Canadian rapper Aubrey Drake Graham or simply, Drake, made the headlines in an eventful footballing weekend. He was seen wearing an Arsenal shirt from their 2005/06 season with the then-sponsors O2 on the jersey.
Arsenal had some prolific seasons in English football, especially during the O2-sponsored era.
The British telecom company took over from SEGA and released their first kit in the 2002-2003 season, where the club finished 2nd behind Manchester United in the league with 78 points.
They retained the FA cup and Thierry Henry set the record for most assists in a season by providing for 20 goals in addition to scoring 24 of his own.
A team consisting of the French marksman, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Dennis Bergkamp and many more world-class talents were managed by “THE” Arsene Wenger.
In 2003-2004, Arsenal won their third league title by remaining unbeaten for the entirety of the 38 matches. They won 26 games and drew the remaining 12, a feat achieved after 115 years. “The Invincibles” were written into the tales of footballing history books.
Captained by the mercurial Patrick Viera, they had the most potent attack with 73 goals scored and the tightest defence, conceding only 21. Teams were terrified of their ruthless & swashbuckling brand of football. Fans fell in love.
The Premier League was revolutionised.
Their form did not continue into the domestic cups; Arsenal exited the semi-final stage of the Football League Cup and the FA Cup to eventual winners Middlesbrough and Manchester United, respectively.
In Europe, they managed to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League, only to be eliminated by their bitter London rivals, Chelsea.
Irrespective of that, the O2 era is known for achieving the impossible. Highbury was buzzing. The unbeaten run of 49 matches lasted into the 2004-2005 season with The Red Devils bringing Wenger’s juggernaut to a halt, credit to a controversial 2-0 victory.
In the same season, their stadium was commissioned for demolition. And as a tribute, Arsenal announced that they would play the 2005-2006 season in dark red currant coloured jerseys, similar to the kits worn in the club’s infancy, in their final days at Highbury.
The O2 era was special.