An evening with Perry Groves…
By Kevin Whitcher
…amongst others – AISA plug number 2
Ok, so to promote next Monday's Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association event, and shoehorn one of the guests Perry Groves into an onlinegooner exclusive, something I have pondered for a while is the implications of non-native players in the light of the reunions of past winning teams.
Dinners are occasionally held at many clubs at which a substantial representation of past trophy winning teams turn up and regale the audience with their reflections and memories of the time. Perry Groves is one such individual you would expect to see when there is a gathering of players for the two Arsenal titles under George Graham.
There have also been many reunions of the 1971 double winning side. But, can you imagine such a gathering for an Arsenal side that won silverware under Arsene Wenger? I guess it would be possible for the 1998 team to get a decent turn out – the famous back five (plus one, if you consider both Keown and Steve Bould played in it), Ray Parlour, Ian Wright and er… Marc Overmars? Petit and Vieira? Is Dennis Bergkamp going to get on a plane to attend? Nicolas Anelka? Christopher Wreh, anyone? As a club employee, Gilles Grimandi might show I guess (by the way, it's been long forgotten, but the Grimster moved to a certain Colorado Rapids after leaving Arsenal, but then left without making any appearances!) Anyhow, with subsequent trophies, the number of players that would still be living in this country lessens.
I remember an AISA dinner about three or four years ago when they managed to get Oleg Luzhny in as one of the guests. I suspect ‘the Horse’ had other arrangements in England that allowed him to attend, as he was based in his native Ukraine at the time. He wasn’t confident in his English, and hearing Ray Parlour being interviewed (probably by Tom Watt) feared that he could not cope with such a conversation that he scarpered before his turn to take the mic.
Naturally, there is no danger of Perry suffering stage fright on Monday, and will doubtless be good for an entertaining half hour of anecdote, opinion and reflection. And I would be very surprised if the great man did not join those that make the trek to a public house (probably Tommy Flynn’s on the Holloway Road) after the meeting for more.
It’s interesting how Perry has become a perverse kind of cult hero. Often given the bird as a player, viewed as a poor man’s Theo Walcott, he has, over recent years, through his popular autobiography and a willingness to mix with the fans and demonstrate he is just one of us, been embraced by all. His personality, rather than memories of any brilliance on the field, is what has made him so well loved. It will be interesting to see if fans feel the same about the aforementioned Walcott 20 years after he leaves Arsenal.
Aside from Perry, there is also the opportunity at the AGM to ask questions of the club’s chief commercial officer Tom Fox and communications director Mark Gonella. It should be an interesting evening, although I can confidently predict already that one Percival Groves will be the star turn.
The meeting is next Monday evening (10th September), and takes place in the Dial Square area of the stadium’s club level. Arrive from 6.30 for a 7pm start. The meeting is open to all Arsenal supporters. If you are not currently a paid-up AISA member you can join here (recommended) or pay cash on the evening (£10 or £5 unwaged).
7th September 2012
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Theo's Bikini-Line 16:56pm 7th Sep 2012
Bloody hell - AISA have got more plugs than Screwfix and Homebase!! I shall not be attending because judging by the interview AISA had with Mr Fox, I think we all know what kind of nonsense the Arsenal PR machine will be allowed to get away with. Still, I suppose it keeps up the pretence that the opinions of AISA (or indeed any of the fans groups) means something to the club, when most of us know by the utterances of Wenger, Hill-Wood and others that they couldn't give a stuff. - Post No. 28784
maguiresbridge gooner 19:29pm 7th Sep 2012
Good heading kev i'm sure thats who the majority will be going to hear.I'm sure he won't do a runner like luzhny.As coincidences go i found myself and half a dozen other fans standing at the bar in dial square in the presence of perry after the match on the night of the north london derby in 08 when we grabbed a draw from the jaws of victory when rat boy beat the waiter from forty yards for the opener.When asked what he thought of that he told it straight without any spin will Tom Fox and Mark Gonella do the same to questions on Monday night. - Post No. 28787
Big Dave 23:22pm 7th Sep 2012
Just throw AISA a free sandwich and they will roll over and happly have their stomach rubbed with any old B.S. They are a joke part of Arsenal's propaganda machine NOT IN MY Name AISA - Post No. 28788
20th May 2013
Online Ed: 4th place trophy and CL qualifier secured