Arsenal legend Ray Parlor has revealed Gilles Grimandi “got the talk” in response to claims he nearly died during a drinking session with him.
The Frenchman moved to Highbury in 1997 when Parlour, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown and David Seaman led the dressing room while Arsene Wenger was in charge.
Just weeks after joining the Gunners and on a pre-season tour, Grimandi went out on a night out with his new teammates but feared for his life after too many beers.
And Parlor has since responded by speaking to Laura Woods on talkSPORT’s The Sport Breakfast, joking that the young defender has his own version of being ‘Brazilian’, referring to his radio partner Alan Brazil, who also takes a drink here and there.
“All the English were having a drink and the French were smoking a cigarette.
“I’ve had [Grimandi] a little ‘Brazilian’, he had to go home.
Woods replied, “He said in that article that he feared for his life. He said he had to go home because he thought he was going to die.
The Arsenal Parlor legend said: “I wouldn’t go that far! I think it was pre-season, we went out to a pub. Arsene Wenger said it was good to go out and do what you love.
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“It was at the end of the pre-season tour, 10 days away, no alcohol. He said ‘look, you can do whatever you want tonight’.
“So the British guys were straight to the local pub, the French guys all went to the cafe, had their coffee, we had a beer.
“We probably had too much, in the end we were gagging. The first two pints didn’t even touch the sides!
“So we probably had seven, eight, maybe more and moved to another pub and all the French guys were smoking.
“That’s when I said ‘how are we going to win the league this year, we all drink and they all smoke’. And we won the double, so it worked!
Arsenal won the double that year in one of Wenger’s most successful seasons at the club, lifting Manchester United to the Premier League title by one point.
They also beat Newcastle in the FA Cup final 2-0 after goals from Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka to cap off a brilliant season for the Gunners.
Parlor continued: “Gilles was a very good guy, his best position was centre-half or central midfielder, but a real gentleman. I loved a laugh.
“The French fell for our humor at the end and they loved every minute of it. It was like I was Brazilian and he was parlored!”
Parlor’s hilarious response is in response to Grimandi’s account of his first weeks at Arsenal after leaving Monaco in 1997 before embarking on a pre-season tour of Nyon, Strasbourg and Eindhoven.
He told The Sun: “I was only starting to speak English but I like good company so I wanted to go.
“I went there one day and met a lot of good drinkers. I said to Ray soon after, ‘I have to go home or I’m going to die!’ Ray was laughing.
“I was very surprised. Another day, a French player was smoking and the English players were shocked.
“However, the day before, they were completely drunk and it was not shocking. We had very different approaches to alcohol and tobacco.
Grimandi would go on to stay at Arsenal for five years before leaving in 2002 after winning two Premier League titles and an FA Cup, but would return to work as a scout, where he admitted missing out on the signings of Lionel Messi and Jude Bellingham.
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