Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughA look at former Arsenal man Kenny Sansom - a fine fullback, a fine man - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough A look at former Arsenal man Kenny Sansom - a fine fullback, a fine man - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

A look at former Arsenal man Kenny Sansom – a fine fullback, a fine man

With the recent news of Kenny Sansom being found homeless after struggling to fight his demons, it left me saddened, so I thought I’d have a look at his exceptional career for both club and country.

If you don’t know about the situation, Sansom was discovered to be sleeping rough on a park bench after leaving his lodgings with his sister and has continued to struggle with his addictions to gambling and alcohol that had manifested during his playing career. He was then admitted to a hotel room, funded by the Player’s Union and is now under counselling guidance by the PFA, and credit where credit is due, they have acted swiftly and seem happy to support former players long after they have retired. I think that was a well deserved side-note aimed at the PFA – kudos.

With over six hundred career appearances spanning over eight clubs, one of them being Arsenal, it means the story is far more poignant in contrast to others on the outside. With a debut for Crystal Palace at the age of sixteen in 1975 and being apart of the Palace team that lifted the FA Youth Cup two years later, things were looking good from an early age for Kenny. It led to an International call up in May of 1979 against Wales and then on was regarded as one of England’s best left backs. I’d say a close second behind Ashley Cole, who surpassed Sansom’s international caps record, not bad, ‘ey?

A year later he was snapped up by Arsenal in a swap deal that saw Clive Allen go to the Eagles and Sansom join the north London team. For a fee of one millon pounds on top of the deal as well, it was well worth it as he became integral for Arsenal. He was virtually ever present for them for about eight years, and won his only major honour in 1987, a year before he left to pave the way for Nigel Winterburn under then manager, George Graham, Sansom featured three hundred and ninety four times for Arsenal. He then became somewhat of a journey man and played for Newcastle, QPR, Coventry, Everton, Brentford and Watford before retiring the year I was born, 1995.

There seems to be an influx of players that struggle with alcohol and vices that played in that era at Arsenal, including Paul Merson and Tony Adams. Also, your more prolific ones such as George Best and Paul Gascoigne, who still struggles to this day. I suppose that was the culture during those days, especially in major cities where majority of suffering footballers played. Both Arsenal and other professionals have vowed to help Sansom as much as possible, one of them being his former manager George Graham airing his support to his ex-player. I thought a quick glimpse of his career was needed so the people who didn’t know about him didn’t judge him purely on his current state. He was a model professional who had evident ability to go with it. I wish him all the best, too.