Graham Stack: the Arsenal Invincible who has more fans in India than Islington

27 March 2017 11:22
Graham Stack was on the bench for Arsenal on the day they won the league at Tottenham in 2004, but that fixture offered little preparation for life in KeralaBy Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkGraham Stack knew that playing football in India was going to be different. The goalkeeper enjoyed a successful season with Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League last year, but a single game, a 5-0 defeat against Mumbai City FC told him the fans there were unique. “I had let in a hat-trick from Diego Forlán,” he remembers. “It was an away game, so when we returned to Kerala I was a bit nervous about facing our fans. First time I see them after this bad defeat, they’re all profusely thanking me for trying my best and assuring me that the team would come back stronger. I thought I’m seriously a long way from home now.”Stack started his career as a goalkeeper in the Arsenal academy and graduated to become part of the famed Invicibles squad in the 2003-04 season. The former Republic of Ireland U21 goalkeeper lifted the Premier League trophy at Highbury surrounded by Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira. As a member of that great squad, Stack is welcome at the club any time and he recently visited Arsenal’s training ground for lunch with his old boss, Arsène Wenger. Stack’s privileged football education in north London shaped him and he continues to apply the lessons he learned at Arsenal for Eastleigh in the fifth tier of English football. Related: Why would anyone drop the All Blacks to play for Ulster? Charles Piutau explains Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian