Players Out Of Time: No.1 Anders Limpar

A break this morning from the unrelenting transfer gossip; nothing is going to happen today on that score. Even Mr20%s like to have one day of rest. Instead the first in an occasional series about players who were outstanding in their day but in the modern game, they would have been sensational.

For someone who only made 116 appearances for the club – less than 1oo were starts – Anders Limpar had a massive impact on those of a certain age or older. I genuinely have not met anyone who looks back on the Swede’s time at the club with anything other than affection. Not many players can claim that kind of response from such a short stay.

Limpar was an archetypal George Graham signing. Seriously, he was. Well, maybe a archetypal signing before 1992. Brian Marwood and Ian Allinson before him had been busy wingers, Marwood an excellent crosser of the ball. Limpar left the hard work to others, he the creative director would not sully himself with such matters. Give him the ball and let him wreak havoc.

The Swede joined Arsenal from Cremonese in 1990. The first glimpse many of us had of him was The Makita International Trophy, a forerunner of the annual Emirates bash. Nobody particularly cared for the trophy save for the fact that the 1988 tournament featured the first ever meeting between Arsenal and Tottenham at Wembley. Forget 1991, this 4 – 0 drubbing was the first. Limpar mesmerised the Aston Villa defence two years after that, scoring the opening goal after 34 minutes.

At that time, Swedish players were true to their stereotype; blond, athletic and hard-working. Limpar had Hungarian roots and that ancestry prevailed in his footballing world; skilful, artistic, creative, powerful of shot, fleet of foot, quick of mind. More Puskas than Andersson.

The World Cup had come and gone, Gazza’s had cried a river and it seemed, English football had come of age. Limpar fitted in perfectly. He teased, twisted and turned from the off. He was the blueprint for Robert Pires, happier creating for others than scoring himself. His goalscoring record was not bad at the club, 20 in 116 appearances. It could – should – have been more but when he contributed, there was something special about them.

His most memorable? For me, at Old Trafford back in the days when referees and linesman were not scared to give a contentious goal or penalty against United. It was the day of the infamous brawl, Limpar’s spikey character shown by his involvement and subsequent fine from Arsenal.

The two goals we all remember are in this extract from the Season Review of 1990-91, thanks to Dmitry for this:

Limpar’s finest goalscoring hour came in the last game of that season, a hat-trick against Coventry. Once more Dmitry to the rescue.

The Swede was a pivotal member of that team but his inconsistency was becoming distrusted by Graham. For all of the explosive appearances, FK Austria Vienna could not cope with him during the club’s return to European football in a 6 – 1 rout at Highbury, there were equally anonymous performances. In 1992/3, he did not make either of the finals against Sheffield Wednesday, a far cry from the torrent of torment he heaped upon them during the title-winning season in a 7 – 1 thrashing. He left to much disappointment but little surprise, for Everton the following year, his relationship with Graham finally tortured and broken.

Would Wenger have got more out of him? Probably but his career trajectory would be similar to that of Arshavin or Nasri. Infuriatingly brilliant and lacklustre but what an attacking difference to this team he would make. van Persie would love him in the same way Ian Wright and Alan Smith did.

Most certainly he would have thrived in the fluid attacking play of recent years. The 2007/08 team would have particularly benefitted from Limpar. Hleb / Walcott, Limpar and Fábregas supplying van Persie / Adebayor would have been sumptuous in full cry.

Now? I am not so sure that he could have lifted a whole team on his own but certainly he would have been less likely to be channelled into dead ends. The unpredictability and delivery would be something in the final run-in that could have turned narrow defeats into draws or draws into victory; a little edge that swings title races.

Freddie Ljungberg might well be this generation’s Superswede but the reality is that Freddie needs a new title. Anders Limpar owns that one outright.

Still, if this young gentleman carries on the way he is going, we might refer to him as the next Anders Limpar.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on June 19, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 57 Comments.

  1. hahahaha at last!

  2. According to the BBC “Gossip” The People reckon that Arsene is bidding for Joey Barton. Hilarious. (I thought the People died a long time ago. I nearly said ‘newspaper’

  3. Remember seeing him in that tournament and thinking we had something special.

    I think it might have been the first league game of the season away at Wimbledon and he was running riot, their defence couldn’t handle him. I’m sure two or three of our goals came from him that day.

    He was like a breath of fresh air, a great, great player !

  4. What I meant to say is he made two or three of our goals that day.

  5. I’d like the views of those in the twilight years of life, over the comparison of Limpar with Wee Georgie Armstrong. Both were Arsenal legends.

  6. Nothing sells quite as well as “cesc to barca” does it? Murdoc would go bust if he ever really left for Spain. What would they fill the papers with then? No Ronaldo and no Cesc.

  7. but the miyachi trailer is awesome cant wait for him to be ragging defenders of the epl…..hopefully he turns out to be as good as ronaldo…….

  8. Yogi, you have made me all teary eyed this morning,

    Not quite but close. These are some of my earliest Arsenal memories, I have watched that 1990/91 ‘VHS’ so many times in the past that I practically know all of the commentary. God only knows where that tape is now.

    Anders Limpar was my favourite player when he was at the club and although he was not better than the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and co I still see him as my favourite player.

    Technically he was superior to his team mates at the time. To this day he was the most two footed player that I have ever seen for any club, let alone Arsenal.

    It is a shame that his talents were not on display ten years or so later. He would have been appreciated so much more by Wenger and would have had the likes of Bergkamp, Vieira and Henry around him.

    Skid, I also remember him in that tournament, didn’t he hit a screamer into the top corner with his ‘weaker’ foot as well?

    Does anyone remember his pass playing for Everton when he struck a golf type left footed, outside of the foot spinning pass into the stride of Duncan Ferguson WTF?!!! Sublime.


  9. Nicky

    Geordie was a great player in the same class as Pires and Overmars.Sadly Limpar was nowhere near that class.He had one good season.And great players are not made on one good season.

    On signing Barton.It would be a great signing.We have to many pussies in our dressing room.To many players who except defeat too easily

  10. I dunno frank , Nasri is a great player based on one season.

  11. Le Grave on tour

    Hello Yogi,

    Excellent write up and a nice change from everything else out there at the moment.

    When youre not making excuses for the failings of our manager youre a great read.

  12. What a shock. reports this morning are some fat spanish lazy barstads have flown in from Barca to do a deal for Cesc. well all i can say is take him. we dont need another season of him clearly not “here” I think it is time to pat the little spaniard on his back and send him back home. we will benefit. give Nasri his higher wages and put him in the center.

  13. Sad news the Big Man has put down his sax for the last time.RIP the Big Man

  14. Frank.Barton?really?

  15. See you Cesc. a great few years and a very honest way he has gone about things. top man.

  16. Players out of time. No.2: Denilson..he has run out of time.

  17. I see the bogus “Frank” brought the buffoon out of the Duke. Some things never change.

  18. I thought that was strange for Frank
    Duke , behave yourself.

  19. allo shotta still moaning are ya. grumpy old git.

  20. Paulie Walnuts

    RIP Clarence

    Anders Limpar was a player alright. The impact he had in his first 6 months was similar to Brian Marwood`s – both being instrumental in title winning sides. Why he fell from favour with George Graham was a mystery to me & an example of why the club stagnated for several seasons.

    So, it`s Joey Barton & Scott Dann to rescue us from the abyss is it ? I don`t know whether to laugh or cry.

  21. Where av you been Shotta. been missing your whining.

  22. i love this post…i loved limpar..
    he was a great player..a proper winger and like Mean Lean (hello by the way) reminds me of one of my favorite eras of the club..i was younger and less wiser 😉 and football was football, not the politics crap we see going on these days….regular visits to times have changed..
    this post should be emailed to wenger as well as the clips and should be a slight reminder to him that the most dangerous wingers are actually wingers and not 6’4 strikers

  23. great post as always, Something special awaits us I fee;

  24. So really non if the big clubs have actually bought anyone important yet have they? Jones is after all a backup player and no club that has not played CL footy for over two seasons are a big club.
    So why does arsenal fans panick??

  25. So Barca have been in contact with Arsenal with reported interest for our captain, lets hope that wenger stays true to his word.

  26. lol 4:48 on that 3rd video doesn’t need any translating!
    some things dont change…

  27. bristol gooner

    Shame none of the videos included his goal v I think Man City.. he was on the goal line, just outside the box, stopped the ball running out, looked up to see who to cross to and instead just slammed it into the far top corner. Top top player in a truly great Arsenal team.

  28. Woah. How to get an Arsenal fan excited on a quiet Sunday morning… talk of Limpar setting up Van Persie?!! Yes please. And then…. talk of the next Anders Limpar! Yogi, you’ve out done yourself.

    Happier creating for others… couldn’t agree more. He would make the archetypal Arsene Wenger midfielder today. I would like to see him play outside Super Tom Rosicky… with RVP ahead of them. Mwah!

  29. Enjoyed your post too, Mean Lean.

  30. Its been a while since I’ve visited the blog. Love the new layout

  31. Yogi,
    For those of us that are ‘newbie’ Arsenal followers, terrific post. With 124+ years of history…..maybe you would consider featuring a player or manager from the past on a weekly basis.

    There is just so much you can rehash over Samba, Parker, Cahill, Gervinho, Barton, etc…….speculative gossip; while Arsenal have so many individuals that left indelible memories for those fortunate to recall their performances in real time.

  32. agree with arsesession..
    too many blogs going over the same drivel its getting boring going over the same thing over and over again..cant believe we are being linked with barton..its getting fucking daft..
    refreshing to read something different..

  33. i have high hopes for myachi..
    i hope he gets that work permit soon..

  34. DukeG

    Dont be daft mate! Cesc is still a key player for us and you saying he wasnt really here last season doesnt add up. He got 14 assists last season, sure he didnt have his shooting boots on, but thats still a lot of goals he made.

    Barca are doing their usual machismo bravado bullshit. Unless they come up with the readies (which I doubt they will seeing as they want Rossi and Sanchez as well) they can merrily fuck off.


    Limpar was one of my fave players too, nice one dude.

  35. I fucking do hope we are not in for Joey Barton!

  36. Joey Barton is the sort of man that would take a sneaky dump in your airing cupboard whilst you were out!

    Please dont sign him, theres plenty of players with as much / more ability…

  37. Alex Ice Cream


    Sorry to be a statto but the 7-1 win v Wednesday was in 1992 – the season after we won the league. It was 1-1 at half time! One of the reasons that Anders wasn’t in the squads v Wednesday for the Cup finals is that he returned injured from international duty and GG planned to have him on the bench for the Carling Cup final. He was sold to Everton soon after that. Anders was one of the first players in the modern game to be in club v country rows and GG was not too impressed.

    Other highlights include a slalom run from inside his own half to score v Leeds in a Cup replay at Hellend Road and settling up Wrighty for 2 hat-tricks v Soton and Everton.

    On his day Anders was sensational.

  38. Yogi,
    Thank you for giving some of us (the younger ones) a feel of the past.. It excites me to learn these things and shelving aside those already boring transfer rumours.

    Please, what will be the regularity of these posts? I don’t want to miss any episode of the series.

  39. AIC,

    Sorry to be the pedantic statto to your statto but Wrighty actually got four in that game against Everton and Limpar set up all four….

    That was a great game, it was 2-2 after about 15 minutes or so and real end to end stuff although we came out strong in the second half!

    Anders scored a great goal on his home league debut against Luton as well giving us the win

    Happy days……

  40. For those who remember, Goergie Armstrong was one of the great Arsenal wingers. He was tiny, but great speed, pace and a excellent cross… ideal for the likes of Ray Kennedy and John Radford. two forwards who could head a ball and be accurate with those headers.

    Ryo Miyaichi could be the same, pace, can pass defenders with ease and can cross a ball accurately, however, we need someone in the box to convert. Chamakh, Gervinho if we get him, or Afobe if he stays.

  41. Wonderful posts….Limpar was something indeed…every single time he got the ball there was that sense of expectation. No other way to describe it really..

  42. Northbank

    Yeah, Ryo looks like he COULD turn out to be a real gem. But he won’t get a chance with Arsenal till the 2012/13 season at the earliest, which is a shae. I read somewherethat our young brazilian left sided player Pedro Botelho was going to be shipped out again to a Spanish team, even though he’s fulfilled his work permit requirements over there. Hope that turns out to be wrong, as I was looking forward to eeing him this pre-season. He can play left back and left wing.

  43. Yeah, setting up a hattrick for someone is pretty class.

  44. I really enjoyed that. Nice work Yogi.

  45. 466 – Over the last five PL seasons Cesc Fabregas has created a total of 466 goalscoring chances, more than any other player. Coveted.

    Great stat.

  46. How completely depressing watching this Pearce inspired U21 side. No guile, finesse or craft, just trying to bulldoze their way to goal.

  47. Dexter, it`s like Pearce wants a mirror image of himself on there. Doesn’t understand that a team cant handle 11 Pearces. Complete rubbish. Waste of 45mins of my time.

  48. …………………………………AIC IS STILL A PARASITE I SEE………………………………

  49. I know Maria.

    I feel for poor Jack though, missing out on this brilliant expereince; being tutored by the great coach Psycho.

  50. “Jones showed a lot of experience there, he felt the nudge and went down…” In other words, you mean he dived. Oops, sorry, English players don’t cheat do they? Sorry, how silly of me, I forgot.

  51. Aimless hoofballs from England, no suprises there. Stuart pearce should not be allowed anywhere near a football pitch in any capacity, clueless dinosaur.

  52. England lose 2-1 thank god JW wasn’t there for that horror show, Peace the clown says it`s been their best performance of the tournament. What a drip.

  53. Yes, thank f*ck JW didn’t go.

    I mean, Henderson isn’t great, and £20 million is ridiculous, but he’s actually nowhere near as bad as he’s played. It probably has a lot to do with being forced to carry the burden of that price tag and provide the creative impetus for a secong-rate team. I’m sure the extra games after a long season didn’t help either.

    We really didn’t need JW under that kind of pressure – Theo’s confidence was destroyed in similar circumstances a couple of years back.

  54. Mean Lean

    I think you’re right about that rocket ! In those days there wasn’t as many foreign players as there is now and when we signed him from Cremonese I thought he must be good !

    Standing behind the goal at Plough Lane and seeing him rip their defence to shreds was a joy to behold. Loved him to bits !

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