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FOOTBALL TO COMEDY: See Former Arsenal Star Living New Life As a Stand-up Comedian

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GLENN HELDER was a practical joker during his time at Arsenal before choosing to make people laugh for a living. The former Gunners star launched a career as a stand-up comedian after retiring from football.

Helder was a Dutch international before retiring aged 41 in 2010 and going on to work as a musician and guest speaker alongside his comedy exploits.

He had always been a joker in the dressing room, though, including during his time in North London.

Asked whether he was the funniest in the dressing room, he told Metro Nieuws in 2016: “Well, let me put it this way, I certainly wasn’t the quietest, haha.

“I have always played with nice guys at all clubs, up to the Dutch national team.

“Some people need half an hour of silence before the match, but I didn’t need that. I knew what I could do and showed it on the field. But I laughed a lot in the dressing room.

“When I came to Sparta as a rookie, I certainly had respect for the elders, but I was the one who turned the lights on and off.

“To put it mildly, I was more likely to be at the front than the back when it came to joking. During my time at Arsenal they took terrible revenge on me, you know.”

As for how he got into comedy after retiring, he explained: “I was asked to be on Comedy Central’s Celebrity Stand-Up program and that was actually the first time I did that.


“I’m already on a tour with FC De Rebellin, visiting almost all the theatres. That’s a lot of fun to do. Of course, you also talk about the stupid things you’ve done in life and those are actually laughable enough.

“The difference with stand-up is that you have to tell it in a way that makes people laugh. It needs to be a little tighter, but according to others I have a talent for it. And I think it is an honor to be on stage with Roué Verveer.”

Helder continued: “I like humor, but I didn’t go looking for it or anything. I was asked to do it and it’s just fun to do. I notice that it doesn’t bother me.

“Look, if you ask me about the construction of a NASA rocket, I will decline, but I can do this. I know what I can do, but I also know very well what I cannot do.”

The 55-year-old spent two years with Arsenal between 1995 and 1997, scoring once in 49 appearances for the Gunners. He also had spells in Portugal, China and Hungary as well as his native Netherlands, for whom he won four caps.

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