Mat Ryan’s surprise loan switch from Brighton to Arsenal is a move that has been regarded as a smart move by many sections of the Arsenal fanbase. The deal, kept even more tight lipped than Sol Campbell’s has been one Arsenal fans have been crying out for.
One group of people were ecstatic about the transfer though, and that was Australians. Ryan, currently the Socceroos’ number one, is now arguably the most famous Australian footballer since the days of Kewell, Cahill and Viduka.
The last Australian to play for Arsenal was goal-machine John Kosmina (who is coincidentally from my home town) back in 1978. Since then, nada. Arsenal Women have seemingly gone for the Down Under approach, signing several Aussies from our national league, as well as appointing an Australian coach.
For me, this ticks all the boxes. Arsenal needed an upgrade on their back-up goalkeeper role as Runarsson doesn’t seem to be up to the task. He’s someone with bucketloads of Premier League experience. Ryan has proved to be a very competent goalkeeper that should keep Leno on his toes.
He’s someone who shouldn’t command high wages, and the club wouldn’t have had to pay much in terms of loan fees considering Ryan’s situation at Brighton. It’s a good move for all parties.
What really makes me happy about the transfer is the emotional connection. Obviously, as an Australian, it’s great to see Ryan sign (albeit on loan) for the club that I support. It’s been something I’ve been desperate to see for years now.
What endeared me even more to this move (which I didn’t know was even possible), is the fact that Ryan is a lifelong Arsenal fan. Listening to his first interview as a Gunner, one thing stood out to me.
“All those mornings as a young kid in Australia, getting up to watch the Champions League games and all that at four o’clock in the morning when I had school and these types of things,” Ryan told the official Arsenal website.
“The support back in the Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp days, all these sorts of things, to now be here fills me with a great sense of pride and achievement.”
That is so heartwarming to me. As someone who has lamented about kick-off times at length, but still woke up to watch the games, this really resonates with me and made me accept these times just that bit more.
It just feels nice to finally have an Australian at Arsenal. It’s doubly so considering Ryan is an Arsenal fan. To have an Aussie Gooner at the club is really special to me and so many others across the country.
I know you aren’t supposed to get attached to loanees, but the announcement of Maty’s arrival had me physically shaking. He doesn’t have to play a minute of football to be one of my favourite players of club.
Mat Ryan has made so many people across Australia interested in Brighton over the past three years. Now, because of him, Arsenal supporters clubs across the country will have a few more members.
(Featured Image Via arsenal.com)