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Date: 10th May 2018

Watch Mkhitaryan, Mustafi and Bellerin doing their best Cockney impressions

They play for one of London’s proudest clubs – but when it comes to their Cockney credentials, how do Arsenal’s stars stack up?

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin were put through their paces by Gunners legend Ray Parlour to see if they could become proper Pearly Kings.

Kitted out in Cockney clobber, the trio took on a series of challenges to test their knowledge of Cockney rhyming slang and some of the capital’s culinary delicacies.

Will Shkodran know his ‘Boat Race’ from his ‘Black Lace’? Is Hector ‘Hank Marvin’ enough for a ‘Ruby Murray’? And will Micki dare sample some delicious jellied eels – or even know what they are?

Watch the video above to see how they get on.

Here we are in London, the greatest city in the world, home to the greatest football team in the world, the mighty Arsenal.

So fellas, how much do you know about the real London?

Now, the way we speak is called Cockney rhyming slang. So we’re going to have a little few tests today to see if you can be proper Londoners.

First of all lads, I need you to look the part. If you look behind you, you’ve got some lovely clobber there.

You’re going to look like right Pearly Kings, proper Cockneys.

Ok guys you look brilliant, absolutely fantastic! Micki, you’re looking great – I tell you what, that suits you down to the ground.

Let’s crack on with the first round, good luck!

Ok guys, I’m going to give you each a phrase in normal English.

You have to pick the correct Cockney slang from the two choices I show you and then read it out in your best Cockney accent.

So it’s all about speaking it and trying to be ‘You alright mate, yeah’.

You know, sort of like that sort of thing.

You get ten points for the correct answer and five points, Shkodran, for the correct way to say it.

Ok Shkodran, you’re first to go, your one is, ‘I got up this morning and washed my face with some soap.’
This is what you could say, ‘I got up this morning and washed my boat race with some Bob Hope.’

Or, ‘I got up this morning and washed my black lace with some old rope.’

That sounds both very strange!

What is your choice?

I would go for the boat race... with some Bob Hope.

The good news is... it’s the correct answer.

That's the right one! Ten points in my pocket!

You’ve got ten points but for an extra five points I need you to say it in a Cockney accent.

I got up this morning and washed my boat race with some Bob Hope, what?!

First one, so I’m going to give you five points for that.

Ok Micki, you're next, right you're phrase is...

Ok, the first one is 'I fancied stretching my beer kegs, so I took the dog for a knife and fork in the park.'

Or, 'I fancied stretching my dolly pegs, so I took the dog for a ball and chalk in the park.'

Definitely the first one, this one. My dolly pegs.

Oh! Ten points, well done.

Pegs and dogs, nearly the same so...
Now, this is the good bit. For an extra five points, can you say it in proper Cockney?

I fancied stretching my dolly pegs (laughter), so I took the dog for a ball and chalk in the park.

Oh! That is fantastic!

Alright Hector, your phrase is, ‘I’m absolutely starving, I think I’ll head out for a curry.’

Is it, 'I'm absolutely Hank Marvin, I think I'll head out for a Ruby Murray.'

Or, 'I'm absolutely Penny Farthing, I think I'll head out for an Andy Murray.'

I don't think Andy Murray was born when this started so I'm going to go for that one.

It's got to be that one!

Well done buddy. You're doing well, I tell you what.

Now you've got to speak in a Cockney accent.

I'm absolutely Hank Marvin, I think I'll head out for a Ruby Murray.

Yeeess! I can't fail that, there's another five points.

Ok guys, well done in the first round, fantastic work.

I'm going to give you a word and you have to pick the object that's the Cockney rhyming slang for it.

So if I said, the phone... Hector, what would you say?

Dog and bone.

Dog and bone.

So Shkodran, your's is a car. Now we've got three items in front of you.

A shooting star, a jam jar, or a chocolate bar.

I would go for... the chocolate bar.

I'm afraid that's wrong.

I would say it is the... shooting star.

No. So Micki?
So I won! It's the jam jar! Jam jar!

Ok Micki, your turn mate.

Now, what would the Cockney slang be for the Queen?

Sardine? Sunscreen? Or is it baked bean?

I think it’s the baked bean. The Queen, the baked bean!

I don’t know! (laughter)

I’ll tell you what Micki, I think you lived in London when you was a kid, no? Because that is the correct answer.

Thank you.

Well done, Micki!

I couldn’t let down the Queen!

Right Hector, your word is boots.

Is it the summer fruits? Daisy roots? Or whistles and flutes?

I'm gonna go for whistles and flutes.

I'm afraid to say...


You're wrong.

You are wrong. I told you.

Right, ok.

What would you have said Shkodran?

I would say the fruits.

No, I would go for the ginger roots.

The daisy roots.

The daisy roots.

Daisy roots is correct!

You lost, my friend!

Now, London has some of the best food in the world.

In front of you are three Cockney dishes and you have to have a little smell and tell me what they are. Simple.

Ok? There you go my friend. There you go, have a little look at them and have a little sniff. And see what you think that is.

Bit of salt and pepper make them better?

No, I would go for mussel.

Mussels it is and for an extra five points you've gotta spell it.

M, U, S…. (laughter)

Well done, buddy! Absolutely different class.

Micki, this is a tough one for you. I think Shkodran had quite an easy one there.


Now a lot of people in London and especially Cockneys will eat this sort of thing with a little bit of vinegar, a bit of pepper.

Have a go. Try it.

Are you kidding me, my friend?


It's the fish with the long, er, the long nose.

Ok. So would you have a clue? Would you have any sort of clue?

Would you have a clue? Do you want me to give you a little bit of a clue?

Fish and chips? (laughter)

Do you want me to give you a little clue?

Fish in water?

I'm not going to guess. I don't know.

No, you give up? Jellied eels.

Hector, you're next mate. You've definitely got the easiest one.

He's definitely got the easiest one.

Now, you've been in London seven years, you should definitely get this.

You should know what this is.

I would say... bangers and mash.

Where's the sausages in there?

Well I thought like this bit in here they just like mashed them as well.

What is it? Have a look at the pastry.

Oh, it's a pie.


Is that Shepherd's Pie?


No. So what would you call it all together?

Pie with mash?

Pie and mash!

Pie and mash! Yes. Come on!

Ok guys, what a performance from all of you. I think you've been proper Cockneys today.

There's only one winner, though. A brilliant player - Shkodran Mustafi!

No way! No way!

What is this?

No way!

The King of the Cockneys! (Fanfare).

I'm protesting, I'm leaving the stage.

Thank you for being here.

No, no, no, no.

Thanks for watching my Cockney Challenge and up the Gunners!