John Jensen

From Academic Kids

John Jensen (born 3 May 1965) is a former Danish international footballer who is now a coach.

His playing career lasted over a decade, during which time he played most famously for Brøndby IF in Denmark. After a successful European Championship in 1992, in which he scored the opening goal in Denmark's 2-0 final victory, he was signed by George Graham for Arsenal.

Jensen's time at Arsenal was highly successful, but also disappointing. He was part of the 1992-93 side that won the FA Cup and League Cup in the same season, the 1993-94 side that won the European Cup Winners Cup and the 1994-95 side that lost in the Cup-Winners Cup final.

However, many Arsenal fans had seen Jensen's goal in the Euro 92 final (an excellent first-time strike from the edge of the area) and were expecting more of the same. He played 132 games for Arsenal, but he is chiefly remembered for the cult hero status he earned, somewhat akin to Perry Groves before him. No matter how hard Jensen tried (and, for a defensive midfielder, he tried exceptionally hard), he could not score a goal. The Arsenal fans came up with a song, "We'll be there when Jensen scores!" and by 1994, Jensen's search for a goal was such a cult cause that whenever he got the ball, no matter whether he was inside his own penalty area or bearing down on goal, the Arsenal fans would implore him to "Shooooot!".

Jensen finally got his first goal after 98 matches, on a cold and wet night against Queens Park Rangers on 31 December 1994. Arsenal were losing 1-0, when Jensen picked the ball up just inside the penalty area near the left-hand corner, about 16 yards from goal. The crowd gave the obligatory bellow of "shoot!", and Jensen complied, curling a shot into the net, prompting wild celebration from the Arsenal fans. However, a defensive error and then a goalkeeping error from Vince Bartram resulted in Arsenal eventually losing the match 3-1.

A few months later, it was revealed that Jensen's transfer to Highbury was at least partly motivated by George Graham's involvement with agent Rune Hauge, who had been giving Graham backhanders in exchange for signing players he represented. The first player involved in this 'bung' scandal was Norwegian Pal Lydersen, and the second was Jensen. Graham was immediately sacked from his job when the story broke, and he was subsequently banned from football for 12 months.

Jensen left Highbury in the summer of 1996, with only the solitary goal against QPR to his name. He rejoined his old club, Brøndby IF. He retired from playing in 1999 and accepted the manager's job at Herfølge, a small Danish club, and immediately made his name for himself by winning the Danish Superliga at his first attempt. Hopwever, Herfølge's success was short-lived, and they were relegated from the Superliga in 2001. Jensen's reputation was good enough to secure him a move back to Brøndby IF, as assistant manager to Michael Laudrup, a position he still holds today.da:John "Faxe" Jensen


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