Graham Dougan was a youth prospect at Arsenal in the 1970s but never quite made the grade, making his career in the upper echelons of the old division two. He was also a Scottish U25 international. He is a regular pundit on TV in Malta and Luxembourg, and an after-dinner speaker of some repute.
He writes exclusively for the site and we sure you continue to enjoy his keen and unique insight into the game. This week he looks at a story which says Arsenal players were enjoying a party a bit too much.
When Britain’s most honest and trustworthy newspaper, The Sun, runs a story saying that Arsenal players were out partying before the start of the season, your first thought is to immediately accept it without question because of their long unblemished history of outstanding, truthful journalism.
They say that the likes of Pierre-Emerson Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendoobie and Sead Koalasnatch were at a nightclub drinking champagne, vodka and doing something called ‘hippy crack’. Back in my day you’d do everything you could to stay away from a hippy’s crack, unwashed vagabonds that they were, but the world is a very different place these days.
I’d also say that back in my day players in general didn’t go in for champagne and vodka. It was ok for the glamour boys like George Best or Ted Criffle, Altrincham’s playboy left-back, but the regular lads enjoyed a few pints of bitter and if we wanted something a bit stronger you might take half a goblet of scotch, but as I said we live in more sophisticated times.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: here’s the grizzled old pro to tell us how things were better back in his day, but despite the fact my playing days are long gone I’m not the old stick in the muff people expect. Just the other day I was playing Fortnite with my grandson and I absolutely battered him. Sadly, not in the game, I threw my arms up in dismay as I couldn’t understand what I was doing and gave him an uppercut that even Mike Tyson Fury couldn’t get up from.
Back to the story in the Sun though. The Arsenal lads, preparing for the new campaign, reportedly sucked nitrous-oxide from balloons. This is known as the hippy crack thing. But let’s examine this. It’s not real crack, because if it were the players would now be toothless and wanking off tramps under a bridge for their next fix: that’s how devastating and addictive it is.
It’s actually the same gas that dentists use before they do an extraction, so are we to believe that all dentists are drug dealers now? Will Netflix make a series called Dentos, based around the empire built by Carlos Escalabar, hiding tanks of gas in ceramics as he imports billions of pounds worth from the natural gas fields of Colombia and Galway? Of course they won’t.
Maybe we need to question why The Sun has published this story? Is it because their chief football reporter is a dick? Is it because the fat man that Louis van Gaal called a fat man is still smarting at being called a fat man even though he is a fat man? Is it because Arsenal are on a 20 game unbeaten run and this squad full of players from Europe is representative of a kind of inclusiveness than this newspaper hates? The fact is, it doesn’t matter, and they’re way off the point anyway.
As MOR crooner Richard Ashcock sang “The drugs don’t work”, but in this case perhaps the drugs are working for Arsenal, and that’s great. Yes, they might be high on life and natural remedies, but if this so-called hippy crack is giving them an extra 0.0000000000001% then where’s the harm? It’s not as if they went to a Christmas party dressed as Nazis or anything.
As it stands I’m fervently opposed to anti-doping in sports. I think it’s both wrong and incorrect. Think about it: penicillin was invented by accident. What if we, instead of hunting down and punishing the likes of Neil Armstrong, allowed everyone in the Tour de France to take gear. Not only would the cycling performances improve, so too would the drugs, as each tried to get the upper hand on the other.
In no time we’d have super drugs and super athletes, and you can be sure that along the way some of the side effects would be found to be beneficial. Sure, some riders would die along the way, but they’ve made their choice and they’ll just have to learn to live with it. But what if bombing up Mont Blanc on some synthetic jizz revealed that certain cells react at high altitude and can fight and kill cancer? We’re depriving ourselves of so much, and let’s also not pretend that footballers aren’t whizzed up to the eyeballs anyway.
Have you even stopped to look at the physiques of some of them, with their bulging muscles and shrunken testes? If that’s not a clear sign it’s already happening in the beautiful game, then how much more evidence do you need? A series of leaked reports published in a respectable German newspaper or something? Come on!
So rather than be upset that their players were filmed secretly having a good time, Arsenal fans should be delighted their players are already embracing the future. Who amongst us hasn’t inhaled or sucked on something that made us pass out? Let he or she who is without sin podcast the first stone, as the saying goes.
I for one applaud these Arsenal players, and I have to admit my previously unbreakable faith in the great journalistic institution that is The Sun is a little shaken this morning.
Until next time, your pal GD.