Former Arsenal star Robert Pires, who puzzled some of us with
his recent comments about his departure from the Arsenal, has
followed them up by confirming his love for the club with his
purchase of a flat
in the redevelopment of Highbury.|
"I was so attached to the Club and everything that it brought me...
Buying a flat in Highbury is a symbol of my affection for the Club.
To have a flat on the ground where I once played, which holds so many
fond memories for me is something very special."
It doesn't mean he's planning on moving back to London though (my first
thought when I heard the news was that he might be going to do an
Emmanuel Petit, until it occured to me that it'd be a strange place
for a Chelsea player to live).
"I will use it when we stay with my family in London and later if my
children want to study in London they will have a pied-à-terre."
(hey Bobby, what's the French for "pied-à-terre"?).
He also speaks of his memories of the last
ever game at Highbury,
when we came back from behind to beat Wigan Athletic 4-2 and clinch
a place in this year's Champs League,
when Pires scored the opening goal.
"I think about that game quite often," he said. "It was the last match
at Highbury and it was very emotional. Highbury was legendary. I'm
proud to have scored a goal there at the last ever game."
Perhaps Sunday's comeback
win over Wigan at Ashburton Grove was intended as the current
squad's tribute to that day. Perhaps not.
The best Arsenal players, by definition, find it hard to stay
Ray Parlour has been reported as
saying that, despite his signing for
Hull City, he's planning on continuing to train with the Gunners.
Hull are fighting for survival in the Championship and they're getting
the Romford Pele on a pay-as-you-play basis.
"If I don't play I don't get paid. If my leg goes next week,
then that's it for me. I'm probably going to train a lot with Arsenal.
I've got a good agreement with the club [Hull, we presume] which we
are all happy with. I'll be at Hull a couple of days before a game.
I feel very fit and I will get fitter with games."
We're sure he'll do a great job for them and wish him nothing but
the best. Ray had a lot of critics but suffered from comparison with
the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira. If his heyday
had come a few years earlier he'd have been compared more with
David Hiller and John Jensen. He did a vital job for Arsenal and
scored a good few crucial and even spectacular goals. With the
League Cup final against Chelsea coming up, one can hardly fail
to think of the 2002 FA Cup final. "It's only Ray Parlour", indeed.
Another much-loved former player, in a similar way to Ray, is
Perry Groves. His song is still being sung. And he can't stay away
either. Not content with bigging up the club in the press (and his
book) at every opportunity, Perry's going to games and was spotted
hanging out in a Highbury pub after the game last Sunday.
On a sadder note, former Arsenal youngster Danny Karbassiyoon has
been forced to announce his retirement from the game (as
on a Burnley forum). He's been having knee problems and has
been advised that if he keeps playing he can look forward only to
a short career featuring regular operations. Very sad for the lad
who never quite made it at Arsenal but who is obviously fondly thought of
at Burnley. He was released by
Arsenal in the summer of 2005, having played for the first team
in the League Cup including the reserves away win
at Man City, an early success for that competition's reserves-against-first-teams
policy in which Danny came off the bench to score the winner. We
hope that Arsenal will be inviting him back to the Emirates soon too.