I have an infatuation with words.
There is always a better word to describe things. Much like the late Robin Williams describes in the film, ‘The Dead Poets Society,’ why use the word ‘tired’ when you can use ‘fatigued.’ Why use ‘happy’ when you have the word ‘overjoyed.’
The beauty of the English language is that we have so many to choose from, picking the right one is an art form of sorts.
The ruination of the word ‘legend’ though, is something that is blighting everyone’s lexicon – and everyone is guilty of it.
Now, you can use the word ‘legend’ to describe a friend who volunteers to make the cheese on toast for everyone. Or the guy on your night out who is the designated driver. It’s been devalued to a huge extent.
So, what constitutes a legend?
I had this very discussion while attending our recent Arsenal Legends versus Real Madrid Legends game at The Emirates.
There was a generous helping of bona fide Gunners players who had achieved glory with our side.
Bobbi Pires, Ray Parlour, Nigel Winterburn, Jens Lehmann, Gilberto. These men had won big trophies with our side, and also had amassed plenty of appearances in a Gunners shirt.
Then there were players who had won titles with Arsenal, but their name was not as familiar as the above. David Hillier, Perry Groves, Jeremie Aliadiere. They had played their part in campaigns, they had made their mark and the title medals in their possession are proof enough that they should be held in high regard.
Some would say – and have via social media – that some of the players who lined up against Real Madrid on this game that raised funds for The Arsenal Foundation, didn’t warrant a place.
The legend status comes in varied forms though.
Tomas Rosicky won very little in his time as a Gunner, but he is held in high regard by the Gooner faithful. He stayed when all and sundry were jumping ship, and if it weren’t for injury, his career at Arsenal would have been very different.
David Hillier is a youth product of the club, and played a huge part in the title winning side of 90/91, which was his breakthrough season.
There are inevitably players who are the first we recall when harking back to halcyon times, but every single player who was on the pitch for the Legends fixture came back for the love of the club, and to raise vital money for a worthwhile charity.
It was great to see them all pit their wits against Real, who had the likes of Raul, Morientes, Campo and Butragueno. There was precious little goalmouth action, but the chance to see our heroes again is always one we should relish.
They are all players who have donned the jersey and gave their all, and now have returned to give more for a good cause.
To be called a legend is a high honour, even in these times of varying impact of the word, but each one heartily deserve it.