Roll Up, Roll Up! It’s Sleevegate Round 2
Mathieu Flamini may be making a lot of friends with his on pitch performances for Arsenal this season. However, last night’s Champions League clash saw him thrust into the limelight for the wrong reason, and Arsene Wenger made sure he knew about it.
November 27th, 2013
Before we start, one thing we have to realise about Arsenal is that they are a very traditional club. One long standing tradition that the club has is that all players wear the same length sleeves as the captain. It has been this way since before Wenger arrived at the club, and it is one he has embraced throughout his time in North London. Whilst it may seem a trivial matter to most (I mean, what does it really matter what length sleeves the players wear?) to most Arsenal fans, it shows a deep disrespect for their club and its history. Not only that, but the first time he did it, it was on his Remembrance Day shirt. The fact that because of ‘sleevegate’ his shirt has raised more money than anyone else’s at auction, seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Arsene Wenger certainly didn’t see Flamini’s point of view, with the Arsenal boss giving his midfielder a severe public dressing down, stating: “Yes, I do not like that and he will not do that again. I was surprised and we don’t want that.”
Flamini responded with: “I have played at the top level for ten years, I like to wear short sleeves and that’s what I like to do.” To a certain extent, I can see Flamini’s point of view. At the end of the day, he is paid a lot of money to play football, and help his team win games. He is not paid a lot of money to wear a long sleeved shirt. I’m pretty sure the Arsenal fans would be apoplectic if he was wearing a long sleeved shirt but playing badly, costing the team wins as they look to win a first trophy in 9 years.
However I can also see the other side of the story. Your normal office worker can’t just decide they’re not going to wear a suit because it’s not comfortable. Its company policy, and therefore it’s adhered to. This is Arsenal’s policy, and therefore Flamini should abide by it.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, on a night where they should have been celebrating a good win and virtually guaranteeing their place in the knock out stage, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Sleevegate. Flamini is not one to back down, he is as head strong as the next person. However how far does Wenger take the punishment? Does he drop him from the team, possibly costing them valuable points, all because he won’t wear a certain length of sleeve? Or does it show a complete lack of respect for the club and management that cannot be tolerated? Only time will tell what Flamini’s fate will be.