There was a moment on Monday night when I found myself stood briefly between Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann. Someone nudged me and whispered, “big guys”. He wasn’t kidding. The first thing that strikes you about the Invincibles is their size — in every sense, these are sporting giants.
It’s easy to see why their opponents were often beaten in the tunnel, scared in to submission by the sheer athleticism of their adversaries.
I’ll be honest: I was a little intimidated too. However, the principal feeling I had was one of awe.
These men are my heroes. In 2004, when Arsenal achieved the remarkable feat of winning the Premier League title without suffering a single defeat, I was 18. The idols you worship at that age don’t diminish with time — they’re indelibly etched in to your affections.
The occasion was the launch of Arsenal’s new Invincibles documentary. At the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead, a number of ex-players, current staff, celebrity fans and outrageously fortunate bloggers got an early glimpse of the finished film.
You’ll love it. It’s a great reminder of the ups and downs of that incredible season, featuring some superb insight from a cast of former players. Lehmann is in particularly inspired form, tossing out dry one-liners with the same self-assurance employed to drill his defence.
The film airs after our match against Monaco on Sky Sports 1 & 5, with an extended version of the film available on iTunes and DVD from March 30.
The documentary will also be aired in the United States on NBC, with the premiere at 12pm (Eastern Time) on Sunday, March 1 following the Arsenal v Everton match. It will then be repeated the following day at 9pm, as well as on March 14 on 6am and at 4pm on March 22 (all Eastern Time).
I was left feeling very lucky. It goes without saying I was blessed to breath the same air as the saintly Robert Pires, but moreover I am fortunate to have had the privilege of watching that Invincibles team in action. We all are.
So few fans will experience the joy of seeing their team achieve something so unique. And they did it in such style too, sweeping all before them with astonishing flamboyance.
It was Arsene Wenger’s finest hour too. For all his many triumphs, it’s the memories of this team that will surely be his greatest legacy.
Unless, of course, we were to win the Champions League. Bring on Monaco.
ps. For more on our Champions League tie and a review of the Palace game, check out Arsecast Extra.