A tribute to Arsenal’s feel-good story of 2009

Alex Song played his final match for Arsenal against West Ham before heading off to join up with the Cameroon squad for the African Cup of Nations in Angola.

The rise of Song as a player and character at Arsenal has been one of the feel-good stories of the year for me and a lot of Gooners around the world.

In 2009 he has blossomed from a bit-part player not rated by most observers into a midfield juggernaught, capable of stamping his personality on a football match and providing the platform for our most important player – Cesc Fabregas – to shine.

Although we switched to a 4-3-3 the improved performances of Song and the partnership he has formed with Cesc has been arguably the key reason we have gone from fourth-place finishers to title contenders in six short months.

Song’s progression and impact is made even more admirable by the attitude he shows both on and off the pitch.

He is a unique character with his Cameroon sweatbands, muppet hairdo and scuttling playing style but never once have I seen him dive or feign injury, nor have I seen him have a prolonged argument with a match official. He just puts his head down and gets the job done and excudes a calmness and professionalism while he’s doing it.

He appears to love playing football and love playing for Arsenal and you just get the feeling that if the Real Madrids or Inter Milans of the world come knocking – he’ll be happy to stay right where he is.

Song appears to be one of the genuinely nice guys in football and I wish him all the best in Angola. There are plenty of Arsenal fans who would like to see Cameroon bow out early so we can get our man back – but I’m not one of them.

This competition means a lot to African football fans and I sincerely hope Song can put in some strong performances and help guide Cameroon to the trophy. As long as he comes back in one piece, of course.

Well done Alex on a fantastic year.

Have your say on Song’s progression and exit by leaving a comment.

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37 Responses to “A tribute to Arsenal’s feel-good story of 2009”

  1. rockett
    January 4, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    I totally agree with everything said he will surely be missed while away and we hope he comes back uninjured as he has now become a very important cog in our gearbox

  2. Dan
    January 4, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Well while you’re hoping cameroon do well in the ACN, we’ll be playing without Song v Villa and at Old Trafford… you might want to start praying they get knocked out in the group stage like the rest of us.

  3. Charles
    January 4, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    I totally agree with the writer. To Dan above and many other arsenal fans let us not be selfish. Song has done us good and we should wish him well. If u really love him you would want him to be happy and succesful and that involves Cameroon playing well. Who says we cannot play without him?? It is easy and lazythinking to say cameroon should get knocked out early. What of he then picks an injury?? Winning the tournament will only do Song good and make him better. Let us look for other options than wish a player we claim to love such misfortune. Arshavin was depressed at Russia’s failed attempt at the WC n played badly for us for a while. Samething can happen to song. So watch what u wish for my fellow fans. Cheers.

  4. Andrew Weber
    January 4, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    I think Charles is right – the psychological impact of players doing well for their countries is huge. Winning the ACN could have Song coming back feeling invincible and stepping up even more to help us winning the title. Being knocked out early could see a very down Song perhaps having the stuffing knocked out of him – a bit like Arshavin as you’ve said.

    Song deserves success – he’s earned it.

  5. Smooth
    January 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    We are playing Man Ure at home not OT. I Love Song that much I’m questioning my sexualality

  6. Darragh
    January 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    He is a pretty chilled out player. I like him.

    Hits from the Song.

  7. kieran McCann
    January 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Spot on Mr Weber… although we’ll miss him when he goes and may eat our words late january! I do think arsenal and the fans are the classiest out there and to wish his country an early exit just wouldn’t do justice to the family that is arsenal. Good luck my african cousin!

  8. stan in Greensboro
    January 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Song has served me a hungry construction-worker-size humble pie by his solid and consistent displays for arsenal this season. We will surely miss him even as I think AW is planning to buy a striker and a midfielder. I wish him the best in Angola, and most importantly to return without any injury, as the team needs him.

  9. Weedz
    January 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    I`m sure he was picked in the `team of the tournement` at the last ANC. So he goes in with a pile of confidence

  10. king tony
    January 4, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    how the hell r arsenal going to cope without the only workhorse in the team.?
    the only destructive presence in midfield,
    diaby is great going forward,but cannot retain possesion in the middle,i guess it all depends on the brillient young welshman,though im not sure he can play the holding role,please AW go and get Senna from spain.

  11. Weezy
    January 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    “This competition means a lot to African football fans..”
    you could have said it better, Im africam and this competition is the only thing in Africa that provides a moment of escape from poverty, hunger and political madness…
    It’s very hard sometimes for foreigners to understand this CUP that disrupts their team form in the middle of January but this the MOST IMPORTANT AFRICAN SPORTING EVENT we know!
    And if a country wins it all, most likely the next day is declared a national Holiday, can you imagine that??
    So lets all WISH HIM WELL.. he’s been a great lad and a great attitude, maybe Eboue should pick can learn a few things from him!!

  12. Andrew Weber
    January 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    Weezy, have you read the comments from Nwankwo Kanu and Mahamadou Diarra about growing up in Africa on my Football Nomad blog? You might relate. 🙂

    http://footballnomad.com/nwankwo-kanu-and-mahamadou-diarra-talk-about-street-football-in-africa/

  13. Femi
    January 4, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Without a doubt, one of my nominees for player of the year Durable, strong, deceptively quick too. One of those players that when he’s got the ball, u feel a sense of calm. And when he scored that header, I couldn’t stop screaming cos u just want him to do well. On another note, can we possibly buy another center half and move Vermalen to the holding role for Jan or am I just going crazy.

  14. Vancouver Gooner
    January 4, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    He grows with every game. I think he has had a positive effect on Diaby as well giving him an example of industry to follow.

  15. Eddee
    January 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Cameroon has 2 be knocked out early. I cant afford to think our boy will be M.I.A for four weeks.

  16. Maria
    January 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Player of the season so for me. I will be supporting both the Ivory Coast and Cameroon this year. Can’t wait for the ANC!!!!!!!

  17. clasj
    January 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    What a player. It is interesting to see the “so called” arsenal fans who were calling for his head, writing such nice words about a player, who received a lot of unwarranted stick from gooners.

    He was always a terrific player, but was young and needed to get that string of matches to establish himself as a force in the middle.

    And look what he has turned out to be. a gem. I dont think there is a single defensive midfielder in PL who has his ability. He is simply class while defending, while going forward and ofcourse, now we can say at scoring goals. Remember the peach of an header he scored against portsmouth?

    We can only expect him to grow as a player.

  18. Andrew Weber
    January 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    How could we forget that Pompey goal so soon? One of my favourite moments of the season so far.

    Great to hear such positive words from the fans for Song.

    Perhaps I could try and get an interview with him for the blog?

  19. Arsenal Fan
    January 4, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Song has come a long way from a player who was unfairly booed by his own fans against Fulham a few seasons ago. I bet those same boo boys will be missing him while he’s at ACN.

  20. Darragh
    January 4, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Oh yeah! He is the CRAB

  21. I mole
    January 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Song was impressive in d last month of 2009 , i hope he come back 4rm my land soon and unaffected . Best of luck song.


    Sent on a phone using T9space.com

  22. LB
    January 4, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    I’ve always been a fan of Song’s but I must admit never in wildest imagination could I have envisioned the player he is now. The man is simply PHENOMENAL. Arsenal really perform when he’s on. Before he never seemed to cross the half-way line. Now he is box to box and somehow always in position to help out the back four. I know of no player in the EPL who has been as consistent.

  23. SCOPE KNIGHT
    January 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    I remember when we played Nowrich City and Song was a waste of view. I think Song should be given player of the season because without him we would not be great going foward. When i see his name on the team sheet i am so assured. Moreso he has added skill to his defensive duties. I love the way he changes play. He is a worthy player of the season.

  24. Frederick Agaba
    January 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Song was born in Cameroon, therefore he has to see his country succeeding in ACN. Prayers for having Cameroon knocked out at group stages by Dan is pessimistic. Would you also have the same prayers if that Player “SONG” was recalled to play for your home country?

  25. Fancis m
    January 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    Good luck song,we will miss your service,I will support you,Ihope Cameroon win since Arsenal is going to win the premier,I pray you come back uninjured

  26. Hey Nonny Mouse
    January 4, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Nice little tribute, Andrew. The man’s been magnificent for us this season. I am one of those who dared to criticise him a year or so ago and I don’t apologise for that. He’s proved to me that he and AW knew something I didn’t and that’s fine with me. Frankly his performances at that time were not good enough for our ambitions. But he’s really grown in stature and would be one of the first names on the team sheet of most Gooners now. Given that he’s only in his early 20’s we may see even better things from the guy yet. Top man. ‘Bon chance’ in the African Cup, mate. I hope you win it.

    In the meantime..help!!

  27. sobin the gooner
    January 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    HE IS ONE OF THE BEST PLAYER FOR ARSENAL IN 2009.HOPE HE CAN CONTINUE IT FOR LONG YEARS TO COME.
    COME ON SONG…..

  28. Peer Steen Hansen
    January 4, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    Song has done a great job for us this season. Good luck for him in Africa. I like the words which is backing him up in Africa. I will follow Cameroun close – also as a Dane we will meet them to the World Cup. Let him use his power now and later for Arsenal – not in the word cup in the summertime…. so much.

  29. shodiya moses
    January 4, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    song is a terrific player,since he scored the goal against liverpool in c cup,I have been his fan.son I love you.you are the next african footballer of the year.I wich you good luck at anc

  30. shambogunner
    January 5, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    nice tribute andy and no doubts he has been the player of the year,although i cant understand him being criticised early on because hes been an international from an early age and a regular with cameroon and i distinctly remember him putting in strong performances when on loan at a struggling charlton a few seasons ago…i guess he has become the example of why we shud be patient with the younger players and give them the time that has no doubt benfited him
    i remember reading an article from him after the city game when adebayour had his little outburst and i cudnt believe how dedicated to the club and fans he was when questioned bout his ‘friend’ adebayour saying arsenal and the fans are his priority and dat is all
    i cant understand people wanting cameroon to fail just so we can get him back early after the commitment he has shown to us but if he maintains his form we wont see anytime soon!goodluck song and cameroon

  31. theicehammer
    January 5, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    Well said Shambo, he is a class act and still only potential. Can he reach the level of Liverpools Steven Gerrard, if he was english im sure he would be more spoken about by the footballing media. If he stays away from injury and has a good rest he could be EPL player of the year next year. Big question is, can u afford to keep him.

  32. theicehammer
    January 5, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    Shambo what did you think of the Cup game. Happy about the way we played even though i knew we would run out of steam eventually. Had we taken chances made it might have been interesting in the final 20mins.

  33. theicehammer
    January 5, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    patrick Vieria on way to Man City. Has Wenger missed a trick.

  34. theicehammer
    January 5, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    Shambo Vieria on his way to Man City. Will it be a flat screen. Bom bom

  35. Ali I. Ahmed
    January 6, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    Song has been quite fabulous and I wish him all the best for ACN. Its surprising how steeply he’s come up the curve considering not too long ago I was one of those who wanted him off the squad.

    Oh and Andrew, an interview would be pretty awesome!

  36. Ronnieh Ronnoh
    January 9, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    Song is a song we dance to when he’s playing.No doubt we miss him alot now but i would b glad 2 b watching him playing against my national team tommorow.we hope he plays as ussual n let him enjoy the midfld of ‘Kasarani’.Edgar ‘fighter’Ochieng-kenya’s midflder,pliz we need Song like never b4 dont injure him coz he’s gonna win the leauge 4 us this season.Anyway Song welcome 2 kenya n enjoy preps here,yu have the highest no.of fans than any other foot club.may b Man U comes a distant second.FEEL FREE N VISIT radio Jambo an Arsenal radio station hosted by Ogidi.Otherwise Song is gonna b the holding mdflder of the season.Hey guys dont miss to watch song play kenya.

  37. Avik Ganguly
    January 11, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Will the African Cup of Nations be broadcastd worldwide? I jst wanna keep an eye on him & pray tht he dsnt pick up an injury

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