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Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal [Hardcover]

Fred Atkins
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

10 Nov 2012
THE Royal Arsenal, for most of its existence, produced weapons destined to kill Frenchmen. In 1886 its workers formed a football club that would become one of the most powerful in England, but it was a Frenchman who a century later turned Arsenal into one of the most popular teams in France - and the world. Arsenal's French Evolution is the story of the men behind this transformation, especially Arsene Wenger, whose father cheated death on the Russian front and who himself had to battle corruption and match-fixing in French Football before becoming one of the world's greatest managers. This book, which doubles as a potted history of French football, has profiles of every French Arsenal player, including detailed chapters on Emmanuel Petit and the mutliple tragedies he endured, the circus that surrounded Nicolas Anelka and the bizarre rage of William Gallas. Read about the mercenaries, the players who didn't make it, the unsung heroes like Sylvain Wiltord and above all relive the greatness of Petit, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira.

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Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal + Thierry Henry: Lonely at the Top: A Biography + The Wenger Code: Will it Survive the Age of the Oligarch?
Price For All Three: 43.55

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: GCR Books (10 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095714430X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957144309
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Fred's latest book, Arsenal: The French Connection, was published in November 2012 by GCR Books.

FOUR FOUR TWO MAGAZINE gave it four stars out of five and said:
'Lifelong Gooner Atkins' detailed trawl through Wenger's career is laced with humour drier than a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, revealing a fine appreciation of both the game and our relationship with our cross channel freres.'

The "When Saturday Comes" reviewer was upset by the "Puerile jibes about Alex Ferguson." Can there be any higher recommendation?

This book, which doubles as a potted history of French football, has profiles of every French Arsenal player, including detailed chapters on Emmanuel Petit and the mutliple tragedies he endured, the circus that surrounded Nicolas Anelka and the bizarre rage of William Gallas. Read about the mercenaries, the players who didn't make it, the unsung heroes like Sylvain Wiltord and above all relive the greatness of Petit, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira.

Fred is a journalist and author who has covered the Ashes, the Twenty20 cricket World Cup and Premier League football for the Associated Press, and the Tour de France for the Kent Messenger Group, though he still worships at the altar of his hometown football team, Maidstone United.
Tour de Kent was his first book, inspired by the day the Tour de France came to his home county in 2007.

Ostensibly the story of a single stage in a single Tour de France, Tour de Kent is in reality about a lot more than just a day of cycling. It's the tale of what happens when a reporter then working for a local paper suddenly gets immersed in a global event, with all the accompanying scandals, treachery and drug abuse that goes with it.

But it's an ultimately uplifting tale too - of how the event itself rises above the people who were close to destroying cycling to create one of the most remarkable days in a county's history, bringing an estimated two million people together.

Anybody who knows Fred will have already realised that he is not the Fred Atkins who wrote the book: "How to Maintain a Positive Attitude in Difficult Times."

Product Description

Review

'Lifelong Gooner Atkins' detailed trawl through Wenger's career is laced with humour drier than a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, revealing a fine appreciation of both the game and our relationship with our cross channel freres.' Four stars. FourFourTwo Magazine, November 2012

About the Author

Fred Atkins is a journalist who has covered the Tour de France, the Ashes and the Cricket World Cup and a former student of the University of Strasbourg, where Arsene Wenger studied economics. While Wenger used his degree to become one of the world's top football manager, Fred moved from higher education into the field of unemployment and barely noticed the difference. Eventually he became an English teacher and he spent three years working in Greece after getting on the wrong plane at Gatwick, before moving to a French school in Hastings, where lessons almost invariably turned into lengthy discussions about the evils of Manchester United. At some point in the year 2000 he accidentally got a job as a sports reporter on the Maidstone News and he spent three years as the sports editor of the Kent Messenger before going freelance and working for the Associated Press. Fred has supported Arsenal for over 25 years and once, somewhat naively, wore his replica shirt in a bar full of Paris St Germain fans during the 1994 Cup Winners Cup semi-final.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new angle on familiar story 9 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover
The book tells the story of the Arsene Wenger era and Arsenal's French legion through the stories of all 24 French Arsenal players , from the arrival of Patrick Vieira and Remi Garde, Wenger's first signings, to the present day and the recent arrival of gay icon Olivier Giroud. On the way it takes the reader through a tour of the triumphs and (more recently) the disappointments of Arsenal's recent history and how a team known for its dour and uncompromising physical nature became synonymous with French flair and elan which has at times enraptured supporters and opponents alike, as well as an emotional brittleness that has become an easy target for the less talented and imaginative (as well as a source of growing frustration to its supporters).

This book is not going to reveal any new sordid truths about life inside the Arsenal dressing room. Other than a foreword from chief scout, former defensive midfielder and cult hero Gilles Grimandi, the author has not had access to any of the players or management, though given the sterile and media-trained nature of most football interviews, this is arguably no bad thing. Instead, the book draws on existing and known sources from England and France (the author uses the widely panned autobiographies of Ashley Cole and Robert Pires as source material so at least you don't have to read them yourself) in order to compile a picture of the each of the players and the events that defined their stay at the club.

However there is more than enough in the public domain which is not widely known for the author to be able to tell some fascinating individuals stories and pick out some common themes in them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
An enjoyable and well researched insight into Arsenal's French revolution. Split in `bite size' chapters for each player, it is one of those books which can be read at a leisurely pace.

As a `neutral' I still found it included more than enough non Arsenal content to easily sustain interest, particularly on the colourful history of French football itself.

It was refreshing to read an author so keen to provide his own forthright (and at times amusing) opinions on this era in which his love of Mr Wenger becomes evident.

For fans of football writing I would recommend it as pleasant change from the usual stale `ghost written' autobiography. For Arsenal fans, it really is a no brainer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book! 10 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover
As an big fan of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and a worshiper of players like Henry, Pires, Vieira and Petit this book is right up my street.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought the book but I was very happily surprised. Instead of an anticipated Who's Who? of Arsenal French players past and present the author tells the story of the 16 years of Wenger's management through the influence of the 23 Frenchmen (Giroud excluded) he has purchased, groomed and mentored. Each player gets his own chapter but the book seems to flow nicely because the players are taken in the order which they signed for the club. Thierry Henry, having come back for his brief loan spell, comes last which makes a perfect ending to an excellent book.
At times I laughed out loud. Author, Fred Atkins, clearly has a good sense of humour and I started each new chapter with anticipation. There was plenty of new information and the book appears to have undegone some lenghty research.
I can't recommend this book too highly. Put it in your shopping basket or start dropping large hints if you want to find it under your Christmas tree!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique! 27 Sep 2013
By Emilie
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book recently together with another Arsenal book called The Wenger Code. I strongly recommend both to any Gooners looking to add to their Arsenal library.
With so many French players passing through Arsenal's doors over the past 17 seasons it was inevitable that a book would eventually be written on their comings and goings. Arsenal - The French Connection is that book. Author Fred Atkins dedicates a chapter to each player but this is more than simply a "Who's Who?" of players who have crossed the English Channel to play in red and white. Atkins tells the history of Arsenal since Wenger's arrival through the achievements of Arsenal's French players and the contributions they made to the Club's success during this period.
This really is a very good read and, I wonder, with five Germans in the current squad (not to mention the likes of Messrs Lehmann and Volz) how long will it be before we see Arsenal - The German Connection?
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