The sad reminders of players who didn’t quite make it

24 June is a day that records the comings and goings of several players who never quite made it at Arsenal.  Brian Sparrow, Arturo Lupoli, Stefa Malz, Arturo Lupoli, Stefan Malz, Brian Sparrow, Carlos Vela, Vlad Dragomir.   To today’s supporters who were not watching these players arrive, the names will probably mean nothing, and yet they came with great hope, and some of us occasionally thought the players could make it.

I recall watching Lupoli play in an under 23 game at Leicester and thought he was particularly impressive.  Then again I watched Carlos Vela play for Arsenal (he played in 29 games all told) and thought he too was impressive and could become a serious player for the first team.  But for such players it was not to be.

I can only imagine what it is like for such men to have the opportunity to play at the highest level and then to see it slip away.  A few make it elsewhere or in management but most, as far as one can tell, drift away from the game and return to the normal everyday lives that the rest of us have.

24 June 1905: Arsenal’s AGM reported the annual income from the rent of the bars in the Manor Ground as £110 5s 0d.

24 June 1949: Bryn Jones transferred to Norwich as player coach.  He remained there for just two years before returning to north London as a newsagent.

24 June 1962: Brian Sparrow born in Bethnal Green.  He played for Arsenal twice and went on loan to Wimbledon, Millwall, and Gillingham before settling with Crystal Palace. After retiring as a player, he worked as a coach for Brentford and Crystal Palace before working for a short while in China.

24 June 1987: Arturo Lupoli born. He started out with Parma and as an under 21 scored an unbelievable 45 goals in 22 games. In 2004 he moved to Arsenal as a scholar with Parma getting £200,000 compensation.  However he never managed to settle and at the last count had played for 15 different clubs the latest being Fermana of the 3rd division in Italy.

24 June 1998: Petit and Vieira played in the World Cup match for France against  Denmark.  Petit scored the winning goal as it finished France 2 Denmark 1.

24 June 1999: Stefan Malz signed from 1860 Munich for £650,000.  He went on to play six times in the league in the next two years, before moving on to 1. FC Kaiserslautern.  

24 June 2001: Two years to the day after signing from Munich, Stefan Malz was transferred to Kaiserslautern for £580,000.  After finishing his playing career at FSV Oggersheim he went into management from 2005 to 2008 but seemingly not since.

24 June 2014: Arsenal sold their rights in Carlos Vela (secured under a buy-back option) to Real Sociedad for around £12m.  He had played 29 times for Arsenal and had had five different loan deals before the transfer was agreed in 2012. This move ended the saga.  In 2018/19 he played for Los Angeles.

24 June 2015: Arsenal bought Vlad Dragomir from Poli Timișoara.  He did not make it at Arsenal and in 2018/19 he was playing for Perugia.



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