Another day, another ‘tell-all’ biography from a footballer you probably forgot existed. Yes, everyone’s favourite late-90s Arsenal hunk Emmanuel Petit has this week lifted the lid on a decadent world where sex was power, and female haircuts on a man where apparently a good thing. The World Cup winner, who played for Arsenal between 1997 and 2000, has revealed the elements of professional football that everyone really aspires to in an incendiary autobiographical volume entitled A Fleur de Peau, apparently meaning My Little Pony in the Queen’s English.
Petit describes the revelry that followed on-field success, and how he found himself drawn increasingly into a world of swinging parties and “unbelievable debauchery” on rich Arabs' yachts where the devil’s dandruff flowed like Snoop Dogg circa Deep Cover. The ex-Arsenal man claims he “went off the rails” after hitting the limelight in the wake of the national team’s World Cup victory on home soil in 1998:
“On my days off I discovered the parallel world of Parisian nights – private soirees, swapping clubs," says Petit. “They often went on in incredibly luxurious apartments whose owners I didn't even know – but everyone recognised me.” Now you might think c’est la vie, anything goes in gay
“This pretty girl came regularly,” says Petit. “We had a relationship one day in the snooker room. The next morning, the director and his staff welcomed me with applause. He said the room had cameras but reassured me that, as an Arsenal fan, he wouldn’t make the slightest use of it.” So the lesson here kids is that if you go to the Sopwell House hotel in
Talking about his time partying with affluent Arab families, Petit maintains that he was not involved in the yacht-based drug taking, but admits that he had the chance to go all Tony Montana had he wanted to dabble:
“They had only top models on board and cocaine everywhere,” he says. “I didn’t take any. The wealthy owners had a great time humiliating the young women in the worst of ways.” Quite what that means is up for debate. Mass debate. Sorry.