Graham Dougan was a youth prospect at Arsenal in the 1970s but never quite made the grade, making his career in the upper echelons of the old division two. He was also a Scottish U25 international. He is a regular pundit on TV in Malta and Luxembourg, and an after-dinner speaker of some repute.
He writes exclusively for the site and we sure you continue to enjoy his keen and unique insight into the game. This week he looks at Reiss Nelson’s loan spell in Germany.
Although I’m getting on in years I’m a keen user of the social media and I can see that Arsenal fans are very excited about the development of Reiss Nelson. The young Englishman is literally on fire as we speak, his flames of football justice dispensing white hot punishment to opposition throughout the Bundestag.
So far he’s scored six goals in his loan spell at Hasselhoffenheim which is a great return when you consider the fact he’s only 18 years of age, and playing abroad. We all know there’s a universal language of football but for him to impress without even being able to understand whatever the German is for ‘Man on!’ or ‘Watch your house!’ makes it all the more impressive.
And yet there’s part of me that thinks he should be doing this in England for an English team in England. That might make me sound like a Lidl Englander, but that couldn’t be further from the truth as I’m half-Scotch, but at a time when the country really needs a boost wouldn’t Reiss Nelson be better than bringing back Wayne Rooney from the Major League MLS of Soccer to parade around the pitch like a hairy belly on legs?
There’s also the danger that he might like it there too much, perhaps fall in love with a German girl and defect to then later in his career get revenge for 1966 by scoring the winner in a World Cup final for his new country against the one that let him go so innocently to help him grow as a player and a person. Geoff Hirst and his son David would be rolling in their graves.
Call me old fashioned, but I’m not a fan of Europe. Aside from my villa in Benalmadena at which I spend the winter months and some time during the summer so I can get that lovely bronze base which makes me look so fit and healthy on Maltese TV, I prefer to stay ‘at home’ and when I’m ‘at home’ I like to be surrounded by my own kind of people. Which is why the south of Spain is so fantastic because it’s full of Brits who are not foreigners over there but expats and that’s an important distinction to make.
Back to Nelson though and the new Arsenal boss Unai Emerick must be wishing he had him in his squad right now after the terrible injury suffered by Dan E Welbeck. Although he has his son Pierre as one of his key strikers, the loss of Welbeck leaves a significant gap in the squad and the young man could have come in and made a difference. If he can score goals in Germany he can score them in England as Kevin Keegan, Tony Woodcock, Michael Ballacks and Pierluigi Casiraghi have shown before.
The Gunners have had a long tradition of bringing young players through who have been at the club from an early age, so it’s a surprise that Nelson hasn’t been given the chance to follow in the footsteps of Tony Adams, Michael Thomas and Periwinkle Groves. When you look at the squad now, there isn’t anyone who has come through the ranks and you always need that bit of homegrown element in any title winning squad.
Still, those players thrived at a time when Britain had a great, strong female leader in Maggie Thatcher and right now Theresa May is much less impressive so hopefully Nelson can take inspiration from Angela Merkin during his time in Germany. Let’s not forget that this is the country that gave us Falco, and maybe next year this exciting young footballer can rock the Premier League the way this great musician rocked Amadeus.
Until next time blog fans, and I do appreciate all the fan email you’ve been sending to the website which they pass on to me.
Your pal, Graham.