#FlashbackFriday – Season 1971/72

By Robert Exley

The review of Arsenal’s campaigns continues

Arsenal’s return to football after the close season of 1971 came in late July with a pre-season friendly against the club that loaned Jack Wilshere from Arsenal last season, who were then known as Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic (this the last season before they changed their name to the streamlined moniker of AFC Bournemouth). Goals for Ray Kennedy, and two goals apiece for Peter Simpson and John Radford meant a 5-0 win for the Gunners. Once again, Arsenal made no further additions to their squad, however the main change came off the pitch when Coach Don Howe left to take up the vacant position at West Bromwich Albion in July 1971.

As Peter Storey would explain in his autobiography: ‘Bertie Mee was manager in name, but our coach was the motivating force. If Denis Hill-Wood and the directors couldn’t see that, then they were fools’. Howe also raided the Highbury backroom staff with physiotherapist George Wright and youth team coach Brian Whitehouse joining him at the Hawthorns with Steve Burtenshaw from Brighton coming in as coach and Fred Street from Stoke City as Physio. The summer of 1971 saw the exit of Jon Sammels to newly promoted Leicester City. Usually, League Champions and FA Cup winners would be kicking off their season with the FA Community (nee Charity) Shield. Arsenal however took the unprecedented step of pulling out of the Charity Shield due to having agreed to play friendlies with Benfica of Portugal and Feyenoord of Rotterdam.

Arsenal cancelled a game with Benfica toward the end of the previous season, but the demands of the League title run in and FA Cup run, as well as pressure from the Football Association regarding the Home Internationals meant it was cancelled. Arsenal director Bob Wall claimed that this ‘left a nasty taste in the mouth of the Portuguese’ and hence honoured the agreement with them at the expense of the F.A.’s traditional curtain raiser. The only player therefore involved in the 1971 Charity Shield who had any form of involvement with a League title or FA Cup winning side from the previous season was Jon Sammels as Second Division Champions Leicester City were to play FA Cup runners up Liverpool at Filbert Street. The Foxes won 2-1.

Their new boss former Gunner Jimmy Bloomfield took inspiration from Arsenal’s Cup Final win stating: ‘In the final, Liverpool were caught by the long through ball. We planned to take advantage of this – and it worked’. Arsenal’s non-participation in the Charity Shield started a trend with Arsenal’s trip to Lisbon in contrast saw them crashed to a 0-2 defeat. Four days later, Benfica came to Highbury for the return fixture. Arsenal ran out 6-2 winners, though the jostling which referee Norman Burtenshaw suffered saw him report the whole Benfica side to the Football Association. The following Saturday saw Arsenal head to Rotterdam to play Feyenoord. The Dutch inflicted a 0-1 defeat on Arsenal.

Three days ahead of the start of the Football season, Prime Minister Edward Heath participated in Britain’s victory in the Admiral’s Cup yacht race. Arsenal’s opening League fixture of the 1971/72 season saw them host Chelsea at Highbury. Ahead of kick off, saw a trophy parade which included the League title, FA Cup, the FA Youth Cup and Bertie Mee’s manager of the year trophy. When the game kicked off, the Gunners ran out 3-0 winners with goals for Ray Kennedy, Frank McLintock and John Radford. Twenty four hours later, the Nixon administration in the White House made an economic decision that would come to reshape the World economy with the ending of the ‘Bretton Woods’ system that had run since the dying days of the Second World War in 1944 and practically built the immediate post-war economic stability of the Western World in the years which followed.

Meanwhile, back to the Football and forty eight hours later Arsenal headed to Leeds Road to face Huddersfield Town. A goal for Ray Kennedy gave Arsenal a 1-0 win. Three days on, it would be Leeds United’s turn to come to Huddersfield to play a home fixture – as a result of the crowd disturbances emanating from the hoo-ha at Elland Road against West Brom they were forced to play their first three games away from their home ground. Leeds were not the only side forced to do so that season, so too were Man United due to a knife thrown from the Stretford End in the direction of Newcastle United goal keeper Willie McFaul the previous February.

Arsenal’s away fixture with United that season would be played at Anfield and not Old Trafford as a result of the FA ordering that their first two league fixtures be played at neutral grounds (the other was played at Stoke City’s Victoria Ground). The game was played on a Friday night so as not to clash with Everton’s home fixture with Sheffield United the following day on the other side of Stanley Park. Arsenal took the lead after four minutes with a goal from Frank McLintock. However goals for Alan Gowling, Bobby Charlton and Brian Kidd inflicted a 1-3 defeat on the Gunners.

Man United however paid a heavy financial price as a result of this fixture – 15% of gate receipts were given to their hosts Liverpool FC. At the time, a percentage of gate receipts were given to the away side as standard. As the attendance of just 27,649 was some way beneath the 48,000 that turned out for Arsenal’s visit to Old Trafford the previous December, Arsenal had to be compensated by United for their loss. Everton’s gate the following day too was under the figure of 46,000, meaning that Man United too had to pay compensation to the Toffees. The following Wednesday saw Sheffield United visit Highbury.

The Blades ran out 1-0 winners becoming the first away side to win at Highbury for twenty two months. This was Sheffield United’s fourth win in a row as they shot to the top of the old First Division after sealing promotion the season before. Arsenal were back at Highbury on Saturday and suffered a third defeat in a row with Stoke City inflicting a 0-1 defeat. Arsenal ended August 1971 in sixteenth place and seven points behind undefeated league leaders Sheffield United. Arsenal got back to winning ways in their first fixture in September 1971, as a superb volley from Jon Roberts guaranteeing a 1-0 win over Don Howe’s West Brom side at the Hawthorns, which was captured by ATV’s ‘Star Soccer’.

Four days later, Arsenal met Barnsley at home in the second round of the League Cup. A goal for Ray Kennedy gave Arsenal a 1-0 victory. The following Saturday saw the Gunners take on old sparring partners Leeds United at Highbury for the first time since pipping them to the title four months prior. The West Yorkshire side stood in second place, three points behind Sheffield United. Goals for George Graham and a penalty for Peter Storey gave Arsenal a 2-0 win which pushed Arsenal up to eighth. Four days on, Arsenal made their European Cup debut with a first round tie with Norwegian side Strømsgodset IF. In the first leg in which Arsenal triumphed 3-1 with goals for Peter Marinello, Peter Simpson and Eddie Kelly.

This match also featured an Arsenal debut for Paul Davies, not he who broke Glenn Cockerill’s jaw but a member of Arsenal’s 1971 FA Youth Cup winning side who was the brother of Southampton’s Ron Davies and transferred to Charlton within twelve months of his debut. The following Saturday, Arsenal then headed to Goodison Park to play an Everton side who had fallen from League Champions in 1969/70 to languishing in nineteenth place. The Toffees however inflicted a 1-2 defeat on Arsenal with goals for David Johnson and Joe Royle, while Ray Kennedy was on target for the Gunners. In the midweek, the very first episode of the BBC’s seminal music show – the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ – was first broadcast. Arsenal’s final league fixture of September 1971 saw the visit of newly promoted Leicester City who languished in twentieth place. Goals for Pat Rice and two for John Radford meant a 3-0 victory for Arsenal.

The month ended with the second leg against Strømsgodset IF at Highbury. Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners with goals from George Armstrong, Ray Kennedy and two for John Radford. October started with a trip to the Dell to play Southampton. A Peter Simpson goal secured a 1-0 victory for the Gunners. Arsenal were drawn at home to Newcastle United in the third round of the League Cup, who came to Highbury in the midweek. The programme for this fixture featured in this edition of Phil Wall’s ‘Angry of Islington’ blog. Goals for George Graham, Ray Kennedy and two for John Radford gave Arsenal a thumping 4-0 win. The Magpies came back to Highbury three days later this time to face Arsenal in the League.

Goals for George Armstrong, George Graham, Ray Kennedy and Eddie Kelly made it eight goals against the Geordies in three days as the Gunners ran out 4-2 winners. The two goals for Newcastle were scored by future Arsenal star Malcolm MacDonald – Supermac having joined Newcastle from Luton the previous summer. Seven days later, Arsenal headed to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea in a fixture captured by LWT’s ‘The Big Match’. The Gunners went into this game having won only one game at Stamford Bridge over the previous twelve years. Two goals for Ray Kennedy finally gave Arsenal both points for the first time since 1962, as the Gunners ran out 2-1 winners. On target for Chelsea was Peter Osgood.

Three days later, Arsenal met Grasshoppers of Zurich in the first leg of their second leg European Cup tie. Goals for George Graham and Ray Kennedy meant that the Gunners took a 2-0 lead back to Highbury. Three days later, Arsenal headed to the Baseball Ground to face Brian Clough’s Derby County, who stood in third place – one place above Arsenal in fifth. Coverage of which was captured by ATV’s ‘Star Soccer’. An Alan Hinton penalty and a goal for John O’Hare inflicted a 1-2 defeat on Arsenal. George Graham meanwhile would be on target for the Gunners. In the midweek, Arsenal faced a visit from Sheffield United in the fourth round of the League Cup. The Blades who stood in fourth place managed to hold the Gunners were held to a 0-0 draw. On the final Saturday of October 1971, the incumbent PM’s current allies – the DUP – were founded by the Reverent Iain Paisley in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, that same day at Highbury on for the final League game of October 1971, goals for Charlie George and an own goal meant a 2-1 victory over fourteenth place Ipswich Town. Arsenal’s first fixture of November 1971 would be the visit of Grasshoppers for the second leg tie at Highbury. Goals for Charlie George, Ray Kennedy and John Radford meant a 3-0 win (5-0 on aggregate) which put North London’s finest into the Quarter Finals the following March. In the meantime, Arsenal headed to Anfield to face seventh place Liverpool in the Gunners first League fixture of November 1971. Liverpool had been eliminated from the European Cup Winners Cup with a 1-3 away defeat to Bayern Munich with goals for Uli Hoeness and two for Gerd Muller.

Arsenal took the lead through future Liverpool star Ray Kennedy after five minutes, Emlyn Hughes however equalised for Liverpool four minutes ahead of half time. Eight minutes after the restart, Liverpool took the lead with Ian Callaghan lobbing Bob Wilson. Arsenal drew level with a Tommy Smith own goal, though with three minutes left Liverpool secured the points with a goal from Ian Ross to inflict a 2-3 defeat on Arsenal which saw the Gunners sink to ninth. Forty eight hours on, the Gunners headed to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United in their replayed League Cup tie. By now, the Blades had experienced four straight defeats meaning they crashed from top of the league to fifth. Arsenal however crashed out of the League Cup with a 0-2 defeat.

Next up for Bertie Mee’s side was a visit to Highbury by third place Man City. Highlights would be captured by LWT’s ‘The Big Match’. Goals for Ian Mellor and Colin Bell inflicted a 1-2 defeat on Arsenal, while left back Sammy Nelson bagged his first goal for the Gunners. The following week, Bertie Mee’s side headed to Molineux to face twelfth placed Wolves, highlights of which would be captured by the BBC’s ’Match of the Day’. Arsenal took the lead with a blinding shot from Ray Kennedy. The Gunners however crashed to a fourth straight loss with a 1-5 battering which sunk Arsenal to eleventh place in the table. On the back of this poor run of results, Bertie Mee’s side headed to White Hart Lane in midweek for the first time since sealing the title six months earlier.

Spurs were three points above Arsenal in seventh place. The Gunners took the lead with a goal from Ray Kennedy. Martin Chivers however pounced on a misplaced pass back from Pat Rice to equalise, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. The weekend would see another London Derby back at Highbury, with the visit of bottom of the table Crystal Palace. Arsenal took the lead with a goal from Eddie Kelly. John Radford added a second with a close range header. Palace pulled one back in the second half with a long range shot from Craven. North London’s finest however hung on for a 2-1 victory and their first win since the start of the month. Arsenal ended November 1971 in eighth place, though nine points off of Frank O’Farrell’s Man United at the top of the table.

On December 2nd 1971, the nation after which Arsenal’s stadium is officially named (the United Arab Emirates) was formed after the seven constituent Emirates received independence from British governance. Two days later saw Arsenal’s third London Derby in a row – this time at the Boleyn Ground against a West Ham side in thirteenth place who had lost their last four games. The two sides however played out a 0-0 draw. This would be followed by fourteenth place Coventry City’s visit to Highbury. Two goals for John Radford meant a 2-0 victory in front of a crowd of just 28,599. Arsenal managed back to back wins in the league for the first time in two months.

On Don Howe’s return to Highbury one week before Christmas 1971, two goals for John Roberts meant a 2-0 win for Arsenal over a West Brom side languishing at the foot of the table losing their last six games. A present just ahead of Christmas for the Gunners came in the form of signing Everton’s Alan Ball for a record breaking fee of £220,000. Ball would be Arsenal’s first signing since Peter Marinello nearly two years prior. His debut in an Arsenal shirt would come in the interim between Christmas and New Year in an away trip to meet second from bottom Nottingham Forest, where a George Graham goal cancelling out an Ian Storey-Moore opener gave Arsenal a 1-1 draw. Arsenal ended the calendar year of 1971 in eighth position.

On New Years’ Day, Alan Ball’s home debut would be against the side who sold him a little more than a week earlier. The Toffees had failed to win their last five games and sat in sixteenth position. Everton however took the lead with a Howard Kendall volley. With eight minutes left to play, Arsenal equalised with a goal from Peter Simpson. Arsenal’s indifferent form continued into the New Year, with a 0-0 draw against Stoke City at the Victoria Ground. Next up would be the third round of the FA Cup and Arsenal’s defence kicked off against Swindon Town. The Gunners humiliation of three years prior had been fresh in the memory. Lightning however would not strike twice this time. Goals for George Armstrong and Alan Ball’s first goal for the Gunners meant a 2-0 win for Arsenal.

Five days later, the official number of unemployed people in the UK exceeded one million for the first time since the 1930s (nearly double the figure when Ted Heath took office eighteen months). For Bertie Mee’s side however, the Swindon victory would bring a reversal of fortune over the next five games. A goal for George Armstrong game Arsenal a 1-0 victory. January 1972 ended with a trip to Bramall Lane for the Gunners. Bertie Mee’s side had already suffered two defeats at the hands of the Blades already this season. This afternoon however would be payback time. Sheffield United stood in fifth place at the start of the day. Goals for Peter Simpson, Ray Kennedy, George Graham and two for Charlie George meant a 5-0 victory for the Gunners which saw them leapfrog Sheffield United in the table, five points off of league leaders Man City in fifth.

Alan Ball also wound up the home crowd by sitting on the ball – an act that wouldn’t be forgotten at Bramall Lane in a hurry. One day later in Northern Ireland, saw fourteen unarmed protestors shot by British troops in Derry, in what came to be known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. The following week would bring the fourth round of the FA Cup and a trip to Elm Park to meet Reading, who at the time languished in fourteenth place in the old Fourth Division. A goal from Pat Rice and a Reading own goal meant a 2-1 win for Arsenal over the Berkshire side to progress to the last sixteen. Back in the League, next to visit Highbury would be Brian Clough’s Derby County side who stood three points above Arsenal in third.

The game would be captured by LWT’s ‘The Big Match’. Two goals for Charlie George, one from the penalty spot, gave Arsenal a 2-0 win which pushed North London’s finest up to fourth and now just four points behind Man City who dropped points with a 3-3 draw away to Sheffield United. Arsenal would face Derby County again in the FA Cup, before then however would be a trip to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town. Peter Storey notes in his autobiography that the match was a heated affair, due to twenty man brawl which occurred between the players, for which no-one was booked for. A Charlie George headed goal after six minutes gave Arsenal a 1-0 win and a sixth straight victory for the Gunners. Arsenal then headed to the Baseball Ground for a fiercely contested Cup tie. A Charlie George volley put Arsenal ahead, though Derby equalised from the penalty spot through Alan Hinton.

George scored again to put Arsenal 2-1 up, though Derby forced a replay with a last minute equaliser from Alan Durban. Charlie however got himself into hot water. After Derby County fans serenaded George with the song: ‘Charlie George, superstar. Looks like a woman and he wears a bra’. On scoring, Charlie flicked a V-Sign at the Derby County fans, which saw him hit with a fine. Three days later on February 29th came the replay at Highbury, played out during the afternoon as a result of power restrictions imposed by the government because of a Miner’s Strike which ended just a day earlier.

The game was played out in front of a mammoth 63,077 crowd, which led to a crash barrier collapse that saw fans spilling onto the pitch and a delay in proceedings. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. The following Saturday, Arsenal headed to Maine Road to face top of the table Man City at Maine Road. City held a four point lead at the top, though second place Leeds United had two games in hand. Arsenal ahead of the game stood six points off of City with two games in hand, meaning that a win may well put them back in contention. Two goals for Francis Lee however inflicted a 0-2 defeat on Arsenal, leaving the Gunners with an eight point deficit to make up.

That same day, showboating Leeds United stayed in contention by thumping Southampton 7-0 at Elland Road. Arsenal next headed to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the first leg of their European Cup Quarter Final tie in front of 63,000. ITV covered the game, with commentary from Brian Moore who keeps referring to the opposition as the same name as a well-known bathroom detergent. Arsenal took the lead with a goal from Ray Kennedy after fifteen minutes, however Ajax drew level with a goal from Gerrie Muhren, the older brother of former Ipswich and Man Utd midfielder Arnold, ten minutes later.

Muhren would strike again with seventieth minute penalty in the second half to inflict a 1-2 defeat on Arsenal. The away goal in their favour meant that Arsenal may have fancied their chances back at Highbury. By the following weekend however, there would be a third straight loss for Arsenal at St. James’s Park. A month prior, the Magpies crashed out of the FA Cup with a 1-2 loss to non-league Hereford with Arsenal name sakes Radford and George among the goals. However with Jimmy Smith and future Gunner Malcolm MacDonald on target, it meant a 0-2 defeat for Arsenal in the league at the hands of eleventh place Newcastle United.

This match though would make history as Brendan Batson became the first player of Afro-Caribbean origin to play first team football for the Arsenal, after coming on as sub for Charlie George. Defeat however would leave Arsenal ten points adrift of league leaders Man City with just eleven games left to play. Forty eight hours later, Arsenal headed to Filbert Street to play a second replay with Derby County at a neutral ground. Ray Kennedy pounced on a misplaced back-pass from John McGovern to secure a 1-0 win for the Gunners and a trip a few miles down the road to Leyton to play Orient just five days later. In the previous round, the Orient caused a shock by beating Chelsea 3-2, after coming back from two goals down.

In this game, Orient hit the post and bar. A goal for Alan Ball however secured a 1-0 win for Arsenal which had taken them through to the Semi Finals. Four days later, Ajax came to Highbury for the Second Leg. The match was captured in its entirety by Dutch TV, while in England the public had to make do with highlights on BBC’s ‘Sportsnight’. A George Graham own goal had sealed Arsenal’s fate as they crashed to a 0-1 defeat (3-1 on aggregate), which put paid to Arsenal’s European Cup hopes. The Gunners would not be competing again in Europe’s Premier club competition for another twenty years, under the management of the player whose own goal eliminated them.

The Double seemed like an eternity ago by now, however the following Saturday on visiting Elland Road to play second place Leeds United, the home side and their fans gave Arsenal a guard of honour to commemorate the achievement. That’s all Leeds gave away that afternoon, as goals for Alan Clarke, Mick Jones and Peter Lorimer inflicted a 0-3 defeat on the Gunners, captured on camera by Yorkshire TV. Defeat saw Arsenal slip to ninth and thirteen points away from leaders Man City, despite still having three games in hand. Just ahead of Easter weekend, Arsenal received a visit from a Southampton side hovering one point above the relegation zone. A goal for Peter Marinello, playing his first league game for nineteen months, gave Arsenal a 1-0 victory.

On 30th March 1972, the Northern Ireland troubles had escalated to the point where the Northern Irish parliament was suspended and directly ruled from Westminster. Two days later on Easter Saturday, Arsenal received a visit from bottom of the table Nottingham Forest. A Charlie George penalty, as well as goals from Ray Kennedy and George Graham gave Arsenal a 3-0 win. In midweek, Arsenal played out a 0-0 draw with Leicester at Filbert Street, which left the Gunners in seventh position. The following Saturday saw the visit of Wolves, who were just one point behind Arsenal in eighth. John Richards put Wolves ahead, however two goals for George Graham gave Arsenal a 2-1 win. Four days ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup Semi Final date came a London Derby against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The South Londoners were battling relegation in twentieth position, just two points from Nottingham Forest at the foot of the table. Palace hadn’t even won a home game since the turn of the year. After four minutes, goals for Alan Ball and John Radford put Arsenal two goals up. Palace however pulled it back to 2-2 to see the points shared. And so on to Villa Park, as Arsenal faced Stoke City in the FA Cup Semi-Finals for the second time in two years. Though sitting in sixteenth place in the League table, Stoke secured their first major trophy seven weeks prior after defeating Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley with a goal from former Arsenal midfielder George Eastham. The Potters therefore were hoping to make history as the first side to complete a domestic Cup Double.

Arsenal took the lead with a twenty yard drive from George Armstrong. The Gunners’ lead was cancelled out with a Peter Simpson own goal, however the main point of interest with regard to this tie was a knee injury suffered by Bob Wilson, who collided with a post. He played on for another fifteen minutes with his leg bandaged, however was forced to withdraw from the game. This long before the permitting of substitute goalkeepers meant that Ray Kennedy came on for Wilson, with John Radford covering in goal. Ironically, this was the second time this season that Stoke would play a Semi Final against a side with an outfield player going in goal. In their League Cup Semi Final tie with West Ham, Bobby Moore covered for the injured Bobby Ferguson and even saved a penalty (though scored on the rebound).

Radford however bravely saw out the game, with Arsenal holding on for a 1-1 draw. In the other Semi-Final, Leeds United progressed to the final with a comfortable 3-0 win over Birmingham City. The replay took place four days later at Goodison Park. After five minutes, Stoke were denied what photographic evidence proved to be a legitimate goal, after Bob McNab cleared off of the line. Covering in goal for Bob Wilson would be former Everton keeper Geoff Barnett. It was Barnett who brought down Stoke’s Jimmy Greenhoff to concede the penalty from which Stoke took the lead, as Greenhoff himself converted. After a poor first half, Arsenal came out to turn matters around in the second half. After seeing one penalty appeal turned down, Arsenal were awarded a spot kick after a foul on George Armstrong. Charlie George converted for an Arsenal equaliser.

As the second half progressed, Charlie George was allegedly played onside by the linesman mistaking a programme seller on the touchline wearing a white coat for a Stoke defender. George pulled the ball back for John Radford. The goalkeeping hero of the previous Saturday put the ball away to give the Gunners a 2-1 win and secure their second FA Cup final appearance in successive years. For Stoke, who had played their sixtieth competitive fixture the frustration was clear. Arsenal physio Fred Street on attempting to console his former Stoke colleagues was warned by Stoke boss Tony Waddington: ‘I would wait a little while if I were you…the boys are a bit violent at the moment’.

Ahead of their fifth Cup final in five years, Arsenal stood eleven points off of Derby County at the top of the old First Division table and, though they had three games in hand, the Gunners had just five games left to play meaning that the League title was now out of reach. The following weekend, fourteenth place West Ham came to Highbury for a London Derby. Two goals for Alan Ball meant a 2-1 win for Arsenal, with Trevor Brooking on target for the Hammers. With Brendan Batson’s introduction as substitute, as well as the involvement of Clive Charles, Ade Coker and Clyde Best meant the then notable occurrence of four black players competing in one game with the new emergence of Afro-Caribbean footballers within the English game.

In midweek, a Man United side who had topped the table early on came to Highbury one point behind Arsenal in eighth place. Goals for Ray Kennedy, John Radford and Peter Simpson meant a comprehensive 3-0 victory for Arsenal. Following on from last season’s 4-0 thumping of United, Highbury would be far from a happy hunting ground for the Red half of Manchester for the rest of the decade in fact. The final day of fixtures had ended up disrupted as a result of England playing West Germany in the first leg of the Quarter Finals of the European Championships (losing 1-3 at Wembley).

On Mayday, Arsenal headed to Highfield Road to play Coventry City. A goal for Frank McLintock meant a 1-0 victory for the Gunners. That same evening, Leeds United saw off Chelsea with a 2-0 victory, pushing them to within a point of Derby at the top of the table, who that same night had completed their fixtures with a 1-0 win over another title challenger, Liverpool. Don Revie’s side therefore went into the FA Cup Final with high hopes of repeating Arsenal’s feat of a League and FA Cup Double of a season earlier. Arsenal’s FA Cup final tune this year would be the ‘Official Arsenal March’ by the Highbury Marchers, though unlike ‘Good Old Arsenal’ of a year earlier it would fail to chart.

Leeds United on the other hand, with their release ‘Leeds United’ reached number ten in the charts. In true 70s Northern Soul style however, it would be the B-side of this track which would strike a bigger chord with the Elland Road faithful, as ‘Leeds, Leeds, Leeds’ (Marching on Together) would be a Leeds terrace chant for much longer than the A-Side. This year too would be the centenary FA Cup Final and once again, a major televisual event. Ahead of the Cup Final, ITN were reporting on ‘open warfare’ between the Football Association and the Football League. The League had been battling for more control over its ninety two members, which included a threat of a future boycott of the F.A. Cup, with the hope that the League Cup Final would overtake the FA Cup in relevance.

Any idea that the League Cup Final could match the FA Cup Final as a marquee event in 1972 however, was laughable. The TV Times edition for May 1972 on page fourteen featured a piece pointing out that both Cup Final captains are of Scots origin and compared the standing of the Scottish Cup Final with the FA Cup Final. Ironically, the article points out the over use of Hampden Park in that it also is used for Cup Semi Finals and Club home games and recommends it follows Wembley’s lead in only being used for the show piece event (ironically, Wembley has become more like Hampden in this respect in recent years!). Once again, the BBC coupled their FA Cup Final preview on the eve of the final with coverage of the ABA Championship Finals from the Wembley Empire Pool, following on from the Nine O’clock News. ITV meanwhile again had ‘Who'll win the Cup?’ - Their own preview show following on from ‘News at Ten’.

The BBC’s ‘Cup Final Grandstand’ Coverage began at the mind-bogglingly early time of 10.45AM and included a special feature of ‘100 years of the FA Cup’ and once again an FA Cup Final ‘It’s a Knockout’ Special, hosted by the now infamous Stuart Hall and participants included Leeds United players Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles, as well as Gordon Banks and George Eastham, DJ and Arsenal fan Pete Murray and Leeds United fan, crooner and Radio presenter Ronnie Hilton. ITV’s ‘World of Sport’ kicked off half an hour later at 11.15AM, after an episode of ‘All Our Yesterdays’. Their light entertainment build up included a special Cup Final edition of the not always politically correct Granada show ‘The Comedians’, featuring the like of Mike Reid, Frank Carson, Bernard Manning and Charlie Williams.

World of Sport also had a triple bill of Wrestling which included Mick McManus, Steve Logan and Glam Rock wrestler Adrian Street. Providing the analysis for the BBC was Brian Clough, then manager of Derby County, Man United’s Bobby Charlton, Arsenal’s Bob Wilson and Leeds United’s Terry Cooper, who were both out of the final due to injury. ITV meanwhile kept the line-up of the previous year with Jimmy Hill, Malcolm Allison, Paddy Crerand and Derek Dougan. In the commentary box for ITV once again was Brian Moore, while David Coleman took over commentating duties from Kenneth Wolstenholme to commentate on his first FA Cup Final.

This here shows documentary fan footage of the build to the big game. Ahead of the final, in a year when Wembley hosted its first ever rock gig with a major rock and roll revival concert, Britain’s answer to Elvis – Tommy Steele – led the traditional singing of the FA Cup Final hymn ‘Abide with Me’. In the event, Arsenal crashed to a 0-1 defeat with a goal from Alan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke for Don Revie’s side, who picked up their first ever FA Cup win. Leeds’s Mick Jones dislocated his elbow in the dying minutes of the game and had to be aided up the steps by team mate Norman Hunter. The victorious Leeds United players and Revie interviewed were interviewed here by ITV’s Gerald Sinstadt.

Highlights of the Cup Final would again be shown by the BBC on Match of the Day at 10.30PM, while ITV’s highlights the following day under the banner of ‘How the Cup was won’ at 3.45PM. Incredibly, the second leg of Leeds United’s attempted Double would follow just forty eight hours later. On a Monday evening, Leeds United headed to Molineux to play Wolves. Arsenal too had a League fixture against fellow title challengers Liverpool at Highbury. The 1971/72 League season was a fascinating contest, which took place in the years prior to the final day synchronization as Sky Sports’s ‘Super Sunday’.

Derby County topped the table having finished their fixtures and had headed off to Majorca for a post-season team holiday. Leeds United stood one point behind with a superior Goal Average, needing just a point to steal the title. Man City stood in third place having topped the table for a large amount of the season, but having their run in disrupted by accommodating new signing Rodney Marsh from QPR, the Blues had stalled one point Derby in third having completed their fixtures. The only other contenders being fourth place Liverpool, two points behind Derby County but also with a superior goal average.

Liverpool captain Tommy Smith alleged that has team mate Emlyn Hughes had informed him that a number Arsenal players were willing to throw the match for £50 a man, though his revelation came long after Hughes had passed away and able to defend himself from the allegation. There had also been allegations (though not proven) that Revie had attempted to bribe Wolves to take it easy. If true, it certainly didn’t work as Leeds blew the title for the third year running after losing 1-2 to Wolves. This therefore left the door open to Shanks and Liverpool to steal the title. John Toshack put the ball into the Arsenal net, however the Gunners held out for a 0-0 draw, meaning that Clough and Derby were First Division Champions for 1971/72.

For Arsenal, there would still be one further fixture. For the third season in a row, Arsenal’s last game of the season would be against Tottenham – this time at Highbury. Arsenal would be without Peter Storey and Alan Ball who were both called up to play in the Second leg of England’s Euro ’72 Quarter Final tie with West Germany (which ended in a 0-0 draw and England crashing out). Spurs meanwhile were in the middle of a two-legged UEFA Cup (renamed from the Fairs Cup after it came under UEFA’s control). Tottenham held a 2-1 lead from the first leg nine days earlier. The game would be played on a Thursday evening (a rarity in those days). Ahead of the game, Spurs were unable to catch Arsenal regardless of the result.

Spurs took the lead with a goal from Alan Mullery just past the hour. While Arsenal were pressing for the equaliser, Ralph Coates caught Arsenal on the break and put Spurs two up with virtually the last kick of the season. A disappointing end therefore to an underwhelming season, with Arsenal finishing fifth – five points behind the four title challenging sides Derby, Leeds, Liverpool and Man City within a point of each other. To make matters worse, as Arsenal finished trophy-less Spurs became the fifth successive side to win the Inter Cities Fairs/UEFA Cup with a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane securing a 3-2 victory on aggregate the following week.

The season ended with an end of season trip across the Atlantic to play American side Miami Gators. In front of 4,726 spectators, goals for Charlie George, John Radford and Ray Kennedy gave the Gunners a 3-2 victory. Arsenal however needed to improve on their performance in 1972/73 and, as will be seen next week, Bertie Mee’s Gunners side would still be challenging among the honours for another season at least.

Robert Exley can be found on Twitter and is the editor of Upstart Football, whose #FlashbackFriday edition this week covers a review of the Euro ’88 Championships with all available video links.

30th June 2017 07:19:59


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TonyEvans  11:04am 30th Jun 2017

An incredibly disappointing season after the Double triumph of 70/71. Losing the coaching skills of the Don was a factor I am sure. Also we just stagnated for far too long after the 70/71 season. OK we brought in Alan Ball but lost the likes of Kennedy, George and McLintock, and there lies the difference between us and Liverpool who always strengthened and moved forward - they never stood still. From such a promising base we through it all away; that Double team could have gone on to achieve so much more, instead we were in danger of relegation in the mid 70s! - Post No. 108287

Moscowgooner  12:49pm 30th Jun 2017

Wasn´t the Orient quarter final shown on The Big Match? I was at the game itself but have never been able to track down the TV highlights - maybe the tape was wiped? - Post No. 108289

Yes its Ron  13:10pm 30th Jun 2017

Hi Tony - very true mate. I do think though that those yrs of dominance that Liverpool had in the 70s and up to when we ended their dominance in 89 coincided with all the normally expected rivals going into a bit of a slumber. Many Clubs like Arsenal and Utd were still good on their day but just utterly inconsistent. Liverpool mastered the bore and grind type of football that kept them consistent, though they did have some great players of course too. (i wont have it that Man U saw them off. It was us in 89 and 91 who buried Liverpool as the power house of the era and theyve never recovered). Yes, our double team really needed a better hand in the management dept post 1971 than Bertie Mee provided. I think there was a lot of 'politics' going on in the backroom back then . Alan Ball was never a success was he in London. Hed gone over the hill before we signed him i always think. Big time Charlie really with his poncy white boots. - Post No. 108291

Moscow Gooner  13:43pm 30th Jun 2017

TonyEvans - well Kennedy, George and McLintock were all around in 71/72 - and 72/73. Agree that losing Don was a major blow - but if Marinello had put away an easy chance against Ajax we could have won the European Cup. In 72/73 we were in with a very decent chance of the Double: we blew it in a way oddly reminiscent of the recent Wenger years: a stupid home defeat to Derby and then a dismal performance in the semi final against a mediocre Sunderland side. But beating Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield was the stand out performance of that season and showed just how good a side we really were. - Post No. 108292

TonyEvans  13:46pm 30th Jun 2017

Hi Ron - yes Bally never really set the world on fire for us did he. Amazing though that our next major signing was Supermac in season 76/77. Unless Brian Kidd qualifies I suppose. As you say something must have been going on behind the scenes, don't know what else can explain it. If memory serves me correctly the likes of O'Leary, Stapleton, Price and of course Chippy arrived during those wilderness years of 72/73 to 75/76, who would serve us so well under Terry Neil, but were too young and inexperienced at the time to step straight in to the first team. Where were the quality replacements for Kennedy, George et al who were incredibly allowed to leave for rival British clubs? It never made any sense to me then and it still doesn't! You're right in that Liverpool's dominance had a great deal to do with us and United, plus Chelsea, Everton and others going in to free fall. I'm not saying they weren't a good side, they were, but were made to look better than they really were I think by the poor quality of the opposition. Cynical too, not in the Leeds way under Revie, but loved to time waste and kill games as a spectacle for the fans. As you say it was us that did for them in the end, and never was a victory sweeter than Anfield '89, and there probably never will be anything to match it. - Post No. 108293

TonyEvans  14:02pm 30th Jun 2017

Hi MG - Yes my post wasn't very clear was it. What I was trying to say was that our top players were never properly replaced when they did leave. A couple of decent signings to add to Alan Ball and maybe the frustrations of 71/72 and 72/73 when, as you say, we were so nearly there, would never have happened. The fact that we were allowed to fall off a cliff in 73/74 was incredible. - Post No. 108294

Yes its Ron  14:12pm 30th Jun 2017

I think its correct to say that in yrs past Arsenal have had their periods of being feeble after being in positions of strength. We ve also never bought well when we re on top and have also bought badly at times with big money ie Marinello and Blockley et al. The Club has often gone into drift historically too, even after GG in those yrs from 1993 to his demise. All of these things we ve had a go at Arsene about but its all happened before hasnt it. The only difference that puts Arsene up for shooting at is that hes been there so long and repeated mistakes so often. Hes not really done anything differently to what Arsenals past Board and managers have allowed to happen. Its his longevity that keeps the noose around his neck. Im not sure why he want to keep offering himself up for more constant batterings with his wealth and his age. Im sure he sees the parallels with past years. - Post No. 108295

Yes its Ron  14:22pm 30th Jun 2017

Thats it Tony. Remember though that Utd and Spurs were leaping off the same cliffs! They did go into Div 2.Liverpool took advantage.Yr right, they could bore for England home or away. Always a very big side though and physically powerful, like Chelsea of recent years. It makes a difference in British football i think. Good as we could be under Neill, we lacked physical power. We had talent to die for, but couldnt outmuscle anybody and its why we under achieved under TH i think. He should have won a title had we bought some brute force in to assist Chippy and Rix and Stapleton etc. We can all look at footie history though through different lenses cant we. - Post No. 108296

MAF  15:30pm 30th Jun 2017

so Alexis has gone, what else is new at Arsenal ??? July 1st what have they been doing since they all rewarded themselves with new contracts 7 weeks ago,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, - Post No. 108297

TonyEvans  15:39pm 30th Jun 2017

True Ron. Price and Talbot were grafters but as you say we weren't going to out muscle anyone in the middle of the park. Big Frank could look after himself up front but even at the back we were a tad lightweight. Good times though under Neil (until it all went tits up) which are still up there with some of my best Arsenal memories. The balance of a team has to be right and I think you could look at each and every top side over the years and see the mix of strength and skill was spot on. You would think it would be easy wouldn't you, but it obviously isn't when you think of the Horlicks most managers make of it! - Post No. 108298

Yes its Ron  16:51pm 30th Jun 2017

Very true Tony. These Coaches in the PL arent paid big bucks for nothing. The ability to build a team is bloody hard isnt it and has as much to do with managing people as it does with harnessing talent. Yr so right too, how many actually achieve real success? Very few. It has to be said that AW is one of the few who has achieved it, just not as much as us fans wanted or expected. Reality is that that as much a reflection of our shortcomings as people as much as it is his. - Post No. 108299

mbg  16:58pm 30th Jun 2017

Him who TOF has been after, and keeping an eye on for years Lemar, LOL, has said it's better for me and my career if I stay at my present club under manager Leonardo Jardim for a few more years, what a very very smart young man, him and his advisers certainly know all about the old fraud wenger and his ways, so much for TOF being a big attraction, another blow for his ego. - Post No. 108300

mbg  18:04pm 30th Jun 2017

MAF, ask the AKB wengerites, as far as they're concerned their messiah is working day and night around the clock, at what God only knows. wenger out now. - Post No. 108301

A Cornish Gooner  19:26pm 30th Jun 2017

Tony. Your mention of the right mix reminded me of a drink - other than Horlicks. A double Gin & Tonic. There was a time when Wenger had all the right ingredients, in the correct quantities, mixed well and in a nice glass. After ten plus years the ice has melted, the tonic has gone flat and he’s replaced the gin with the cheapest weakest alternative, or with more tonic, or not at all. Ron. What I want/hope for this season is exactly the same as it was ten or so years ago: The Community Shield, CL, PL, FA Cup and League Cup – without losing a single game. What I expected (maybe unreasonably) ten years ago, as a supporter of one of the biggest clubs in the world, was to win at least one of those trophies. These days I, as a WOB, don’t really have any expectations other than finishing in the top four! It seems that the AKBs have higher expectations than the WOBs, so I think it’s a bit unfair to blame the dissent amongst fans on being down to their ‘shortcomings as people’. Not wishing to sound rude, but that argument sounds a bit ‘Badarsean’. “It’s not Arsene’s fault. We just expected too much” - Post No. 108302

equalizer  20:13pm 30th Jun 2017

Yes its Ron, that's absolute codswappop. Wenger was somewhat successful during his first decade but has had 13 years to build a squad capable of challenging for the title, and despite telling us at the beginning of each season that he has a squad capable of doing so he has failed to do so. And the fact we want him out is "a reflection of our shortcomings as people as much as it is his". What a pile of absolute rubbish. - Post No. 108304

John F  21:21pm 30th Jun 2017

Great read Rob really enjoyed the clips some great players from various teams on show makes me realise what a poor lot are playing in today's league.Was it still the days of mixed fans on the terrace as there seemed to be a lot of Arsenal fans in the shed on the Chelsea clip.Great side Derby in those days.I was in a Corfu bar in 1981 when Alan Hinton and his wife walked in and was recognised by the drinkers in there and mobbed,poor chap had to leave. - Post No. 108305

Yes its Ron  12:55pm 1st Jul 2017

We re all entitled to our view equalizer, but the fact remains that AW has been successful, no matter what period he managed it in. His level of success comparative to most Coaches is far superior and thats a fact. We call want him out and ive thought that best for some years, but it doesn't remove what hes achieved. I think my point about 'shortcomings' is maybe being taken our of kilter a little bit. Im trying to say that as Arsenal fans, whatever the Club and Wenger hasnt done this last 10 years, looked at in context to what the majority of fans at other Clubs have to put up with, is indicative that at times over that period our expectations have surpassed what the Club and Wenger could offer. Im suggesting this as a possibility and not stating it as hard fact. Whatever we think of all of the top 4 finishes etc though no titles, it is still success in modern football and the reality is that all of the other top Clubs have had time out of those places. Just because most of us have a view on Wenger that leads us to the conclusions about him that we have, doesnt at all mean that those who back him to the hilt dont have some merit in what they say too. We dont have a monopoly on what the truth of the long standing Arsene issue actually is. Like it or not Equalizer, there are arguments that support his still being in the job, whether it gives you, me or whoever else the hump or not. - Post No. 108306

equalizer  13:42pm 1st Jul 2017

Ron, if your idea of success is failing to achieve your stated target for 13 years in a row while repeating the same mistakes and making the same excuses over and over, then I feel sorry for you. - Post No. 108307

A Cornish Gooner  16:29pm 1st Jul 2017

Hello Ron. Yes, we are all entitled to our view. We can all digest the same ‘facts’, but come up with different interpretations though. Option 1 ‘OK we haven’t won the PL for 13 years but we’ve been in the top 5 for the last 21 years. Wenger should stay’. Option 2 ‘OK we’ve been in the top 5 for the last 21 years but we haven’t won the PL since 2004. Wenger should go’. I accept that. But that’s not the only thing we’re complaining about, is it? As I mentioned above my expectations aren’t that we win something every season, but I do, as an example, expect a club, the size of Arsenal, to at least put up a decent show EVERY game i.e. never conceding eight! I don’t think ‘our expectations have surpassed what the Club and Wenger COULD offer’, but they maybe have surpassed what the Club and Wenger HAS offered. Didn’t get the hump with the use of the phrase ‘shortcomings as people’, but even as a WOB I wouldn’t use that against AKBs. - Post No. 108308

Paulward  16:30pm 1st Jul 2017

Wasn't around for 71/72 but from what I'm told we paid the price for not building on success, a failing that was repeated in the late70s, the late 80s/early 90s under George and countless times under Wenger. Even now we are looking to build on a trophy winning season by .... selling our best player to Manchester City. Basically Arsenal have always lacked ambition, certainly since the 1930s, and a reluctance to spend big whilst strong explains whilst we lag behind Man Utd, Liverpool and the big Eoropean clubs in terms of trophy successes. - Post No. 108309

Moscow Gooner  17:39pm 1st Jul 2017

TonyEvans - instead we got Jeff Blockley. LOL. And JohnF - as I recall going to the Bridge between about ´69 and ´74 there were always loads of Arsenal in the Shed. Nobody was very bothered about Chelsea in those days. Changed a bit after their apprenticeship in the second division. - Post No. 108310

Bard  18:18pm 1st Jul 2017

I think the argument about whether Wenger has been a success has to take into account what our financial clout consists of. To my knowledge we are the 6th richest club in the world. have we performed like it? Absolutely not. The issue of winning trophies is irrelevant what matters is trying to win them and we havent put in a proper shift for donkeys years. Its the mediocrity that is unjustifiable. You can call that success if you like but it is a perversion of the meaning of sport not to try your hardest. - Post No. 108311

CORNISH GOONER  20:20pm 1st Jul 2017

Robert, an excellent piece, thoroughly researched which reminded me of how passionate I was about L'Arse in those days & how that has been passed on to my sons. But here in 2017 it is very difficult/impossible(?) to sustain that passion. And Ron - have you been taken over by some alien bug? Your last posts have been so unlike your norm. The spin etc. from the Club has reached new depths & I do not understand how Gazidis, if he has any genuine passion for his job, can sleep at night - shame on him. Lets be very clear here, Arsenal is a MASSIVE Club. NO OTHER CLUB IN THE TOP ECHELONS OF WORLD FOOTBALL WOULD TOLERATE THIS CONTINUAL "THAT'LL DO" PHILOSOPHY. I agree that success cannot be guaranteed but a top club would make the necessary changes until that success is achieved. Wenger's survival is a modern miracle! - Post No. 108312

Seven Kings Gooner1  9:37am 2nd Jul 2017

Losing Don Howe was the whole reason that team never won another title - came close in 72 - 73, certainly after that 2-0 win at Anfield (Radford was awesome that day) I thought we would do it but without Don's knack of knowing when to "stick or twist" we lost our way. Don going was all due to the fact that he never got an once of credit for the 70 -71 season by the board - all the praise was heaped on Bertie Mee, who was a great general manager but no football coach or tactician. It's the same scenario today - the board just don't get it! - Post No. 108313

mbg  13:17pm 2nd Jul 2017

They've just drained the Saint Martin (I think it is) Canal in France for the first time in decades and found hundreds of artefacts among them wengers hand book of coaching, success and ambition. wenger out. - Post No. 108314

Exeter Ex  14:38pm 2nd Jul 2017

A club that hasn't challenged for the title since it last won it 13 years and - as most recently evidenced by Gazidis' remarks and the sheer fact Wenger got another 2 years - doesn't even try to. For a club of Arsenal's size and wealth charging what it does, there is no logical pro-Wenger argument whatsoever. The debate is long over - anyone still supporting Wenger supports him over the club, that's it. - Post No. 108315

TOOAW  19:58pm 2nd Jul 2017

@ Exeter ex. Point taken but you are belittling yourself and your comments are very blinkered, Not challenging for the title over how many years which can make your agenda and argument quite fruitless. How about 3 fa cup wins in the last 4 years?!?!? It's all relevant but the picture that you wish to paint isn't the drawing that I see. Stay away next season, Arsenal need fans not glory boys. - Post No. 108316

Big Andy  23:35pm 2nd Jul 2017

@TOOAW You just don't get it, do you? Arsenal is a massive club which should be setting its sights for the stars. Winning titles and Champions Leagues is what we should be about. The FA Cup is irrelevant to the really big clubs. We have shown no ambition to be the best. That's why so many fans are staying away now, - Post No. 108317

Exeter Ex  9:31am 3rd Jul 2017

TOOAW, your message is barely coherent, but you are the exact type I'm talking about. When I first saw your username I thought it stood for There's Only 0 (zero) Arsene Wenger and that you were a WOB, are you aware that many will think this? As you are in fact an Arsene fan, not an Arsenal fan, it may give you pause for thought. - Post No. 108318

Yes its Ron  10:31am 3rd Jul 2017

SKG - True that is. The pull of managing W B Albion came at the right time for him as well didnt it. Hes an Albion man really as hes from the area. Its a pity it never worked for him there, as they had a decent side at the time. They always played traditionally with a flair and Don tried to do back then what Tony Pulis does today and the fans rejected it as did the players. Don was a great defensive Coach but it ends there really hence he was never a successful Manager in his own right. Great Arsenal man though. - Post No. 108319

Yes its Ron  10:41am 3rd Jul 2017

You've nailed it there and maybe nailed all arguments there are or ever will be about Asl. Paul Ward. Arsenal traditionally and culturally have never had the ambition to make the Club the biggest in Europe and have never since the 30s wanted to dominate the League either. The success the Club has had is made all the more spectacular when you think that we ve never sought to create a dynasty. Wenger and his record cannot be looked at isolation from what the Club is and has traditionally been. A Clubs culture runs through its history and barely shifts does it. This is why my view in Manchester is that PG has joined the wrong Club. They can throw money at MC to disgraceful levels but in my view they ll never become a Barca or a Madrid or even a United. The Clubs culture is one of let down, failure and sporadic success, as is the same in North London with Spurs. They ll never be an Arsenal, try as they might. - Post No. 108320

Seven Kings Gooner1  12:16pm 3rd Jul 2017

Hi Ron - strange game football - once apart from each other, Don Howe took WBA down in 73 and every Bertie Mee decision from 1973 onwards seemed to take Arsenal nearer to the bottom of the old Div 1. As you say Arsenal never really tried to continue the dynasty post 50's - to be kind to the board you could say that the Corinthian spirit prevailed or to be harsh they just did n't have the desire until Dein arrived. - Post No. 108321

Yes its Ron  14:43pm 3rd Jul 2017

SK - Yes, absolutely. Same type of thing happens after splits every now and again. Mercer and Allison. Clough and Taylor to a degree. McGarry and Sammy Chung had Wolves in good fettle in the early 70s then split and things went downhill as i recall. The Coaching duo s never seem to happen these days do they. - Post No. 108322

mbg  15:37pm 3rd Jul 2017

Big Andy, and they never will, such is their support for their drunk on power messiah and not the club. We want wenger out. - Post No. 108323

TOOAW  18:15pm 3rd Jul 2017

@big Andy. I disagree with your opinion and in all fairness Ron nailed it. Massive clubs win trophy's and the fa cup is a highly recognised trophy throughout the world. Please feel free to belittle it as it smacks of everything that the aaa stand for. My point being is that if you want success, and the manager gives it to you, you can't take it because of who is offering it. A definition of a big club?? Let's say Liverpool, Villa, Forest, Ipswich. Then there's Arsenal. The argument is like Exeter. It will never go away. For the record. My awareness is much more than his because an assumption is exactly that. mmmmmm now what does TOOAW stand for???? - Post No. 108324

Exeter Ex  18:38pm 3rd Jul 2017

TOOAW, you don't even know how to construct a sentence, let alone an argument. Now own up - Leek FC, it's you, isn't it? - Post No. 108325

markymark  19:55pm 3rd Jul 2017

As there's been a bit on this thread about what we want to achieve. I thought I'd add my contribution post the AISA meeting (Strangely no article on this site ?) Gazidis said we are determined to win the title. He admitted that the wheels came off during a 6 week period that they are still holding an inquest into. He said that they are not interested in buying players for squad depth , therefore players will only be bought if they can challenge a first team place. He would not confirm if the board were split over Wenger, he gave a political answer that the board reached a unified decision. Gazidis admitted the fanbase was split. Two questioners lambasted The mediocrity and 'quagmire' Arsenal found themselves in. I found it noticeable that he went on the offensive over Kronke but appeared battered over our general perceived failure and offered little defence . The remarks from Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail regarding Ivan having to plead for calm are correct. During an attempted defence of what the Board and Arsenal stood for the heckling became so intense he had to plead for unity moving forward. Adding to the fun was Graham Perry who tried to filibust his love of Arsene. Graham received some applause but was roundly booed and heckled . The microphone was then taken off him. Unfortunately my question I had ready regarding Ivan's conduit for change message went un asked due to the filibust . I would welcome any contributor who attended (apart from Graham Perry) to write a review. - Post No. 108326

mbg  20:01pm 3rd Jul 2017

Big Andy, Exeter, the same recognised trophy throughout the world TOF downgraded, belittled, treated as second class and that his followers agreed and wanted aborted for so called bigger fish, until it saved his skinny arse on several occasions now. You couldn't make it up, we want wenger out. - Post No. 108327

TOOAW  21:01pm 3rd Jul 2017

To Oblivion Over Arsene Wenger??????? - Post No. 108328

Arseneknewbest  7:28am 4th Jul 2017

To Oscillate (every) Orifice (of) Arsene W*nger. Howzat?Give it up mate and get back over to Unsold Anusol - you will not steal a march on Exeter whose analysis of Arsenal's current malaise is consistently accurate (and considerably more entertaining than your endless dirge of dishonesty). Moreover, you're defending the indefensible as we'll see in about, oooh, three weeks into the season. - Post No. 108329

Arseneknewbest  7:38am 4th Jul 2017

Err, osculate even...TOOAW - here's chance to offer some insight of your own. What is the implicit message contained in the name "Arseneknewbest"? - Post No. 108330

Exeter Ex  15:38pm 4th Jul 2017

The Obsequiousness Over Arsene Wenger. The Onanism Over Arsene Wenger. - Post No. 108331

mbg  16:01pm 4th Jul 2017

Apparently Lacazette is having medical at Arsenal, that's him f****d then. wenger out - Post No. 108332

Arseneknewbest  7:29am 5th Jul 2017

with la casette's arrival, do you think we'll see 30, see 60 or see 90 goals in the first season? Or will we need to put a pencil through the cog wheel and turn it by hand to him going? (Joke for people over 40). It must also signal the downloading of sanchez (corresponding joke for people under 40)...On Lord Lehmann's appointment, the likes of Feo will be sh*tting themselves if they get to feel the power of Jens's hallitosis driven hairdryer. I cannot see him accepting wengo's mogodon management style (although it surprised me that bouldy did) Vorsprung durch teknik indeed! - Post No. 108333

Yes its Ron  10:38am 5th Jul 2017

arseneknows - to be honest im not sure that Jens personality is abrasive and 'in the face' off the pitch. Hes passionate on it for sure and speaks his mind as we ve all seen. Hes quite cerebral and considered off it its always seemed to me, as many Germans are in my experience. Whats for sure it seems, is that hes close to Wenger and theres a deep mutual respect. I cant see Wenger ever recruiting anybody who routinely reverts to the so called hair dryer methods. Its just not the way he rolls and it simply wouldnt be tolerated. It has its uses im sure, but i think managing the modern footballer has seen it off a long time since. I think that squad will benefit from Lehman's presence. - Post No. 108334

The Man From UNCLE  11:20am 5th Jul 2017

Lacazette will be a fine player in that lower standard of football we find ourselves in next season and therefore ideally suited for the battle for 5th place vs Everton. And to buttress that, AW enquiring about Alexsandr Golovin - another ideally suited to those Thursday night cupties. - Post No. 108335

mbg  15:05pm 5th Jul 2017

ArseneKnewBest, as Ron has alluded to TOF wouldn't be bringing mad lens on board unless he was completely cured and was going to toe the line and become another yes man, and if he does have a relapse he'll not last long he'll be quickly shuffled into the background especially if we see results and he starts getting praise for it, for doing his job, he'll be reduced to a glorified ball boy throwing balls for the keeper to catch in the warm up, if he's lucky. - Post No. 108337

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

Frozen North Provides Relief For Arsenal

Rare comfortable away win for Gunners v Ostersunds