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'I was determined to do 20 years at Arsenal'

David O'Leary

When David O'Leary celebrated his first decade with us in 1983, he immediately set his sights on repeating the feat.

Speaking exclusively to our 'In Lockdown' podcast, our all-time record appearance-maker revealed how managed to keep playing at the highest level for so long. 
 
"There were a few times that you would see people moving," O'Leary said. “You'd see Frank Stapleton go to Manchester United and I was getting offered similar opportunities. 

"At certain times there were a brief moments of thinking about [leaving], but no. Ken Friar always knew, anytime there was a new contract coming, I always had a pen in my hand ready to sign. 
 
"I never said it to people, but I had an ambition to do 20 years at the club. I remember people after I'd done 10 years there and people were saying how good [it was] and how quickly the time had gone. I thought to myself, 'I think the position I play in, the way I'm lucky with injuries, the way I keep myself fit, that I can do another 10 years here.' I was quite determined to do that. 
 
"The other thing I wanted to do as a private ambition... I remember playing 600 games for Arsenal and people saying, 'You're up now with George Armstrong, who did 600.' I had something in my head that said I wanted to go into the 700s and have somebody say to me, 'Nobody in Arsenal's history has ever gone into the 700s.' That drove me on as well." 

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