Kolo Toure's Arsenal trial involved two-footed tackles on club legends and sounded hilarious
Happy Birthday Kolo Toure.
The Liverpool defender turns 35 today, and in addition to being a two-time Premier League winner, the Ivorian is something of a cult hero with fans.
And it's easy to see why based on this extract from John Cross's book on Arsene Wenger.
Toure was on trial at Arsenal back in 2002, and during training the overly eager 21 year old took out Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and the Arsenal manager with aggressive tackles.
First up was Henry, Arsenal's record goalscorer, who now has a statue outside the Emirates in his honour.
“I remember the ball was rolled into Thierry Henry and Kole Toure, from nowhere, smashed into him from behind. It was a terrible tackle, a red card in a normal game, and our best player was rolling around.”
Next in Kolo's way was Bergkamp, one of the best players of his generation, who also has a statue outside the Emirates in his honour, such was his contribution to the Gunners during his 11 years at the club.
"Wenger was shouting: 'Kolo, what are you doing? Don’t tackle!' The next minute, the ball was into Dennis Bergkamp and Kolo did exactly the same... Anyway, Wenger said: 'No more tackling.'"
Kolo wasn't finished yet, and Wenger, who will probably have a statue outside Arsenal's stadium when he eventually leaves the club, also fell victim to a tough Toure tackle.
"So next thing you know, Kolo Toure took him [Wenger] out with a two-footed tackle! All you could hear was Wenger screaming."
One of the best managers in the world at the time, two of the world's best players, and three club legends, all taken out with tackles by a 21 year old trialist.Poor Kolo was crestfallen, but the story has a happy ending.
"Kolo was nearly in tears, his big day ruined. I went into the medical room and there was Arsene with an ice pack on his ankle. I said: 'I don’t think he meant it.'"
"He told me there and then: 'We’re signing him tomorrow. I like his desire.'"
God bless you, Kolo.