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Invincible: Inside Arsenal's Unbeaten 2003-2004 Season Paperback – 7 May 2015
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Delightful . . . a football book that takes the team not the stars as its starting point (David Goldblatt Guardian)
This book is so full of exclusive interviews you'll soon feel like part of the squad. A worthy tribute to one of English football's best ever teams, it makes you long for one more game at Highbury (Shortlist)
Unbeatable insight. The inside story of one of English football's greatest teams(Henry Winter Daily Telegraph)
Perceptive and well-wrought . . . Provides all-areas access to the inner workings and passions of a top club and a famous team (Sunday Times, Books of the Year)
The story of an amazing season wonderfully told through the eyes of the men who made it happen. I can't recommend it highly enough (Andrew Mangan Arseblog)
Fascinating for any sports fan and truly a gold mine for Arsenal supporters (Alan Davies)
A fascinating and engrossing read from start to finish. Provides wonderful insight and anecdotes as well as revealing the dynamics and determination from within the dressing room (John Cross Daily Mirror)
I picked it up and couldn't put it down. Brilliantly depicts a piece of football history (David Dein, Arsenal Vice-Chairman (1983-2007))
This is research at its riveting best. My only complaint about the book is that it had to end (Patrick Barclay, author of The Life and Times of Herbert Chapman)
If you were there in 71 and/or 2004, buy the book. If only now do you appreciate that we probably had four of the six best payers on the planet back then, buy the book and read their words. Let me make it simple. If you are an Arsenal supporter, buy the book (Goonerholic)
From the Inside Flap
There is a gold edition of the Premier League trophy on display inside Arsenal's stadium. It is the only one of its kind.
It was specially commissioned to honour an achievement that has never been done before or since in modern football - an undefeated campaign. Most of the players involved never even touched it, or lifted it, as it was cast as an afterthought. Who, after all, would imagine overcoming every obstacle to complete a 38-game season without loss? Only Arsene Wenger.
Nobody in Arsenal's inner circle took him seriously when he first said it could be done. Yet in 2003-04, a team that played with lightning speed and lustrous skill fulfilled Wenger's lifelong dream. In one season, a special group became invincible.
That group was fascinating for the blend - characters who shared elite qualities but also added idiosyncratic personality to the mix. They pushed and inspired one another. It brought the best out of the likes of Jens Lehmann, a self-styled 'Mad German', Sol Campbell, an intense competitor, Robert Pires, an instant friend if you give him a football, Patrick Vieira, a soft-spoken, battle-hardened captain, Gilberto, a thoughtful Brazilian, Thierry Henry, a supremely gifted and obsessed scorer and creator, Dennis Bergkamp, the perfectionist conductor.
This definitive book is based on their experiences told in exclusive player interviews. Football writer Amy Lawrence, who has reported on Arsenal for more than 25 years, weaves their recollections, as well as the testimonies of other key players and protagonists around the club, to allow them to tell their story. From the battle of Old Trafford to jubilation at White Hart Lane, from training ground sparks to dressing room revelations, readers will go behind closed doors, onto the pitch and into the minds of the players to relive the key games and battles, and to understand the teamwork and the psychology that was fundamental to staying undefeated.
Invincible is also the story of one club's revolution during an era when the game has been transformed. A journey back and forth in time, the book reflects on the scene in the 1970s and 80s, and finishes in the present with a full chapter interview with Arsene Wenger conducted after Arsenal's 2014 FA Cup victory, to put the Invincibles into important historical context.
Full of insight, honesty and humour, this insider's account is not only a must-have read for any Arsenal or football fan, but an enthralling portrait of one of the most extraordinary teams in modern sport.See all Product description
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Amy illustrates some of the key elements that went into assembling the squad and setting the stage for that success. Arsene Wenger’s chance meeting with David Dein at Highbury in January 1989 and the long-term friendship that emerged and was nurtured thereafter before Dein championed Wenger’s appointment as Arsenal manager in 1996; the introduction of Wenger’s philosophy on how to prepare and behave as professional athletes that propelled Arsenal into the Avant Gard of English football; the careful assembly of talented players from across the globe, with a good balance of age and experience; the extraordinary vision of Wenger to adapt his players’ into position’s that enhanced the strength of the team; Thierry Henry from winger to central striker; Kolo Toure from midfield to central defence; Lauren from attacking midfield to right back; Freddy Ljungberg from central midfield to wide right attack. All were essential elements to the success as was the emotional protective bond of the team that emerged after the early season 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
Insight is also provided to some of the more peripheral elements that created the foundations for such success; the thought and design of Arsenal’s training facilities at London Colney that provided the players with a quiet sanctuary to calm down from the frenetic demands of modern professional football. There were team dinners that were organised and arranged by team Captain Patrick Vieira. They allowed the players to learn more about their colleagues and their very varied childhood backgrounds. It underpinned the development of team spirit and trust. That in turn manifested itself into the creation of ‘Wengerball’; the ‘Invincible’s’ hallmark of instinctive rapid one-touch football that could often blow the opposition away.
There are also recollections of some the key games of the season; the 4-2 home victory over Liverpool in early April 2004 that concluded a troubled week for the Gunners after exciting two cup competitions; the 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane where after blowing Spurs away with some sublime football, Jens Lehmann’s meltdown was followed by joyful title celebrations. The players recall how difficult it was to maintain motivation to avoid defeats for the final four games of the season when the real job was already done; Jose-Antonio Reyes came to the fore in a couple of those games to see them across the line.
Interviews with the majority of the players allows Amy to provide additional anecdotes and insight into that special and unique season. It brought back for me personally many very happy memories and underlined what a truly outstanding effort was required to go through an entire league campaign undefeated. It is a book that I am sure that many seasoned Gunners, like myself, will absolutely love.
As someone who regularly watched Arsenal live during the Invincibles season, this book really brought back some great memories. Reading about things from the inside was quite an eye-opener.
Not your typical footie book. While this can be viewed as a book for Arsenal fans, actually this is a book any fan of the game could enjoy.
Honestly, for any Arsenal fan, this book is a must. Even if you're not and you are just a football fan, it gives you an incredible look behind the scenes to an incredible moment in history. Really loved it! Was gutted when I finished it!
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Even if you don't like arsenal is about sheer determination and team spirit!
Very inspiring. Love it!