Academy players at Arsenal used to have to sing Christmas carols outside the club’s training ground to earn tips from first-team stars.
Apprentices at football clubs would have to clean the boots of senior players among other duties, on top of their training sessions.
In order to earn a bonus at Christmas time, those players would have to stand on a box outside the club’s London Colney training ground in an attempt to get tips from big-name stars.
Former Arsenal icon Ray Parlour has revealed that the academy youngsters would attempt to impress stars such as Tony Adams, earning tips for the quality of their singing.
“I was on like £27.50 a week. It was a big thing for the apprentices is that they got a bonus from the players they cleaned the boots,” Parlour told talkSPORT.
“So, what you used to have to do is there was a big box outside the training ground at London Colney, every single apprentice had to stand on the box to sing a Christmas carol.
“They got paid by how they sang. You wanted the big players really, the David O’Leary’s and Tony Adams and them sort of guys because they would give you bigger money.
“I had three reserve team players, that was a nightmare, I probably got a tenner each, £20 each maybe.”
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Parlour also recalled one incident where he was prevented from singing a carol by Adams, who chased after him.
“They had buckets of water ready and it was obviously a very cold morning when you have to sing,” he added.
“I had to sign ‘Little Donkey’ and I only got to Donkey and Tony Adams chased me because at that time, he was called the donkey. Donkey Adams.
“He chased me, got me, put me in the mud, proper mud all over you, buckets of water going all over your head.
“But I didn’t have to sing. Believe it or not, the players were really nervous before they went out to sing in front of George Graham, first team squad, it’s a nightmare, it really is.”
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