8 March 2004 — It’s almost hard to remember a time when footballers going to the local pub wasn’t a frowned-upon act. Yet, it has only been 13 years since the drinking ban movement amongst players was started by none other than Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners were one of the first major European clubs to impose a drinking ban to stop players from drinking in the bar after games, as well as on the bus journey home from games. Wenger was determined to avoid past misfortunes with players that went on to admitting alcoholism, such as Paul Merson and club legend Tony Adams.
Wenger said at the time: “If a guy drinks two or three beers on the coach and then gets in his car to drive home and has an accident, then we are also guilty.”
“People talk about breathalysing players but I know when somebody has been drinking, I grew up in a pub and it does not take much to see if someone is drunk. “Maradona lost control of his life but he could survive because he was a genius.”
Since then, most teams across the globe have strict drinking rules for their players, and players caught with the bottle have been villainised by the press. In November of the last year, England and Manchester United captain ,Wayne Rooney, was photographed at a wedding drunk whilst still wearing his England training kit, and the forward was heavily criticised by the press and former professionals for his antics.