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Do we honour our legends?

Posted: 28 September 2017 Time: 08:45 editor Tshepang Mailwane shares his experience of being at the Emirates Stadium in London, where he noticed how legends at Arsenal are never forgotten.

As you walk around Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, you get the sense of how the legends of the club are appreciated.

Just above the megastore, there’s a statue of the legendary Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp, a player with an impeccable first touch – probably one of the best we’ve ever seen from a footballer.

While you wait to get into the stadium, you can take a seat on a bench which has the name of Charlie George, with his stats of 179 games and 49 goals. I was not even born when George played for the Gunners, but I felt like I knew him because of how he was on the bench that I sat on and on the walls as you enter the stadium.

Arsenal were hosting West Bromwich Albion on Monday night and I had gone to the stadium with a group of journalists who have been sent to London by SuperSport, to get a feel of how things are done in this part of the world.

So at half time, after Alex Lacazette had scored to give the Gunners a 1-0 lead, the stadium announcer had a brief chat with the club’s former striker Kevin Campbell, someone they had apparently been trying to get to come to the stadium for a while.

They spoke about his history with the club and showed some of his clips on the screens. Many of the kids at the stadium might not have seen Campbell play during his day, but they definitely know who he is after seeing his old clips on screen. It makes it easier for them to know who the club legends are and what they did for Arsenal.

As I sat there, I wished South African clubs would do the same with their legends. While there are clubs who have shown appreciation to their legends, I still feel there are a lot of former players who have served clubs with distinction but were not honoured in the correct way. In fact, many of them were not honoured at all. It’s time clubs do more to honour their legends and to make sure that they are always remembered, even by kids who did not see them playing.

Article by: Tshepang Mailwane
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