WHEN Arsenal were good, like really good, in the early 2000s, a group of French footballers playing for the club snubbed the tradition of rich players living in expansive, expensive hideaways in Hertfordshire. Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira moved to Hampstead instead.
In fact, every now and then you would spot them off-duty in the High Street. The team eventually went its different ways but the players mostly retained their properties in NW3, and this week planning applications went in for a refit at Vieira’s old home.
This, you understand, is the old Vieira, not the new Vieira…’the new Vieira’ must be out there somewhere, somewhere, but we just haven’t found him yet. The newspapers seem convinced he has been cloned at some stage, and have been searching for the ‘new Vieira’ ever since he left Arsenal. There have been so many candidates, but the quest remains incomplete.