Not enough coffee, too many cigarettes and i was watching highlights of the Champions League and saw Gilberto Silva get sent off for Panathinaikos. How could i not be nostalgic? I started wondering. If Silva is at Panathinaikos then where is Edu, Cygan and Aliadiere?
Do you remember the time? Disregard, if you will, the season on the field for a moment. Just even think back to the transfer signings we made that summer. Fabregas, Clichy, Van Persie and even Lehmann. This was a glorious year, a vintage. If this were a wine, nevermind just storing crates in the cellar, Japanese speculators would have bought the whole vineyard and created a museum in its honour. Sure we said a couple of goodbyes, we let Luzhny and Seaman go, but even these goodbyes were happy.
In 2004 when we were celebrating the title who would have imagined that Toure and Viera would end up at Man City in 2010, challenging us for a place in the established elite? or Ashley Cole at Chelsea wining the title? Henry’s story, at Barcelona (he finally won the Champions League he deserved) and now at New York, would have seemed altogether more believable. Pires spent four seasons at Villareal before becoming a free agent. Bergkamp retired, perhaps a couple of seasons too late, but he did so at Arsenal. Still, looking back at the stats i was shocked to see he scored only five goals during that season. Ljungberg ended up in the MLS after a poor stint at West Ham. Sol Campbell would return four years after leaving for a few appearances. At the time of his return, early in 2010, the move was appreciated but in the long term his second stay will be forgotten. Lauren is with Cordoba outside the top league in Spain. Campbell and Lauren did share in an FA Cup success at Portsmouth after leaving us. Lehmann retired in 2010 but who would have imagined that he would be the last good goalkeeper we had. At the time all we did was complain about him.
Anyhow, this is about the ‘others’. Where, as of September 2010, are the ‘others’? The ones who pretty much slipped off the radar, as far as Arsenal fans are concerned, altogether too quickly after that great season.
Kanu left us straight after that season and played with West Brom and Portsmouth, whom he scored for in that FA Cup final win which Lauren and Campbell also enjoyed. Keown too left us immediately after the title celebrations and had brief spells at Leicester and Reading but can now be found on the Match of the Day couch. Bentley made 8 appearances that season but ended up moving to Blackburn and then Tottenham. Alliadiere tried Celtic, West Ham, Wolves and Middlesbrough but has still yet to fulfil the potential he showed. Jose Reyes won a title with Real Madrid (even scoring, perhaps, the goal that contributed the most towards it), a domestic cup with Benfica and a UEFA Cup and Copa del Ray with Atletico Madrid, where he still is. Parlour left for Middlesbrough and Hull but at these two clubs he did little of greater significance, his best times where with Arsenal. Wiltord also left at the end of that season and moved to Lyon where he won Ligue 1 three times. Cygan stayed a couple of more seasons before moving to Villareal and is now at Cartagena in the Spanish second division. Edu stayed one more year before moving to Valencia and then to Corinthians, where he remains as of now.
Henry, WIltord and Reyes all achieved great success after the invincibles season. For everybody else involved that year was the pinnacle of their club career, and fairly so. A great season and as an Arsenal fan, thanks again to all involved.