There are Arsenal legends. And then again there are proper Arsenal legends. For most of us Patrick Vieira sits comfortably in the second catergory. From Shite Hart Lane to (Very) Old Trafford he was a steam engine of a player. Strength, passion, craft, guile, he had the lot and regularly delievered these qualities as a red and white colossus. Oh, and one or two trophies too.
In 279 games for us over a nine-year spell from 1996 he won this little lot:
Premier League: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04
FA Cup: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05
FA Community Shield: 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004
But then proper Arsenal fans don’t need to be lectured on how big an impact our very own Sengalese Superman made in his time at the club. Nor would proper Arsenal supporters boo the great man, would they? Sadly, yes. Last night in the Tollington Manchester City coach Vieira came on the big screen in a pre-match interview and was booed by some ‘fans’. Booed! Patrick Vieira booed by Arsenal fans. There, I’ve said it.
The reasoning behind why this abuse was justified, the cretins said, was that PV4 had said some stuff in the Press that was less than kind on our beloved club. He probably gave his version of the transition we are going through at the Emirates. Big deal. He didn’t come out and say, “Arsenal are shit, as are their fans and the manager’, did he? He didn’t spit in the face of the club that nurtured him by doing a bunk to some Arab billionaire’s plaything to double his money. Boo Nasri if you must but please, have some respect. Shameful.
I took some time to wander around the ground before the game last night and noticed the tribute to Vieira. The quote attributed to him talked about how growing up in West Africa he could never have imagined playing for a great football club such as Arsenal – let alone being made captain.
For me that’s the quote that matters…