Emmanuel Petit has spoken about his time at Arsenal and how it was the atmosphere at Highbury that made his experience particularly special.
Talking to Arsenal’s weekly podcast, the Arsenal legend maintained it was the character the English game had when compared to France that made him fall in love with the club.
“The squad was full of big characters, crazy people,” Petit said. “The culture and style of play was completely different [to France] and we were preparing for games with rap music. I remember Ian Wright tramping through the bars into the Highbury dressing room and I could feel the walls shaking from the fans.”
Going more into the characters in the dressing room, the midfielder, who joined Barcelona in 2000, admitted that he felt as if he was making history when he was sitting amongst the other Arsenal players.
“All the benches had inscriptions of the players who had passed and it was like being a part of history,” the legend said. “You’re part of history and you can feel all of the players who have come before in the energy in the dressing room. I also remember how friendly and welcoming David Dein was. I loved my time at Arsenal.”
The Frenchman went on to talk about winning the league with the club – Wenger’s first – and what that meant for not only the boss but the players within the team.
“We won the Premier League title and that was the first step for Arsène Wenger’s credibility in England, and also for the French players as well. We were playing under so much pressure because we knew that Arsène was French like us and we always had to do more, more, more.
“All the English players understood that and they knew from the beginning that we will do everything we can to win something and that we will do everything that we could to be part of the team.
“That’s why winning the FA Cup at Wembley was a win as well because the stadium was like the Stade de France. It was similar to winning the World Cup there and special too.”
Although it’s highly doubtful that the Emirates has the same atmosphere behind the scenes as Highbury, since overground it’s not the same, it’s undeniable that English football is different to other leagues.
In addition, we also have new players at the club who will go down in history, Ozil and Alexis to name only two, and make their own history.