Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour has opened up on a trip to Manchester United when his the manager returned to the team bus drunk and unable to walk.
Parlour was a member of our famous Invincibles side of the 2003-04 season where we managed to win the Premier League title without suffering a single defeat.
The pundit was speaking on the radio this week, and talked of an earlier time in his career when playing under George Graham however, and recalled one match between 1992-95 where they had travelled up to Old Trafford to take on Man United, only to have their return trip delayed.
“I always remember it was like a stampede to try and get in the shower after the game,” Parlour said on TalkSPORT(via the DailyStar).
“So you’re getting changed quickly to get in the players’ lounge and have a few drinks before you get on the coach.
“So we’re all quickly running in the shower, we’re all getting changed, we’ve quickly gone into the players’ lounge and had two or three pints.
“Next minute we go, ‘lads we’ve got to go!’ And he’d fine you if you’re not on that coach at six o’clock. So we was all running, we quickly got on the coach.
“Six o’clock comes – no George Graham. No sign of George Graham whatsoever. Half-past six – no sign of George Graham.
“He’s been in with Sir Alex Ferguson in his office having a few drinks after the game.
“He’s got on this coach and he couldn’t even walk up the stairs. So now – we always had a secret stash at the back, always – we must have gone about five miles and George Graham – sparko at the front.
“That was it. ‘Right lads, get them beers!’
“We had a beer all the way home, it was brilliant. [But] them days, you’ll never got them days anymore.”
We do wonder if players still get up to such antics in today’s game, just with more secrecy about their behaviour, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there was similar stories about some of our more recent managers, especially as we do hear about the coaches meeting for a bottle of wine or two after the final whistle.
What I most like is how at the final whistle there is usually a respect between the bosses which allows them to share these moments, despite how strong the competition and rivalry is on the pitch between the sides.