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Friday
May042012

It began in Odense

BY SEAN MARLAND / @seanmarland

I was watching a highly fashionable Scandinavian crime drama over the weekend, when the city of Odense subtitled its way across my screen. Apparently some bird from The Bridge was off to university there, not that I caught much more of the episode, because as is often the case, my brain had found a way to think about The Arsenal.

As you'll probably remember, George Graham and his men travelled to Denmark for the first game of what was to be a glorious Cup Winners’ Cup campaign, back in September 1993. Goals from Ian Wright and Paul Merson gave us victory on the night, but when I uncovered a video of the match later on, two things struck me.

First, the high regard the Danes apparently had for Arsenal (during a time in which English football was hardly en vogue) and secondly, the opening interview with George Graham.

Listening to him eschew the 'continental game' and bemoan the futility of endless passing came as a bit of a surprise, especially when you remember that he was responsible for some exciting Arsenal teams (Limpar, Rocastle, Merson etc). Obviously there's a big difference between "getting the ball in the box" and playing like St*ke, but what Mr Wenger would make of it all is anyone’s guess.

Either way, it’s an interesting curio and a fine reminder of how our last successful European campaign started. Enjoy.

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