April 19 2014 Latest news:

Latest London news, sport & entertainment

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 9°C

Five-day forecast

Like many other Arsenal fans, I would like to extend my best wishes to Pat Rice and his family at this difficult time.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

As has been widely reported, he has recently undergone hospital treatment for cancer.

An Arsenal man through and through, Pat has been a part of Arsenal in different ways for Gooners of all ages.

For the older mob he was a fearless right-back whose tough tackling would send shivers down the spines of today’s footballers.

For those more familiar with the modern-day Arsenal, Pat is part of the team which brought unparalleled success to the streets of Islington.

Some would like us to believe that during his time as Arsene Wenger’s number two he did little more than put out and pick up the cones.

I’m not familiar with the goings-on at London Colney, but to suggest Pat’s impact on the team and the club was that minimal is hugely disrespectful.

This is a man who has red and white coursing through his veins. An Arsenal man bred on the streets of Highbury.

I saw Pat recently at an event at the Emirates celebrating the club’s 100 years in the borough.

Despite being rather shy in front of the crowd, he spoke with huge pride and passion about the club and the borough.

He spoke about how he grew up just around the corner from Highbury and as a youngster used to sneak in to watch matches, how he found his way to Arsenal after being picked to play for schools, the borough and then finally the club.

That is why his part in the success during the Wenger era is hugely significant. Let’s not forget the club was as close to turmoil as it was possible to be.

We had lost two managers in the space of little more than a year and then an unheralded Frenchman arrived.

I like to think that Pat’s presence and his knowledge of the club and “the Arsenal way” helped stitch things together, placate the fans and buy a bit of time for Monsieur Wenger.

Since then, he has become a sounding board for Arsene while also helping to hammer home to the players what it means to play for the club.

Again, I pass my best wishes on to Pat but I have a feeling that – much like his performances on the pitch – this is one fight he is not willing to lose and will fight with every drop of sweat to win.

Follow me @Alex_Wellman

Share this article

0 comments

   Local advertisers

More arsenal news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Ham&High on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Hampstead businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Ham&High, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE