“Every human being must be viewed according to what it is good for. For not one of us, no, not one, is perfect. And were we to love none who had imperfection, this world would be a desert for our love. ” Thomas Jefferson.
One day when Oliver was still un petit garcon, he looked to the heavens and asked: “God will I become a world class footballer?” He was on his own in one of those fine summer meadows on the fringes of Chambery, where he was born. He had a real shock when the Divinity responded instantly and said: “Ollie, you will one day play at the home of football and play football as it should be played: full on attacking football that makes 60000 fans go ooh and aah and ohlala”. “So I will be a star then, dear God, and be loved by all the fans?” “Eventually my son, eventually you will.”
It is fair to say that Giroud has had his critics, and he still has them. A beast in the air, and a left foot that has both power and feeling was not enough to win over all the fans. He also offered passion and energy and was a true team player; happy to play with his back to the goal and bring others in to the game and create space for them, Ollie made things happen for the team and himself. But like almost every footballer, Giroud had one or two imperfections.
He was no Van Persie who had most of what Giroud had but was also fast and could take on defenders with the ball at his feet. And it was that lack of speed that stood out negatively and made some fans believe his was not good enough for the shirt. Well, he survived 5.5 season and he scored many good and important goals for us: 105 goals in 253 games is a fine return on its own. But Giroud’s role was much more than scoring goals. He was asked to play with his back towards goal and function as an attacking hub, bringing in others, creating space for fellow attackers and midfielders and give everyone a pivot in attack to aim at. With Giroud on the pitch there was a plan and structure to our attack and we know we had a fighter up there who defended the shirt with all he got, whether we played at home or away.
And all that effort was not only rewarded by a good goal-return per game; it also led to some of the most memorable goals of the last decade (some scored for France):
I know he is not as good as Thierry, Van Basten, RvP, Drogba etc etc, but I salute a man who gives everything and squeezes every bit of talent he has into his performances on the pitch. And that’s what Oliver Giroud did in each and every game. For me, he should never have left and retire at the club… but it was not to be.
All the best, Ollie G, and thanks for the great goals, assists and pre-assists and never-say-die-attitude! You were a true Gunner!