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September 2019
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The endless stories that were told about Bellerin leaving.

By Tony Attwood

If you come across any stories of an Arsenal player wanting to leave the club this summer, it might be worth pausing for a moment and recalling the wild and frantic tales that surrounded Hector Bellerin who signed a new long term contract on this day in 2013.   For two summers running – in 2016 and 2017 – the media was awash with daily stories of him transferring to Barcelona.   None of the stories were the slightly bit true, but they continued day after day, and looked very much like a co-ordinated attempt by the media to undermine the player and/or the club.

Since in the summer of 2019 we find that over 20 Arsenal players have already been tipped to be leaving the club this summer it might be worth remembering the Bellerin Treatment if you come across one such tale.

4 July 1931: Tommy Black joined Arsenal from Strathclyde.  He played 16 reserve games in 1932/3 before playing in the notorious defeat to Walsall in the FA Cup. He was transferred to Plymouth Argyle six days after the Walsall game.  He ended his career at the outbreak of war in 1939.

4 July 1977: Six weeks after winning the FA Cup with Man U Tommy Docherty admitted his affair with Mary Brown, the wife of the club’s physiotherapist.  The club’s directors decided that he had broken their moral code and he was sacked.

4 July 1990: Andy Linighan purchased from Norwich for £1.2m.  He had previously played for Hartlepool, Leeds and Oldham.

4 July 1998: Dennis Bergkamp became the Netherlands top scorer.  He went on to score 37 goals in 79 international games – despite not wishing to fly to away matches.  He left his coaching role with Ajax in December 2017. 

4 July 2002: Start of the Alex Manninger adventure at Espanyol which ended 7 weeks later with the club saying they never had the money to buy him in the first place.  The fee was £760,000. He retired in 2017 and worked in the furniture and property industries.

4 July 2013: Hector Bellerin signed a new long-term contract.  Having transferred from Barcelona in 2011 as a youth player he had been on loan at Watford during 2013/14 before in September 2014 making his Arsenal debut following a spate of injuries to other defenders.  In 2016 and 2017 he was daily reported across all media as moving back to Barcelona. Amazingly it was all lies.

4 July 2014: Hugo Keto joined Arsenal for an undisclosed fee from HJK Helsinki.  He went on to be the under 21 keeper for Finland and under 23 keeper for Arsenal but in July 2018 moved  to Brighton.

Publications

“Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” and “Making the Arsenal” are now available as printed books, and on Kindle.    Please see here for more details.

Elsewhere on the site…

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

A full index of our series can be found on the home page.

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