Martin Keown and Steve Bould – Where are they now: Part 3

We have come to the last part of our ‘Where are they now’ feature and today we will be focusing on two of Arsenal’s greatest ever central defenders Martin Keown and Steve Bould. What did they achieve at Arsenal? What type of players were they? What have they done since leaving? What does the future hold for them?

It is fair to say that Keown was one of the most solid centre backs of his generation. Often taking the ‘no-nonsense’ approach, Keown would use his pace and tremendously powerful tackling to be a thorn in the side of every attacking player in the country.

The former England international signed off his Arsenal career in style as well as his last season was the ‘invincible’ campaign when he and his team went unbeaten throughout their 46 Premier League games. It was a fitting end to a tremendous career where Keown won six major honours.

As for what he is up to now, well we occasionally see him working as a pundit on BBC Sport. Often alongside Lee Dixon on MOTD2, Keown offers his views on all things football and normally talks a great deal of sense.

There is the possibility that Keown will move into coaching eventually, but after he reportedly turned down the chance to join Tony Adams at Portsmouth, it seems that he is happy on the BBC Sport sofa for now.

As for Steve Bould, the one time Stoke City defender was an integral part of the ‘famous four’ that helped George Graham’s Arsenal keep so many clean sheets in their time. Bould’s excellent defensive ability and cool head helped him make over 300 appearances for Arsenal, winning seven major honours along the way.

The final of these was the FA Cup in 1998 when Arsene Wenger’s men completed the double. Age wasn’t on Bould’s side at this point, but he still played his part. In fact, his chip that set Tony Adams on his way during the victory that secured the Premier League title will be remembered forever by Arsenal fans.

After leaving the club, Bould had a brief spell at Sunderland where he was made club captain by Peter Reid. He helped the Black Cats finish 7th in the Premier League before injury forced him to retire from the game.

These days though, he is back where he belongs, with the Arsenal. Bould returned to the club in 2001 in a coaching role and is now the coach for the Youth Team. In this role, his reputation as a coach has grown rapidly and there is a distinct possibility he could become a manager himself one day.

This completes the look at David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould. All of these players made a huge impact at Arsenal and it seems a safe bet that they will remain part of the club for years to come.

By Thomas Rooney

Read more: Kaba Diawara: Wenger’s Bargain Buy that Never Made it // Tony Adams: Where is he now? // The Famous Back Four: Where are they now?

Tony Adams: Where is he now? Part Two

On Monday, I cast an eye over the careers of David Seaman, Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon with a brief look at what they have been up to since retiring from football. Today, it is the turn of Tony Adams. I am giving him an article on his own, simply because of how busy he has been since leaving Arsenal!

What type of player was he? What did he achieve at Arsenal? What have he decide to do with himself after pulling on an Arsenal shirt for the last time?

Often referred to Mr Arsenal, Adams is one of the best defenders to have ever played for the club. He is also one of the best captains ever to have led the team. The term ‘rock at the heart of the defence’ was only used when people saw Adams play for Arsenal. He made 669 appearances for the club over 18 years and won 10 major trophies along the way.  Absolute legend.

Since retiring from football, Adams has tried his hand a few times at management. After studying a degree in Sports Science, he became manager of Wycombe Wanderers in 2003. He only lasted a year in this position though and was forced to add a relegation to his managerial CV.

The former Gunners captain’s next move was to take a trainee coaching role at Feyenoord before becoming Harry Redknapp’s Number Two at Portsmouth.

In this role, Adams enjoyed his most successful period since retiring from playing.  Pompey finished 9th in the Premier League and went on to win the FA Cup. When Redknapp left for Tottenham though, Adams became manager and things didn’t go well. He lasted a little over three months before being sacked.

Since this happened, he has made the occasional TV appearance and bizarrely put his name forward for the Celtic job by saying that former Bhoys manager Wim Jansen was going to join him in a role at the club. This was described as ‘complete garbage’ by Celtic, to leave everyone wondering where Adams was getting his information from.

Overall, things have been a bit stop – start for Adams since his playing days. He is obviously keen to become a successful manager and I hope he does one day. What he needs is a bit of consistency. He needs to be at the same club for at least a couple of years to show everyone what he can do.

What did you think of Adams as a player? Can he reach anywhere near these heights as a manager? Or should he stick to doing some scouting for Arsenal to avoid more managerial embarrassment? Next time, Martin Keown and Steve Bould.

By Thomas Rooney

Read more: Kaba Diawara: Wenger’s Bargain Buy that Never Made it // Martin Keown and Steve Bould: Where are they now? // The Famous Back Four: Where are they now?

The Famous Back Four: Arsenal’s defence – Where are they now?

The close season is a time to take a look into the history books and reflect on what Arsenal have achieved. This doesn’t mean that we are going to take a look at the most recent season though. I think the ‘two players short of challenging again’ and the ‘injuries hurt us’ arguments have been done enough on the blogosphere.

What I want to do today is go back some years and take a look at arguably the best back five that ever graced Arsenal football club. Let’s remind ourselves of David Seaman, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams and Martin Keown. What did they achieve? Where are they now?

David Seaman – After signing from QPR in 1990, Seaman went on to become a true Arsenal legend. He may have had his moments along the way (Nayim and Ronaldinho!), but there is no hiding from the fact that he won 8 major trophies with the club and made over 500 appearances along the way.

These days, he isn’t up to a great deal. There is the odd television appearance where he is interviewed about Arsenal and England matters, but other than that he appears to be keeping himself to himself and enjoying family life.

Nigel Winterburn – Arsenal have had many excellent left backs in their history, but Winterburn has to go down as one of the best. He served the club for 13 years with great success, winning 7 trophies along the way. His tackling ability, aggression and energy was superb during his time at the club and it is a shame he only won a couple of England caps.

As for what he is up to now, well he still works in a broadcasting capacity for the club. In fact, he is regularly on our TV screens giving his opinion on all things football. He did have a brief coaching spell with Blackburn last year, but when Sam Allardyce took over, he was asked to move on. Overall, it seems likely that he will pursue the pundit’s path rather than the coaching one.

Lee Dixon – This right back made an incredible 619 appearances for Arsenal over a 15-year period that made him one of the most respected defenders in the game. His consistency, loyalty and defensive ability ensured that he was a favourite with the Arsenal faithful. He was also
threatening on the break though and managed to net 28 times during his career at the club. Dixon won eight trophies with Arsenal, the last of
which was the league title in 2002 just before his retirement.

In terms of life after football, he has been very busy indeed. As well as playing golf regularly, he has pursued a number of business interests, including one with TV Chef Heston Blumenthal. Elsewhere, he is a regular as a pundit on Score, Match of the Day and Football Focus. His analysis of games can often be seen on the BBC Sport website as well. Overall, it is fair to say that he is doing OK for himself since retiring from football!

So, that’s it for this article. On Friday, I will be taking a look at Tony Adams and Martin Keown. I might even glance an eye over what Steve Bould is up to these days.

Until then, what do you make of what these players have done with themselves since leaving Arsenal? Which of them was your favourite player at the time?

By Thomas Rooney

Read more: Kaba Diawara: Wenger’s Bargain Buy that Never Made it // Tony Adams: Where is he now? // Martin Keown and Steve Bould – Where are they now?

Which of these five players would you like to bring back to Arsenal?

When people talk about Arsenal at the moment, it is always regarding the future. How will the current team progress in the next couple of years? When will Arsenal be ready to challenge for the title again?

As much as I am not fed up with this talk (because it highlights the huge amount of potential this team has), I thought it would make a change to take a look at the past instead. Let’s take a look at five players from the past and decide which one we would like back.

One thing to remember for this is that these players would be coming back to Arsenal at their peak. Not as they are now – at their best. It is an exercise in which the current crop could do with some help more than anything. Without further to do, what are the five choices?

David Seaman
Some argue that Seaman has never been replaced. He made 566 appearances between 1990 and 2003 and is a true Arsenal legend. Would his ability to lead from the back be valuable in the current team?

Dennis Bergkamp
Quite simply, Bergkamp is one of the best players to have ever played for the club. His vision, his passing, his finishing – the man had everything. Imagine him amongst the attacking threat Arsenal already possess!

Thierry Henry
The first of our five that is still playing now and arguably for the best team in Europe. Henry is another player that will be spoken about in many years to come. His pace, his skill, his influence over his team mates. The man was immense.

Tony Adams
On a number of occasions this season, people have criticised Arsenal’s defence. They have lacked leadership and authority at the back according to some. How about a certain player who made over 650 appearances for the club to steady the ship?

Ian Wright
Wrighty was one of the best goal scorers the club has ever seen. He notched 185 goals during his time at the club and was a firm fans’ favourite. Would you like to see him alongside Adebayor or van Persie?

So there you have it – over to you now. Each of these players would make valuable contributions in the current team, but which would you like to see back the most?

Personally, I find it hard to look past Mr Bergkamp.

By Thomas Rooney

Wenger’s bargain that never made it: Kaba Diawara

The stereotype still persists. Arsène Wenger has unearthed many unknown talents in his time at Arsenal and has a great eye for bargains in the transfer market. Names such as Fabregas, Henry, Anelka, Vieira have gone on to become some of the world’s greatest players. One signing who didn’t was a certain Kaba Diawara, bought in January 1999 from Bordeaux for £2.5 million.

The Guinean international took up the auspicious number 27 shirt, now favoured by a certain Emmanuel. Another African, Kanu, also joined the club that month from Inter Milan, though his fortunes were slightly diffrent.

On joining Arsenal Kaba Diawara had already played sixty games, scoring 14 goals, since making his debut for Bordeaux in 1995 – 96. However, knowledge of the French leagues is not a skill Premier League pundits tend to excel in. At the time Wenger’s foreign internationals were seen as rather exotic, and this was another Wenger player who was an unknown, a surprise signing who for all the general public knew could have the impact of Patrick Vieira or Nicolas Anelka.

Kaba made his first start in an infamous FA Cup tie against Sheffield United at Highbury. The match was a decent tie, save for the Sheffield kit, which resembled the results of the kit man’s son playing havoc with a highlighter. That ignomimious moment of dispute directly involved Diawara, in the fact that he was replaced by the protagonist, Nwankwo Kanu, also making his debut that day.

Kanu set the tone for the contrast between his career and Diawara’s by grabbing the headlines, after playing a throw-in to Overmars which in the unwritten rules of sportsmanship, ought to have been played back to United, who had put the ball out for an injury. Kanu’s first actions might have been overlooked, had it not been for the fact that Overmars went on to score. The debate on the pitch turned into farce, with the Sheffield players leaving the pitch at one point, and then returning.

Wenger, always the diplomat, scarred by the Tapie scandal and Marseilles during his time at Monaco, offered to replay the tie after uproar, and Diawara was all but forgotten. United accepted, and Arsenal went on to win that tie 2-1, on a run that would lead to that Giggs semi-final months later.

Controversy with Kanu and Overmars
Controversy with Kanu and Overmars

Diawara actually hit the post twice during the Sheffield game, and this form continued over his thirteen games, although ten of which were appearances from the bench. The pattern was frustrating, as Kaba often got into good positions, only to pull the ball wide, or more likely hit the post. Perhaps his confidence began to drop, but it became evident that he was not maintaining a high enough standard to warrant regular selection.

Arseweb said of him after the Sheffield game:

“Diawara showed great promise. He likes to run at people with the ball, and can get past them too. On top of this he showed good awareness at times, and although his strike rate remains to be calculated, he appears to have a bit of an eye for a chance.”

The 1998/9 season ended and Diawara still hadn’t netted any goals for the Arsenal. In fact his stay was a short one, as he left the club that summer, sold for £3 million to Marseilles. The relatively short stint raised suspicions of a transfer deal with Marseilles which allowed them to sign a player whom Bordeaux would not have sold to a rival, this is unfounded speculation, but it is an interesting consideration.

Diawara continued a journeyman career, playing for Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain, where he was loaned out to various clubs: Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Racing de Ferrol, Nice, and then sold to giants Al-Gharrafa, Al-Kharitiyath, Ajaccio, Gaziantepspor, Ankaragücü. At 33 he plays for Alki Larnaca in Cyprus after a mammoth journey around the Mediterranean.

Diawara therefore manages to join the ranks of those fascinating players signed by Wenger who never fulfilled the potential he saw in them. Names such as Stephane Malz, Alberto Mendez, David Grondin or Fabian Caballero spring to mind.

Read analysis of other Arsenal players such as Theo Walcott, and Andrey Arshavin in Player Scouting.

The goal that won Arsenal the Premiership – Wiltord at Old Trafford – Video Post

This is a classic Arsenal moment. The goal that won us the title in 2001 – 2002 at Old Trafford. Wiltord scored, after Ljungberg’s shot was saved. The win gave us the Double that season, after we won the FA Cup too!

Ljungberg was a crucial player in the run in, scoring many goals with his famous runs into the box. That season was arguably the height of Ljungberg’s Arsenal career.

Click here for the BBC match report.

A fantastic moment, hopefully we will have some more of these this season.

Analysis of another Old Trafford Arsenal scorer – Adebayor.

Nwankwo Kanu: Quality, Quantity and Wenger – Video

Arsene Wenger took a massive gamble in 1999. He signed Nwankwo Kanu up after the player underwent a massive heart bypass operation. Kanu had previously played for Inter Milan, but heart problems threatened to end his career. Nwankwo Kanu told Canal he owes his career to Wenger, who took the chance to sign up a talented player.

Kanu was a mesmerising foward, all legs and feet. His gangly frame masked one of the most skilful players around; an African superstar, Nigerian legend. Unlike his date of birth, his tricks were unforgettable.

Doctors said that Kanu would never play football again. Wenger thought otherwise:

“I owe him a lot because he believed in me,”

“He gave me self confidence and faith. And I think I paid him back because I did very well with Arsenal.

We all know that there is a good dressing-room atmosphere at Arsenal, and not many players have complaints about the way things are run, as Kanu says:

“We were all together, like a family during this period, and I scored special goals, especially against Chelsea, three in 15 minutes.

“He gave me the chance to have fun playing football and permitted me to dream on.”

Kanu’s third goal in 15 minutes saw Arsenal come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Chelsea at the Bridge.

“…with the puddles deeping at Stamford Bridge, it was Kanu who kept his feet to give Arsenal hope with a quarter of an hour remaining.”

Click here to read the BBC match report from that memorable day.

It’s well known that Harry Redknapp tries to recreate a ‘Wenger style’ in his teams, Kanu commented:

“I feel great because I have found the same atmosphere than at Arsenal here. This state of mind resembles Arsenal’s and helped us win things.

It’s probably true that the quality training and diet that Kanu recieved at Arsenal revitalised his career and has allowed him to continue playing against all odds.

Read about more Wenger signings – Kaba Diawara the bargain buy that never made it. Or watch more Classic Videos.