Continuing the series looking at players who appeared for both Arsenal and Chelsea. This time considering some players who appeared first for Chelsea before switching their allegiance to Arsenal.
Although George Graham is indelibly associated with Arsenal, that is not where the Scot started his career. His youth career started with Aston Villa and he made a handful of senior appearances for them, before moving south to join Chelsea.
In those days he was a forward and under manager Tommy Docherty, formed part of a youthful side that won the League Cup in 1965. However, Graham who scored 35 goals in 72 league games for the club fell out with Docherty, along with a number of others, and in 1966 he moved to Arsenal for £50,000 plus Tommy Baldwin in part exchange.
He began his Highbury career as a centre-forward, but then was converted into an attacking midfielder, becoming a regular under manager Bertie Mee. He was part of the Arsenal side that ended their 17-year trophy drought by winning the European Fairs Cup in 11970, and a year later helped win a League and Cup double.
He later played for Manchester United, Portsmouth and Crystal Palace but was unable to replicate the success he enjoyed at Arsenal.
In 1986 he returned to Arsenal as manager, enjoying considerable success, built on his back four, and high pressing style. H won the league cup, two league titles, an FA Cup, and the European Cup Winners Cup with the Gunners, but his career with them ended in disgrace. He was sacked after being found guilty of taking a “bung” as part of a transfer fee.
William Gallas, who played 84 times for France, was signed from Ligue 1 side Marseille by Chelsea in 2001, and he would go on to make 225 appearances for them in all competitions. He was a key part of the side that won back-to-back Premier League titles in Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge at the club, and also won the League Cup during his time in West London.
But he left the club in acrimonious circumstances, after he was included as part of the deal that brought Ashley Cole to Chelsea rom Arsenal. Chelsea claimed that he had threatened to score own goals if he was not allowed to leave, whilst Gallas accused them of lying and a lack of class.
Gallas signed a four-year contract with the Gunners, and after a year was made captain, a controversial appointment with both team-mates and fans as the job was expected to go to Gilberto Silva, part of “The Invincibles”.
And he attracted a storm of criticism after he sat down in protest at the end of a match with Birmingham City, accused of a lack of leadership and setting a poor example.
Never popular with the Arsenal fans, he left the club after talks over a new deal failed because of his exaggerated wage demands.
And, to make matters worse, he joined Tottenham, becoming the first player to have appeared for all three London clubs.
Yossi Benayoun was an Israeli international midfielder who played for a number of clubs including West Ham. Liverpool, and Racing Santander. In 2010 he signed for Chelsea for a fee of £5.5 million, agreeing a three year deal with them, but soon after arriving, ruptured his Achilles and missed much of his first season at Stamford Bridge.
The following season he went on loan to Arsenal, helping them finish third in the table, and scoring several crucial goals during the run-in. which helped them pip deadly rivals Tottenham in the end of season reckoning.
Despite that, there was no option to buy, and instead he moved on to West Ham on loan, before moving back to Wets London, this time with Queens Park Rangers. Before ending his career back in Israeli football.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.