Ex-Arsenal star Ray Parlour has conceded that both himself and his teammates were “out of order” in the clash with Manchester United in September 2003.
The infamous scenes at Old Trafford after Ruud van Nistelrooy missed a last-gasp penalty in a 0-0 draw are etched in the memories of most United and Arsenal supporters.
Led by Martin Keown, Parlour, Lauren and Ashley Cole were amongst the group of Arsenal players to taunt the Dutchman as things became physical with scuffles greeting the full-time whistle.
It continued the ill-feeling between the two rivals after Patrick Vieira had been sent off earlier in the game in an era where the two Premier League giants were locked in annual battles for the league title.
Emotions evidently got the better of them that day, and Parlour has described it as a “nightmare” given that he was fined for his actions and having had to watch it back and regret what happened.
“We were out of order, really. There’s loads of things you do in football you regret, but we all got fined by the FA,” he told Sky Sports.
“I remember the letters coming in a couple of weeks later and we said to Martin Keown ‘open yours up first, because you started it’. He got fined £20,000, I got done £10,000, Lauren £5,000 and Ashley Cole £5,000 – bit of a nightmare, really.”
Parlour will be hoping that there aren’t any repeat performances from the current crop of Arsenal stars this weekend, and that they’ll be able to return to north London with all three points.
The 43-year-old has picked out Shkodran Mustafi as the key element of this squad, and believes that the German international’s impact has helped turn his old club into genuine contenders.