Emmanuel Petit says he loved his time at Arsenal because of the “crazy characters” in the squad.
The France international joined the club from Monaco in 1997 and went on to win the Premier League and the FA Cup during his three-year spell in north London.
Petit left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2000 but the former midfielder - who celebrates his 45th birthday this week - still has fond memories of the lively atmosphere in the dressing room.
“The squad was full of big characters, crazy people,” he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “The culture and style of play was completely different [to France] and we were preparing for games with rap music. I remember Ian Wright tramping through the bars into the Highbury dressing room and I could feel the walls shaking from the fans.
“All the benches had inscriptions of the players who had passed and it was like being a part of history. You’re part of history and you can feel all of the players who have come before in the energy in the dressing room. I also remember how friendly and welcoming David Dein was. I loved my time at Arsenal.
“We won the Premier League title and that was the first step for Arsene Wenger’s credibility in England, and also for the French players as well. We were playing under so much pressure because we knew that Arsene was French like us and we always had to do more, more, more.
“All the English players understood that and they knew from the beginning that we will do everything we can to win something and that we will do everything that we could to be part of the team.
“That’s why winning the FA Cup at Wembley was a win as well because the stadium was like the Stade de France. It was similar to winning the World Cup there and special too.”
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