re still trying to figure out why/how this club has ended up where it has, and while there were many mistakes involved, moving on from Ozil was not one of them.

      Also, no-one lives in the past more than Mesut, remember him trying to mock Emery – after *both* of them had left the club!

  20. JJGSOL

    It’s a bit relevant because Ozil’s treatment by Arteta is one of the things that has upset people about our current manager, and it feeds in to conversations we have here.

    My feeling is that due to racism in the Germany setup, general political stuff and also Arsenal’s failure to invest around him, Ozil’s love for the game and commitment levels crashed, that as a result he’s now focused on other matters including both commercial and social / political ones, and that he’s been impossible to motivate as a player.

    I understand your reservations about the Fener chairman’s claims, but it’s evidence that he’s having the same issues at his new club.

    I think it’s a tragedy, because he was one of my favourites.

    By the way, I don’t remember any statement that blunt coming out of Arsenal, who it seemed to me always tried to respect the player (and protect his market value) while also being swift and no-nonsense in getting his influence out of the squad.

    This may be a touchy issue so I understand if you don’t agree.

    1. Constructive dismissal, old chap. Plain as day. Anyone who wants to see, can see that Ozil not kicking a ball in any game of any kind for 6 months — while persisting with Willian as your “creator” who was stinking out the joint — was not a decision that could be justified, as a matter of football or natural justice. Seemed like Ozil could be one of 14 players in the squad left standing and not struck down by a plague, and he wouldn’t be able to get on the bench, let alone get in the game. They’d have suited up the tea lady at that point.

      I doubt that anyone here would tolerate someone is his workplace being treated like that. But because he’s a highly paid footballer, or because Mikel did it and his supporters are dug in regardless, or both, it’s fine. Im a bit of a socialist/unionist when it comes to work, and there’s nothing I deplore more than employers behaving badly. Arteta, and Arsenal, did.

      The club won in making him physically leave in January, but Mesut got all of his money, right to the end. So a victory on appearances for the club; a small victory on the financials for Mesut.

      But all that said, I disagree with you that Mark or anyone else shouldnt post about his troubles at Fener. Why not? He may not be our player anymore, but it’s fair game.

      At Fener, he’s on one-fifth of what he earned at Arsenal, so a concentration on commercial activities may be understandable. He’s a good lad. He and Mustafi did a lot of unheralded good works of charity in N1, London. If Arteta had lauded him, Mesut would be getting a lot of love from some of the same folks who are biffing him.

  21. I am not sure how one is respecting a world class player includes dropping him from all of your squads.

    I dare say that there is more to it than we have seen and it is likely that there were multiple reasons why we treated him so badly.

    My point is simply that a statement reported to have allegedly been made by someone in Turkey in respect of which no background information is available and where the subject of that statement has not been given the opportunity to explain his side, is not something that we need to debate on this site.

    Now, if Tim, whose site this is, decides that it is relevant to our discussions, that that is his prerogative, but in the absence of any indication from him one way or another, I just felt that I should make my point.

    That alleged statement is evidence of nothing other than what it is, an alleged statement.

    Whatever problems, if any, Ozil has at his new club, are not our business, and certainly not a proof of anything that may have happened during his stay with us.

  22. The 3 Arsenal youngsters in the squad all start for England. It’s only San Marino, but we love to see that

    (btw, how did England get to play San Marino so many times over the past 25 or so years?)

    1. “It’s only” Albania and San Marino, but nonetheless hoping Kane’s rediscovering of goal scoring ends once he pulls back on the other white shirt.

      Happy Ramsdale got to make a save and Saka and ESR both acquitting themselves very well

      1. Bukayo owns that left hand side. Been playing mostly on our right, but is also a darned good left wing back. Is there anything the kid can’t do?

        Six before halftime. SM dont need bad calls (or non calls) against them, but theyve been unlucky twice.

        England have nearly 50 goals for and 1 against in games against San Marino. Ramsdale absolutely did not want to go into the record books! 😀

        1. Ramsdale stayed out of the record books, and ESR goes in for a goal on his full debut,

          It’s a strange old world when Conte and Ole must be extremely thankful to Southgate for picking and playing the two Harrys in an essentially meaningless game, and arguably Mikel too for our 3. Who’d have thought it…

          1. There’s something ugly and anti football about Harry Kane scoring 7 goals (and at 3 penalties, far as I can remember) against teams that are too weak for the English 5th Division.

            To me that sums him up, and sums up Spurs. I like him even less.

            He ran up his record to 48 and now stands level with Lineker. Almost deserves an asterisk, that.

            In cricket, we’d call Kane a “flat track bully”… someone who can only score runs in the super favourable conditions offered by a dead pitch, that is a graveyard for bowlers.

  23. Claude, $132m Kane fist pumping after scoring a pen vs $100K Benedettini (transfermark) , who plays for Serie C club worth two bags of used football cleats was a sight to behold.
    And I won’t let you spoil it with your obviously biased woke slant.
    Shame on you sir.

  24. “Mesut Özil wants to play more, he is hungry to play. Everyone knows what a good Mesut will do. The game system may not match what Mesut does. However, our teacher is not prejudiced against Mesut.

    Mesut is back in the country he fell in love with, in the team he adored. I want him to be as good as the league. Now he has to focus on his work. He should put his commercial affairs aside and focus on what he will do for Fenerbahce. “

    “However, our teacher Vitor should reconsider how to get the best out of Mesut. How to determine the best system for him? He is working on it anyway. There is no problem as big as reported in the press. Mesut is unhappy because he does not play, he he says every now and then “

    Those were the full statements by Ali Koc on Ozil.

    Ozil is still the top scorer for Fenerbahce in the league.

    Btw, on the commercial affairs thing. Growing up, I heard this complaint a lot about Indian cricket stars being too distracted by endorsements and commercial activities to play well. It had little value as a criticism then and I’m inclined to believe this is mostly populist nonsense in this case too.

    Also saying Ozil has a pattern by pointing elsewhere doesn’t change the fact that Arteta and Arsenal have a pattern too. Mostly I’m content to let this lie, but people take such pleasure out of any sign of trouble for Ozil and that bugs me.

    1. Hi Shard, hope you’re well, hope you don’t mind this comment.

      Ozil! I agree with those who are sympathetic to him, up to a point.

      He clearly suffered (in my view) racism in the German national setup and called it out publicly, and he was both ridiculed and accused of being a troublemaker in a way that is very reminiscent of Azeem Rafiq’s testimony yesterday. I’m not comfortable with the way Ozil’s comments and complaints have been forgotten and/or glossed over.

      His refusal to accept a pay cut in order to boost Kroenke’s profits I think was defensible.

      He’s focused a lot on charity and on giving back. He’s funded aid in some of the displacement camps I used to work on in Turkey and Syria. (I have a couple of issues around his closeness with the government in Turkey who have some very problematic aspects to their role in Syria, but it was a complex situation and I don’t expect him to have the tools or the perspective to get it 100% right).
      is a good summary.

      I think his public disagreements with Arsenal and in particular with the ownership maybe weren’t smart but they had a lot of justification and don’t reflect well on the club. I don’t like Kroenke either, I didn’t like Gazidis or Sanllehi, and I’m not at all sure that side of things has improved since they left.

      In the end it’s Arteta’s job to manage the team and I don’t think there was any way he could keep Ozil in the squad, especially given his (in my view necessary) focus on unity. But I agree that it’s also very convenient for the club to get rid of the troublemaker, and I don’t like that aspect of it.

      Anyway, I take no pleasure in any sign of trouble for Ozil.

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