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Patrick Vieira’s car keys taken from Arsenal’s Christmas party

Patrick Vieira was unaware of Arsenal’s famous drinking culture when he showed up for a Christmas party in the nineties …

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Legendary midfielder Patrick Vieira had his car keys removed during a legendary Arsenal Christmas party.

The Frenchman came to the club’s festive party expecting a quiet … but it turned out to be a boozy celebration.

Arsenal was known for its drinking culture prior to Arsene Wenger’s days, with players often enjoying a pint or two in the middle of the week.

“The tradition was that we go out and let ourselves be completely leathery and then relax on our day off,” Gunners steadfast Lee Dixon once told FourFourTwo.

But when the new manager arrived in 1996, the Tuesday Club was banned and the players were expected to eat healthily.

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Patrick Vieira in his early days at Arsenal


Daily mirror)

Wenger also brought several new players to Highbury and many, including Vieira, were unaware of Arsenal’s alcohol-inspired traditions.

And although the Arsenal team improved their diet and won many trophies, they still had a few beers at Christmas and didn’t want to leave Vieira early.

“The boys didn’t have that,” added Dixon. “So we took his keys from him and Patrick soon loved it and danced on the tables.”

Wenger allowed players a day off from time to time, as Arsenal legend Ray Parlor recalled back in January.

“There was no drinking for 14 days,” Parlor told talkSPORT when talking about the team’s first pre-season trip under the French.

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“Imagine the British if we were gagging. We had a meeting on the last day and Arsene Wenger said, ‘You were great, you can do whatever you want tonight.’

“We’ve already seen the pub we’re going to. The five of us who had seen this pub and couldn’t wait, ‘Half an hour, get ready at reception and we’ll go.’

“Just before we leave the hotel, Gilles Grimandi, one of the French, said, ‘Can I come out with you?’

“I said, ‘Gilles, come out with us, you’ll have a much better time. I know what the French are going to do. They go to the cafe and talk about football.’

“I said, ‘No, no, Gilles; we’re going to the pub and we’re going to have a good time.’ So he’s coming with us.

Arsenal players had a “Tuesday Club” before Arsene Wenger arrived in 1996


Bob Thomas / Getty Images)

“Steve Bould was by far the biggest drinker … he was always at the front of the line! He was at the bar and said, ‘Hello Gilles, what would you like to drink?’

“He said, ‘Can I have a small glass of wine?’ So Steve goes to the barman, ‘Can I have 35 pints and a small glass of white wine?’

“We had seven each and the first two didn’t touch the sides. Gilles Grimandi says, ‘How can you drink so much and walk around?’

“We’re leaving this bar after a quick seven pints and now going to another bar. And all the French were at the coffee bar and smoked!

“I thought, ‘How are we going to win the league this year if we’re all drunk and they smoke?’ And in the end we won the double! “

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