Arsenal, Sunderland and “that thug Cana”


How’s your Albanian? The applause when Arsenal was mentioned, during Lorik Cana’s recent TV question-and-answer session back in Kosovo, was a little worrying for those of us who seriously rate him. Add a touch of discipline, and much greater consistency, to his unrivalled passion and strength and you’d have another Patrick Vieira at the peak of his powers. Unfortunately, Arsène Wenger may feel the same way …

How long will Gooner memories be if speculation about Lorik Cana and renewed interest on the part of Arsène Wenger turns out to be true, and leads to an attempt to lure our captain to the Emirates stadium?

Salut! Sunderland readers will remember the abuse heaped on our captain by Arsenal fans visiting this site at different points of last season.

Whether it was after our totally genuine sympathy for Aaron Ramsey, or when we poked fun at the diving skills of Eduardo, we seemed to find it very easy to wind up Gooners without really trying.

“Maybe you need to re-address this and start looking closer to home like your own thug of a footballer Cana,” said “Briggsy”, who actually turned out in subsequent postings to be a very thoughtful contributor (he’s also a qualified ref!).

Okayplayer had no time for niceties: “How conveniently you forget the two footed challange by Lorik Cana. We’ve lost 3 players to these kind of challanges. Enough is enough, we do not want your sympathy or well wishes. Go f*** yourself!”

And again, from dsgoon: “lorik cana’s challenge was a f***ing disgrace for which he should have been sent off.”

But hang on, my Arsenal friends (yes, I do have some). Don’t I somehow remember that Wenger is a long-established admirer of Cana’s? But for some incompetence – at Highbury? – over entry clearance, wasn’t a younger Lorik about to join the Gooners when he was quite a bit younger and learning his trade, and another of his many languages, in Geneva and Paris?

So what will Briggsy, okayplayer and dsgoon have to say if reports of Wenger’s renewed interest have any basis in truth? “That’s all right, he’ll be our thug now!” may be the answer to my question.

And is there any truth in the speculation in any case? Let me know if you understand what he’s saying in the above clip. Arsenal certainly gets a couple of mentions, and the responses are warmly applauded. Let’s hope they were along the lines of: “Very flattering but I’m much happier as skipper of Sunderland and exploring Hadrian’s Wall. There’s nowt to do in the Smoke anyway.”

All I completely understood was that he was rooting for Brazil in the World Cup.

The Tribal Football site, quoting the N**c**tl* Journal, says SAFC are taking it calmly, and Salut! Sunderland readers will be aware of my own caution about ALL pre-season transfer talk.

From Tribal Football again (via The Journal again?), we also hear more about that TV clip:

“The claims were given some credence because they originated from a talk-in given by Cana at the American University in his native Kosovo a few weeks ago – and were backed up by YouTube footage of him in a question-and-answer session. But Cana’s reference to ‘talks’ with Wenger was merely an acknowledgement of a relationship that has roots long before he signed for Sunderland.”

Salut! Sunderland is indebited to two Arsenal supporters, “arseenal-as” and “jasm”, who have posted comments (see below) with the following translation of Cana’s words:


I have two years with Sunderland. I have promised them for two years. After one year we will talk again. I have spoken often with Venger.

We’ll see. I don’t want it to happen, but would relish the stream of about-turns we’d soon witness from the direction of London N1 and N5.

Colin Randall

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19 thoughts on “Arsenal, Sunderland and “that thug Cana””

  1. Good post, Matthew. I suspect every fan senses a national media campaign when one of their own is strongly criticised. there is a blame-the-press-for-everything mentality in football as in most other things. In Eduardo’s case, it was a player who had rightly received enormous sympathy after his terrible injury (leading, Birmingham fans would say, to a national media campaign against Taylor, who in my view was simply the target of deserved condemnation). Eduardo was then criticised in turn for what most neutral and some Arsenal supporters considered a disgraceful dive (let’s simply disregard the ludicrous Uefa fudge). I think he learnt from it; I well remember him seeming to go out of his way to fall down outside the box in an incident in last season’s SoL game.
    In my view N’Gog’s dive was far, far worse. But it was later. Eduardo’s was just the first really bad one of the season and its memory stuck. Tough on him, but if any small way it helped eradicate diving and all the other forms of cheating identified if my original piece, that toughness would be an acceptable price. Unfortunately, it won’t. It will take more than one player’s uncomfortable spell of media scrutiny to rid the game of appalling deceit..

  2. Arse Fan here. Vilification of Eduardo hit a nerve because of the national media campaign against him which doesn’t apply to many other players in the EPL with balance issues…..As for Cana, he’s a very good player, but not mobile enough for what arsenal need at the moment. We followed him for a long time, and if Song hadn’t emerged we probably would have made a bid last year, but I think you’re safe on that front now. Also Wenger and Steve Bruce have a long standing good relationship, so it would be out of character. On the whole there is no bad blood with Sunderland who play a committed but on the whole fair style of football (despite the occasional efforts of cattermole and Cana who are over-zealous at times). Actually re Cana, he seems to have calmed down since his early days in france where he put in some brutal tackles…

  3. Me, Briggsy? Never. Or Arsenal. Which is why I was surprised at this colin character using rhyming slang (James Hunt). I’d expect that from a West Ham fan, not a Gunner.

  4. LOL @ Bill, I made sore I gave you guys the correct name its annoy but how often do you call Chelsea and Fulham Cockneys???

  5. I am from Kosovo ; What he said in the video:

    i have two years with Sunderland
    I have promised them for two years
    after one year we will talk again
    I have spoken often with Venger

  6. At the request of mental health groups, we have agreed to let “colin”‘s comments stand. They were concerned that his self-esteem might otherwise be impaired.

    James took the words out of my mouth, Briggsy – I knew he couldn’t be referring to you.

  7. James, My comments are never disrespectfull, I always comment as I find, I’ve been to the SoL a couple of times and the mackems are always good fun and appreciate Arsenal’s way of football, The thing what got my goat up was the attack on Eduardo, As you can see even the Salut admin had pointed that out.
    as for the offer of who am I? thingy me bob my email is on all the replies I have posted get in touch 🙂

  8. I’m a South Yorkshire-based Arsenal fan – I have been since 1972. I remember Sunderland beating Arsenal 2-1 at Hillsborough in 1973, and deservedly so. A good 10min clip on YouTube.co.uk
    Lorik Cana is an aggressive, passionate and no-nonsense player, and who is also an extremely purposeful player. I wish Diaby, Song or Denilson had that level of power and commitment.
    Arsenal had been linked with him, but nothing ever came out from Wenger about how keen Arsenal actually were to sign him, or indeed if they were keen at all.

    Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but there are some fans on blogs who are totally disrespectful and a complete waste of time.

    Good luck for next season. Hopefully you can take more points of Man Utd.

  9. Welcome back Briggsy! You are talking yourself into a reward-in-heaven job at Salut! Sunderland next season – maybe we can get you to do the Who are You? Q&A before Arsenal v Sunderland or Sunderland v Arsenal …

  10. we was linked to Cana a couple of years ago, and it was mentioned about his lack of discipline. I recall someone saying he had be sent off 4 times in one season!!
    why the hell would you pay for a player who gets sent of 4 times a season???? he’d miss 10 games for that for if you tally up all the bans. never been kean on him to be honest and wouldn’t want him. We have chants of same old Arsenal always cheating despite our fair play ranking imagine if Cana came here. No thanks you can keep him

  11. Yes, I realised a minute or two ago that I was wrong on N1/N5 – and immediately corrected it – though N1 has plenty of Arsenal conenctions.

    There has been NO “xenophobic stuff” here; we are against cheating whether it’s Eduardo, Gerrard , Rooney, N’Gog or, for that matter, any Sunderland player who ruins the game of football by feigning injury, diving, pulling opponents’ shirts,wilfulling obstructing opponents at corners etc. .. Eduardo’s misfortune was to make his rather spectacular dive very early in the season and the name therefore suited the question we posed about cheating each week to rival supporters.

    As for the jibe about hits, it seems perfectly reasonable to use Arsenal in the headline above a piece that is, to a large degree, about Arsenal.

    The challenge on Ramsey was shocking and your player received full sympathy hear, a fact some of the more level-headed and fair-minded Gooner visitors to Salut! Sunderland were willing to acknowledge.

  12. What he said in the video:

    i have two years with Sunderland
    I have promised them for two years
    after one year we will talk again
    I have spoken often with Venger

  13. First of all Arsenal is in N5 not N1.Obviously you must have needed 10 x as many hits as normal just by mentioning Arsenal on your site.Just a quick question as I seldom read your site , How many times do you poke fun at Rooney and Gerards constant diving or is it just the usual English xenophobic stuff taht nearly drove Eduardo from this country.Going back to that incident I find it very worrying that more coverage was given to that than when he had his leg/ankle dislocated from a assault by an ‘honest’ English player.the press in this country are idiots and drive to drive away our best players like Cesc this season.Also reagrding the Ramsey assault also I never read in one newspaper that Shawcross had any previous but did raed in all the papers that he was a good ‘honest’player.What a shocker !!!!!!!

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