So here we are in the third week since the revamping of the
website, and what a good few weeks it has been. Thank you once again to
everyone who has visited us, followed us on Twitter, liked the Facebook page
and left us feedback, please continue to do so.
As for this column, in the opening two posts we have seen
quite a contrast in forgotten Gooners’ time at Arsenal. Firstly we had Kevin
Campbell, who succeeded in the Gunners youth setup before enjoying a successful
Premier League career at a whole host of clubs. And then last week we
rediscovered the tenure of Junichi Inamoto at Highbury and just what on earth
went right and wrong for the league’s debuting Japanese player.
This week I want to reintroduce you to a man who played a
pivotal in the famous 1997/98 double-winning season. In a campaign full of
stars, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, David Seaman
and so on, there were also a number of fringe players who played their part in
One of those players was, wait for it…………..Christopher
Wreh, who believe it or not was related to the great George
Weah, had already encountered Arsene Wenger in the past before rocking up at
Highbury in the summer of the 1997, having played under the Frenchman as a
youngster at Monaco.
Despite being sent out to Guingamp on loan while at the
club, Wreh still impressed Wenger enough on the international scene with
Liberia to warrant a transfer to North London.
Arsenal already had a frightening attacking threat to begin
the season, with Bergkamp, Wright and the impressive Nicolas Anelka all
jostling for a space in the starting lineup. While this strikeforce may have
seemed daunting for any blue chipper to try to force their way into, Wreh
certainly didn’t play down his own chances.
Wreh said: “When Arsenal
first tried to sign me, people at Monaco told me not to come here because they
had Bergkamp and Ian Wright, but it never bothered me… I never thought I had
anything to prove to people. In Liberia I’m a star and I trust in my own
He may have only signed for £300,000, but judging by the way
he hyped himself up, you would have thought he was a multi-million
pound signing. His fee perhaps justified his involvement for Wenger’s side that
year, as it took him until March 2008 before he pulled on the red and white
jersey and made his first appearance for the Arsenal. That match saw him score
on his full debut as they secured a vital 1-0 win at Wimbledon that sparked a
10-match unbeaten streak.
Wreh didn’t stop there when it came to netting important
goals. He got himself on the scoresheet at Bolton Wanderers to secure another
1-0 to the Arsenal result, before finding the back of net in the FA Cup
semi-final against Wolverhampton Wanderers that earned him a starting place
against Newcastle United in the competition’s conclusion at Wembley.
However, that is as good as it got for Wreh at Highbury as
he departed London that summer shortly after netting in the Charity Shield
against Manchester United, but did leave as a double winner. Wreh endured a
number of short-lived loan spells at AEK Athens, Birmingham City and Den Bosch
After doubling his waist size and spending the next sixth
months without an employer, Wreh then fancied a trip to mega-rich Saudi Arabia
where he tried his luck with Al Hilal. Just like much of his career, Wreh
failed to make an impact at his new home and was quickly shipped back to the UK
in an attempt to reignite his stuttering career.
Wreh negotiated a trial at South Coast club AFC Bournemouth
but failed to do enough to warrant a permanent deal with Cherries. The Liberian
desperately tried to kickstart his livelihood by joining Scottish First
Division outfit St Mirren. He didn’t last long, making three appearances as a
substitute, failing to score in any of them, and was constantly bogged down by
injuries. The Scots were eager to get rid of Wreh and appease their financial
woe, but move after move broke down.
Wreh, having pretty much labelled himself the footballing saviour
of the masses, then witnessed his career nose dive all the way down to the
Ryman Premier League and more specifically Bishop’s Stortford. It would be fair
to say that this modest forward didn’t enjoy himself at the club, and was
repeatedly criticised for his bad attitude by his manager, especially after
failing to turn up at one of their matches, prompting manager Martin Hayes to
“Honestly, even if he had turned up for the Enfield game I wouldn’t
have put him on the bench, never mind started him. He didn’t turn up for
training last Friday and that wasn’t the first time. I can never get hold of
him. It’s not on. I have to think of the other lads who do put in the time and
Just when you thought that Wreh couldn’t sink any further
(that wasn’t a weight gag by the way, behave!), it did. In a matter of years,
Wreh had gone from an FA Cup final at Wembley with Arsenal
to………..Buckingham Town. Yep, I have no idea either and clearly neither
did Wreh as he then decided to call it a day in 2005 and retired from football.
Wreh, like Kevin Campbell before him, went into the music industry
with Jazz band Soul Rebels. After gigging across Europe for a few years, Wreh
decided to come out of retirement and lace up his boots once more as he turned
out for Indonesian side Perseman Manokwari in the summer of 2007. The returning of
the Messiah lasted just six months however, when he displayed his top work
ethos once more and walked out on his contract.
Wreh hasn’t joined a club since and now prefers to enjoy his
jazz music, food but not so much hit football.
Here is a video of Wreh giving it the biggun while he still
had a chance as a Gooner.
And now you know!
Matt has been the editor of the site since June 2012 and was born into a Gooner family 21 years ago. He recently graduated from Southampton Solent University with a degree in Sports Journalism and strives to work in the Sports Media industry. As well as currently working as a reporter for Sports Mole and TIBS News, Matt has been providing football commentary for the visually impaired since 2008 at Arsenal, Exeter City and Wembley.
His earliest Gunners memory is watching the ‘Boring, boring Arsenal’ VHS as a six-year-old on repeat, to the extent where he could recite most of the commentary from that season. Matt was lucky enough to witness Arsenal lift the Premier League in 2002 as well as being present during the last match at Highbury in 2006, and at Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial a few months later at the Emirates Stadium. Matt’s favourite players include Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Tony Adams, with the 5-3 comeback victory against Middlesbrough in 2004 the best match he has ever spectated.
Matt is an optimistic ’In Wenger we trust’, kind of guy and believes that the glory days are not too far away…
Apart from his editorial duties, Matt will also be bringing his Arsenal knowledge to a column called “Where Are They Now?” – which focuses on former Gunners.