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Take a Seussy trip back in time to celebrate Arséne’s Double Double [Book Review]


In the few months since he left us I have had time to reflect
On the legacy of a man that earned all of our respect
With his mission to make football art I believe he even out did
The style and free flowing fair of 1960s Real Madrid
This man gave us football the like of which we may not see again
So I hope this book proves an enjoyable trip down memory lane
In a style you may have guessed, I have taken the trouble
To relive, in detail and with some humour, Wenger’s Double Double
Two seasons of historic moments to sit in Arsenal’s rich folklore
Achieved playing the game we love in way we had never seen before

Those of you who know Dave Seager will know that he has an inner bard who refuses to be silenced; one minute Dave is dazzling you with his encyclopedic Arsenal knowledge, astounding you with his tactical insights, confounding you with his uncanny ability to predict lineups, formations and transfer business… the next, he breaks out a blog poem in perfect pentameter, tongue firmly in cheek, making fun of himself, the club he adores, and life in general.

When he told me he was going to do a book on Arséne Wenger’s Double Double seasons, I was expecting another Dave Seager-esque tome: one carefully researched, involving endless interviews with inaccessible celebrities and football giants, a la Geordie Armstrong On The Wing – his definitive George Armstrong tribute, or Supporting Arsenal Is A Funny Old Game” – in which Dave interviews famous Gooner comedians about their love of The Arsenal. So, imagine my surprise when he sent me the first few pages of the first season, and I read:

Before 1998 – I am kidding you not –
The Premier had only been won by a Scot
No chance for a foreigner nobody knew
Not for a Frenchman named “Arsene Who?!”

ME: “Dave… Um… Your new book… It’s in verse…”

DAVE: “Yes. Glad you noticed.”

ME: ” Are you planning on doing the entire…”

DAVE: “Yes.”

And so he did.

Dave committed Arsenal’s entire 1997/98 and 2001/02 seasons to verse – in the style of Dr. Seuss – and I was surprised at how enjoyable it was to relive those experiences – some of which I had forgotten. Everything is in there – injuries, intrigue, insight – all delivered in an impish, quick-witted style by someone quite obviously invested fully in the Arsenal experience.

Take this verse, for example:

A partner for Paddy, potentially Gio
But Wenger knew that Arsenal needed their Rio
The Coup of all Coups: imagine that!
Wenger pulled Spurs’ captain from his Magic Hat

There is a lot of information packed into those four lines. The words are loaded and witty. Anyone with a passing affinity for Arsenal would appreciate the broader picture: the unfolding dramas of each Double season. Those who are more knowledgeable – and perhaps more familiar with the players, the club, and indeed the League – will revel in the ‘insider jokes’, the backstory, as told by someone with a keen eye for detail.

The book is illustrated by Poorly Drawn Arsenal – those in the Arsenal Twitterverse will be familiar with his work. He has produced some gems for this book, with his uncanny ability to capture the perfect caricature with such seeming effortlessness and simplicity.

Here is Wrighty, celebrating his club goal-scoring record. Prematurely, as it turns out!

Wrighty

And here’s his depiction of the Romford Pele – who played such a vital role in the Cup win of the second Double season:

"It's Only Ray Parlour!"

“It’s Only Ray Parlour!”

The book is a breeze to read. It’ll make you chuckle, it’ll bring back so many vivid memories. It doesn’t pretend to be any more than what it is: a celebration of two amazing seasons, breath-taking football played by the greatest team in the world, led by Arsenal’s most successful manager.

It’s the perfect stocking-stuffer for the Gooner who has everything. It may also pique the interest of the Junior Gunner who was born after these momentous seasons took place. Dave has produced a fun and action-packed book that I believe Arsenal fans will receive with great affection.

Kudos, Dave!

I hope you enjoyed this review; support your fellow Gooner bard by clicking on the banner below. For a limited time, you can pick up “Arsene’s Double Double” – along with two Poorly Drawn prints and a limited edition Tony Adams badge for only £15.00!

Enjoy!

Arséne's Double Double

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Disclaimer: This review was written by Paul Hepker/ @invinciblog. He is the co-owner of Gunners Town – this site – along with Dave Seager, the author of “Double Double”. Paul is known equally for his sketchy sense of humour, and his political incorrectness, however those two qualities in no way influenced his review.

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