Arsenal’s forgotten star in Double-winning year who finished at Buckingham Town

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Saturday marks the birthday of one of the forgotten stars of Arsenal's double-winning campaign in the 1997/1998 season.

Christopher Wreh arrived at Highbury ahead of that soon-to-be famous season, with Arsene Wenger paying £300,000 to bring him in from Monaco. While his Gunners career did not pan out as hoped, Wreh still played a crucial role in winning the Premier League and FA Cup.

He scored critical goals in the victories against Wimbledon and Bolton, as well as netting the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Wolves. Those goals earned him a start in the FA Cup final against Newcastle, which the Gunners also won.

But things went downhill quickly for the Liberian international, with the arrivals of Thierry Henry and Davor Suker seeing his playing time squeezed. With few opportunities to play under Wenger, Wreh was sent out on a series of loan moves.

AEK Athens, Birmingham City and Den Bosch all brought in the striker for short spells, though none were particularly successful. Having played just 46 games in three years for the Gunners, Wreh was sold to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal.

But within a year he was back in the United Kingdom, first at AFC Bournemouth and then with Scottish Premiership side St Mirren. In a sign his career was going off the rails, Wreh managed just 57 minutes during his 18 months in Paisley.

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By this time, his weight and wage demands were becoming a serious problem and he also lost his place in the Liberian national team. He had been touted as a potential successor to the legendary George Weah, but opted to launch a bizarre attack on the former Leeds star as his career fell apart.

“We [the national team] became a one man show. Weah always had his favourite group of players that he used in the team even if they were unattached to any clubs. He ignored others and I was one of his victims," he told the BBC in 2002.

"Weah made everyone believe that he was the one and only person supporting the team financially, which was untrue. All the players used to pay for their air tickets to play for Liberia.”

After a stint in Iran with Persepolis, he returned to England to join Northampton. But after just seven weeks of training with the Cobblers he was sacked, going on to join non-league Bishop's Strotford.

The Ryman Premier League side went as far as registering him for the club to ensure he could feature in a friendly against Enfield Town. Only, Wreh did not show up for the game, leaving manager and former Gunner Martin Hayes fuming.

“Even if he had turned up for the Enfield game I wouldn’t have put him on the bench, never mind started him. He missed several training sessions. I could never get hold of him,” Hayes told When Saturday Comes.

He finally made his debut a month later, with Sky even turning up to film his cameo against Hendon Town. Though he scored, Hayes cut short his stay at Woodside Park for his repeated failure to turn up.

He would end his career in England at United Counties League minnows Buckingham Town, though again spent less than a year at the club. His footballing career finally came to an end in 2010 after three years at Indonesian second tier side Perseman Manokwari, a far cry from his double winning campaign at Arsenal.

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  • Premier League
  • FA Cup

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