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A stout defence… of the George Graham era

By Siddy Shivdasani

Is the ‘Arsenal Way’ a thing of the past?

I never thought I would feel compelled to give a history lesson, it makes me feel old and patronising (at 44). But I was struck by the comments reacting to my debut article, challenging me to swap now for the beginning of the George Graham era.

George in 1994: Making a bid for another centre half?

For the record, I would. In a heartbeat. Arsenal was the only solid thing in my life in those days. And on a wider point, I think it’s such a shame that so many otherwise disenfranchised young men are being priced out of attending matches. It was such a great outlet for me back in the day.

I digress.

So many people referred to the George Graham era as the early 80s in response to my piece. The early to mid-80s WERE drivel with the likes of Terry Neill and Don Howe at the helm. Boring AND unsuccessful. I was there to witness the drivel from the North Bank and there for the post-match protests.

But it all changed when Graham popped up at Arsenal in 1986 with an unremarkable management CV, though a club legend as a player, without which he wouldn’t have got a sniff of the job.

We were fast becoming a resting home for ex-internationals when he arrived. ‘Gaddafi’ shipped out most of that bunch straight away and blooded half a dozen young prospects who had come through the ranks together, blending them with a handful of unknowns signed at little cost.

The new team hit the ground running… with a plan. Keep things tight, press and play percentages. That might sound dull but for me, and many others, it was exciting because there was this sense that we were seeing something really special develop from its embryonic stage. He was truly building from the back and he had respect for the Arsenal way, The Arsenal.

We won the Littlewoods (League) Cup in his first season. Slight tangent regarding that trophy… back then I helped paint the stadium for a week with friends during the school summer holidays in exchange for a season ticket. I’m sure I won’t get sued because they’re probably all dead by now but the painters on the payroll were basically a small bunch of elderly, somewhat kindly, drunks. Can you imagine anything like all of that happening now? These days, painting the Emirates probably involves a contract that gets put out to tender and various multi-national corporations vie for it (slight sarcasm BTW but who knows?).

When me and my mate were taking a break in the East Stand, fans were having their pictures taken with the Littlewoods Cup. The funny thing is that they just left it behind on its own for an hour when the photographer went to lunch! Anyone could have just walked in off the street and taken it.

Anyway, the team that Graham built in the first half of his reign could compete with anyone, his coaching philosophy was apparent in every game. For the most part, I didn’t find it boring. It was intriguing, tactical and there was definitely a quality to our play, we weren’t Wimbledon. And the team he created was so much more than the sum of its parts - and there were some pretty good parts. The Liverpool machine was better man for man but we were always a match for them.

Let’s have a look at the kind of players we had back then…my best XI of the Graham era: Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Keown (quicker than Bouldy and equally nasty), Winterburn; Rocastle (no sentimentality here, he should have won at least 50 England caps), Thomas, Davis, Merson (who, because of his longevity at the club, just edges out Limpar); Smith, Wrighty. I think they would give today’s XI a spanking because the current bunch rarely earn the right to play against physical teams.

Most of the older fans will know all or most of this and will also recall that Graham was not universally adored at any point of his reign. There were always those who wanted to see more expansive football (it's ironic that the current big complaint about Wenger is the exact opposite of that) and I was one of those at times.

But my only lingering complaint from that era is that we became a cup team after we signed Wrighty. The fans used to sarcastically chant: “Ian Wright FC.”

My gut feeling is that the board lacked ambition at that stage to kick on (after signing such a brilliant, natural goalscorer) and become one of Europe’s powerhouses. I think that somehow impacted on Graham and may, ultimately, have even fed into his crooked practices. That’s pure speculation but it was a strange period at the end because he had mostly come across as being ultra-ambitious.

Maybe it’s just something about hitting a glass ceiling erected by the club itself. Sound familiar?

That would have been a good ending but I have to make something clear, the first half of Wenger’s reign was immeasurably better than the Graham era. We had the lot.

They both deserve a pat on the back for that…

9th January 2017 09:00:00

(9.3/10)

Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

Tony Evans  12:34pm 9th Jan 2017

Good article Siddy. I never thought the football was boring under GG. It wasn't always 1-0 to The Arsenal was it - we regularly handed out some spankings, and the goals for column usually looked pretty healthy. Great shame how it all ended for GG (I know he brought it on himself) and I often wonder what happened during the last couple of years of his reign when it all went pear shaped. As you say Arsenal could have kicked on long before AW came along, and dominated the 90s with the team GG built up. It never happens with Arsenal though does it - we climb to the top every now and again and then proceed to throw it all away - never more so then under AW! Whilst mentioning AW - more rank bad decision making by him (nothing new there) concerning Jack Wilshire's loan deal to Bournemouth - why no provision to terminate the deal mid season? Chelsea bring back Ake but our old fool makes damn sure we can't do the same with Wilshire, and we could do with him now. Unbelievable! - Post No. 102517


Mad Monk  12:52pm 9th Jan 2017

Was at a function on Saturday and got speaking to an ex footballer who played at the highest level (inc international) and the subject was obviously about that evening's FA Cup tie. He made some valid point's about our defence and the lack of coaching ( which he said was quite obvious) He said our full back's rarely stop crosses into the area and are too gung-ho going forward and it has been the case since Tony Adams retirement as he would have tore them to pieces leaving them so exposed.The whole defence play as individuals not as a unit and very rarely do they cover each other. The whole conversation came to a head when the ex pro asked me to name 5 good solid defender's Wenger has bought? I got stuck on 3 ! Oh and as for good old Leeky I will keep on berating a site that spews garbage and thinks Messi plays for Real Madrid only moron's ( perhaps like yourself) would stand up for make believe conspiracy theories they publish, the best being that Giroud is better than Messi. Some people think because we don't trust Wenger anymore and think he should retire that we don't enjoy the game's anymore , it's not that , it's like watching the same film over and over again , eventually you get the plot and know how it ends, but I still watch in the hope that one day Frank Sinatra makes it to the train ! - Post No. 102518


Ron  12:52pm 9th Jan 2017

Its a lazy old device to say all of GGs fotball was boring. It wasnt and to maintain it was as AW s greatest fans always do is an insult to some of the great players he had at his disposal. He built some great teams. I rather suspect that some of the less gifted players he brought in during those last 2 yrs were all part and parcel of and fundamental to him having 'gone bad'. He lost his way. Lets face it though, GG wasnt alone. He was just the highest profile victim to hang out to dry over that. As to boring football, hasnt AW bored us to hell at times with the style of flimsy, half committed football we ve played and still do play? Its all relative but for me, theres been many games when ive been bored rigid watching some of our teams this last decade. - Post No. 102519


Bonzo  13:27pm 9th Jan 2017

The board failing to sanction the purchase of Roy Keene was a nail in the coffin plus loss of Rocastle. I'd take the old 1-0 days back at a heartbeat - Post No. 102520


Redshirtswhitesleeves  13:28pm 9th Jan 2017

I shall always have a soft spot for GG and that era. It was so exciting seeing that young team emerge, Adams, Rocky, Thomas etc a wonderful blend of skill, passion and fighting spirit, instilled by the boss. No one took liberties with Arsenal back then. And on the North Bank the bond between fans and the team was palpable. Myself and the pals I used to go with couldn't get enough of it. The excitement of those semis in 87 against the spuds and then the final vs Liverpool. Mickey Thomas in 89, the brawl at OT and a second title in 91. Unforgettable moments that still make the hairs on my neck stand up when recalling them. I've 2 lads of my own now and I just feel sorry for them and other youngsters who will never get to experience that sort of camaraderie and connection with the club that existed back then. Miss those days like crazy - Post No. 102521


Bonzo  13:34pm 9th Jan 2017

You've got to give a big shout to Leek the Squeak champion (Wengersexual). Apparently he spent many years watching George Graham's Arsenal whilst hating every minute of it. At least Wengo gives him the horn. - Post No. 102522


mbg  14:16pm 9th Jan 2017

Good Article Siddy, good read, well done for helping keep George Grahams name alive, and his era well and truly in the memory of us all, although it won't go down well with the AKB wengerites and his airbrushing department, i can see a petition to get it removed. wenger out. - Post No. 102523


John F  14:23pm 9th Jan 2017

Great post red shirt we were lucky to be going to football in those days.Good article Siddy I too loved the GG era gave me the best football memories of my life,but as you say the football became route one in the last two seasons.As for the reason for that I just think every manager with the exception of Fergie who often changed his coaches reach their shelf life at a club and he was reaching his just before the bung scandal.I do not go along with everyone was doing bungs so it was excusable.It was greed and when he went on to manage the spuds it put a slight taint on the otherwise great memories I have of him.Wenger is another one who reached his shelf life a few years ago and the whole club needs freshening up just as it did when GG first took over. - Post No. 102524


Ron  14:36pm 9th Jan 2017

John F - The bungs arent acceptable as you say. I think anyone agrees with that. My point is that it was endemic back then and GG was the best scalp for the authorities to demonstrate is unacceptability. Reality is, the bungs are still there today, cleverly hidden in the murky World of football and its agents. - Post No. 102525


mbg  14:47pm 9th Jan 2017

TE, the bumbling old fool didn't know the rules, he thought you were only allowed season long loans, what else does he not know, no need to answer those we haven't all day, or has forgot with old age ? at lest he has plenty of bathroom attendants in old circular and audit. - Post No. 102526


John F  15:10pm 9th Jan 2017

True Ron and it does seem odd that they did not take on Cloughie at the time for his alleged activities in the transfer market. - Post No. 102529


Ron  15:28pm 9th Jan 2017

John - i think Cloughie was already deceased by the time the bung scandal arose. - Post No. 102530


mbg  15:43pm 9th Jan 2017

RedShirts, great post, your dead right no one took liberties with us back then(unike now) where we were respected everywhere (unlike now) and the same goes for George where certainly no liberties were taken especially the players, with ex players telling us when they heard him coming down the corridor it was heads up, can we imagine it like that now with weng ? can we fook, with half the country laughing at him with no respect and telling jokes at his expense, no one more so than the clubs own fans with no doubt even the players themselves sniggering and laughing behind his back such is the cosiness and lack of discipline, George wouldn't put up with them for a day he'd have them gutted, out, or give them proper coaching and make better players out of them. Bring back George. - Post No. 102531


John F  16:02pm 9th Jan 2017

Ron ,that's no excuse they could of asked Doris Stokes to contact him or was she a goner too,if so Glen Hoddle - Post No. 102532


jjetplane  16:12pm 9th Jan 2017

GG has something Wengo has never been near. A fantastic career as a player. Like some jiving twat over on slurpyarsene.com thinks Wengo is now a better shout than Pep G. Again Pep has a pedigree that is astonishing as both a player and manager and will be suprised if he is not in the FA Cup final. He shows a passion that Wengo has never really had. From being studious odd boy watching videos and building his mystique to 12 years of consolidating his bank account Wengo has necer struck me as a real football type. GG most certainly was and I watched him many times as a player and many of us as schoolkids idolised his classy stroll, heading, chips, volleys. When he stepprd into the suit he was like a James Bond. Wengo has never been more than a source of bemusement/amusement in the English game but like a political spin man of limited vocabulary he has let it wash off his back for what seems like forever. Loved watching Merse and the lads piling forward from the North Bank with none of that BORING 82 pass **** with stupid grins and ending with 'the Scorpion@ looking up at the skies with not a ****ing care in the world. Adams would have had a few of them up against the wall. - Post No. 102533


JOHN F  16:15pm 9th Jan 2017

No need for Doris Coughie died in 2002 just read an article from Rick Parry who was criticizing the FA for not investigating him for the alleged bungs back in the nineties. - Post No. 102534


Ron  17:02pm 9th Jan 2017

John - i reckon they left him alone then due to his condition then and that he was retired and ailing. There were many other lesser lights mentioned at the time. Should have gone for all of them as you say but GG stood out didnt he. A prize scoop if you like. - Post No. 102538


Arseneknewbest  17:02pm 9th Jan 2017

Good article Siddy - many thanks. Loved hearing about the painting job too! Brilliant to read all the posters on here who ALWAYS talk sense putting the case for the GG era Arsenal. Rocky's runs down the right, Davis's pinpoint passes and clean sheets make for the best memories. And the players were gnerally so much easier to like then because we felt kinship with them. We're very lucky to have followed the club during that time. And not just the players but the architecture and atmosphere of Highbury also added something to the day out. I loved it. And away games were always tasty in one way or another. It's that time that keeps me connected to the club. Love that pic of GG above - he looks hard even on the phone! - Post No. 102539


Ron  17:20pm 9th Jan 2017

Highbury was a ground that no matter how many times i went to it, i couldnt stop looking at it. Sounds daft? Probably, but it had a uniqueness that no other ground had. It had a regal feel and its tightness made for watching matches at their best, esp at night. Always recall as an 11 yr old emerging from the Tube at Arsenal with my Dad and Uncle and wondering where the stadium was as there were no pylons. Once in the place the majesty and wonderful feel it had, the smell of the grass (the only ground where you could ever smell it)was just breathtaking. Always had that feeling right up to 2006. Loved the North Bank and all the rucks and carnage that went on up there when Utd, Hammers etc etc visited. Yes, it went tatty cos they let it go, but would a 55000 stadium created from it, have seen us a much different Club to what we are now? I think not. We had the planning permission to do that had we have wanted it. They wanted the corporate emphasis though and a re vamped Highbury couldn't have provided it. The Club is paying the price for its decision to this day. The Clubs marketing was always lagging behind. AFC used to think marketing was a dirty word. Develop Highbury and shape up our commercialism would have seen us develop nicely i think. Maybe a few titles will change the feel of the Grove, who knows. For me, i prefer nearly all the other Clubs stadiums to ours. Its awful to be honest. Other Clubs will learn from it though. I d lay odds on that Spurs new ground wont sacrifice WHLs ability to create an atmosphere with needle. Liverpool have learned from our folly i think. - Post No. 102541


Smithy  17:42pm 9th Jan 2017

Loved the GG era the team had real bottle then. The current side measure up as an academy team in comparison with regard to will to win , getting stuck in and mental toughness. They were in the trenches for each over , the current squad are miles away from this. - Post No. 102542


Mark  18:00pm 9th Jan 2017

I go on record to say i have massive respect and love for what GG brought to AFC when he arrived from Millwall. The very first match was a testomonial V Celtic and altho we lost you could already see a massive Change. a guy called Micky Thomas played at right back and highbury used to love seeing agressive Youngsters come thru. Roecastle Adams Merson, he bought back Keown. Hayes and Niall Quinn came through. Perry Groves. GG team's had a lot of bottle and were never intimidated by anyone. shrewd purchases of Dixon and Bould from Stoke, Steve Williams, Kevin Richardson; add in Alan Smith, David Seaman, Winterburn from a super tough Wimbledon. Loved it. - Post No. 102543


Mark  18:15pm 9th Jan 2017

sorry to add - i agree re the Emirates - the structure is wrong, the Sound goes out of the Roof because Wenger wanted as much sunlight as possible to hit the pitch. He was being his usual ideal fair Play self. of course every other Manager board owner in the Country thinks how can they make their home ground a fortress. but not Arsenal of course. it will never ever be a Great ground and I also prefer almost every other Stadium other than the London Stadium which is also horrible if you are a home fan wanting to create an atmosphere... - Post No. 102545


Redshirtswhitesleeves  18:29pm 9th Jan 2017

Great comments lads really enjoy hearing what you got to say about GG and that era. Ron I know exactly what you mean about Highbury, truly a unique place and a real cathedral of football. I agree that had we been able to make it 55'000 or thereabouts it would have been ideal for the club and enabled us to keep our identity. I really miss the old girl, she was something truelly special - Post No. 102546


Exeter Gunner  18:46pm 9th Jan 2017

The loss of Highbury continues to deepen with each passing season at the E******s. Of course the directors did the move to raise their share price whilst loading the cost onto the club itself, but for Wenger it was the ultimate vanity project. He envisaged a stadium built off the back of his 'genius', with all the players 'developed' by him and owing their career to him, sweeping all before them. Total hubris and he failed, but he miserably clings on, spinning and redefining like the politician he has become. - Post No. 102548


John F  18:57pm 9th Jan 2017

Arsenal under George were one of the few teams that could match Wimbledon's aggression can you imagine this team coming up against Vinny Jones and co.One player who does not get mentioned on here a lot is Alan Smith I liked him as a player and would certainly rate him above Giroud. - Post No. 102549


mbg  19:05pm 9th Jan 2017

jj, excellent point, that's something very rarely brought up (we'll have to do something about that) by the AKB's I wonder why, he never had the career as a player George Graham had, (another thing he's no doubt jealous off) or Pat Rice, Stevie Bould either, they had far better careers and were twice the players also (and TOF knows it) that would explain his belittling of them with no power or input over the years he didn't and doesn't want them getting any praise, he's jealous of them too, look at Keown also when he was doing his badges, Tony Adams never given a job, David O'Leary, Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Leahman,etc, etc, never kept on, Vieira allowed to go to City it makes sense, TOF never wanted anyone better than himself around him or the fans thought a lot of such is his overinflated ego. TOF was as useless as a player as he is a manager. wenger and Ozil out now. - Post No. 102550


CORNISH GOONER  19:29pm 9th Jan 2017

Was Arthur at the Pool match yesterday? Thought not! He would have seen my local team, Plymouth, from League 2 ffs, give a defensive masterclass worthy of a GG team. Proper defending, comittment, bodies on the line & unwavering concentration for the full 90 minutes. Yeah I know you few AKB acolytes out there - total anti-football in your book, but thoroughly engaging, involving & therefore entertaining. Very proud of them. And for something completely different, can someone throw some light on today's Ozil watch? Apparently he won't sign a new contract until he receives clarification regarding Arthur's position. My first reaction was one of deep despair but, on further reflection, could it be that he too wants to know, as most of us do, that the silly old fool is on his way out? Mind you, I wouldn't mind seeing the back of the pair of them! - Post No. 102551


Bonzo  20:03pm 9th Jan 2017

The dark truth that each Wengerphile (Squeek, Jambie, BBA) will not admit is that Wenger is not a master of expansive play. Beaten (when it matters) by Barcelona , Real Madrid and Bayern on each occasion hence 21-0. George in contrast with his strong defensive set up took a European trophy. Wenger ultimately has failed. - Post No. 102552


bba  20:15pm 9th Jan 2017

How's the demo arrangement going then bell end, bottler Bonzo....... Mad monk, be honest, are you "bloggs" ? You've been rumbled son. - Post No. 102553


mbg  20:19pm 9th Jan 2017

Mad Monk, yes Giroud better than Messi, not even the most ardent AKB wengerites (apart from the David Icke goonies) would/can think that, even TOF himself, but you can just see the sly satisfactory egoistic grin on his gob if that was suggested to him, what a fraud. wenger and Ozil out now. - Post No. 102554


Bonzo  20:30pm 9th Jan 2017

BBA - I don't go BBA not till Wenger goes I've now said this 20 times. Shall I make it 21. How's your Wenger 10 more years campaign ? - Post No. 102555


mbg  21:58pm 9th Jan 2017

Mark, good post, another example of weng thinking he was God and playing at it (he built the stadium and all that) having an input into everything, poncing about in a hard hat on site at every opportunity, posing for pictures with the plans (he probably had them upside down) standing on a muddy centre circle in wellies with uncle bob and a ball with trucks and cranes all around him, grinning like a Cheshire cat thinking this was all his doing and belonged to him,(and still does) my God how he must have been getting his massive ego massaged back then. And then really went/going to town as if he owned the place and it was his to do what he liked with in the much failed project youth. What this man got away with over the years (and still is)along with all the riches really doesn't bear thinking about it really doesn't, Scandalous it really is. wenger out. - Post No. 102557


Leek fc  22:06pm 9th Jan 2017

Him and Mezut are worth every penny mbg. Clearly, you pay for what you get. You want the best you've got to pay for it. Wenger must stay. - Post No. 102558


Arseneknewbest  22:23pm 9th Jan 2017

Jameebbaleeky - There we were having an intersting and upbeat conversation about a period in asano's history that does not involve your pin-up boy wengo, and you come on with your cod-contrariness and provocative dog sh*t. Why don't you feck off and strangle someone in your local swamp you 'orrible old bigot? Know what you are Jamee? A crusty stain on old wengo's underpants,that's what. - Post No. 102559


jjetplane  0:37am 10th Jan 2017

Leek FC calling Arsene Wenger Him! Mr Wenger slurp slurp is not a Him! How dare you speak of our troubled, saintly uncle in such disrespectful terms. Your faith is wafer thin and you'd best get off to the Untold Chapel and say a million Arsene Wengers. Call yourself an Arsenal man. You sound just like Jamerson. Another spud. Funny old GG was a spud but I will let him off but Sol boy (big tory tart) is a non no and a let down. Now that Dele Alli fella ..... - Post No. 102561


mbg  0:38am 10th Jan 2017

Fantastic posts on here today right from the afternoon kick off to the final whistle reminding us all about a true Arsenal Legend George Graham, and his era, (both as a player and manager) ensuring everything about him lives on in our memory and hasn't been forgotten and airbrushed out of history (and never will be)by an old past it egoistic manager and his AKB followers all stemming from an excellent article of the same from Siddy, well done Siddy and thanks, how it must have pissed the wengerite luvvies off reading them all, about an ex manager thought more off than their beloved messiah, with not a sign or a squeak out of them all day until they come slithering back in when it gets dark and every body else is in their bed, imagine if wenger himself had been reading them he would have been fuming smoke bellowing from his ears ( among other places) running around his mansion smashing the place up in a rage screaming and ranting how dare they, i am zee messiah i built theese clube I am Arsenal I am better than theesse George Graham, bluddey peasants, tomorrow i will demand all photos, memorabilia, removed and mention of Graham banned from my club. And do you know who we've got to thank for all this ? this excellent Article and excellent posts from true loyal Arsenal fans ? a certain Havering gooner who thought he was being smart who has long crawled back under his rock (and we know where that is) and hasn't been heard of since, we couldn't have done it without him. You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 102562


Havering Gooner  1:00am 10th Jan 2017

Great article Siddy I had to turn down the chance of painting for a season ticket for bloody work experience in an dullard accountants office!!Still paying £60 for North Bank spot which covered about 25 matches in 87/88 was fair exchange. It was exciting times as you say after the early 80's were depressing bar the odd cup run and the start of 84/85 season. Having had to endure West Ham coming close to winning the league was sickening in these neck of the woods, and those cup defeats to Walsall, Oxford & York had me begging my parents to let me skip school being the only Gooner in the classroom. My favourite player in that early era was Stevie Williams a true Gooner who made real men out of Rocky, Thomas and Davis. I think the saddest thing about about the first half of GG's reign was that GG and the team dismantled the mighty Liverpool (and to a lesser extent Everton) empire and had us dreaming of a new Chapmanesque era...only to let the Forces of Darkness from Odorous Trafford to shove us out of the way and take up the batten. Our hierarchy were partially to blame, Mr Dein in particular as he and his 4 counterparts at both the Scouse clubs, Man Utd and Spuds took advantage of a/ the upsurge in popularity of the game after Italia 90 (understandably) and b/ (shockingly cynically) Hillsbrough. The upshot was allseater stadiums and an opportunity to upgrade the clientele at matches by hitting the fans in the pocket and ultimately the creation of our 'beloved' EPL - and the ever expanding bubble of TV cash which Utd and Blackburn took immediate advantage of. In order to attempt to cling on to their coat tails, in my opinion, saw the beginning of the demise of the Arsenal Way. - Post No. 102563


Mick Jones  6:14am 10th Jan 2017

BBA - where's your Wenger 10 more years protest? You gutless coward. Full of it aren't yer! Spend your time telling people what they should do, sounds to me someone at home gets told what they should do from the moment they get up. Did you notice something? Nobody cares what you think. Typical hectored little house husband , balls like peanuts, oh Wengie I love you. Grow some, do something, Clear off to Untold. - Post No. 102564


bba  6:56am 10th Jan 2017

Mick Jones aka bell end bonzo. - Post No. 102565


Bonzo  8:06am 10th Jan 2017

There were three in the bed and BBA said, roll over, roll over. They all rolled over and Squeak fell out. There were two in the bed and BBA said roll over, roll over. Then Jamee said "Not bloody likely, I'm boss and you two's are my slaves. Now get out of the ****ing bed, knock up a load of online Wenger love postings, two of them from me. Then do the frigging 10 more year posters. Tell Squeak to get bloody cleaning then if yer lucky you can have one of them slush puppies. - Post No. 102567


David  10:59am 10th Jan 2017

Agreed that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, but generally, it was a poor era for English football - Euro performances after the Heysel ban illustrated this. Also the style of football changed between 1989 and 1990. Rocastle featured heavily in the 88/89 season, but very little in 1990/91. This had a big impact on the style of play, as he was Arsenal's most creative player. Winning the league in 1990/91 was very special, but the football was functional and drab at times. - Post No. 102568


Ron  11:23am 10th Jan 2017

i disagree that the euro performances after Heysel proved much about the quality of the teams here. The Clubs had been out of Europe for 5 years and then as now, its takes time to get back into the groove for playing European sides. That was why the performances were poor. Just take a look at how every team from these shores has struggled in the CL for the first 3 - 5 yrs after entering it for the first time. There are no exceptions. There were low periods for football in the 80s its true, just as there are in every decade. The early 80s were the worst. All aspects of society were pretty grim then and the effect reached into sport. The odious cow and her bunch of hatchet men running the Country back then had a large effect on that. It certainly created or contributed to the rise again of street violence, crime in general and in turn the return of the hooliganism in football grounds. Footballs fortunes reflected it of course. As a Club, we really should have pressed on after the 91 title but all of the top Clubs by then had one thing in mind and that was the cash cow they anticipated in the rush to bully the rest of the Clubs into the formation of the EPL. Ironic that 3 of those bullies, Everton, the Spuds and Liverpool have never even won it! Lovely! Long may that last. - Post No. 102569


Norsgeneral  12:42pm 10th Jan 2017

I had a numpty Crystal Palace fan try to tell me that it was a travesty that a 1-0 obsessed boring bunch of thugs nicked the title from the best football side he had ever seen, the 89 Liverpool side. When I explained to him that this boring bunch of thugs, won the title, because they had scored more goals than this marvellous attacking machine to win the title and thereby defeating his boring Arsenal argument, he would not accept what an attacking outfit the 89 side was. 4 at Everton, 4 at Villa, 5 at forest, 4 at Spurs etc. I just shows how people mix the sides from 91 onwards with that great 89 side full of youth and journeymen. I put this GG side up with any of Wenger's, including the invincibles, simply because they beat what appeared an invincible Liverpool side, packed with the country's best players. Its a shame that the plaudits for this team are lost in the 1-0 to the Arsenal mantra. - Post No. 102570


Ron  13:03pm 10th Jan 2017

Norsgen - yes mate, even many of our own fans choose to shut their eyes to the reality of what that team was as they advance the wondrous Wengerball years. The media have always dressed up those teams of ours as functional and the 1-0 to the Arsl crap etc etc and the sheep follow their lead dont they, though thats not surprising. Had GGs teams been their precious Liverpool or Manure they would heave been hailed as great teams. The media have spun the myth for years that it was Manure who broke Liverpools stranglehold when we all know it was GG who did it in 89 and 91. Some of our own fans need to learn a bit of football history dont they. It ll surprise many tho learn that football never started in 1996. On yr point of our old teams, id back even GGs so called worst teams of 93 - 95 to give a game to and often beat any of Wengers sides. I think they would win more than they lost. Arsenal FC s mentality and physicality started to weaken considerably from about the year 2000/01 in my view. Its not a recent thing at all, but it has become far worse this last 8 years or so in my view. - Post No. 102571


Bonzo  13:09pm 10th Jan 2017

6 years Squeak stood on that terrace hating every minute of it. Hated wining the FA Cup and League cup in one year, hated Arsenal beating Liverpool in the league cup , hated that title win at Anfield , hated 94 against Parma, hated the 91 title charge. Tell you what though Leek and BBA get the horn on 13 years of failure. It's the pretty football isn't it ! - Post No. 102572


RedPig  13:29pm 10th Jan 2017

Great article and some great replies too. Redshirts and Ron's especially. I loved the Graham era and if I could re-live or re-create any time I had following Arsenal I would choose that era over any other. It might sound crazy but looking back I enjoyed those times even more than the early Wenger years and the Invincibles. Football was real back then and Arsenal were too. - Post No. 102575


John F  13:39pm 10th Jan 2017

90/91 team was excellent , It had everything great defence only conceding 18 goals,robust and skillful midfield with Paul Davis being my favourite and a little gem in Anders Limpar,upfront the underrated Smudger who was supported by a good Kevin Campbell.The 2 points docked at OT only served as a rallying cry and was a way to even more cement the link between the fans and players.Unfortunatly that season also contained the defeats against the Spuds in the semi ,I still cannot watch that Gazza freekick and the only loss in the depressing Stamford bridge,a game played on a sand pitch on a cold Feb day.What a horrible place to visit that place was.I've got great memories of West Ham ,Spuds QPR away but none of Chelsea. - Post No. 102576


Ron  13:47pm 10th Jan 2017

Yes Jamie - nobody can sensibly argue that Arsene hasnt brought us style, panache and one or 2 superb teams too. We ve lost the 'chemical balance' down the line somewhere haven't we. In the midst of what GG and AW have each produced for us, there lies a truly domineering side or two. If you like, the ingredients that each imbued into their best sides would create a Club side that would be the equivalent in the sum of its parts to what the 1970 Brazil team was to international footie. We ve been lucky to have both men at our helm when at their best. - Post No. 102577


mbg  17:49pm 10th Jan 2017

Norsgeneral, good post, Oh how George must have had that side, those players, that team, up for that game that night, he must have given some team talk before they left that dressing room instilling real confidence and real mental spirit and an even better one at half time (a shame it was never filmed) imagine TOF in the same position with this team ? he wouldn't know how to handle it, he wouldn't know what to say, no doubt go out and play your own game would be the height of it, and we all know what that is, and the players ? these little Nancy boys ? hold themselves together, defend and keep their shape and cool like Georges players did ? not a fooking chance they'd have been beaten in the tunnel, craping themselves and shaking in their boots all over the place within minutes, it never would have happened, imagine, wally through the midfield it's up for grabs now ? and grobbelar (spelling)gathers easily. - Post No. 102583


mbg  18:08pm 11th Jan 2017

I bet no one will be penning an Article like this about OGL in twenty years time, he'll be long forgotten, a bad dream. wenger out. - Post No. 102621


Issue #265 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

22nd May 2017

And So It Ends…

Online Ed: Wenger’s luck finally runs out as Arsenal miss out on 4th place trophy