Nestled in the heart of the ‘who owns London’ debate, Arsenal Football Club belong to a prestigious group of clubs to win almost everything that a topflight club can manage to win.
They’re also members of a club whose fan base understands how hard the wind can blow at the top of a mountain, and the harshness of the fall that results from it.
Who are the best Arsenal cult heroes?
There’s no doubting Arsenal’s credentials as a current and historic powerhouse.
Over the years, they have dazzled fans all over the world with their expansive style of football, and have understandably employed some of the best players to make that a reality.
The likes of Ian Wright, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry immediately come to mind.
And the heights of today might lead fans to generally forget some of the more troubling times they experiences in recent years. Particularly given the financial strain put on them by the albeit necessary upgrade to the Emirates Stadium from Highbury.
Being a United fan myself, I couldn’t hope to give a feature like this its fair dues without some guidance, so I’ve enlisted the help of Arsenal content creator ‘Rory Talks Football‘; who will be chipping in with the occasional quote to bring some life to the argument.
But let’s start with someone we can all agree on.
Santi Cazorla (2012-18)
A lovely little footballer, wasn’t he? And practically un-hateable.
Looking back, £10 million looks an absolute steal for a player like him, and it really was. With his natural low centre of gravity and impeccable vision to gaze through the eye of the needle.
And while some claim to hold the holy football grail of being as gifted with one foot as the other, Santi Cazorla backed up his case in a way that very few ballers could manage.
“Our little magician, the most 2 footed player I’ve ever seen, taking corners from both sides with different feet, cruelly taken down by injury in the end, but his relationship with the fans remains incredible. Never forget that FA Cup final free kick”Rory Cook (‘Rory Talks Football’) on Santi Cazorla at Arsenal
In a period of relative turmoil for Arsenal fans, players as gifted and balletic as Santi Cazorla was usually at the heart of whatever bit of respite they could grab.
Lukas Podolski (2012-15)
I personally remember him from the Football Manager game.
Specifically, 06 and 07 when he was either a fledgling striker at FC Köln or a youngster at Bayern where his shot power and accuracy made him a ‘by any means necessary’ type of signing.
He moved back to Köln after reported assurances that it wouldn’t harm his chances of being selected for Germany at the 2010 World Cup, and he stayed there for another three-and-a-bit seasons before Arsene Wenger came sniffing, in sincere need of striking quality to add to his side.
“A man who knew what it meant to be a Gooner. Not the best player we’ve ever seen, but always had huge support from the fans and gave everything back. Full of passion and an absolute cannon of a left foot”Rory on Lukas Podolski at Arsenal
It wasn’t quite Adriano on PES 06, but it was pretty darn good, wasn’t it?
Jack Wilshere (2008-18)
I feel sorry for Jack Wilshere.
A very promising player cut down in his prime in the most despicable of ways.
From Ledley King and Owen Hargreaves to even the great Ronaldo (‘R9’), football has a diabolical way of reminding us that our favourite players are indeed human. And are therefore impervious to the very same types of issues that could befall you or I.
But in situations like Jack Wilshere and certainly King and Ronaldo, that sense of ‘what could have been’ has left a sad, but positive taste in the mouths of the fans that love them.
“Proper Arsenal lad, could’ve gone on to do absolutely anything in the game if it wasn’t for the obvious injuries, but he’s always felt like just as much of a fan of the club as the rest of us.”Rory on Jack Wilshere at Arsenal
We can’t ask for much more than a player that represents the best of us.
Emmanuel Eboué (2004-11)
I haven’t got much to say about Emmanuel Eboue.
And apparently, neither does Rory!
I remember him trying to lip-read a conversation between the Japanese coaching staff to gain a ‘little bit extra’ in a game between Japan and the Ivory Coast a few years back, and who can forget that infamous subbing when he himself came on for Arsenal under Wenger?
Good, bad, whatever. He was “just an absolute joker”, as Rory so eloquently puts.
And that was our list of Arsenal cult heroes which, similar to our earlier piece on wider Premier League cult heroes, is a decent indication of the type of players to think of collecting.
For while they may not have been the greatest to ever wear the famous Arsenal red, they’re still remembered fondly by fans and there may therefore be some demand for them.
Which of these Arsenal cult heroes do you remember most?