Arsenal FC

Where are they now? Arsenal’s 1998 double winners

Jamie Spencer
Jan 25, 2021, 11:07 AM GMT
Arsenal won the Premier League & FA Cup in 1997/98
Arsenal won the Premier League & FA Cup in 1997/98 | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images
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In 1997/98, Arsenal became only the third different club after Manchester United and Blackburn to win the new Premier League. The Gunners also lifted the FA Cup that season, beating Newcastle at Wembley, to secure a domestic double and match the heroes of 1970/71.

It was Arsene Wenger’s first full season in English football, having arrived completely unknown on British soil midway through the previous campaign. But the Frenchman’s impact was enormous, with the Gunners beating Manchester United to the Premier League title and kicking off a period of eight incredibly successful years for the club.

That success was now more than 20 years ago and some of the older members of the squad are fast approaching their 60th birthdays. Here’s a look at where Arsenal’s 1997/98 double winners are now.

Goalkeepers

David Seaman

David Seaman stayed with Arsenal until 2003
David Seaman stayed with Arsenal until 2003 | Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

David Seaman returned from an injury-hit 1996/97 campaign to keep 13 clean sheets in his 31 Premier League appearances during the first double season. He was part of the second double side in 2001/02, left Arsenal in 2003 and briefly continued with Manchester City until he was 40.

Seaman expressed interest in becoming a goalkeeping coach in the past, but on more than one occasion noted his disappointment that he must also earn an outfield coaching badge in order to qualify. He appeared on Dancing on Ice in 2006 and continues to make sporadic media appearances.

Alex Manninger

Alex Manninger was Seaman's back-up
Alex Manninger was Seaman's back-up | Getty Images/Getty Images

Alex Manninger kept six consecutive Premier League clean sheets in the spring of 1998 while Seaman was injured, the last of which was the famous 1-0 over Manchester United. He had a journeyman career thereafter that included spells at Juventus, Red Salzburg and even Liverpool.

When he retired in 2017, the former Austrian international said he wanted to return his original trade as a carpenter and work in construction, property and furniture.

Defenders

Lee Dixon

Lee Dixon made 619 Arsenal appearances in total
Lee Dixon made 619 Arsenal appearances in total | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Starting right-back Lee Dixon played 35 times across the Premier League and FA Cup in 1997/98 and was a regular fixture of the side until 2001 when he was phased out at the age of 37. He remains fourth on the club’s all-time appearance list with 619 between 1988 and 2002.

In retirement, Dixon has become known as a pundit and co-commentator, leaving BBC for ITV in 2012. He has worked on American coverage of the Premier League and is the main co-commentator on FIFA 21, first featuring in the series in FIFA 19.

Nigel Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn was starting left-back
Nigel Winterburn was starting left-back | Getty Images/Getty Images

Nigel Winterburn played on the opposite side of Arsenal’s famous defence to Dixon. In 13 years as an Arsenal player until 2000, he made 584 appearances and is fifth on the club’s all-time list.

Winterburn went on to play for West Ham for three more years after leaving Highbury and retired in 2003. He held a coaching position at Blackburn in 2008, but has more prominently worked as a pundit and media figure over the last 10 years, including for BT Sport.

Steve Bould

Steve Bould was the first of the famous defence to go
Steve Bould was the first of the famous defence to go | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Steve Bould was the oldest member of Arsenal’s iconic defence and was the first to be phased out and leave, doing so in 1999 when he joined Sunderland and helped the Black Cats finish seventh in the Premier League in his first and only full season there.

Bould returned to Arsenal soon after retiring to embark on a coaching career, holding various positions at youth level, before progressing to first-team assistant manager in 2012. In 2019, he took over management of the Under-23 squad in a re-shuffle.

Tony Adams

Tony Adams captained Arsenal to the double
Tony Adams captained Arsenal to the double | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Tony Adams lifted the Premier League and FA Cup trophies in May 1998 and would do so again four years later at the end of the 2001/02 season. The latter was his last as a player, retiring a one-club man with 669 Arsenal appearances to his name.

Adams has held numerous coaching and management roles but has never been as successful as his playing days. He has been in charge at Wycombe and Portsmouth, took charge of Gabala in Azerbaijan in 2011 and managed Granada to relegation from La Liga in 2017.

Martin Keown

Martin Keown was originally an Arsenal youth player
Martin Keown was originally an Arsenal youth player | Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

A former Arsenal youth player who returned to the club in the early 1990s, Martin Keown won a second double in 2001/02 and remained until the 2003/04 Invincibles season, during which he was replaced by the emerging Kolo Toure.

The centre-back played for Leicester and Reading in the second tier, before retiring in 2005 and moving into a media career. He is now a regular pundit and co-commentator for BBC and BT Sport.

Gilles Grimandi

Gilles Grimandi was a valuable utility player
Gilles Grimandi was a valuable utility player | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Versatile Frenchman Gilles Grimandi had previously played for Wenger at Monaco prior to joining Arsenal in 1997. He was largely a back-up option early on, but stayed at Highbury until 2002 and played 40 times in the second double campaign.

Grimandi became the first French player to join an MLS club when he signed with Colorado Rapids in 2003, although family problems ended his career there almost instantly. He later scouted for Arsenal in France and was technical director at Nice for six months in 2019.

Matthew Upson

Matthew Upson joined Arsenal as a teenager
Matthew Upson joined Arsenal as a teenager | Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Matthew Upson was only 18 for most of the 1997/98 season, having been brought in from Luton for a colossal £2m ahead of the campaign. He had played 57 times for Arsenal overall by the time of his departure in 2003 but failed to make a long-term breakthrough.

Upson found his feet in the Premier League with Birmingham and West Ham, even becoming an England international. His post-retirement career has been geared towards the media and is now known for his work with BBC and Sky Sports.

Midfielders

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira was 21 when he joined Arsenal in 1997
Patrick Vieira was 21 when he joined Arsenal in 1997 | Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

A 21-year-old Patrick Vieira became an instant regular for Arsenal following a disappointing spell at AC Milan and finished the 1997/98 season with a World Cup winner’s medal in addition to his Premier League and FA Cup triumphs.

He later inherited the captaincy from Adams and led the Invincibles squad, before joining Juventus in 2005 and also playing for Inter and Manchester City until 2011. Vieira was Nice manager until December 2020, having previously been in charge of New York City and Manchester City Under-23s.

David Platt

1997/98 was the last proper season of David Platt's career
1997/98 was the last proper season of David Platt's career | Ben Radford/Getty Images

David Platt joined Arsenal towards the end of an impressive career that had seen him become a star at Aston Villa and play in Serie A for several years for Bari, Juventus and Sampdoria. The 1997/98 season was his last as a full-time player and he returned to Italy manage Sampdoria.

Platt was then a player-manager for Nottingham Forest from 1999 until 2001 and continued his coaching career with England Under-21s and was later an assistant to Roberto Mancini at Manchester City. He then coached in India and has since served as a consultant at Palermo.

Marc Overmars

Marc Overmars was Arsenal's defining player of 1997/98
Marc Overmars was Arsenal's defining player of 1997/98 | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Marc Overmars made the difference for Arsenal in 1997/98 following his summer move from Ajax, scoring 12 times in the Premier League – including the iconic winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford that was so crucial in the title race.

The Dutch winger joined Barcelona for big money in 2000 and he retired in 2004 after an injury hit few years. His post-football career began soon after, becoming a board member and adviser at Go Ahead Eagles, while he has been a success as Ajax’s director of football since 2012.

Ray Parlour

Ray Parlour was a regular in the Arsenal midfield
Ray Parlour was a regular in the Arsenal midfield | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Having risen through the Arsenal youth ranks, Ray Parlour became an important first-team player in the mid-1990s and was part of the two double winning sides under Wenger, as well as the Invincibles in his final season at the club in 2003/04.

The midfielder also played for Middlesbrough and Hull prior to retiring in 2007 and has since established himself as a media personality, best known for his radio work with talkSPORT.

Emmanuel Petit

Petit added bite and class to Arsenal's midfield
Petit added bite and class to Arsenal's midfield | Getty Images/Getty Images

Like the aforementioned Grimandi, Emmanuel Petit was another player Wenger had previously worked with at Monaco, bringing the defensive midfielder into the first-team at age 18. He spent three years at Arsenal and was sold with Overmars to Barcelona in 2000.

Petit was back in England only a year later, joining Chelsea until he finished playing in 2004. He commonly works as a pundit in both England and France and is additionally noted for his work supporting the Homeless World Cup in recent years.

Remi Garde

Remi Garde was a veteran back-up for Arsenal
Remi Garde was a veteran back-up for Arsenal | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Remi Garde was recommended to Arsenal by Wenger before he had taken over at Highbury and the midfielder joined the club on the same day as Vieira. He was largely considered a back-up player and left in 1999 to retire at the age of 33.

Garde has previously worked as a pundit on French television and has also been a coach and manager at Lyon, Aston Villa and most recently Montreal Impact in MLS.

Luis Boa Morte

Arsenal first brought Luis Boa Morte to England
Arsenal first brought Luis Boa Morte to England | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Luis Boa Morte is more well known in Premier League circles for his time at Fulham, where he eventually became captain, and West Ham. But Arsenal were his first English club and he made 21 appearances throughout 1997/98, mostly from the bench.

Boa Morte later played in Greece and South Africa, before a final spell in England with Chesterfield. He has since coached at various clubs in Portugal and was an assistant manager at Maccabi Haifa and then Everton, both in 2019.

Stephen Hughes

Stephen Hughes saw his potential curtailed by injuries
Stephen Hughes saw his potential curtailed by injuries | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Home-grown midfielder Stephen Hughes made 28 total appearances for Arsenal during the 1997/98 season. He even scored twice in a 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea. But his time at Highbury was over by 2000, joining Everton for £3m after a loan at Fulham.

Hughes suffered badly with injuries in the early 2000s but regained his fitness enough to play nearly 150 games for Coventry, before retiring with Walsall in 2009. He has since worked as a pundit and analyst with Arsenal’s in-house media.

Forwards

Ian Wright

Ian Wright left Arsenal a club legend in 1998
Ian Wright left Arsenal a club legend in 1998 | Graham Chadwick/Getty Images

Ian Wright was already Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer before the 1997/98 season, a record that was later broken by Thierry Henry, and it was his last with the club as his career began to wind down. He had further spells with West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley.

Wright was briefly a coach at MK Dons, but the last 20 years have seen him establish a successful career in television, both as a football pundit and general personality and presenter. His most frequent role sees him often appear on Match of the Day.

Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka had the makings of a future superstar at Arsenal
Nicolas Anelka had the makings of a future superstar at Arsenal | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Wright’s departure from Arsenal was eased by the emergence of Nicolas Anelka following his £500,000 arrival from Paris Saint-Germain aged just 17 in 1997. The Frenchman played 40 times in all competitions in 1997/98, scoring nine goals, including in the FA Cup final.

Anelka got 19 goals the following season, prompting Real Madrid to pay over £22m for him. But he soon became a journeyman and had spells at Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton, Fenerbahce, Chelsea and West Brom. He coached in Lille’s youth ranks from 2017 to 2020

Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp scored his iconic Leicester hat-trick in 1997/98
Dennis Bergkamp scored his iconic Leicester hat-trick in 1997/98 | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Dennis Bergkamp spent 11 years at Arsenal altogether and played 423 times for the Gunners, giving him more appearances than any other non-British or Irish player in the club’s history. More often a creator, the 1997/98 season was his most prolific, scoring 22 goals.

Bergkamp retired in 2006 when he left Arsenal and moved into coaching in the late 2000s with former club Ajax. He was then assistant manager in Amsterdam for six years from 2011 until 2017, although as of late 2020 he hadn’t worked full-time since then.

Christopher Wreh

Christopher Wreh was the first Premier League player from Liberia
Christopher Wreh was the first Premier League player from Liberia | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Christopher Wreh was another Monaco alumni in Wenger’s early years at Arsenal, having progressed from the youth ranks to the first-team under the manager’s watchful eye. He was primarily a relief striker and scored three times in 16 Premier League appearances in 1997/98.

A Liberia international, Wreh played for numerous other clubs in England, Europe, the middle east and Indonesia until he retired in 2010. He has coached back in his homeland and in 2019 was named assistant coach of the national team following a six-month ban the previous year.

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