Arsenal, Celtic & An England Cap – Alan Stubbs On Why The Hoops Meant More

Alan Stubbs spent six years as a player at Bolton Wanderers, but when the club were relegated from the top flight in 1996, he decided to head for pastures new. Arsenal were in for the defender, which would have seen him link up with his former Trotter’s boss, Bruce Rioch. However, Rioch told Stubbs that he had plans to leave the Gunners and advised him to opt for a move to Celtic instead.

Stubbs assessed his options and duly moved north of the border for £4m that summer – the record fee paid by Celtic for a player at that time. He had yet to make an appearance on the international scene and there was a lot of speculation surrounding an elusive England cap. Joining Arsenal would have helped his case beyond doubt and he would have gotten the opportunity to play alongside England’s Tony Adams at Highbury.

Nevertheless, Stubbs has no regrets about his decision. Speaking to the Everton FC website, Stubbs said: “Arsenal would have been something else, playing at Highbury and alongside Tony Adams. People were talking about me getting an England cap and it could have led to that but my career is not defined by not playing for England. It’s not the be all and end all. I had five of my happiest years at Celtic.”

Stubbs did a great job in the Hoops. He won five trophies in as many years at the club, whilst he continued to play at a high level for Everton, Sunderland and Derby County.

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About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up in Bournemouth with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic as a young child during the Martin O'Neill era. Still living on the south coast, I have a season ticket at Paradise and also travel to European away matches when possible. At the age of 19, I published my first Celtic book (Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support). Then, last year, I published my second book (Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events), which is sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores.

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