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All Guns Blazing: Henry from the halfway line, ‘Nutty’ Winterburn and other North London derby memories

11:50 24 September 2014

Arsenal's Robert Pires (second left) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the second goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclaycard Premiership game at White Hart Lane, London.

Arsenal's Robert Pires (second left) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the second goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclaycard Premiership game at White Hart Lane, London.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif wonders if memories stay with players as well as fans, as he looks back at some classic North London Derby moments.

“I’m very good at the past. It’s the present I can’t understand.” – Nick Hornby.

Someone pointed out my book, ‘Arsene Wenger: 50 Defining Fixtures’, includes six games against Spurs. A quick check reveals they were right.

It’s not that I didn’t realise, more the fact, as Inspiral Carpets bassist Martyn Walsh told me: “You don’t spend time looking over what you’ve created once it’s done.”

I wonder if players think like that?

I wonder if Thierry Henry sits around his New York pad - whilst catching up on Arsenal reserve games via cable – and ever thinks about the goal he scored against Spurs in November 2002 which was immortalised in bronze. Henry from the halfway line, as I call it.

Or do players - unlike fans – truly believe in never looking back?

I ask because it’s the North London derby this week. And my head is full of memories of this game. Memories which never fade for me.

Of singing what a waste of money at Paul Stewart at the Makita Tournament at Wembley in 1990 whilst we crushed another Lilywhite dawn 4-0.

Or of David Seaman having a stormer against Gary Lineker in N17 as he singlehandedly earned us a point on the way to the 1991 title.

Or of ‘Nutty’ Winterburn firing the decider in a hectic game only remembered for Gazza losing his boot when scoring? Or Ian Wright wheeling away in triumph at a last-gasp winner at the Lane in ‘93?

I really hope our players do look back at the happy memories they created for us in North London derbies. In the book I asked Ray Parlour what he did after the Invincibles won the league at White Hart Lane. He said: “I celebrated for three days!”

With Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck looking so good at Villa, here’s to them creating memories of their own in this weekend’s North London derby.

Incidentally, talking of Arsenal books – is there another club in the land which has so many tomes dedicated to it? I urge you to buy the efforts of three Arsenal authors who I’ve talked to recently: Stewart Taylor, The Ballard of Paul Vaessen; Jon Spurling, Red Letter Days; and Dave Seager, Geordie Armstrong on the Wing.

Buy them for the writing. And for the Arsenal memories they stir.

Arsene Wenger: 50 Defining Fixtures by Layth Yousif is available on Amazon. He will be doing a Waterstones signing in Upper Street before the North London Derby this Saturday from 11am-3pm

Follow him on twitter @laythy29

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