Ray Parlour: The English lads were drinking, the French lads were smoking…but Arsenal still won the double in 1998

Gunners great lifts the lid on the pre-season tour before historic season

Arsenal greats Ray Parlour and Nigel Winterburn have revealed the extent of the infamous drinking culture at the club, which continued into the pre-season of Arsene Wenger's first full season in charge – the season when the Gunners charged to the league and cup double.

“I’ll always remember the first pre-season tour with Arsene Wenger [in 1997],” Parlour told Sportlobster TV. “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 [now assistant manager at Arsenal] went up to the bar and ordered 35 pints for five of us,” Parlour, who made 466 appearances for the club between 1988 and 2004, said. “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, and we ended up winning the double that year.”

Before Wenger’s arrival, most of the Arsenal squad notoriously partook in a midweek drinking session, known as the “Tuesday Club”, spearheaded by captain Tony Adams.

“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, manager at the time] was trying to work out was going on – but we were obviously going out on the town.”

Former left-back Winterburn, however, said the “Tuesday Club” stopped because of Wenger, who brought a new professional approach to training and preparing for matches around the same time Adams stopped drinking.

“It all stopped really when Arsene Wenger put a ban on drink being served in the lounge, and then Tony [Adams] gave up drinking.”

Parlour added: “I was still having a great time, going out every Tuesday, but by this point I was just by myself sitting in the corner with some old chap.”

In a sign of today’s times, current Gunners’ midfielder Jack Wilshere was recently criticised after being pictured smoking a cigarette outside a nightclub and was forced to apologise for his actions, but Parlour has defended Wilshere and said this would not have been the case during his playing days.

He said: “You look at Jack Wilshere now. Ten or 15 years ago that would never have happened. 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.”

Ray Parlour has supported Jack Wilshere after he was caught smoking Ray Parlour has supported Jack Wilshere after he was caught smoking  

Suggested Topics
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick