By Les Crang
Now I have two more games and I will just give it everything, give it a go… If we finish above Arsenal I will be very happy… I don’t care what Arsenal do, what they achieve, that’s not my problem anymore. If I can kill them, I will definitely kill them because we are in a game where wherever you are you have to do your best. – Emmanuel Adebayor 11.05.13
I recently wrote a piece on Stewart Robson and I was surprised about how many people disliked him. I don’t dislike Robbo, but Adebayor? He is my Stewart Robson.
It all started so differently, in more ways than one and in many ways, so similar. Different, in that in the January transfer window Arsene Wenger bought three players (the largest amount on players Wenger over spent in mid season). On the 13.01.06 Arsene bought two french based players in Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Adebayor from Auxerre and Monaco respectively. A week later Arsenal bought Theo Walcott.
Emmanuel Adebayor joined for £3,000,000. His record at Monaco was 89 league and cup games and 20 goals, plus two red cards. He had also been a member of the champions league finals team in 2004 for Monaco as an unused sub. Hardly the most auspicious career. I certainly wasn’t expecting great things from him. Ade was seen described as ‘the new Kanu’ [what originality].
On joining Ade said:
Before joining Arsenal, I told myself I’ll do anything to survive and I’m ready for it. I’ll always fight. No matter what striker they bring to Arsenal, even if Samuel Eto’o comes here – and he is one of the best in the world – I will fight. Or if Arsenal should bring back Henry I am ready to fight for my place. I’m not giving up.
If I have the chance to play I will give my best and I am sure the manager and the fans will be pleased with my output, so I am not afraid at all. I have always done that in my life, so why should I stop in this stage of my career? I am now very happy with my form and the way I have learnt from my previous mistakes. I have good team-mates and I am very pleased with the way things are going for me and the way the team is playing.
The similarities between that season and this was that Arsenal were trying to best Spurs to 4th spot. Emmanuel Adebayor made his debut against Birmingham City in a 2-0 win at St.Andrews, with Ade scoring. He scored also against Fulham and then scored the second in a 3-0 win at Highbury over Charlton. I do believe this was Tim’s first game he saw. Of the goal he described it thus:-
Adebayor gets the second after a poor defensive clearance sets him free on goal.
Season 2005-2006 was the season Arsenal were on the march in the champions league, and Arsenal needed to rest Thierry for Europe. As Ade was cup-tied, he covered for Henry, scoring 4 goals in 13 games, as Arsenal pipped Spurs to 4th spot on the final day of the season in a 4-2 win over Wigan. Although we lost the European Cup final 2-1 to Barcelona, Henry had signed a new contract to stay at the Emirates.
With Ade the new signing, It was also a period in which Dennis Bergkamp would get fewer appearances in the team. Kevin Whicher and Alex Fynn;s book Arsenal: The Making of a Modern Superclub wrote:
Besides, unlike many in his trade he wasn’t materialistic. As he said when he arrived at Highbury, “I never believed in star status,” and so easily adapted to the cameo role of the bit-part player. Though as he revealed after his retirement, he felt he was used too infrequently in his last season. Ironically, Arsenal came closest to winning the Champions League in his final year at the club, by which time he had been phased out of the starting line-up, with compatriot Robin van Persie, José Antonio Reyes and Emmanuel Adebayor all ahead of him in the queue for the strikers’ positions. In Europe that season of 2005/06, Wenger often fielded a 4–5–1 formation, leaving Thierry Henry to forage alone in attack whilst withdrawing his second striker into the midfield. It was a relatively new approach on the manager’s part and the team was visibly more compact in the centre when not in possession.
It seems a shame a real legend was phased out for Adebayor, but at the time I guess we never knew the problems he’d later create.
The first inkling that Ade might be a troublesome player was the world Cup of 2006. Ade had scored 11 goals to push Togo into their first World Cup. Most players would be proud of this, but the Togo team players had said they had not been paid their bonuses. At one stage there were rumours of Togo players walking out of the World Cup. In the End they did play. 3 defeats and no goals. Certainly worth that bonus then?
Having retained the service’s of Titi, Arsenal opened their new stadium at the Emirates. Unfortunately, for Henry, he would play only 28 games in his final. Fortunately for Ade, he’d take Henry’s position as main striker. During season 2006/2007 we’d see the good points about Ade. Hight-lights such as scoring the winner at Old Trafford in a 1-0 win. Add to that scoring against Arsenal in the League and Carling Cup Semi at the Emirates.
His bad side was seen in the League Cup Final against Chelsea. Having taken an early lead through Theo, Drogba had got an equaliser and lead goal. Then the defining moment of the final when Jon Obi Mikel started kicking Kolo Toure. A melee of players in which punches were thrown (Cesc being unable to miss Fat Frank’s belly with a punch) meant both Captain Kolo and Ade were sent off for violent conduct. Mikel was the only Chelsea player sent off. Arsenal lost the match 2-1, with a weaker team. Wenger said after the match:-
I’m very proud of the performance of my team… [of the fight] Suddenly we lost it and they lost it as well and i’m not sure the referee picked the right ones out but he made a decision. [He also described the Linesman who advised Webb to send off Ade ‘a liar’.]
Ade’s indiscipline would be a recurring event either for or against Arsenal. Overall though Ade had a good first full season of playing 44 games and scoring 12 goals. My first goal I actually saw scored at the Emirates was when I Ade got one back in a 2-2 with Pompey, in which he put in a fairly good shift.
With Titi moving to Barcelona in 2007, Ade, along with RVP and new signing Eduardo were seen to take up the strain for Arsenal. Season 2007-8 would be the a defining season for Ade, for although his performances were on an upward spiral, as the season progressed his attitude to Arsenal and its supporters disintegrated.
In a season in which Ade scored 30 goals in 48 games you’d think he would have been loved by the fans. Unfortunately, season 2007-2008 was a season of almost winning the league and doing well in Europe and the League Cup. It was also the year the fan’s questioned if Ade knew the off side rule, with one writer saying:-
‘Even if his profligacy irritated those whose glasses were half empty.’
Although Ade could score (even though six of his 30 goals were scored in two games against an abject Derby County team) the season for 2007-8 summed up Ade pretty well. Two stunning goals against Spurs in a 3-1 win at WHL. He also scored against Spurs in December 2007. His scoring record against Spurs also included a Semi-final goal against them. In a 5-1 defeat. The game was best remember for Ade and team-mate Nikolas Bendtner squaring up to each other. Ade’s attitude was now openly being questioned by players and fans.
Overtures from Milan and Barcelona had turned the Togolese international’s head and, endeavouring to exploit his 2007/08 season… he demanded pay parity with the world’s top strikers. In response, Arsenal said they were prepared to let him leave, but at a price, which was set so high as to deter interested parties. So in the end a new deal was eventually struck. (During an argument with a disgruntled fan – “You earn 80 grand a week and you don’t even try”. Adebayor: “Actually, I get 100 grand” – the extravagance of the settlement came to light.)
I have personally meet Ade during this period. I used to frequent a pub called ‘The George’, off the Holloway road before matches. Its hardcore gooner pub. Ade, strolls up in his Chelsea tractor, Friends in tow and parks outside the pub on matchday. Nobody asked for an Autograph or anything or photo, but ‘are you leaving for Milan?’ etc. Ade just shrugs it off and walked away.
A couple weeks later I read about this in Popbitch:-
Emmanuel Adebayor may not be winning the Arsenal fans player of the year award. He parked his car outside a North London pub popular with the club’s fans last week and came back to find it in something of a slightly less-good state when he returned.
Drinkers at The Bailey had amused themselves by making some slight changes to the paintwork as a thank-you for the effort he’s been putting in on the pitch recently.
Now, I don’t condone this type of behaviour, but if you earning such large amounts couldn’t you park in the stadium or a private car park?
In a season in which we came so close in 2007-8, we seemed to be missing one part to win a trophy after we lost Eduardo in Birmingham in 2008. That was a striker to make up for Ade’s many misses. Many felt signing Nicolas Anelka from Bolton would have helped our league push.
Over the close season Ade seemed to be tarting himself both to AC Milan and Barcelona. Ian Castle said of him:-
All in all I didn’t feel that the squad had improved and the loyalty of some of those who remained was questionable. Adebayor had just completed an incredible season in which he scored 30 goals in all competitions but now came the disquieting media gossip, encouraged by his agent, that Adebayor would be interested in possible moves to Barcelona or AC Milan. Fans appreciate loyalty from the players they support – Adebayor’s relationship with the fans deteriorated rapidly after that.
Although Ade stayed for another season, the highlight being again Scoring against Spurs in a forgettable 4-4. Ade had said he wanted to leave by the end of the season for a bigger club. He got his wish. Or half of it when he joined Manchester City for £25,000,000. The disinterest in Ade can be seen in the a Statement by Peter Hill-Wood in 2010 when he said:-
“profits were boosted by some £38 million from the sales of players who were no longer central to Wenger’s future plans”, in an acidic reference to the transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Touré to the ever-generous Manchester City.
Ade though was not one to leave quietly. On joining City he said:-
I can’t wait to play for City’s fans and show them what I can do, I was born to play football and that is what I want to do. I have come here to make history for this club and those supporters. It what the chairman and the manager told me that they want too and I can’t wait to get started.
On his first game against us at the Ethiad he proceeded to show his class in scoring against us and running to the Arsenal end to nearly incite a riot. He then kicked RVP in the face to earn a 3 match ban.
It was ironic that later in the season when Ade played at the Emirates, he hid behind Patrick Vieira so as not to be boo’d so badly.
Ade has since moved on loan to Real Madrid and Spurs. I think for many fan’s, the fact that he joined Spurs wasn’t too surprising. It seemed he felt rejected by Arsenal and wanted some petty revenge in joining our local rivals. The vitriol he received last season when taking Spurs penalty against us at the Emirates sums it up. This was again underlined when Ade scored again at the Emirates for Spurs this season and got sent off for a petulant stamp on Santi Cazorla.
This season though Ade has been pretty ineffective, with many Spurs fans thinking Ade is trying to lose them a champions league spot above us and that he is a Arsenal ‘plant’. They point out his lack of goals (just 5 goals in comparison to 17 last term). His penalty miss at Basel has since become a tremendous joke for us Gooners. But in the lead up to the final few games Ade has found form (just through pure spite against us I believe). His goal against Chelsea and Stoke propelling them above us briefly.
Owing to Arsenal’s excellent form taking 26/30 points since the loss to Tottenham, as of Sunday, Spurs have again lost out on Champions league football and we can celebrate St.Totteringham’s Day. In many way’s I blame Ade for Spurs losing out. Having scored just 2 more goals than Mertesacker in the league underlines his deficiencies
When Spurs lost Defoe to injury, they hoped Ade would step up to the plate and score. Fortunately, he’s a bottler and them losing out on 4th because of him, couldn’t happen to a more dislikable player.