Thursday, June 01, 2006


26th May, 1989

A little late but...

I didn’t miss many away games that season. Trips to Southampton and QPR, that was it. I went every where else. Oh, I missed Newcastle away to. I was at Goodison when we were truly awesome, even the Everton fans applauded us off the pitch. I was at Old Trafford when Adams scored both ends and the donkey thing started. Boro away when Martin Hayes scored right at the death to give us three points.

West Ham away was another great show, we scored 4, as indeed we did at Forest. I’ll never forget walking away from the City Ground as the mist hung round the stadium, the floodlights giving out an eerie, creamy light. The lads on the terraces had been kept behind after the game for a few minutes and as we walked to the car we could the chant of Boring Boring Arsenal. Moments like that make following your team worthwhile. It brought a lump to the throat much like the rock thrown at my friend brought a lump to his head.

Villa away, we had thousands there but then we always did. Villa Park is one of the great stadiums in English football and we would often take 80000 +++ there. There was the usual 3 points at White Hart Lane where the ever optimistic Totts, buoyed by the signings of Gazza and Paul Stewart (who?) were convinced then, as they are now, that greatness was just round the corner. Gazza scored minus a boot but it didn’t matter, we scored 3 and collected 3 points.

The season had started at Plough Lane, Wimbledon where Smudger got a hat trick as we beat the Wombles 5-1. We filled the ground that day and we were filled with optimism that season.
Liverpool away was put back to the end of the season. Our last 2 home games we collected just one point, it was nerve-racking but everything rested on the final game at Anfield. I had a precious ticket, it had stood proudly on my window sill for weeks. The game was rearranged for Friday 26th May 1989. I told the boss I wanted the day off but he said no go, he was short staffed. I bit my tongue. I considered knocking it on the head there and then but decided to bide my time. I didn’t have another job lined up; I didn’t have enough cash in the bank. I had to wait but he would pay for that. It was our biggest game in 18 years, I’d been through the crap of the last few years, now we needed a 2-0 victory at the home of the best team in Europe and we, The Arsenal, would be champions. And I couldn’t be there…

After work I went to the pub, bought a vindaloo and a carry out then sat in front of the TV. Half time it was still 0-0. Early in the second half Alan Smith got the faintest of touches to a free kick and we were 1 up. The clock was ticking down. We were seconds from heartbreak, seconds from seeing Liverpool crowned as champions after coming so close. But wait. A long ball was played through. Michael Thomas danced through the Liverpool defence. ‘It’s up for grabs now.’ Immortal words in the annals of football commentary, Thomas scores, he somersaults in front of the Gooners, we won the league, we won the league on Merseyside, we won the league on the Mersey, we won the league on Merseyside!!! You had to be there. I wasn’t and it hurt.

Liverpool were one minute from being hailed English Champions but we’re The Arsenal and we hung on, we believed and we did it. The only way we know how. We did it The Arsenal Way

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