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Football Supporters Association chief Malcolm Clarke
"What's indefensible is that it's tax free"
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Arsenal youth-team coach Liam Brady
"I'm all for it, the fans have the choice to turn up"
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PFA's deputy chief Brendon Batson
"I don't think there's anything wrong is players being paid the going rate"
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Tuesday, 22 May, 2001, 23:24 GMT 00:24 UK
Seaman cleans up in tribute match
David Seaman and daughter Georgina at Highbury
Seaman walks out for his testimonial at Highbury
Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona

Barcelona may have won at Highbury, but David Seaman should be over 600,000 richer after Tuesday night's high-profile testimonial.

The Gunners goalkeeper had a busy night before coming off to a standing ovation from 33,297 fans eight minutes from time.

He even had to help break up a punch-up during the second half of a surprisingly competitive encounter.

Arsenal defender Lee Dixon exchanged blows with Dutch winger Boudewijn Zenden after a bad tackle by the Barcelona player.

I was just gobsmacked to see 33,000 people turn up for my testimonial and I cannot thank the fans enough
  David Seaman

But referee Dermot Gallagher, clearly trying to maintain the spirit of the game, did not send off either player although Zenden was immediately substituted.

Seaman said afterwards: "It was a bit unfortunate but it shows the passion there is even in testimonial games, which can go a little bit flat sometimes.

"To be fair, the Barcelona lad was a bit embarrassed and gave me a hug to apologise when he left the field."

Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit
Vieira and Petit together again - but on different sides

Arsenal were two goals down in the first 15 minutes.

Both were scored by Spanish international striker Alfonso, who tapped in the first and saw his second helped into the net by the diving Seaman.

He then missed a sitter for his hat-trick before the interval.

Seaman, who will donate a proportion of his testimonial takings to the Willow Cancer Foundation set up by Arsenal goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson, even raced upfield for a free-kick in a bid to reduce the arrears.

But he drove his shot into Barcelona's defensive wall.

Lee Dixon and Boujedin Zenden trade blows
Not so friendly: Dixon and Zenden trade blows

The Barcelona team included former Arsenal favourites Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit.

Defender Sergi hit the crossbar with a ferocious drive in the 57th minute as the visitors ran out victors over an Arsenal side without the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ashley Cole and Martin Keown.

But Seaman said of his big night: "I was just gobsmacked to see 33,000 people turn up for my testimonial and I cannot thank the fans enough.

"It was a fantastic moment when I was able to carry my little daughter out on the field between the two lines of Arsenal and Barcelona players.

"I was also very emotional when I came off a few minutes from the end."

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23 May 01 |  Arsenal
Seaman staying at Highbury
14 May 01 |  Arsenal
Time for a defensive overhaul?
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