‘The Indonesian fans are so passionate’

NIAC Mitra v Arsenal - 1983
Brian Talbot in action against NIAC Mitra in 1983

Besides the heat and humidity, Brian Talbot’s abiding memory of Indonesia is the extraordinary passion of the fans.

The former Arsenal midfielder was part of Terry Neill’s squad that visited the country at the end of the 1982/83 campaign to take part in a three-match tour.

"They are passionate and excited, they make a lot of noise and they are keen to be near you"

Brian Talbot

It proved an unforgettable experience for the Gunners and Talbot says he enjoyed every moment of his time there.

“What you find when you go to these places is that they love their football,” Talbot told Arsenal Player.

“They are passionate and excited, they make a lot of noise and they are keen to be near you. Not so much when we played, but these days they see English football on television and will be overwhelmed when Arsenal go there.

“When we went I think people knew the Arsenal, because the club was and still is an institution in English football. They might not have known about you personally but they knew you from Arsenal.

“But nowadays they can go on the internet and find out about every player, they know how many games he has played, how many goals he scored, what clubs he has played for. It is totally different now.”

Talbot tried his best to see as much of Indonesia as possible during the tour, and says the current Arsenal squad will have the trip of a lifetime.

“I love travelling, so going to these different countries was an education,” he said. “I was not a lazy footballer, if I went somewhere I wanted to see what the culture was, what the country and the city had to offer. If I could go and see the sights, maybe a cathedral, a museum, a bridge, then I would.

“It was a culture shock, but it was an education to see how people live in another part of the world. I am sure this year the boys will see a fantastic city, have a fantastic trip and everything will be top drawer.”

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