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Arsenal legend Ray Parlor has revealed how the club’s academy stars had to sing Christmas carols outside London Colney to earn tips from first-team players.

The 48-year-old said that as part of the Gunners’ festive tradition, the youngsters sang in an attempt to win Christmas bonuses.

In addition to cleaning senior footballers’ shoes, academy players had to stand on a box outside the club’s training ground before singing iconic chants.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Parlor, who made his Arsenal debut in January 1992, said: “I was getting £ 27.50 a week.

“It was an important thing for the apprentices was that they got a bonus from the players whose boots they cleaned.

“So what you had to do was there was a big box outside the London Colney training ground, each apprentice had to stand on the box to sing a Christmas carol.

“They were paid based on how they sang. You really wanted the big guys, David O’Leary’s and Tony Adams and that kind of guy because they would give you more money.

“I had three players from the reserve squad, it was a nightmare, I probably got a ten each, £ 20 each maybe.”

Parlor also recalled the time he was thrown into the mud by the iconic Captain Adams after his portrayal of “Little Donkey”.

He remarked: “They had prepared buckets of water and it was obviously a very cold morning when we have to sing.

“I had to sign ‘Little Donkey’ and I only got Donkey and Tony Adams sued me because at that time his name was the Donkey. Donkey Adams.

“He chased me, got me, put me in the mud, real mud all over you, buckets of water running over your head.”

“But I didn’t have to sing. Believe it or not, the players were really nervous before going out and singing in front of George Graham, the first team, it’s a nightmare, really.

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