The Arsenal Invincibles documentary was created by Arsenal media and released this week. To celebrate the documentary, some Arsenal legends attended a premiere of the film at the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead.
It was shown on Sky Sports 5 HD on Wednesday evening, and because of other commitments I’ve only just seen it.
The film, which took two years to make, was well made and a really fantastic watch. It has the thoughts of Arsene Wenger, Sol Campbell, Martin Keown, Thierry Henry, Jens Lehmann and Ray Parlour.
The insight of those players and the manager makes for gripping viewing and it’s amazing to see how they felt through different times of the season.
A particular highlight for me was the overview of the infamous game at Old Trafford.
Van Nistelrooy lashing out at Patrick Vieira and ultimately getting the Arsenal captain sent off is still one of the most infuriating things I have ever seen. I remember watching way back then, and it still annoys me 11 years later.
However, the camaraderie between the Arsenal players when they reflect on the whole incident is beautiful to watch. Jens Lehmann, Ray Parlour and Martin Keown in particular is fantastic and shows the amazing spirit and passion the team had for each other.
The Invincibles squad were full of players who would die for each other and the documentary even revealed a big confrontation between Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger after the final whistle.
The image of Martin Keown whacking Van Nistelrooy over the head at the full time whistle is still and will probably always be one of my most favourite Arsenal moments.
The documentary highlights some of the key games and moments of the season, and for a person that never cries, I found it hard not to get emotional further on in the documentary when Arsenal were on the treble charge and it looked like the season was going to completely fall apart – until a Thierry Henry inspired Arsenal managed to overcome a difficult Liverpool side that threatened to derail our Premier League challenge.
As a documentary overall, for any Arsenal fan it is a must watch and is a solid 9 out of 10. It is an excellent tribute and recap of one of the most beautiful, memorable and iconic seasons in Arsenal’s history and the player opinions make it a gripping watch. The only reason why it doesn’t get a 10 out of 10 is because of the lack of opinions from other key members of the team.
Since the 2003/2004 season when members of that special squad departed due to retirement or leaving for pastures new, there seems to be an obvious omission for certain players.
From the players who left Arsenal only Dennis Bergkamp, Fredrick Ljungberg and Robert Pires were probably the only ones who didn’t leave under acrimonious circumstances. Dennis is in Holland with Ajax but I’m sure he could have contributed a few thoughts to the film, and I realise that Bobby’s English isn’t the best so understand his absence from the documentary. Freddie is still working for Arsenal at the moment (I believe) so wasn’t sure why he wasn’t included.
Patrick Vieira was the captain of this side and isn’t in it. He’s doing work at Manchester City so isn’t impossible to get hold of, so I’m not sure why he wasn’t involved – does he still hold a grudge against Arsene Wenger? I don’t know.
Then you have the players who weren’t so popular – the most famous departure from Arsenal being Ashley Cole. I did search and see if this had been addressed by anyone or whether it was swept under the carpet and found this tweet from the former Arsenal left-back:
People asking why I'm not in the #Invincibles book I thought it would be for the best. I didn't think fans would want it,
— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) February 24, 2015
So clearly he was asked, but declined.
For me, that is sad. Whatever you want to say about Ashley Cole, for me he was a big part of that special season (as where the other players). The documentary is about this very special season, nothing before or after it. If Ashley Cole (along with Paddy, Dennis and Freddie) contributed it would have been perfect.
I’m sure the majority of Arsenal fans would have liked to see Ashley Cole contribute, because when you’re recounting a special season in Arsenal’s history, you want to get all the opinions from all the key people – and like it or not, Ashley Cole was one of them.