Ray Parlour reveals how his Arsenal team-mates taught Emmanuel Petit to be polite – ‘We threatened to cut his ponytail off!’

4 Sep

When Ray Parlour says ‘good morning’, you better say it back…

Listen to Parlour’s hilarious story of how his Arsenal team-mates gave Emmanuel Petit a lesson in English politeness when he first arrived at the club from France.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the Romford Pele revealed they threatened to cut off Petit’s famous ponytail because he was so rude.

Petit spent three years with the Gunners from 1997-2000

What was his offence, we hear you ask? He kept blanking his fellow players when they greeted him in the morning!

This didn’t go down well with the rest of the Arsenal ‘family’, so Ray found some scissors and they pinned the Frenchman up against a wall to teach him a lesson…

Unsurprisingly, Petit caught on quickly.

Ray explained on Wednesday’s Sports Breakfast: “When the French lads came over, we had Gilles Grimandi, Remi Garde and Emmanuel Petit and the atmosphere was a little different.

“Us British guys had a little bit more fun.

“Dennis Bergkamp was another one, they were a little more bit serious and we tried to get a bit of fun out of them.

“They did change quickly and they did really enjoy the banter, but every now again, for example, Manu Petit sometimes would walk straight past you.

“You’d say, ‘morning Manu’, and he’d walk straight past you. He did it to all the players.


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“So one morning we nailed him against the wall and told him: ‘Make sure you say good morning to everybody because, if you don’t, we’ll cut your ponytail off!’

“We even had scissors.

“After that, he was good as gold!

“He got the hang of it straight away. He was saying ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon’ and ‘good evening’.

Petit quickly became a part of the Arsenal family… after an extreme lesson from Ray Parlour and his team-mates

“He just didn’t realise, he thought it was just a job. When he played in France as players you were just there.

“But it was different at Arsenal; we said no, we’re all together. It’s like a family and we’ve got to stick together. We go through highs and lows together and that’s what makes a winning team.”

Watch Ray Parlour tell his hilarious story live on talkSPORT, above

talkSPORT’s Laura Woods on being David Seaman in disguise, Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, Thierry Henry and why a trip to The Den is magic

23 Jul

Every fan has a favourite football kit, just like they have a player they consider to be the greatest.

And so talkSPORT.com decided to ask its finest minds about theirs as part of a new series, beginning with Sports Breakfast co-host Laura Woods.

My Greatest: Kit – Arsenal 1996 goalkeeper jersey

The one that comes to mind is David Seaman’s Arsenal JVC yellow one as that’s my team. I was once bought it for Christmas and the reason is because my brothers liked to put me in goal – their thing was convincing me I was a good goalkeeper, so they didn’t have to go in goal. I actually used to run around the house and sign my name ‘Laura Woods Safe Hands’!

Laura Woods tried to imitate everything about Arsenal’s ‘safe hands’ – apart from the exceptional moustache
Getty Images - Getty

My Greatest: Game – France vs Brazil, 1998 World Cup final

I don’t know why, but the 1998 World Cup final, more than others, always stands out for me.

I watched it at my parent’s friend’s house and the colours of that tournament were absolutely incredible and so were the players.

Emmanuel Petit’s long blonde hair – unforgettable
AFP - Getty

When I was younger, everybody was in a trance with Brazil about their entertaining football and the players like Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, who all stood out. The game was packed with all these great characters and personalities – Zidane scored twice for France and Emmanuel Petit scored the other. Being an Arsenal fan, I was in love with Petit and his long hair, Patrick Vieira came off the bench and Henry, who hadn’t joined us yet, was an unused sub. It’s just a game I remember clearly.

Zidane was the star of the show at France 98, but the tournament had a host of star players where France beat a Brazil side containing Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos
AFP - Getty

My Greatest: Player – Thierry Henry

I could pick a million, but funnily enough, one of the game changers for me and someone I used to watch a lot when I was younger was Ray Parlour. He scored in the 2002 FA Cup final against Chelsea in Cardiff and was just a character. He was almost the opposite of what a footballer is nowadays in that he had so much personality and, of course, we were both born in Romford – he is the ‘Romford Pele’.

But it will always be Thierry Henry for me. He just brought this class to Arsenal and was like a man playing football with a boys team in the way he appeared one step ahead of everyone else in the goals he scored, the ones he created. He wasn’t just a great Premier League imports, but a Premier League great full stop. He was at the top of his business.

Thierry Henry was just so much better than everyone else
Getty Images - Getty

My Greatest: Moment – Arsenal winning the league at White Hart Lane in 2004

I can’t really look beyond Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, going the whole season unbeaten and winning the league at White Hart Lane. It was a 2-2 draw and whether or not you think that is glamorous, it is memorable and still hasn’t been done. Man City and Liverpool came close last season, but it’s such a difficult thing to achieve, though I do think it will eventually happen again.

Arsenal won the Premier League at White Hart Lane in 2004, the season where they also managed to remain unbeaten for the entire league season
Getty Images - Getty

My Greatest: Atmosphere – Millwall vs Everton, 2019

The thing about atmosphere is that it has to be fresh in the memory and the one that sticks out is last season at Millwall.

We [talkSPORT] went to the New Den and the gulf in difference in terms of money spent on the teams was huge and it felt like it was Everton’s to take. The minute we arrived I had goosebumps all over my body because of the sound from that crowd.

I don’t think it was a brilliant atmosphere, but there was something about the day that resonated. There was a wall of noise and the sound didn’t stop. I was sat next to Stuart Pearce and Sam Matterface with my headphones on and we couldn’t hear each other.

It was unbelievable and every now and then I took mine off because I wanted to take it all in and the way Millwall won with a last minute Murray Wallace goal made it a brilliant day and story.

Mad, exciting and magic.

The ear splitting noise of the New Den when Millwall beat Everton is hard to forget
Getty - Contributor

Mesut Ozil ‘looks like a dead player’ and must be one of many to leave Arsenal this summer, says Emmanuel Petit

10 May

Emmanuel Petit has called for major changes within the first team squad at his old club, Arsenal.

The Frenchman, who played at Highbury between 1997-2000, gave his assessment of the team to Paddy Power after they qualified for the Europa League final on Thursday night.

Mesut Ozil has struggled at times this season

Unai Emery’s side beat Valencia 4-2 at the Mestalla to cement their place in the Baku showpiece where they will take on another of Petit’s former clubs, Chelsea.

He said: “There are so many players at Arsenal who need to leave the club this summer. It’s been too long since we’ve seen them compete for the title, and the only way they’ll do it is with an improved squad.

“But, they must continue with Emery, he is not the issue. The fact he reached a European final is big, as is the fact he’s done it with most of the players who are leftovers from the management of Arsene Wenger.

“The board just need to give him the power; he can’t continue next season with the same group of players.”

Petit was one of Arsenal’s French World Cup winners in 1998

One man who Petit has singled out for criticism is German star Mesut Ozil, who has had an underwhelming campaign in 2018/19.

He continued: “What is going on with Ozil? He looks like a dead player on the pitch, a ghost. He’s lost in translation.

“It’s time now for Emery to turn the page. For me the pressure is on Arsenal to earn a Champions League place for next season. If they don’t beat Chelsea in Baku, this year will have been a failure.

“It’s fine to have an occasional bad season and end up in the Europa League, but Arsenal have been struggling to fight for the Champions League places for a while – they need to return to the level they were at before.”

Mauricio Pochettino could end up becoming the ‘Arsene Wenger of Spurs’ if he chooses to remain at club, says Emmanuel Petit

1 Mar

Mauricio Pochettino could become the “Arsene Wenger of Spurs” if he chooses to stay with the club, former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has claimed.

Petit, who was on the Gunners’ books from 1997 to 2000, was speaking to Paddy Power ahead of the north London derby on Saturday afternoon.

Former Arsenal man Emmanuel Petit believes Maurico Pochettino needs to win a trophy at Spurs

And the 48-year-old insists Pochettino is at the stage where he needs silverware to show for his efforts.

He said: “A lot of questions have been asked about Mauricio Pochettino’s future. 

“For everything he has achieved at Spurs, he needs to win the title or some major silverware – they need something to reward the work he’s done. 

Pochettino will be hoping to avoid a third straight defeat

“If nothing happens in that regard by the end of the season, it will be very difficult to motivate the same group of players.

It could be end of something – maybe that’s the manager leaving the club or several new players coming into the squad.”

Petit also believes Poch could become Spurs’ very own Wenger if he opts to remain in north London – but has to start lifting trophies if he wants to build that kind of legacy.

LISTEN LIVE: Tune into talkSPORT for exclusive commentary of Tottenham v Arsenal, Kick Off: 12:30pm

“I’m a big fan of Pochettino – the way he manages and the way his teams play – and he could be the Arsene Wenger of Spurs,” Petit continued.

But if he’s thinking about a new challenge, he knows the rumours about Real Madrid and Man United and that one day he may end managing a club that size. 

“If he wins something this season, however, maybe that will be the turning point for him.”

Should Spurs lose on Saturday it would be the first time they have lost three consecutive games since 2012 –  where their third loss coincidentally came against Arsenal.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal kicks-off at 12.30pm at Wembley on Saturday.

You can follow all the action live on talkSPORT.

Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri ‘reminds me of the dark times under Jose Mourinho’, Emmanuel Petit says

12 Feb

Former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has compared the Blues’ current situation under Maurizio Sarri with the ‘dark times’ the club went through prior to the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea dropped out the Premier League top four at the weekend with Sunday’s 6-0 defeat by Manchester City – the Blues’ biggest loss in 28 years – their fourth away defeat in a row.

Chelsea were embarrassed by a superb Manchester City on Sunday

Sarri’s system is showing numerous flaws and his insistence on refusing to change anything has led to calls he should be sacked as he is not suitable for the job.

The Italian is believed to retain the backing of the Chelsea board and many of his players, but given Arsenal and a resurgent Manchester United now sit ahead of them, the Blues face a real fight to qualify for next season’s Champions League by securing a top four finish.

Sarri has shown over the past couple of months that the pressure of being in charge of the Stamford Bridge club may be getting to him, and Petit believes the former Napoli boss is ‘losing the plot’ – much in the same way Mourinho did before his second spell as Chelsea manager came to an end with his December 2015 sacking

Speaking to https://news.paddypower.com, Petit said: “I understand that a manager has to stick with his views and opinions, even sometimes against his own players’ thinking – because maybe he’s right – but I’m sure that Sarri is very nervous.

Chelsea suffered a remarkable collapse before Mourinho was sacked

“His body language in a recent press conference showed this, as did what he did with Guardiola on Sunday [not shaking his hand].

“Things like this shouldn’t happen, and when they do you show everyone – fans, journalists, players – that you’re losing the plot.

“It reminds me a bit of the dark times under Jose Mourinho.”

Chelsea have a tough run of fixtures coming up with two clashes against Malmo in the Europa League either side of next Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie with Manchester United.

The west Londoners then take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, before hosting Tottenham three days later as the Premier League returns.

Getting through this run of matches with nothing but victories will be nigh-on impossible, and Petit suggests Sarri could lose his job with another bad result.

“Over the last few games,” he continued, “I have seen some things on the pitch that makes me wonder why Sarri wants to keep going with his current approach.

“Sarri said he is a strong man, that he has a vision for the team and will ignore the critics, especially in relation to Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté. He said that he would stick to his guns.

Chelsea commentaries on talkSPORT

talkSPORT bring you three live commentaries involving Chelsea over the next couple of weeks

“I understand and I appreciate that – I respect it – but I think he has forgotten something very important: he doesn’t have to convince the press or the fans, he has to convince his players. And for the moment it’s difficult to believe his players are confident about the way they play and the way he wants them to play.

“What I saw on Sunday against Manchester City said it all: poor performances individually and collectively; no rage on the pitch; the body language.

“Sarri said himself he didn’t know whether or not he could motivate his team. In terms of communication, the last few weeks have been bad for him. What he did after the City game – not shaking Pep Guardiola’s hand – showed a lack of respect. So, I think he’s in big trouble mentally, and he’s in big trouble when it comes to showing his players he’s still the right man.

Petit fears another defeat could spell the end for Sarri

“Should Sarri be sacked right now? When Roman Abramovich feels the pressure like this, he doesn’t dwell on feelings, he just cuts down the tree.

“He did it with Jose Mourinho and he did it with Antonio Conte after winning the Premier League, so he will have no emotion about doing the same with Sarri.

“If the next result is a bad result, that could be the last game for him.”

Emmanuel Petit is a Paddy Power ambassador. To read more visit https://news.paddypower.com/

Arsenal vs Chelsea: The players who have played for both clubs during the Premier League era

17 Jan

Arsenal and Chelsea will face off in the Premier League on Saturday at the Emirates as they battle for a Champions League place – live on talkSPORT.

The Blues are six points ahead of the Gunners in fourth place with 16 games left to go.

Cesc Fabregas joined Arsenal as a teenager but latest spent four years at Chelsea

Their rivalry stretches back decades and a number of players have gone on to play for both clubs.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have looked back at those who have worn both shirts during the Premier League era.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal 2012-2018 and Chelsea 2018-present)

The striker lifted three FA Cups with Arsenal during his five and a half seasons at the Emirates.

He scored 73 Premier League goals in 180 games before a move to Chelsea on transfer deadline day in 2018 and has done okay as a backup striker.

Giroud scored 73 Premier League goals for Arsenal before moving to Chelsea

Petr Cech (Chelsea 2004-2015 and Arsenal 2015-present)

The goalkeeper has spent 15 years in England with either Chelsea or Arsenal.

Eleven of those came while playing for the Blues where he made 494 appearances winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and Europa League.

Cech announced on Tuesday he will retire at the end of this season.

Petr Cech has won the FA Cup five times – four with Chelsea and one with Arsenal

Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal 2003-2011 and Chelsea 2014-2019)

The Spanish playmaker lit up the Premier League as a teenager with the Gunners and enjoyed eight seasons with the club before moving to Barcelona in 2011.

Fabregas was back in the Premier League three seasons later with Chelsea and in four and a half seasons won two league titles.

He moved from the Blues last week to join up with former teammate Thierry Henry, who is manager at Monaco.

Fabregas completed his move to Monaco on Friday

William Gallas (Chelsea 2001-2006 and Arsenal 2006-2010)

Gallas spent five seasons at Stamford Bridge winning two Premier League trophies before switching to north London as part of a deal that saw Ashley Cole go in the other direction.

The central defender spent five seasons at Arsenal before moving to Tottenham.

Gallas moved to Arsenal as part of the Ashley Cole transfer

Ashley Cole (Arsenal 1999-2006 and Chelsea 2006-2014)

Cole came through the Arsenal youth ranks to win the Premier League twice, FA Cup three times and lose out in the Champions League final.

His protracted transfer to Chelsea was completed in 2006 where he went on to win another league title, four FA Cups, the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League.

Ashley Cole won major trophies with both Arsenal and Chelsea

Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal 1997-1999 and Chelsea 2008-2012)

Arsene Wenger signed Anelka as a 17-year-old from Paris Saint-Germain for £500,000 and he went on to score 23 Premier League goals in 65 games.

Real Madrid came calling and he was signed for £22.3million in 1999 and went on to play for another five clubs before signing for Chelsea in 2008.

He had, arguably, the best spell of his career at Stamford Bridge scoring 59 goals in 125 games and helping his side to the Premier League and two FA Cups.

Nicolas Anelka signed for Arsenal as a 17-year-old

Emmanuel Petit (Arsenal 1997-2000 and Chelsea 2001-2004)

The France World Cup winner enjoyed a successful spell at Arsenal after signing in 1997, helping them to a league and FA Cup double in his first season.

Petit spent a season at Barcelona before moving to Chelsea in 2001 where he spent the remaining three seasons of his career.

Emmanuel Petit won the World Cup with France in 1998

Lassana Diarra (Chelsea 2005-2007 and Arsenal 2007-2008)

Diarra signed for Chelsea as a 20-year-old in 2005 and struggled to get much game time behind Claude Makelele. He made just 31 appearances before being sold to Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

It didn’t get much better at the Emirates as, after only five months with the Gunners, he was sold to Portsmouth.

Lasanna Diarra was with Arsenal for just five months

Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea 2010-2013 and Arsenal 2011/12)

The midfielder was signed for £5.5million by Chelsea from Liverpool in 2010 but was rarely used in his three seasons at the club.

He made 24 appearances in all competitions and was loaned to Arsenal during the middle of this spell.

Chelsea paid £5.5million for Yossi Benayoun

When Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit appeared a Christmas special of The Bill

24 Dec

Emmanuel Petit: World champion, League and Cup double winner and… aid to Sun Hill’s finest.

Petit was on hand to help out Sun Hill police in 1998

The Arsenal and France midfielder was drafted in by TV’s busiest police force to help Laura, a Gooner and Petit’s ‘biggest fan’, recover after she was the victim of a hit and run accident in a 1998 Christmas special of The Bill, a long running British police drama.

​What a nice guy.

Petit joined Arsenal in 1997 and, in addition to helping the club to double success and his country to World Cup glory, also found time to help Sun Hill Police

Having played for Arsene Wenger at Monaco, Petit joined his compatriot at Arsenal in 1997. A defender in France, Wenger used him in midfield and eventually worked in tandem with Patrick Vieira.

He left the Premier League in 2000 for Barcelona, but spent just a season in Spain before returning to London, signing for Chelsea this time.