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COLUMNIST JOHN HOLMES

Arteta: A Hero and a Gentleman

By John Holmes :  18/11/2009 :  Comments (20) :

I know it's nothing new for Evertonians to praise Arteta, but his recent comments regarding his happiness at Everton and willingness to stay to the end of his career merit praise.

Of course we should be delighted that he wants to stay, but more so we should be delighted for the reasons he gives. Firstly, he says he is happy here, that the club is special and he feels at home. These don't come across as mere platitudes (every fan likes to hear their club is special) but heartfelt sentiment that he's found a club where he feels a special bond and genuinely enjoys his life as a footballer and a person outside of his work. The club’s willingness to let him return to his wife and new child in Spain to receive treatment and rehabilitation presumably help with this alongside his apparent close friendships to several players.

Secondly, Arteta feels he can meet his ambitions here presumably including winning trophies, which he specifically mentions, and earning international recognition. That a player of his quality views Everton as a good stage for his talents to flourish then, for all the criticism the club's mangement and hierarchy receive, they must be doing something right. As he mentions, he was at his peak at the time of his injury and, although he doesn’t say it, he was also showing that he is no show pony and has acquitted himself to the physical side of the English game. Many fans expressed admiration for his commitment and surprising aerial ability in the games leading up to his injury. All seemed agreed that these attributes left him on the brink of a phone call from Spanish FA.

What I find particularly warming about Arteta's attitude though is that this isn't something he comes out with when a microphone is waved at him by the official website, these are sentiments he has voiced time again to a range of outlets. Every summer there are stories linking him back to Spain, fuelled often by Mikel’s comments. Whereas some players let rumours stand perhaps listening for financial details, Arteta has regularly spoken out with honesty to clarify that he had said he would like to return to Spain one day but has no intention of doing so in the near future. We can ask no more commitment than that from a foreign player with strong ties to his homeland. Similarly, the love-in interview between Cahill and Arteta published before his injury last season gave clear insights into the fundamental decency of those two players. They enjoyed their football, appreciated their wages and simply wanted to get on with representing Everton.

After the pitiful saga of Lescott's transfer in the summer, and its subsequent downsides for both Everton's and Lescott's performances, it's refreshing to see a star player so at ease with his life at a good if not ‘top’ club. No signs of chasing the next big deal and simply going about his professional and personal life in a mature and loyal fashion. Mikel has always enviably looked the part of the dapper gentleman but, with this interview, he has shown again that his character is on the inside as well as the outside.

Reader Comments

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Mike Iddon
1   Posted 18/11/2009 at 09:00:19

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Cheer yourselves up a bit, read this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/nov/18/mikel-arteta-knee-surgery-everton

Robert Davis
2   Posted 18/11/2009 at 14:34:09

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Shows how gossip is so unreliable,a week ago ,accoring to a few toffeewebers his injury was worse than we were told and that his "head had gone"...
Liam Reilly
3   Posted 18/11/2009 at 14:47:24

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Legend and a top bloke.

To be honest, I’d find it hard to argue if he did want to go back to Spain, or indeed leave for another club challenging for honours. The guy has long since paid back his modest transfer fee and has proven to be a quality footballer.

The board however, have shown time after time, that they don’t have the funds or the foresight to improve a team that has by far proven to be the best of the rest in recent years. What kind of message does that send out to a player who has ambitions of playing in that awesome Spanish side?
Dick Anderson
4   Posted 18/11/2009 at 15:53:36

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Mikel Arteta can see his career ending at Everton.

I think we all can.

Because his career may be over sooner then we think.

Could be next week at the rate he’s going.
Chris Butler
5   Posted 18/11/2009 at 16:00:04

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Well Lescott in my opnion was naive. Cahill and Arteta are both family men rather than wannabe playboys like Lescott. I think Lescott was too intrested on off-the-pitch matters than on. At least Lescott did admit that it was for the money largely.

I think Cahill, Jagielka, Arteta and Baines largely know that Everton have done a lot for them. Moyes took a gamble on Arteta that worked. I think fans should realise Arshavin took time to settle at Arsenal as well. Just think if somebody had sent you to Russia, it would probably take you a lot of time to settle in.

Moyes does not always get the best out of all his players. What Van der Meyde did not understand was that he had to prove to the manager he was good enough. Moyes mostly goes for hard working not flashy players. Fellaini was one of our worst signings really. He is one of the laziest players ever.

Andy Crooks
6   Posted 18/11/2009 at 17:34:03

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Dick, what do you mean?
Trevor Williams
7   Posted 18/11/2009 at 17:35:31

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Dick

Apt name if that's all you can say


Arteta is a great guy. I met him once at Sandbach services and he was nothing like the prima donnas that we assume most players are. The man was a gent.
Brian Waring
8   Posted 18/11/2009 at 17:38:23

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He may be a great guy, but I think he is fooling himself, if he thinks he is going to win trophies whilst with us.
Alan Kirwin
9   Posted 18/11/2009 at 17:36:36

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Dick that is such a crass comment. Did you really intend to be so stupid?

This man has compromised on many fronts since joining Everton. He first had to compromise on salary, as we were/are skint. He’s also had to compromise on where he plays due to the occasional vicissitudes of the manager. He clearly adores his football, good football, but has had to operate in a team that, on too many occasions, is prevented from expressing itself.

Heroes and gentlemen are hard to find in modern football. I have never had any doubt that we have one in Mikel Arteta. Sooner he’s made captain the better.

I simply can’t wait for the day he puts the shirt back on and steps out at Goodison to Z-Cars. There will be lumps in throat and I think the loudest cheer Goodison has heard for many a long year.

A much needed good news story. Top post John.
Ken Buckley
10   Posted 18/11/2009 at 18:41:47

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Nice piece, John, it put me in mind of why I no longer have a favourite player and haven’t for many years. A player may be happy and content at his club and the fans delighted to have him but experience tells me that, if the right amount of money is offered at the right time for the club, then — no matter what the player or fans think — business is business.
Paul Gladwell
11   Posted 18/11/2009 at 19:06:23

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With a bit of luck by the time he is back to his best we wont have a board who want to sell him to bail them out when City come calling.
Matty Dawkins
12   Posted 18/11/2009 at 20:14:39

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Great post John, it makes a nice change to read some positive posts for once!
There are far too many doom and gloom merchants frequenting these message boards.
Alan, spot on, when Arteta returns, I’ll have a lump in my trousers as well as in my throat.
Nick Entwistle
13   Posted 18/11/2009 at 20:56:34

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Personally I find this stunning news. Good news of course, but dam suprising.

First up, other than Pienaar the team is full of cloggers from the midfield back. Fernandes (sorry, we’re not allowed to bring him up) was a prefect partner in midfield but that screwed up, and no sign of anyone since... except Bily!

Second, Liverpool aint no Madrid. And its got nothing to do with the sunshine either. Atletico were sniffing and his misses surely would have preferred to be a Madrilano than a scouser.

Third, he’s late-mid career and either he thinks we can get CL or not. Good for him if its a yes.

But if he’s staying simply for Everton being a great club, hats doffed to the Senor.
Iain Love
14   Posted 18/11/2009 at 22:01:51

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Appears to be a decent guy, wants to stay with us ,,,, Nice
Main thing ’ fuckin great little player ’ and we can keep him .

result
Russell Buckley
15   Posted 18/11/2009 at 23:19:48

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"There’s nobody better then Mikel Arteta"

Like the rest of us I can’t wait for this guy to be back in the heart of our midfield. He is our best all round footballer and a top pro.

He has always appeared as a nice guy. While money runs football today I really think that Mikel along with the likes of Cahill love this club. Mikel doesn’t grab me as the type to brand himself a la big Dunc with an Everton tat but I have a feeling we have already branded this guy as one of us.

Get back soon, Mikel.
Glen Anderson
16   Posted 18/11/2009 at 23:39:08

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Great post about one of the game’s true gentlemen.

I for one can’t wait to have him back. Imagine a midfield of:

Bily - Rodwell - Arteta - Pienaar

I say there would be just the right balance of steel and creativity if only they were all fit at the same time.

COYB!
Russell Buckley
17   Posted 19/11/2009 at 00:51:12

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We are all waiting for that midfield Glen.

Its the stuff of dreams. It's a midfield that could actually run a game create chances for the Yak and Saha.

Add to that the ability to through in extra steel from Heitinga and Neville when required and capable subs like Osman we would be in decent shape of only injuries were not part of the game.
Phil Roberts
18   Posted 19/11/2009 at 08:15:07

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Personally, I am surprised he is still at the club.

OK, so my youngest is not exactly making the club rich by the number of shirts he buys or has bought for him — but first he bought a Kanchelskis shirt and a year later he was gone, then he bought a Rooney shirt and guess what happened next — so you know the family’s fear when he bought an Arteta shirt!

Perhaps the man himself helped by changing number and both of them are still wearing blue shirts.

We did try to get him a Van der Meyde shirt about 3 years ago but the lad refused it.
Russell Smith
19   Posted 19/11/2009 at 15:47:37

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I would like to offer up my girlfriends placenta to Arteta in order to speed up his recovery. ;)
Russell Buckley
20   Posted 20/11/2009 at 01:23:35

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Way to go the extra mile for the team Russell. I’m sure your girlfiend would happily consent to the donation considering its such a worthy cause.

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