We Drank and Smoked and Won Double: Parlour
By Jeremy Wilson | Daily Telegraph | Published: 13th December 2013 09:15 AM |
Ray Parlour has revealed the full extent of the once-notorious drinking culture at Arsenal and told how Steve Bould, who is now the club's assistant manager, once ordered a mammoth 35-pint round for five team-mates during Arsene Wenger's first summer as manager in 1997.
"I'll always remember the first pre-season tour with Arsene Wenger," Parlour said. "New French lads had come into the team like Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Gilles Grimandi. We worked our socks off and at the end of the trip Wenger said we could all go out. You know what we were like, we went straight down to the pub and the French lads went to the coffee shop.
"I'll always remember the moment Steve Bould went up to the bar and ordered 35 pints for five of us. After we left the bar we spotted all the French lads in the coffee shop and they were sitting around smoking. I thought, 'How are we going to win the league this year? We're all drunk and they're all smoking'. We ended up winning the Double that year."
During an appearance yesterday on online sports chat show Sportlobster TV, Parlour and former team-mate Nigel Winterburn also described the antics of the 'Tuesday Club' and how Wenger ended the drinking culture.
"On a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday people were dressed in tracksuits," Parlour said. "On a Tuesday everyone turned up with their suits on. George [Graham] was trying to work out what was going on - but we were obviously going out on the town."
Winterburn added: "It all stopped really when Arsene Wenger put a ban on drink being served in the lounge, and then Tony [Adams, the former captain] gave up drinking."
Parlour defended Jack Wilshere following the Arsenal midfielder's apology earlier this season for being photographed out smoking.
"Ten or 15 years ago that would never have happened," Parlour said. "He probably didn't even drink that night, he's only had an odd cigarette and it won't do him that much damage. I used to go down the pub with all the supporters when we won a game at Highbury. I loved it and it wasn't a problem."
Arsenal travel to Manchester City tomorrow just three days after a tough Champions League fixture away to Napoli and Mikel Arteta, the Gunners midfielder, claims that he is baffled by the limited preparation time for a match that could conceivably decide the Premier League title.
Wenger's team returned from Italy at 4 AM yesterday morning and must now travel to Manchester today ahead of an early kick-off tomorrow at 12.45pm for a match that is being screened live on BT Sport. City, by contrast, had the advantage of playing on Tuesday against Bayern Munich and were also able to rotate seven first-team regulars, including Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Alvaro Negredo.
"The mood is fine, the recovery time is very tight," Arteta said. "I don't understand why we play Sunday afternoon [against Everton], Wednesday evening, get back at 4am and then play again on Saturday morning in Manchester. It will just be about recovery. It's not ideal."