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George Graham
Gender Male
Ethnic Scottish
Job Scottish Footballer
  Scottish Football Manager
Desc Before he was a dictatorial manager, George Graham dictated matters in the Arsenal midfield. The Scotsman was tough but could play too. After hanging up his boots, he became the first man to win the league with Arsenal as both a player and a manager


Org Scotland National Team
Club as Player Arsenal FC

1999 01 04 Retrieve

[George Graham after Spurs beat Watford 5-2 in the FA Cup] That’s nine goals we’ve scored in the last two home games so you can see I’m trying to change my image and put a bit of excitement into our side. But if you believe that, you’ll believe anything

1999 01 04b Retrieve

[George Graham, after the same game, pays tribute to his defenders] I’ve got three top class strikers but I wish I could say the same about the players at the back

2016 11 18 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal midfielder and manager George Graham does not believe Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United can challenge for the Premier League title] I don’t see United in the title race, even if they get a result on Saturday. A few weeks ago there was talk of United and Everton being added to the mix, but from what I’ve seen I think it will be a tall order this season. Even if Arsenal win at Old Trafford, Arsene won’t get carried away because there will be a lot of jockeying for positions going on for months to come. It is going to be nip-and-tuck this season. For me it is between Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. They will all go on a run of good results and then have a hiccup. It is good for the Premier League, but not for United

Arsenal will rightly start as favourites. They’ve not lost since the opening day of the season, are scoring plenty of goals and look to have tightened up at the back. They’ve been on a good run and deserve to go top if they win. They look much more physically and mentally strong this season than they have over the past few seasons. Manchester United are still a team in progress. Jose Mourinho is an absolutely outstanding manager but I don’t think he knows his best side yet, or at least he hasn’t got it on the pitch. I’m not sure United’s Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have got going yet in the same way that Arsenal’s summer signings Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi have done

Mourinho has a great record against Arsenal and has got under their skin a bit. He is a very clever tactician and I’m sure he will have something up his sleeve to win the game. But it is on the pitch where it is going to count and I think Arsenal will be too strong. That does not mean that there will not be more intensity, though. There is some history between the two clubs and the two managers, but there are other teams emerging - City, Liverpool and Chelsea. So I don’t think it is a bad thing. It is so good for the Premier League. I am so excited with the games I’ve seen and those still to come

[A win for Arsene Wenger’s side on Saturday would see them move seven points ahead of United, but Graham is fearful of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in the race for the title] Arsenal have got a very strong squad. I don’t know what their best team is because they change it so much, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Arsene has faith in more than just his starting 11 and that has not always been the case. It is important because there will be times when injuries and suspensions will take hold and that has been a problem in the past. Despite a positive start to the campaign, I don’t think it means they’ve got a better chance than last season, for instance. Arsenal are a better outfit, but the competition is stronger than it has ever been. The teams I mentioned will all have a go. It is not going to be easy

2019 04 04 Retrieve

[Ozil told he lacks attitude to go with ability by former Arsenal boss] When I was a manager, I probably would have bought [Patrick] Vieira and [Emmanuel] Petit the other side and put Ozil in the middle. He’s a real quality player in possession. There’s no question about it. If they can just get him working a bit harder without possession, they’ve got a fantastic player.

The modern game now you have to play when you’ve got the ball and you play when you haven’t got the ball. This is the modern way. He’s just got to work a lot harder with the attitude as well as the physical side of the game.

He’s never going to fly into tackles like Graeme Souness, who was excellent on the ball but was tough without it. Nobody expects Ozil to do that, but they do expect him, when they lose the ball, to get back into the shape the team is playing

The clubs usually, with two years to go on the contract, sit down and start talking. Then you have an indication of whether the player is going to stay or go. Obviously, they’ve made a big mistake I think in letting Ramsey go. He’s a quality player, especially in an attacking sense. He’s not the best in midfield winning the ball back for you but he gets goals and is a great player going forward, not necessarily defending

2019 06 01 Retrieve

[Arsenal need to find themselves a £70 million version of Virgil van Dijk] They’ve got goals in the team and they’ve proved that this year, the way they’ve scored goals. But they’ve also conceded. I see other teams like Liverpool, buying Virgil van Dijk for £70 million. I think if they can do it, can Arsenal do it. They need that type of quality.

[While the Gunners will be without Champions League football for a third successive season in 2019-20, and in need of another refresh, Graham sees signs of encouragement] For me, I think it’s been a good season. If they’d have won the Europa League it would have been very good. The top six was a possibility, and they got that, but to be in the top four would have been an excellent season. They just missed out on that and when you see some of the games you can understand why. I’ve been there when I’ve seen them play well, against Chelsea at home, Manchester United at home, so I’ve seen them perform well. Now they’ve got to do that regularly, which is the problem. From what I’m hearing, he’s [Emery] doing a lot of work on the training pitch. I just think that the last few years the team have been struggling.

[Wenger walked away from Arsenal last summer after 22 years at the helm and Graham concedes that whoever inherited the reins was always going to find it difficult stepping into those shoes and delivering an immediate impact] When Arsene left, whoever was going to take over, they had a big job. And it’s still a big job. There’s a lot to be done at the club.

2019 09 30 Retrieve

[George Graham says Neither Arsenal nor Man Utd will be challengers until at least 2022] I can’t see either challenging at the top for three seasons at least. Even the top four will be tough for them right now. When standards slip, it’s hard to raise them again, and Liverpool and Manchester City aren’t going anywhere.

People talk about a lack of leaders and they have a point, particularly at centre-half. Think about Tony Adams, John Terry, Vincent Kompany, Virgil van Dijk. Every Arsenal supporter wants a defender like that. United have been looking for years. They’ve signed Harry Maguire and hope he’s the answer. But that’s the word: ‘hoping’.

United are under greater pressure because expectations there are higher, both for results and the style of play. It could be a good time for Arsenal to play them.

United will have money to spend. Arsenal will struggle to find the same money. Emery will have to try and improve the players he’s got. For both him and Solskjaer, it’s a waiting game. It may be the top fixture again one day. But I can’t see it happening soon.

Emery isn’t afraid to make decisions. If he thinks Mesut Ozil should come off, he’s off. I like that, it’s the job. I sold Charlie Nicholas who had done his stretch. If the team is struggling, make a decision and if you upset anyone, so what? I’m told the passion is back at the training ground, which is good. But you do need quality as well. There’s not many in the current Arsenal team I’d have taken. The forward line is clearly the strongest part of their team.

2020 03 05 Retrieve

[Former Tottenham manager George Graham warns players must learn to deal with abuse after Dier clash with Tottenham fan] I didn’t see it as I didn’t see the game. But it was well-documented in the papers. I can understand one side of it and I can understand another. We don’t want that to happen again. I think he will be punished. I can understand why he did it. The players have to be able to handle it. Talented players, young players in the first team, now aged 17 or 18 years old - they have a lot of responsibility. And they have to learn quicker than we did in the past. There have always been occasions like this. That was a surprise as he looks a very calm, controlled player.