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An Eyeful of Seaman 

BY ANDREW PETERS / @andypeters10

It was April 1998 and the Easter school-holidays. My friend and I, who together traversed the country following The Arsenal, were at a loss as to how to occupy ourselves when my dad offered up two guest passes to his new gym at Sopwell House in St Albans.

Immediately, a light flickered in our minds, Sopwell House? Isn't that where the Arsenal squad are based these days for training? The changing rooms of the nearby London Colney training ground had recently burned down. We did not know exactly when or if the players would be there but we took a punt on a Wednesday and rocked up mid-morning filled with excitement, adventure and a full English breakfast. A statement of intent that we weren't there for the resistance or cardio-work, we were there to brush shoulders with our heroes.

Whilst congratulating my friend on a record break of eight on the club's snooker table, we were interrupted by the sight of Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour strolling past the door, larger than life and significantly larger than me (I'm the Arshavin of our friendship group).

We hadn’t really expected our plan to play out and so we needed to huddle together, like George Graham and Stewart Houston pre-Anfield '89 to mastermind our next move. We figured that the players would just have finished their training so would be heading to the changing rooms and so we decided that a post-snooker jacuzzi session was in order. As I write these words, I realise that this is starting to sound more homo-erotic than I had intended. As such, I think before readin the rest of this story you should know that I am a happily married man with a child on the way. This information may seem irrelevant, but read on...

Nothing was to prepare us for what we saw next. As I swung the changing room door open, we were greeted with a sight that no boy wants to see. A fully resplendent Emmanuel Petit blow-drying his hair, stark-bollock naked. It was like some kind of post-watershed Timotei advert. Never again did I sing the "He's blond he’s quick…" chant without a shudder going down my spine (the bad kind of shudder, ahem). Behind him, was Tony Adams, would have supported his captain's armband.

Once our eyes readjusted from the view of Big Tone (eeeeeooooorrrr), we realised we were standing in a room with all 26 of our heroes (and Alberto Mendez-Rodriguez). And they were all naked! We had wanted to meet them so much, but at the same time had never really considered exactly what they would be doing when we opened that changing room door. I mean, nobody wants to see Luis Boa Morte in his socks swinging his t-shirt above his head and singing in broken English and Portugese about his impending driving test. Nobody!

Even greater embarrassment was to come. As I was changing, David Seaman walked in. Mr Seaman (due deference) parked up next to me and whilst looking straight ahead (me and my friend at this point were too mortified and embarrassed to look anywhere other than directly ahead into our respective lockers), I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that he bent down and let out a sort of muscle-achy groan.

Still looking ahead, I saw this as my opportunity to finally chat to a real bona-fide hero of mine. "Looking a bit stiff there Dave," was the line I opted for. Even with his head buried in his locker, I noticed my friend was by now having some kind of fit. To my absolute horror, when I then turned to Mr Seaman, I noticed that he had actually been bending over to take his shorts off. An Almunia-esque faux pas. I was mortified. To his credit Mr Seaman just gave off one of his gruff Yorkshire laughs and replied "Yes lad, tough session.”

We never took up the remaining guest passes.

(The Arsenal Collective would like to make clear that Andrew did not take the included picture...)

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Reader Comments (6)


November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMartin (@fidgitaldesign)

Great story, not sure about the picture....

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlarry lambkin

truly a challenging situation!

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternic

Awesome story, though I'm less pleased with the mental images it's given me. Never confused....

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob

i am dying over here....hahaha

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjlee

Brilliant! Laughing my ass off.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterConan
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