Paul Vaessen

Just started to read the book written about him a couple of years ago.
Has to be the saddest most tragic career of any Arsenal player I’ve seen.
Remember @JakeyBoy posting an article on the old site about him.
It’s a pity we don’t have something named after him at the academy.
Gave us one of the biggest goals in our history and then injury took the dream and turned his life into a nightmare. Not everybody makes it for one reason or another and this lads sadly ended at 39.
Just wanted a reason to get this lads name in this section where it rightfully belongs.
Don’t have to read his book people but a wiki page read is at least worth the effort.


I knew nothing about his story at all, terribly tragic. I hope clubs do more to support players this happens to these days.

Sounds like he could have been in for a really good career and I can’t imagine what having that taken away would have been like.

Rest in peace Paul. You’re one of us.

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I’ll never forget that night in Turin when he got the goal to beat mighty Juventus away. Something I’d thought near impossible before hand. It was a brilliant night for the Arsenal and a shame we couldn’t win the final.

I never knew what happened to him after his career ended with injury. So very sad to see how he fell into heavy duty drug addiction and crime to pay for it. So many lives ruined by this terrible illness that can be so hard to recover from. I get very frustrated when I see the shortage of decent care and resources for treating the frequent underlying mental illness even now we’re in the 21st century.


Just read about him on Wikipedia. Tragic story indeed.

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I remember reading about him and feeling bad for him. Can only imagine what it must feel to have had the chance to be a professional footballing personality and having that go away from you.
It must have sucked for him to see his fellow footballers flourish in their lives.

That said I can understand if someone dwells over his misery for 2 years or 3 or 5, but he was arrested in 98, 16 years later. Nothing can help a person who lingers in his misery for that long.
People hate this phrase for some reason these days but I strongly believe in ‘Be a man’ way of living. Be responsible regardless of shit being thrown at you, you gotta move on, and work with what you have.

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I’m not up for turning this thread into a debate, he was our player and he deserves his place with a thread here to remember his contribution to something we all care about that shouldn’t be forgotten.

All I will say is yes, resilience is important, having the strength to deal with what life throws at you is vital but you never know what’s gone on in a person’s head, or what leads them to be unable to carry on and when it gets so bad that someone can’t cope that deserves nothing but compassion. This man didn’t hurt anyone, only himself. There’s no call for criticism.


I think it’s very easy for those of us who aren’t suffering a major mental health illness or addiction problem to judge people harshly who do. It’s impossible for us to really understand the private hell these people sink to and too easy to say pull yourself together, be a man or whatever.

I don’t condone criminal behaviour at all and believe it must be stopped and stopped strongly- there’s nearly always a victim so it’s not right.

However the people with these illnesses and that’s what they are, also need our compassion and the best help we can give them to tackle their illness. Sometimes it’s the love of their family, with drugs even ensuring if we can by whatever way possible that they go into treatment and effectively go cold turkey. So can even be a “tough love” we give them at times if that is what they need.

I think their is a mental health crisis in our society. Mental health care is vastly under resourced and under funded and there is far too much ignorance in our society about mental health issues, how to spot them and how to care for ourselves and our loved ones to keep mentally well. I find this hard to take and understand in such a rich and technologically advanced society. Too many lives get destroyed or ruined by these terrible illnesses.

I hope that the “man up and pull yourself together” among us (and we nearly all do it at times) will learn to improve our understanding and compassion in relation to addiction and mental health problems. More importantly, put our votes in elections for those who put this issue high on their agenda or even get of our backsides and try and help in some more practical way.

Paul Vaessen was somebody’s child. Somebody’s loved one. His criminal behaviour was wrong. But here lies a life that must have fallen into a private hell before prematurely ending. That was a tragedy.


Have to factor in how poor, and there not great now that support system would have been then as well.

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Messaged the club last night to remind them that it’s fifty years in April since the Juventus goal.
Really would like to think at some stage the club named a pitch, a changing room or suite at the academy to remember this lads story warts and all.
So important in this day and age for young players and society in general.


First time I’ve fully read about him. Such a sad story.

Least he has his name in the history books tho.

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Going to move this here mate. A really tragic story and sadly not one that enough Arsenal fans are aware of.