20 Iconic Arsenal Players and the Fan Chants They Earned

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2013

20 Iconic Arsenal Players and the Fan Chants They Earned

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    Having the fans create a chant in your honour is the ultimate sign of affection for any Premier League player.

    When the supporters sing your name, it means you've been truly accepted. Fans only tend to serenade the great and good of their club.

    Down the years, some extraordinary footballers have graced Highbury and latterly the Emirates Stadium, and many of them have earned memorable songs.

    Over the next 20 slides, we identify some of Arsenal's most iconic players, and the chants that accompanied their time in North London.

Patrick Vieira: "He Comes from Senegal..."

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    Patrick Vieira's fan chant told a very simple story: "He comes from Senegal, he plays for Arsenal."

    No more was required: Vieira's dominating performances on the pitch spoke for themselves.

    The former Gunners skipper will surely be remembered as one of the greatest midfielders to ever wear the Arsenal shirt. 

Dennis Bergkamp: "Walking in a Bergkamp Wonderland..."

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    From the minute Dennis Bergkamp signed for Arsenal in 1995, Gunners fans felt as if they were walking in a Bergkamp wonderland.

    His signing provoked a huge change in fortunes at the club. In his first season, Arsenal qualified for continental football. In his second, he was joined by Arsene Wenger, and the rest is history.

    Arsenal fans now sing this song in celebration of their new No. 10, Jack Wilshere. Wilshere will hope he can get close to emulating Bergkamp's amazing achievements at Arsenal.

"Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry..."

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    Thierry Henry's chant didn't require complicated lyrics. His name alone was enough to stir pride in the Arsenal faithful.

    This best-loved of Arsenal players had a special connection with the fans. That unique relationship became particularly evident when he returned to the club for a brief but successful loan spell in January 2012. 

Sol Campbell: "Sol's a Gooner..."

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    Having pinched Sol Campbell from Tottenham on a Bosman free, Arsenal fans delighted in reminding their neighbours that Campbell was now "a Gooner."

    After joining the club in the summer of 2001, Campbell claimed a domestic double in his first season, before going on to be the defensive rock of Arsene Wenger's "Invincibles" in 2004.

    His association with Spurs is now almost forgotten.  

"Ian Wright, Wright Wright..."

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    Arsenal fans burst into this song every time Ian Wright hit the Highbury net. It's fair to say it was heard fairly often.

    Wright overtook Cliff Bastin to become Arsenal's record goalscorer before later being superseded by Thierry Henry. Nevertheless, Wright is remembered fondly both for his exuberance off the pitch and his excellence on it. 

Tony Adams: "There's Only One Tony Adams..."

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    Truly, there is only one Tony Adams.

    Adams' dedication to the Gunners earned him the sobriquet "Mr. Arsenal." The centre-half broke into the Arsenal team as a teenager, and never played for another club, racking up 22 years and more than 500 appearances in red and white.

    Arsenal fans may never witness such loyalty again.  

"Super Robert Pires..."

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    Arsenal fans could be forgiven for speculating that "super" Robert Pires might have powers beyond human comprehension.

    The Frenchman was capable of producing supernatural moments of skill. His breathtaking lob of Peter Schmeichel at Villa Park in 2002 is one of the most memorable moments in a fantastic Arsenal career.

    Pires' name is still sung with affection by the Arsenal supporters. They'll never forget his gallic swagger and glorious goals. 

Freddie Ljungberg: "We Love You Freddie..."

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    Freddie Ljungberg's chant was as unique as his hairstyle.

    Frankie Valli's 1967 hit "Can't take my eyes off you" was adapted with the following lyrics:

    We love you Freddie,
    Because you've got red hair!
    We love you Freddie,
    Because you're everywhere!
    We love you Freddie,
    Because you're Arsenal through and through!

    Ljungberg's crimson locks and crucial goals made him a permanent hero among the Arsenal fans.  

David Rocastle: "Oh Rocky Rocky..."

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    David Rocastle came through the youth system at Arsenal and was beloved of all Arsenal fans.

    Sadly, Rocastle passed away in March 2001 after a short illness.

    The clip above is from the match with Reading in March 2013. To mark 12 years since Rocastle's death, Arsenal fans planned to chant for the first seven minutesan allusion to Rocastle's preferred shirt number.

    However, the chant ended up going on for far longer as Arsenal fans paid their respects in full voice. 

Emmanuel Petit: "He's Blond, He's Quick..."

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    Emmanuel Petit was best known as Patrick Vieira's pony-tailed partner.

    Arsenal fans chose to immortalise him with this chant.

    At first glance, it might seem odd, as Petit was certainly never known for his speed. He certainly wasn't "quick."

    However, the adjective is used with a touch of poetic license in order to ensure a rhyme with hallowed final line:

    "His name's a porno flick: Emmanuel, Emmanuel."

    This is certainly one of the Arsenal fans' more creative efforts. 

Theo Walcott: "He's an Englishman at Arsenal..."

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    Theo Walcott has become emblematic of the recent upsurge in British talent operating at Arsenal.

    However, when he first arrived at Arsenal in 2006, his Englishness made him unique. That's why Arsenal fans chose to adapt the Sting song "Englishman in New York" to herald Walcott as an "Englishman at Arsenal." 

"No. 1 Is Perry Groves..."

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    Arsenal fans took to the work-rate and determination of Perry Groves so strongly that they decided to imagine an entire team made up almost entirely of replicas of the cult hero.

    The one exception is Liam Brady. In the song, the Irishman retains his hallowed No. 7 shirt alongside a veritable army of Perry Groves'. 

Steve Bould: "He's Got No Hair but We Don't Care..."

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    Steve Bould, you may have noticed, has no hair.

    Arsenal supporters, you will be aware, do not care.

    That's the basis for this humorous chant from the Gunners fans, celebrating Bould's iconic bald pate. Since Bould was appointed as Arsene Wenger's assistant manager in 2012, this song has enjoyed something of a renaissance. 

"Ooh-Aah Ray Parlour!"

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    This chant was as rowdy and rambunctious as Ray Parlour's midfield performances.

    When Arsene Wenger arrived at Arsenal in 1996, few predicted that Parlour would find a place in the Frenchman's plans.

    However, Parlour showed real grit to fight for his first-team spot, seeing off competition from a host of new signings to become a stalwart of Wenger's squad. 


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    The cry of "Kanu" was less a chant and more an audible salute.

    Whenever the Nigerian forward pulled off an improbable piece of skill, he was met with the booming sound of his name reverberating around Highbury.

    To an outsider, it might have sounded like a "boo." However, Arsenal fans would never publicly denigrate a player they grew to love.  

"We've Got Cesc Fabregas!"

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    When Cesc Fabregas was strutting his stuff at the heart of their midfield, Arsenal fans were quick to remind opposition supporters that the Spanish genius was all theirs.

    Sadly, Arsenal no longer have Cesc Fabregas. Gunners fans hold out hope that one day the prodigal son will return, and this chant will be heard at the Emirates Stadium once more. 

David Seaman: "Seaman Seaman Seaman..."

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    David Seaman was voted the greatest goalkeeper in Arsenal's history. When you consider that he has competition from the likes of Bob Wilson and Pat Jennings, that is some achievement.

    His commanding performances were accompanied by this mantra-like chant throughout his time with the Gunners.

    When Seaman was eventually succeeded by Jens Lehmann, Arsenal fans gleefully adapted the chant to fit the German's name. For Lehmann, it was the ultimate compliment. 

Martin Keown: "There's Only One Keown!"

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    They don't make them like they used to.

    Martin Keown was the last of his species. He was an old-fashioned centre-half who adapted to the pace and technical requirements of modern football. Keown was athletic and aggressive but also an intelligent defender with immaculate reading of the game.

    There may only be "one Keown," but Arsenal fans could be forgiven for wishing there were plenty more ready to pull on the red and white shirt.

Emmanuel Eboue: "You've Only Come to See Eboue!"

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    Emmanuel Eboue was always something of a divisive figure at Arsenal.

    Although his antics often incurred the wrath of the home crowd, he eventually developed a significant cult following. In his final season with the club, Arsenal fans would regularly taunt the opposition with cries of, "You've only come to see Eboue".

    Eboue's theatrics were often worth the admission price alone. 

"Doo Doo Doo Doo, Kolo Toure..."

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    When Kolo Toure took to the field for Arsenal, there was an infectious joy about the way he played the game. He stormed forward without fear or inhibition.

    This chant was similarly infectious. As Toure's popularity grew, so did the volume with which this song was sung.

    By the time Arsenal clinched the 2004 Premier League title, Highbury shook to the sound of 38,000 fans singing Toure's name.


    What's your favourite player chant in Arsenal's history? Let us know below.