We all know how Jamie Vardy has come became sensational star of Premier League and starting his career club which comes from the team far far away. What makes it more impossible is Jamie Vardy’s age and experience in big league who he didn’t have. And what have we look right now is an emerging player who first career coming through small club in low tier and right he made explosive performance in Premier League!
Jamie Vardy came from Sheffield Wednesday academy and joining Stocksbridge Park Steels in 2007 and get 107 apps with 66 goals in all competition for 3 years. Joining Halifax Town in 2010 and he get 27 goals after 37 apps and makes Fleetwood Town FC interested after a season there. He manage 36 apps and 31 goals which so impressive and makes Leicester grabbed him out with 1,7 million pounds.
Lives in Leicester in Championship doesn’t suit him fast, he didn’t manage to get grip his past form and prompting criticism from some City supporters on social media, he even considered leaving football until manager Nigel Pearson and assistant manager Craig convinced him to continue with the club. But situation different when this season with Claudio Ranieri takes the seat, Vardy and co. has found their togetherness and since the post has been written they are 1st in EPL. Amazing Tale isn’t it? Cinderella of EPL.
But wait, who says Arsenal didn’t have any tales like that? Someone whos starts off from nowhere and become one of guy? Seems like Arsenal had a lot. Here is a little best list for you to see the tales of impossible.
1. LAURENT KOSCIELNY
Kos the Boss, every single Arsenal fans knew about this guy. Strong, quick, and his consistency are his key and strength of his game. He established himself as first choice central defender in the past years and Arsene favorite choice. But do you know his ‘Cinderella tales’ that makes him one of the best defender in the world?
Starting his professional career in low third tier in France, Guingamp as a right back (the secret about his quicky traits) in 2003. He developing himself in defense art and becoming major player at there. After 4 years he moved on and getting chance for being promoted to Ligue 2 with Tours. At this place, Laurent wanted to become central defender and learnt everything from zero again. But in just a year he got himself named as one of Ligue 2 Team of the season which is incredible adaptation.
Left in 2009, newly promoted Ligue 1 Lorient bought him for almost 1,7 million pounds. Snap, and he already becoming starter member, fans favourite and makes history for taking Lorient to their highest position at that season, 7th! Arsene looking this rare gem and secretly makes him come to training with reserve squad. After just a year, Arsene bought him in 2010 and he told Arsenal about his transfer :
“It took me four years to go from the bench of Ligue 2 to Arsenal so it is a great achievement. I have been on the crest of a wave for the last few years. But it is just the beginning; I haven’t proved anything yet. Arsenal is a reference for football.” Koscielny, 2010.
It is true, EPL is another big dimension, and Arsenal is a big club, the competition must been doubled for any player who signs at first. Koscielny finds it hard for playing in his first season and get red card twice. In 2011, he knew how Arsenal play and his partnership with Thomas Vermaelen has been fruitful. He makes himself one of first choice in Arsene squad. In 2012 he saved Arsenal 4th place for getting UCL because of his goal against Newcastle.
2013, he getting himself paired with Per Mertesaceker, the BFG (yeah we know) and putting back Arsenal best partnership since the era of Tony Adams and Sol Campbell. He helping Arsenal to gain first FA Cup title with his second goal ( the tie ones) since 2005. And in 2014, he established as one the best defender in EPL with his consistency and makes Arsenal winning their second FA Cup back to back. Amazing isn’t it?
This is the tale of Kos the Boss, who became undisputed Arsenal best defender throughout years. Hope he winning us another title again this year.
2. OLIVIER GIROUD
Yes, this guy coming through after achieving big hurdle in his career before he came to Arsenal. Olivier Giroud was born in Chambèry, France and started his youth career in Froges and after that he is taking another development in Grenoble. He is aware that he can make it as professional player after Grenoble youth manager told him that he had something special quality at Giroud (Not his face).
In 2005 season, he promoted through reserves rank and playing in 5th tier French Ligue while he manage 15 goals in 15 apps. Thierry Goudet as manager Grenoble in French Ligue 2 looked at him and take him to first team chance, as stated Thierry told media that Giroud ability is exception upfront. Giroud managed to get his first pro goals as striker against Le Havre in 2007.
But unfortunately, he is being loaned to Istres in 3rd tier French League in 2008 and developing again as striker there. After succesful loan stint with 14 goals, Giroud hoping get first team chances or manage get to Ligue 1 (the highest tier in French Football). But Mehmed, the new manager of Grenoble told media that Giroud “did not have the level to play among the elite” and listed him for being transferred. 2011, Giroud told press while being interviewed about that :
“I am neither resentful nor vengeful. I am just disappointed with what happened to Grenoble when there was great potential” Giroud, 2011.
Giroud transferred to Tours in Ligue 2, while meeting his soon future friends again, Laurent Koscielny in 2008. Giroud managed to make succesful 2 season with Tours with 67 apps and 36 goals but failed to get promotion to Ligue 1 after loss in pre eliminary.
But in that season Giroud capable to get Montpellier bought him and winning Ligue 2 Player of the Year. In 2011, Giroud and co. brought Montpellier through Ligue 1 title as Ligue 1 Top Scorer and his team play was the one which makes Montpellier success. Giroud exceptional success has not left Wenger eyes and bought him to replacing Robin van Persie in 2012.
Replacing Arsenal best striker and best player at the moment must be a burden for any player in the world. Even Giroud didn’t made any impact after almost 5 match with the club. Even he is being one of the player who scores, but not so-regularly and his slow speed (he is faster than Per Mertesacker) as striker made every Arsenal fans mad and criticize him a lot.
But his strength, huge mentality, and exceptional first touch link play are his exceptional unique stats that made him perfect to play with Arsenal. The next season he helped Arsenal with winning the first FA Cup title since 2005 with back pass assist to Aaron Ramsey against Hull City for comeback goal.
He established himself as first choice at Arsenal and his rivalry with Walcott this season is firing Arsenal a new developed tactics. Arsene told media that Giroud huge mentality and his exceptional stats make him unique striker which fits Arsenal perfectly. Giroud right now is the 7th player in Arsenal who capable get 50 goals in Premier League.
3. KOLO TOURE
I saved this for the best, the beautiful tale of exceptional legend at Arsenal. if you knew Toure’s brother Yaya who has been exceptional player at Barcelona and Manchester City, but his older brother Kolo Toure has made his name famous at Arsenal before his brother coming through big ranks at Manchester City.
He was born in Ivory Coast while player from such a country still not unlikely play in big clubs and in Premier League. Kolo playing his youth career ASEC in Abidjan since 1994. Kolo is one of player who didn’t have any chance to privilege life to focus on his future. He stated that he must playing football while looking money such as sold newspaper.
‘I’ve done things that no other player has done. I have sold newspapers by the side of the road and cleaned the shoes of people for less than a pound.
‘I was 12 at the time. I had to do it in order to eat because my family was really poor. But I’ve always been someone who has wanted to fight and to scrap for every penny I could to help my family and my mother. For me it is very important.’
As stated as above, playing in Europe or even in Ivory Coast big clubs was hardest thing ever managed from him. Kolo have 4 brothers and 2 sisters so he should protect them from any harm and sent money back home. He playing his chance in regular first team in ASEC before Arsenal scout coming in Ivory Coast and looked at him.
Arsene has been told there is player in Ivory Coast that worth to try, and Arsene pay 150K for bring Kolo for trial. And he did came and playing with such Arsenal Legends like Thierry Henry, Bergkamp and Ray Parlour. As being told by Ray Parlour the trial has been succesful for Kolo.
Kolo playing his full strength against first team while Arsenal are preparing for next season. He tackled Henry with two foot that Ray Parlour said it must been red! After that he tackled Bergkamp! And Arsene scream at him ‘Kolo, what are you doing? Don’t tackle, don’t tackle!’.
‘UNBELIEVEABLE’ said Parlour, he must been crazy or somewhat. And while playing still on, the ball is moved towards Arsene and Kolo tackle him hard that makes his ankle swollen. Kolo told that he is sad, depressed and said that his career is finished in England just like that.
But Arsene looked upon him that Kolo desire in second to no one. Arsenal signed him in 2002 as he is the first Ivory Coast player ever who came play for Arsenal. Arsene didn’t play him until next season, and he makes his debut for Arsenal against Liverpool in Community Shield. He gets his first FA cup title in that season as subtitute.
Next season is more exceptional for him, his partnership with Sol Campbell are so formidable and strong which makes him one of the best in Premier League. Every pundit said that this player from nowhere has coming through ranks in Arsene squad and the impact was fully succesful. Arsenal winning 2003-2004 season unbeateable, called every single player with The Invincibles nicknames.
Kolo Toure established himself in central defender with another player such as Senderos, Sol Campbell, and bring another FA cup in 2005 with his goal in semi final we getting through UCL final in 2006. He is junior Vice Captain for Arsenal behind Gilberto Silva and Henry.
Kolo leaving Arsenal after becoming one of the longest serving player in Arsenal history after a little bust up with his partner in defence, William Gallas. He has been great and leaving for Manchester City for almost 15 million pounds.
In his tenure as high profile players at City he also manage get City their first FA Cup title and EPL title after almost 40 years respectively. Everyone talked and Gunners fans also stated that his moving to Eastland was for money. Which he stated that :
“I believe I deserve what I earn, I have been in this country seven years now and everyone knows that when I played for Arsenal I didn’t just give 100 per cent, I gave 200 per cent. Now that is the case with Manchester City.
‘We are not here for the money. It’s about more than that. But when you work hard you deserve something.”
And i respect that. Kolo is one of the greatest tales and players that have been amazing for Arsenal. His unbeliveable talent and great career has put his ink in history. His brother coming through the ranks with Barcelona and met Kolo, his older brother at City which looks like Disney stories.
He famous quote is,
‘Our family, our whole village, is really proud of what me and my brother have achieved in football. People who have known me since before I became a footballer know I deserve what I have because I’ve worked so hard in my life.‘
These 3 tales from Arsenal tells us that we also have another Great stories and talent like Vardy did in Leicester. And that is why stories like this makes football beautiful. Its real stories and struggle in life. Put his mark in history and not unforgotable for years to come.
Writer is Indonesia Journo for sports and pundit viewer in football for almost 2 decades.
Anzala Ryanto. @anzalariveris