I was one of the original Premier League foreign stars but retired to run a bar and was convinced I was a time traveller | The Sun
ANDERS LIMPAR was one of the 13 original foreign players in the Premier League.
And that is just about the most regular part of his incredible story – which includes ‘time travelling’ two years into the future for two bonkers days.
The Swedish winger came through the ranks at Brommapojkarna and then Orgryte in his homeland before spells with Young Boys and Cremonese.
His one season in Italy saw him crowned the third-best foreign player – behind only Diego Maradona and Lothar Matthaus.
And that earned him his £1million transfer to Highbury in 1990.
Limpar made an immediate impact in North London, scoring crucial goals including the one that prompted the famous Old Trafford brawl in October 1990.
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Arsenal went on to win the First Division in his debut season in England under George Graham, which saw him score 13 goals in all competitions including a hat-trick against Coventry on the final day.
Sweden’s 1991 player of the year struggled with injuries in his subsequent seasons – although he did score a 40-yard chip against Liverpool.
Limpar was then just one of just 13 foreign players across the 22 teams when the Premier League launched in 1992 alongside Arsenal team-mate John Jensen and Manchester United pair Peter Schmeichel and Andrei Kanchelskis.
However, he was released when his contract expired in 1994 with 20 goals from 116 appearances, but he remains a popular figure for his impact across four seasons with the Gunners.
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He described his time under Graham as like “living in Iraq under Saddam” in a furious blast.
Limpar then had three years with Everton where he won the FA Cup and a short stint at Birmingham before eventually finishing his career in 2001 back at Brommapojkarna in Stockholm.
And the 58-cap Sweden international soon swapped boots for bottles, opening up his very own bar called The Limp Bar.
It closed down a few years later, though, and he then dabbled in gambling – running his own betting site.
His most successful business venture, though, has been Super Lock, a company co-founded by Limpar and Mikael Crona that produces plastic boxes.
However, Limpar's most incredible journey came when he was hoodwinked into believing he had legitimately time travelled in an actual time machine.
The former footballer was on the receiving end of an elaborate two-day TV prank that cost a staggering £200,000 – 20 times show Blasningen’s usual budget – and included paying to hire actors, fighter jet pilots and an entire airport.
Limpar told Ladbrokes Fanzone: “There were 20 guys involved, all to fool me, and I just bit. I was perfect for them.
We thought we were dead… we were told they'd had funerals for us
"I believed I was flying in a time machine because we were already in an actual plane from Gothenburg to launch our new beer.
"There were these two 'scientists' on the flight who were talking about being able to time travel, and the plane was diving up and down all over the place.
"I can laugh at it all now, but at the time it was really, really scary. They involved actual jet fighters to guide us into Stockholm.
"We could hear everything over the radio, ‘Where have you been?! You've just shown up on the radar!'
“The whole production was so cleverly done. I felt it was all real. It was absolutely crazy. We had two doctors on board in case I flipped. I'm just thinking, 'What the f*** is going on?!'
“This science guy just goes, 'I've done it. I've flown two years in time.'
“I went into the pilot shouting at him, demanding to speak to the tower. He ordered me to go back and put my seatbelt on.
“We were fighting with them in the plane because we wanted to know what was going on."
Limpar continued: “It was such a horrible feeling. We thought we were dead. When we landed, we were told they'd had funerals for us and everything.
"They showed us newspapers – which obviously weren't real – where crazy things had apparently happened. They told us Norway had won the World Cup in 1998.
“I was so glad when the guy finally showed up to tell us it was all a prank. I felt like I'd had a rucksack full of stones just fall off my back, I was so relieved.
“I couldn't believe it. I was happy, of course, but I felt ridiculous for something like half an hour afterwards, to even think that I was flying two years into the future.
“But for years afterwards I was angry with it all because it made me a laughing stock in Sweden. I wasn't happy with that at all. That's why, when they asked me if they could sell the whole thing as a DVD, I said no.
"Look, it was an incredible prank, so funny when I look back now, and I felt so many emotions at the time.”
Fast forward – or maybe backward – a few more years and at the tender age of 56, Limpar made a shock return to the football field.
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The veteran turned out for Swedish seventh-tier side Hede IK – 21 years after retiring – and incredibly scored from the halfway line in amazing scenes.
Whisper it quietly, but one could say he was rolling back the years…
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