Wow, this one really has split the fanbase. Some say Gallas should be stripped of the captaincy, others defend him, and based on the comments there is some considerable misinterpretation of what is and isn’t being said. So here’s my feelings on the matter, in concise form:
- Gallas the player and Gallas the captain are two different entities. Henry was awesome as the former, terrible as the latter, and while Gallas has not showed the same level of playing ability, his lack of captaincy skills does not mean he should be written off as a player. Likewise, if he loses the captaincy and feels he cannot continue to give his all, he is not a professional. That he is one of our few centre backs should not protect him and his position as captain of the football club. (This is in direct answer to the comments that suggested he should retain the captaincy because he is one of our best defenders)
- Whether or not he is speaking the truth, to mouth off to the media like this is unprofessional, unacceptable and unbecoming of an Arsenal captain. I have no doubt that what he says is true – that there are a clash of egos in the dressing room and that there have been disagreements. That’s natural, but all clubs, and all captains, keep it behind closed doors. That is his mistake, and it isn’t the first time.
- Gallas is not the cause of all our problems. We have a few issues within the squad, and a lack of leadership is but one of them. Leadership comes from the captain, and from other inspiring members of the team. We lack both. Last season Flamini ran around like a madman, and anyone who has played football knows that when you are alongside such a player, you are inspired to join in. We lack that.
- Gallas is, however, responsible for some of our problems. A captain cannot complain about a lack of unity when it is his job to unite. A captain cannot complain about receiving no respect when his actions do not demand any. We have had great captains in the past, and that is showing him up badly.
- On the playing field, we must support Gallas. This goes for everyone, but I would hate to see the man booed on Saturday. It helps no-one.
Overall, I am disgusted with his actions, and given this is far from his first transgression I would now advocate that he is removed as captain. However, I don’t believe this will happen, because I think Wenger knows Gallas is not professional enough (in the way that Gilberto was, for example) to give his all without the armband. Instead, I predict that he will be phased out towards the end of the season and move on in the summer.
And maybe that would be best for everyone.