The Independent London Newspaper

 

SCORE BLIMEY: It’s a bit late… but Happy Invincibles Day to you all

Published: 2 December, 2016
by RICHARD OSLEY

ON the face of it, Invincibles Day may sound a rather desperate festival, but what do you know? 

I don’t mock you for spending your lunch money on Halloween, or cooing at the same rockets every year on Bonfire Night. 

So after Chelsea beat Tottenham on Saturday, Arsenal fans, as they have done since 2004, celebrated the fact that once again no team has come close to matching their indelible achievement of going through an entire season undefeated. 

Don’t be ashamed: Happy Invincibles Day to you. Happy Invincibles Day to me. Happy Invincibles Day to one and all. Here’s a penny, go buy some bullseye sweets, and let’s all celebrate. Go and find the biggest goose you can find. 

For those not aware of the custom, and to be fair, Invincibles Day has fallen late this season, perhaps because it’s a leap year, it has become a very special event marking Arsenal’s immortality as not just champions, but the greatest ever champions. The champions of champions. 

You’ll all have your own traditions, picked up over the years, but the day usually begins with an exchange of gifts. This year I got a scarf, pen, and a signed picture of Lauren. A good haul for sure, but it’s not just about the getting: I gave several friends and family a T-shirt with “Played 38 W 26, D 12, L 0”. That may sound tacky to you, but I got it made up in Roman numerals,so, touch of class. 

The celebration continues with a nice pie dinner and a pudding. We were a bit distracted at the table this year by the Arsene Wenger coat zip puzzle that came in the crackers. 

Afterwards, it’s a game of charades where we take turns in acting out moments from the Invincible season. Truth is, a few too many people do Martin Keown leaping like a bird of prey over Ruud van Nistelrooy. It’s the obvious one. Easy. I like to go more niche, usually Robert Pires’s dive against Portsmouth, which won a penalty that ensured that the match ended 1-1. After a few more drinks, we recite Alan Parry’s commentary from the final day, which none of us could have actually heard given everybody claims to have actually been inside Highbury. Then it’s up to Primrose Hill with a torchlit procession to the summit and giant papier mache models of all the players.

And why not? Invincibles Day may sound like a club and its supporters clinging on to a distant glory – but what a glory. 

Chelsea and Man City threw as much money as they could at winning the league, United has the Class of ‘92, but none managed something as supreme as going nine months undefeated. Let’s all raise a drink to that. 

• Send your views to Sports, 40 Camden Road, NW1 9DR or email sports@camdennewjournal.com

 

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